New Era (Windhoek)

5 October 2009

Namibia: Elections 2009 - MAG Leading Senior Members

JACOBUS Willem Francois Pretorius is the Chairperson of the Monitor Action Group (MAG). Pretorius, better known as "Kosie", was born on September 5, 1935 at the coastal town of Swakopmund. His family later moved to Otjiwarongo, were he went to school and was among the first learners who matriculated at Otjiwarongo High School. After completing his matric, Pretorius went to Orange Free State University at Bloemfontein in South Africa, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts and MA in Political Studies.

Initially, Pretorius wanted to become a pastor but found politics more interesting and switched to politics after a while. He worked as an organising secretary for the Afrikaanse Studentebond between 1957-58. Since 1959 he has been a farmer, but has continued to be involved in politics full time. During the 1960s Pretorius served the National Party of South West Africa (NP/SWA) as an Assistant Secretary and then Chief Secretary from 1961 to 1969. In 1965 he became a director of the Suidwes-Drukkery (South West Printers).

Pretorius was a member of the Federal Council of the NP/SWA for 10 years until 1978, and then served as deputy chair from 1977 to 1981, and later became the leader and chairperson of the NP/SWA from 1981 to1991.

In 1981, Pretorius took the chair of the Executive Committee of Whites until 1988. He was appointed Minister of Water Affairs and Post and Telecommunication of South West Africa/Namibia in 1988 and held the post for a year. In 1991, the NP/SWA changed to an opinion-forming pressure group called Monitor Action Group and Pretorius became its leader.

In the course of his political career, he has been a member of the Legislative Assembly for Gobabis Constituency (1962-1989) and member of the Executive Committee of the SWA and of the Whites (1969-1988). He was also a member of the Constituent Assembly from 1989 to1990.

He was a member of the National Assembly from 1990-1995 first representing Action Christian National and then Monitor Action Group from 1995-2004. He retired from National Assembly in 2005 due to health reasons.

Johannes Jurie Viljoen

Johannes Jurie Viljoen is the Vice-Chairperson of the Monitor Action Group (MAG).

Viljoen, better known as "Jurie" was born on May 14, 1942 at Harrington, a farm in the Aranos district of the Hardap Region.

He went to school in Aranos until Standard 6 (Grade 8), and then proceeded to Mariental for two years and later completed his Standard 10 (Grade 12) or matric at Wennie du Plesis High School at Gobabis, in the Omaheke Region.

After completing school, Viljoen went to South Africa where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, and an education diploma and later an education degree at the University of Potchefstroom. He completed an Honours Degree in History at the University of Namibia and a Masters Degree at the Randse Afrikaanse University.

The MAG Vice Chairperson started teaching at Wennie du Plesis High School in 1967, then Otjiwarongo High School and later Jan Mohr in Windhoek.

He became the headmaster of Mariental High School and later an Inspector of Education and a Senior Education Officer from 1991 to 2002.

In 2005 Viljoen became a member of the National Assembly.

Unlike most politicians, Viljoen does not own a farm nor is he into farming business.

Viljoen married Rita Viljoen in 1967, and the couple has four daughters Liezel, Diene-Marie, Jurita and Retha. All the four daughters are married and the couple has 12 grandchildren.

Gernot Wilfrid Schaaf

Gernot Wilfred Schaaf is a senior member of the Management Committee of the Monitor Action Group (MAG). Schaaf was born at Grootfontein, in the Otjozondjupa Region. He attended Wilhelm Nortier Primary School at Grootfontein and later Paarl Boys' High in South Africa's Cape Province where he matriculated with distinctions in English, History and Biology.

Schaaf became a student at Pretoria University and Teachers' Training College, where he did a BA & THED majoring in History, Political Science, Anthropology, Biology and Physical Education. Due to unforeseen family circumstances, Schaaf never practiced what he studied and went farming to assist his widowed mother on the family farm, Avontuur, in the Grootfontein district. In the course of time he bought the family farm and adjoining farmland.

As freelance Insurance Agent/Broker for Old Mutual and R. Maartins & Co, in Windhoek, Schaaf attained several commendatory awards/certificates such as the International Quality Award, (IQA). He went full time into farming in 1976 and served on various structures of organised agriculture including the Grootfontein Show Society.

Now based in Swakopmund, Schaaf served the National Party of South West Africa (NP/SWA) at various levels up to national executive level. He was elected as representative of the Swakopmund Constituency in the Legislative Assembly for Whites on Second Tier Government in 1989 till independence 1990.

The MAG MC member previously served four years as Member of Parliament in the Transitional Government (TGNU) from 1986 to 1989.

He is founding member of MAG, has served on its executive committee since its inception and has been its vice chairman since 1998.

Schaaf married in 1959, and has four children. His wife passed away in 1984.

He re-married in 1987, and settled in Swakopmund, where he started as freelance tour guide in 1992.

Eric Peters

Eric Peters is one of the top four members of the Monitor Action Group (MAG). He is a senior member of MAG. Peters was born in Gobabis on September 29, 1935. He grew up in Gobabis and also went to school there and matriculated at Gobabis High School, now known as Wennie du Plesis in 1954. Peter became a banker and started working at the Volkskas Bank in January 1955, at the town.

He was later transferred to Bank Windhoek in 1983 and was among the group that established the Credit Department. Peters worked at Gobabis from 1955 to 1963, in Otjiwarongo from 1964 to 1972.

In 1972, he left for South Africa and worked in Port Elizabeth until 1975 and moved to Pretoria until 1979. He came back to Namibia in 1980 and started working in Keetmanshoop until 1983 and again left for Windhoek and worked at the Head Office until 1995. He also worked for one of the Sanlam branches.

He retired in 1995 and is currently living in Gobabis, his place of birth.

Peters is doing accounting for private individuals at the town.

He is married and has one child, a son. Peters is a very sociable person, who likes to interact with family and friends.

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