After protracted negotiations between the Natal Government and the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Natal Coolie Law, Law 14 of 1859 is passed. This made it possible for the Colony to introduce Indians indentured labourers in Natal.


Indentured workers, from India, arrive in Durban, Natal


Law 12/1872 - made provision for the appointment of a Protector of Indian Immigrants


The Free State Republic passes legislation allowing Indians to enter the Republic with the understanding that they have no permanent right of residence.


The Volksraad of the South African Republic (Transvaal) passes Law 3 of 1885, which prohibits Indians from acquiring citizenship or owning property in the South African Republic except in ‘streets, wards and locations’ set aside for them.


Legislation is passed compelling Free Indians forced to carry passes or court arrest.


The Orange Free State Act 29 is passed. This law "aims to provide against the influx of Asiatics and the removal of White criminals entering the state from elsewhere.


The Volksraad in the Orange Free State (OFS) passes the Statute Law of the Orange Free State prohibits "an Arab, a Chinaman, a Coolie or any other Asiatic or Coloured person from carrying on business or farming in the Orange Free State.

Natal Coolie Law of 1859 is withdrawn to discourage the settlement of Indians in the province.

Indians were unable to obtain burgher right in the South African Republic (Transvaal).


The Franchise Act is introduced in Natal to disenfranchise Indians.


The Peace Preservation Ordinance and Ordinance No. 5 of 1903 regulates the re-entry of Indians who had left the Transvaal for Natal, the Cape Colony and India. It restricted Asiatics into segregated locations, refused trading licences except in Asiatic bazaars and pre-war licences of Asiatics become non-transferable.

The Transvaal Corporations Ordinance No 58 authorises local authorities to proclaim, move, de-proclaim and manage townships for non-whites. The residents cannot buy land and are forced to rent.


The Immigration Restriction Act of 1905 is passed. This allows the government to control entry of Indians into Transvaal through a special permit system.


The Precious and Base Metals Act, Act No. 35 of 1908, Transvaal (“Gold Law”) prevented African, Indian or Coloured persons from residing or owning land in certain areas except when such persons are in the employ of White people or the local authority has granted permission for usage.


The immigrants Regulations Act, No. 22 of 1913 prevents Indians from moving to other provinces.


As a response to an upsurge in anti—Indian sentiment among South African Whites, a call is made for a national conference to discuss this issue. The initiative comes from the Cape British Indian Council (CBIC) which holds a conference, in Cape Town on 2 January 1919.

4 June 1923

The South African Indian Congress (SAIC) is inaugurated on this day.

January 1924

The Union Government’s Minister of the Interior, Patrick Duncan, introduces the Class Areas Bill, the first major attempt to compulsory segregate Indians, residentially and commercially, in South Africa.

July 1925

Dr Daniel François Malan, Minister of Interior, introduces The Areas Reservation and immigration and Registration (Further Provision) Bill which deals with residential and commercial segregation in the Indian community as well as land ownership and the Immigration Regulation Act.


The Government of India intervenes and an agreement is reached between the South African and Indian Governments which provide, inter alia, that efforts should be made to induce Natal Indians to return to India by paying their passages and giving them a generous bonus on landing in India.

19 September 1928

The Cape Town Agreement recommended an investigation into the sanitary and housing conditions of Indians in Durban and its environs. The Minister of Public Health appoints the Executive Committee of the Central Housing Board to enquire into the sanitary and housing conditions of Indians in and around Durban.

The Durban City Council (DCC) in its evidence to the Thornton Commission maintains that there were few available sites within the Borough which could be utilised to provide housing on a viable basis. The Thornton Commission castigates the Council for its failure to provide housing for Indians. The Commission found that Indian housing and sanitary conditions were appalling in the peri-urban areas and condemned the pernicious barrack system as ‘one of the greatest evils the local authority has to cope with.’

21 March 1933

DCC Minutes of this day show that the DCC put up 12 sites, for sale by public auction at Cato Manor in 1933. The Indian community boycotts the sale because they saw the ‘village’ as an attempt to segregate them. Consequently, only four lots were sold.

April 1934

Almost a decade elapses after the Thornton Commission presents its report before the DCC begins to plan its first Indian housing scheme comprising fifty economic houses and fifty sub-economic houses at Cato Manor. The DCC probably would not have commenced with such plans had Dr Malan, Minister of the Interior, not threatened to withdraw a government grant of £50000. The first housing survey in the ‘Greater Durban’ area reveals that among the poorly housed the greatest deficiency was in respect of Indians.

The first loan of £300 at an interest rate of 4% per annum over 20 years is granted to Saminaden Chetty for erecting a house on Lot 59 of JHE of Brickfields. The very next year, however, the loan conditions for Indians were made more stringent thereby disqualifying many applicants. The Natal Indian Congress (NIC) protests at this discrimination but to no avail. The DCC admits that it made it virtually impossible for Indians to obtain loans.

6 December 1937

In 1937, a Special Committee for Housing recommended the provision of one hundred detached sub-economic houses for Indians at Cato Manor and Springfield to accommodate Indians who were being housed in Mayville and Riverside in terms of the Council’s slum clearance activities. Indians declined the houses as they simply could not afford them as well as the fact that the scheme was segregated. The DCC refused to construct further houses for Indians because of their response to the schemes at Cato Manor and Springfield.

4 May 1938

The Hertzog Government introduces the Transvaal Land and Trading (Asiatics) Bill, a two year interim measure designed to restrict Indian trading and property rights in the gold mining areas of Transvaal.

8 October 1939

The eminent Indian philosopher and statesman, Sir Sarvapilai Radhakrishnan, persuades the NIC and the Colonial-born and Settlers’ Indian Association (CBSIA) to unite. They unite to form the Natal Indian Association (NIA). This unity is short-lived and three months later A. I. Kajee and Swami Bhawani Dayal lead a splinter group into the NIC, an organisation founded by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in l894

10 November 1939

Minutes of the DCC reflect the attitude of Councillors. Councillor S.M. Petersen wanted legislation to prevent Indians and other non-Europeans from purchasing properties and land in European localities on lines similar to that which applied to Black people. Councillor Mrs Vera Burnside wanted an inquiry into the extent of Indian ‘penetration’ into European areas. The NIA opposed the policy of segregation suggested by the Councillors.

5 December 1939

The DCC continues its vendetta against Indians. The Town Clerk of Durban writes to the Secretary for the Interior, reporting that ‘Indian penetration’ was growing worse because from 1 August 1937 to 31 July 1939 some 140 properties were acquired from Europeans by Indians in the Old Borough of Durban.

