Early Cape lawyer Johannes de Wet is born

Sunday, 7 September 1794

Lawyer, historian and leader in public affairs, Johannes de Wet was born in Cape Town. He was a fervent opponent to the idea of the Cape being used as a penal colony by Britain. De Wet was a member of the preliminary committee that brought about the establishment of the South African College (presently known as University of Cape Town). He was in favour of press freedom and that democratic principles be instilled in all spheres of government and leadership, hence his opposition to Lord Charles Somerset, whom he viewed as autocratic. On several occasions he declined appointments to the judiciary, because he was opposed to capital punishment. De wet died on 7 September 1875 in Cape Town.

 

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References:
• Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 4
• Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau).

Last updated : 06-Sep-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011