SSA SD OMSG SM MP
Magnus Malan circa 1990.
|Minister of Defence|
|Preceded by||P.W. Botha|
|Succeeded by||Roelf Meyer|
|Born||Magnus André De Merindol Malan
30 January 1930
Pretoria, Union of South Africa
|Died||18 July 2011
Pretoria, South Africa
|Political party||National Party|
|Spouse(s)||Magrietha Johanna van der Walt|
|Children||2 sons, 1 daughter|
|Alma mater||University of Pretoria|
|Occupation||Politician and military chief|
General Magnus André de Merindol Malan SSA SD OMSG SM MP (30 January 1930 – 18 July 2011) was the Minister of Defence in the cabinet of President P. W. Botha, Chief of the South African Defence Force (SADF) and Chief of the South African Army.
Malan's father was a professor of biochemistry at the University of Pretoria and later a Member of Parliament (1948–1966) and Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees (1961–1966) of the House of Assembly. He started his high school education at the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool but later moved to Dr Danie Craven’s Physical Education Brigade in Kimberley, where he completed his matriculation. He wanted to join the South African armed forces immediately after his matric, but his father advised him first to complete his university studies. As a result of this advice, Malan enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch in 1949 to study for a Bachelor of Commerce degree. However, he later abandoned his studies in Stellenbosch and went to University of Pretoria, where he enrolled for a B.Sc. Mil. degree. He graduated in 1953.
In 1962 Malan married Magrietha Johanna van der Walt; the couple had two sons and one daughter.
At the end of 1949, the first military degree course for officers was advertised and Malan joined the Permanent Force as a cadet, going on to complete his BSc Mil at the University of Pretoria in 1953.
He was commissioned in the Navy and served in the Marines based on Robben Island. When they were disbanded, he was transferred back into the Army as a lieutenant.
Malan was earmarked for high office from early on in his military career; one of the many courses he attended was the Regular Command and General Staff Officers Course in the United States of America from 1962 to 1963. He went on to serve as commanding officer of various formations, including Western Province Command,:95 South-West Africa Command, and the South African Military Academy.:95
As Chief of the SADF he implemented many administrative changes that earned him great respect in military circles. During this period he became very close to P.W. Botha, the then Minister of Defence and later Prime Minister.
Awards and decorations
Malan was awarded the following awards and decorations:
- Star of South Africa (SSA)
- Order for Meritorious Service (Gold) (OMSG)
- Southern Cross Medal (SM)
- Pro Patria Medal (with Cunene Clasp)
- Good Service Medal, Gold (30 Years)
- Good Service Medal, Silver (20 Years)
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In October 1980 Botha appointed Malan defence minister in the National Party government, a post he held until 1991. As a result of this appointment he joined the National Party and became Member of Parliament for Modderfontein. He was also elected to be a member of the Executive Council of the National Party.
During Malan's tenure in parliament as defence minister his greatest opposition came from MPs of the Progressive Federal Party such as Harry Schwarz and Philip Myburgh, who both served as shadow defence ministers at various points during the 1980s.
In July 1991, following a scandal involving secret government funding to the Inkatha Freedom Party and other opponents of the African National Congress, President F. W. de Klerk removed Malan from his influential post of defence minister and appointed him minister for water affairs and forestry.
On 2 November 1995 Malan was charged together with other former senior military officers for murdering 13 people (including seven children) in the KwaMakhutha massacre in 1987. The murders were said to have been part of a conspiracy to create war between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and maintaining white minority rule. The charges related to an attack in January 1987 on the home of Victor Ntuli, an ANC activist, in KwaMakhutha township near Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
Malan and the other accused were bailed and ordered to appear in court again on 1 December 1995. A seven-month trial then ensued and brought hostility between black and white South Africans to the fore once again. All the accused were eventually acquitted. President Mandela called on South Africans to respect the verdict. Nonetheless in South Africa, the Malan trial has come to be seen by some as a failure of the legal process.
Malan also had to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
On 26 January 2007, he was interviewed by shortwave/Internet talk radio show The Right Perspective. It is believed to be one of the very few, if not the only, interviews Gen. Malan gave outside of South Africa. In 2006 he published an autobiography titled "My life with the SA Defence Force" 
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- Shattered voices: language, violence, and the work of truth commissions Teresa Godwin Phelps. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004 p. 64
-  Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Baines, Gary. "The life of a uniformed technocrat turned securocrat: My life with the SA Defence Force, Magnus Malan: book review." Historia 54, no. 1 (2009): 314-327.
- Douglas Martin (18 July 2011). "Magnus Malan, Apartheid Defender, Dies at 81". The New York Times.
- Location Settings (18 July 2011). "Magnus Malan dies". News24. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Davies, Richard (18 July 2011). "Magnus Malan dies 'peacefully' at 81". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
Pieter Willem Botha
|Minister of Defence (South Africa)
|Chief of the South African Defence Force
|Chief of the South African Army
|OC Western Province Command
Col Pieter J.G. "Vlakkies" de Vos:194
|OC South African Military Academy:77
Johan D. Potgieter