11 February 1940

In 1936 Kajee agrees to a suggestion made by the Minister of the Interior, Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, to come to some mutual agreement regarding amenities for the Indian and European communities in urban areas. The DCC agreed to the establishing of a Joint Committee, regarded as the first attempt to discuss mutual Indo-European interests in terms of ‘voluntary co-operation and goodwill’. The NIA convenes a mass meeting of Indians on this day to confirm the terms of the assurance. A radical opposition group within the NIA, the Nationalist Bloc represented by Manilal Gandhi, Cassim I. Amra, M.I. Timol, George Ponnen, H.A. Naidoo and Dr Gangathura (Monty) Mohambry Naicker opposes the assurance on the grounds ‘that they were opposed to the principle of segregation and the assurance amounted to a voluntary submission to that principle’.

17 February 1940

Despite the Nationalist Bloc’s strong opposition, A. Christopher, J.W. Godfrey, A.S. Kajee, P.B. Singh, Sorabjee Rustomjee, P.R. Pather and A.M.M. Lockhart (as alternate member) are selected as the NIA representatives on the Joint Committee. The Council’s representatives are the Mayor, Councillor R. Ellis-Brown and Councillors H.G. Capell, T. Kinloch, W.E. Knight, D.C. Shepstone and J.M. Harris.

14 March 1940

The Government Committee (Lawrence Committee) holds its inaugural meeting to prevent the acquisition of property by Indians, occupied for residential purposes by Europeans, within the borough of Durban. Committees are appointed by the Durban Borough Council and by the Natal Indian Association (NIA) to co-operate by joint consultation to further the aims and objects of the Lawrence Committee. The Chairman and Secretary of the Lawrence Committee were the Mayor and the Town Clerk of the Durban City Council respectively. In 1941 the Indian representatives were A. Christopher, J. W. Godfrey, A. S. Kajee, P. B. Singh, P. R. Pather and Sorabjee Rustomjee.

Because of the divergent views and attitudes of its members, the Lawrence Committee is dissolved in 1942.

15 May 1940

The Government established the Indian Penetration Commission (Broome Commission), under the Chairmanship of Justice F.N. Broome, following complaints from Whites that Indians were penetrating ‘European areas’. The Commission was to enquire and report on the extent of Indian penetration since 1 January 1927 for trading or residential purposes in predominantly European areas in Natal and in the Transvaal (excluding proclaimed lands). The Indian community was opposed to the Broome Commission claiming it as their indisputable right to reside and trade according to their choice in any locality. The NIA appeals to the Government to suspend the Commission but this was refused. Indians were opposed to segregation in any form; the Government had taken the first step towards further restricting their rights.

May 1940

The Broome Committee dealt with 33 cases in five meetings and it was established in each case that Indians had purchased properties in White areas in order ‘to live in a decent locality where not only better environments but also civic amenities are available.

7 October 1940

The radical bloc in the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) held a mass meeting to protest the establishment of the Broome Commission to inquire into alleged penetration of predominantly ‘European’ areas by Indians in Natal and the Transvaal since 1 January 1927.

2 March 1941

The NIA convenes a mass meeting at the Durban City Hall to protest against impending appropriation of Indian land for White housing.

31 March 1941

The representatives of the NIC and the NIA meet the DCC’s Special Committee regarding Housing. They are scathing of the DCC’s actions regarding the expropriation of Indian land, maintaining that the DCC is intent on segregation through eliminating Indian residents from their lands to make way for White housing

11 October 1941

The Report of the Broome Commission is made public. In the Transvaal the Commission found 339 cases of penetration from 1927 to 1940; 246 cases being for trade and 93 for residence.

The Commission’s Report was a clear vindication of the Transvaal Indians. It showed that there was nothing unusual, abnormal or damaging in what bad taken place in respect of penetration.

The Commission divided Natal into two parts: Natal, excluding Durban, and Durban alone. In the first part the Commission found 328 cases of penetration for residential and trading purposes and 89 cases for agricultural purposes. Having regard to the Indian population in this area, (103173 in 1936), the Commission found that the position did not appear to be serious being “little more than a trickle”.

7 November 1941

The DCC’s Special Committee on Housing convened a meeting of all parties opposing the Council’s housing scheme. The NIA and NIC are allowed only one representative each and their representation limited to ten minutes. The Council considers the suggestions made by the Indian representatives as unviable for the scheme contemplated. A stalemate ensues, which is only resolved when the Central Housing Board decides to inspect the areas in question.

February 1943

The Government appoints an Asiatic Affairs Advisory Board to take the place of the defunct Lawrence Committee. The Board was to comprise four European and four Indian members, with a White chairman. Justice F. N. Broome heads the Commission of Enquiry into acquisitions of sites.

In appointing a Commission to investigate “penetration” by Indians in European areas between 1940 and 1943 the Union Government clearly indicated that it was not satisfied with the findings of the Commission of 1940 that there was no justification for the complaints made by Europeans that penetration was taking place at a rapid pace in Durban mainly because Indians wanted to live next to Europeans.

March 1943

The Indian Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi passes the Indian Reciprocity Act which aimed to impose the same restrictions on South African Whites in India as were imposed on Indians in South Africa.

22 March, 1943

Minister H. G. Lawrence said in Senate that if the Report of the Second Indian Penetration Commission upheld the allegations of the DCC, the Government would have to act and that any legislation introduced would have retrospective effect as from 22 March 1943. The Minister mentioned that feelings were running so high that racial riots [between Indians and Whites] were possible in Durban.

24 March 1943

The High Commissioner for India, after reading press reports of Lawrence’s Senate speech, informs the Minister that the Government and the people of India would strongly oppose any statutory solution of the Indian question in Natal which involved the segregation of Indians in prescribed residential areas.

26 March 1943

Sir Shafa’at Ahmad Khan, the Indian High Commissioner informs Minister Lawrence that he had been instructed by the Government of India to repeat the objections against segregation measures.

30 March 1943

The High Commissioner again reminds the Minister of the Interior that the Government of India had asked for an opportunity to be informed of the Union Government’s proposals in order to make their representations before any final decision was taken.

6 April 1943

The report of the Second Indian Penetration Commission is made public. The report vindicates the DCC’s allegations that penetration on a large scale is taking place in Durban. Between October 1940 and February 1943, it found 326 cases of penetration. The Report is accepted by both the Union Government and Parliament as complete justification for restrictive legislation. The Union Cabinet met on this day to discuss the proposed legislation. On the next day newspapers carried news of a Cabinet crisis in which J.H. Hofmeyr threatened to resign because of his disagreement with the suggested legislation.

7 April 1943

A draft Bill covering both Natal and the Transvaal is published. The purpose of the Bill is to make provision for restrictions on trading and the occupation of land in Transvaal by Indians and to impose restrictions on the acquisition and occupation of land in Natal. The Trading and Occupation of Land (Transvaal and Natal) Restriction Bill 35/1943 — all acquisitions or occupations are to be controlled by permits from the Minister.

In the Transvaal, the Interim Act, the Asiatics Transvaal Land and Trading Act 28/1939 as amended by Act 28/1941 and extended till 1943 is to be renewed for a further period of three years, until 31 March 1946.

