Last modified on 19 October 2014, at 09:22

Pieter Willem Botha

P. W. Botha in 1962

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, 7 September 1948, as quoted in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 251.
  • 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, p. 203.
  • 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 11 May 1964 as Minister for Coloured Affairs, as cited in The Guardian 7 February 2006.
  • Many refugees - White, Brown and Black - flee to South Africa. Why? Here they know they have safety.
    • As Minister of Defence, House of Assembly, 1 September 1975, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 17.
  • Where in the whole wide world today can you find a more just society than South Africa has?
    • As Minister of Defence, East London NP Congress, 6 May 1976, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 16.
  • The fact is that the Westminster system has not worked anywhere in Africa - not even in England because the Scots and Welsh are moving away from it.
    • As Minister of Defence, Port Elizabeth NP Congress, 20 September 1976, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 49.
  • It's a psychological onslaught, an economic one, a diplomatic one, a military onslaught - a total onslaught.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on 17 April 1978, as cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • There is not an Indian community in the world that is better off than the Indians in South Africa. That is the type of apartheid that I stand for. That is the type of apartheid that is not dead.
    • As prime minister in the House of Assembly, 23 April 1979, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 40
  • Accept where I am going or I will not lead you.
    • Addressing the Transvaal NP Congress on 18 September 1979, as cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, November 5, 2006.
  • I hate no black man. I hate no brown man. The same God that made me put them there too. My God is not only for Afrikaners.
    • Addressing the Transvaal NP Congress on 18 September 1979, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 25.
  • Adapt or die.
    • From his speech to parliament, October 1979.
  • We do not know what tomorrow will bring. We are not prophets. This is a step in the dark. We can only proceed into the future with faith.
    • As prime minister, introducing the 4th Amendment to the Constitution Bill, 23 May 1980, which envisaged a tricameral corporate federation. Cited in The Star, and Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 27
  • 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 cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 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 cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 2006.
  • We are a strong country in a rather sick world. ... Our problems are not so much racial as radicals wish to make them.
    • As Prime Minister in a Business Week interview, USA, 4 April 1982, as cited in the Sunday Express, and Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 15, 41.
  • I have come to the realisation and conviction that the struggle in South Africa is not between White, Black and Brown, but between Christian civilized standards and the powers of chaos.
    • As prime minister, Warrenton, 24 July 1982, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 23.
  • We do not want chaos in South Africa.
    • Explaining why cinemas were not open to all races, House of Assembly, April 21, 1983, as cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 2006.
  • We dare not see ourselves as a chosen people. We are called people - called to a particular task, just as every nation is a called people.
    • As prime minister, on a Day of the Covenant rally in Hartenbosch, 16 December 1983, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 29
  • There is only one element that can break the Afrikaner ... and that is the Afrikaner himself.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on 26 April 1984. Excerpt from a quote by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 2006.
  • The Republic of South Africa has a new formula under the National Party's leadership: black nations can get freedom without firing shots or revolution.
    • As prime minister, Graaff-Reinet, 26 May 1984, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 35
  • 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 2 June 1984, as cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 2006.
  • The separation of races happened long before the Nationalist Government. God separated the races.
    • As prime minister to an Austrian journalist during a European tour, 3 September 1984, as cited in The Star, and Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 24
  • I am tired of constantly hearing how guilty the Afrikaner and the National Party are and the time has come that this myth be crushed.
    • As state president, at the annual conference of the Afrikaner Studentebond, Stellenbosch, 15 April 1985, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 32
  • 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 15 August 1985.
  • Lord Milner had, in the forced Peace of Vereeniging ensured that there was to be no franchise for black people after the introduction of self-government - which was never intended. It was only after half a century that an Afrikaner government started doing something about black rights.
    • As state president, unveiling a monument to Boer War victims at Delareyville, 10 October 1985, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 34
  • South Africa is not a jellyfish and is in many respects a swordfish.
    • Speaking to the House of Assembly on 28 April 1986, as cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 2006.
  • Our enemies latched unto the word "apartheid" and in a very sly manner transformed it into the strongest weapon in the onslaught against freedom and civilization in our country.
    • As state president at a parade of the SA Police College, Pretoria, 20 June 1986, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 37
  • Unfortunately [South Africa] has been badly repaid for her loyalty because the West has expelled her from the family circle while befriending the most dictatorial regimes on Earth.
    • As state president in an interview with Figaro, Paris, 8 December 1986, as cited in The Star, and Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 41.
  • 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 cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 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 30 April 1987, as cited by Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times, 5 November 2006.
  • No Prime Minister before me has been attacked more viciously than I am today.
    • At an election meeting in Pietermaritzburg on 30 April 1987, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 19.
  • Never in the history of this country have so few people done so much for so many without acknowledgement by the international community.
    • As state president, referring to the ruling National Party House of Assembly, 17 August 1987, as cited in Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1987, PW Botha in his own words, p. 28
  • Most blacks are happy, except those who have had other ideas pushed into their ears.
    • As cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 53.
  • The free world wants to feed South Africa to the Red Crocodile [communism], to appease its hunger.
    • As cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 90.
  • Our history is responsible for the differences in the South African way of life.
    • As cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 183.
  • Because you could not translate the word apartheid into the more universal language of English, the wrong connotation was given to it.
    • As cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 22.
  • 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 cited in Country of My Skull, Antjie Krog, Random House, p. 270.
  • 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 cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 244.
  • 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 cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 11.
  • 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 cited in Country of My Skull, Antjie Krog, Random House, p. 270.
  • 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, p. 285.
  • 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 cited in Dictionary of South African Quotations, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, Penguin Books 1994, p. 441.

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