In the speech, President Botha expressed his rejection of “well-intentioned” proposals for the solution of South Africa’s problems (probably a reference to proposals emanating from his more verligte Cabinet colleagues.) 

He regretted the confusion and expectations that had been generated before his speech: 

“This is what has been happening over recent weeks. I find it unacceptable to be confronted in this manner with an accomplished fact. That is not my way of doing and the sooner these gentlemen accept it, the better.” 

Botha announced that the government intended to set aside “R1 billion during the next five years to improve underdeveloped (black) towns and cities, not only in metropolitan areas.” 

He indicated that the government was considering amendments to the hated ”Pass Laws”: 

“On the question of influx control-I can only say that the present system is outdated and too costly. The President’s Council assured me that they are at present considering this matter and will probably report on it in the near future, while the Government itself is also at present considering improvements.” 

President Botha made important announcements regarding the accommodation of the constitutional future of South Africa. 

The refusal of six national states not to accept independence had confronted the government with the need to accommodate the political rights of their citizens within South Africa: 

“Should any of the Black National States therefore prefer not to accept independence, such states or communities will remain a part of the South African nation, are South African citizens and should be accommodated within political institutions within the boundaries of the Republic of South Africa.” 

“But I admit that the acceptance by my Government of the permanence of Black communities in urban areas outside the National States, means that a solution will have to be found for their legitimate rights.” 

“The future of these communities and their constitutional arrangements will have to be negotiated with leaders from the National States, as well as from their own ranks. 

These statements signaled the National Party’s departure from the core principle of separate development – that all communities should follow separate paths to political self-determination. 

However, these concessions did not dilute in any way Botha’s commitment to the protection of minority rights: 

“But let me be quite frank with you – you must know where you stand with me…..I am not prepared to lead White South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide.” 

President Botha also refused to accede to the requests of his more verligte cabinet colleagues and international leaders, including President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, regarding the release of Nelson Mandela:  

“From certain international as well as local quarters, appeals are being made to me to release Mr Nelson Mandela from jail. 


“I stated in Parliament, when put this question, that if Mr Mandela gives a commitment that he will not make himself guilty of planning, instigating or committing acts of violence for the furtherance of political objectives, I will, in principle, be prepared to consider his release.”