This Day in History

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Wednesday, December 31, 1986
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Esso South Africa withdrew business from South Africa on 31 December 1986. The country was at the height of political conflict and violence that made it hard for most foreign companies to remain operational. Esso South Africa was an affiliate of America’s Exxon. It was one of the main producers of petroleum products.

This article was produced for South African History Online on 20-Dec-2012

This Day in History Extra Dates
  • Friday, December 31, 2004
    President Thabo Mbeki joins several African leaders in Nairobi, Kenya, to witness the final signing of a peace accord between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
    References:

  • Wednesday, December 31, 2003
    Eight British tourists, five men and three women, are killed on their way to the Royal Natal National Park when their bus swerves to avoid a pedestrian on the road and crashes. The male pedestrian is also killed while several other foreign tourists and the SA driver and a tour guide are injured.
    References:

  • Friday, December 31, 2004
    Sudanese President Omar al Bashir and First Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamad Taha arrive with their National Party Secretary General Ibrahim Ahmed Omer in Naivasha, Kenai, to sign the peace protocols with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement, paving the way for a comprehensive accord ending Africa's longest-running civil war.
    References:

  • Thursday, December 31, 1998
    Ernie Els, SA champion golfer, weds Liezl Wehmeyer in Stellenbosch.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Sunday, December 31, 2000
    The Public Service employs 1 042 392 people – a decrease of 23 607 from December 1999. Seventy-one per cent of employees are African.
    References:
    • Burger, D. (ed)(2002). South Africa Yearbook 2001/02, Pretoria: GCIS, pp. 313, 318

  • Sunday, December 31, 2000
    There are 194 infants with their mothers in prison.
    References:
    • Burger, D. (ed)(2002). South Africa Yearbook 2001/02, Pretoria: GCIS, p. 388

  • Sunday, December 31, 1995
    Algerian President Liamine Zeroual appoints Ahmed Ouyahia as prime minister to replace Mokdad Sifi.
    References:

  • Thursday, December 31, 1987
    SA ratifies International Sugar Agreement.

  • Friday, December 31, 1993
    Frederick and Clifford Nissen, brothers of the ANC assistant secretary of the Western Cape, the Rev. Chris Nissen, is shot dead.
    References:
    • Coleman, M. (ed)(1998). A Crime Against Humanity: analysing the repression of the apartheid state, Johannesburg: Human Rights Committee, p. 257.

  • Thursday, December 31, 1987
    A total of twenty-one people are serving life sentences for offences against the security of the state, according to the minister of justice.
    References:
    • South African Institute of Race Relations. (1989). Race Relations Survey 1988/89, Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, p. 531

  • Thursday, December 31, 1987
    Up to this date 5 483 187ha have been bought in terms of the Development Trust and Land Act of 1936 at a cost of R1,27bn for the purpose of homeland consolidation.
    References:
    • South African Institute of Race Relations. (1989). Race Relations Survey 1988/89, Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, p. 85

  • Wednesday, December 31, 1986
    The Esso oil company withdraws from South Africa.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Tuesday, December 31, 1985
    Government extended orders, in force since March, prohibiting anti-government groups from holding meetings, for another six months.

  • Saturday, December 31, 1983
    The Nigerian civil government of President Shehu Shagari is overthrown in a fourth, bloodless, military coup led by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari. He was declared Head of State on 2 January 1984.
    References:
    • Bute, E.L. & Harmer, H.J.P. (1997). The Black Handbook, London: Cassell.

  • Thursday, December 31, 1981
    In his second military coup, Jerry Rawlings overthrows the government of President Hilla Limann in Ghana.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau
    •  Bute, E.L. & Harmer, H.J.P. (1997). The Black Handbook, London: Cassell.

  • Friday, December 31, 1976
    Winnie Mandela is elected to the Black Parents Committee.

  • Friday, December 31, 1971
    Dr Albertus J.R. van Rhijn (81), newspaper editor, member of parliament and minister of Economic Affairs, dies.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Friday, December 31, 1976
    In his New Year's Eve address the prime minister warns the country that South Africa will have to face the Communist onslaught in Southern Africa alone.

