Tielman Roos

Last updated
Tielman Roos
South African Minister for Justice
In office
Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog
Preceded by Nicolaas Jacobus de Wet
Succeeded by Oswald Pirow
Personal details
Born8 May 1879
Cape Town
Died28 March 1935(1935-03-28) (aged 55)
Nationality South African
Political party South African Party
National Party

Tielman Johannes de Villiers Roos (8 May 1879 28 March 1935) was a right wing South African politician and sometime Cabinet minister. [1]


Labour politics

Roos made his name as the leader of a group of young members of the South African Party who were opposed to the creation of the Union of South Africa by Louis Botha. [2] Roos and his followers fell in with Daniel François Malan and he was a founding member of the National Party. [2] As head of the party in Transvaal Roos sought to build a following amongst the white workers in the area, supporting mine workers' strikes in 1918. [3] Using his as his personal slogan "workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa", he was a regular speaker at a series of events in 1922 when white miners went back on strike over wage cuts and an increase in the proportion of black workers allowed. [4] Roos' connections to the working class voters was instrumental in securing the National Party's coalition with the South African Labour Party that led to their victory in the 1924 election. [5] Indeed attempts between the two parties to reach an agreement during the 1922 strike were even known as "Roos's Parliament" such was his influence at the time. [4]

In government

Roos would serve as Justice Minister from 1924 to 1929. In government he was a strong advocate of racial segregation [6] but despite this he defended the rights of the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union to organise amongst Black workers in Durban. [7] He also continued his policy of reaching out to the workers, describing the Labour Party as 'brothers' of the National Party and encouraged working class voters to join the party. [8]

Gold standard

Roos spent three years as a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal but resigned after criticizing Prime Minister of South Africa James Barry Munnik Hertzog due to a lack of plans to come off the gold standard. He then used this issue to relaunch his political career. [9] Roos proposed an alliance with Jan Smuts to ensure he got his way, although the former PM was unwilling as Roos wanted the Premiership for himself. Ultimately however Roos personal popularity ensured that his demands were agreed to with Finance Minister N.C. Havenga taking the country off gold in a move that led to a widespread economic up-turn. [9]

This success of sorts was to be Roos' final contribution to South African politics as, although it had initially been his campaign, support dwindled after the country came off gold. Roos would die soon afterwards. [9] He was a South African Freemason. [10]

Related Research Articles

1979 United Kingdom general election election for members of the British House of Commons

The 1979 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher, ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats. The election was the first of four consecutive election victories for the Conservative Party, and Thatcher became the United Kingdom's and Europe's first elected female head of government.

Nationalist Party (Malta) Political party in Malta

The Nationalist Party is a Christian-democratic, conservative political party in Malta. It is one of two major contemporary political parties in Malta, along with the governing Labour Party. The Nationalist Party is currently in opposition to the Labour Party.

The Revolutionary Communist Party, known as the Revolutionary Communist Tendency until 1981, was a Trotskyist political organisation formed in 1978.

J. B. M. Hertzog Boer general (1866-1942)

General James Barry Munnik Hertzog, better known as Barry Hertzog or J. B. M. Hertzog, was a South African politician and soldier.

The Ulster Unionist Labour Association was an association of trade unionists founded by Edward Carson in June 1918, aligned with the Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland. Members were known as Labour Unionists. 1918 and 1919 were the years of intense class conflict throughout Britain. This period also saw a large increase in trade union membership and a series of strikes. These union activities raised fears in a section of the Ulster Unionist leadership, principally Edward Carson and R. Dawson Bates. Carson at this time was president of the British Empire Union, and had been predisposed to amplify the danger of a Bolshevik outbreak in Britain.

The Waihi miners' strike was a major strike action in 1912 by gold miners in the New Zealand town of Waihi. It is widely regarded as the most significant industrial action in the history of New Zealand's labour movement. It resulted in one striker being killed, one of only two deaths in industrial actions in New Zealand.

Unionist government, 1895–1905 Government of the United Kingdom

A coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Unionist parties took power in the United Kingdom following the 1895 general election. Conservative leader Lord Salisbury was appointed Prime Minister and his nephew, Arthur Balfour, became Leader of the House of Commons, but various major posts went to the Liberal Unionists, most notably the Leader of the House of Lords, the Liberal Unionist Duke of Devonshire, who was made Lord President, and his colleague in the Commons, Joseph Chamberlain, who became Colonial Secretary. It was this government which would conduct the Second Boer War from 1899–1902, which was exploited by the government to help win a landslide victory at the 1900 general election.

