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Boesak to Reconsider Resignation During 3-Week Leave

July 15, 1990

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ Rev. Allan Boesak, a prominent activist who resigned his church posts after reports he had an affair with a married woman, is reconsidering his decision to quit, his lawyer said Sunday.

Church leaders at the mixed-race branch of the Dutch Reformed Church in Bellville outside Cape Town said at a service Sunday they ″would be grateful″ if Boesak decides to return after his three-week leave of absence.

Boesak is ″much loved by all of us,″ said Johan Retief, a co-minister at the church. Many congregants wept during the service and expressed support for Boesak.

However, graffiti on Boesak’s office next to the church made sexually explicit references to the alleged affair between the minister and Elna Botha, a producer for government-run television.

Boesak was not at church Sunday. But his lawyer, Essa Moosa, said Boesak will ″reflect seriously on his position over the next few weeks and come to a considered decision with regard to his resignation.″

Boesak, one of South Africa’s best known anti-apartheid leaders, is a powerful speaker who is often at the front of anti-government marches and demonstrations. He has strong ties to the African National Congress, the country’s leading opposition group, and many observers believe he has political ambitions.

He tearfully resigned his post in a July 8 sermon following newspaper reports of the alleged affair. The newspapers said Boesak’s wife, Dorothy, had tipped them off, and that reporters confronted Boesak at a Cape Town hotel.

Boesak made no reference to Mrs. Botha in his resignation speech, but said: ″This is one of the darkest days of my life.″

″I am deeply sorry for the the pain I have caused,″ he said.

Boesak also serves as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, an international body of Protestant churches. Retief said he did not know if Boesak had given up that post.

Boesak, married for more than 20 years, was temporarily suspended from his church posts in 1985 after he was romantically linked to a church secretary. He was reinstated and acknowledged a ″special relationship″ with the woman.

The Sunday Times of Johannesburg reported that Mrs. Botha had left her husband and gone to Atlanta and that Boesak would join her shortly.

Mrs. Botha’s husband, television newscaster Colin Fluxman, was taken off the air last week after breaking down as he read an item about the alleged relationship between his wife and Boesak.

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