  • Sunday, December 31, 1967
    Prime Minister B.J. Vorster warns that the government would re-assess the Simonstown agreement during 1968. This reaction follows the British government's decision to maintain the South African arms embargo.

  • Tuesday, December 31, 1963
    The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, called The Central African Federation, is dissolved.
    References:
    • Bute, E.L. & Harmer, H.J.P. (1997). The Black Handbook, London: Cassell.
    •  www.vdiest.nl
    •  www.andibradley.com

  • Friday, December 31, 1965
    The government's attitude to Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence is defined by the Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, when he says that South Africa will not be coerced into any form of boycott.

  • Thursday, December 31, 1959
    Final evacuation of Sophiatown by Black residents.

  • Wednesday, December 31, 1941
    Senator F.S. Malan (69), editor of the early Afrikaans publications Die Afrikaanse Patriot and Ons Land, dies.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Tuesday, December 31, 1946
    Gen. Jan Kemp (74), SA warrior, politician and minister of defence, dies in Piet Retief.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Saturday, December 31, 1932
    E.S.J. van Graan, his son and three friends scale the flat-topped sandstone hill on the farm Greefswald, Messina (now Musina) district and make a dramatic discovery of an ancient civilization. The site is now known as Mapungubwe.
    References:
    • Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 7, p. 193

  • Friday, December 31, 1926
    Lieutenant-Colonel Manie Bredell retires as head adjunct-commissioner of the South African Police.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Monday, December 31, 1923
    The Sahara is traversed by an automobile for the first time.
    References:

  • Wednesday, December 31, 1913
    Anna Margaretha Louw, Afrikaans author and recipient of various wards, is born in the district of Calvinia.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Saturday, December 31, 1910
    The Rev. W.A. Alheit and his youngest daughter, Bella, drown at Kleinmond when a freak wave washes them from the rocks.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Thursday, December 31, 1908
    Dulcie Joyce Lind Howes, doyen of ballet in SA, is born in Mossel Bay.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Saturday, December 31, 1904
    Stefan Meiring Naudé, i.a. president of the CSIR (1952) and scientific advisor of the premier (1971), is born in De Doorns, Western Cape.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Sunday, December 31, 1905
    Agnes Alwena (Wena) Naude, SA actress, is born in Volksrust.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Saturday, December 31, 1892
    James Manuel Blanckenberg, SA cricket player in eighteen tests (1913-1924), is born in Claremont, Cape Town.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Friday, December 31, 1886
    Mary Agard (Mamie) Pocock, algologist and botanist, who is commemorated in many plant names, is born in Rondebosch, Cape Town.
    References:
    • Verwey, E.J. (ed)(1995). New Dictionary of South African Biography, v.1, Pretoria: HSRC.

  • Friday, December 31, 1875
    Adam Kok III, Griqua chief and third son of Griqua chief Adam Kok II, dies near Kokstad. Date is given as 30 December 1875 in another source.
    References:
    • Kruger, D.W. (ed)(1972). Dictionary of South African Biography, Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council, v. 4, p. 287.

  • Monday, December 31, 1860
    Sidney Mendelssohn, compiler of the South African Bibliography and collector of Africana, is born in Exeter, England.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Wednesday, December 31, 1851
    Frederick Courteney Selous, traveller, hunter, writer and naturalist is born in London. He came to Southern Africa in 1871. The village of Selous in Rhodesia is named after him.
    References:
    • Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 9, p. 579.

  • Thursday, December 31, 1807
    Josias Phillipus Hoffman, first president of the Orange Free State (1854), is born in Stellenbosch, Western Cape.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau
    •  Swart, M.J., et al. (eds)(1980). Afrikaanse Kultuuralmanak Aucklandpark: Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge.

  • Wednesday, December 31, 1834
    A large force of some 12 000 Western Xhosas, led by Makoma (Maqoma), the leader of the Gaika tribe, sweeps into the Cape Colony and devastates the country between the Winterberg mountain and the sea.
    References:
    • Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 5, p.58

  • Wednesday, December 31, 1687
    The first French Huguenots leave the Netherlands for the Cape, with vine shoots from France with them on the ship.
    References:
    • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

  • Sunday, December 31, 1600
    Queen Elizabeth I grants a charter to the "company of merchants of London trading to the East Indies" the East India Company.
    References: