OPINION

FW de Klerk did not unban liberation movement – EFF

Fighters say the mass power of the people collapsed apartheid

EFF marks 30th anniversary of the unbanning of liberation movements and release of Mandela

2 February 2020

The EFF marks the 30th Anniversary of the historic announcement by the murderous apartheid regime to unban liberation political parties and release political prisoners. This marked the end of the regime as we knew it, ushering along a new phase of a political struggle that saw the inauguration of the first democratic government in 1994.

The EFF rejects the narrative that De Klerk, then President of apartheid, unbanned the liberation movement and released political prisoners. It is not him or his government, but the selfless theatres of struggle by the masses; the youth, in particular, SAYCO and COSAS.

The organised trade union movements, religious, sports and art formations, civic organisations, in particular, those of UDF. The exiles, as well as the international solidarity community. These efforts rendered the De Klerk racist regime with no option, but to unban peoples' organisations and release political prisoners.

The apartheid murderous regime was in denial, imposing states of emergency that lasted most of the 1980s. However, the mass power of the people collapsed apartheid. Even the governments of the world that imposed sanctions on apartheid did so due to the grassroots and mass-based international solidarity movement.

There is therefore absolutely no grounds to imagine that De Klerk, based on his volition and goodwill, unbanned liberation political parties. This also means he does not deserve the Nobel Prize at all, as his contribution to a peaceful transition in South Africa is also fundamentally questionable. His government was central to many massacres of the 1990s, in particular, Boipatong, seeking to undermine a just transition to democracy.

Seeing that God has given him a long life, De Klerk can still repent and admit to his role in the crimes against humanity committed by his regime, under his watch, including the gruesome activities of Vlakplaas. We call on De Klerk to return the Nobel Peace Prize because there is blood on his hands; he is not a peacemaker. No one should ever be awarded for asking victims of apartheid to make peace with apartheid. Apartheid is a crime against humanity and its leaders are no peacemakers.

The lesson of the historic unbanning of liberation political parties is that change only comes through people's mass power. No regime, including the abusive, kleptocratic, and incompetent government of the day can defeat the mass power of the people.

Issued by Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, National Spokesperson, EFF, 2 February 2020