On the Passing of Former Minister Pik Botha


The passing of former Minister Roelof Frederik Botha, known to us all as Pik, has been met with sadness and words of respect. That is no surprise, for Mr Pik Botha was a man who loved his country and who served it with commitment and skill for much of his life.

He will be remembered as a good person, in a bad system. Having interacted with him extensively during our constitutional negotiations, I came to understand that Minister Botha was a bridge from the old to the new. He was a conduit of what he called “the world’s dictates”, working alongside leaders like Mr FW de Klerk and Mr Roelf Meyer to convince the National Party that South Africa had to move forward to a democratic system.

I remember how he was hauled over the coals when he dared to say at the United Nations that South Africa would one day have a black president. His prophetic words were not appreciated!

When Mr Nelson Mandela, President de Klerk and I signed the Agreement for Reconciliation and Peace, in 1994, Minister Botha stood alongside the President negotiating the terms of that Agreement. He was at the forefront of our transition to democracy.

It was thus right that he should receive a position in President Mandela’s Cabinet, where he served as Minister of Minerals and Energy. As a fellow Minister in the Government of National Unity, I appreciated Minister Botha’s commitment to strengthening our fledgling democracy and ensuring that the first steps we took as a unified people were steps in the right direction.

His vast experience of governance, foreign affairs and leadership were a great asset to our country.

On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, I therefore extend my deepest condolences to Mrs Ina Botha and to the family of the late Minister. May they be comforted by the words of admiration and appreciation expressed in this difficult time.

May Minister Pik Botha rest in peace.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539