Pik Botha

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Pik Botha
Pik Botha.jpg
Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs
In office
27 April 1994 – May 1996
PresidentNelson Mandela
Preceded byGeorge Bartlett
Succeeded byPenuel Maduna
Deputy Leader of the
National Party in Transvaal
In office
1987–1996
LeaderF. W. de Klerk
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
27 April 1977 – 10 May 1994
PresidentF. W. de Klerk (1989–94)
P. W. Botha (1984–89)
Prime MinisterP. W. Botha (1978–84)
B.J. Vorster (1966–78)
Preceded byHilgard Muller
Succeeded byAlfred Nzo
Member of Parliament
In office
1977–1994
ConstituencyWestdene
In office
22 April 1970 – 1974
ConstituencyWonderboom
South African Ambassador to the United States
In office
30 July 1975 – 11 May 1977
Prime MinisterB.J. Vorster
Preceded byJohan Samuel Frederick Botha
Succeeded byDonald Bell Sole
Personal details
Born
Roelof Frederik Botha

(1932-04-27)27 April 1932
Rustenburg, South Africa
Died12 October 2018(2018-10-12) (aged 86)
Pretoria, South Africa
Political partyNational (until 1997)
Spouse(s)Helena Susanna Bosman (m. 1953)
Ina Joubert (m. 1998)
Children4
Alma materUniversity of Pretoria
OccupationDiplomat and politician
ProfessionLaw

Roelof Frederik "Pik" Botha, DMS (27 April 1932 – 12 October 2018) was a South African politician who served as the country's foreign minister in the last years of the apartheid era.[1] He was considered a liberal – at least in comparison to others in the ruling National Party and among the Afrikaner community – but the bulk of his career was spent defending South Africa's apartheid system of racial segregation against foreign criticism.

Botha was nicknamed 'Pik' (short for pikkewyn, Afrikaans for 'penguin') because of a perceived likeness to a penguin in his stance, accentuated when he wore a suit.[2]

He was not related to Prime Minister (later President) P. W. Botha, under whom he served as foreign minister.[3]

Early life[edit]

Botha was born at Rustenburg in the Transvaal.[4] At the age of four, he was struck by meningitis in Lourenço Marques (modern-day Maputo, Mozambique); he received treatment at a small hospital in Barberton, Transvaal, and his mother vowed that if he survived, he would become a church minister.[5]

Botha attended Paul Kruger Primary School where his father was principal. He excelled in high school, becoming chairman of the debating society, captain of the first rugby team and officer in the school cadets.[5] Botha was also a keen writer of both prose and poetry in Afrikaans, and his writing supplemented his salary in his early years as a diplomat.[4] In his first year studying law at the University of Pretoria, a theologian explained to him that God would not expect him to keep his mother's promise to become a church minister.[5][6]

Diplomat and lawyer[edit]

Botha began his career in the South African foreign service in 1953, serving in Sweden and West Germany.[4] From 1963 to 1966, he served on the team representing South Africa at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the matter of Ethiopia and Liberia v. South Africa, over the South African occupation of South-West Africa (now Namibia).[4]

In 1966, Botha was appointed legal adviser at the Department of Foreign Affairs, in which capacity he served on the delegation representing South Africa at the United Nations from 1967 to 1977.[4] In 1974, he was appointed South Africa's permanent representative to the United Nations[4] and presented his credentials to Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim on 15 October 1974;[7] in November of that year, however, South Africa was suspended from membership of the General Assembly and, over the ensuing years, the country was excluded from official participation in virtually all of the UN's organs and agencies.[8]

Politician[edit]

In the elections of 1970 and 1974, Botha was elected to the House of Assembly as MP for Wonderboom in the Transvaal. In 1975, he was appointed South Africa's Ambassador to the United States, in addition to his UN post. In 1977, he re-entered Parliament as MP for Westdene, and was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister B. J. Vorster. He continued to represent Westdene for the remainder of his political career.[9]

Botha entered the contest to be the leader of the National Party in 1978. He was allegedly considered Vorster's favourite and received superior public support among whites (We want Pik!) but withdrew after criticism concerning his young age, lack of experience (having spent 16 months as foreign minister) and alleged liberal beliefs as opposed to the ultra-conservative NP machinery (in which he lacked a significant position), instead throwing his support behind P. W. Botha, who was ultimately elected.[10]

In 1985, Pik Botha helped to draft a speech that would have announced common decision-making on all levels in a single constitutional unit and a formula for bringing about the release of Nelson Mandela, but this draft was rejected by P. W. Botha.[11]

The next year, he stated publicly (during a press conference in Parliament, asked by German journalist Thomas Knemeyer) that it would be possible for South Africa to be ruled by a black president provided that there were guarantees for minority rights, but was quickly forced to acknowledge that this position did not reflect government policy.[12] Botha recalled in 2011 that he had been "severely reprimanded and almost fired" over his remarks.[13]

Throughout 1988 Pik Botha was instrumental in lengthy peace talks between South Africa, Cuba, and the People's Republic of Angola aimed at ending the South African Border War. In December of that year Botha and Defence Minister Magnus Malan ratified the Brazzaville Protocol, which led to the effective cessation of hostilities in that conflict.[14]

