Biography of Klerk, Frederik Willem de - Archontology
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Klerk, Frederik Willem de

Frederik Willem de Klerk

b. 18 Mar 1936, Johannesburg, Transvaal Province
d. 11 Nov 2021, Cape Town, Western Cape

Title: Acting State President of the Republic of South Africa :: Waarnemende Staatspresident van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika
Term: 15 Aug 1989 - 20 Sep 1989
Chronology: 15 Aug 1989, designated by the Cabinet in accordance with the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, 1983, Art. 10 (2) (c) [1]
  15 Aug 1989, took an oath of office as Acting State President, inaugural ceremony, West Wing, Union Buildings, Pretoria [1][2]
Title: State President of the Republic of South Africa :: Staatspresident van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika
Term: 20 Sep 1989 - 10 May 1994
Chronology: 14 Sep 1989, elected, session of an electoral college consisting of the members of the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, and House of Delegates, Chamber of the House of Assembly, Cape Town [3]
  20 Sep 1989, took an oath of office as State President, public ceremony, Universiteitsoord Dutch Reformed Church, Pretoria [4]
  10 May 1994, ceased to exercise the functions of office upon the installation of a successor in accordance with the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, 1993, Art. 235 (1) (a) (c) [5]
Son of Johannes de Klerk; matriculated from Monument High School in Krugersdorp on the West Rand in 1953; graduated from the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education with BA and LL.B degrees (the latter cum laude) in 1958; received an early training in politics through membership of the Jeugbond, the youth section of the National Party (Nasionale Party); on completion of his studies, he joined a firm of attorneys in Vereeniging in the Transvaal and soon took the lead in numerous community activities; was offered the Chair of Administrative Law at Potchefstroom University, but had to decline because of his decision to enter active politics (1972); stood as a National Party candidate in the November 1972 by-election and was returned to the House of Assembly of the Republic of South Africa (1972-1989) as a representative of Vereeniging; was made information officer of the National Party in the Transvaal (1975); appointed minister of posts and telecommunications and of social welfare and pensions (1978) in the Cabinet of Balthazar Johannes Vorster; under Prime Minister Pieter Willem Botha, he held a succession of ministerial posts, including posts and telecommunications and sports and recreation (1978–1979), mines, energy and environmental planning (1979–1980), mineral and energy affairs (1980–1982), internal affairs (1982–1985), and national education and planning (1984–1989); elected Leader of the National Party in the Transvaal (1982-1989); served as Chairman of the Ministers' Council in the House of Assembly (1985-1989); became Leader of the House of Assembly (from 1 Dec 1986); when Botha suffered a stroke, he succeeded him as Leader of the National Party (1989-1997); following the resignation of Botha as State President, he was designated as Acting State President (15 Aug 1989 - 20 Sep 1989) by the Cabinet; after his election as State President (20 Sep 1989 - 10 May 1994), he pursued a reconciliatory policy aimed at dismantling the political system built during the dominance of the National Party; led his party into the negotiations with the African National Congress and other organisations representing the black majority; his term as State President expired with the installation of a successor elected under the Interim Constitution drafted in 1993 by the Multiparty Negotiating Forum; despite the defeat of the National Party in the general election of 1994, he was designated as an Executive Deputy President (1994-1996) in the Government of National Unity; became Leader of the Official Opposition (1996-1997) when the National Party left the ruling coalition; retired from politics in 1997.
Biographical sources: "The Last Trek—A New Beginning: The Autobiography", by Frederik Willem de Klerk (London: Macmillan, 1998).

[1] Government Gazette, 16 Aug 1989, No. 12059, p. 1.
[2] Die Burger, 16 Aug 1989, p. 2.
[3] Government Gazette, 29 Sep 1989, No. 12110, p. 17; Die Burger, 15 Sep 1989, p. 3.
[4] Government Gazette, 27 Sep 1989, No. 12080, p. (1); Die Burger, 21 Sep 1989, pp. 2, 3, 21.
[5] Government Gazette, 28 Jan 1994, No. 15466, p. 156: "235 (1) A person who immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was (a) the State President or a Minister or Deputy Minister of the Republic within the meaning of the previous Constitution; (b) the Administrator or a member of the Executive Council of a province; or (c) the President, Chief Minister or other chief executive or a Minister, Deputy Minister or other political functionary in a government under any other constitution or constitutional arrangement which was in force in an area which forms part of the national territory, shall continue in office until the President has been elected in terms of section 77 (1) (a) and has assumed office."