Prof Botman has proven himself as community leader over the years and began expressing his social awareness early in life. As public relations officer of the Students' Representative Council during his student days at the University of the Western Cape, he led his fellow students in human rights demonstrations against apartheid in solidarity with the uprising by the youth in Soweto in 1976.
When he became minister of the Uniting Reformed Church's Wynberg congregation on completion of his studies, he campaigned for social justice. He managed the church's voter education programme, assisted in founding the Shadia Community Development Project in Parkwood and brought about greater inclusivity at a community art centre, primary school and preschool centre that he managed.
As executive member of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), he played a pivotal role in the contribution of this body in the struggle against apartheid. He established and developed relations with the leadership of the Reformed, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Methodist, Anglican and other churches.
In 2000 he was the main preacher at the church service during the first Jubilee 2000 campaign against poverty, St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, and the main speaker at the Rustenburg III conference of churches in South Africa with the theme 'Turning the tide on South Africa's ethical challenges'.
From to 2001 he served on the board of the Simanyisiswe Community Project, Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. In 2004 he was part of a delegation of church leaders that campaigned for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
In 2009 he led a delegation of Constitutional court judges, academics, church leaders, and other leaders from civil society to the first consultations with peers from China, the Netherlands and Turkey on issues regarding world peace and security.
Prof Botman regularly participates in national and local public dialogues. He has met with government officials on crime-related matters in South Africa – and on concerns expressed by churches in the search for solutions to this problem. He is an executive member of the National Religious Initiative for Development and Wellbeing in South Africa.