In my first public address after my election as leader of the National Party I made the following statement:

“Our goal is a new South Africa; a totally changed South Africa; a South Africa which has rid itself of the antagonisms of the past; a South Africa free from domination or oppression in whatever form; a South Africa in which the democratic forces – all reasonable people – align themselves behind mutually acceptable goals and against radicalism, irrespective of where it comes from.”

In this, my first public address after my inauguration as State President, I repeat that statement. This time I do so not only on behalf of a party, but on behalf of the new, lawfully constituted Government of the Republic of South Africa with a clear mandate for reform and renewal.


Executing this mandate is our highest priority. The new government will be installed tomorrow. It will start working immediately on the details of practical steps aimed at reaching our objectives. I therefore do not deem it advisable to elaborate today on miscellaneous details.

What is important today is that I commit myself and the Government to the practical and expeditious execution of our mandate. I do so with conviction.

We are determined to turn our words into action. Considerable preparatory work has been done and we fully appreciate the urgency of prompt progress in all fields. We shall pursue that without being guilty of rash or thoughtless action.

We accept that time is of the essence and we are committed to visible, evolutionary progress in various fields. We shall endeavour to attain this within the framework of the principles of our mandate.


I am aware that we have raised certain expectations over the past months. We intend living up to them because we believe in what we advocate.

I am, however, also aware of other unreasonable expectations which have been aroused. In many cases this was well-intentioned; in others less so.

While we are quite prepared to be tested against our undertakings, we cannot accept responsibility for over-enthusiastic or even twisted versions of our policy.

Before turning to the future, I wish to pay homage to my predecessor. He dedicated a lifetime of loyal service to South Africa.

It was his intrepidity that placed our country on the road to reform and renewal. On behalf of South Africa I thank Mr and Mrs PW Botha for their great contribution over the years in the interests of South Africa.



The mandate of September 6 placed us irrevocably on the road to a new South Africa.

Executing this mandate will place high demands on Government. It is a comprehensive and complex task resting on our shoulders. At the same time it also confronts the entire South African population with great challenges.

Progress on the road of constitutional reform, to which all sensible South Africans look forward, does not depend only on Government and myself. Likewise, Government is not the only determining factor in our quest for increased economic growth and improved international relations.

However, it can be rightly expected of us to take the lead and to provide guidance and initiative. After all, we accepted the challenge of leading the way on the road to renewal.

The other side of the coin, however, is the attitude and reactions of other players regarding the different focal points where progress in so sorely needed.

That is why I want to plead today for a new spirit and approach in our fatherland.

For years progress was hampered by, among others, lack of co-operation, suspicion and mistrust. And, as critics of Government would surely want to allege, also by actions and/or failure on the part of Government.

I do not want to argue about cause and effect on this occasion. We shall not succeed in establishing a new South Africa through accusations and reproaches. An argument about who erred where and when achieves nothing.



Protest regarding past injustice or alleged injustice does not bring us closer to solutions either. Nor do unrest and violence.

There is but one way to peace, to justice for all: the way of reconciliation; of together seeking mutually acceptable solutions; of together discussing what the new South Africa should look like; of constitutional negotiation with a view to a permanent understanding; of participating in a balanced economic plan that will ensure growth and break the back of inflation; and of accepting, with understanding, the sacrifices and adjustments that will be required of everybody.

More than anything, the watershed at which South Africa finds itself demands of all our people a commitment and the will and determination to reach a peaceful accord; it demands of all South Africans to rise above their fears and suspicions and to start building a new South Africa.

The time has come for South Africa to restore its pride and to lift itself out of the doldrums of growing international isolation, economic decline and increasing polarization.



On this day when I assume the highest office in our country, I want to pledge myself to a quest for peace through fairness. And I invite my fellow countrymen to join me in this quest. In particular, I address myself to all the leaders of South Africa, irrespective of their sphere of leadership – be it political, economic, religious, educational, journalistic, or whatever.

All reasonable people in this country – the silent majority – anxiously await a message of hope. It is our responsibility as leaders in all spheres to provide that message, with realism and courage. If we fail in that, the ensuing chaos, the demise of stability and progress will forever be held against us.

