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News & Press: 2013 News Items

QS receives Order of the Baobab from the President of South Africa

Monday, 06 May 2013   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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Colin Wells Eglin received the Order of the Baobab in silver for serving the country with excellence and for his dedication and courage in standing up for the principles of equality for all South Africans against the unjust laws of the past.

Photo GCIS

The order was awarded to him by President Zuma at the National Orders ceremony held on 27 April 2013.


"Colin Eglin was born in Sea Point on 14 April 1925. He grew up in Pinelands, Cape Town, but moved at the age of nine to live with his Aunt, outside Hobhouse, Eastern Free State after his father died. Eglin attended the Hobhouse School where he was the only English–speaking learner. The tension between the supporters of D.F. Malan and those of Barry Hertzog in the mid-1930s was mirrored in his aunt’s home, and deeply affected him. Eglin left Orange Free State when he was in standard six and then attended the De Villiers Graaf High School in Villiersdorp where he matriculated in 1939 at the tender age of 14.

In 1940 Eglin registered for a Bachelor of Science degree in quantity surveying at the University of Cape Town. In 1943, at the age of 18 he interrupted his studies to join the army. He became a full-time instructor in the anti-aircraft unit in Cape Town. He was then sent to a similar unit in Egypt and transferred to Italy. After the War he remained in Italy for nine months, waiting for demobilisation. During this period he undertook extra-mural courses in Archaeology and Town Planning.

In 1946 he returned to South Africa and continued with his studies, graduating the same year with a B.Sc in Quantity Surveying. He became involved in civic affairs and started the Pinelands Young People’s Club which helped set up a sister organization in the neighbouring Coloured village of Maitland. In 1951 he became chairman of the Pinelands Civic Association and was elected to the Pinelands town council.

In 1953 Eglin became a political campaign manager for his friend Zac de Beer, who was the United Party (UP) candidate for the parliamentary seat of Maitland. In 1954 he was elected unopposed as the UP provincial councilor for Pinelands. In addition to that, he became chairman of the UP’s Cape Peninsula Council and then in 1958 Eglin became the Peninsula MP. He was one of the rebels who issued a declaration of dissent in August 1959, following the UP congress in Bloemfontein. In November the same year he was one of the 11 members of parliament who formed the nucleus of the new Progressive Party (PP). In 1966 he became chairman on the National Executive of the PP.

In 1971 he became the party leader succeeding Jan Steytler. He stood for parliament in Sea Point in 1966 and 1971, losing on both occasions. In an attempt to attract Afrikaners to the PP, he initiated ‘Deurbraak’, the first journal of verligte (enlightened) opinion in South Africa. Eglin initiated a dialogue between the PP and Black homeland and urban Leaders. He was also instrumental in establishing Synthesis, a non-party political study and discussion group, which became an important tool for information and contact across the colour bar.

In 1974 the PP won six seats in the general election with the seventh coming from a by-election a few months later. In 1975 Eglin negotiated the merger with members of the Reform Party, which led to the formation of the Progressive Reform Party (PRP). In 1976 he called an Extraordinary Parliament Session, to discuss the continuation of disturbance caused the Soweto Uprising. In this Session Eglin called for the resignation of the Minister of Bantu Affairs for his poor handling of the event. In 1979 he stepped down as PRP leader in favour of Dr F van Zyl Slabbert and was elected national chairman of the party.

He resigned after his leadership qualities were questioned following dissatisfaction within the party. Following the dissolution of the UP, some members were co-opted by his party, and the PRP became the Progressive Federal Party (PFP). In 1986 he was re-appointed chairman following the resignation of Van Zyl Slabbert. He was the party leader until 1988 when his friend Zac de Beer was elected party leader. Eglin was instrumental in negotiations with the Independent Party and National Democratic Movement to bring together a new opposition to the National Party in parliament. This resulted in the formation of the Democratic Party in 1989 and the dissolution of PFP." *

"In 1991 he led the DP delegation to CODESA and made ground-breaking contributions in the drafting of our new Constitution." **

Sources *



Michael Jerome Wood Sr says...
Posted Monday, 13 May 2013
He was also a lecturer at UCT in professional practice with the architectural and quantity surveyors students and was an excellent lecturer and well received by the students.