Zach de Beer

Zacharias Johannes de Beer
South African ambassador to The Netherlands
President Nelson Mandela
Co-leader of the Democratic Party
In office
Serving with Denis Worrall
Wynand Malan
Succeeded by Tony Leon
Personal details
Born (1928-10-11)11 October 1928
Woodstock, Cape Town,[1] South Africa
Died 27 May 1999(1999-05-27) (aged 70)
Cape Town, South Africa
Spouse(s) Maureen Strauss (div.)
Mona Schwartz
Children 3
Alma mater University of Cape Town
Profession Physician

Zacharias Johannes "Zach" de Beer (born Cape Town, South Africa, 11 October 1928 – 27 May 1999) was a liberal Afrikaner South African politician and businessman. He was the last leader of the liberal Progressive Federal Party and then the co-leader of the new liberal Democratic Party.[2]

Educated at Bishop's Diocesan College in Rondebosch, He completed an MBChB degree at the University of Cape Town in 1951.[3]

Political career

De Beer was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1953 as an MP for the opposition United Party. On the party's left wing, he and fellow MP Helen Suzman, Colin Eglin, Ray Swart, Harry Lawrence and Dr Jan Steytler resigned from the party after its national congress voted against returning any further land to the black majority for their occupation and use. He and the other liberal MPs formed the new Progressive Party in 1959. De Beer lost his seat in the 1961 general election and joined an advertising agency before moving on the Anglo-American. In the 1977 general election, he was returned to Parliament as an MP for what had become the Progressive Federal Party which had been formed that year through a merger of the Progressive Party and various other liberal groups of MPs.[2] He became the PFP's leader in August 1988[4] and, with Denis Worrall and Wynand Malan was a co-leader of the new Democratic Party when it formed in 1989.

Following the DP's defeat in the first post-apartheid election of 1994, De Beer resigned as party leader.[5] He was appointed South African ambassador to the Netherlands by Nelson Mandela.[2]

De Beer was for many years a director of the Anglo American PLC/De Beers diamond mining conglomerate.


  1. Allan, Jani (24 July 1988). "Poetry, politics, the PFP and, for Zach de Beer, a decent set of ideals to face the future with". The Sunday Times (South Africa).
  2. 1 2 3 Trewhela, Paul (3 June 1999). "Obituary: Zach de Beer". The Independent.
  3. "Dr. Zacharias "Zac" Johannes De Beer". South African History Online. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  4. "Top South African Executive To Run Anti-Apartheid Party". NY Times. 6 August 1988. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  5. Uys, Stanley (1 June 1999). "Zach de Beer". the Guardian. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
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