Pik Botha, apartheid-era minister, dies in South Africa

Apartheid-era Foreign Affairs Minister Pik Botha has died at the age of 86.

His foundation's spokesperson Theuns Eloff: "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".

Botha's son, Roelof, on Friday told South Africa's eNCA news outlet that his father died at his home after an illness.

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.

Lesotho's relationship with South Africa during Botha's tenure as Foreign Minister can be described as odd.

President Ramaphosa conveyed his condolences to family‚ friends and former colleagues of Botha.

"He was a unique and colourful personality who made an enormous contribution to the peaceful and constitutional resolution of the great historic challenges with which we had to wrestle before 1994‚" De Klerk said in a statement released by his foundation.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation says despite South Africa's complex history, the country must remember the role Pik Botha played in establishing democracy.

He began his diplomatic career in the South African mission in Stockholm in 1953 and turned to politics in the 1970s.

"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.

Mabe said the party was saddened by his death.

National Party minister Roelf Meyer says he met Botha 40 years ago when he was appointed to the foreign affairs ministry.

"The other one was to say the things I did say to change people's minds and to try and be a factor in the transformation that took place", Botha said.

Vanessa Coleman

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