Marthinus van Schalkwyk

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Marthinus van Schalkwyk
Marthinus van Schalkwyk crop.jpg
Minister of Tourism
Incumbent
Assumed office
10 May 2009
President Jacob Zuma
Preceded by Valli Moosa
Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
In office
29 April 2004 – 10 May 2009
Leader of the Opposition
In office
1997–1999
Preceded by F.W. de Klerk
Succeeded by Tony Leon
Premier of the Western Cape
In office
21 June 2002 – 28 April 2004
Preceded by Peter Marais
Succeeded by Ebrahim Rasool
Personal details
Born (1959-11-10) 10 November 1959 (age 54)
Nationality South African
Political party African National Congress
Other political
affiliations
New National Party (1997 - 2005)
Spouse(s) Suzette van Schalkwyk
Children 2
Religion Dutch Reformed

Marthinus Christoffel Johannes van Schalkwyk (born 10 November 1959) is the Minister of Tourism in the Cabinet of South Africa.[1] Formerly both Premier of the Western Cape and Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of South Africa, he was the leader of the New National Party from its inception on 8 September 1997 until its dissolution on 9 April 2005. He was appointed Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the South African cabinet as a reward for aligning his party with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), despite his party's poor performance in the 2004 General Election.

Early life[edit]

Van Schalkwyk matriculated from Pietersburg High School in 1977. Van Schalkwyk served in the South African Defence Force (SADF) from 1978 to 1979. His political career began during the late apartheid years at the Rand Afrikaans University as chairman of the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Afrikaanse Studentebond (ASB), and later of the Ruiterwag, the youth wing of the Broederbond. In the 1980s, he was a founding member and chairman of "Jeugkrag" - Youth Power - an organisation purportedly opposed to the Afrikaner establishment, but which was secretly funded by military intelligence.[2][3][4]

Political career[edit]

Van Schalkwyk was the leader of the New National Party from its inception on 8 September 1997 until its dissolution on 9 April 2005. He also served as Premier of the Western Cape and Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of South Africa.

Informally, he is referred to by his detractors as kortbroek (lit. "short pants"), a name he earned because of his boyish appearance and lack of political experience when compared to his predecessor, F.W. de Klerk. A significant part of the white Afrikaner population views him as a weak politician who destroyed the old National Party in order to rescue his own political skin by marrying the NNP with its old opposition, the ruling ANC. He was however one of the few nationalist politicians who remained active in politics after the decline of the National Party and took a high profile like FW de Klerk did with the coming into being of the Rainbow Nation in 1994.

In August 2004 it was announced that Van Schalkwyk would become a member of the ANC, and that the NNP would be disbanded in 2005 or 2006 at the latest. This decision was finalized on 9 April 2005, when the party's federal committee overwhelmingly endorsed its regional committees' recommendation to disband the party as soon as municipal election results were finalised.

Speaking after the decision to dissolve the party, van Schalkwyk said, "What we do today is part of our contribution to finally ending the division of the South African soul." He went on to apologize for the way the National Party (the forerunner to the NNP) had "brought suffering through a system grounded in injustice."

"What we do today is liberating," he went on. "It empowers us to throw off the yoke of history and to accept a new and important burden - the shared responsibility for building a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it."

On 29 April 2004, following the overwhelming victory of the African National Congress in the national parliamentary elections, Van Schalkwyk was appointed by President Thabo Mbeki as Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism for South Africa. He has held this position until May 2009, when a new Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs was created and he became Minister of Tourism.

Environmental work[edit]

Initially greeted with dismay and scepticism by many environmental activist groupings, his tenure has been marked by a number of decisions and initiatives that have been increasingly welcomed by environmental and tourism sectors alike - amongst these the decision to uphold appeals against the development of the N2 National Toll Road through the unspoilt Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape Province, the promulgation and initial implementation of a new Air Quality Act, the creation of a new Environmental Protection Fleet to prevent illegal fishing, a complete ban on the use and production of asbestos, the adoption of a Black Economic Empowerment Scorecard and Charter for Tourism, and a significant focus by the South African government on addressing global climate change.

Van Schalkwyk became President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in June 2008, when South Africa assumed the presidency of AMCEN at the beginning of its 12th Session.[5]

In March 2010, he was nominated by South African President Jacob Zuma to succeed Yvo de Boer as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Van Schalkwyk is married to Suzette Labuschagne and has a son, Christiaan, and a daughter, Maryke.[7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Cabinet - full appointments". News24. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  2. ^ Russell, Alec (2009). Bring Me My Machine Gun: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa from Mandela to Zuma. New York: PublicAffairs Perseus. p. 205. ISBN 978-1586487386. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Breaking SA and World News, Sports, Business, Entertainment and more - Times LIVE
  5. ^ "MINISTERIAL SEGMENT OF THE TWELFTH SESSION OF THE AFRICAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE ENVIRONMENT HIGHLIGHTS", AMCEN Bulletin, Volume 1, Number 3, 11 June 2008.
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ Lourens, Vanessa (12 Sep 1997). "Suzette wil haarself bly wyl sy nuwe leier steun". Die Burger. 
  8. ^ http://apps.gcis.gov.za/gcis/gcis_profile.jsp?id=3640

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Marais
Premier of the Western Cape
21 June 2002 – 23 April 2004
Succeeded by
Ebrahim Rasool
Preceded by
Valli Moosa
Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
2004 – 2009
Succeeded by
Buyelwa Sonjica
as Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs
Succeeded by
himself
as Minister of Tourism
Preceded by
himself
as Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Minister of Tourism
2009 – present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
F.W. de Klerk
as Leader of the National Party
Leader of the New National Party
1997 – 2005
Party disbanded