born in 1964 in Bedford in the Eastern Cape. He was the fifth generation born
on the family farm, Mount Prospect. He attended school at Woodridge College in
Port Elizabeth and matriculated in 1981. He held various leadership positions
in the school and on the sports fields.
then studied Agricultural management at The University of Natal in
Pietermaritzburg, where after he travelled abroad working as a learner farmer
in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
his local community on a number of committees and was awarded honorary life
membership of the Bedford Farmers Association and Bedford club.
on the Regional Soil Conservation Committee and was an Executive Member of the
Eastern Cape Agricultural Union.
comes from a politically active family. His grandfather was a Member of
Parliament for the United Party. His father was a candidate for the Provincial
Council for the PFP and he served on the Smaldeel District Council.
first elected as a public representative in 1995 and served as an
Executive Member of the Amathole district municipality. He was then elected to
the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in 1999 and served two terms there
he was elected to the National Assembly and subsequently elected as the Leader of the Official Opposition until 2012. Athol then returned to the Legislature in the
Eastern Cape and was elected to his third term as Leader of
the Official Opposition in the Legislature in 2014.
Click here to view the Inaugural speech - 18 August 2016