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

16 October 1994 Mangosuthu Buthelezi Nelson Mandela and Pik Botha attend a rally

Botha's son, Roelef Botha, said in an interview on the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation Friday that his father died at home after deteriorating health and organ failure.

He then joined Mandela's cabinet after the end of white-minority rule and the country's first non-racial election in 1994.

At the end of apartheid, Botha served as minister of mineral and energy affairs in the government of Nelson Mandela - the country's first democratically elected president.

"I'm very glad that he could have seen this change because it does mark I believe a new beginning for South Africa", Roelef Botha said.

Some remember his confrontations with President PW Botha (with whom he was not related) and his criteria in 1985 that Mandela should be freed, which occurred five years later due to global pressure. He was known to be a strong defender of the apartheid system.

Botha retired from politics in 1996 when the National Party withdrew from the government of national unity.

He made few public comments in recent years during the scandal-marred tenure of former president Jacob Zuma, who resigned in February.

Botha was "absolutely delighted" when Ramaphosa, a key ANC leader and negotiating counterpart during the transition to democratic rule in the early 1990s, became president in February, Botha's son said.

That in turn helped pave the way for the independence of Namibia 1990, which also had an apartheid-style government and had been under South African administration for decades. "That was one choice, yes", he said.

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