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PW Botha

Nelson Mandela
Apartheid South Africa

PW Botha was a lifetime politician in the National Party.

Will

PW Botha's wife, Barbara, will inherit R5 000 and a BMW from his estate. Barbara will have to leave their home 12 months after his death, and will lose the police protection she has been accorded as the wife of a former state president. Botha left the the house to his 5 children from his marriage to his first wife (Elize). PW Botha left R25 000, shares and book royalties, and the contents of his library to each of his sons; R5 000 to the Bible community of South Africa; and his farm Soli Deo Gloria to his youngest son. The rest of his estate was shared equally between his five children. (Source: Rapport).

Desmond Tutu
28 Nov 2006

On whether PW Botha is now in heaven or in hell:
"God is the only one who decides. I hope his soul rests in peace."

On whether PW Botha had received adequate recognition for his role as a reformer:
"I think we shouldn't be dismissive of anybody. I always reckon that each one of us has the capacity to become a saint, anyone and everyone. I'm willing to acknowledge whatever initiatives he may have taken. But I think that he will be remembered mostly for his ... he was granite-like, you know. And the finger-wagging. Those are the things people are going to remember him for."

8 Nov 2006


Thabo Mbeki, Mbeki's wife Zanela, Frank Chikane (whom the apartheid regime once tried to poison), Constand Viljoen (former head of the apartheid defence force) and FW de Klerk attend PW Botha's funeral in the Western Cape. Botha's coffin was adorned with white roses and lilies. In accordance with Botha’s last wishes, Psalm 23 was read and his daughter Rozanne Visagie sang the hymn “Walk with God”. A private burial followed the funeral.

7 Nov 2006

"He was the devil personified at the same level that Hitler was, and should be treated as a pariah by peace-loving people..."It is fitting that both him and his time has come to an end. Good riddance." Cosatu (IOL)

5 Nov 2006

"My experience of him was only from when I got to know him (in 1997). He was a strong man: he didn't like it if you objected and didn't like it if you didn't do what he wanted. I thought PW should be crowded by his family, but he was always alone. He would prefer to keep his distance. He was a very bitter man. He was bitter at the way he had been forced to leave parliament. He always told me he would release Mandela himself, but he wanted to do it his way." Reinette te Water Naudé, former fiancée fo PW Botha (Weekend Argus)

Nov 2006

A hoax email starting doing the rounds advertising a supposed extremely racist speech was made by PW Botha (reported as a hoax by the Sunday Times).

1 Nov 2006

"He was very irritable, bad-tempered … He was not enormously intelligent ... but he had enough sense to realise that change would have to come because the black resistance was gearing up considerably and the opposition of the international community was growing very strong." Helen Suzman

Nov 2006

"Botha was a man of greater courage than many have given him credit for, and he had a wry sense of humour" Mangosutho Buthelezi

Nov 2006

"The reign of the late PW Botha will go down in history as the most brutal and repressive era. It was an era which was characterized by long periods of state of emergency. This draconian legislative suppression of the struggle for freedom and equality was meant to intimidate, terrorize and thus demoralize the motive forces which were at the forefront of the struggle. " message on the Friends of Jacob Zuma website

Nov 2006

"The P.W.Botha I learnt to hate was no human but a vulture that massacred our people and called us names we hate to hear." message on the Friends of Jacob Zuma website

Nov 2006

"The death of former Apartheid President PW Botha brought back memories of teargas, rubber and live bullets, being on the run for months or years, our families being harassed by the security police day and night in order for them to disclose our whereabouts. Some of our friends and family members disappeared without trace, some detained for ninety days without trial, released and only to be rearrested just outside the gates of prison for another ninety days in solitary confinement." message on the Friends of Jacob Zuma website

 

1 Nov 2006

" [PW Botha] succeeded in protecting South Africa during the difficult eighties before the fall of the Soviet Union." David Steward

Frederick van Zyl Slabbert
1 Nov 2006

"Circumstances forced him to be a reformer. He was extremely authoritative, militant and not very well read; he relied heavily on the people around him. He started the process of dialogue with the ANC, but this was behind the scenes and very hush-hush." Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert, leader of the opposition Progressive Federal Party Mail & Guardian (1 November 2006).

PW Botha
31 Oct 2006

PW (Pieter Willem) Botha dies (aged 90) of natural causes around 8pm at his home lagoon-side home "Die Anker", near Wildernes in the Western Cape, dying while walking arm-in-arm with his wife, Barbara.

He leaves behind his second wife Barbara, his daughters Elanza Maritz and Rozannee and his son Pieter. In a statement, the ANC wished Botha's family "strength and comfort at this difficult time".

