Botha had a peaceful character: FW de Klerk
Former President FW de Klerk says the late Pik Botha was a consistent advocate of reform and one of the strongest proponents of the constitutional transformation process in 1990.
De Klerk was reacting to the passing of Botha in the early hours of Friday morning.
Botha died at the age of 86. He was recently hospitalised for heart problems.
Botha served as Foreign Affairs Minister from 1977 until the end of apartheid in 1994, and then for two years in the first democratic cabinet.
In a statement, De Klerk notes that Botha had a colourful personality and made a big contribution to the peaceful resolution of the country’s historical challenges.
Tributes have been pouring in for the 86-year-old former politician, Pik Botha. Botha was a controversial figure during his long political career, initially defending and selling Apartheid to the international community, but declaring his support for President Thabo Mbeki and the ANC in 2000.
His career in government saw him serve 17 years as Foreign Affairs Minister under the apartheid government and then as Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs under former President Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected President.
Roelof Frederik Botha was born on the 27th of April in 1932.
He received his nickname “Pik” as a young boy. According to his son, Roelof Botha, was dressed up as a small boy by his mother in a too small black suit and white shirt for a special occasion. One of the guests remarked that he looked like a Penguin, in Afrikaans ‘n Pikkewyn, and the name ‘Pik’ stuck.
Pik’s son, Roelof says the family expected Botha’s death.
"We did see it coming because his body was starting to turn against him after a pretty long innings, if you use cricket terminology. I think he had a lot of bounces that he had to face in his life. So we did see it coming to some extent, he passed away in his sleep and I think it was a massive organ failure. His body has run it’s course. We are taking it quite well because we saw it coming and we are very proud for the role he played."
David Phoshoko, was Botha’s butler for 51 years and travelled with him between Pretoria and Cape Town. He is now 72 years old.
"He was a good man to me. He did everything for me and he helped raise my children. We travelled between Pretoria and the Cape for 19 years. Oliver Tambo’s son always came for tea and then he would say I am the man who keeps Pik Botha’s ties. It was a joke, it was nice."
He was there when Botha was taken to hospital about a month ago.