South Africa's President, John Vorster, resigned on Monday (4 June) after being implicated in the country's biggest-ever political scandal.
GV PAN Cape Town.
SV Sign Information Service of South Africa.
SV & CUs Copies of Erasmus report being stamped. (3 SHOT)
SV PULL OUT Star newspaper building.
CU Newspaper with 'Vorster Quits' headline.
SV Newspapers being sold. (2 SHOTS)
CU Vorster speaking in English.
CU Colin Egland speaking in English.
REPORTER: "Mr. President, from what you know, do you think it is possible any of the current Cabinet members could have had any knowledge of the irregularities of...?"
VORSTER: "I can say categorically, as far as I know, and as far as I'm aware, and I think I should know, not a single member serving in the Cabinet at the moment had the slightest knowledge of the irregularities or had any part in it whatsoever."
REPORTER: "Mr. Egland, as official leader of the Opposition, what is your reaction to the announcement of the State President's resignation?"
EGLAND: "Well, it was certainly one of the most dramatic announcements that have ever been made in the history of South African House of Assembly. In the light of the findings of Erasmus Commission, I suppose it was inevitable that Mr. Vorster was going to leave his office. But his decision to resign immediately was, in my opinion, the correct decision both in the interests of he country, and in the interests of the office of State President. Hopefully, today's dramatic events will mark the close of one painful chapter in South Africa's political history, and hopefully also the start of a new and a better one."
FOR BACKGROUND ON THE "MULDERGATE" SCANDAL, SEE PREVIOUS STORY 8592/78 - A PROFILE ON FORMER PRIME MINISTER VORSTER
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Background: South Africa's President, John Vorster, resigned on Monday (4 June) after being implicated in the country's biggest-ever political scandal. A report by the Erasmus Commission, which had been investigating the misuse of funds by the government's information department, criticised Mr. Vorster for covering up the affair.
SYNOPSIS: The third report of the commission was published in Cape Town on Monday after a number of copies had been leaked. Publication hadn't been intended until later in the week, but the unofficial leads brought mounting pressure on the government. Earlier reports had exonerated Mr. Vorster, but the latest blamed him for his part in the affair before he resigned as Prime Minister. He stepped down because of ill health last October at the age of 63 after twelve years in office.
According to the Erasmus Report, millions of Rands were misused in trying to buy foreign newspapers to improve South Africa's image abroad. But before he resigned, Mr. Vorster was still insisting that his cabinet had no knowledge of the way government money was being spent.