HomeNationsSouth AfricaGovernors-GeneralZyl, Gideon Brand van
Zyl, Gideon Brand van

Gideon Brand van Zyl

b. 3 Jun 1873, Cape Town, Cape Colony
d. 1 Nov 1956, Cape Town, Union of South Africa

Title: Governor-General of the Union of South Africa :: Goewerneur-Generaal van die Unie van Suid-Afrika
Term: 1 Jan 1946 - 31 Dec 1950
Chronology: 16 Nov 1945, appointed by Commission under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet of the Union of South Africa [1]
  31 Dec 1945, took an oath of allegiance and an oath of office as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, Pretoria [2]
  1 Jan 1946, Commission takes effect upon a date prescribed for superseding the Commission of a predecessor (1 Jan 1946) [1]
  31 Dec 1950, appointment superseded by the Commission of a successor effective on a prescribed date (1 Jan 1951) [3]
Eldest son of Casper Hendrik van Zyl, a prominent Cape Town attorney; educated at the Normal College and the South African College, Cape Town; qualified as attorney (1898) and joined a Cape Town legal firm, Van Zyl and Buissine, in which he eventually became a partner; during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), he was appointed legal adviser to the War Office; made captain in the Cape Garrison Rifles during World War I , but the regiment was used only in a supporting role in South Africa and in German South West Africa; made Deputy Director of War Recruiting with the rank of major; elected to the Cape Provincial Council, representing the Cape Harbour constituency (1915-1918); returned to the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa in a by-election on the ticket of the Unionist Party and represented Cape Harbour constituency (1918-1929); after the fusion of the South African and Unionist parties had taken place in 1920, he continued to represent Cape Harbour as a member of the newly-established South African Party until 1929, when he was returned unopposed as a member for Sea Point (1929-1942); became chairman of the United National South African Party (Verenigde Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Party), formed by a merger of most of the National Party (Nasionale Party) with the South African Party (1934); was appointed Administrator of the Cape Province (1942-1945); sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (16 Nov 1945); served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa (1 Jan 1946 - 1 Jan 1951).
Biographical sources: "Dictionary of South African Biography", ed. by W.J. de Kock, D.W. Krüger (et al.) (Pretoria: Nasional Boekhandel Bpk. for National Council for Social Research, Dept. of Higher Education, 1968-1987), 5 vols; obituary: Rand Daily Mail, 2 Nov 1956, p. 11.

[1] Government Gazette, No. 3587, Extra, 1 Jan 1946, p. 2.
[2] Government Gazette, No. 3587, Extra, 1 Jan 1946, p. (1).
[3] Government Gazette, No. 4517, Extra, 1 Jan 1951, p. 2.