|9th State President of South Africa|
Assumed office |
15 July 2001
|Preceded by||Sarel Thomas Dussen|
|MP for Bloemfontein|
24 October 1996 – 14 July 2001
|1st Deputy Managing Director of the Civil Cooperation Bureau|
27 May 1986 – 18 August 1996
|Preceded by||office established|
|Succeeded by||Dawid Smit-Marias|
|Born||19 October 1953 (age 61)|
Bloemfontein, Orange Free State Province
|Spouse(s)||Janien Grobler (nee De Bruyn)|
|Alma mater||South African Military Academy|
University of Pretoria
|Religion||Christian (Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk)</td></tr>
</table> Jacobus Daniel "Cobus" Grobler (born 19 October 1953) is the ninth and current State President of the Republic of South Africa, succeeding the first Conservative State President, S.T. Dussen, in July 2001. Grobler is known for his strict adherence to the Apartheid ideology and fundamentalist Protestant Christianity.
Like many before him, Grobler was conscripted after matriculating from high school to a two year tour of duty, between 1972 and 1974. He served briefly during the initial small engagements of the South African Border War in northern South West Africa but was called back to the Free State in late 1972 and stationed locally to be on call to assist the local police authority in quelling riots and uprisings. It was during this time that Grobler opted to remain in the Defense Force. He completed his tour of duty with distinction at the end of 1973 and enrolled at the South African Military Academy early the following year. He obtained his BA (Mil) degree while at Saldanha and was commissioned as a Captain in the Army. He notably served during Operation Reindeer in 1978 and was subsequently awarded the Southern Cross Decoration by then-State President Nicolaas Johannes Diederichs shortly before his death.
In 1981 Grobler was transferred to the Counterinsurgency Unit (CIU) of the Special Branch of the South African Police in Bloemfontein, his home town. He served in the CIU for five years before in 1986 he was appointed as the Deputy Managing Director of the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB), a then-secretive special operations organization under the Defense Force dealing with political dissent. At only 33, he was one of the youngest members of South Africa's security apparatus' leadership. The position of Deputy Managing Director was specifically established as an office to liaise with the various other intelligence and counterterrorism entities throughout South Africa.
Grobler was among the many security chiefs who advised against the negotiations to end Apartheid which were initiated in the late 1980s and formalized in 1990 when State President F.W. De Klerk released political prisoner and African National Congress militant Nelson Mandela. Under the leadership of S.T. Dussen, a senior Conservative Party MP, Grobler and a few dozen other high officials in the South African government staged what many considered to be a political coup d'etat. In February 1994 shortly after the so called Interim Constitution, which was to pave the way to a democratic "final" Constitution, was enacted, police and security forces arrested senior National Party officials, including De Klerk, and rearrested many political prisoners who had been released since the "ending" of Apartheid, citing irregularities with the planning of the first democratic elections which were to take place in April. The 1992 referendum in which the majority of the white electorate voted in favor of democratic negotiations also had its legitimacy called into question when the National Intelligence Service released documents detailing possible electoral fraud.
With much of the National Party government's leadership being in prison, many Conservative Party MPs (which had been the official opposition since the 1989 elections) were appointed as acting ministers to cabinet level departments. The subsequent sheer amount of by-elections which had to be called to fill former NP Members of Parliament's seats in the House of Assembly led to a general election (which became known as the "Reset Election") being called for June 1995. With CCB leadership behind bars, Grobler assented to the position of Acting Managing Director and played a critical part in the security and intelligence aspects surrounding the entire affair. He would serve in this position until 1996.
When the 1995 election came out in favor of the Conservative Party to the astonishment of many, all notions of the ending of Apartheid died out. The Conservative Party government reformed state institutions and carried on with the executivization of the South African government which State President P.W. Botha had started in the early 1980s. Dussen was subsequently elected as State President. Grobler continued to serve with the CCB as the Acting Managing Director until he was personally asked by Dussen to fill the seat of the outgoing MP for Bloemfontein in the House of Assembly.
His strives for retaining white minority rule won him immense popularity among the electorate and saw him successfully elected on 24 October 1996. During his term, Grobler assisted with the executivization process as well as measures to strengthen the Apartheid system. Grobler himself had been a big proponent of furthering the independence of the homelands and sponsored many laws which saw that process strengthened. Describing himself as a Verwoerdist (after Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd), Grobler considers the achievement of "Grand Apartheid" as one of the highest goals which the government must strive toward. This has won him much popularity among the black elite of the homelands as well as the support of the white electorate which stands to have their economic prosperity further entrenched.
Grobler served as an MP until he was elected State President on 15 July 2001. He has since been ranked as one of the most popular State Presidents, and is expected to continue serving in that capacity indefinitely. He was chosen unanimously to lead the newly established Union of South African States (USAS) in late 2002 as its Union Chairman.
Political ideology and philosophy
Grobler married Janien De Bruyn when he was 26 and she 24 in May 1979. Together they had two children, Jacques and Teresa. Jacques Grobler is a private political consultant known for the advisory role he plays in many of the USAS member states and Teresa Grobler is a university professor in Afrikaans at the University of Cape Town. The Grobler family is noted for its adherence to fundamentalist Protestant philosophy and are all members of the Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk (Afrikaans Protestant Church). Grobler himself is an avid hunter and owns his own private game farm outside of Bloemfontein.