A former president of South African, Frederik Willem De Klerk is dead.

De Klerk who served as the last president under the notorious apartheid policy and a key actor in the country’s transition to democracy died at the age of 85.

According to his foundation while announcing the sad development- “Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.”

In February 1990, he delivered a speech at the the county’s Parliament, announcing sweeping reforms that marked the beginning of the negotiated transition from apartheid to democracy.

The reforms lifted the ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and other anti-apartheid organisations, and authorised the release of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. It also put a moratorium on the death penalty.

The speech marked the official end of segregation policies and the start of the negotiations that led to a constitutional democracy with equal rights for all South Africans.

The announcement by the foundation stated also that- “De Klerk is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan. The family will, in due course, make an announcement regarding funeral arrangements.”

 

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