Liberation Struggle in South Africa

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South African Women's Auxiliary Air force, World War 2, 1940s. Source: Museum Africa

Liberation history Timeline 1940-1949

The 1940s were characterised by changes that had a profound effect on the political landscape in South Africa. There was closer cooperation between the CPSA and the ANC, in contrast to the antagonistic relationship between the two organisation during the 1920s and 1930s. In addition, political organisations such as the Non-European United Front (NEUF) and APO attempted to work together. The ANC Women’s League was established in 1943, and the ANC Youth League was formed in 1944.There was a marked growth in militant campaigns against the government, as evidenced by a series of passive resistance campaigns such as the Alexandra bus boycotts and the miners’ strike in 1946. Conversely, there was an increase in the harassment of political activists, as seen in the Sedition Trial of 1946 that lasted two years. In the 1948 elections, the National Party seized power and began to set in motion plans to implement apartheid.

1940
Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940 is passed. The act provides for the compulsory registration of White voters only. Attempts by the National Liberation League (NLL) and the African Peoples Organisation (APO) to protest against this Act do not succeed.
Walter Sisulu and Professor Z. K. Matthews join the African National Congress (ANC).
Cissie Gool becomes the president of the Non-European United Front (NEUF).
The Transvaal African Teachers Association's (TATA) Rand branch launches a teachers’ salary campaign.
The Asiatic Land and Trading (Transvaal) Act is passed. It extends the 1939 law for two years but makes some concessions based on the Feetham Commission report, providing slight security for the richer Indians.
The ANC establishes a ‘Department of Social Welfare’ to investigate the needs of the increasingly urban population.  
The first Alexandra Bus Boycott takes place in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, with commuters forcing bus companies to reduce their bus fare by one penny.
William H. Andrews serves as the Chairman of the Communist Party of South Africa’s (CPSA) Central Committee. Bram Fischer is elected to the Party’s Central Committee and also serves on the Johannesburg District Committee along with Josie Palmer and Dr. Yusuf Dadoo.
Joe Slovo becomes an active member of the CPSA.
January, A meeting is held between the Nationalist Bloc, Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) leadership and the Indian Agent-General, Sir Benegal Rama Rau, to unite the Indian political factions in the Transvaal. However, the meeting ends in failure.
February, The decision of the Natal Indian Association (NIA) executive to cooperate with the Lawrence Committee is ratified by the NIA's general body.
[This decision to cooperate with the Committee is largely as a result of the persuasive influence and efforts of the Indian Agent-General, Sir Benegal Rama Rau, who stressed that the Committee will provide an opportunity to discuss Indian housing problems and the need for proper amenities in the predominantly Indian-occupied areas, as well as the need for good alternate residential areas for the Indian middle class.]
4 February,  The depleted Natal Indian Congress (NIC) under the leadership of A.I. Kajee group declares that the NIC is still in existence and that the procedures followed during the amalgamation of the NIC with the Colonial Born and Settlers Indian Association (CBSIA) are wrong.
[The depleted NIC strongly opposes the decision of the NIA to cooperate with the Lawrence Committee, arguing that it constitutes Indian acceptance of voluntary segregation. However, this stance is ironic, since Kajee in 1936 gave a similar assurance to the Natal Municipal Association.]
March, The National Conference of the CPSA endorses the Central Committee’s opposition to WWII. It agrees to fight pro-Nazi white nationalists at home and begins to agitate amongst the black community for full democratic rights.
14 March, The Lawrence Committee, established in 1939 primarily to dissuade Indians from residing or acquiring property in predominantly White areas, holds its inaugural meeting in Durban.
15 May, The Indian Penetration Commission, under the chairmanship of Justice F.N. Broome, is appointed to investigate and report on the extent of Indian residential and trading penetration of predominantly White areas in the Transvaal and Natal since 1 January 1927.
1 June, The Native Labour Corp, one of many native military units established during the war, is formed. It is later renamed the Native Military Corps.  At its peak the Corp had ten battalions equipped with assegais (spears) who served as  guards in their duty.  
9 June, The leadership of the NIA, backed by the Indian Agent-General, Sir Benegal Rama Rau, declares its support for the Union Government war effort, but demands that there should be full equality between White, Black, Indian and Coloured troops in the armed services and that democratic rights be extended to these racial groups.
The Indian Service Corps is formed to provide transport, medical, hygiene and ambulance services in support of the South African Second World War effort.
29 July, Recruitment for the Indian Service Corps (mechanical and transport section) begins under Colonel Morris. Later, in a confidential report, Colonel Morris highly praises the efforts of the NIA, and especially that of A. Christopher, P.R. Pather, S.R. Naidoo and S. Rustomjee, each of whom spent ten hours daily in assisting the recruiting programme.
