1887

n Historia - Resolving P.W. Botha’s 1985 Rubicon riddle

Volume 64 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
USD

 

Abstract

President P.W. Botha’s notorious “Rubicon” speech on 15 August 1985 at the National Party Congress in Durban was probably one of the most significant speeches in the history of South Africa. It was supposed to break the political and military deadlock between the apartheid government and the banned liberation movements, notably the ANC. Botha was widely expected to announce new policies that could possibly have ended the political conflict in the country. However, that did not happen. Instead the speech was a total fiasco. Until now, one could only speculate why this was so. Original correspondence between P.W. Botha and ministers Pik Botha and Chris Heunis and a secret, verbatim transcript of the notorious preparatory 'Sterrewag' (Pretoria Astronomical Observatory) meeting of 2 August 1985, now confirm that the South African government and P.W. Botha were not ready for such policy breakthrough announcements and had never planned to make them.

President P.W. Botha se berugte Rubicon toespraak op 15 Augustus 1985 by die Nasionale Partykongres in Durban, was seker een van die mees verreikende toesprake in die Suid‐Afrikaanse geskiedenis. Dit was veronderstel om die politieke en militêre dooiepunt wat op daardie stadium tussen die apartheidsregering en die verbanne ANC bestaan het, te deurbreek deur nuwe beleidsrigtings aan te kondig wat potensieel tot die einde van die politieke konflik in die land sou kon lei. Dit het egter nie gebeur nie. Die toespraak was inteendeel ’n totale fiasko. Sover kon net gespekuleer word waarom nie. Oorspronklike korrespondensie tussen P.W. Botha en ministers Pik Botha en Chris Heunis, en ’n geheime, ongeredigeerde verbatim transkripsie van die netso berugte voorbereidende Sterrewagvergadering in Pretoria, bevestig dat die Suid‐Afrikaanse regering en die president nie gereed was vir sulke deurbraakgewende beleidsaankondigings nie, en dit nooit beplan het nie.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journal/10520/EJC-1aa008def4
2019-11-01
2020-09-22

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error