William G. Ballinger

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Ballinger was a trade union organizer, member of the Joint Council movement, a representative of Africans in the Senate, and a founder of the Liberal Party.

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Born in 1894 in Britain, in 1928 he was sent to South Africa by the British Independent Labour Party as an Advisor to the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) of Clements Kadalie. He found the union already in a state of disintegration and was unable to reconcile its hostile factions. In 1930-1931 he was a delegate of the ICU to the Non-European Conferences, and in 1943 he aided the African National Congress in preparing evidence for a commission investigating labour on the mines. Defeated for nominations in 1937, he became a senator from 1948 to 1960, elected by Africans in the Transvaal and Orange Free State. He was the husband of Margaret Ballinger and like her, was out of sympathy with the Liberal Party’s shift to more radical positions. He was the author of Race and Economics in South Africa published in 1934. He died in 1974.

• Karis, T.G. & Gerhart, G.M. (1997)

Last updated : 24-May-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011