Pik Botha obituary

He shocked and antagonised NP colleagues in 1986 by predicting the advent of a black president and stating his readiness to serve under one – which he did. He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1953, the same year that he married Helena Bosman, with whom he was to have two sons and two daughters. By the prevailing NP standard he was a liberal, and was suspected by hardliners of being a Soviet spy. Having supported de Klerk against PW, Pik remained foreign minister until 1994, when the former handed over the presidency to Nelson Mandela – who kept Pik Botha in his cabinet as minister for energy until he retired from the NP and politics in 1996. The following year he appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to seek forgiveness for his not negligible role in the promotion and preservation of apartheid.

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