P.W. Botha: Last of South Africa’s Statesmen


P.W. Botha: Last of South Africa’s Statesmen

As the left-wing media had little positive to say about P.W. Botha, elder statesman of South Africa, following his death on Tuesday, his real legacy goes largely unnoticed.

Back in the heady days of the mid-1990s, when South Africa was being heralded as the “rainbow nation” under the new, post-apartheid presidency of ex-terrorist Nelson Mandela, I had the opportunity to meet with elder statesman P.W. Botha, who had guided his country through the difficult years of preparation for the inevitable. The inevitable was that which Botha had warned his fellow whites to face: adapt or die.

P.W. Botha had the foresight to see that, with a hypocritical Western world condemning post-war South Africa as a pariah (while it largely ignored the murderous gulags of Russia and the slaughter of millions under Mao’s and Pol Pot’s tyrannies), the odds were stacked against the country’s white population surviving at the comfort level to which they had become accustomed. He zeroed in on that segment of South Africa’s population that had effectively exploited the nation’s rich blessings to raise it, over time, from a multi-tribal domicile of disparate black peoples to First World status. He declared to them, a mix of primarily British, Dutch, French and Germanic peoples, that the combined forces of international political pressures and a rapidly increasing black population becoming politicized, courtesy of the disease of communism sweeping post-colonial Africa, would inevitably mean that they would have to adjust to social, political and economic change. The signs were all around them.

Pieter Willem Botha, known generally as “P.W.”, was prime minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984 and its state president from 1984 to 1989. From his teens he was an energetic supporter of the country’s National Party. Having served as defense minister under the conservative Prime Minister B.J. Vorster, when Vorster resigned in 1978, P.W. replaced him as the nation’s leader. He established himself as a cautious reformer, leading South Africa for over 10 years through a period of transition preparatory for the inevitable. Upon P.W.’s resignation, following a mild stroke in 1989, the inevitable overtook white South Africans like a tidal wave.

Botha’s replacement as South Africa’s president was the politically weak F.W. de Klerk. It took little time for De Klerk to cave in to the combined pressures of international public opinion and the massive domestic pressure exerted by the Communist-trained African National Congress. On Feb. 11, 1990, De Klerk released Nelson Mandela from his long incarceration.

Over the ensuing months, South Africa’s northern borders were repeatedly breached as thousands of blacks from Mozambique flooded in to settle in shanty towns to ultimately stack the deck in preparation for a vote for Mandela as president. By April 1994, barely five years on from P.W. stepping down from the presidency, an ex-terrorist was voted in to the country’s highest office. Nelson Mandela, transmuted from anti-apartheid terrorist to deified national hero, was South Africa’s president.

A year later, I was in Johannesburg on the country’s newest public holiday, Freedom Day. There, only a few feet from the center of the dais on which Mandela sat, flanked by De Klerk, Mandela’s understudy Thabo Mbeki (the current president), and a host of military and political representatives, I listened to the cries of adulation from the masses gathered to celebrate their first year of “freedom” from the old apartheid regime. One person not in evidence was Joe Slovo, the Communist Party revolutionary who had mentored the anc into a powerful, militant terrorist force oiled with millions of rubles from the Soviet Union’s coffers. He had died earlier that year. But other Communist Party apparatchiks and Islamic revolutionaries were quite in evidence.

The content of Mandela’s speech on that fair day was no real surprise. He gave a great vote of thanks to the terrorist groups and the anti-West regimes that had provided financial support and armaments to the cause of overthrowing the hated white regime. Although careful in his choice of rhetoric, the president was clear about who his friends were.

These friends would later call in their dues. As P.W. himself told me, he had warned Mandela that ultimately the anc/Islamic cabal would take over.

It was on a beautiful sunny October day in 1995 that I entered through the gate to “Die Anker,” the attractive property located just a mile or so north from the sandy shores of the Indian Ocean in what is known as the Wilderness, in George, on the southern coast of South Africa, which was P.W.’s home. There we sat and chatted over tea served in fine English bone China. Though aged, the ex-president was still commanding in his presence. Our discussions on his methods of political leadership revealed a man who was at base a pragmatist, yet a godly man, a great friend of the tiny nation of Israel. We talked of a world entering a new age of disorder, of the inevitability of all global events eventually centering on one ancient city: Jerusalem.

P.W. declared as our discussion closed that he thought he could foresee a time in the not too distant future when Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies. We both shared the thought that then would come the war to end all wars and the great dawning of a new age of peace. It seemed that P.W. may have had an eye to Bible prophecy.

My view of P.W. Botha is shaped by that one visit to his home. It does not follow the common view of this man held by a hypocritical world that forms opinions based on the lies foisted off on the masses by the largely inept and hugely biased media machine. It is a view of the real man, a man whose real legacy was to warn of and to stave off the inevitable for South Africa.

Now the inevitable eats at the very heart and vitals of this once great nation, South Africa. As the respected journalist Justice Malala observed of the results of 12 years of post-apartheid government in South Africa, the Mbeki administration is an “outrage,” exhibiting a “shocking lack of leadership” on behalf of a cabinet stacked with “incompetent, inept and arrogant” buffoons (Spectator, October 14). Many of those who once accused the white administration of raping South Africa’s abundance to fill their coffers have themselves become billionaires, government cronies of the dominant political tribe, the Xhosa, commonly called the “Xhosa nostra” in a play on the term Cosa Nostra of Mafia infamy.

Ex-patriot Afrikaner journalist Rian Malan sums up the inevitable fate of today’s South Africa this way: “Whites are finished. According to a recent study, one in six of us has left since the anc took over, and those who remain know their place” (ibid.). Thus it is that those who heeded Botha’s warning and who were unwilling to adapt to the post-apartheid “incompetent, inept and arrogant” government, have largely left South Africa’s shores. To the rest it is left, in P.W.’s words, to adapt or die.

Perhaps the greatest legacy of P.W. Botha is that he staved off this inevitability in South Africa for a whole decade under his own, unique style of leadership.