Educated locally, then at the University of Pretoria where he graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Divinity added to his BA.
After six years in the ministry, he was appointed to a church at Witbank, 65 miles east of Pretoria in the heart of a mining area. He gained a reputation for straight talking on everyday issues and was elected to Witbank Town Council. In March 1966 he won the Witbank seat as a Nationalist parliamentary candidate. Promoted as an attentive backbencher in the July 1972 reshuffle, he came into the headlines on March 21, 1973, for a vigorous attack on “work- shy Bantus" in South-West Africa. He said these people would be put on a “black list” which would mean they could not get employment in white areas.
A politician who takes a tough stand against those he calls “workshy Bantus”. Minister of the Dutch Reformed Church at a coal mining centre in the Transvaal for 20 years before taking up politics. Although he did not find it easy to succeed a Bantu expert like Dr Piet Koornhof, he has proved himself as a man of patience with difficult problems.