Andries Treurnicht

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Andries Treurnicht
MP
Andries Treurnicht.jpg
Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
1982 – 22 April 1993
Minister of State Administration and Statistics
In office
1980–1982
Succeeded by Ferdinand Hartzenberg
Minister of Public Works, Statistics and Tourism
In office
1979–1980
Leader of National Party in Transvaal
In office
1978–1982
Deputy Minister of Plural Relations and Development
In office
1978–1979
Deputy Minister of Education and Training
In office
1978–1979
MP
In office
1971–1993
Constituency Waterberg
Personal details
Born (1921-02-19)19 February 1921
Piketberg, Cape Province
Died 22 April 1993(1993-04-22) (aged 72)
Cape Town, Cape Province, Union of South Africa
Political party Conservative Party
Other political
affiliations
National Party (1971 - 1982)
Spouse(s) Engela Deyer
Children 4 daughters[1]
Religion Dutch Reformed

Andries Petrus Treurnicht (19 February 1921, Piketberg, Cape Province – 22 April 1993, Cape Town) was a South African politician, Minister of Education during the Soweto Riots and for a short time leader of the National Party in Transvaal. In 1982 he founded and led of the Conservative Party of South Africa whose successes among the white electorate made him Leader of the Opposition in 1987, a position he retained until his death.

He was born in Piketberg (Cape Province) and began his working life as a journalist, being editor of Die Kerkbode and Hoofstad. He was a keen sportsman, excelling on the rugby field, playing provincial rugby against the All Blacks in 1949. After obtaining his MA in Theology at the University of Stellenbosch, he completed a Doctorate in Political Philosophy at the University of Cape Town. He subsequently entered the Dutch Reformed Church (NG Kerk), serving various congregations as minister for 14 years. He was elected Deputy Chairman of the Cape Synod and later of the General Synod. He married Engela Dreyer on 18 January 1949.

National Party career[edit]

In 1971, he became the National Party MP for Waterberg. Newly appointed as Deputy Minister of Education in 1976, his instruction to implement the policy that black students should be taught half in English, half in Afrikaans triggered the Soweto Riots. In 1978, he was chosen, over the heads of 12 ministers, as Leader of the National Party in the Transvaal, and, in 1979, he became Minister of State for Administration and of Statistics.

Conservative Party career[edit]

On 20 March 1982, he and 22 other MPs quit the National Party to form the Conservative Party to oppose P.W. Botha and the National Party's limited reforms to apartheid. The CP's English language programme booklets from 1987-89 stated that the party was established "to continue the policy of self-determination after the [NP] government had exchanged self-determination" (something the CP described as an "infallible policy"), for power-sharing.[2][3]

In 1987, the Conservative Party became the official opposition in the House of Assembly, winning 550,000 votes, displacing the liberal Progressive Federal Party. Donald Simpson, writing in the South African newspaper, The Star, went as far as to predict that the National Party would lose the next election and that the Conservative Party would become the new government of South Africa.[4]

In June 1989, accompanied by Clive Derby-Lewis, Carl Werth, and several other Conservative Party officials, Treurnicht made an official visit to London and some other European capitals. The far-right Western Goals Institute organized his London visit, and the Conservative Monday Club held a dinner in his honour, at which at least one British Conservative Party MP, Tim Janman, was present.[5]

Already nicknamed "Doctor No", in 1992, he led the opposition campaign during the referendum called by F.W. de Klerk to gain white approval for negotiations to end apartheid. This campaign marked the peak of Conservative support in South Africa, gaining just under one million votes, but the "No" vote was defeated 2 to 1 by white voters.[6]

Treurnicht was the author of no fewer than 16 books, many in the cultural field.

He died on 22 April 1993, in Cape Town, during a heart operation. His death came shortly after the Conservative Party suffered a major blow with the arrest of senior member Clive Derby-Lewis for the murder of Chris Hani. His former deputy minister, Ferdinand Hartzenberg, became the last leader of the Conservative Party.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary: Andries Treurnicht The Independent. 27 April 1993
  2. ^ The Conservative Party has the Solution, English language party booklet, n/d but early 1989
  3. ^ The Conservative Party of South Africa - Programme of Principles and Policy, English language booklet, 1988
  4. ^ The Star, 24 May 1987
  5. ^ The Daily Telegraph Court & Social page, 6 June 1989
  6. ^ Beresford, David (18 March 1992). "Sweeping SA vote for reform: Even Afrikaners support De Klerk". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 

External links[edit]