Pik Botha, last for­eign min­is­ter of apartheid South Africa

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENTS - Getty.

Pik Botha, the last for­eign min­is­ter of South Africa’s apartheid era and a con­tra­dic­tory fig­ure who staunchly de­fended white mi­nor­ity rule but even­tu­ally recog­nised that change was in­evitable, has died aged 86.

Mr Botha died in “the early hours of the morn­ing” at his home af­ter an ill­ness, his son, Roelof, told South Africa’s eNCA news out­let.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, Mr 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 coun­try’s first black pres­i­dent in 1994. As such, the long­time for­eign min­is­ter was vil­i­fied around the world while draw­ing the ire of his own boss, Pres­i­dent PW Botha, when he said in 1986 that South Africa might one day have a black leader.

Pik Botha, who was not re­lated to the aparthei­dera pres­i­dent, later served as min­is­ter of min­eral and en­ergy af­fairs un­der Mr Man­dela, and said in 2000 that he would join the African Na­tional Congress, the rul­ing party that had led the move­ment against white mi­nor­ity rule for decades.

By that time, how­ever, Mr Botha was no longer ac­tive in pol­i­tics.

He made few pub­lic com­ments in re­cent years dur­ing the scan­dal-marred ten­ure of for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, who re­signed in Fe­bru­ary.

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.

Mr Botha was for­eign min­is­ter from 1977 un­til the end of apartheid in 1994.

Pik Botha has died aged 86.

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