statement by Roelf Meyer

The announcement by Mr FW de Klerk came as quite a surprise. Together with the whole of South Africa, we want to thank him today for the courage and vision that he displayed in 1990, which have helped to lift our country out of the rut of the past and put it on the road towards democratisation. For that, our country will remember him for ever.

After 1994, it became increasingly clear that the National Party could not carry through the transformation in South African politics, in spite of good intentions.

Mr De Klerk’s retirement gives further momentum to the restructuring of the South African political landscape and I have no doubt that many more people will now reconsider their political positions. Regarding the NP, this situation will now probably have the effect of speeding up the movement towards provincialisation and marginalisation.

I can wholly understand Mr De Klerk’s decision not to lead the NP any longer, and wish him well on his retirement.