Africa

South Africa's Cape Town renames street after FW De Klerk

FW de Klerk on 2 February 2010 in Cape Town Image copyright AFP
Image caption FW de Klerk negotiated South Africa's transition to democracy

Cape Town's city council has voted to rename a street after South Africa's last white ruler despite opposition from the national governing party.

City mayor Patricia de Lille accused the African National Congress (ANC) of thuggish behaviour during a chaotic session of the council.

It opposed renaming a major highway after FW de Klerk, saying he had the blood of black people on his hands.

Cape Town is South Africa's only major city controlled by the opposition.

Mr De Klerk handed power to then-ANC leader Nelson Mandela in South Africa's first democratic election in 1994.

Backlash

The BBC's Mohammed Allie in Cape Town says that the session was marred by councillors spitting, banging their fists on tables and pushing and shoving.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Racial segregation ended in South Africa in 1994

The meeting became so chaotic that the venue had to be changed, and ANC councillors were locked out.

Officials in the Democratic Alliance-controlled city said the decision to rename Table Bay Boulevard was taken following a recommendation by prominent South African personalities, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Mr De Klerk shared the Nobel Peace prize with Mr Mandela for his role in negotiating an end to apartheid.

However, he has faced a backlash from the ANC in recent years after saying that not all aspects of apartheid were morally repugnant and it had aimed to create separate but equal states for different races and ethnic groups in South Africa.

Although he said he apologised for the injustices apartheid had caused.

The National Party (NP), which Mr De Klerk led in the late 1980s and early 1990s, introduced apartheid in South Africa in 1948.

It discriminated against black people in all spheres of their lives, and saw them as inferior to white people.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in jail, mainly on Cape Town's Robben Island, after taking up arms to end white-minority rule.

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