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Stefan Smith, Sebastien Blanc08 Jan 2004 00:00
Interesting new evidence has appeared that seems to confirm rumours that secret plans are underway to re-establish a political party that has long since been declared dead and buried. Not the Mail & Guardian has come into possession of documents that reveal detailed strategies, internal correspondence and part of a ‘mission statement” behind the re-emergence of what is to be called the Old National Party (ONP).
It is clear from the documents that a group of older core members of the predominantly Afrikaans National Party (NP), which held power in South Africa between 1948 and 1994, have become extremely disgusted with what are termed the hensoppers of the so-called New National Party, and intend to bring back the essence of the old party’s dignity and accumulated wisdom.
According to internal correspondence, the sponsors of the ONP will attempt to ‘bring to the political circus act of the current political dispensation, some sense of the order, discipline and moral authority that was the legacy of political visionaries like DF Malan, JG Strijdom, HF Verwoerd and others”.
The documents are particularly severe in their criticism of the leader of the NNP, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who is referred to as a ‘pitiful sell-out to the forces of so-called democratic ideals”. One of the secret internal memos refers to Van Schalkwyk as a ‘political jockstrap”, going on to explain: ‘You can put anything you like in Marthinus and he’ll not only support it, but also put all sorts of other rubbish in there to try to make it look bigger than it really is.”
Much is also made of the recent funding scandals that have seen former NNP leading light Peter Marais in the high court on bribery and corruption charges to do with the granting of permission for an upmarket golf course and luxury housing development in the ecologically sensitive Roodefontein area. ‘Marais was hand-in-hand not only with alleged Mafia money, but also with a staunch African National Congress member, David Malatsi. What does that tell you about the levels to which he has now dragged down the image of once-proud party.”
Many other instances ‘where the NNP has blatantly abandoned every principle of the original Christian-inspired party” are cited in the documents. The crossing-the-floor association with the ANC ruling party comes in for a real lashing. ‘What sort of traitor’s party now bears the proud name National? What sort of backstabbing leaders make peace with those who would destroy everything we once stood for? What sort of turncoats throw into the rubbish bin everything the Afrikaner people have fought for since they undertook the enormous task of bringing civilisation and the serene light of God to a dark tip of a continent?”
It is believed that the leading figures behind the reformation of the original NP are certain colleagues of the years before 1994. Figures of previous high profile in the party, like General Magnus Malan, Chris Heunis, Pik Botha and Adriaan Vlok, are being named as the nucleus of the ONP. Rumours are also circulating that name former-state president F W de Klerk as being behind the ONP. None of these gentlemen was willing to give an interview to Not the M&G. A woman answering Botha’s cellphone called the idea ‘ludicrous” and asked our reporter to check his facts before making wild accusations. She said Botha was, anyway, ‘a fully paid-up member of the ANC and not the sort of man who could change his lifetime loyalties just for a little political gain”.
The internal memoranda refer to honderde duisende (hundreds of thousands) letters and personal approaches made to previous high- level figures of the pre-1994 administration. These are not only Cabinet members but include many high-ranking civil servants who lost their jobs to ‘transformation”. All of these have been approached by hordes of willing followers, friends, helpers and support organisations eager to throw their weight behind the revived party. Some are already setting up the necessary infrastructures. A Donny Duvenhage, believed to have once been a chief director in the now defunct Department of Bantu education, is named in the documents as having already formed an ‘Election Canvassing and Action Group” to ‘organise and prepare for the 2004 elections”.
After nearly two weeks of diligent tracking and searching Not the M&G investigative reporters managed to make telephonic contact with someone from the ONP prepared to go on record, though the person only did so with a guarantee of anonymity.
Asked whether the ONP would in fact come back into being, the spokesperson replied that the time has never been more ripe for a return to the grassroots of the wonderful years before South Africa turned into a bed of corruption and vice. ‘Look around you. Look at the sex shops and the runaway crime and all the stealing and corruption, the backdoor payments, the fancy BMWs, Mercedes and Volvos for anyone with a pal in the government. Who do you think would have a better chance of stopping that sort of rot: President Thabo Mbeki? He’s never in the country, anyway.
‘Or would you rather trust someone of the honourable ethical make-up of a Pik Botha. You can’t tell me you would see that allowed even under a John Vorster. Yet, today you raise one finger in the wrong direction and you are up on treason charges. It was never that way under the old Nats. We desperately need to have them back again. Before it’s too late.”
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