Farewell to former ratepayers’ chairman

Andrew Williamson and Alec Pienaar. Andrew was an old friend and colleague of Alec's.

The former chairman of the Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CRRA), Alec Pienaar, died earlier this month. He was 82.

Mr Pienaar, born on April 14 1938, was chairman of the association from 2003 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2017. He remained on the executive committee until his fatal heart-attack on Monday May 4.

He was also a member of the Ward 62 branch of the DA and served on its committee for many years.

Mr Pienaar was born in Graaff-Reinet and grew up on a sheep farm in the remotest area of the Karoo.

Matriculating with distinction at Union High School in 1954, he entered UCT at the age of 16 and qualified in 1959 with a BA. LLB degree. He read for a Master’s degree in International Law at the London School of Economics and also for the English Bar at Grays Inn.

He met and married his English wife, Sara, in London and they moved to Johannesburg at the end of 1964. After a couple of years working for Nedbank, Mr Pienaar joined and became a partner at Bowman Gilfillan. Later in his career, he was group legal adviser and senior manager at Standard Bank.

Mr Pienaar and some fellow UCT students staged a torch-lit vigil outside Parliament in 1959 in protest against the Extension of University Education Act, which effectively banned black people from “all white” universities.

At the start of his 40 years in Johannesburg, he joined the Progressive Party and worked for
Helen Suzman. He held many posts in party structures.

He was a founder member of the Democratic Party (DP), now the DA.

He retired in 2003 and moved to Constantia where he immediately got involved in community affairs.

Those who knew him said Mr Pienaar loved indigenous flora, especially the Western Cape fynbos. He built a holiday house in Betty’s Bay. He enjoyed classical music and was a regular at the City Hall symphony concerts and at the Baxter Concert Hall. Good wine, especially a fine Constantia red, was another great enthusiasm.

He leaves behind his wife, Sara, and three children, Claudia, Kate and Julian, as well as eight grandchildren.