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Media Centre | COSATU Press Statements
02 - 11 - 06
The Congress of South African Trade Unions rejects the notion that the late President PW Botha made any positive contribution whatsoever to the democratic transformation of our society. On the contrary, he remained to the very last a staunch defender of ap artheid, racism, dictatorship and inequality, for which he refused to make the slightest apology.
He will be remembered as a brutal dictator, who enthusiastically presided over a system which denied the majority of people all their most basic human rights. He was responsible for the misery endured by the millions of South Africans he condemned to pover ty. He robbed the majority of their chance to live a normal existence and improve their lives.
He was responsible for the pain inflicted on the thousands who were jailed, assaulted and tortured by his apartheid state thugs. His hands were stained with the blood of hundreds who were murdered during the struggle for democracy and liberation under his presidency,
Any small reforms which occurred during PW Bothas presidency took place in spite of rather than because of his intentions. The Wiehaan commission on trade unions, which recommended minimal rights for trade unions, and the tricameral parliament, which deli vered a veneer of limited rights for a select few, were forced on his government by the pressure of the masses for change.
Their purpose was to cynically buy time for the apartheid regime, by implementing phoney reforms that created the illusion of change rather than to bring about any real improvement in the lives of the majority.
When the time came for real change, Botha and his allies were redundant - shunted aside by the capitalist class who had prospered under his dictatorship but were quick to ditch him when they were forced by the masses to change course and switch to the rout e of democracy.
The overwhelming majority of South Africans and the people of the world will remember PW Botha only with hatred and disgust.