IFP whip is longest-serving MP

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Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Koos van der Merwe on Friday celebrated 35 years as an MP, making him the longest-serving member of the national legislature.

The IFP said he was celebrating the milestone at a lunch in Pretoria. Guests would include former foreign minister Pik Botha and former Conservative Party leader Ferdi Hartzenberg.

Van der Merwe has served under seven heads of state, starting with John Vorster, after he was elected to the National Assembly on November 30, 1977 as a member of the National Party.

He later became a founder member of the Conservative Party, but was expelled from it before the first democratic elections in 1994

and returned to Parliament for the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Van der Merwe has been chief whip of the IFP ever since, and quipped last week that 16 MPs were born after he won his first seat.

The IFP said Van der Merwe had no plans to step down just yet.

“Koos... says he is ready for the next 35 years.” - Sapa


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