Malan forms his own political party and gains power
DF Malan was not happy with the new arrangement, and when Hertzog and Smuts announced the intention to form a coalition he and 19 other MP's defected and formed their own political party: the Gesuiwerde Nationale Party, (GNP, Purified National Party). When the 'fusion' of the National Party and South African Party (SAP) won the 1934 general election, Malan's GNP became the official opposition. By the end of the year the fusion government had officially joined to form the United Party.
In 1939 Hertzog and Smuts disagreed over South Africa's role in the war brewing between Britain and Germany. Hertzog wanted South Africa to be neutral, Smuts wanted to support Britain. Malan and his GNP were all for supporting Germany. In September 1939 the fusion government fractured, Hertzog departed to form a new party, the Volksparty (People's Party) with the intention of uniting Afrikaner nationalists, and immediately began negotiations with Malan to unite with the GNP. The process of reconciliation (hereniging) between Hertzog and Malan was not straightforward, neither wanting to give up the position of power, and it was eventually agreed that GNP and the Volksparty would act as a single entity in parliament under the title Herenigde Nationale Party of Volksparty (the Re-united National Party or Peoples Party) with Hertzog as leader. The relationship, however, did not last long. Hertzog once again departed in 1941 (under increasing pressure from opponents inside the party) to form the Afrikaner Party with Nicolaas Havenga. During the 1943 general election, the Herenigde Nationale Party (HNP, Re-united National Party) under the leadership of DF Malan won 43 out of 150 seats.
National Party comes to power and introduces Apartheid
World War II was a major boon to the nationalist cause. By the end of the war nearly 25 percent of all Afrikaners were members of the paramilitary organisation, Ossewabrandwag, despite its leadership being detained. In the four years following the end of the war, Smuts government suffered several political setbacks both nationally and internationally. When the results of the 1948 general election were announced, there was a sense of disbelief that the Union Party's significant majority had dwindled to the point that the HNP, in a pact with the Afrikaner Party (under Nicolaas Havenga – Hertzog had died in 1942), was able to take power. The HNP had a majority of 86 seats out of the total 150 (although it had not achieved a majority of the vote).It was the beginning of 46 years of political dominance.
Malan and the HNP had campaigned on a platform of Apartheid – white supremacy, racial segregation and the control of migrant Black workers – and during his six-and-a-half years in office the foundations of the Apartheid regime were laid. Legislation included the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 of 1949, the Population Registration Act No 30 of 1950, the Group Areas Act No 41 of 1950, Suppression of Communism Act No 44 1950, the Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act No 52 of 1951, the Bantu Authorities Act No 68 of 1951, Native Laws Amendment Act No 54 of 1952, the Abolition of Passes Act No 67 of 1952, and the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act No 49 of 1953, and the Bantu Education Act of 1953. This legislation removed the last trace of a non-white franchise and imposed segregation on almost all aspects of South African life.
In the 1953 general election the National Party's majority grew to 94 seats out of the 150. In 1954, at age of 80, DF Malan retired and handed power over to Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom. He died in 1959.
Part 1 - Malan's Path to Power
This article was first created on 17 March 2003.