Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Pik Botha dies

Pik Botha Global Face Of South Africa's Apartheid State Dies At 86

Pik Botha, apartheid-era minister, dies in South Africa

Pik Botha, who became the global face of South Africa's reviled apartheid government as Pretoria's minister of foreign affairs, has died aged 86 after a lengthy illness.

His son, Piet Botha confirmed to South African media that his father died in his sleep during the night.

He then joined Mandela's cabinet after the end of white-minority rule and the country's first non-racial election in 1994.

Botha had also served as a minister of mineral and energy affairs in Nelson Mandela's first post-apartheid government, praising the latter as a healing figure.

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

"I'm very glad that he could have seen this change because it does mark I believe a new beginning for South Africa", Roelef Botha said.

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He had several clashes with the hardline government of president P.W. Botha, who was no relation.

Roelof "Pik" Botha as he is called was the world's longest-serving foreign minister.

However, some South Africans are critical of Botha and other apartheid-era leaders who negotiated their own political exit in relative peace, saying their association with a system that denied basic rights to most of the population was unforgiveable.

Mr Botha was "absolutely delighted" when Cyril Ramaphosa, a key ANC negotiator during the transition to democratic rule in the early 1990s, replaced Mr Zuma as South Africa's leader, Mr Botha's son said.

"We say Pik has played his role in the Apartheid-era where he was pressurising the old administration to change for the betterment of all South Africans". "Maybe I should have resigned and maybe I should have left politics, but I hung in there".

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