Citizens express mixed opinions over remembering Pik Botha
An apartheid-era minister, Botha is seen by some as having been more liberal than his National Party colleagues.
CAPE TOWN - There've been mixed opinions among South Africans on Friday as to how the late Pik Botha should be remembered.
An apartheid-era minister, Botha is seen by some as having been more liberal than his National Party (NP) colleagues.
In 1986, he stunned many and invoked the ire of his party for saying it was possible that South Africa could one day be ruled by a black president.
Still, many believe there's little to celebrate about his legacy.
WATCH: The life of Pik Botha
The African National Congress (ANC)’s Pule Mabe says the party recognised Botha as a man it could work with to bring down apartheid.
“The ANC viewed Botha as one of the erstwhile NP leaders who recognised at an early age that apartheid was wrong and a crime against humanity.”
Botha joined the ANC in 2000 but later said he differed with government’s affirmative action policies.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says Botha will be remembered for his support for the transition to democracy.
His spokesperson Khusela Diko said: “The president has said that Mr Botha will be remembered for his service to the democratic government for a period of two years as minister of minerals and energy. But, also the support that he gave in very difficult times to South Africa’s transition to democracy.”
LISTEN: The life & times of Pik Botha
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has described Botha as a good person in a bad system, while the United Democratic Movement’s Bantu Holomisa says he should be recognised for pressuring the NP leadership to change.
But for many ordinary South Africans, he’s only viewed for having defending apartheid’s racist policies to the world.
(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)