History has thrust upon the leadership of this country the tremendous responsibility of turning our country away from its present direction of conflict and confrontation. Only we, the leaders of our peoples, can do it.

The eyes of responsible governments across the world are focused upon us. The hopes of millions of South Africans are centred around us. The future of southern Africa depends on us. We dare not falter or fail.



I wish today to commit myself and the new Government to an active effort to remove the actual and imagined obstacles on the road to peace and understanding.

Firstly, I should like to convert election promises into definite government commitments. During the term of the new government we shall concentrate especially on five crucial areas:

· We shall set everything in motion to bridge the deep gulf of mistrust, suspicion and fear between South Africans. The time has come for unity within our diversity to take form. A broad national consensus must be built up around the core communal values which the large majority of South Africans already share with one another. Unification and co-operation, with the retention of security, is the recipe for the future. We are going to work out that recipe with all leaders from all communities.

· The negotiation process will, from the beginning, receive incisive attention. Where necessary, a completely new approach to remove obstacles will be used. Discussion and negotiation between everyone seeking peace, is the key to the future.

· We are going to open the door to prosperity and economic growth by breaking out of the international stranglehold which, for political reasons, is being applied to our economic growth potential. This will be accompanied by the determined and consistent

implementation of a comprehensive economic plan, which will include strong expenditure discipline by the State, lower taxation, privatization, deregulation, increased exports and import replacement. A progressive economy is a prerequisite for success. In co-operation with the private sector we are going to place our country on the road to sustained economic growth and prosperity.

· We are going to develop a new constitutional dispensation in which everyone will be able to participate without domination. Experts will investigate all the possible constitutional models which can achieve just this. There are good examples elsewhere from which we can learn. Our constitutional discussion will take a clear direction, domination must be excluded and participation for everyone assured.

· We shall continue to deal with unrest, violence and terrorism with a firm hand. Agreement and co-operation can succeed only between people who desire peace and who are prepared to make sacrifices for it. Radical organizations, who are only interested in the seizure of power, rule themselves out. Their violence, breaking of the law and intimidation are obstacles in the road to peace. We shall not permit the peace process to be disrupted by violence and anarchy.

I believe that in this manner we shall break out of the vicious cycle of stagnation, distrust, division, tension and conflict and make a breakthrough to a totally new South Africa.



Furthermore, we shall also take certain initiatives regarding precisely those matters which are raised so frequently as obstacles by opponents of Government. We want to do this because we believe civilized norms demand it and because it is in South Africa’s best interests, and not because we waiver in the face of pressure.

· We shall work urgently on proposals regarding the handling of discriminatory legislation. The continued removal of discrimination remains an important objective.

· We shall likewise have to work urgently on formulating alternative methods of protecting group and minority rights in a non-discriminatory manner. This includes the place and role of a Human Rights Bill and constitutional methods of eliminating domination.

· Releasing security prisoners, which was started by my predecessor, will continue. In each case the test will still be whether it would be appropriate on the basis of all the relevant circumstances; that proper order should not be threatened and that the process of peaceful solutions be promoted.

· Through the strict, but fair, maintenance of law and order, together with the implementation of our action plan, we shall try to help create a climate which will make it possible to lift the state of emergency or, at least, to gradually move away from it.

· In southern Africa the Republic of South Africa is willing to expand the constructive role that it is already playing in the region. On the basis of good-neighbourliness, non-intervention and healthy co-operation, southern Africa can enter a new era of stability and prosperity. To that end my government and I will exert ourselves.

· In South West Africa we shall continue to fulfill, consistently, our part in the agreed process. We expect all other parties to do the same.

We are serious about all this and to this we are committed. Having said all this, and from the position of leadership in which I have now been placed, I make an urgent appeal.

My call to the international community is: take note of what is happening in South Africa. There is a determination among millions of South Africans to negotiate fair and peaceful solutions. Use your influence constructively to attain that goal. Now is the time to adopt a positive attitude toward the positive developments in South Africa and southern Africa.

And to the leaders and people of South Africa my appeal is: help me and the Government to make a breakthrough to peace. Do what comes to hand. Build together a new and just South Africa. Kneel together before God Almighty and pray that He will give to all of us the wisdom and strength to face this great challenge.

With all my limitations, I am at the service of the Republic of South Africa.