Herstigte Nasionale Party

The Herstigte Nasionale Party (Reconstituted National Party) is a South African political party which was formed as a far-right splinter group of the now defunct National Party in 1969. The party name was commonly abbreviated as HNP, evoking the Herenigde Nasionale Party, although colloquially they were also known as the Herstigtes.[1] The party is, unlike other splinter factions from the National Party, still active but politically irrelevant.

Herstigte Nasionale Party
LeaderAndries Breytenbach
FounderAlbert Hertzog
Founded25 October 1969 (1969-10-25)
Split fromNational Party
Headquarters199 Neethling Street, Eloffsdal, Pretoria
NewspaperDie Afrikaner
IdeologyAfrikaner nationalism
White supremacy
Political positionFar-right
ColoursOrange, white and blue
Party flag
www.hnp.org.za (in Afrikaans)



The HNP was formed in 1969 by Albert Hertzog (son of former Prime Minister General JBM Hertzog) in protest against the decision by Prime Minister B.J. Vorster to authorize the presence of Maori players and spectators during the tour of New Zealand rugby union team in South Africa in 1970. He was also against Vorster's re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Malawi and that country's appointment of a Black ambassador to South Africa.[2] The name was chosen to reflect the initials of the earlier Herenigde Nasionale Party (Reunited National Party), the name used by the National Party in the election of 1948. Seeking a return to Calvinism as the basis of South Africa, the party advocated complete racial segregation and the adoption of Afrikaans as the only official language.[3] The bulk of the membership of the new party was made up of rural and small town working and lower middle class Afrikaners who resented what they saw as the National Party devoting their attentions to the concerns of urban Afrikaner elites.[2] The Afrikaner Broederbond denied membership to any HNP member.

The party contested the 1970 general election although its campaign was the subject of government crackdowns and attacks. The party's 78 candidates were all defeated, including its four Members of Parliament, all of whom had been National Party members before defecting to the new HNP.[4] The party also contested 50 seats in the 1974 general election but failed to make an impact in an election where reformists advanced.[5] During this election the HNP boycotted the English language press, as the party opposed the use of the language.[6] It also contested three by-elections in 1975 and 1976 and enjoyed some growth, taking second place ahead of the United Party in the two seats that that group contested.[7] The HNP captured 3.3% of the vote in the 1977 general election before increasing to 14.1% in 1981 as right wing disenchantment with the NP grew, but on no occasion did it win any seats[8] and its newly acquired voters soon shifted their support to the Conservative Party.

Eugène Terre'Blanche had been a member of the HNP, but broke with the group in 1973, after becoming disillusioned with their adherence to electoral politics. He then established the paramilitary Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging.[9] He also differed from the HNP in his belief in the establishment of a white homeland in South Africa, something the HNP rejected as unnecessary.[10]

Emergence in the 1980s

Under the leadership of Jaap Marais, the former deputy leader who replaced the retiring Hertzog in 1977,[11] the party emerged as a force amongst white South Africans. In 1979 the evidence of its potential was demonstrated in a series of by-elections when it seemed to threaten the position of the ruling party.[12] In a near-breakthrough focused on right-wing Afrikaners dissatisfied with the Botha government, it obtained 14.1% support in the 1981 general election. In the constituency of Rustenburg, the HNP candidate came hundreds of votes from besting the incumbent National MP, but to no avail.[13][14] In October 1985 the party's general secretary Louis Stofberg won a by-election in Sasolburg on a campaign based on the presence of a mixed couple in the constituency and opposition to the tax system, in which the wealthier white population paid more tax than the other ethnic groups.[15] The victory came in the midst of a failed electoral alliance between the HNP and the Conservative Party that had been established earlier that year, with Andries Treurnicht claiming it was a first step to merging the HNP into the Conservatives, something the conviction-oriented Marais firmly opposed.[10] With the CP not filing a candidate, Stofberg represented the constituency for two years as a sole voice attacking the NP from the right. From 1987, the CP captured the role of official opposition under Treurnicht with strong support from Afrikaner voters and so the electoral basis for the HNP was drained.

The HNP effectively remained the chief voice of the uncompromising far-right, however, particularly in 1989 when both the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging and the Boerestaat Party declared their support for Marais over Treurnicht, who despite his stances was considered a pragmatic opportunist, with a long background in the NP under Vorster's and Botha's leadership.[16][17] Its only previous contact with other parties had been in 1985 with a brief co-operation with the Conservative Party to oppose the repeal of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act and the Immorality Amendment Act by P.W. Botha, both part of a cosmetic reform programme aimed at improving the picture of apartheid South Africa, which Treurnicht decried as "multiracialism".[18][19] Although the AWB did not set up an official political wing and did not officially endorse the HNP, its long-time leader Eugene Terre'Blanche had previously run for office under the HNP banner.[20]

Network with other organisations

On the international stage, the HNP built up a number of contacts with far-right groups in Europe and for a time during the 1980s it was responsible for funding the United Kingdom-based League of Saint George.[21] It was also closely associated with the South African National Front (SANF), an overseas branch of the National Front in the United Kingdom.[22] Between 1980 and 1987 the party bankrolled the English-speaking far-right journal South African Patriot, edited by SANF members John Hiddleston and then Alan Harvey.


The HNP joined the Afrikaner Volksfront of General Constand Viljoen in 1991, but the front collapsed in 1994 when many of the members refused to participate in South Africa's first non-racial elections.[23] The HNP drifted away from Viljoen and did not join his Freedom Front party. As a result, it has become something of a marginal force in contemporary South Africa, arguing for the self-determination of white Afrikaners and a return to Verwoerdian apartheid. The party motto is now "This land is our land" (Afrikaans: Dié Land is ons Land).

