David Cameron has made another decisive break with the Conservative Party’s past by admitting that Margaret Thatcher had been wrong to brand Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) “terrorists” during the struggle against apartheid.
The Tory leader, who met Mr Mandela during a visit to South Africa last week, said:
“The mistakes my party made in the past with respect to relations with the ANC and sanctions on South Africa make it all the more important to listen now. The fact that there is so much to celebrate in the new South Africa is not in spite of Mandela and the ANC, it is because of them – and we Conservatives should say so clearly today.”
Writing in The Observer, Mr Cameron praised the former South African president as “one of the greatest men alive” and said his overwhelming impression was “not how violent the armed struggle or Soweto uprisings were, but how restrained”.