Albert Hertzog

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Doctor of Law
Albert Hertzog
Albert Hertzog.jpg
Leader of the
Herstigte Nasionale Party
In office
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Jaap Marais
Minister of Health
In office
24 August 1954 – 24 August 1958
Governor General Ernest George Jansen
Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd
Preceded by Michiel Daniel Christiaan de Wet Nel
Succeeded by Carel de Wet
Minister of Post and Telecommunications
In office
24 August 1958 – 7 February 1968
President Charles Robberts Swart
Jozua François Naudé (acting)
Governor General Charles Robberts Swart
Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd
B.J. Vorster
Preceded by Jan Serfontein
Succeeded by Matthys van Rensburg
Personal details
Born 4 July 1899
Bloemfontein, South Africa
Died 5 November 1982(1982-11-05) (aged 83)
Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
Political party National Party
untill 1969,
Herstigte Nasionale Party
Spouse(s) Katey (née Whitely)
Martie Hertzog
Residence Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
Alma mater Stellenbosch University
University of Amsterdam
B.A. (cum laude)
Oxford University
Leiden University
Profession Barrister
Cabinet Minister
Religion Calvinism

Johannes Albertus Munnik Hertzog (4 July 1899, Bloemfontein – 5 November 1982, Pretoria) was an Afrikaner politician, cabinet minister, and founding leader of the Herstigte Nasionale Party. He served as the South African Minister of Health from 1954 to 1958 and as Minister of Post and Telecommunications from 1958 to 1968. As the latter, Hertzog is famous for his refusal of implementing television service in South Africa. In 1969, after being purged from the National Party for his reactionary and exclusive Afrikaner Nationalist views, Hertzog founded the Herstigte Nasionale Party (“Reconstituted National Party”). The HNP was opposed to the what it viewed as the National Party’s deviation from its founding principles under Hendrik Verwoerd’s successor, John Vorster.

Early life[edit]

The son of famed Boer general and later South African Prime Minister Barry Hertzog and his wife Mynie (born Neethling), Albert Hertzog was born on 4 July 1899 in his parental home, 19 Goddard Street, Bloemfontein. He was baptized on 31 August 1899 in the Moederkerk. Albert had two younger brothers, Charles Dirk Neethling (born in 1904) and James Barry Munnik (born 1905).

Hertzog was only three months old when the Second Boer War broke out. Initially he stayed with his mother at their home in Bloemfontein, but after four months moved in with her sister in the hamlet of Jagersfontein. After the town was taken by British troops, and their house blown up by dynamite, the family was hoarded onto cattle trucks and taken to the concentration camp at Port Elizabeth. The Hertzog inmates in the camp included baby Albert, his mother Mynie, his paternal grandmother and a number of Albert’s aunts and cousins. They lived in a thin shack of 8 square meters. Albert’s seven-year-old cousin, Charles, died of measles only twelve days after arrival. Albert himself nearly succumbed to the disease, and was sent to relatives in Stellenbosch for care and treatment. He stayed in Stellenbosch in the house of his paternal grandfather, Charl Neethling, until the end of the war. Mynie Neethling was visited by Lord Kitchener personally in the Port Elizabeth camp, where he offered her dismissal should she try and persuade her husband to lay down his arms. She refused, and was subsequently sent via ship to the Merebank camp at Durban. Merebank was notorious as one of the camps with the highest fatality rates. After her internment, Mynie Hertzog was partial to illness for the rest of her life.

As toddler, Albert attended an English Catholic pre-primary school, where he heard and learnt his first English. This move seemed baffling to some, as the Calvinist and Boer patriot general Hertzog was a staunch proponent of Afrikaans language rights, especially in education. In 1910, after the birth of the Union of South Africa, general Hertzog was appointed in a dual portfolio as Minister of Justice and Minister of Native Affairs. The family therefore moved to Pretoria, and occupied a house west of the Union Buildings. His father sent him to the Arcadia Skool, but Albert was disappointed that the school had a headmistress, and, though in the city, differed nothing from a farm school. Although only eleven years old, Albert left on the afternoon of his first day, and enrolled at Pretoria Boys High School. After the schism between general Hertzog and Prime Minister Louis Botha, which led to Hertzog’s dismissal from the cabinet, the family moved back to Bloemfontein, were Albert attended Grey College. He matriculated with a First Class in 1916, with the subjects Dutch, English, Latin, Mathematics, and Physical Science.


After finishing high school Hertzog enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch in 1917. On 1 April 1920 he was awarded the B.A. cum laude with the following subjects: Dutch, Latin, English, Greek, Chemistry and Mathematics in 1917; Political Science, Psychology and Latin in 1918; and Ethics, Logic and Political economy in 1919. Hertzog then left for Europe on 6 August 1920, where he entered the University of Amsterdam. After two years, he enrolled at New College, Oxford University, to further read Law. After finishing his studies at Oxford, Hertzog went to the University of Leiden in 1928, where he obtained the LL.D. degree in 1929. After leaving Oxford, he stayed with a Parisian family to improve his French.

Member of Parliament[edit]

The Sentech Tower, originally named after Albert Hertzog

Hertzog was elected to parliament in the election of 1948, when the National Party defeated the United Party, and in 1958 was appointed as the Minister of Post of Telecommunications, and later Minister of Health. As Minister of Post and Telecommunication, Hertzog was responsible for the delayed introduction of television in South Africa, dismissing it as "only a miniature bioscope which is being carried into the house and over which parents have no control".[1] He also argued that South Africa would have to import films from abroad that portrayed miscegenation and show advertising, which would cause non-whites to become "dissatisfied with their lot".[2]

The radio tower in the Johannesburg suburb of Brixton was constructed in 1962 and named after Hertzog. The tower was renamed the Brixton Tower after his resignation from the National Party, and was later again renamed the Sentech Tower.

Split from the National Party[edit]

During the mandate debut of prime minister of John Vorster, the party was torn between the verkramptes, wanting to enforce strict segregation in all areas, and the verligtes who favoured minor reforms, in particular permitting Maori players and spectators in the 1970 All Black rugby tour of the South Africa, and the admission of a black diplomat from Malawi.

Four verkrampte members of parliament split from National Party and formed the Herstigte Nasionale Party in on 24 and 25 October 1969, with Hertzog elected as the first leader.

The party won 3.6% of the vote in the 1970 general election, but no seats, while the splitting of the vote allowed the United Party to increase its share of the vote for the first time since 1948, increasing from 39 to 47 seats, with the National Party dropping from 126 to 117 seats. The party never won a seat under Hertzog's leadership.



  • Die Calvinistiese toespraak van dr. A. Hertzog, L.V., Pretoria: Herstigte Nasionale Party, 1970, ISBN 010610884S Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help) .
  • Waarheen Suid-Afrika?: Oproep tot die stryd, Pretoria: M.M. Hertzog, 1985, ISBN 0-620-07794-8 .

Further reading[edit]

  • Naudé, Louis (1969). Dr. A. Hertzog, die Nasionale Party en die mynwerker. Pretoria: Nasionale Raad van Trustees. 
  • Serfontein, J.H.P. (1970). Die verkrampte aanslag. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau. ISBN 9781868422456. 
  • Pretorius, Estelle (2001). Dr. Albert Hertzog: ’n lewensbeskrywing. Pretoria: Bienedell Uitgewers. ISBN 0-9584228-5-9 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 


  1. ^ Cosmopolitan, Volume 152, 1962, page 49
  2. ^ Australia's Neighbors, 1967, page 8
  • Rosenthal, Eric. 1978. Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa. Cape Town, Wetton, Johannesburg: Juta and Company Limited.