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Constand Viljoen

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Nationality  South Africa
Name  Constand Viljoen
Children  5
Succeeded by  Pieter Mulder
Spouse(s)  Christina Heckroodt
Party  Freedom Front Plus
Role  South African Politician

Constand Viljoen DCASP487jpgsequence1ampisAllowedy
President  Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki
Born  28 October 1933 (age 82) Standerton, Transvaal Province, Union of South Africa (1933-10-28)
Relations  Braam Viljoen (Twin brother)
Organizations founded  Freedom Front Plus, Afrikaner Volksfront
People also search for  Pieter Mulder, Connie Mulder, Lourie Bosman

Battles and wars  South African Border War
Political party  Freedom Front Plus

1994 constand viljoen talks with bernie shaw cnn

Constand Viljoen (born 28 October 1933) is a former South African military commander and politician. He is partly credited with preventing the outbreak of armed violence by disaffected white South Africans prior to post-apartheid general elections. He is married to Christina Susanna Heckroodt and has four sons and a daughter.


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Operation savannah 40 year reunion generaal constand viljoen

Military career

Constand Viljoen 1994 Constand Viljoen talks with Bernie Shaw CNN YouTube

Viljoen matriculated at Standerton High School in 1951. He joined South Africa's pre-republic Union Defence Force in 1956 upon receiving a degree in military science at the University of Pretoria. By 1974, Viljoen had been named the South African Army's Director of General Operations, subsequently serving as the Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the South African Defence Force. He was appointed as Chief of the Army in 1977 and succeeded Magnus Malan as SADF chief in 1980.

Angolan service

Constand Viljoen httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Viljoen was the senior SADF military officer directing Operation Savannah in 1975. He is also credited with planning the first major airborne assault in South African military history, Cassinga, a raid carried out against SWAPO insurgents. Despite his rank, Viljoen was present during the battle, offering what was described as a "swashbuckling" front-line leadership, which won him the respect of many fellow Afrikaners.

Political career

Constand Viljoen Gen Constand Viljoen

Viljoen is credited by some with making overtures which helped lead to white South Africans' acceptance of universal suffrage and free elections, such as with his famous speech at the Broederbond annual assembly in Voortrekkerhoogte, saying of the Black South Africans in his army, As hulle kan veg vir Suid-Afrika, kan hulle stem vir Suid-Afrika! (Afrikaans: "If they can fight for South Africa, then they can vote for South Africa!").

Constand Viljoen Last Boer general fears for the future News National MG

In 1993, Viljoen and fellow retired generals formed the Afrikaner Volksfront (Afrikaner People's Front), an umbrella body for conservative Afrikaners. However, Viljoen reportedly had strained relationships with the leaders of other right-wing parties, who considered him too moderate.

Bophuthatswana action and decision to contest elections

Immediately prior to the 1994 elections Viljoen had a force of between 50,000 and 60,000 trained paramilitary personnel at his command, with the ability to seize large sections of the country. The force was assembled in preparation for war with Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, as a potential contingency to protect Afrikaner interests.

In March 1994, Viljoen led an effort by several thousand Volksfront militia to protect bantustan president Lucas Mangope in Bophuthatswana against a coup d'├ętat. Despite being requested not to participate in the action due to their extremist views, militants of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging also advanced into Bophuthatswana, sparking clashes with the security forces.

Immediately after the incident, Viljoen split from the Volksfront and initiated a legitimate election campaign, co-founding and becoming leader of the Freedom Front (Vryheidsfront), a new political party representing white conservatives. His decision to take part in the elections is believed to have prevented armed resistance by the far right and on the occasion of his retirement from politics the South African government recognised him for preventing bloodshed.

Viljoen's decision was at least partly influenced by the mediation of his identical twin brother, Abraham (Braam) Viljoen, who was an anti-apartheid activist while his brother led the military.

Post-apartheid South Africa

In the election, the Freedom Front, under the leadership of Viljoen, received 2.2% of the national vote and nine seats in the National Assembly. It became the strongest party outside Nelson Mandela's Government of National Unity. Although his supporters were at odds with the government and the ANC, Viljoen praised Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his retreat from politics in 1999, even ending his Parliamentary speech with an attempt at speaking in Mandela's native language, Xhosa: Go rest in peace. Go rest in the shadow of a tree at your home.

In 2001, Viljoen handed over the leadership of the Freedom Front to Pieter Mulder and retired from politics, citing his frustration working with a parliament dominated by the ANC.

After retirement

In 2003, it emerged that Viljoen had been a target of the Boeremag paramilitary right-wing group, which considered him a traitor who had underhandedly sold out the Afrikaner people.

In 2008 Viljoen, aged 74, put up what was described as a spirited fight against two would-be muggers, who were subsequently arrested.

Awards and decorations

  • Star of South Africa (SSA)
  • Southern Cross Decoration (SD)
  • South African Police Star for Outstanding Service (SOE)
  • Southern Cross Medal (SM)
  • Military Merit Medal (MMM)
  • Pro Patria Medal
  • Good Service Medal, Gold (30 Years)
  • Good Service Medal, Silver (20 Years)
  • Permanent Force Good Service Medal
  • Order of the Cloud and Banner - with Grand Cordon (2nd Grade) (ORB)(Taiwan)
  • References

    Constand Viljoen Wikipedia