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Excerpts of Botha's speech

DURBAN, South Africa -- Here are excerpts from a speech given by South African President Pieter Botha Thursday to the Natal Provincial Congress of the National Party:

During recent weeks there was an unparalleled scurry fromdifferent sources, within and outside South Africa, to predict and prescribe what is to be announced at this Congress.

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The subject of most of the speculations, namely the constitutional future of the black peoples in South Africa, is of such a nature that it must be determined in consultations with those concerned. We cannot confront them with certain final decisions. Over the years that was exactly the criticism against our government -- that we make decisions about people and not with them.

I find the attempts from various sources to compromise me and the government very unfortunate. It is a very dangerous game, and it definitely does not serve the interests of negotiation and reform in South Africa.

We have such a vast task ahead of us and such great challenges to create a better future that we can ill afford the irresponsibilities and destructive actions of barbaric communist agitators and ever murderers who perpetrate the most cruel deeds against fellow South Africans because they are on the payroll of their masters far from this lovely country of ours.

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'It is my considered opinion that any future constitutional dispensation providing for participation by all South African citizens should be negotiated.

I am pressed by some who mean it well and those who wish to destroy orderly government in this country to make a statement of intent. I say it would be wrong to be prescriptive as to structures within which participation will have to take place in future. It would also be wrong to place a time limit on negotiations.

I believe in participation of all the South African communities on matters of common concern. I believe there should exist structures to reach this goal of co-responsibility and participation. I firmly believe that the granting and acceptance of independence by various black peoples within the context of their own statehood represents a material part of the solution. I would, however, like to restate my government's position in this regard, namely that independence cannot be forced upon any community.

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 accomodated within political institutions within the boudnaries of the Republic of South Africa.

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But I know for a fact that most leaders in their own right in South Africa and reasonable South Africans will not accept the principle of one-man one-vote in a unitary system. That would lead to domination of one over the others and it would lead to chaos. Consequently I reject it as a solution.

Secondly, a so-called fourth chamber of Parliament is not a practical solution and I do not think responsible people will argue in favor of it. We must rather seek our solutions in the devolution of power.

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. Destroy white South Africa and our influence, and this country will drift faction strife, chaos and poverty. I see this speech of mine as my manifesto.

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 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. If we release him and tomorrow we have to re-arrest him, what would the public say? I repeat tonight what I said in Parliament (in January) and that is the end of the story.

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The violence of our enemies is a warning to us. We, who are committed to peaceful negotiation, also have a warning for them. Our warning that our readiness to negotiate should not be mistaken for weakness. Talking, consulting, bargaining with all our people's leaders is not weakness. Mutual acceptance of and joint reponsibility for the welfare and stability of our country is not weakness. It is our strength. Our strength is the courage to face and accomodate the problems bequeathed to us by history.

We have never given in to outside demands and we are not going to do so now. South Africa's problems will be solved by South Africans and not by foreigners. We are not going to be deterred from doing what we think best nor will we be forced into doing what we don't want to do. The tragedy is that hostile pressure and agitation from abroad have acted as an encouragement to the militant revolutionaries in South Africa to continue their violence and intimidation.

My government and I are determined to press ahead with our reform program, and to those who prefer revolution to reform I say they will not succeed no matter how much support and encouragement they derive from outside sources. We can and we will resolve our problems by peaceful means. Despite the disturbances, despite the intimidation, there is more than enough good will among blacks, whites, coloreds, and Asians to ensure that we shall jointly find solutions acceptable to us.

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The implementation of the principles I have stated today can have far-reaching effects on us all.

I believe that we are today crossing the Rubicon. There can be no turning back. We now have a manifesto for the future of our country and we must embark on a program of positive action in the months and years that lie ahead.

The challenges we face call for all concerned to negotiate in the spirit of give and take. With mutual good will we shall reach our destination peacefully.

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