Jan Christiaan Heunis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Chris Heunis)
Jump to: navigation, search
Jan Christiaan Heunis
State President of South Africa (acting)
In office
19 January 1989 – 15 March 1989
Minister of Constitutional Development
In office
1982–1989
President F. W. de Klerk
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
1980–1982
Prime Minister P. W. Botha
Minister of Transport
In office
February 1979 – June 1979
Minister of the Environment
In office
November 1978 – June 1979
Personal details
Born (1927-04-20)20 April 1927
Uniondale
Died 27 January 2006(2006-01-27) (aged 78)
Somerset West
Political party National Party
Occupation Lawyer

Jan Christiaan 'Chris' Heunis (20 April 1927 – 27 Jan 2006)[1] was a South African Afrikaner lawyer, politician, member of the National Party and former minister in the governments of John Vorster and P.W. Botha.

He was born in 1927 in Uniondale[2] in the Cape Province (now the Western Cape). After studying in George, he continued his studies in law and became a lawyer in 1951. At the same time, he pursued a political career and became head of the National Party in George District and a member of the municipal council. In 1959, he was elected to the Provincial Council.

Heunis was elected to the House of Assembly in 1970, and in 1974 became Minister of Indian Affairs and Tourism in the government of John Vorster. In 1975, he became Minister of Economic Affairs. In 1979, as part of the P W Botha Government, he participated in the preparation of a new constitution, and in 1982, became Minister of Constitutional Reform. In this role, he put in place the Tricameral Parliament, gave the right to vote to the Coloureds and Indians, in separate chambers of the South African Parliament. He convinced the leader of the Labour Party, Allan Hendrickse, to agree to this reform.

During this time, he took part in confidential informal interviews in Port Elizabeth between two NP representatives, and two representatives from the ANC. In September 1986, Heunis was unanimously voted leader of the NP in the Cape Province, taking over from President P.W. Botha.

At the beginning of 1989,[3] he assumed the functions of State President for the interim for 100 days when Pieter Botha suffered a cerebral congestion. He was one of the candidates for leadership of the National Party, along with Pik Botha, Barend du Plessis and Frederik de Klerk, but was beaten in the second round of elections. He narrowly avoided defeat in the 1987 election, in which he faced a challenge from former NP MP and diplomat Denis Worrall, but held the seat by 39 votes.

Later, Heunis retired from political life, and did not participate in the elections of 1989, and returned to his law practice in Somerset West with his son Jakkie Heunis. He received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Stellenbosch, honorary lieutenant-colonel of the police, honorary citizen of George, decorated with the Grand Cordon of the order of the Republic of China, and was father of four boys and one girl. He died in January 2006 in Somerset West after a long illness.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Index He–Hn". Rulers.org. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  2. ^ "Chris Heunis dies | Opinion | Mail & Guardian". Mg.co.za. 28 January 2006. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  3. ^ "Chris Heunis is appointed acting president | South African History Online". Sahistory.org.za. 19 January 1989. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
New post
Minister of Constitutional Development
1982–1989
Succeeded by
Gerrit Viljoen
Preceded by
Alwyn Schlebusch
Minister of Home Affairs
1980–1982
Succeeded by
Frederik de Klerk
Preceded by
Lourens Muller
Minister of Transport
1979–1980
Succeeded by
Hendrik S. Schoeman
Preceded by
Fanie Botha
Minister of Energy
February–June 1979
Succeeded by
Frederik de Klerk
Preceded by
Schalk van der Merwe
Minister of the Environment
November 1978 – June 1979
Succeeded by
Frederik de Klerk
Preceded by
Owen Horwood
Minister of Economic Affairs
1975–1980
Succeeded by
Dawie de Villiers
Preceded by
Owen Horwood
Minister of Tourism and Indian Affairs
1974–1975
Succeeded by
Marais Steyn