De Klerk said this when he addressed an event organised by the Cape Town Press Club at the Kelvin Grove Club in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The country’s last white president looked at the past 25 years since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, outlining some of the things that went wrong, and some of the things that went right.
Recalling the dangerous path the country was on in the mid-1980s during white minority rule, he said both the then National Party (NP)-government and the then opposition African National Congress (ANC) realised that negotiations were the only way to avoid a racial war.
He said the agreement that was reached despite several crises by December 1993, was a "remarkable achievement" and he believes it was one of the most successful change management processes ever anywhere in the world.
He said the former opposing sides had succeeded in removing apartheid, which was an "egregious breach" of the rights of a majority by a minority.
"Nelson Mandela's inauguration was one of the most fulfilling days of my life," he said. Since then, however, South Africa has failed dismally to create equality, and the country is now more unequal than in 1994, he said.
However, he said South Africa was "extremely fortunate" that Cyril Ramaphosa emerged victorious at the ANC 2017 elective conference, rather than the Zuma camp's preferred candidate of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.