Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pieter Willem Botha

These two stamps on the special cover were issued by South Africa to commemorate one of the last agents of apartheid in that country PW Botha.

Pieter Willem Botha, DMS (12 January 1916 – 31 October 2006), commonly known as "P. W." andDie Groot Krokodil (Afrikaans for "The Big Crocodile"), was the leader of South Africa from 1978 to 1989, serving as the last Prime Minister from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive State President from 1984 to 1989. He died in 2006.

First elected to Parliament in 1948, Botha was outspoken opponent of black majority rule and international communism. However, his administration did make concessions towards political reform, whereas internal unrest saw widespread human rights abuses at the hands of the government. Botha resigned the party leadership in February 1989 after suffering a stroke and six months later was coerced to leave the presidency as well.

In F. W. de Klerk's 1992 referendum Botha campaigned for a No vote and denounced De Klerk's administration as irresponsible by opening the door to black majority rule. In early 1998, when Botha refused to testify at the Mandela government's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he was supported by the right-wing Conservative Party, which had earlier contested his rule as the official opposition. By his refusal, he was fined and given a suspended jail sentence for crimes against human rights. Shortly before his death in late 2006, he renewed his opposition towards egalitarian democracy in favour of a confederate system based upon the principles of "separate development".

Botha was not related to contemporary National Party politician Roelof Frederik "Pik" Botha, his Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Thank you Maria.

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