Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Apartheid super-salesman turned democrat, Pik Botha, dead at 86

Apartheid super-salesman turned democrat, Pik Botha, dead at 86

He served as foreign affairs minister in the last years of the apartheid government and as minister of mineral and energy affairs under Nelson Mandela‚ South Africa's first democratically elected president.

His son, Piet Botha, who is in the band Jack Hammer, confirmed to the media that his father died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of the morning.

Pik Botha was a prominent figure in the country's white minority government at the height of the struggle against apartheid that ended with all-race elections in 1994.

"He supported President PW Botha's reform measures and subsequently was one of the strongest proponents of the constitutional transformation process that we initiated on 2 February 1990".

Botha was the world's longest-serving foreign minister.

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"Merely because you are riding on a plane doesn't mean that you agree with the pilot's decisions", Botha said in a 1996 interview with peace advocate Padraig O'Malley.

While some observers considered Botha, a reformer in the hard-line National Party administrations he served under, for many black South Africans on Twitter, he was an "arrogant" technocrat who used his talents to sanitise an oppressive regime.

Botha‚ who came from the party's "verligte" (enlightened) wing‚ attempted to get PW Botha to accept greater political rights for black South Africans and outraged the apartheid establishment when he stated publicly that the country would one day have a black president. He has said he opposed the party's decision.

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.

"Now you can say to me, but I should have resigned and gone into the desert and isolated myself and shout and kick".

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