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Pieter Willem Botha

Talk of Change: An Interview with Pieter Willem Botha Read

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By the standards of South Africa's all-white National Party, Prime Minister Pieter Willem Botha, 66, is a moderate. In his 18th-floor office in Cape Town, he talked with TIME Johannesburg Bureau Chief Marsh Clark about the political battle raging within Afrikanerdom. When Clark joked that the Prime Minister, who describes himself as a conservative, though not an "embalmed" one, bore no visible scars from his recent skirmishes, Botha replied: "I suppose I am like a crayfish—always in hot water." Excerpts from the interview:


On the right-wing defection from the party, led by Dr. Andries Treurnicht. I would not say it is really a split. It involves a number of people who are perhaps dissatisfied and have broken away. They will find that the vast majority of the party's members and supporters will not follow them. Dr. Treurnicht is what I would call a word artist. He uses words to cloud the issue. On basic matters, he has no policy. Even before I made the statement [on power sharing with some non-whites], Treurnicht was already at loggerheads with the party. The statement is an excuse t. ey used. I think they have been organizing for quite a while to take a stand of their own.


Read more: TIME Magazine (Apr. 26, 1982)

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