6 September, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo makes a statement before the court at his trial under emergency regulations. He highlights several issues affecting non European people such as pass laws, poll tax, segregation and the white labour policy. 
20 September, The Indian Agent-General, Sir Benegal Rama Rau, reluctantly admits that the recruitment drive under Indians in Natal for the South African Indian Service Corps (established to provide transport, medical, and hygiene and ambulance services in support of the South African Second World War II effort) has been a failure mainly due to the anti-war activities of the Nationalist Bloc in Natal.
December, The AAC convenes with sixty delegates.  At the Convention, Professor D.D.T. Jabavu refuses to give his opinion regarding World War II.
15-17 December, At the annual ANC conference Dr. A.B. Xuma is elected ANC president and begins to reju­venate the organisation. He gives the go-ahead for the forma­tion of the Congress Youth League. Moses Kotane and J.B Marks are elected to the Resolutions Committee and E.T Mofutsanyana is nominated by Dr. A.B Xuma, to serve as Secretary for Labour in his Cabinet. To read the minutes of the conference click here.
1941
The ANC congress resolves to review its position on women membership.
The Factories, Machinery and Building Works Act is passed which sets minimum safety standards and working conditions. The Act also empowers the Labour Minister to instruct the Governor-General who in turn should compel factory owners to allocate racially segregated work, recreation and eating areas for employees and where necessary to safeguard the physical, moral or social welfare of such employees.
Dr. A.B. Xuma is elected as the Chairman of the Johannesburg Joint Council.
January, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo is elected to the Central Committee of the CPSA and for the next 42 years serves on the Central Committee.
23 February, Dr. A.B Xuma gives an address at the Mendi Memorial Celebration held at the Bantu Sports Grounds, Johannesburg. In his address Xuma queried the justification of denying Africans equal rights given their loyalty of service to their country.
26 June, The ANC’s Transvaal branch holds a mass meeting to protest against the shooting and killing of two Africans in Sophiatown.
8 July, The ANC deputation comprising of Dr A.B. Xuma, President General, S.P. Matseke and Selope Thema, who was later replaced by E.T Mofutsanyana because of his inability to join with other members of the deputation, meets with the Minister of Justice. To read the report of the meeting click here.
26 July, The ANC in Transvaal issues a flyer, “Africans Shot in Cold Blood”, which calls for a mass meeting at Newtown Market Square, Johannesburg.
August, As an indication of the growing relationship between the CPSA and the ANC, Dr. A.B. Xuma uses the columns of the Party’s organ Inkululeko to address a long statement on ‘The Policy and Platform of the African National Congress
3 August, A representative mine workers conference is called by the Transvaal Provincial Committee of the ANC. The outcome of the conference is the formation of the African Mine Workers' Union (AMU) which elects J.B. Marks as president.
November, Moses Kotane presides over the founding conference of the Council of Non-European Trade Unions (CNETU). The focus of the Council is to address the poor working conditions of African workers.
16 December, I.B. Tabata, at the AAC’s conference, criticises the Natives Representative Council and describes the AAC as an organisation without strong leadership. To read his address click here.
Moses Kotane is elected as one of ten members of an ‘African Parliamentary Committee’ of lobbyists who would be in contact with the Native Representative Council (NRC) at the AAC conference in Bloemfontein.
14-16 December, The ANC holds its annual conference. In his presidential address Xuma stated that “All its efforts are and must be concentrated upon raising the status of the African people from their semi-serfdom to citizenship.”  To read more of Dr. A.B. Xuma’s presidential address click here.
1942
Sonia Bunting founder member of the Cape Town Friends of Cuba Society, joins the CPSA.
Professor D.D.T. Jabavu criticises the format that the AAC uses for the election of its leadership.
The first annual conference of the Federation of African Trade Unions (Rand and Pretoria) is addressed by the Minister of Labour, W.B. Madeley.
The Christian Council of South Africa sponsors the Reconstruction Conference which in turn dispatches a delegation to the Prime Minister Jan Smuts to argue for increased African participation in Parliament.
E.T Mofutsanyana and Alpheus Malibu are selected by the CPSA to stand as candidates for the NRC elections but neither is elected to the NRC. The ANC’s candidates of Rev. John Dube, A.W.G. Champion and Professor Z.K. Matthews are elected to the NRC.
The CPSA devotes all its efforts to a ‘Defend South Africa’ campaign and Moses Kotane, as general secretary, spends months travelling to all the main centres of South Africa.
January, The Springbok Legion launches the first issue of its journal, Fighting Talk.