In Natal, the position in Durban is to be pegged so that no Indian will be permitted to occupy or acquire property occupied or owned by a European before 22 March 1943.

With the approaching general elections, attempting to woo support by pursuing a virulently anti-Indian line, Prime Minister Jan Christiaan Smuts renews the Transvaal Land and Trading Act for three years. He also extends its restrictive provisions with regard to the purchase and occupation of residential property to Durban by introducing the Trading and Occupation of Land (Transvaal and Natal) Restriction Act which bans White – Indian property transactions in Durban for three years. It is called the “Pegging Act” as the intention is to “peg” Indian acquisition and occupation of land at 22 March 1943 levels until further measures are introduced.

7 April 1943

The NIC convenes a mass meeting at the Avalon theatre in Durban to protest against the “Pegging Act” under the chairmanship of M.A. Motala

8 April 1943

The Government of India issues a press communiqué expressing its regret at the failure of the Union Government to give them an opportunity to comment on the proposals. The Government of India sends further urgent communication to the Union Government reminding it of its decision in October 1939 not to proceed with legislation against Indians during the war, having regard to the feeling and friction which such legislation would inevitably cause. The Government of India requested the Union Government to re-examine the position and to try to arrive at a scheme for the voluntary restriction of inter-racial purchases of property. The Union Government is informed that the Reciprocity Bill has been passed into law with the unanimous approval of the Indian legislature.

10 April 1943

The Bill is given its first reading, a day after a deputation of sixteen members of the NIC wait on the Minister of the Interior, H.G. Lawrence, and presents him a comprehensive memorandum in which the Indian case is set out with great clarity. It was pointed out that the Report of the Second Penetration Commission did not draw a distinction between ownership and occupation and that if this had been done, 326 cases of acquisition would have been set out in correct perspective showing only 54 cases of ownership for purposes of actual occupation.

The memorandum addresses an appeal to the Union Government to formulate its policy towards the Indians in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Atlantic Charter and in keeping with the Cape Town Agreement.

18 July 1943

The “Pegging” Act serves to bring about the amalgamation of the Natal Indian Association (NIA) and the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) into a single organisation, the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) founded in 1894 by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. These two bodies had split in 1939.

18 April 1944

Smuts meets with an NIC delegation led by A.I. Kajee, P.R. Pather and S.R. Naidoo and announces the Pretoria Agreement, which established a board comprising two Indians and three Whites to license the purchase of property by members of a different racial group from previous occupants. While the Agreement was meant to apply to land for housing, the authorities in Natal extended this to the occupation and acquisition of business and agriculture property.

March 1944

The Government announces the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into Matters Affecting the Indian Population of the Province of Natal —Third Broome Commission — to go into all matters pertaining to Indians in Natal and especially to report on how best to implement the “uplift” clauses of the Cape Town Agreement.

The members of the Commission were Justice Broome (Chairman), W. M. Power, M.E.C., Natal, Senator D. G. Shepstone A. L. Barns; A. I. Kajee and S. R. Naidoo.

29 March 1944

The SAIC presents a memorandum to Prime Minister Smuts, which points out that the effect of the “Pegging” Act has been to freeze the elementary right of ownership and occupation of property. The memorandum suggested that the “Pegging” Act be annulled and that, for Durban, its place should be taken temporarily by a Board or Committee of two Europeans and two Indians with a chairman with legal training.

18 April 1944

Arising from the suggestions made by the SAIC, the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior meet the Administrator of Natal and D. E. Mitchell, M.E.C., Senator D. G. Shepstone and NIC representatives: A. I. Kajee, P. R. Pather, S. R. Naidoo, A. B. Moosa, T. N. Bhoola, M. Ebrahim and S. M. Paruk in connection with matters arising out of the application of the “Pegging” Act in Natal. At the end of the meeting, held in Pretoria, the Prime Minister issues a press statement in which the proposals of the SAIC of 29 March were embodied together with the addition that the Board would be constituted in terms of an Ordinance to be introduced by the Natal Provincial Council, whereupon the “Pegging” Act would be withdrawn by proclamation.

The Pretoria Agreement receives a mixed reception. A section of the Indian community denounces it as a betrayal by their leaders in that it was a voluntary acceptance of segregation; the rank and file of the Indians suspected that the wealthy Indians would use the Agreement to invest their wealth in purchasing property in Durban. Whites opposed the Pretoria Agreement because those primarily concerned, viz., the DCC and the citizens of Durban were not consulted at all.

22 April 1944

The Pegging Bill receives its first and second readings in the Senate. Senator Edgar Brookes presented a petition from the NIA asking for the Bill to be rejected. He felt that India had the right to make representations to the Union Government. South African Indians appealed to India because, the Senator said, fair treatment was not given to them. Indians in South Africa and India protested against the measures from its inception.

28 April 1944

The Anti Segregation Council (ASC), with Dr Monty Naicker as Chairman, is formed to oppose voluntary segregation. Others include A.K.M. Docrat (Secretary), M. Rajab (Treasurer), George Singh, M.D. Naidoo, Dr K. Goonam and Dr S.R. Deenadayalu (Committee Members)

3 November 1944

The NIC conveyed its protests to the Administrator of Natal and to the Prime Minister. Nonetheless, the Draft Ordinance is passed through all its stages by 2 November, 1944. Simultaneously with this Ordinance, two other Ordinances, the Natal Housing Board Ordinance and the Provincial and Local Authorities Expropriation Ordinance were also passed. These Ordinances gave rise to yet more bitter agitation among the Indian community in South Africa and in India. The atmosphere is so charged with racial bitterness that the Third Broome Commission, which had up to now been working in an atmosphere of goodwill and co-operation from the Indian community, decided not to continue its public sittings.

4 November 1944

The Extraordinary Gazette of India publishes news of the enforcement of the Indian Reciprocity Amendment Act against South African Europeans. The Act provided for the treatment in India on a reciprocal basis of persons of non-Indian origin domiciled in other British possessions in regard to the entry into, travel, residence, acquisition or holding of property, enjoyment of educational facilities, holding of public offices, and the carrying on of any occupation, trade, business or profession.

6 November 1944

The Central Legislative Assembly adopts a motion that economic sanctions against South Africa be enforced and the Government of India exercises its powers under the Reciprocity Act. For the first time in the history of British rule in India that the principle of retaliation is adopted and enforced by the Government of India against an independent fellow member of the British Empire.

28 November 1944

A NIC deputation meets the Prime Minister to protest against the three Ordinances recently passed.

14 March 1945

General Smuts states in the House of Assembly that the Natal Ordinances are declared ultra vires and that legislation is to be introduced in the current session amending the 1920 Housing Act to enable the Government to exercise powers of expropriation contemplated in the Natal Ordinances. This would facilitate setting aside separate residential areas.

