South Africa is praised internationally for having dismantled its nuclear capability after it abandoned apartheid and believed, according to F.W. de Klerk, that it was no longer endangered by other powers. During an interview with Friedman in 2017, de Klerk made this remark.
I contend in my 2018 nuclear non-proliferation project, “The Efficacy of Nuclear Weapons Free Zones”, that de Klerk is unlikely to concede that his government was swayed by outside pressure.
When challenged about the possibility that one of the reasons the South African government opted to give up its nuclear weapons was to prevent them from falling into the hands of a black government, de Klerk dismissed the notion.
He claimed that it was not one of his motivations to keep the weapons out of Nelson Mandela’s transitional government.
Because of pressure from the OAU, the UN, and other international actors, I discovered that South Africa failed in its attempt to hold the continent to ransom. South Africa’s surrender of nuclear weapons, in my opinion, was not founded on principle.
Instead of lavishing praise on de Klerk and the apartheid regime, I believed it would be more appropriate to honour those individuals, organisations, and countries who pushed for the establishment of the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. (Dweba, 2018).
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