By: Natasha Archary
Former South African president FW de Klerk has died at the age of 85.
Spokesperson for the FW de Klerk Foundation, Dave Steward confirmed his passing on Thursday.
“The former president died earlier this morning at his home in Fresnaye after his struggle with cancer. He was 85-years old and is survive by his wife Elita, his two children Susan and Jan and grandchildren.”
The former statesman was the last apartheid president of South Africa from September 1989 until May 1994.
He went onto become one of the country’s deputy president’s after the first democratic elections in 1994.
De Klerk was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, in March 2021.
South Africans await President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement regarding details of De Klerk’s state funeral.
On 2 February 1990, President FW de Klerk delivered a speech at the opening of the 1990 session of the Parliament of South Africa.
Announcing sweeping reforms that marked the beginning of the negotiated transition from apartheid to constitutional democracy.
The reforms included the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC), The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and other anti-apartheid organisations, the release of political prisoners -including Nelson Mandela- the end of the state of emergency and a moratorium on the death penalty.
FW de Klerk’s actions and speech marked the official end of segregation policies and the official start of the negotiations that led to a constitutional democracy with equal rights for all South Africans.