|Leader||J.D. Grobler, State President of South Africa|
|Parliamentary Leader||Andries O'Connell|
|Headquarters||Treurnicht Building, Pretoria|
|Youth wing||South African Conservative Student Association (SACSA)|
The Conservative Party's defining characteristics since the early 2000s has been to realize the Verwoerdist ideal of "Grand Apartheid" (absolute racial segregation) in South Africa. It has campaigned and pushed for the independence of the black African "homelands" throughout the country to which specific ethnic groups belong. The Union of South African States, often called the Conservative Party's "baby", was established by government in 2002 to further cooperation between the South African "guardian state" and the various homelands. The USAS has been used to further political alliances between the CP and the political parties representing the elite of the homelands.
Founding and early history
Main article: Volkswag
The Volkswag ("People's Guard" in Afrikaans) is an organization closely affiliated with the Conservative Party, but which is officially independent. The Volkswag is an umbrella entity for various civil society organizations in the Afrikaner community, including student and youth groups, public interest litigation firms and political think tanks. It is regarded as filling the role which the Broederbond had during the founding and heydays of Apartheid. Volkswag members occupy the highest rungs of government and civil and financial society.
Ideology and platform
The Conservative Party's values at its foundation in the early 1980s are vastly different from those of the contemporary party. The defining and underlying value of all CP policy is "absolute separate but equal development", known colloquially as "Grand Apartheid". The Conservative Party has denounced informal racism and hate crimes, describing them as threats to the legitimacy of Separate Development. This is in contrast to the 1980s Conservative Party which was described as a far-right borderline fascist organization which did not condone any form of racial harmony.
South Africa's system of Separate Development, which is informally known as "Apartheid", is the Conservative Party's cornerstone policy. "Grand Apartheid", as it is known, refers to the complete and utter segregation of races in the country, is the party's ideal, which would have the homelands be completely politically and socially (although not economically) independent from South Africa. Grand Apartheid is in contrast to "Petty Apartheid", which the National Party had generally practiced before 1995, which refers to superficial segregation in everyday life, such as separate amenities and schools in the same geographical area.
Southern African relations
According to the Constitution Act, 1995, the House of Assembly is reserved for the white electorate. The Conservative Party is a whites-only political party and therefore can only be represented in the House of Assembly. Nevertheless, it has formed alliances of political cooperation with political parties of other racial groups which share its vision for Grand Apartheid. Many foreign and domestic liberal critics (including the Progressive Party, the second largest party in the Assembly) have alleged that these non-white parties are in fact entirely funded by the Conservative Party and act as its puppets in the non-white sphere of society.
The party is allied with the colored Labor Party (which is the majority party in the House of Representatives) and the (Indian) United Solidarity Movement (which is the majority party in the House of Delegates), both of which share the Conservative Party's ideology of Separate Development. The third largest party in the House of Assembly, the New National Party, which is the modern incarnation of the erstwhile National Party which ruled South Africa between 1948 and 1995, is also committed to Separate Development however is fundamentally opposed to the Conservative Party for other ideological reasons.
J.D. Grobler in his capacity as the State President of the Republic is currently the Conservative Party's leader. Although the Leader is mostly a symbolic post due to the custom of all its authority being delegated to the party Chairman, the Leader may at his discretion intervene directly in party affairs. The CP's charter states that the Leader may speak on behalf of the Party without prior approval of the Party's National Executive Board (NEB) and chair the Board in the Chairman's stead if he so wishes. Although it has never happened, the NEB may remove the State President as party Leader and appoint another. This will not influence the status of the State President in his capacity as the head of government, and is seen by most political commentators as sure political suicide for those Board members who partake.
National Executive Board
The National Executive Board is the Conservative Party's central decision-making body. It is led by the Chairman, who is elected from the Board at the Party Conference every three years. The Board consists of three members elected from each of the Party's five provincial branches, three members designated by the Leader and five members elected at the Party Conference, making 23 Board members. The Board meets in plenary session twice a year, while the Management Committee (which consists of 5 members) controls the Party throughout the year.
The Leader may sit on the Board if he wishes, and at those times the NEB will consist of 24 members (or 6 members in the case of the Management Committee). The Board is responsible for the Party's fundraising and election and policy strategies as well as internal party affairs. Each provincial branch has a Provincial Executive Board, and local authorities which do have their own branches may established Local Executive Boards if they wish. The current National Executive Board is composed as follows:
- Management Committee
- Pieter "Piet" Muldrift (Party Chairman)
- Name (Party Secretary)
- Name (Party Treasurer)
- Name (Party Spokesperson)
- Name (Party Political Coordinator)
- Presidential appointees
- Provincial members
- Name (Administrator of Transvaal and Provincial Party Chairman)
- Name, MP (Member of Parliament for Ventersdorp)
- Name, MEC (Member of the Transvaal Executive Council)
- Orange Free State
- Name (Administrator of the Orange Free State and Provincial Chairman)
- Name, MP (Member of Parliament for Bloemfontein)
- Name (Provincial Party Treasurer)
- Name (Administrator of Natal and Provincial Chairman)
- Name, MEC (Member of the Natal Executive Council)
- Name (Mayor of Pietermaritzburg)
- Name (Administrator of the Cape and Provincial Chairman)
- Name (Mayor of Cape Town)
- Name (Rector of the University of Stellenbosch)
- South West Africa
- Name (Administrator of South West Africa and Provincial Chairman)
- Name (Mayor of Windhoek)
- Name, MEC (Member of the South West Africa Executive Council)
The Parliamentary Leadership consists of the highest ranking members in the Multicameral Parliament representing the Conservative Party, among which are the Parliamentary Leader (currently Andries O'Connel, MP), the Chief Whip (Dan Botma, MP) and the Deputy Whip (Willem "Willie" Pienaar, MP). These officials are chosen by the Party's Parliamentary Caucus, that being all the Conservative Party members in the House of Assembly and President's Council, at the beginning of each parliamentary term.
Although the Conservative Party and the Volkswag are widely considered to be indistinguishable by political critics, the CP does have its own internal organizations which are presumed to fulfill certain civil society roles. These organizations, however, do work closely with the Volkswag.
The South African Conservative Students Association (SACSA), for example, is the Party's youth wing, and has a branch at each public university in the country. It accepts membership from any person between the ages of 14 and 30. SACSA is considered instrumental in the Conservative Party's education policy, especially on the tertiary level. Its members are highly vocal and suspect of academic freedom and are known to cause rows when academics disagree with Party policy, especially Separate Development.