Blacks boycott municipal elections

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ballot box

Wednesday, 26 October 1988

All-race municipal elections were held on this date to elect segregated local authorities. For the first time elections for all areas, except homelands, were held on the same day. This meant that Black and White would be voting on the same day, although in different elections. By this the state hoped that through the elections it would get a new group of Black councillors to support it, and at the same time could assess the effect the State of Emergency had had at stopping resistance. The majority of Black electorates followed the repeated call of anti-apartheid forces and largely boycotted the elections, with only an estimated 10 - 14 per cent of 'eligible' Black voters participating.  Soweto, Alexandra and Lenasia high schools staged an almost total stay-away of pupils, although most workers on the Reef went to work. The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly rejected the municipal elections as a manoeuvre to further entrench White minority rule and apartheid, which would increase conflict in southern Africa.

References:
• Kalley, J.A.; Schoeman, E. & Andor, L.E. (eds) (1999). Southern African Political History: a chronology of key political events from independence to mid-1997, Westport: Greenwood.
• South African Institute of Race Relations. (1989). Race Relations Survey 1988/89, Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, p. 597.  

Last updated : 25-Oct-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011