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Leaders pay tribute to the late former SA President De Klerk

In this file photo taken on April 03, 1994 ANC President Nelson Mandela (R) and South African President Frederik W. De Klerk (L) walk to an Easter church service   -  
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South Africa

- British PM Boris Johnson -

"I am saddened by the death of FW de Klerk, a leader who changed the course of history by freeing Nelson Mandela and working alongside him to end apartheid and bring democracy to South Africa," Johnson said in a statement.

"De Klerk will be remembered for his steely courage and realism in doing what was manifestly right and leaving South Africa a better country," he added.

- Archbishop Desmond Tutu -

"The former president occupied an historic but difficult space in South Africa," Archbishop Desmond Tutu's office said.

Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his resistance to apartheid, led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) charged with uncovering the horrors of the white-minority regime.

After de Klerk's appearance at the TRC, Tutu "addressed the media to express disappointment that the former president had not made a more wholesome apology on behalf of the National Party to the nation for the evils of apartheid," the archbishop's office said in statement.

However, it added: "The late FW de Klerk played an important role in South Africa's history. At a time when not all of his colleagues saw the future trajectory of the country unfolding in the same way, he recognised the moment for change and demonstrated the will to act on it."

- Nelson Mandela Foundation -

"De Klerk’s legacy is a big one," the Nelson Mandela Foundation said. "It is also an uneven one, something South Africans are called to reckon with in this moment."

The two leaders sparred frequently, but the Mandela foundation recalled his remarks at De Klerk's 70th birthday celebrations.

"If we two old, or ageing, men have any lessons for our country and for the world, it is that solutions to conflicts can only be found if adversaries are fundamentally prepared to accept the integrity of one other," Mandela said at the time.

- South African political figures -

Julius Malema, leader of the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters, tweeted: "Thank you God", followed by five dancing emojis.

But former opposition Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon tweeted: "Farewell FW de Klerk. Like Mikhail Gorbachev, he reformed the system he inherited in 1990. And if he had not relinquished power in 1994, likely SA would be Syria or Venezuela today."

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