February, At the CPSA’s Annual Conference in Cape Town, the Party unanimously endorses its policy of giving full support to the government’s war effort. 
4 March, The ANC deputation meets with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Native Affairs, Colonel Denez Reitz, to discuss African concerns ranging from the question of Army Services to African Representation during World War II, Land, Education, Wages and Recognition and Registration of African Trade Unions, the Native Administration Act and the Pass Laws. To read the report click here.
April, Moses Kotane is commissioned by the CPSA to document Japan’s involvement in the war and he produces a pamphlet entitled, Japan – Friend or Foe?
June 18, Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki , future president of South Africa, is born in Idutywa district in the Transkei. Mbeki is the second child of Govan Mbeki and Ma Mofokeng.
June 28, A ‘Non-European People’s Manifesto’ is adopted by a conference in Johannesburg representing 88 non-European organizations convened by the Non-European United Front. The Manifesto calls for the government to “abolish the colour bar and enable the black peoples of South Africa to play their full part in the country’s war effort” (Bunting, 1998)
October, The government appoints the Smit Commission to look into the issue of African trade unions. The Smit Commission’s report on ‘Social Health and Economic Conditions of Urban Natives’ recommends the recognition of African trade unions as well as the abolition of pass laws.
November, After returning to Johannesburg from a meeting in Bloemfontein Moses Kotane is arrested for making a “subversive” statement on the terms of the war emergency regulations.
11 November, Paul R. Mosaka writes to Dr. A.B. Xuma with regards to his appointment as a member of the NRC.
December, War Measure No. 42 is promulgated which prohibits strikes and imposes compulsory arbitration.
The United Party government starts relaxing influx control measures.
Bram Fischer is elected onto the Johannesburg Bar Council (a body on which he serves for the next ten years despite his alignment with the Communist Party).
After representation by the CPSA’s barrister, Franz Boshoff, is made to the Minister of Justice, Dr. Steyn, prosecution against Moses Kotane is withdrawn.
20-22 December, The ANC conference held in Bloemfontein approves the formation of a youth wing and adopts the “Atlantic Charter from the Standpoint of Africans within the Union of South Africa” and Bill of Rights documents. Click here to read the party’s resolutions.
1943
Women are formally admitted as full members of the ANC.  
The Trading and Occupation of Land Act (Transvaal and Natal), otherwise known as the “Pegging Act”, is passed. This Act provides official control of property transactions between Whites and Indians, due to the ‘penetration’ of Indians in predominantly white areas.
The headquarters of the Cape branch of the ANC, in Cradock, and its offices at Naauwpoort are raided by the Criminal Investigation Department.
Sam Kahn begins serving as a member of the Cape Town City Council, a position he holds until 1952.
Hilda Bernstein becomes Johannesburg City Councillor, the only Communist elected to public office.
February, The Anti-Coloured Affairs Department movement (Anti-CAD movement) is established at a conference in Cape Town against the Coloured Advisory Council (CAC).  
March, The Indian Reciprocity Act is passed in New Delhi by the Central Legislative Assembly. It imposes the same restrictions on South African Europeans in India as imposed on South African Indians in South Africa.
26 June, Professor D.D.T Jabavu issues a statement on the Atlantic Charter.
July, Pressure by the African Mine Worker’s Union results in the creation of the Mine Wages Commission which aims to “Inquire into the Conditions of Employment in the Mines.” The Union presents a 50-page report on conditions at mines to the Commission.
7 July, General elections are held with the United Party, under General Jan Smuts winning a majority of seats in Parliament. The National Party, under D.F. Malan, makes gains as the official opposition.
26 August, The AAC manifesto is redrafted as a Call to Unity which is adopted by the AAC’s National Executive.
2-11 August, In Alexandra, the local bus company increases fares by 1d. This sparks a spontaneous protest in which 20 000 residents boycott buses and walk approximately 14kms into town and back home. A Bus Service Committee is set up by the ANC and it includes leaders of the community, representatives from Trade Unions, Vigilance Societies and the CPSA. After nine days, the bus company agrees to reduce the fare back to the original 4d. A commission of enquiry is set up to look into bus fares.
26 September, The African Democratic Party (ADP) is launched by, amongst others, Paul Mosaka, Self Mampuru and Dan Koza. It has a social-democratic programme and hopes to provide an alternative to the ANC. Former Communist member Hyman Basner addresses its inaugural meeting, criticising the ANC-CPSA alliance. The party becomes influential in Alexandra and Orlando and lasts for about five years. To read the manifesto of the ADP click here.
December, Seventy-two delegates, including Indians and Coloureds, attend the AAC. It coincides with the first meeting of the Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM). The meeting of these two organisations takes place in Bloemfontein and is chaired by Professor D. D. T. Jabavu. To read the “Draft Declaration of Unity” of this conference click here.