Apartheid System of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s

Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on baasskap, which ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the nation's minority white population. According to this system of social stratification, white citizens had the highest status, followed by Asians and Coloureds, then black Africans. The economic legacy and social effects of apartheid continue to the present day.

The South African Labour Party, was a South African political party formed in March 1910 in the newly created Union of South Africa following discussions between trade unions and the Independent Labour Party of Transvaal, was a professedly democratic socialist party representing the interests of the white working class.

Prior to the arrival of European settlers in the 15th century the economy of what was to become South Africa was dominated by subsistence agriculture and hunting.

Rand Rebellion

The Rand Rebellion was an armed uprising of white miners in the Witwatersrand region of South Africa, in March 1922. Jimmy Green, a prominent politician in the Labour Party, was one of the leaders of the strike.

Oswald Pirow South African politician (1890-1959)

Oswald Pirow, QC was a South African lawyer and far right politician, who held office as minister of Justice, and later minister of Defence.

Internal resistance to apartheid

Internal resistance to apartheid in South Africa originated from several independent sectors of South African society and took forms ranging from social movements and passive resistance to guerrilla warfare. Mass action against the ruling National Party government, coupled with South Africa's growing international isolation and economic sanctions, were instrumental in leading to negotiations to end apartheid, which began formally in 1990 and ended with South Africa's first multiracial elections under a universal franchise in 1994.

Nicolaas Havenga South African politician

Nicolaas Christiaan Havenga was a South African politician who served as Finance Minister in the governments of J. B. M. Hertzog and Daniel François Malan.

Industrial Conciliation Act, 1956 former South African legislation

The Industrial Conciliation Act, 1956, formed part of the apartheid system of racial segregation in South Africa. It prohibited the registration of any new 'mixed' unions and imposed racially separate branches and all-white executive committees on existing 'mixed' unions. It prohibited strikes in 'essential industries' for both black and white workers and banned political affiliations for unions. Clause 77 legalized the reservation of skilled jobs to white workers, as the Bantu Building Workers Act of 1951 had done in the construction trade, 'to ensure that they will not be exploited by the lower standard of living of any other race.'

Cape Qualified Franchise System of voting qualifications in British-ruled South Africa

The Cape Qualified Franchise was the system of non-racial franchise that was adhered to in the Cape Colony, and in the Cape Province in the early years of the Union of South Africa. Qualifications for the right to vote at parliamentary elections were applied equally to all men, regardless of race.

Workers and Socialist Party South African socialist party founded in 2012

The Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) is a Marxist and Trotskyist political party in South Africa affiliated to the International Socialist Alternative.

The Rhodesian Railway Workers' Union (R.R.W.U.) was a trade union in Rhodesia which represented European railway workers employed by the Rhodesian Railways.

South African Native Labour Corps

The South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) was a force of workers formed in 1916 in response to a British request for workers at French ports. About 25,000 South Africans joined the Corps. The SANLC was utilized in various menial noncombat tasks. The SANLC was disbanded by the South African government in January 1918.

The Industrial Workers of the World or IWW (SA) had a brief but notable history in the 1910s-20s, and is particularly noted for its influence on the syndicalist movement in southern Africa through its promotion of the IWW's principles of industrial unionism, solidarity, and direct action, as well as its role in the creation of organizations such as the Industrial Workers of Africa and the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union.


  1. De Kock, W. J. (1968). Dictionary of South African biography: Vol I. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pp. 213–214.
  2. 1 2 'Grey Steel; Part 4, 32: Old Resentments Return'
  3. HJ & RE Simons, Class and Colour in South Africa 1850-1950, Penguin Books, 1969, p. 284
  4. 1 2 Brian Bunting, The Rise of the South African Reich, Penguin Books, 1969, p. 31
  5. HJ & RE Simons, Class and Colour, p. 304
  6. HJ & RE Simons, Class and Colour, p. 315
  7. HJ & RE Simons, Class and Colour, p. 319
  8. HJ & RE Simons, Class and Colour, p. 328
  9. 1 2 3 Grey Steel; Part 7, 60: The Tour Of England And North America
  10. Heymans, H. "(Afrikaans) Vrymesselaars (translated: freemasons), page 69". Nonfqai. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Chancellor of the University of Pretoria
1930 1932
Succeeded by
Adriaan Louw