Gerrit Pretorius

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Person.png Gerrit PretoriusRdf-icon.png
(diplomat, politician)
Gerrit Pretorius.jpg
Former private secretary to Pik Botha

Gerrit Pretorius is a former South African diplomat who served in senior positions at the London and Ottawa embassies. From 1987 to 1989 Gerrit Pretorius was private secretary to foreign minister Pik Botha.[1] A former Deputy Mayor, Pretorius was elected Speaker of George City Council, Western Cape, South Africa, in February 2018.[2]

Lockerbie flight booking confusion

Reuters on Pik Botha's "change of flight"

On 12 November 1994, Pik Botha's spokesman Gerrit Pretorius told the Reuters news agency that Botha and 22 South African negotiators, including defence minister Magnus Malan and foreign affairs director Neil van Heerden, had been booked on Pan Am Flight 103. He said:

"The flight from Johannesburg arrived early in London after a Frankfurt stopover was cut out and the embassy got us on to an earlier flight. Had we been on Pan Am Flight 103 the impact on South Africa and the region would have been massive. It happened on the eve of the signing of the tripartite agreements," said Pretorius, referring to pacts signed at UN headquarters on 22 December 1988 which ended South African and Cuban involvement in Angola, and which led to Namibian independence. [Emphasis added].

Appallingly bad taste

Another statement by Pretorius was in appallingly bad taste:

"The minister is flattered by the allegation of near-omniscience."

Change to earlier flight

Pretorius went on to confirm that "the foreign minister and 22 South African negotiators, including defence minister Magnus Malan and foreign affairs director Neil van Heerden, had been booked on flight 103." He goes on to explain again how the change had come about. "But we… got to London an hour early and the embassy got us on an earlier flight. When we got to JFK (airport in New York) a contemporary of mine said 'Thank God you weren’t on 103. It crashed over Lockerbie.’” [Emphasis added.][3]

 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Lucky Escapees from Pan Am Flight 103Article20 October 2018Christopher NicholsonIn this article, Judge Nicholson analyses in forensic detail conflicting claims that former foreign minister Pik Botha had been booked to travel on the doomed Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on 21 December 1988. The Judge's analysis concludes by asking whether UN Commissioner for Namibia Bernt Carlsson "was not the real target of those who put the bomb on Pan Am 103."


References