It re-emerged in 2004, when the party lodged an official complaint against the SABC 3 television channel when it broadcast a play entitled ID, which satirised the killing of Hendrik Verwoerd. Although the HNP argued that it portrayed Verwoerd and his supporters unfairly, the complaint was rejected by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.[24]

Jaap Marais died in 2000, and was replaced as leader by Willie Marais. Willie Marais died in December 2007, and was replaced as by Japie Theart.[25] The present leader is Andries Breytenbach.[26] Two splits have occurred from the party over ideology and tactics: the Afrikaner Nationalist Movement in 2004, and the Afrikaner Volksparty in 2008.


When founded, the HNP emphasised above all its Afrikaner identity, attacking immigration, seeking to downgrade the importance of the English language, and endorsing apartheid. The party also launched an attack on the materialism that it felt was taking over South African society and thus sought to present itself as the voice of working class Afrikaners.[27] It frequently attacked the "liberalism" of the National Party regime, arguing that it was gradually diluting apartheid and offering too many concessions to non-Whites.[28]

The party rejects the idea of a separate Volkstaat specifically for Afrikaners, claiming all of South Africa for Afrikaners instead. It believes that the interests of the black population will be sufficiently met in the former black homelands. The HNP has no clear plan for how a return to Verwoerdian South Africa could be achieved. The party also emphasises the importance of Calvinism to the South African identity.[29]

The party does not recognise the new order in South Africa and, as part of its policy of resistance, encourages people not to vote. That makes it impossible to determine the exact level of support the party has.


While South Africa administered Namibia until 1988, the party was active in the country in opposition to independence and black rights. It contested the first multi-ethnic election in 1978, capturing 1.8% of the vote, or 10% of the White vote. The election resulted in a landslide win for the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia, albeit with the main black opposition parties, the South West Africa People's Organization and the Namibia National Front, excluded from the ballot.[30]

Election results

National Assembly
Election year # of total votes  % of overall vote # of seats won Rank
1970[31] 53 763 3.57% 0 3/4
1974[32] 39 568 3.6% 0 4/5
1977[33] 34 161 3.2% 0 4/5
1981[34] 192 304 14.09% 0 3/4
1987[35] 62 888 3.1% 0 4/5
1989[35] 5,416 0.2% 0 4/4


Year Name Period Time in office Deputy leader/s
1969 Albert Hertzog 1969–1977 8 years
1977 Jaap Marais 1977–2000 23 years
2000 Willie Marais 2000–2007 7 years
2007 Japie Theart 2007–2010 3 years
2010[36] Andries Breytenbach 2010–present incumbent


  1. Jean Branford, A Dictionary of South African English, Oxford University Press, 1978, p. 88
  2. Howard Brotz, The Politics of South Africa: Democracy and Racial Diversity, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 45
  3. Du Toit, Brian M. (1991). "The Far Right in Current South African Politics". The Journal of Modern African Studies. Cambridge University Press. 29 (4): 627–67. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00005693. ISSN 1469-7777. JSTOR 161141. S2CID 154640869.
  4. Brotz, Politics of South Africa, p. 47
  5. A.W. Stadler, 'The 1974 General Election in South Africa', African Affairs, Vol. 74, No. 295. (April 1975), pp. 209–218
  6. Brotz, Politics of South Africa, p. 49
  7. Brotz, Politics of South Africa, pp. 54–55
  8. "Elections in South Africa". africanelections.tripod.com. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  9. (in Afrikaans) Eugene Terre'Blanche (1941–2010) Archived 12 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 4 April 2010
  10. Carole Cooper, Jennifer Shindler, Colleen McCaul, Frances Potter, Melanie Cullum, Monty Narsoo, Pierre Brouard, Race Relations Survey 1985, Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, 1986, p. 17
  11. du Toit, op cit, p. 638
  12. M. Meredith, In the Name of Apartheid, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1988, p. 175
  13. du Toit, op cit, p. 639
  14. Charney, Craig R. (1982). "Towards Rupture or Stasis? An Analysis of the 1981 South African General Election". African Affairs. 81 (325): 527–545. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a097454. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  15. Cooper et al, Race Relations Survey 1985, pp. 16-17
  16. de Toit, op cit, p. 646
  17. Cowell, Alan (21 August 1985). "To Botha's Right, Rattling of Swords". The New York Times.
  18. R. Omond, The Apartheid Handbook, Penguin, 1985, pp. 26–7
  19. Cowell, Alan (21 August 1985). "To Botha's Right, Rattling of Swords". The New York Times.
  20. "Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche | South African History Online".
  21. R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror, London: Grafton, 1988, pp. 255–6
  22. Hill & Bell, op cit, pp. 52–73
  23. 'South Africa Freedom Front'
  24. Herstigte Nasionale Party v SABC 3, Case 42 of 2004
  25. "Party site". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  26. Die HNP se leiers
  27. M. Meredith, In the Name of Apartheid, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1988, p. 160
  28. Brotz, Politics of South Africa, p. 46
  29. "'Waarvoor die HNP staan'". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
  30. 'Elections in Namibia'
  31. Bryn Morgan. "General Election results, 1 May 1997" (PDF). House of Commons Library. p. 6. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  32. Bryn Morgan. "General Election results, 7 June 2001" (PDF). House of Commons Library. p. 11. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  33. "2005 General election results". UK Political Info. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  34. "Election 2010 Results". BBC News. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  35. "UK 2015 general election results in full", The Guardian,
  36. http://www.hnp.org.za/leierskap/ (accessed 2021 Mar 19: "Andries Breytenbach is op 23 Augustus 2008 as een van drie onderleiers van die HNP verkies en op 27 Maart 2010 verkies tot Leier van die HNP na die uittrede van mnr Japie Theart.")
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