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    South Africa Separate and Unequal
    Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies

    The concept of unequal allocation of resources was built into legislation on general facilities, education, and jobs. The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act (No. 49) of 1953 stated that all races should have separate amenities--such as toilets, parks, and beaches--and that these need not be of an equivalent quality. Under the provisions of this act, apartheid signs were erected throughout South Africa.

    The Bantu Education Act (No. 47) of 1953 decreed that blacks should be provided with separate educational facilities under the control of the Ministry of Native Affairs, rather than the Ministry of Education. The pupils in these schools would be taught their Bantu cultural heritage and, in the words of Hendrik F. Verwoerd, minister of native affairs, would be trained "in accordance with their opportunities in life," which he considered did not reach "above the level of certain forms of labour." The act also removed state subsidies from denominational schools with the result that most of the mission-run African institutions (with the exception of some schools run by the Roman Catholic Church and the Seventh Day Adventists) were sold to the government or closed. The Extension of University Education Act (No. 45) of 1959 prohibited blacks from attending white institutions, with few exceptions, and established separate universities and colleges for Africans, coloureds, and Indians.

    The Industrial Conciliation Act (No. 28) of 1956 enabled the minister of labour to reserve categories of work for members of specified racial groups. In effect, if the minister felt that white workers were being pressured by "unfair competition" from blacks, he could recategorize jobs for whites only and increase their rates of pay. Under the terms of the Native Laws Amendment Act (No. 54) of 1952, African women as well as men were made subject to influx control and the pass laws and, under Section 10 of the act, neither men nor women could remain in an urban area for longer than seventy-two hours without a special permit stating that they were legally employed. The Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents Act (No. 67) of 1952, which was designed to make the policy of pass restrictions easier, abolished the pass, replacing it with a document known as a "reference book." The act stated that all Africans had to carry a reference book containing their photograph, address, marital status, employment record, list of taxes paid, influx control endorsements, and rural district where officially resident; not having the reference book on one's person was a criminal offense punishable by a prison sentence.

    Security Legislation

    Whereas the above laws built largely on existing legislation, police powers underwent a much greater expansion. The Suppression of Communism Act (No. 44) of 1950 had declared the Communist Party and its ideology illegal. Among other features, the act defined communism as any scheme that aimed "at bringing about any political, industrial, social, or economic change within the Union by the promotion of disturbance or disorder" or that encouraged "feelings of hostility between the European and the non-European races of the Union the consequences of which are calculated to further . . ." disorder. The act allowed the minister of justice to list members of such organizations and to ban them, usually for five-year periods, from public office, from attending public meetings, or from being in any specified area of South Africa. The Public Safety Act (No. 3) of 1953 gave the British governor general power to suspend all laws and to proclaim a state of emergency. The Criminal Law Amendment Act (No. 8) of 1953 stated that anyone accompanying a person found guilty of offenses committed while "protest[ing], or in support of any campaign for the repeal or modification of any law," would also be presumed guilty and would have the burden of proving his or her innocence. The Native Administration Act (No. 42) of 1956 permitted the government to "banish" Africans, essentially exiling them to remote rural areas far from their homes. The Customs and Excise Act of 1955 and the Official Secrets Act (No. 16) of 1956 gave the government power to establish a Board of Censors to censor books, films, and other materials imported into or produced in South Africa. During the 1950s, enforcement of these various laws resulted in approximately 500,000 pass-law arrests annually, in the listing of more than 600 inhabitants as communists, in the banning of nearly 350 inhabitants, and in the banishment of more than 150 other inhabitants.

    Data as of May 1996

    NOTE: The information regarding South Africa on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of South Africa Separate and Unequal information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about South Africa Separate and Unequal should be addressed to the Library of Congress.

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    Revised 04-Jul-02
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