JOHANNESBURG - Former president FW de Klerk says the speech he made 30 years ago was critical to avoid a civil war.
De Klerk made the speech in parliament, announcing sweeping reforms, including the release of political prisoners like Nelson Mandela.
In his opening address in 1990, De Klerk unbanned the African National Congress, Pan-Africanist Congress, and South African Communist Party.
“It had to be done to avert a catastrophe in South Africa.”
“I think we would have fallen into a civil war. I think 100,000 of young South Africans from all sides would have died. I think the streets would have been drowned in blood and in the end, we would have to negotiate, that's the catastrophe we averted,” De Klerk said.
De Klerk said he felt bad and hurt when Mandela would criticise him.
“There were times when there was great tension between us. He accused me of not doing enough to stop the political violence and the role that elements in the security forces played. It was a false accusation. I appointed the Goldstone Commission. I put on early retirement, I took various steps, I never looked away from it. I tried to get to the bottom of it,” he said.
- On land reform -
De Klerk says government needed to bring policy certainty.
“We don't need to amend Section 25 of the Constitution. We don't need to bring the uncertainty of the protection of private property ownership into the system, which put off any foreign or local investor to put any money in South Africa. We need to return to what worked in the new South Africa in 1994,” he said.
-South Africa is on the 'wrong road' -
De Klerk says South Africa is on the wrong path.
“I think we on the wrong road at the moment. I think we must return to pragmatic approaches of between 1994 and 2007. We must return to following the type of economic policies which resulted us in bringing our national debt down dramatically, which resulted in more than 5 percent in real-term economic growth under Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel and President [Thabo] Mbeki."
De Klerk said the issue of unemployment in the country needed to be addressed.
Watch the full interview with eNCA reporter Ayesha Ismail