Zach de Beer

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Zacharias Johannes de Beer
Zach de Beer.jpg
South African Ambassador to The Netherlands
President Nelson Mandela
Co-leader of the Democratic Party
In office
1989–1994
Serving with Denis Worrall
Wynand Malan
Succeeded by Tony Leon
Personal details
Born (1928-10-11)11 October 1928
Died 27 May 1999(1999-05-27) (aged 70)
Alma mater University of Cape Town

Zacharias Johannes (Zach) de Beer (born Cape Town, South Africa, 11 October 1928 – 27 May 1999) was a liberal Afrikaner South African politician and businessman. He was the last leader of the liberal Progressive Federal Party and then the co-leader of the new liberal Democratic Party.[1]

Educated at Bishops Diocesan College in Rondebosch, He completed an MB ChB degree at the University of Cape Town in 1951.[2]

Political career[edit]

De Beer was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1953 as an MP for the opposition United Party. On the party's left wing, he and fellow MP Helen Suzman, Colin Eglin, Ray Swart, Harry Lawrence and Dr Jan Steytler resigned from the party after its national congress voted against returning any further land to the black majority for their occupation and use. He and the other liberal MPs formed the new Progressive Party in 1959. De Beer lost his seat in the 1961 general election and joined an advertising agency before moving on the Anglo-American. In the 1977 general election, he was returned to Parliament as an MP for what had become the Progressive Federal Party which had been formed that year through a merger of the Progressive Party and various other liberal groups of MPs.[1] He became the PFP's leader in August 1988[3] and, with Denis Worrall and Wynand Malan was a co-leader of the new Democratic Party when it formed in 1989.

Following the DP's defeat in the first post-apartheid election of 1994, De Beer resigned as party leader.[4] He was appointed South African ambassador to the Netherlands by Nelson Mandela.[1]

De Beer was for many years a director of the Anglo American PLC/De Beers diamond mining conglomerate.

References[edit]