Herstigte Nasionale Party
|Reconstituted National Party
Herstigte Nasionale Party
|Split from||National Party|
|Headquarters||Neethlingstraat 199, Eloffsdal, Pretoria|
|Political position||Far right|
|Colours||Orange, White and Blue
|Politics of South Africa
|Part of a series on|
The Herstigte Nasionale Party (Reconstituted National Party) is a South African political party which was formed as a right-wing splinter group of the now-defunct National Party. The party name was commonly abbreviated as HNP although colloquially they were also known as the Herstigtes.
The party was formed in 1969 by Albert Hertzog (son of former Prime Minister General JBM Hertzog) in protest against the decision by Prime Minister BJ Vorster to authorise the presence of Maori players and spectators during the tour of New Zealand rugby union team in South Africa in 1970, and against his re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Malawi and that country's appointment of a Black ambassador to South Africa. The name was chosen to reflect the initials of the earlier Herenigde Nasionale Party (Reunited National Party), the name used by the National Party in the election of 1948. Seeking a return to Calvinism as the basis of South Africa, the party advocated complete racial segregation and the adoption of Afrikaans as the only official language. The bulk of the membership of the new party was made up of rural and small town working and lower middle class Afrikaners who resented what they saw as the National Party devoting their attentions to the concerns of urban Afrikaner elites.
The party contested the general election of 1970 although its campaign was the subject of government crackdowns and its rallies targets for attack. The party's 78 candidates were all defeated, including its four MPs, all of whom had been National Party members before defecting to the new group. The party also contested 50 seats in the 1974 election but failed to make an impact in an election where reformists advanced. During this election the HNP boycotted the English language press, refusing to release any information to them, as the party opposed the use of the language in South Africa. It contested three by-elections in 1975 and 1976 and during these enjoyed a growth in its vote, taking second place ahead of the United Party in the two seats that that group contested. It captured 3.3% of the vote in 1977 before increasing this to 14.1% in 1981 but on no occasion did it win any seats.
Emergence in the 1980s
Under the leadership of Jaap Marais, who replaced the retiring Hertzog in 1977, the party emerged as a notable force amongst white South Africans. In 1979 the evidence of its potential was demonstrated in a series of by-elections when it suddenly began to threaten the position of the ruling party. Despite eventually obtaining a non-negligible amount of support (14.1% in 1981 elections), the HNP never managed to gain seats in the South African parliament at a general election (although it won a by-election in Sasolburg in 1985), and soon became a voice of external opposition. The HNP effectively became the chief voice of the far right opposition at this time, particularly in 1989 when both the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging and the Boerestaat Party declared their support for Marais. The group's only previous contact with other parties had been in 1985 when it briefly co-operated with the Conservative Party to oppose the repeal of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act and the Immorality Amendment Act by P.W. Botha.
Network with other organisations
On the international stage the HNP built up a number of contacts with far right groups in Europe and for a time during the 1980s it was responsible for funding the United Kingdom-based League of Saint George. The HNP was also closely associated with the South African National Front (SANF), an overseas branch of the British National Front.
Between 1980 and 1987 the party bankrolled the English-speaking far-right journal South African Patriot, edited by SANF members John Hiddleston and then Alan Harvey.
It joined the Afrikaner Volksfront of General Constand Viljoen in 1991 although the front collapsed in 1994 when many of the members refused to participate in South Africa's first multi-racial elections. The HNP drifted away from Viljoen and did not join his Freedom Front. As a result, it has become something of a marginal force in contemporary South Africa, arguing for the self-determination of the white Afrikaners and a return to Verwoerdian Apartheid. The party motto is "Dié Land is ons Land" (This land is our land).
It re-emerged in 2004, when the party lodged an official complaint against SABC 3 when it broadcast a play entitled ID which satirised the killing of Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd. Although the HNP argued that it portrayed Verwoerd and his supporters unfairly, the complaint was rejected by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.
Jaap Marais died in 2000, and was replaced as leader by Willie Marais. Willie Marais died in December 2007, and was replaced as leader by Japie Theart. The present leader is Andries Breytenbach. Two splits have occurred from the party over ideology and tactics: the Afrikaner Nationalist Movement in 2004, and the Afrikaner Volksparty in 2008.
When founded, the HNP emphasised above all its Afrikaner identity, attacking immigration, seeking to downgrade the importance of the English language, and endorsing apartheid. The party also launched an attack on the materialism that it felt was taking over South African society and thus sought to present itself as the voice of working class Afrikaners. It frequently attacked the "liberalism" of the National Party regime, arguing that it was gradually diluting apartheid and offering too many concessions to non-Whites.
The party reject the concept of a Volkstaat, claiming all of South Africa for the Afrikaner instead. It believes that the interests of the black population will be sufficiently met in the former homelands. The HNP have no clear plan as to how the return to Verwoerdian South Africa could be achieved. The party also emphasises the importance of Calvinism to the South African identity.
The party does not recognise the new order in South Africa, and as a result, encourages people not to vote as part of its policy of resistance. However, this also makes it impossible to determine the exact support levels the party enjoys.
While South Africa administered Namibia until 1988, the party was active in the country in opposition to independence and black rights. It contested the first multi-ethnic election in 1978, capturing 1.8% of the vote, or 10% of the White vote, the election resulted in a landslide win for the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia, albeit with the main black opposition parties, the South West Africa People's Organization and the Namibia National Front, excluded from the ballot.
- Jean Branford, A Dictionary of South African English, Oxford University Press, 1978, p. 88
- Howard Brotz, The Politics of South Africa: Democracy and Racial Diversity, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 45
- Brian M. du Toit, 'The Far Right in South Africa', The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 29, No. 4. (December 1991), p. 638
- Brotz, Politics of South Africa, p. 47
- A.W. Stadler, 'The 1974 General Election in South Africa', African Affairs, Vol. 74, No. 295. (April 1975), pp. 209–218
- Brotz, Politics of South Africa, p. 49
- Brotz, Politics of South Africa, pp. 54–55
- Elections in South Africa
- du Toit, op cit, p. 638
- M. Meredith, In the Name of Apartheid, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1988, p. 175
- du Toit, op cit, p. 639
- de Toit, op cit, p. 646
- R. Omond, The Apartheid Handbook, Penguin, 1985, pp. 26–7
- R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror, London: Grafton, 1988, pp. 255–6
- Hill & Bell, op cit, pp. 52–73
- 'South Africa Freedom Front'
- Full judgement of the case
- Party site
- Die HNP se leiers
- M. Meredith, In the Name of Apartheid, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1988, p. 160
- Brotz, Politics of South Africa, p. 46
- 'Waarvoor die HNP staan'
- 'Elections in Namibia'