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Bertie Lubner vindicated by former president




Responding to media reports based on the book “Apartheid Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit” written by Hennie van Vuuren, that Lubner had contributed to the National Party, De Klerk told the SA Jewish Report this week that Bertie and others who had given in the 80s had done so “because they supported fundamental and far-reaching reform. They did not support apartheid, they supported the abolition of apartheid. 

“They supported a new constitutional dispensation on which the National Party had embarked under PW Botha. I was part of the team and after PW Botha, under me.”

In a personal letter to Bertie Lubner’s son Marc dated August 7, he wrote: “I regard the attack on your father’s integrity as an undeserved smear of a man who at all times stood for a better life for all the people of South Africa.

“In general, and in particular with regard to your father, it is simply not true that he and the other people mentioned in the article supported apartheid.”

De Klerk – who knew Lubner well – said his impression of his political stance over the years was that “he always stood for the best interests of all South Africans and for a more open society and he was supporting the initiatives which the National Party was taking towards that and not the maintenance of the old system.”

Lubner was reported, along with his brother Ronnie and associate Lucien Levy, to have had dinner with PW Botha in June, 1982 and later to have written him a letter of thanks for “a very wonderful evening”. While De Klerk has no knowledge of that event, he cautioned against rushing to judgement but rather to view events in the context of the times.

“One must acknowledge that in ‘82 – that was at the time of the split of the National Party when the right-wing broke away because PW Botha was embarking on far-reaching fundamental reform which resulted in the three-chamber parliament and the appointment of the President’s Council, which had to deal with the future of black political rights.

“Bertie was supporting that,” he stressed, “and not the maintenance of the old suppressive system which was wrong and for which I and many others have apologised.”

De Klerk confirmed what Lubner had related to the book’s author in January 2016 when asked about his support for the then ruling party – the fact that he had made it clear to several government ministers, including De Klerk, when asked to join the National Party, that as a Jew he could not do so.

Would De Klerk say that rather than supporting apartheid, Lubner constructively engaged with government to encourage the reform process? “Absolutely!” was his unequivocal reply.


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  1. Robyn Lewis

    Aug 12, 2017 at 2:44 am

    ‘I grew up with the Lubner boys, and our parents were firm friends. Both Bertie and Ronny were the most philanthropic men, as everyone is aware,  and were solidly opposed to apartheid and discrimination of any form. I’m pleased that President de Klerk has come forward with this information. When he held the referendum to end apartheid the late Ivan Zulman and I both wrote to wish him well. He shared our birthday on March 18, 1936 and March 18 was the date he chose to hold the vital referendum.’

  2. Lindelani Ntuli

    Aug 28, 2017 at 8:46 am

    ‘I may not know what might have transpired in those years during the apartheid era, but as for Honourable Bertie Lubner, he was a man of integrity and had love of people at heart. I might not have had a personal relationship with, but I have sat with him in a meeting to share his wish in making a difference in Alexandra which he did. In his philanthropy work to this end, he has created employment for over thousands of people to fix the situation in our disadvantaged areas facing young people from the Cradle to Career which is far a legacy he left not only for South Africa alone but the world as a whole.  His son Marc is my mentor and someone who has kept me going from level to levels, he is not entirely gone, for his spirit still leaves within. He is one of the people who were dedicated to serving the world for a greater good. However, what he has left behind is a haven for children and people to better themselves. He gave South Africa the greatest gift, one which is no-longer just an Organization, but a society, a group of people organized for a common purpose, investing in the future. One to which believed that within every boy lies a tree, that within every girl lies a woman and that within every seed lies a tree. He is the man who felt had the wisdom that, WE MAKE A LIVING WITH THAT WHICH WE EARN, WE MAKE LIFE WITH THAT WHICH WE GIVE and that, If you share your wealth with your community, you sleep well at night and have peace. But if you hog it, you will spend it on security and medication. With this I have spoken about, I would like people to show some decency in dealing with his name for he was not just an ordinary man, but a man of honor. He is a proof a great leader for Nelson Mandela once Said "A person who compromises himself based on who he is serving is not a man to lead the nation"’

  3. Emet

    Aug 18, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    ‘A month before the 1988 Israeli elections, Pik Botha wrote to Magnus Malan about keeping Likud at the helm to protect the Apartheid government’s interests, especially given the new pressure of the USA’s "Comprehensive Apartheid Act of 1986" (Section 508).

    Bertie Lubner, then head of the SA-Israel CoC, joined them as one of the most generous private donors that year. Moreover, it’s laughable that NP donations in 1982 can be viewed as support for the "abolition of Apartheid". ‘

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