Last modified on 25 November 2012, at 13:29

Pieter Willem Botha

Pieter Willem Botha (January 12, 1916October 31, 2006), commonly known as "PW", was the prime minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive state president from 1984 to 1989.

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  • The people who are opposing the policy of apartheid have not the courage of their convictions. They do not marry non-Europeans.
    • As MP of George, House of Assembly, September 7, 1948, as quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p251.
  • You could not claim for yourself that which you were not prepared to grant others.
    • As quoted in A Treasury of Quotations, Lennox-Short and Lee, Donker 1991, p203.
  • 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 on May 11, 1964 as Minister for Coloured Affairs, as quoted in The Guardian 7 February 2006.
  • It's a psychological onslaught, an economic one, a diplomatic one, a military onslaught - a total onslaught.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on April 17, 1978, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • Accept where I am going or I will not lead you.
    • Addressing the Transvaal NP Congress on September 18, 1979, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • Adapt or die.
    • From his speech to parliament, October 1979.
  • The acceptance of vertical differentiation with the built-in principle of self-determination must apply on as many levels as possible.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on January 28, 1981, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • The security and happiness of all minority groups in South Africa depend on the Afrikaner. Whether they are English- or German- or Portuguese- or Italian-speaking, or even Jewish-speaking, makes no difference.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on February 20, 1981, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • We do not want chaos in South Africa.
    • Explaining why cinemas were not open to all races, House of Assembly, April 21, 1983, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • There is only one element that can break the Afrikaner ... and that is the Afrikaner himself.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on April 26, 1984. Excerpt from a quote by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • We do not force people to move to new homes, we coerce them. [Some believe he meant to say "convince"]
    • Press conference in Switzerland on June 2, 1984, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • 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.
    • From his National Party Congress Speech in Durban on August 15, 1985.
  • South Africa is not a jellyfish and is in many respects a swordfish.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on April 28, 1986, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • Nelson Mandela can rot in prison until he dies or I die, whichever takes longer.
    • Reportedly to Cape Town journalists in February 1987, though later denied. As quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • I want to warn young people who lend their ears to radicals and who play around with the music from Lusaka - they will end up inside the bear's fur coat, but they will no longer be able to live.
    • At an election meeting in Pietermaritzburg on April 30, 1987, as quoted by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • Most blacks are happy, except those who have had other ideas pushed into their ears.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p53.
  • The free world wants to feed South Africa to the Red Crocodile [communism], to appease its hunger.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p90.
  • Our history is responsible for the differences in the South African way of life.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p183.
  • Because you could not translate the word apartheid into the more universal language of English, the wrong connotation was given to it.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p22.
  • I am sick and tired of the hollow parrot-cry of “Apartheid!” I’ve said many times that the word “Apartheid” means good neighbourliness.
    • As quoted in Country of My Skull, Antjie Krog, Random House, p270.
  • I am not against the provision of the necessary medical assistance to Coloured and natives, because, unless they receive that medical aid, they become a source of danger to the European community.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p244.
  • The idea of an Afrikaner people as a cultural entity and religious group with a special language will be retained in South Africa as long as civilisation stands.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p11.
  • Half a century ago in this court I was sworn in as the Member of Parliament for George. And here I am today … I am not better than General De Wet. I am not better than President Steyn. Like them I stand firm in my principles. I can do no different. So help me God.
    • As quoted in Country of My Skull, Antjie Krog, Random House, p270.
  • I never have the nagging doubt of wondering whether perhaps I am wrong.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p285.
  • The white people who came here lived at a very much higher standard than the indigenous peoples, and with a very rich tradition which they brought with them from Europe.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p441.

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