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Pieter Willem Botha

P. W. Botha, Defender of Apartheid, Is Dead at 90

Pieter Willem Botha 50%

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Mr. Botha outside court during his trial in 1998 for refusing to appear at Truth Commission hearings. He was found guilty of contempt but the conviction was overturned. Correction Appended

 

P. W. Botha, the South African leader who struggled vainly to preserve apartheid rule in a tide of domestic racial violence and global condemnation, died yesterday at his home in South Africa. He was 90.

 

His death was reported by The South African Press Association in Cape Town, quoting the security staff at Mr. Botha’s home on the southern Cape coast.

 

Mr. Botha was a combative, irascible son of a well-to-do Afrikaner farm family who dropped out of college to work for the right-wing National Party, then rose through the ranks of South Africa’s political establishment, gaining a reputation as the “Old Crocodile” for his ability to charm, outwit and crush his opponents.

 

Photo: Mr. Botha outside court during his trial in 1998 for refusing to appear at Truth Commission hearings. He was found guilty of contempt but the conviction was overturned.(Sasa Kralj/Associated Press)

By JOSEPH R. GREGORY

 

Read more: The New York Times (November 1, 2006)


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