Apartheid-era minister Pik Botha dies at 86

Clay Curtis
October 14, 2018

Former apartheid-era minister, Pik Botha has been described as a freedom fighter by his eldest son Dr. Roelof Botha.

His son Roelof Botha confirmed to eNCA his father died at his Pretoria home on Thursday night. Botha, the last foreign minister of South Africa's apartheid era and a contradictory figure who staunchly defended white minority rule but eventually recognized that change was inevitable, died on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 at age 86.

Mr Botha served as foreign minister for 17 years until the end of the apartheid in 1994.

Despite his stern rhetoric, Mr Botha was regarded as a reformer, and with suspicion, by hardliners in his National Party.

"Although Botha was former minister of the Nationalist Party administration, we acknowledge and are appreciative of his positive contribution towards building a new and better South Africa", the ANC said.

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Some remember his confrontations with President PW Botha (with whom he was not related) and his criteria in 1985 that Mandela should be freed, which occurred five years later due to worldwide pressure.

Botha was appointed minister of mineral and energy affairs in 1994 and resigned from that post in May 1996.

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Botha served under two National Party presidents - BJ Vorster and PW Botha - and his greatest diplomatic achievement was negotiating independence for Namibia, then under South African rule. "His wife Ina was with him until the end", Piet was quoted as saying.

Condolences are pouring in from leaders across the South African political spectrum. "That was one choice, yes", he said.

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