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Who is the new Correctional Services Minister?

From mayor to member of the North West Provincial Legislature (MPL) to Member of Parliament (MP), Petrus Johannes ‘Pieter’ Groenewald is now the Minister of Correctional Services.

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Groenewald and 31 other ministers, representatives from 11 political parties, signatories to the Government of National Unity (GNU). 

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PIETER GROENEWALD 

The 68-year-old politician was born in a typical Afrikaner family as his father was a farmer and his mom a housewife.

He completed his military service at the Berede Centre in Potchefstroom and achieved a B.juris degree at the Potchefstroom campus of the now North West University. He also completed a postgraduate diploma in Communications, a Master’s degree in Management and Development, and a Doctorate in Politics. 

In an interview with The Citizen, Groenewald said his 1989 election as an MP for Stilfontein constituency, standing for the Conservative Party (CP), kicked off his long parliamentary politics journey.

“I was a member of the Conservative Party. I was never a member of the National Party; as the CP and now as the FF+, we believe in self-determination, which means that true power to the people lies in the principle of communities. We say that communities must govern themselves,” he said.

He further told the publication that the party’s moderates left to form the Freedom Front Plus after the CP refused to participate in the elections.

“The tensions were so fierce that the AWB threatened to kill my children because of my stance that the CP must participate in the election,” he said.

In 1994, Groenewald co-founded the Freedom Front Plus, a party advocating for minority rights and pro-Afrikaner nationalism. He was elected to the National Assembly in the same year and served as a Member of Parliament until 1999, when he was elected to the North West Provincial Legislature. However, he returned to the National Assembly in 2001.

Pieter Groenewald is the new Correctional Services Minister. Image: X/Parliament

NEW MINISTER ADVOCATES FOR DEATH PENALTY

Over the years, Groenewald has repeatedly called for the death penalty to be reinstated due to high rates of crime in the country.

“After several speeches and political pressure, the police appointed a Commission of Inquiry into farm attacks and murders in 2001. The FF Plus was the only party that made a submission to the Commission. The submission stated that farm murders are politically motivated and that the death penalty must be reinstated,” he wrote on his party’s website in 2017 following a surge in farm murders.

In several media interviews, Groenewald has continuously advocated for the death penalty, especially for criminals who are sentenced for murder.

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