Three CPSA candidates are re-elected in the Johannesburg advisory board elections.
4 December, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo opens an Anti-Pass Conference called by the CPSA. Dadoo is subsequently elected to a committee that will mount an anti pass campaign. The Committee is tasked with setting up regional committees throughout South Africa prior to the convening of a national anti pass conference in Easter 1944.
13-14 December, The Atlantic Charter Committee, led by ANC leader Dr A.B Xuma, meets in Bloemfontein and draw up a memorandum entitled The Atlantic Charter From the standpoint of Africans within the Union of South Africa. In this memorandum the articles of the Charter are discussed one by one and observations are made about each article. This becomes the basic policy statement on which all subsequent ANC documents are based.Dr. A.B Xuma, with the help and advice of Professor Macmillian and Bram Fischer, draft a new constitution for the ANC.
16 December, The new ANC constitution is adopted at the Congress’s annual conference. The conference also adopts ‘African Claims in South Africa’.
1944
Pensions Laws Amendment Act 1944 is passed. The Act provides war pensions and a non-contributory old-age pension scheme to African men and women. The Act also extended disability grant to Coloured, African and Indian people. However, there is a discrepancy with regard to the payment of the benefits to the pensioners. The maximum benefit payable to African pensioners is set less than one-third of the maximum payable to White pensioners. The Act receives strong opposition from the National Party.
Chief Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela join the ANC.
Adelaide Tambo is elected as a courier for the ANC.
January, Moses Kotane and Dr. Yusuf Dadoo are the main speakers at a mass anti-pass demonstration organized by the newly formed Anti-Pass Committee.
4-5 January, The Anti-CAD Movement hosts its second national conference at City Hall, Cape Town. To read a report of the proceedings click here.
4-16 January, At the CPSA Conference, a resolution, amongst many others, calls on Party members to take an active role in building the national organisations of African, Coloured and Indians peoples and the establishment of strong local branches in every centre.
February, Moses Kotane is the lead speaker at a CPSA ‘country conference’ in Paarl. This is the first of its kind to be held and is attended by delegates from all parts of the Western Cape Province.
March The ANCYL provisional committee publishes its Congress Youth League Manifesto, the central theme of which is the African’s decision to “determine his future by his own efforts” (Walshe, 1970: 335). To read a copy of the ANCYL’s constitution click here.
April, Moses Kotane and Dr. A.B. Xuma spend the rest of the year speaking at anti-pass demonstration in several places around  the country.
Despite representations made to the Mine Wages Commission, the Commission reports “that the Chamber’s labour policy was sound” (Levy, 2011)
2 April, The ANCYL Transvaal branch is established in Johannesburg as a step towards establishing a national structure.
25 April,The Durban District Branch of the CPSA is the first organisation, to protest against the Pretoria Agreement and circulates a petition, condemning the Agreement between A.I Kajee and Prime Minister Jan Smuts. The Party is able to gather thousands of signatures.
May, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo makes a statement on the Pretoria Agreement and calls it a shameful negation of all the noble principles for which the Indian people have stood and fought during all the years of their experience in South Africa.”  To more of Dadoo’s statement click here
14 May,The CPSA organises a rally where 10 000 people assemble at the Red Square and reject the Smuts-Kajee Agreement.
20-21 May,At a mass anti-pass conference in Johannesburg, a National Anti-Pass Council is elected to collect 1 million signatures. Moses Kotane is voted onto the council and Josie Palmer also begins to work with the Council. To read the resolutions of the conference click here.
August, The NRC passes a resolution stating that the government's segregation policy is the root of all distrust among races and that the policy is thus not conducive to peaceful relations between Black and White, and not in the best interest of South Africa.
10 September, The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is officially formed by young radicals at the Bantu Men`s Social Centre in Johannesburg. Amongst some of the young people that had actively canvassed for its formation were Anton Lembede, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Dan Tloome, William Nkomo, Ida Mtwa, Lillian Ngoyi, Ashby Mda, Duma Nokwe, James Njongweni and B. Masekela. To read a copy of the ANCYL’s constitution click here. The first National Executive members are Anton Lembede, president, Oliver Tambo, secretary, Walter Sisulu, treasurer, A.P. Mda organiser, with Nelson Mandela and David Bopape as additional members.
November, The government gives permission for bus fares to be increased to 5d. This is done despite evidence by a Commission of Inquiry, set up after the Alexandra bus boycott of 1943, that no urban African could afford such an increase. As a result residents of Alexandra carry out another bus boycott which lasts for seven weeks.
