Bantu Authorities Act of 1951

This was the first piece of legislation introduced to support the government’s policy of separate development. It made provision for the establishment of Regional and Territorial Authorities for each specific ethnic groups in the ‘reserves’. Tribal Authorities were set up and positions were given to Chiefs and Headman who became responsible for the allocation of land, the welfare and pension system and development. The Traditional leadership of the African population had to some extent become representatives of the White government. Uncooperative traditional leaders were faced with harsh penalties and were often deposed. For example, Chief Albert Luthuli was deposed from his position as Chief when he refused to resign from the African National Congress.

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