Bomb Hurts Woman Near Botha’s Cape Town Home

Share via
Times Staff Writer

A bomb exploded at a bus stop about 300 yards from President Pieter W. Botha’s residence here shortly after noon Thursday, according to police. A young white woman was slightly injured.

The explosion hurled the roof of the bus shelter more than 50 yards down the road outside the Groote Schuur estate, where Botha and half a dozen senior Cabinet ministers live while the South African Parliament is in session.

Police immediately cordoned off the area, and a helicopter hovered overhead for more than an hour while security forces searched for other explosives.


The bus stop is only 15 feet from the gate of the high-walled, heavily guarded Groote Schuur, and the explosion occurred directly in front of the home of Alwyn Schlebusch, minister of state in the president’s office and one of his oldest and closest political associates.

The bomb, described by police as a limpet mine, would appear to be a warning to the white-led minority government of its vulnerability to terrorist attacks by black nationalist guerrillas.

Reaffirmed Policy

Although 35 bombs have exploded around the country since Botha declared a national state of emergency last June and gave the police and army virtual martial-law powers to quell the continuing political violence here, the African National Congress, on which the government blames most terrorist attacks, has recently reaffirmed its policy of not targeting white civilians in its “armed struggle.”

Botha, meanwhile, ordered a judicial investigation to determine who placed and paid for controversial advertisements last month calling for the legalization of the African National Congress.

Speaking to Parliament earlier this week, Botha had accused Chris Ball, managing director of Barclays Bank, the country’s largest, of financing the advertisements.

Ball, who has called publicly for the legalization of the African National Congress and met abroad with its leaders, denied any involvement with the ads, which appeared in 22 South African newspapers.


“You are wrong, Mr. President,” Ball said Thursday. “I knew nothing about the advertisement until I saw it in my office on the first morning of publication.”

Challenges President

Ball, an outspoken opponent of apartheid, in turn accused Botha of trying to “crack the whip” against his critics and challenged him to repeat his allegations outside Parliament so that Ball could sue the president for slander.

Botha’s allegation of Ball’s involvement, which could open the managing director to eventual criminal charges, appeared to rest largely upon a check for the equivalent of $50,000 on which the United Democratic Front, a coalition of anti-apartheid groups, had obtained a bank guarantee from Barclays in order to pay for the ad.