December,CPSA candidates sweep the board in elections in Langa location, Cape Town.
1945
The Port Elizabeth branch of the ANC organises protest marches against any extension of single accommodation or compound housing.  
Albert Luthuli is elected to the Executive Committee of the Natal Organisation of the ANC.
J.B Marks succeeds Gana Makabeni as president of CNETU.
4-5 January, The NEUM meets in Cape Town for its annual conference. To read Dr. Yusuf Dadoo’s report on the conference click here.
February, The ANCYL national president, Anton Lembede, issues an article entitled Some Basic Principles of African Nationalism in Inyaniso.
March, At the annual conference of the Johannesburg District Committee of the CPSA, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo is nominated as chairperson.  He declines to stand. The runoff is between Danie du Plessis and E.T Mofutsanyana, du Plessis is elected as Chairman.
8 May, There are no official government celebrations on Victory in Europe Day (VE Day). The ANC and SACP leaders celebrate the Allied victory over Hitler at a spontaneous gathering in Johannesburg. The people march through the streets of central Johannesburg gathering at the City Hall steps. Dr. Yusuf Dadoo, Michael Harmel and JB Marks make impromptu speeches at the steps of Johannesburg City Hall.
Dr. A.B. Xuma makes a statement entitled “Africans and San Francisco”.
June, Moses Kotane, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo and Selope Thema take the anti-pass petition to Cape Town.
1 June, Native (Urban Areas) Consolidation Act No 25 passed. The Act introduces influx control, applicable to Black males only. People who are deemed to be leading idle or dissolute lives or who had committed certain specified offences could be removed from an urban area.
July, A statement is issued by the NEUM entitled “A Declaration to the Nations of the World” and is signed by Rev. Z.R. Mahabane, Dr. G.H. Good and E.C. Roberts.
October, The Pan-African Conference is hosted in Manchester and is attended by Mark Hlubi and Peter Abrahams from the ANC. Also present were delegates from the AAC and Non-European Front.
At a meeting in Cape Town, 8000 Africans called for the immediate implementation of the ANC’s newly drafted Atlantic Charter.
27 October, Candidates of the Anti-Segregation Council, led by Dr Monty Naicker, are elected at a public meeting of over 7,000 people in Durban as officials of the Natal Indian Congress. Dr. Naicker succeeds A.I. Kajee as President.
16 December, The annual ANC conferences unanimously adopts African Claims
27-30 December, At the CPSA annual conference held in Johannesburg debates centre on whether the Party should support the creation of black trade unions or non-racial unions.  The majority vote for supporting non-racial trade unions but the Party also states that it does not see any contradiction in supporting ethnic groups being organised separately in their own political formations.
1946
India severs trade relationships with the Union of South Africa in protest against its discriminatory treatment of people with an Asian origin.
At a meeting called by the Anti-Pass Committee in Langa, Cape Town, where Moses Kotane is a key note speaker, the crowd takes a militant step and burns their passes.
Dr A.B Xuma attends the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in the hope of being given a platform to present views of the ANC regarding the Smuts government racial policies. The SAIC assists Dr. A.B Xuma to come into contact with the Indian delegation at the UN.
The Natal Inter-Race Soccer Board is established with the help of Albert Luthuli.
January, Dr. A.B. Xuma sends a cable to the United Nations opposing the incorporation of South-West Africa (Namibia) into South Africa.
14 January, Dr. A.B. Xuma issues a statement on the African Worker.
3 February, NIC calls a mass meeting to protest against the proposed Asiatic Bill. A resolution condemning the bill, rejecting communal franchise, proposing a round table conference of South Africa with India, and advocating effective mass resistance is passed.
11 February, Rev. John Dube dies in Umhlanga, Natal. His position as the Natal representative on the Natives' Representative Council (NRC) is filled by Albert Luthuli.
20 February, A Day of Prayer, called by the NIC, is observed widely. Indian businesses close at 1 p.m. and many Indians take a resistance pledge.
31 March, Six thousand Indians march in Durban to protest against the Asiatic Bill (called the Ghetto Act by Indians), and support the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) resolution for Passive Resistance. Dr Monty Naicker, President of the NIC, addresses the demonstrators. H.I.E. Dhlomo of the ANC and L.A. Smith of the APO speak at the meeting and pledge the support of African and Coloured people to Indians in their struggle. This began the passive resistance campaign which lasted until 1948.
April, Two-thousand mine workers attend a rally where they demand 10 shillings a day, adequate food amongst other demands. These demands are ignored by the Chamber of Mines.
May, Anton Lembede publishes an article on the “Policy of the Congress Youth League” in Inkundla ya Bantu.
