Published: Sun, October 14, 2018

Apartheid-era foreign affairs minister Pik Botha has died

Apartheid-era foreign affairs minister Pik Botha has died

He said Botha's most important contribution was the manner in which he and his colleagues in the department of foreign affairs held the line against growing global pressure - until the collapse of worldwide communism in 1989 opened the way to the negotiations that led to the establishment of a non-racial constitutional democracy. After democracy, he served in Nelson Mandela's Cabinet.

"As you know, originally we were enemies", Mr Botha told the BBC in 2013.

Botha was a controversial figure during his long political career, initially defending and selling Apartheid to the worldwide community, but declaring his support for President Thabo Mbeki and the ANC in 2000.

Piet Botha added that he would always remember his father for having the ability to immediately sort out issues if there was any trouble, and that he will miss him dearly.

The reduction in regional tensions was followed by the 1990 release of Mandela, who had spent 27 years in apartheid prisons.

The following year he said that the country could one day be ruled by a black president, earning a public rebuke from his boss.

Former President FW de Klerk has also reacted to Botha's death.

Despite his stern rhetoric, Mr Botha was regarded as a reformer, and with suspicion, by hardliners in his National Party. Next to Botha, second from right is Roelf Meyer, chief government negotiator, and ANC's Secretary General Cyril Ramaphosa, right. "He also stood for National Party leadership because he was a likeable figure". "We say rest in peace, Pik Botha - you have played your role", Holomisa said.

His profile rose as he became an envoy to the United States and UN, then assumed the post of foreign minister in 1977, serving mainly under PW Botha.

"I think Pik was a committed servant of change for most of his political life, if not all of his political life".

"The other one was to say the things I did say to change people's minds and to try and be a factor in the transformation that took place", Botha said.

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