26 April 1945

Douglas Mitchell, the Administrator of Natal, states that the Government is to introduce legislation to separate races.

7 September 1945

The Indian High Commissioner sends a detailed memorandum to the Minister of Interior outlining his objections to the proposed Natal Housing Ordinance.

14 September 1945

Natal Provincial Council passes the Natal Housing Ordinance.

3 October 1945

A.I. Kajee leads a NIC delegation to meet the Minister of Interior in connection with the Natal Housing Ordinance. The meeting is adjourned to 19 October 1945.

21 October 1945

The Kajee–Pather grouping boycotts the NIC AGM. At a mass meeting, nominees of the Anti Segregation Council (ASC) are elected to office with Dr Gangathura Mohambry ‘Monty’ Naicker as President, George Singh, Chairman of Committee and A.I. Meer and M.D. Naidoo as Joint Secretaries.

9 November 1945

A nine-member NIC deputation, led by its President Dr Gangathura Mohambry ‘Monty’ Naicker, submits a memorandum to Prime Minister Jan Smuts raising various issues of deep concern to the community. Among these is a call for the repeal of the Pegging Act and the Expropriation Ordinance and the convening of a Round Table Conference with the Government of India to discuss issues pertaining to the Indian community in South Africa.

21 November 1945

The Indian High Commissioner sends a note to the Union Government protesting against the Natal Housing Ordinance.

21 January 1946

With the Pegging Act due to expire on 31 March 1946, Smuts announces in Parliament that the Government would introduce the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill (Ghetto Bill) to regulate the occupation of fixed property by Indians. The Act also provides ‘a special franchise for Indians’ to get representation in Parliament. The Act will be retrospective, effect as from the date of his announcement.

22 January 1946

The NIC sends a cable to the Government of India requesting that it pushes for a Round Table Conference with the Smuts Government and to raise the issue of the Ghetto Bill before the United Nations Organisation (UNO).

3 February 1946

The NIC convenes a mass meeting in Durban to protest against the Ghetto Bill.

8 – 12 February 1946

The SAIC Conference held in Cape Town resolves to oppose the South African Government’s proposed Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill.

11 February 1946

During the conference a large deputation of 60 South African Indians, led by A.I. Kajee and Sorabjee Rustomjee, call on the Prime Minister, Field Marshall Smuts, and urges him to postpone the legislation, pending a round table conference with India. He refuses their request for a Round Table Conference and insists that he will proceed with the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill.

12 February 1946

Conference decides to prepare for resistance and to send delegations to India, Britain and the United States of America (USA). Sorabjee Rustomjee leads a SAIC deputation to India to solicit support for their opposition to the Bill. The delegation to India comprised Advocate A. Christopher, Sorabjee Rustomjee, S. R. Naidoo, M. D. Naidoo, A. S. Kajee, A. A. Mirza and S. M. Desai (Transvaal). The delegation to visit Britain and America comprised A. I. Kajee, Dr. Y. M. Dadoo, A. M. Moola, Rev. B. L. E. Sigamoney and P. R. Pather.

M. D. Naidoo, Joint Hon. Secretary of the NIC, in a letter to Sorabjee Rustomjee, refuses to be associated with the S.A.l.C. delegation to India. He stated that it was a calculated insult to Natal to be given one delegate out of seven and to have had Natal’s proposal for the inclusion of A. I. Kajee and A. I. Meer in the delegation to India turned down

20 February 1946

The NIC calls for this day to be observed as a day of prayer. An appeal is made to Indian businessmen and professionals to close their businesses and offices from 1 o’clock to 5 o’clock, is an overwhelming success. Some Indians lose their jobs as a result for their support for the NIC call. The community adopts a resistance pledge to carry out the instructions of the NIC to attain complete freedom.

25 February 1946

The Durban City Council (DCC) resolves, inter alia, at its meeting that it supports the Asiatic Land Tenure Bill.

3 March 1946

A SAIC delegation — Sorabjee Rustomjee, S.R. Naidoo A.A. Mirza and A.S.M, Kajee — meets Mahatma Gandhi in Poona.

12 March 1946

The same SAIC delegation is received by the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, in Delhi. The delegation is introduced by the Aga Khan, supported by leaders of the Indian National Congress and other prominent Indians. They submit a petition drafted in consultation with Gandhi. The Indian High Commissioner delivers a note to the Union Government from the Government of India protesting the proposed legislation and regretting the Union Government’s rejection of a Round Table Conference. In view of the Union Government’s attitude, the Indian Government gave notice of termination of a Trade Agreement with South Africa.

13 March 1946

Smuts informs the House of Assembly that he intends proceeding with the Ghetto Bill in spite of the Indian Government’s note.

15 March 1946

Smuts introduces the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill (Ghetto Bill) in Parliament with the Second Reading of the Bill scheduled for 25 March.

17 March 1946

Dr Dadoo, assisted by two Witwatersrand University students J.N. Singh and I.C. Meer, undertakes a vigorous tour of the Transvaal to mobilise support for the resistance campaign. Within a fortnight they travel to 15 different areas where they are ‘heartily and enthusiastically received’. The tour culminates in a huge mass meeting of 5,000 people from all over Transvaal to voice their opposition to the Ghetto Bill.

18 March 1946

Gandhi sends a telegram to Smuts asking him to withdraw the Asiatic Bill. He also issues a press statement describing the Bill as a challenge to Asia and Africa.

24 March 1946

A SAIC Executive meeting grants the NIC and the TIC the mandate to plan and prepare for a concerted and prolonged resistance to the Ghetto Bill.

25 March 1946

Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill begins in the House of Assembly. The Government of India gives a formal three month notice of the termination of the 1938 trade agreement with South Africa which provided for “most favoured nation” treatment

30 March 1946

A NIC Special Provincial Conference held in Durban, Natal, unanimously decides that resistance should begin immediately the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill (Ghetto Bill) becomes law and appoints a 25 member Passive Resistance Council (PRC) to conduct the struggle. The TIC also appoints a PRC to engage in the struggle against the Ghetto Bill.

31 March 1946

The “Pegging” Act expires on this day. The Union Government is scheduled to replace it with the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act.

31 March 1946

A procession, of some 6,000 people march, four to five deep, down Durban’s West Street, proclaiming, “To hell with the Ghetto Bill”. Earlier Dr Monty Naicker, NIC President, H.I.E. Dhlomo and L.A. Smith address the crowd.

31 March 1946

The Delhi Branch of the All India Women’s Conference passes a resolution assuring all out support for South African Indians.

7 April 1946

Students from the Durban Indian Girls High School, Sastri College and the Natal University College condemn the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act and express their determination to support the NIC.

16 April 1946

Ramaswami Mudaliar, Leader of the House in the Central Legislative Assembly, announces that the Government of India is to initiate steps to bring the issue of the oppression of Indians in South Africa before the United Nations Organisation (UNO).