June, A full conference of the Anti-Pass Council is held. Dr. A.B Xuma addresses the conference, stating that the pass laws were the ‘very foundation of economic exploitation’ (Walshe, 1970: 312).  
3 June, The NIC meets in emergency session in Durban and decides on a hartal (strike action) on 13 June, which is designated ‘Resistance Day’ to mark the beginning of the Passive Resistance Campaign against the Ghetto Act.
6 June, The Asiatic Land Tenure (and Indian Representation/Ghetto Act) Act No 28 is passed. Asian trade is restricted to certain defined areas by preventing inter-racial transfers of property. In Durban, a Land Tenure Advisory Board was established to draw up plans for the permanent division of cities into White and Indian sectors.
13 June, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo and Dr. Monty Naicker lead an Indian Passive resistance campaign against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act.
African miners strike from the East to the West Rand, police open fire, killing some and  injuring hundreds of workers.
Mayibuye Centre exhibition takes place at the Center for African Studies at the University of Cape Town. It is entitled “Margins to Mainstream: Lost South African Photographers.” It is one of the first exhibitions of resistance photography, and includes the work of Ernest Cole, Bob Gosani, Eli Weinberg and Leon Leveson.
4 August, A mass meeting of mine workers is held at Market Square, Newtown, Johannesburg where a decision is taken to undertake a general strike on the mines.
12 August, The African Mineworkers Union launches the biggest strike since the Rand Revolt of 1922. More than 60 000 African mineworkers take part. During the strike nine workers are killed and 70 are dismissed. The CPSA’s offices are raided by the police along with other organizations that supported the miner’s strike.
14 August, As a result of the governments crack down on the mine workers’ strike, a decision is taken to indefinitely adjourn the NRC. 
26 August, Moses Kotane, as CPSA’s general secretary, together with the entire CPSA Johannesburg District Committee and the miners’ leaders are charged under the Riotous Assemblies Act. The charges are dropped against Moses Kotane and 5 others, while the others are fined £50 when the charge of conspiracy is dropped. 
6 October,Moses Kotane attends an emergency conference in Bloemfontein called by the President-General of the ANC, Dr. A.B Xuma, to discuss the Mineworkers strike.
November,William H. Andrews, Moses Kotane and other members of the CPSA Central Committee are arrested in Cape Town on a charge of sedition. After a long trail, the case is eventually withdrawn in 1948.
20 November, The NRC meets to hear the government’s response on the adjournment decision. The caucus decides to maintain the decision of indefinitely adjourning the Council. Professor Z.K. Matthews issues a pamphlet entitled Reasons Why the Native Representative Council in the Union of South Africa Adjourned.
14-17 December, At the annual conference of the ANC, held in Bloemfontein, Moses Kotane, along with other CPSA members such as J.B Marks, Dan Tloome and Lucas Philips, are elected onto the National Executive Council (NEC). The ANC annual conference asks its NEC to consider the possibilities of closer cooperation with the national organisations of other non-Europeans in the common struggle. To read the resolutions made at the conference click here.
18 December, Steve Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), is born in King Williams Town, Eastern Cape.
1947
The Industrial Conciliation (Natives) Bill is passed. The Bill provides for a degree of recognition for African trade unions, however, African unions are not allowed to affiliate to any political organisation or participate in political activities as well as join any trade union confederation. The Act also excludes the mining industry from its terms.
The ANC is represented at an All-African Trade Union Conference, in Dakar, by J.B. Marks and Dan Tloome (both from the Transvaal Congress).
An all-African, anti-communist Council of African Trade Unions is formed in opposition to the Council of Non-European Trade Unions.
Mary Malahlela-Xakana becomes the first female Black doctor in South Africa.
3-5 January, At the annual conference in Johannesburg, the CPSA calls for the establishment of a fighting alliance and endorses the ANC boycott call of all elections under the Representation of Natives Act of 1936.
1-2 February, The National Executive Committee of the ANC has a meeting. To read the minutes click here.
8 March, Josie Palmer is elected as secretary of the non-racial Transvaal All Women's Union formed at the International Women's Day Meeting in Johannesburg.
9 March,Dr Monty Naicker (NIC), Dr Yusuf Dadoo (TIC) and Dr A.B. Xuma (ANC) meet in Johannesburg. The presidents of the three congresses sign the Doctors Pact, a joint declaration of co-operation between them. To read the statement issued by Dr. A.B. Xuma, click here.
