The President’s Council

Botha appointed a President’s Council in October 1980 to oversee the process of piecemeal reform that would confer a modicum of rights and benefits to the Coloured and Indian sectors of the population while retaining control in the hands of Whites. Schlebusch was appointed as Vice President, and therefore as chair of the President’s Council, and the Council began to convene in February 1981. The council was comprised of 41 Whites, seven Coloureds, seven Indians and one Chinese person.

In May 1982 the President’s Council presented its proposals for the reform of government structures, recommending the three-tier parliamentary system.

Under the new constitution, the President’s Council would be made up of 60 members: 20 from the House of Assembly (Whites), 25 from the other two houses and the opposition in all three houses (Whites, Coloureds and Indians) and 15 directly nominated by the State President. This arrangement gave the Whites a built-in majority, and there were additional powers vested with the State President that would ensure the ruling party got its way.

• Desai, Ashwin, Arise ye Coolies: Apartheid and the Indian, 1960-1995, 1996, Impact Africa Publishing.
•  Heunis, Jan; The Inner Circle, 2007, Jonathan Ball Publishers
•   Omond, Roger. South Africa's Post-Apartheid Constitution, 1987,  Third World Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 2, After Apartheid (Apr., 1987), pp. 622-637
•  Spence, JE,  South Africa: Reform versus Reaction, 1981,  The World Today, Vol. 37, No. 12 (Dec., 1981), pp. 461-468
•  Welsh, David.  Constitutional Changes in South Africa, 1984,  Vol. 83, No. 331 (Apr., 1984), pp. 147-162
•  Welsh, David, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, 2009, Jonathan Ball Publishers

Last updated : 07-Feb-2014

This article was produced by South African History Online on 07-Feb-2014

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