Despite growing calls by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and other social commentators calling for apartheid President FW de Klerk’s Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked, it seems that will not be possible, according to the Nobel Foundation’s rules.
The renewed calls for the revocation came at the 2020 State of the Nation Address when the EFF called for De Klerk to be removed from the National Assembly, as he was – in their words – “a murderer with blood on his hands”.
This came after an interview with the SABC in which De Klerk apologised for apartheid, but said he did not believe it could be labelled as a crime against humanity.
However, members of Parliament, including the African National Congress (ANC)’s Zizi Kodwa, defended De Klerk’s presence at Sona.
The party followed the Sona disruption up two days later with a statement saying it would make a formal submission to have De Klerk’s Peace Prize revoked.
They have also been supported by the Young Communist League, which has also called for the revocation.
De Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, together with former President Nelson Mandela.
The awarding of the prize to the two statesmen was noted as being “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any persons who are qualified to nominate.
The committee does not itself announce the names of nominees, either to the media nor to the candidates themselves.
Additionally, the statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years.
CANNOT BE REVOKED
According to the Nobel Foundation, which facilitates Nobel Prizes, once a prize has been awarded, it cannot be revoked.
The foundation’s 10th statute states the following:
No appeals may be made against the decision of a prize-awarding body with regard to the award of a prize. Proposals received for the award of a prize, and investigations and opinions concerning the award of a prize, may not be divulged. Should divergent opinions have been expressed in connection with the decision of a prize-awarding body concerning the award of a prize, this may not be included in the record or otherwise divulged. A prize-awarding body may, however, after due consideration in each individual case, permit access to material which formed the basis for the evaluation and decision concerning a prize, for purposes of research in intellectual history. Such permission may not, however, be granted until at least 50 years have elapsed after the date on which the decision in question was made.The Nobel Foundation
De Klerk is not the only Nobel Laureate whose Nobel Peace Prize has been called into question.
In 2018, calls were made for the Peace Prize awarded to Myanmar government leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, which she was awarded in 1991 for campaigning for democracy, revoked in light of the Rohingya killings in the country.