1887

n Historia - The United Party and the 1950 general election in South-West Africa

USD

 

Abstract


In sy boek motiveer K.A. Heard sy besluit om nie die 1950 Algemene Verkiesing in Suidwes-Afrika te bespreek nie met die stelling dat die gebied 'outside the mainstream of South African history and politics...' geval het. Hoewel nie sonder 'n mate van geldigheid nie, is so 'n stelling misleidend.
Eerstens verbloem Heard se stelling die aansienlike mate waartoe die Suidwes-Afrika-kiesers teen 1950 reeds betrokke was by die strydpunte van die destydse Suid-Afrikaanse politieke debat. Hierdie betrokkenheid het duidelik geblyk uit die aard van die verkiesing. Dit was in wese 'n stryd tussen die Herenigde Nasionale Party en die Verenigde Party, wat gevoer is deur hul gevolmagtigdes. In hierdie stryd het Suid-Afrikaanse binnelandse aangeleenthede 'n beslissende rol gespeel.
Tweedens ignoreer Heard se stelling die mate waartoe die verkiesingskwessies die politieke besluitnemingsproses in Suid-Afrika beïnvloed het. Die insluiting van klousules in die Wet op Suid-Afrikaanse Burgerskap van 1950 om die gevoelens van gedenaturaliseerde Duitssprekendes in Suidwes-Afrika te akkommodeer, en die besluit om aan die oorlog in Korea deel te neem, is maar twee sulke voorbeelde.
Derdens hou Heard se stelling nie rekening met die feit dat die uitslag van die verkiesing direkte en diepgaande gevolge vir Suid-Afrika gehad het nie. Die verkiesing was een van 'n aantal belangrike stappe wat die Malan-regering sedert 1948 gedoen het om sy bewind te versterk. Dit is egter belangrik om te besef dat die uitslag van die verkiesing geensins 'n uitgemaakte saak was nie.
Die gevolge van 'n nederlaag en die besondere klein meerderheid waarmee die Regering die verkiesing gewen het, illustreer die omvang van die berekende risiko wat Malan geneem het. Dit verklaar verder ook die hoeveelheid energie en geld wat die strydende partye in die verkiesingstryd gestort het.

In his study , K.A. Heard justifies omitting a discussion of the 1950 General Election in South-West Africa on the grounds that the territory lay 'outside the mainstream of South African history and politics...' While not without a degree of validity such an assertion is misleading.


In the first instance it obscures the considerable extent to which the South-West African electorate had, by 1950, been drawn into the issues which informed the contemporary South African political debate. This was evident in the nature of the electoral confrontation. It was, in essence, a contest between the Herenigde Nasionale Party and the United Party, fought through their proxies, in which South African domestic issues played a crucial role.
Secondly it ignores the extent to which the imperatives of the election campaign itself affected the political decision making process within South Africa. The inclusion of clauses in the South African Citizenship Act of 1950 so as better to accommodate the sensitivities of denaturalised German-speakers in South-West Africa and the decision to participate in the war in Korea are but two of a number of examples.
Thirdly the outcome of the General Election held direct and profound consequences for South Africa for it was one of the more important of a number of steps which the Malan Government had, since 1948, taken so as more firmly to entrench itself inpower. That said it is important to recognise that the outcome of the election was not a foregone conclusion.
The consequences of defeat and the very narrow margin of the Government's victory illustrate the extent of the calculated risk which Malan took and account for the considerable energy and expense which the protagonists devoted to the contest.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/hist/39/1/EJC37814
1994-05-01
2016-12-06
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error