PRETORIA, South Africa — Foreign Minister Roelof F. (Pik) Botha said today he expects President Reagan to veto legislation to impose new U.S. sanctions on South Africa, but is not sure Reagan can sustain a veto in Congress.
Botha told reporters the U.S. sanctions bill is "totally unwarranted" and would "have a damaging effect on perhaps a large number of black South Africans."
"But it will not kill us--it will harm us," Botha said. "We are prepared to accept it, if need be."
Reagan has until midnight Friday to veto or sign into law the sanctions bill. Its provisions include withdrawing landing rights for South African aircraft, barring new investment in South Africa by U.S. firms, and banning imports of South African textiles, steel, iron, uranium ore, coal, farm products and weapons.
The sanctions would end automatically upon release of jailed black leader Nelson Mandela and other detainees; repeal of South Africa's state of emergency; removal of bans on political parties, and South Africa's agreement to negotiate with representative black leaders.
Botha said he believes Reagan will veto the bill on principle as interfering with his foreign policy prerogatives.
The Reagan Administration in 1985 banned imports of gold Krugerrand coins; private bank loans to South Africa's government, and selling computers and nuclear technology to the government.