Educated at Belfast High School, 120 miles east of Pretoria. Graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Pretoria in 1942.
He began farming with citrus and tobacco in 1943 in the Nelspruit district and rose to be director of the Lowveld Tobacco Cooperative and the Central Tobacco Cooperative of South Africa. At the general elections in March 1966 he won his local seat at Nelspruit. In August 1970 he was appointed chairman of the Bantu Affairs Commission and in the following year became Deputy Minister of Bantu Development. He was given the mammoth task of completing government purchase of land for the Bantu under the terms of the 1936 Act, dividing the quota of land among the eight Bantu units and fixing final boundaries.
Tobacco farmer and one-time chairman of the tobacco industry's Board of Control, put in charge of planning the consolidation of the Bantu homelands throughout the country. Although not an MP until he was 45, he quickly established himself as a parliamentarian skilled in handling legislation.