21 April 1946

At a mass meeting in Johannesburg, the TIC, establishes a Passive Resistance Council (PRC) with 15 members, under the chairmanship of Dr Y.M. Dadoo.

April 1946

The Cape was not affected by the provisions of the Ghetto Act but the Indian community of the Cape wished to identify with their compatriots in the Transvaal and Natal. In Cape Town, a committee made up of Mrs Z. Gool, Sundra Pillay and Cassim Amra was formed; in Port Elizabeth, the leaders were M.M. Desai, V.K. Moodley and Dr S.V. Appavoo while in East London the PRC was led by Dr N.V. Appavoo, O. Jonathan and R. Harry

28 April 1946

Press reports in London state that Radio Moscow in two separate commentaries pledged support for South African Indians at the UNO.

30 April 1946

The Daily Worker of London condemns Smuts’ treatment of South African Indians.

1 May 1946

The SAIC delegation in Great Britain, comprising Ashwin Choudree and P. R. Pather, from their headquarters in the Strand Imperial Hotel, London, issue an informative booklet, A Commentary on the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act and A Short Survey of the Indian Question in South Africa . They address various public and private meetings soliciting support for their cause in South Africa.

5 May 1946

The delegation to Britain addresses one of the largest of meetings convened by the National Council of Civil Liberties, embracing some 800 trade unions and other industrial and co-operative organisations, at Grosvenor Place, London. The delegation to Britain, as in India, has a successful trip from the point of view of informing overseas opinion and soliciting support against South Africa.

11 May 1946

The first meeting of the Joint Passive Resistance Councils of the NIC and the TIC takes place in Durban.

23 May 1946

M. D. Barmania, one of the Secretaries of the SAIC addresses Parliament for fifty minutes. This was only the second time in 32 years that such a privilege had been granted for a ‘non-European’ to appear before the highest tribunal in the land. He objected to the restrictions on the purchase and occupation of property as well as to communal franchise.

23 May 1946

India asks its High Commissioner in South Africa, Ramrao Madhavrao Deshmukh, to return for consultations. He sails for India the next day.

29 May 1946

M.D. Naidoo, NIC Joint Secretary, writes to the Durban City Town Clerk and the South African Police (SAP) requesting permission to hold a meeting at John Nicol Square (Red Square), Pine Street, Durban following the Governor General’s assent to the Ghetto Act. Both these authorities grant written permission to hold the meeting.

3 June 1946

Mahatma Gandhi, in an article in the Harijan, advises Satyagraha against the Ghetto Bill.

3 June 1946

The Governor General of South Africa assents and signs the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill (Ghetto Bill) into law.

3 June 1946

The NIC meets at an emergency session in Durban and designates 13 June “Resistance Day” to mark the beginning of Passive Resistance against the Ghetto Act.

4 June 1946

Dr Monty Naicker, President of NIC, warns that any Indian who accepted membership in the Land Tenure Advisory Board would be ostracised.

6 June 1946

The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act, No. 28 of 1946 (Ghetto Act) comes into force.

11 June 1946

The Government of India announces that as a protest against Asiatic Land Tenure and Representation Bill, the existing trade agreement between India and South Africa is being terminated; and that it was necessary to recall the High Commissioner.”

13 June 1946

The PRC declares this day as Hartal Day (cessation of work or a strike) to mark the beginning of passive resistance against the Ghetto Act. The Indian community observes total hartal throughout the country. After a mass meeting of over 15,000 people, at Red Square in Durban, a huge procession marches to the intersection of Gale Street and Umbilo Road where under the leadership of Dr Monty Naicker and M.D. Naidoo, the first batch of 17 passive resisters, including seven women, pitch five tents on a piece of vacant Municipal land in defiance of the Ghetto Act. Resisters occupy Resistance Plot or Resistance Camp as this piece of ground became known and they are charged with contravention of the Riotous Assemblies Act.

Mrs Lakshmi Govender, a widow with five children, is one of the first volunteers and member of the first batch of passive resisters in Natal. Earlier in the afternoon, Mrs Govender addresses the huge crowd in Tamil.

15 June 1946

The Indian National Congress adopts a resolution expressing full sympathy for the Resisters in their brave struggle. The All India Muslim League also condemns the Ghetto Act, as “an intolerable affront to Indians everywhere and a direct challenge to the conscience of the world.” Its President, M.A. Jinnah, calls it, “A blot on civilisation.”

16 June 1946

Whites raid Resistance Camp, remove tent pegs and damage the tents that the resisters are occupying. The hooligans severely assault Mrs Veerama Pather and Zainab Asvat at Resistance Plot. The attacks continue nightly but police make no attempt to arrest the hooligans.

17 June 1946

More than a hundred Whites raid Resistance Camp, pull down tents and smash camp stretchers. Some resisters are injured in the scuffle, including women from the Transvaal. Police take no action.

18 June 1946

Dr A.B. Xuma, President of the African National Congress (ANC) pledges support of Africans for the Indian struggle.

18 June 1946

Dr Dadoo flies to Durban as Whites continue to harass and assault resisters.

18 June 1946

The Reserve Bank of India decides that no South African White will be qualified to hold the Bank’s share or claim dividends.

19 June 1946

Whites again attack resisters around the camp. Thousands of Indians visit the camp in support of the resisters; hundreds more enrol as resisters all over South Africa.

20 June 1946

Some White people in Durban establish the Council for Human Rights to support the Passive Resistance Campaign, with Mrs Lavoipierre as chair to educate Whites on the campaign. A Council for Asiatic Rights had been formed earlier in the Transvaal for the same purpose. A Women’s Action Committee is formed in Durban to assist the struggle.

21 June 1946

The first batch of resisters is arrested for “trespassing”. They are found guilty but cautioned and discharged. That very evening the resisters return to Resistance Plot camp. They are again charged with “trespassing”. And the magistrate passes a suspended sentence of seven days hard labour. Undeterred, the resisters promptly make their way back to the Resistance Plot and occupy the camp.

In the evening police arrest 13 resisters led by Dr Monty Naicker; including two women from the Transvaal, Miss Zainab Asvat and Mrs Jamaal Habra and Mrs Lakshmi Govender from Durban.

Krishnasamy Pillay, an Indian member of the South African Police (SAP) is severely assaulted by a mob of about 12 Whites. He is found in a gutter in Davenport Road with lacerations to his head. Pillay passes away on 30 June 1946 in hospital.

Speaking at a prayer meeting in New Delhi, Gandhi calls on the South African Government to stop the hooliganism by Whites.

22 June 1946

Resisters, led by Dr Monty Naicker appear before a Durban magistrate. All Resisters, except Dr Naicker and M.D. Naidoo, are cautioned and discharged. Reverend Michael Scott, who joins the resisters when Whites resort to violence, is also arrested. The Government of India sends a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General requesting that the question of the treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa be included in the provisional agenda of the United Nations General Assembly. Dr Goonam leads the second batch of passive resisters to occupy the Resistance Camp. Among the resisters is a White sympathiser, B. Sischy.