Although PW Botha's security forces killed over 2,000 people and about 25,000 people were detained without trial and often tortured, he refused to apologise for apartheid and denied he had known about the torture and assassinations (and declined to appear when summoned by the state-appointed Truth and Reconciliation Commission which in its final report in 2003 blamed him for much of the horror of the last decade of white rule).

June 1999

"I will never ask for amnesty. Not now, not tomorrow, not after tomorrow," PW Botha after winning an appeal against the conviction for failing to heed the subpoena to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Marries

PW Botha marries Barbara Robertson (a 57-year-old legal secretary)

Engaged & not

Five months after Elize's death PW Botha got engaged to Reinette te Water Naudé, and then a further 6 months later the engagement was off. "PW could have taken the trouble to come to me and tell me the engagement was off. I don't think it's fair that I had to read it in a newspaper," Reinette te Water Naudé (YOU magazine)

1997

PW Botha's first wife Elize dies from a heart attack

Pik Botha
14 Oct 1997

"In August 1985 President PW Botha had delivered what has become known as his Rubicon Speech in Durban. The world had been waiting for good news, important announcements on dismantling apartheid and releasing Mr Nelson Mandela. I myself drafted that part of the speech in which the phrase "today we have crossed the Rubicon" appeared. President Botha, however, retained the sentence but removed what had preceded it, namely the release of Nelson Mandela and the government's intention to dismantle apartheid. The effect of the speech on the world, and on many South Africans, was that of a bucket of iced water in the face."

1989

The National Party wins a majority of the seats in the 1989 South African General Election (South Africa's last race-based election).

Party
Seats

National Party

93

Democratic Party

33

Conservative Party

39

TOTAL

165

14 Aug 1989

At a caucus meeting Botha was asked to resign and FW de Klerk became acting state president the next day.

13 Feb 1989

PW Botha resigns after suffering a stroke and is succeeded later that year by Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk (like Mandela, an attorney by training).

18 Jan 1989

PW Botha had a mild stroke.

1988

PW Botha gives the Sharpeville 6 a reprieve from the death sentence.

1987

The National Party wins a majority of the seats in the 1987 South African General Election.

Party
Seats

National Party

123

Progressive Federal Party

19

Conservative Party

22

Independent Movement

1

New Republic Party

1

TOTAL

165

1986

PW Botha declares a state of emergency in South Africa.

PW Botha
15 Aug 1985

"I believe we are today crossing the Rubicon, Mr Chairman. In South Africa there can be no turning back. I have a manifesto for the future of our country and we must engage in positive action in the months and years that lie ahead."

3 Sep 1984

PW Botha becomes President.

PW Botha
1979

"Adapt or die".

29 Sep 1978

PW Botha is appointed prime minister.

PW Botha
1978

"Most blacks are happy, except those who have had other ideas pushed into their ears."
PW Botha as quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p53.

5 Apr 1966

PW Botha is appointed Minister of Defence.

1966

PW Botha is elected leader of the NP in the Cape Province.

PW Botha
1964

"I am one of those who believe that there is no permanent home for even a section of the Bantu in the white area of South Africa and the destiny of South Africa depends on this essential point. If the principle of permanent residence for the black man in the area of the white is accepted then it is the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it in this country." Speaking to parliament in 1964 as Minister for Coloured Affairs (The Guardian 7 February 2006)

1964

PW Botha is appointed Minister of Public Works.

Aug 1961

PW Botha is appointed Minister of Community Development and Coloured Affairs.

Oct 1958

PW Botha is appointed deputy minister of internal affairs, by HF Verwoerd.

26 May 1948

The National Party wins the most seats in the 1948 South African General Election on its policy of racial segregation (later to become known by the afrikaans word Apartheid) and comes to power.

Party
Seats

United Party

65

Herenigde Nasionale Party

70

Afrikaners Party

9

Labour Party

6

Independents

3

TOTAL

153

PW Botha is elected to parliament for the first time as a members of the Herenigde Nasionale Party (by winning the parliamentary seat for George).

13 Mar 1943

PW marries his first wife, Anne Elizabeth Rossouw.

1934

PW begins reading law at Grey University College (now University of the Free State), Bloemfontein. At university he helps organize the Gesuiwerde Nationale Party (Purified National Party) during local by-election campaigns (he was notorious for wielding a bicycle chain as he led raids on meetings of rival parties) and, eventually, becomes the party's campus branch chairman. After an address to DF Malan during a visit to the university campus, Malan offers PW the post of party organizer in the Western Cape. PW drops his studies and moves to Cape Town to take up the post. He sold books for Nasionale Pers (later to become Naspers) who paid his salary.

12 Jan 1916

Pieter Willem Botha is born on Telegraaf Farm, Paul Rous District, in the Orange Free State province of South Africa; he is the only son of Hendrina and Pieter Willem Botha (who already had 9 children between them from previous marriages).

1914

National party is formed.

 

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