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PW 'was a brutal dictator'

2006-11-02 17:39

Johannesburg - PW Botha will be remembered with "hatred and disgust" as a brutal dictator who presided over a system that denied the majority all their basic human rights, said the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Thursday.

"His hands were stained with the blood of hundreds who were murdered during the struggle for democracy and liberation under his presidency," said Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven.

"The overwhelming majority of South Africans and the people of the world will remember PW Botha only with hatred and disgust."

Botha died on Tuesday night.

Cosatu said the former president would be remembered as "a brutal dictator" and had robbed the majority of their chance to live a normal existence and improve their lives.

The federation rejected the notion that Botha had positively contributed to South Africa's democratic transformation.

"On the contrary, he remained to the very last a staunch defender of apartheid, racism, dictatorship and inequality, for which he refused to make the slightest apology."

Any reforms during Botha's presidency had taken place "in spite of, rather than because of his intentions".

Apartheid state thugs

They were meant to buy time for the apartheid regime under an illusion of change.

Craven said Botha was responsible for the misery of the millions he had condemned to poverty and the pain inflicted on the thousands who were jailed, assaulted and tortured by apartheid state thugs.

The African Christian Democratic Party said on Thursday President Thabo Mbeki's decision to fly the national flag at half mast in recognition of Botha's death was a sign of "political maturity".

State funeral 'an insult'

"With reference to the claims by some that giving Mr Botha such an honour is a slap in the face, the African Christian Democratic Party strongly disagrees, as we believe Mr Mbeki has done the right thing," said the party.

Earlier on Thursday, the Pan African Congress slammed the decision and said the government's offer of a state funeral was an insult to African people.