John Steenhuisen on apartheid: Crime against humanity debate is misplaced

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen, third left, at a media briefing at Nkululeko House on February 23 2020.
DA interim leader John Steenhuisen, third left, at a media briefing at Nkululeko House on February 23 2020.
Image: DA via Twitter

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen says the debate about apartheid should focus on its legacy, not its label.

He was speaking at the party's federal council media briefing on Sunday.

Earlier this month, former apartheid president FW de Klerk, through his foundation, said the UN's classification of apartheid as a crime against humanity was part of an agenda by the Soviet Union, the ANC and its allies to “stigmatise” white South Africans.

The foundation said the former president repeatedly acknowledged the grave injustices committed under apartheid and had apologised on a number of occasions.

On February 11, after receiving backlash from various political parties, De Klerk apologised and withdrew the statement.

Steenhuisen said De Klerk was wrong to deny the evils of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in SA before 1994, but the discussion was misplaced.

“The discussion has revolved around what we call the abhorrent system, not the fact that 20 years after the end of the system we still have 30 million black South Africans locked out of opportunity and living in poverty on less than R991 a month.

“We still have 27% of children, mainly black children, going to bed every night without the daily nutritional requirement and we have 10.4 million, mostly young black South Africans, who are unemployed.

“That is the debate that we should be having and those are the things that should be obsessing us on a daily basis,” said Steenhuisen.


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