21 March, Dr A.B Xuma issues a flyer To All Africans and Friends of Justice where he declared that “The time has now come that all self-respecting Africans--men and women must join in the struggle for their own liberation”. To read more on the flyer click here
23 March, A meeting of the ANC, APO, NIC and TIC is held in Johannesburg to discuss cooperation.
4 May, The Natal Indian Organisation (NIO) is formed by moderate Indians.
8-9 May, Prime Minister Jan Smuts calls in Professor Z.K. Matthews and five other NRC representatives to negotiate giving the NRC some definite responsibility over the government and management of reserves. Dr. A.B Xuma responds by stating that “we do not accept any proposal that does not provide for direct representation of all sectors of the community in all legislative bodies” (Levy, 2011). To read a report of the meeting click here.
11 May, Dr. A.B. Xuma, on behalf of the ANC, responds to the proposals made by the Prime Minister on restarting the NRC.
June, Dr Yusuf Dadoo opens the annual conference of the APO.
29 July, The ANCYL president, Anton Lembede, dies at the age of 33.
November, The NRC Caucus issues a statement on the Prime Minister’s Policy towards the NRC.
December, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo and Dr. Monty Naicker issue a joint statement entitled “Call for Renewed Struggle Against Ghetto Act” after a meeting of the Joint Passive Resistance Council.
1948
The Train Apartheid Resistance Campaign (TARC) is formed to fight the extension of segregation to trains in the Cape Peninsula. It fizzles out within six months; several months later, following their acquittal in May 1949 of the charge of incitement, the TARC leadership announces its decision to affiliate to the NEUM. On the one hand, the TARC was a forerunner of the Congress movement's tactical campaigns of the 1950s, which, in their use of passive resistance, showed elements of Gandhi's Satyagraha movement. On the other, it foreshadowed the NEUM's growing reticence, especially in the Western Cape, to engage in tactical campaigns.
Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country is published. It isa social protest against the structures of South African society which would give way to apartheid.
Albert Luthuli visits the United States of America to attend the North American Missionary Conference and undertakes a lecture tour under the auspices of the American Board.
The ANC Women's League is formally established. Madie-Hall Xuma is elected President, a position she holds until 1949.
The ANCYL executive committee issues a statement which covers the “Basic Policy of the Congress Youth League”.
January, The CPSA, at its annual conference decides to support candidates into the Native Representative Council who pledge to work for universal franchise.  E.T. Mofutsanyana, Alpheus Maliba and A. S. Damana represent the Party in the NRC elections. The conference also demands the withdrawal of criminal charges then pending against members of the Central Executive as a direct consequence of the strike by African miners in 1946.
30 January, M.K. Gandhi is assassinated by a member of a right-wing Hindu organisation in New Delhi. Dr. Yusuf Dadoo issues a statement in tribute to his life.
March, The CPSA holds its Johannesburg District Committee meeting.  Dr. Yusuf Dadoo is elected Chairman in absentia. The Party writes to the Minister of Justice objecting to the imprisonment of Dr Yusuf Dadoo and Dr. Monty Naicker.
William H. Andrews leads the CPSA in celebrating the one hundredth year anniversary of the Communist Manifesto in Cape Town.
29-31 March, The NEUM hosts its sixth National Unity Conference in Cape Town. To read the resolutions passed at the conference click here.
5 April, Dr. A.B. Xuma issues a statement on the upcoming general election.
May, The CPSA holds a ‘People’s Assembly for Votes for All’ in Johannesburg.
20 May, In an interview with The Guardian, Moses Kotane urges all progressives to vote for candidates of the CPSA in the general election.
26 May, The National Party (NP) wins most seats in the general election on its policy of racial segregation (later to become known by the Afrikaans word apartheid). NP leader D.F. Malan becomes Prime Minister. The CPSA calls for the formation of an anti-Nationalist front in response.
3 June, Professor James Thaele dies in Cape Town.
July, Rev. J.A. Calata gives his presidential address at a conference of the ANC’s Cape Province branch.
Dr. Yusuf Dadoo gives a speech entitled “Apartheid Over Our Dead Bodies” at a mass meeting organised by the Transvaal Passive Resistance Council on his release from prison.
10 September, The publication of a draft Proclamation No. 1890 for the “Financial Protection of Natives”, promulgated under the Natives Administration Act of 1927 receives significant public outcry, including from the CPSA, because it states that “no organization or individual could collect money from Africans without the written permission of the Native Commissioner or magistrate” (Bunting, 1998: 160).
3 October, Dr. A.B. Xuma calls a meeting of twelve African leaders to end the rift between the ANC and the All-African Convention. The leaders sign “A Call for Unity”.
12 October, Asiatic Laws Amendment Act No 47 is passed. This Act repeals the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act of 1946, which had not yet been proclaimed. This Act allowed Transvaal and Natal Indians the right to elect Whites to represent them in Parliament.
