Pik Botha: ANC has betrayed Codesa

Botha says Nelson Mandela once told him he feared whites would leave SA if pushed by Affirmative Action.

Pik Botha says Nelson Mandela once told him he feared whites would leave SA if pushed by Affirmative Action. Picture: Supplied

PRETORIA - Former Foreign Affairs minister Pik Botha says the ANC has broken agreements reached during the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) talks in the early 1990s.

Codesa was a series of negotiations aimed at reaching reforms to end the apartheid system of governance.

Various parties, including the National Party and the African National Congress, with broadly different interests and goals attempted to take the first steps towards democracy in the country.

Botha was Foreign Affairs Minister during apartheid and Minerals and Energy Affairs Minister under Nelson Mandela.

He spoke at a discussion on Affirmative Action hosted by trade union Solidarity on Thursday. The union has called for a national dialogue on the system, arguing that it has failed to empower black people.

Botha says Mandela confided in him that he was worried white professionals would leave the public service when the ANC took power.

"He said we need white professionals to train and teach blacks to achieve the same level of proficiency. What [the government is] doing now is the opposite."

The Wits Business School's Rabelani Dagada says the best way to empower people is through education. But he adds government is failing to achieve this.

"The best way to empower individuals in the nation is not to take from those who have and give to those who don't have."

Solidarity's Dirk Herman says simply meeting race quotas does not empower black people.

Meanwhile, a court case which Solidarity has said could change the face of Affirmative Action in the country is due to resume in the coming weeks.

Solidarity has taken the Western Cape Department of Correctional Services to court, arguing that its employment equity plan is negatively affecting coloured people.

Both parties are due to submit their heads of argument to Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker later in August.

Rabkin-Naicker will say when the case will resume once she receives the documents.

Earlier this year the ANC called the lawsuit unnecessary.

The party's Marius Fransman said while they believe there may be a problem with the department's Affirmative Action plan, the matter should not play out in court but should rather be dealt with by national government.

Fransman also accused Solidarity of stirring up racial antagonism between black and coloured people.