22 June 1946

Mrs Hansa Mehta, President of the All India Women’s Conference, issues a statement voicing the resentment of the women of India against the treatment of South African Indians.

22 June, 1946

The leader of the Indian delegation to the United Nations, Sir A. Ramaswami Mudaliar, writes to the Secretary-General requesting that the question of the treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa be included in the provisional agenda for the second part of the first session of the General Assembly.

23 June 1946

A group of around 30 White men including two women assault members of the 6th and 7th batches of resisters as well as the Rev. Michael Scott, a member of the Committee for Asiatic Rights. Miss Zainab Asvat, leader of the 6th batch receives a cut on the side of her head. Mrs Rabia Docrat, wife of A.K.M. Docrat, is also assaulted, sustaining internal injuries. Five other resisters are knocked unconscious. The attackers use a variety of lethal weapons including knuckle dusters. The absence of the police who are aware of the possibility of violence as they had been informed of the occupation prior to the attack seems to indicate collusion on their part.

Whites arrive again at 9.05 pm. and assault the resisters. Batches led by Dr Naicker, Miss Asvat and Dr Goonam are detained.

At 11.15 pm the eighth batch led by J Joshi occupy the settlement, the most violent attack by Whites takes place. A mob of Whites attack, stamp and kick them. Indian supporters and spectators are beaten up and badly injured. Stones and bottles are thrown at their cars by the mob, and car windows smashed.

When Reverend Michael Scott, who was released at 11 .45 pm. that day, arrives on the scene, he finds five resisters lying unconscious in the gutter where they had been thrown by the mob.

23 June 1946

The ANC’s National Anti-pass Conference held in Johannesburg declares its support for the passive resistance campaign.

24 June 1946

J Joshi, who led the 8th batch of passive resisters, again leads a batch of resisters, the tenth. They are arrested and taken to court.

J. Padayachee leads the ninth batch of resisters to occupy the camp. Supporters of the Campaign incensed by the brutal attack on the resisters present a sum of £600 to the resisters who appeared in Durban’s “B” Court. All Resisters arrested the previous evening are remanded to 1 July.

Dr Dadoo addresses a mass meeting, attended by thousands of people, at Red Square.

At 8.30 pm. the District Commandant of Police read a Government Proclamation under the Riotous Assemblies Act banning any gathering within 500 yards of Resistance plot had been declared an unlawful assembly under the Act.

Resisters continued to occupy Resistance Camp and 47 resisters are arrested with contravention of the Riotous Assemblies Act.

25 June 1946

At 9 pm Dr Dadoo leads a batch of 50 resisters—the 12th group— to Resistance Camp. This batch is arrested at 10:05 pm.

25 June 1946

Doctors Goonam and Monty Naicker and M.D. Naidoo together with 47 passive resisters are charged under the Riotous Assemblies Act. The three leaders are sentenced to seven days hard labour suspended for three months. The other resisters are cautioned and discharged. The very same evening Dr Naicker leads the 13th group of 50 people, of whom 28 were cautioned and discharged the previous day, to occupy the Resistance camp. Dr Naicker’s group of resisters is arrested.

25 June 1946

The Afrikaans language newspaper, Die Transvaaler, urges a boycott of India in the economic sphere.

27 June 1946

Miss Zainab Asvat is sentenced to three months with hard labour under the Riotous Assemblies Act. Dr Monty Naicker is sentenced to six months and seven days hard labour without the option of a fine under the same Act.

Dr Dadoo appears before a Durban Magistrate on charges of contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act. He is sentenced to three months hard labour without the option of a fine.

The charges against 98 other passive resisters, also under the Riotous Assemblies Act, are withdrawn and they are asked to appear in court the next day on a charge of trespassing.

The 14th batch of resisters under M. D. Naidoo is also arrested.

27 June 1946

At one of the largest meetings ever held at the Gandhi Hall, the Johannesburg Indian community spontaneously donated over £ 1,600.00 to the “Resistance Fund”.

28 June 1946

M.D. Naidoo, Joint Secretary of the NIC, is sentenced to six months and seven days hard labour (with 45 days remission) for his role in leading a batch of resisters. Other members of his batch are remanded.

Dr Goonam, accompanied by the Reverend Michael Scott, leader of the 15th batch of resisters is arrested. This group includes 13 women.

A batch of nine ex-servicemen, led by Sgt J. M. Francis, is arrested. The others who formed this ex-servicemen’s group are RD. Naidoo, S.M. Chetty, J. Pillay, P.V. Chetty, K.N. Naidoo, I. Moodley, S. Morgan and P. Soobramoney.

29 June 1946

Dr Goonam is sentenced to six months and seven days hard labour, of which four months have been suspended, for her role in the Passive Resistance Campaign.

The 16th and 17th groups of resisters, led by R.A. Pillay and Sorabjee Rustomjee respectively, are arrested.

A group of sympathetic Whites form the Council for Human Rights to assist the passive resisters.

29 June 1946

At its conference in Cape Town, the ANC (Cape) assures the resisters that it also condemns the Union policy of colour discrimination of which the Indians were the most recent victims.

29 - 30 June 1946

A meeting of the Joint PRC of Natal and the Transvaal, in Durban, congratulates the national leaders of the Indian people, who are the first to be sentenced to prison, for their inspiring example of courage and sacrifice. This meeting also pledges the full support of the Indian people to the Anti-Pass struggle of the African people.

30 June 1946

A mass meeting at Red Square endorses the actions of the national Passive Resistance Campaign leaders. Speakers at the meeting are: Debi Singh – Chairman, Mrs Lavoipierre – Chairwoman-Council of Asiatic Rights, Durban, Ismail Meer, J N Singh, Nana Sita, Reverend Scott, Sorabjee Rustomjee and Bennie Sischy – Secretary - Council of Asiatic Rights, Johannesburg.

Sorabjee Rustomjee, leader of the 17th batch and 49 other passive resisters, is arrested.

30 June 1946

Gandhi appeals to Whites in India to persuade their fellow Whites from assaulting passive resisters in South Africa.

30 June 1946

Krishnasamy Pillay, attacked by Whites on 21 June, dies in hospital in the morning.

1 July 1946

The authorities use new means of breaking the resisters’ morale by imposing a fine without the option of imprisonment. All resisters refuse to pay this fine — authorities are left helpless with this development.

J. Padayachee and a group of 51 resisters are arrested. R.A. Pillay and Sorabjee Rustomjee, leader of the SAIC delegation to India, are sentenced to three months hard labour.

Over 10 000 people attend Krishnasamy Pillay’s funeral, which leaves from Red Square to the Queen Street cemetery. He was fatally assaulted by a mob of Whites.

