Educated at Paarl Boys’ High School and at Stellenbosch University where he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law.
For a time he sat as an independent. Then he launched a new party, the National Union Party, on April 30, 1960, with a programme opposing Verwoerd’s Bantustan policy, urging a strengthened voice for the Englishspeaking community, and seeking to keep South Africa inside the Commonwealth. It did not last long. Japie returned to the United Party and 422 became MP for Bezuidenhuit.
Soon he was leading the attack on the Nationalists for their security measures, which he said were employing secret police “in Gestapo-like fashion”. As an ardent advocate of genuine co-existence with Black Africa he hailed the visit of President Banda of Malawi to South Africa in August 1971 as a “five-day social revolution”.
At university he founded the first student branch of the United Party and afterwards at the age of 21 became United Party organiser at Paarl. Following five years as United Party Youth Front organiser he was assigned to South-West Africa in 1949. There, he switched to the Nationalist cause and was elected MP for Namib in 1950.
His opposition to a clause in the Bantu Self-Government Bill preventing White MPs from representing Africans brought a clash with the Nationalist leaders. On March 26, 1959, he was suspended from the party caucus. Premier Verwoerd ordered his expulsion from the party but the territorial committee voted against it in July. On October 26, 1959, Premier Verwoerd succeeded in having him expelled.
Leading member of the United Party and its spokesman on foreign affairs. Courageous politician with a formidable record of rebellion against the establishment and a flair for challenging the system at its most vulnerable points. Regarded by many as the man most likely to succeed Sir de Villiers Graaff as Opposition Leader one day. Phrasemaking former journalist whose habit of switching parties makes him unpredictable.