Port Elizabeth, South Africa — South African President Pieter W. Botha committed himself in a speech last week to the reform of apartheid. But he still ruled out black majority rule. President Botha, in the last of a series of closely watched speeches to congresses of his ruling National Party (NP), said Sept. 30 that he was prepared to open the President's Council, a body that advises the president on legislation, to blacks. The council is now made up only of whites, Indians, and people of mixed race (Coloreds).
He also said the South African government is committed to the principle of ``universal franchise'' for all races. This is the first time a government spokesman has used this phrase.
[But, reports Monitor contributer Humphrey Tyler from Cape Town, Botha stressed that this voting right would have to be exercised through separate structures and according perhaps to geographic boundaries. These qualifications would appear to exclude introduction of the system of one-man, one-vote in a unitary state that many blacks here are demanding.]