Freedom Front Plus

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Freedom Front Plus

Vryheidsfront Plus  (Afrikaans)
Leader Pieter Groenewald
Chairperson Anton Alberts
SpokespersonPieter Swart
Chief Whip Corné Mulder
CEOPieter de Necker
Founder Constand Viljoen
Founded1 March 1994;26 years ago (1994-03-01)
(as Freedom Front)
Merger of
Split from Afrikaner Volksfront
HeadquartersHighveld Office Park
Charles de Gaulle Crescent
Centurion, Gauteng
Youth wing Freedom Front Plus Youth
Political position Right-wing [2] [3]
International affiliation Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Colours     Green      Dark orange
SloganDaar is hoop
(There is hope)
National Assembly seats
10 / 400
NCOP seats
3 / 90
Provincial Legislatures
11 / 430
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The Freedom Front Plus (FF+; Afrikaans : Vryheidsfront Plus, VF+) is a right-wing national South African political party that was formed (as the Freedom Front) in 1994. It is led by Pieter Groenewald . Its current stated policy positions include amending affirmative action and land reform to protect the interests of Afrikaners. [4]


Along with other smaller parties, the FF+ entered into coalition with the larger Democratic Alliance (DA) after the 2016 municipal elections to govern Johannesburg, Tshwane and several other municipalities.

Foundation and early years

The Freedom Front was founded on 1 March 1994 by members of the Afrikaner community under Constand Viljoen, after he had left the Afrikaner Volksfront amidst disagreements. Seeking to achieve his goals through political means, Viljoen registered the Freedom Front with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on 4 March 1994 to take part in the April 1994 general elections. (This date has also been given as 7 March.) On 12 March 1994 Viljoen handed in a list of candidates for the FF to the IEC, confirming that his party would take part in the elections.

In the election, under the leadership of General Viljoen, the Freedom Front received 2.2% of the national vote (with 424,555 votes cast), earning nine seats in the National Assembly, and 3.3% (with 639,643 votes cast) of the combined vote to the nine provincial legislatures. This suggested that many Afrikaners had split their vote. The party performed the best in the rural areas of the former Transvaal and Orange Free State, and was noted by the new deputy president Thabo Mbeki as representing possibly as much as half the Afrikaner voting population in these areas, with the strongest support among farmers and the working class. [5]

Freedom Front support would gradually melt away in the coming years, as the party was strung along in ultimately fruitless negotiations with the African National Congress (ANC) to create a Volkstaat making the party lose its importance. It would also receive increased competition from new parties such as the Afrikaner Eenheidsbeweging. In the 1999 election their support dropped to 0.8% (127,217 votes cast) with three seats in the National Assembly and between 1-2% in their stronghold provinces. This represented a respectable portion of the Afrikaner vote, but nowhere near earlier levels. The party's support remained relatively stable in all national elections held during the next twenty years.

In 2001, Viljoen handed over the leadership of the Freedom Front to Pieter Mulder.

Formation of the Freedom Front Plus

Freedom Front logo between 1994-2003 Freedom Front old logo.svg
Freedom Front logo between 1994–2003

In 2003, shortly before the 2004 general election, the Conservative Party, the Afrikaner Eenheidsbeweging and the Freedom Front decided to contest the election as a single entity under the name Freedom Front Plus (FF+), led by Mulder. Later, also the Federal Alliance joined the VF+/FF+.

In the 2004 general election, support for the Freedom Front Plus rose slightly to 0.89% (139,465 votes cast). The party won one seat in most of the provincial legislatures, and four seats in the National Assembly.

In the 2006 municipal elections, the Freedom Front Plus received 1% of the popular vote (252,253 votes cast).

In the 2009 general election, the party received 0.83% (146,796 votes cast) and retained its four seats in the National Assembly but lost its seats in the provincial legislatures of North West, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape. After the elections, the Freedom Front's leader Pieter Mulder was appointed as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries by the new President Jacob Zuma.

In the 2014 general election, the FF Plus increased its vote slightly to 0.9%. It retained its 4 MPs, and also regained a seat in the North West. [6]

FF Plus voter support increased substantially in the 2019 general election, with the party growing its vote total by 250,000, to 2.38% of the national vote, earning ten seats in the National Assembly. This was even slightly more than the nine seats that the old Freedom Front had received in 1994. Additionally, it gained eight seats in the provincial legislatures, for a new total of eleven. In the 2014 general election, the FF Plus won seats in three provincial legislatures, in this election, it has won seats in eight out of the nine provincial legislatures. Its new supporters were largely Afrikaners and coloured voters from the Western Cape who had previously supported the DA. [7] [8]

The party has enjoyed consistent landslide victories in the Afrikaner enclave Orania. [9]

Since the 2019 general election, the FF Plus has also won three wards from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in municipal by-elections in the North West Province and has continued to show growth in various other municipal by-elections in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. [10] [11] [12] [13]


No.ImageNameTerm startTerm endNotes
1 General Constand Viljoen (cropped).jpg Constand Viljoen 1 March 199426 June 2001Chief of the South African Army (1976–1980)
Chief of the South African Defence Force (1980–1985)
2 SA Deputy Minister of Agriculture Pieter Mulder.jpg Pieter Mulder 26 June 200112 November 2016Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (2009–2014)
3 PJ Groenewald.jpg Pieter Groenewald 12 November 2016 [14] IncumbentMember of the National Assembly of South Africa (2001–present)
Federal Chairperson of the Freedom Front Plus (2011–2016)

Electoral performance

Results of the 2019 South African general election by voting district. Those, which the FF Plus won, are in orange South Africa national election 2019 winner by VD.svg
Results of the 2019 South African general election by voting district. Those, which the FF Plus won, are in orange

These tables show the electoral performance for the Freedom Front Plus since the advent of democracy in 1994:

National elections

ElectionTotal votesShare of voteSeats+/-Government
1994 424,5552.17%
9 / 400
in opposition
largest opposition party (1994–1996)
1999 127,2170.80%
3 / 400
Decrease2.svg 6in opposition
2004 139,4650.89%
4 / 400
Increase2.svg 1in opposition
2009 146,7960.83%
4 / 400
Steady2.svg ±0in opposition
delivered one deputy minister
2014 165,7150.90%
4 / 400
Steady2.svg ±0in opposition
2019 414,8642.38%
10 / 400
Increase2.svg 6in opposition

Provincial elections

Election [15] Eastern Cape Free State Gauteng Kwazulu-Natal Limpopo Mpumalanga North-West Northern Cape Western Cape
1994 0.8%0/566.0%2/306.2%5/860.5%0/812.2%1/405.7%2/304.6%1/306.0%2/302.1%1/42
1999 0.3%0/632.1%1/301.3%1/730.2%0/800.7%0/491.7%1/301.4%1/331.7%1/300.4%0/42
2004 0.3%0/632.5%1/301.3%1/730.3%0/800.6%0/491.2%1/301.3%1/331.6%1/300.6%0/42
2009 0.2%0/632.0%1/301.6%1/730.8%0/800.6%0/490.9%0/301.8%0/331.2%0/300.4%0/42
2014 0.3%0/632.1%1/301.2%1/730.2%0/800.7%0/490.8%0/301.7%1/331.1%0/300.6%0/42
2019 0.6%1/634.0%1/303.6%3/730.3%0/801.4%1/492.4%1/304.3%2/332.7%1/301.6%1/42

Municipal elections

ElectionWard + PR votesShare of vote
1995-96 230 8452.7%
2000 Not released0.1%
2006 185 9600.9%
2011 120,5190.5%
2016 229,2810.8%

See also

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