Namibian independence[edit]

On 22 December 1988, Pik Botha signed the tripartite agreement involving Angola, Cuba and South Africa at United Nations headquarters in New York City which led to the implementation of Security Council Resolution 435, and to South Africa's granting of independence to Namibia.[14]

On 21 December 1988, Botha, with a 22-strong South African delegation from Johannesburg, was initially booked to travel to the Namibian independence ratification ceremony in New York on Pan Am Flight 103 from London. Instead, the booking was cancelled as he and six delegates took an earlier flight, thereby avoiding the fatal PA103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.[15]

National unity[edit]

Botha subsequently served as Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs in South Africa's first post-apartheid government from 1994 to 1996 under President Nelson Mandela.[16] Botha had first met Mandela in May 1990 at the historic Groote Schuur Minute, and was highly impressed by Mandela's knowledge of Afrikaner history.[13]

Botha became deputy leader of the National Party in the Transvaal from 1987 to 1996. He retired from politics in 1996 when F. W. de Klerk withdrew the National Party from the government of national unity.[17][18]

In 2000, Botha declared his support for President Thabo Mbeki. Botha expressed criticism for the government's affirmative action policies saying that the South African government of 1994 would never have reached a constitutional settlement with the ANC had it insisted on its current affirmative action programme.[19]

In an interview on affirmative action, Botha publicly declared that he had never been a member of the ANC, and would not join under its current policies.[20]

On 12 December 2013, Botha appeared on the BBC's Question Time, hosted in Johannesburg, discussing the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Botha married Helena Bosman in 1953, with whom he had two sons, the rock musician Piet Botha and the economist Roelof Botha,[22] and two daughters, Anna Hertzog and the artist Lien Botha.[4] Among Botha's eight grandchildren is grandson Roelof Botha, former CFO of PayPal.[22][23][24] Helena died in 1996, after having been ill, including being partially paralysed, following a fall in her home in 1991.[25] Two years later, Botha took Ina Joubert, a former journalist with the SABC, as his second wife.[4][26]

Botha died of natural causes at his home in Pretoria on 12 October 2018 at the age of 86.[27][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Apartheid-era foreign affairs minister Pik Botha has died". TimesLive. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  2. ^ A smart penguin, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The Spectator, 7 April 1984, page 9
  3. ^ Funteriano, Andre (12 October 2018). "Explainer: Are you confusing Pik Botha with PW Botha? Meet both". briefly.co.za. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Van der Vat, Dan (12 October 2018). "Pik Botha obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Pik Botha – waves of politspeak janiallan.com. 24 January 2014
  6. ^ Vat, Dan van der (12 October 2018). "Pik Botha obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  7. ^ "New Permanent Representative of South Africa Presents Credentials". United Nations Photo. 15 October 1974. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  8. ^ "United Nations: History and Present Status". Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  9. ^ Donaldson, Andrew (12 October 2018). "Pik Botha: A good man working for a bad government". news24.com. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  10. ^ SOUTH AFRICA: The Not-So-Favorite Choice, [[Time (magazine)|]], 9 October 1978
  11. ^ The Rubicon revisited, Hermann Giliomee, Politicsweb, 20 August 2008
  12. ^ Apartheid still spits in face of ANC, The Star, 14 March 2013
  13. ^ a b "FROM THE ARCHIVES | What I've learnt: Pik Botha". Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  14. ^ a b Cuba, Angola, South Africa Sign Accord, The Washington Post, 14 December 1988
  15. ^ Lockerbie and the conspiracy theories, The Daily Telegraph, 20 August 2009
  16. ^ Mtshali, Samkelo (13 October 2018). "News of #PikBotha's death draws mixed reaction in political arena". iol.ca.za. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  17. ^ "South Africa shaken by sudden resignation of De Klerk's party". The Irish Times. 10 May 1996. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  18. ^ Madisa, Kgothatso (12 October 2018). "Pik Botha one of 'leading personalities in SA politics' – De Klerk". Sowetan Live. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  19. ^ ANC broke AA agreement, says Pik Botha, Fin24, 16 August 2013
  20. ^ Regstel-aksie ‘tref swartes ergste’, Beeld, 16 August 2013 (in Afrikaans)
  21. ^ BBC Question Time in South Africa: Who's Who, The Daily Telegraph, 12 December 2013
  22. ^ a b "Pik Botha: What an honour to know this man | IOL Business Report". Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  23. ^ "SA prodigy, Pik Botha's 43yo grandson, to lead Silicon Valley's top VC firm". Fin24. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Pik Botha's last days recalled by family". Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Helena Botha, Wife of South African Minister, Dies After Long Illness". AP NEWS. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  26. ^ tinashe (23 April 2012). "Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pik Botha, marries Ina Joubert, ex-journalist of the SABC, on his birthday in Pretoria". South African History Online. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Former foreign affairs minister Pik Botha dies". News24. 12 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Key apartheid figure Pik Botha dies". BBC. 12 October 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Hilgard Muller
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1977–1994
Succeeded by
Alfred Nzo