FW de Klerk himself decided not to go to the American Bar Association (ABA) anymore. This after a storm broke out over the invitation to him.
The ABA announced Saturday night it is withdrawing its invitation to the former president.
The ABA has been asked by American academics, former members of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), one of the sons of the so-called Cradock 4 and the EFF to withdraw the invitation.
Former presidential spokesman Dave Steward said on Sunday afternoon that De Klerk had decided to withdraw his acceptance of the invitation when he became aware of the issue on Saturday afternoon.
According to him, the former president did not want to take part in the event if it was an embarrassment for him or his guests. It is not known when the event would be held.
Lukhanyo Calata, son of Fort Calata, one of the Cradock 4 anti-apartheid activists killed by the state in 1985, was the first to object to the ABA because the association invited De Klerk.
The Pan African Bar Association of South Africa also objected in a letter to the ABA on Saturday.
De Klerk, who was a lawyer in Vereeniging before he became political, would have addressed the association on, among other things, the rule of law, minority rights, racism, constitutional democracy and social development.
The EFF said in a statement earlier that the invitation to De Klerk runs counter to the spirit of the US efforts of the #BlackLivesMatter movement there and organizations worldwide to end the violence and criminalization of black people.
As before, the EFF again said the former president has “blood on his hands”.
The FW de Klerk Foundation said in a statement that the allegations made by the objectors to the invitation to De Klerk were “outrageous and unfounded”.
The foundation points out the former president, Nelson Mandela said with his predecessor’s 70th birthday that De Klerk did not receive enough recognition for the critical role he played.
Had it not been for De Klerk, the country might have gone into a “devastating racial flames lake”, as many people feared would happen, Mandela said at the time.
De Klerk was the target of the EFF with the opening of parliament on 14 February.
A few days later, a major storm erupted around De Klerk’s head when the FW de Klerk Foundation denied in a statement apartheid was a crime against humanity. De Klerk later withdrew this statement.
In its statement, the foundation points out that, from its investigations and evidence, the TRC could not link De Klerk to any human rights violation.
“Leaders should not be judged by the situation they inherited from their predecessors, but by the successes or failures they leave behind.
“His contribution was to abolish apartheid and lead the way to a non-racial democratic constitution for all South Africans.”