At its conference, the Natal Indian Teachers Society (NITS) expressed sympathy with the Passive Resistance movement against the Ghetto Act. The Society cancelled all its social events which included a boat cruise around the Bay which the Mayor of Durban had organised. Conference adjourned early to enable members to attend Krishnasamy Pillay’s funeral.

1 July 1946

The Asiatic Land Tenure Board holds its first meeting. Senator Clarkson, Minister of the Interior, in his opening address, invites Indians to submit a panel of names for two vacancies on the Board for Indian members. The NIC and TIC says that any Indian who volunteers to serve as a member of the Board will be branded as a traitor to his people.

2 July 1946

Sorabjee Rustomjee is sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour.

A Cape Passive Resistance Council is formed at a mass meeting in Cape Town attended by over 1 500 people. Among the first to volunteer are a number of African sympathisers. It is announced that Councillor Mrs Z. Gool would lead a Cape batch of resisters to Resistance Camp .

4 July 1946

The 17th batch led by J. Padayachee and the 18th group of resisters led by J.M. Francis appear before a magistrate for sentencing. Both groups consist of 51 people.

5 July 1946

Kay Moonsamy, a member of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) quit his job and joined the campaign. He was arrested on his 25th birthday and sentenced to four months imprisonment. He was sent to Durban Central Prison where around 2 000 prisoners were housed in atrocious conditions. As the number of resisters increased, the prison became overcrowded, and they were sent to different parts of Natal. Moonsamy’s group was sent to a farm jail in Ixopo after 18 days, where he spent more than three months as a convict labourer.

This day saw one of the largest gatherings at the City Hall in Cape Town in support of the Passive Resistance Campaign (PRC). The meeting pledged active and financial support to the campaign.

7 July 1946

A PRC mass meeting at Red Square passed a resolution acknowledging the Chinese Government’s opposition to all racially discriminatory laws such as the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act as being contrary to the United Nations Charter. Speakers at this meeting are: Debi Singh, Chairman, Miss Zainab Asvat, A.I. Meer, George Singh, Dr Vallabhai Patel, Rev. Michael Scott, A.W.G. Champion and Ashwin Choudree.

7 July 1946

The All India Congress Committee, meeting in Bombay, said in a resolution that the Indian resisters were “suffering not only for their self-respect and by their heroic resistance setting a noble example to all the exploited peoples of the earth”. The resolution was moved by Mrs Sarojini Naidu and seconded by Govind Vallabh Pant.

10 July 1946

A batch of Transvaal volunteers cross the border into Natal without permits in defiance of the law that requires Indians to carry a permit to cross between the two provinces. Among the group of 25, are six women resisters—Mrs P.K. Naidoo, Miss Aisha Ganchi, Mrs Danoo Dajee, Mrs Suriakala Patel, Miss Jumnakumari Patel and Miss Violet Ramsamy.

11 July 1946

Ten passive resisters set up a second resistance camp at the corner of Umgeni and Walter Gilbert Roads in Durban.

By now, hundreds of resisters are fined £5 each with no alternative of imprisonment. Resisters are told that if they did not pay their fines, their property would be attached. However, no one paid the fine.

12 July 1946

Mrs A.K.M. Docrat leads the 22nd batch of resisters for the Gale Street Camp.

15 July 1946

Seventeen Transvaal volunteers were sentenced to 20 days hard labour each

16 July 1946

Whites throw stones at the resisters, knocking one person to the ground, resulting in him cracking his forehead. The police refuse Zainab Asvat’s offer to attend to the injured person, who is bleeding profusely. He is later taken to the hospital and subsequently to the police station where he charged.

17 July 1946

A film show featuring footage of the NIC elections, the camp at Gale Street and resistance mass meetings held at Red Square is screened courtesy of E.H. Ismail of the NIC and Peters Radio Service at Resistance Hall.

17 July 1946

The Indian Government’s Department of Commerce issues a notification banning trade with South Africa.

18 July 1946

B.M. Kisten, leader of the 27th batch of passive resisters, who served in the Union Defence Force during World War II as a corporal appears in court. He asks the court to impose the maximum sentence on him.

18 July 1946

Women organise their own meeting at the Gandhi Library, Durban. Zainab Asvat, Suryakala Patel, Fatima Meer, Mrs P.K.Naidoo, Mrs Hajee S.M. Mayet, and Miss J. Patel address the large gathering of women.

18 July 1946

A convoy of about 50 cars escort seven Transvaal women resisters to the Resistance Camp. Batch number 28, a ‘women-only’ batch, includes Zainab Asvat, Suryakala Patel, Jumna Devi Patel, Sangama Naidoo, Violet Ramsamy Solly, Mrs Danbo Darjee and Ayesha Ganchi. They are arrested after occupying the camp from 8:10 pm to 8:40 pm. The women continue to sing freedom songs in the vernacular even after they are arrested.

19 July 1946

Ms Asvat is sentenced to three months imprisonment or a fine of £5.00. The rest of the women were sentenced to one month imprisonment or a fine of £2.00. Among the women is 55 year old Mrs P. K. Naidoo who served a term of imprisonment during Gandhi’s stay in South Africa. The other women are Mrs D. Moonsamy, Miss A. Ganchi, Miss V. Solly and Miss J. Patel.

18 July 1946

Jawaharlal Nehru of India sends a telegram to the Secretary of the NIC pledging support for the passive resistance campaign.

19 July 1946

Moulvi Saloojee and the Reverend Michael Scott lead the 29th group to occupy the Resistance Camp in Gale Street. They are arrested and appear in court the following day.

21 July 1946

The Students’ Passive Resisters Relief Committee stage three one-act plays and musical items at the Avalon Cinema in Durban to raise funds for the campaign.

21-22 July 1946

The SAIC Executive meets in Cape Town and pledges its full support to the passive resistance campaign launched by the Passive Resistance Councils of Natal and the Transvaal. It decides to send a delegation to New York to assist in the preparation of the Indian Governments case before the United Nations. Ashwin Choudree, the Joint PRC’s delegate, had already arrived in New York to enlist support of the American people. He is welcomed by J.J. Singh, President of the India League of America.

22 July 1946

The Press in India publish a Reuters report from Moscow saying that Pravda published a lengthy despatch from its Istanbul correspondent attacking the Ghetto Law in South Africa.

22 July 1946

In a message to the NIC, Gandhi assures support to the passive resisters.

23 July 1946

The Executive Committee of the SAIC nominates members of its delegation to the UNO. The delegation includes A.I.Kajee, A. Christopher, P.R.Pather, S.R. Naidoo, A.M. Moola, Minty and Chonilal Palsania.

25 July 1946

A mass meeting of the Port Elizabeth Branch of the Cape Indian Congress resolves to form a passive resistance council.

25 July 1946

The NIC publishes a telegram it received from Gandhi. It reads: “Hope Resisters will remain firm to the end. Everything possible being done this end.”

