HNP leader Willie Marais dies

Leader and co-founder of the right-wing Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP) Willie Marais has died of a heart attack at the age of 79, the party said on Thursday.

Party chief secretary Louis van der Schyff said Marais was on holiday at Klein Brakrivier when he had a heart attack and died in hospital at Mossel Bay on Wednesday.

Marais, a businessman and farmer, was one of four MPs who founded the HNP in 1969 as an ultra-conservative breakaway from the National Party.

He served for many years as its chairperson before taking over the leadership from Jaap Marais in 2000.

The party was still calling last year for the creation of a united Afrikaner “white front” as “the only way to regain political power in this country”.

At its 2006 congress, the party adopted an Afrikaner Freedom Manifesto that complained about the losses that Afrikaners had suffered “because incompetent and illiterate blacks got the vote”.

“We complain about the systematic and continual plundering by blacks that we have to endure, which destroys everything and has ruined whites,” said the manifesto, which was signed by Marais himself.

“We see no prospect of peace and happiness for ourselves and our children in this country under a black dictatorship.”

Van der Schyff said on Thursday that Marais had been a man who stood firmly on principle, but never humiliated his political opponent.

“With his gentle nature and his engaging personality, Willie Marais had friends across the whole world.”

He leaves a wife, Dollie, and seven children.—Sapa

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