Apartheid's last unabashed champion
Papers in southern Africa have few kind words to say about former South African President PW Botha, who died on Tuesday.
Some commentators feel that history may take a kinder view of the apartheid leader, although it is argued that he was a racist until the end.
DRIES VAN HEERDEN IN JOHANNESBURG'S MAIL & GUARDIAN
The bully-boy face of apartheid and the enforcer behind successive states of emergency aimed at keeping the lid on the boiling pot of black resistance... The hindsight of history will treat Botha much kinder than the quick appraisals following his death this week... The image of a finger-wagging, self-righteous, smirking Groot Krokodil who defiantly refused to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to account for the excesses of his administration is still too vivid in our collective memory.
COMMENT IN CAPE ARGUS
It is held that one should not speak ill of the dead, but in the case of PW Botha, it is impossible to ignore the misery he visited upon his countrymen and women.
EDITORIAL IN CAPE TIMES
It must be acknowledged that when Botha succeeded BJ Vorster as premier in 1978, he sought to reform the system that he inherited... His reforms, however, were seen as an attempt to co-opt some black people and as a variant of the age-old strategy of divide and rule. For that reason, they failed... Botha seriously misread the situation. Instead of increasing the tempo and extent of his reformist agenda, he sought to crush the rebellion and failed. That may be his interim epitaph until future historians offer a longer-term perspective.
EDITORIAL IN PRETORIA NEWS
PW deserves only crocodile tears - Ultimately history will show that Botha, despite having the opportunity, did little to bring South Africa into the modern democratic world. If tears must be shed at his passing, they can at most be crocodile tears.
HEADLINE IN SOWETAN
The Groot Krokodil will bite no more
COMMENT IN ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT DAILY THE HERALD
It is doubtful if his death will be followed by weepy anniversaries in the future... the architect of the segregatory system and violent destabilisation policies against Frontline States remained an unrepentant racist until his demise... his memory deserves humanity to reflect more on sensitive and emotive issues of racial hatred, racial harmony, reconciliation and co-existence.
ZAMBIA NATIONAL BROADCASTING CORPORATION
A finger-wagging hawk who defied the world while ruling apartheid South Africa in the turbulent and violence-wracked 1980s.