Former foreign affairs minister Pik Botha dies

Pik Botha with Nelson Mandela at a rally in 1994

Pik Botha with Nelson Mandela at a rally in 1994

Apartheid-era foreign affairs minister Pik Botha has died in his Pretoria home at the age of 86, his family confirmed on Friday morning.

Botha was admitted to a Pretoria hospital in late September.

As foreign affairs minister in the cabinets of apartheid presidents BJ Vorster and PW Botha, Botha fought a losing battle to persuade the world that the policy was not a fundamental violation of human rights.

Lucas Ledwaba @LedwabaStyles said: "Pik Botha was a member of the ANC".

In April 1977, he was appointed minister of foreign affairs and represented the constituency of Westdene in Johannesburg.

Mr Botha served as mines and energy minister in Mr Mandela's government before retiring in 1996. "The president wishes the family of Botha strength during this hard time".

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His foundation's spokesperson Theuns Eloff said: "He played a huge role in worldwide relations in South Africa's global standing but he was also one of South Africa's most reform-minded National Party Cabinet ministers".

Internationally, Botha was the most visible representative of apartheid at the height of protests and sanctions against the racist rule that ended with Nelson Mandela's election as the first black president in 1994. The flag must fly at half-mast & be granted an official funeral.

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

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.

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