Mbeki said de Klerk’s denial was “absurd.”
“I had a brief discussion with De Klerk because we were sitting more or less next to each other in parliament (last week). What transpired is that he actually didn’t know that there is a convention declaring apartheid as a crime against humanity,” Mbeki said.
In a statement at the weekend, the De Klerk Foundation said the United Nation’s classification of apartheid as a crime against humanity formed part of an agenda by the then Soviet Union, the then opposition African National Congress (ANC) and its allies, to stigmatise white South Africans.
The foundation echoed remarks de Klerk made in an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, saying that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.
On its part, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has backed the South African Council of Churches (SACC)’s call that de Klerk and his foundation should retract their comments on apartheid.
Earlier, the SACC said De Klerk’s remarks went against the values for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The South African Communist Party, an affiliate of the ruling ANC, strongly condemned what it said were the De Klerk Foundation’s attempts to disguise his apartheid regime’s involvement in fostering so-called “black on black” violence.