Former Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) leader, Dr Pieter Mulder, says it was imperative for him to step down as the party’s head, as the party gears up for the 2019 general elections.
Mulder resigned from the top post at the weekend in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg at the party’s reorganisation congress, Dr Pieter Groenewald will now take over the reins.
Mulder has been at the helm of the Freedom Front for 15 years having formed the party together with General Constand Viljoen, a former head of the South African Defence Force (SANDF).
Following Viljoen’s retirement, Mulder was elected leader unopposed in 2001.
His political life began in 1988 when he was elected member of Parliament (MP); thus making him the longest serving member of Parliament.
He has also served in cabinet having been appointed deputy minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from 2009 until 2014.
Mulder says despite him stepping down from the top post, he will still be in Parliament.
“Well I am going to stay on as a member of Parliament just for a short period to make the transition quite smooth. You know there’s always some movement in a party when there’s a new leader. I think it’s important just to get through. Then I will decide when to go home. I’ve been at Parliament now for 28 years. I’ve been the longest member technically so maybe I think it is time.”
Freedom Front added the Plus to its name after absorbing the Conservative Party into its ranks.
Its support has however slowly dwindled over the years, with the nine seats it held in Parliament in 1994 now standing at four.
Groenewald, who was elected into the post on Saturday, says he feels honoured to take over from Mulder.
Groenewald has been serving as the party’s chair for several years and will be replaced by Advocate Anton Alberts.
Groenewald says he plans to continue to pursue the party’s policies and will focus on the national pride of the Afrikaner community.
The former leader Mulder says he is yet to announce his retirement from Parliament.