JOHANNESBURG, October 12 – South Africa’s apartheid-era foreign minister Pik Botha has died in Pretoria aged 86.
He was admitted in hospital last month for a heart problem.
Botha served as foreign affairs minister in the last years of the apartheid government and as minister of mineral and energy affairs under former president Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president.
Botha retired from politics in 1996 when the National Party withdrew from the government of national unity. In 2000, he announced that he would join the governing African National Congress (ANC).
Roelof Frederik ‘Pik’ Botha was born in Rustenburg in the then Transvaal on 27 April in 1932.
He studied law at the University of Pretoria and joined the Department of Home Affairs in the 1950s. A diplomat of note for his government, he was appointed foreign affairs minister in 1977. Botha, considered a liberal in his National Party, was severely reprimanded by then resident P.W Botha for having said in 1986 that a black president may one day rule South Africa. He served as ambassador to the United Nations and the United States in the mid-1970s. (ANA)