News 24 today announced that former apartheid minister Danie Steyn died in an old age home on Saturday. He was 94 years old. In 1980 P. W. Botha appointed him deputy minister of Education and Training. He also held two other ministerial posts with the National Party – mineral and energy affairs and later economic affairs and technology.
Steyn was an engineer by profession but he later studied for a theological degree. He was very involved with the Dutch Reformed Church. The needs of the poor were very close to his heart. He instigated the opening of a clinic to cater for the underprivileged. He was also instrumental in opening a small library for the poor.
He served the National Party during its most turbulent time – the 1980’s. He left the cabinet in 1989 in order to study and to begin his ministrations to the poor and disadvantaged people of South Africa.
The 80’s were fraught with protests against the apartheid era. It is the decade that brought the inequalities into focus and subsequently led to the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.