Former senior opposition and government politician Marais Steyn, died of heart failure at the age of 83 in Stellenbosch. His political career started in 1948, when he stood for the United Party (UP) against the National Party MP for Alberton, Hendrik Verwoerd. In the face of all predictions, he beat him. More surprised than anyone was UP leader Jan Smuts, who said he had not expected the 33-year-old Steyn to do more than keep Verwoerd busy in the run-up to the election. After years in the opposition, he defected to the ruling National Party (NP) in 1973. As member of the NP, Prime minister B.J Vorster appointed him as minister of community development and Indian affairs, and later tourism and Coloured affairs as well. He wound up his exciting political career as ambassador to the United Kingdom and later Transkei before he retired in 1986.
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