History of elections in South Africa

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The South African general elections: 1910

The South African Party (SAP) led by former Republican generals Louis Botha and Jan Smuts won the 1910 general elections. The SAP won 63 seats, and the opposition parties such as the Unionist Party of Dr Leander Starr Jameson won 39 seats, the Labour Party of Colonel Creswell won four seats, and the Independents won 11 seats in the House of Assembly.

On May 1910, Louis Botha became the Prime Minister and Jan Smuts his Deputy Prime Minister. The SAP was a combination of the Het Volk and the Nationalist Parties of the Transvaal, the Orangia Unie Party of the Orange Free State and the SAP in the Cape. It represented White English and Afrikaner speakers. The Unionist Party, dominated by wealthy mining magnates and capitalists, generally supported the SAP policies. The small Labour Party represented White workers. The Orange Free State leader, J B M Hertzog, joined Botha’s Cabinet in 1910 as Minister of Justice and he represented the Afrikaners. Hertzog wanted South Africa to be independent from the British Empire and ruled by ‘true Afrikaners”. The English community was disturbed by Hertzog’s words, and Botha asked him to resign, but Hertzog refused. Louis Botha resigned and formed a new government without Hertzog.

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References:
• Johnson, S. (1988). South Africa: No turning back. Macmillan.
• Tirykian, E.A. (1960). Apartheid and politics in South Africa. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 22, No 4, pp.682-697.
• Stultz, N. M. (1974). Afrikaner politics in South Africa, 1934-1948. University of California press. Berkely/ Los Angeles/ London.
• Roger B. Beck. (2000). The history of South Africa. Greenwood press, Cape Town, South Africa. 
•  Butler, J and Stultz, N M.  (1963). The South African general election of 1961, in Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 78, No. 1, pp. 86-110.    
•  Heard, A. K. (1974). General elections in South Africa. London. New York. Toronto: Oxford University.  

Last updated : 14-Apr-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 24-Feb-2014