Apartheid-era foreign minister Pik Botha dies

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

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

Pik Botha, South Africa's foreign minister in the last years of apartheid, has died at the age 86.

BusinessLIVE reports that 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. He was considered a liberal but the bulk of his career was spent defending South Africa's apartheid system of racial segregation against foreign criticism.

"As you know, originally we were enemies", Mr Botha told the BBC in 2013. It is not always that simple and easy to change mental attitudes, mindsets but eventually it did change.

In his statement, De Klerk also pays homage to the role Botha played in the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.

He had several clashes with the hardline government of president PW Botha, who was no relation.

The following year he said that the country could one day be ruled by a black president, earning a public rebuke from his boss.

Botha had the unenviable job of defending apartheid on the world stage as South Africa grew increasingly isolated, facing economic sanctions overseas while imposing a state of emergency at home and attempting to destabilize its African neighbors.

The SABC said Botha's son, Roelof Botha, had confirmed his death.

The 1980s saw tough challenges as global opposition to the apartheid regime grew.

Botha was appointed minister of mineral of energy affairs in 1994 and resigned from that post in May 1996.