20 September 1978
South African Prime Minister since 1966, John Vorster, shocked the nation by announcing his resignation from office, at the request of his colleagues, on the grounds of ill health. Surprisingly, he was available to fill the ceremonial State President position, which was vacant. Vorster was forced to resign because of the Information Scandal of 1978 that undermined the integrity of the South African government. The Information Scandal was about the use of funds to fund government propaganda. The Rand Daily Mail and Sunday Express were the first to notice that something was amiss with the way the state funds were being used. Minister of Information, Connie Mulder and General Hendrik van den Bergh, Chief of Intelligence were responsible for the misappropriation of the state funds to fund secret projects with the full approval of Vorster. The money used to fund these secret projects were taken from the Department of Defence . However, the Minister of Defence at the time, P. W. Botha was not happy that his department was being used to fund dirty tricks campaigns. By resigning, Vorster was constitutionally removing himself from the political fallout caused by the Information Scandal. P. W. Botha was elected the new Prime Minister and immediately appointed the Erasmus Commission to investigate the Information Scandal, which held Vorster, Bergh, and Mulder liable for the misappropriation of state funds, and exonerated Botha and a number of prominent government officials.
Riley, E. (1991). Major political events in South Africa, Fact on file: New York, p. 159.|
Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.