17 November, Tensions between members of the AAC arises. The AAC members at a joint conference with the ANC cannot find common ground on issues pertaining to the running of the organisation. The AAC rejects the ‘Call for African Unity’ proposal.
25 November, Dr. A.B. Xuma sends a cable to the United Nations with regards to a statement made by Eric Hendrik Louw.
16-17 December, A joint conference of the ANC and AAC is held in Batho Location Community Hall, Bloemfontein. To read the minutes click here.
1949
Fatima Meer establishes the Durban Districts Women's League.
Sam Kahn wins an election to Parliament as a representative of Natives of the Western Constituency of the Cape by an overwhelming majority against a Nationalist and an independent opponent. Kahn becomes the first Communist to be elected to Parliament.
Joe Slovo marries Ruth First.
Ida Mntwana replaces Madie-Hall Xuma as the president of the ANC Women’s League.
14 January, Charges of slum-lord tactics and exploitation laid against Indian landowners in Cato Manor result in an African versus Indian race rebellion. Two days of murder, pillage and arson leave some 50 Indians dead, more than 500 injured and thousands in makeshift refugee camps. The Africans, whose toll was 87 killed and 550 injured, believe they'd won the Battle of Cato Manor. Other sources, such as Liebenberg and Spies (1993: 377) place the death toll at 53 Indians and 83 Africans.
20 January, The ANC Working Committee issues a statement signed by Dr. A.B Xuma on the Durban Riots.
6 February, The Joint meeting of African and Indian leaders from the ANC and SAIC is held in Durban and they agree on closer co-operation. To read the statement issued click here.
17-18 April, A second joint conference between the AAC and the ANC is held. At the conference AAC calls upon the ANC to support the policy of non-collaboration with government. This conference fails to form a union between the two organisations. To read the minutes of the conference click here.
8 May, Moses Kotane writes to Professor Z.K. Matthews reporting on the joint meeting between the AAC and ANC.        
July, The CPSA makes a statement calling on the African, Indian and Coloured people to unite in resisting the Nationalist aggression.
8 July, Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 is passed and prohibits marriage between Whites and any other race group.
November, Dr. Yusuf Dadoo is informed of a government ban on him against appearing at public meetings.
13 December, At a mass meeting convened in Johannesburg, the TIC, ANC, CPSA, and the APO condemn the ban on Dr. Yusuf Dadoo.
15-17 December, The ‘Programme of Action’ is adopted by the ANC which abandons the traditional moderate approach of petitions and deputations in favour of mass action using the tactics of boycotts, strikes and civil disobedience. This leads to the Defiance Campaign of the 1950s. Dr. A.B Xuma is replaced as President-General of the ANC by Dr. J.S. Moroka and Walter Sisulu is elected Secretary-General. The Congress also authorises the official ANC sign – a clinched right hand with the thumb pointing to the right shoulder. To read the minutes of this meeting click here.

References:
• History of South Africa: including apartheid [online] Available at: southafrica.to [Accessed 25 March 2009]
• Christopher A.J. (1994) The Atlas of Apartheid. Routledge Inc: London and Witwatersrand University Press. p. 41
• “Timeline South Africa” Available at: timelines.ws [Accessed 27 February 2009]
• Pampallis, J. (1991). Foundations of the New South Africa, Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman, p.168.
• http://www.Africanhistory.about.com/library/bl/blsalaws.htm
• Dubow, S. & Jevees, A. South Africa's 1940s World of Possibilities. ABC Press: Cape Town. Pp 28-29; 47- 48
• Lewis, G. Between the Wire and the Wall, A history of South African Coloured politics. Citadel Press LTD: Cape Town. P 206.
• Ministry of Education (2004).Compiled by the Social Integration and Cohesion Research Programme of the Human Sciences Research Council. edited by Linnegar, J. Every Step of the Way ”“ The Journey to freedom in South Africa. HSRC Press. Cape Town
• Walshe, P., 1970. The Rise of African Nationalism in South Africa: The African National Congress, 1912-1952. London: C. Hurst & Company
• Benson, M., 1966. South Africa: The Struggle for a Birthright. International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (IDAF), 1985.
• Lodge, T., 1983. Black politics in South Africa since 1945. Longman Group: New York
• Levy, N., 2011. The Final Prize: My Life in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle.
• Bunting, B., 1998. Moses Kotane, South African revolutionary: A Political Biography. Cape Town: Mayibuye Books
• Drew, A. (ed), 1997. South Africa's Radical Tradition: A documentary history, Volume Two 1943-1964. Cape Town, UCT Press.
• Liebenberg, B.J. and Spies, S.B. (eds), 1993. South African in the 20th Century. Natal: Kohler Carton & Print.

Last updated : 28-Jul-2016

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