World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pik Botha

Article Id: WHEBN0000898363
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pik Botha  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Alfred Baphethuxolo Nzo, Hilgard Muller, Categories for discussion/Log/2007 February 2, 1986 Mozambican Tupolev Tu-134 crash, P. W. Botha
Collection: 1932 Births, Afrikaner People, Ambassadors of South Africa to the United States, Apartheid Government, Cold War Diplomats, Foreign Ministers of South Africa, Living People, Members of the House of Assembly of South Africa, Members of the National Assembly of South Africa, National Party (South Africa) Politicians, People from Rustenburg, Permanent Representatives of South Africa to the United Nations, South African People of German Descent, University of Pretoria Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pik Botha

Roelof Frederik Botha
Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs
In office
27 April 1994 – May 1996
President Nelson Mandela
Preceded by George Bartlett
Succeeded by Penuel Maduna
Deputy Leader of the
National Party in Transvaal
In office
Leader FW De Klerk
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
April 1977 – 1994
President FW De Klerk (1989-94)
P. W. Botha (1984-1989)
Prime Minister P. W. Botha (1978–84)
B.J. Vorster (1966–78)
Preceded by Hilgard Muller
Succeeded by Alfred Nzo
Member of Parliament
In office
Constituency Westdene
In office
22 April 1970 – 1974
Constituency Wonderboom
South African Ambassador to the United States
In office
30 July 1975 – 11 May 1977
Prime Minister B.J. Vorster
Preceded by Johan Samuel Frederick Botha
Succeeded by Donald Bell Sole
Personal details
Born (1932-04-27) 27 April 1932
Rustenburg, Transvaal Province, Union of South Africa
Nationality South African
Political party National Party
Spouse(s) Helena Susanna Bosman
Ina Joubert m. 27 April 1998
Children 2 sons, 2 daughters
Alma mater University of Pretoria
Occupation Diplomat and politician
Profession Law
Religion Dutch Reformed

Roelof Frederik "Pik" Botha (born 27 April 1932, in Rustenburg, Transvaal, Union of South Africa) is a former politician from South Africa who served as the country's foreign minister in the last years of the apartheid era. He was considered to be 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.

He is not related to the late P. W. Botha, the contemporary National Party politician under whom he served as South Africa's foreign minister.

Botha was nicknamed 'Pik' (short for 'pikkewyn', Afrikaans for 'penguin') because of a perceived likeness to a penguin in his stance. This was accentuated when he wore a suit.[1] He is the father of the rock musician Piet Botha. His grandson is Roelof Botha, former CFO of PayPal.


  • Early life 1
  • Diplomat and lawyer 2
  • Politician 3
    • Namibian independence 3.1
    • National unity 3.2
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

At the age of four, Botha was struck by meningitis in Lourenço Marques. He was treated at a small hospital in Barberton, Mpumalanga and his mother vowed that if he survived, he would become a church minister.[2]

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.[2] In his first year 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.[2]

Diplomat and lawyer

Botha began his career in the South African foreign service in 1953, serving in Sweden and West Germany. 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 (Namibia).

In 1966, Botha was appointed law adviser at the South African Department of Foreign Affairs. In that capacity, he served on the delegation representing South Africa at the United Nations from 1966 to 1974. At this time, he was appointed South Africa's ambassador to the United Nations, but a month after he presented his credentials, South Africa was suspended from membership of the General Assembly. It remained a member of the UN, however, retained a legation throughout these years. Consequently, its flag continued to be flown every day until succeeded by the new flag in 1994, as a reflection of its continued membership of the organisation, if not of the General Assembly.


In 1970, Botha was elected to the House of Assembly as MP for Wonderboom in the Transvaal, leaving it in 1974. In 1975, Botha 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 premier B. J. Vorster.

Botha entered the contest to be leader of the National Party and Prime Minister of South Africa 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 giving support for P. W. Botha, who was ultimately elected.[3]

In 1985, Pik Botha drafted a speech that would have announced the release of Nelson Mandela, but this draft was rejected by P. W. Botha.

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. President P.W. Botha quickly forced foreign minister Botha to acknowledge that this position did not reflect government policy.

In December 1988 Pik Botha flew to Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, with Defence Minister Magnus Malan, and signed a peace protocol with Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, and with Angolan and Cuban signatories. At the signing he said "A new era has begun in South Africa. My government is removing racial discrimination. We want to be accepted by our African brothers".

Namibian independence

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 relinquishing control of Namibia after decades of defiance.

On 21 December 1988 Pik 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 PA 103 crash at Lockerbie, Scotland.

National unity

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.

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.

In 2000, Botha declared his support for President Thabo Mbeki. Botha has more recently expressed criticism for the government's affirmative action policies saying that the then South African government would never have reached a constitutional settlement with the ANC in 1994 had it insisted on its current affirmative action programme.[4]

In a recent interview[5] on affirmative action, Botha publicly declared that he has never been a member of the ANC, and will not join under its current policies.

On 12 December 2013, Botha appeared on the BBC’s Question Time, hosted in Johannesburg, discussing the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. [6]


  1. ^ "Fidel Castro dacht dat onze kanonnen kernbommen konden afvuren"Zuid-Afrikaanse oud-minister Pik Botha over de oorlog van 1985 in Namibië: (in Nederlands). Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Pik Botha - waves of politspeak 24 January 2014
  3. ^ "We want Pik, we want Pik. . .". TIME. 9 October 1978. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Mathabo Le Roux, "'The ANC fooled us' Pik", Business Day, 14 July 2007
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1].

External links

  • Pik Botha on Facebook
  • South African History Online
  • South African Who's Who
Political offices
Preceded by
Hilgard Muller
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Alfred Nzo
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.