OBITUARY | Apartheid’s last president, who thought he could ...

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OBITUARY | Apartheid’s last president, who thought he could outplay the ANC

FW De Klerk, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in June, died on Thursday aged 85

Chris Barron

Former president FW de Klerk, who has died in Cape Town at the age of 85, was a staunch defender of apartheid until he freed Nelson Mandela and unbanned the ANC and other liberation movements in February 1990.

Though he apologised for the hurt apartheid had caused, he consistently refused to accept it was a crime against humanity.

He’d been zealously enforcing segregated schools for five years as the minister of national education when he narrowly defeated the verligte (progressive) finance minister Barend du Plessis to become leader of the National Party in February 1989, after president PW Botha had a stroke...

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