Correspondent|Former deputy president FW de Klerk has apologised for his remarks that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.
He made the comments which have been widely slammed by political parties and NGOs during a TV interview on the SABC.
On Friday, he had also issued a statement which said the idea of apartheid as a crime against humanity was communist propaganda.
De Klerk was also at the centre of a chaotic late start to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address when the EFF demanded he be kicked out of Parliament for his remarks.
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise had refused De Klerk being kicked out, stating he had been invited by Parliament to attend SONA.
But on Monday, following increasing public pressure and a backlash, the last leader of the apartheid regime retracted his comments and duly apologised.
“I agree with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation that this is not the time to quibble about the degrees of unacceptability of apartheid. It was totally unacceptable,” De Klerk said.
“The FW de Klerk Foundation has accordingly decided to withdraw its statement of 14 February unconditionally and apologises for the confusion, anger and hurt that it has caused.
“The international crime of apartheid did not disappear with the demise of apartheid in South Africa.
“In 1998 it was included in the Statute of Rome, which established the International Criminal Court. In terms of Article 7(1) a ‘crime against humanity’ is defined as acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.
“It includes ‘the crime of apartheid’ as a crime against humanity and defines it as ‘inhumane acts …committed in the context of an institutional regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”