The storms of reforms: South Africa's reform-strategy, c. 1980-1989

Thumbnail Image
Stemmet, Jan-Ad
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State
2013 marks the thirtieth anniversary of South Africa’s 1983 referendum in which the majority of whites voted in favour of Pretoria’s proposed reformist constitution. The reform strategy, set out as a 12 Point Plan, was part of the grandiose Total National Strategy. The latter was conceptualized in an attempt to simultaneously enlighten the political status quo while safeguarding minority power. It implied the scrapping of a myriad of laws and regulations and a mesh of new ones – including the 1983 Constitution. In order to reform apartheid the National Party regime of PW Botha had to reform the country almost in its entirety. Pretoria nonetheless refused a statement of intent or time frame. If the reform strategy failed the minority would be left out of options and would in whatever way surrender its position of unquestionable power. Without grasping the processes inherent to this topic the processes of 1990 and thereafter cannot be understood. This article will examine the reform strategy and implementation thereof. Furthermore the article will enlight the reaction to it and so too its effect.
Apartheid, Total strategy, Reforms (1980s), 12 Point plan, Tricameral parliament, PW Botha, Referendum (1983), Samuel Huntington
Stemmet, J-A. (2013). The storms of reforms: South Africa's reform-strategy, c. 1980-1989. Journal for Contemporary History, 38(2), 119-138.