26 July 1946

A public meeting is held in Durban to welcome Manilal Gandhi who rushed back from India to join the passive resistance campaign.

29 July 1946

Mrs Gadija Christopher, the wife of Albert Christopher ex-President of the SAIC, is sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in Durban. This batch of women included Mrs Fatima Khan, Mrs B. Naidoo, Mrs Gnambal Naidoo and Miss Kamatchie Naidoo.

Mrs Z. Gool addresses a meeting in Vereeniging, Transvaal on the Ghetto Act. The meeting realises a sum of over £500.

31 July 1946

Five resisters led by a former soldier, I. Nariansamy Reddy, occupied the camp the previous night. They appeared in court and were sentenced to 30 days hard labour or a fine of £3.00. The magistrate orders Reddy to remove his Gandhi cap, worn by resisters, and refuses to allow him to read his statement out in court. Reddy, served four years fighting in North Africa in the Union Defence Force.

31 July 1946

Councillor Mrs Z. Gool and two other women, all from the Cape, arrive in Durban to take part in the passive resistance campaign.

3 August 1946

To celebrate the Transvaal Indian Football Association’s Golden Jubilee, a soccer team from Natal is chosen to play against a Transvaal team. The proceeds from the match are donated to the PRC. C.A. Babenia made three cars available, free of charge, to transport the team to the Transvaal.

4 August 1946

The Passive Resister reports that at a mass meeting held by the ANC in Germiston Location, Transvaal, to organise people for an anti-pass campaign, a resolution was adopted congratulating the Indian people on launching Passive Resistance and assuring them of the support of the African people “realising that their struggle is our struggle”.

9 August 1946

The Indo-Egyptian Union of Cairo passes a resolution urging Arabs to support India’s case, in support of the Indian cause in South Africa, at the UNO.

10 August 1946

Five youth resisters, lead by Harilal Hemraj Mooljee, appear in court. The others are Ratilal Raniga, Mogamberry Moodley, Hoosen Kader and R. Sonny. They are each sentenced to 30 days hard labour or a fine of £3.

11 August 1946

Mr Major L.F. Williams appears in court. He was asked to remove his Gandhi cap. He refused to abide by the magistrate’s instruction. The batch was sentenced to a fine of £3 or 30 days imprisonment. The other two resisters, Hassan Khan and Kalanjee Soni also from the Transvaal were sentenced. Williams was the Secretary of the Johannesburg Indian Young Men’s Cultural Institute and was for four years Honorary Secretary of the Transvaal Indian and Coloured Teachers Association.

11 August 1946

A Special Meeting of the Executive Sub-Committee of the Natal Municipal Association (NMA) held in Pretoria resolves that its President, A.L. Barns, travel to the United States of America, at the cost of the NMA, to take all available steps, to counter the organised propaganda which is being employed by Indians and others, against the European public of Natal in connection with the Asiatic Land Tenure Act.

12 August 1946

The PRC of the TIC pledges its full support for the African mineworker’s strike which commences on this day. It passes a resolution pledging support for the workers and their strike.

The Natal PRC also pledges support for the mineworkers and passes a similar resolution. The meeting in Natal spontaneously raises a sum of £100 which it donates to the African mineworkers strike.

12 August 1946

Councillor Mrs Z Gool from the Cape leads a batch of 16 volunteers including nine women — three each from the Cape, Natal and the Transvaal. The other women are Miss D. Naidoo, Miss K.Naidoo, Mrs Diana Saloo, Miss Radhoo Saloo, Miss Dookhni Maghoo, Mrs Hilda Khan, Miss S. Lily Lucas, Miss Savie Chetty, Mrs S. David Harry.

13 August 1946

Mrs Z. Gool and her batch appear before a Durban magistrate and are sentenced to 30 days hard labour each. Two girls from the batch are treated as juveniles and discharged.

19 August 1946

George Singh leads the first batch of four resisters to occupy a privately owned plot of land in Wentworth, south of Durban signalling the second phase of the PRC. The plot at Wentworth, a controlled area under the Ghetto Act, was occupied to violate that law directly. No action was taken by the authorities.

19 August 1946

Over 7,000 Indians attend a mass meeting at Red Square to welcome Dr Goonam who was released from Pietermaritzburg prison and to launch the second phase of the struggle—occupying areas other than Resistance Plot in defiance of the Ghetto Act.

20 August 1946

Razak Surtee, a merchant from Basutoland (now Lesotho), leads resisters to occupy Resistance Plot.

21 August 1946

The United States of America (USA) branch of the Women’s’ International League for Peace, in a message to Ashwin Choudree, declare their support for the South African passive resisters.

26 August 1946

Dr Dadoo is brought from the Ladysmith Prison (in Natal) to appear in the New Magistrates Court, Johannesburg and charged with incitement under the War Measure 145. He appears in Court with other members of the Johannesburg District Committee of the Communist Party who are also facing a similar charge. The Prosecutor offers Dr Dadoo bail of £100, which he refused.

26 August 1946

A second batch of resisters from the Cape occupy Resistance Plot

31 August 1946

The Joint Passive Resistance Council meets in Durban and decides on a nationwide day of protest and demonstrations on 23 September when the United Nations General Assembly session is scheduled to open.

1 September 1946

Miss Mary Barr, a great admirer and follower of Gandhi, leads a batch of women to occupy Resistance Plot. All the women are sentenced to 30 days imprisonment on 2 September 1946.

2 September 1946

Rugnath Singh occupies a house with his family in the controlled area of Wentworth. Over 2,000 people gather to bid him and his batch farewell

2 September 1946

Hundreds of people gather when Dr Dadoo and JN Singh, Secretary of the PRC of the TIC and others appear in court for a Preparatory Examination arising out of the African mineworkers strike.

3 September 1946

The first batch, of 14 volunteers from Dannhauser, Natal, arrive in Durban to participate in the Campaign.

4 September 1946

In a message to Indians in South Africa, Jawaharlal Nehru declares India’s determination to fight racialism in South Africa. “India’s struggle in South Africa is a world issue,” he states.

9 September 1946

The Passive Resister reports that 594 passive resisters have been sentenced to a total imprisonment of 66 years, 4 months and 16 days with hard labour, in addition to fines, without option of imprisonment, totalling £1775.

11 September 1946

The NIC declines an invitation from the Durban Mayor’s Office to send delegates to a meeting to advise on enabling the Indian community to see the British Royal family during their visit to Durban in March 1947.

18 September 1946

The Secretary of the Natal Provincial Administration writes to the Town Clerk of the DCC informing him that an amount not exceeding £ 1,000.00 is approved “on the preparation and dissemination of propaganda to counteract misleading Indian propaganda overseas.”

22 September 1946

Zainab Asvat is released from the Pietermaritzburg Prison after serving her sentence of three months hard labour

23 September 1946

A SAIC Executive, meeting in Cape Town, elects Sorabjee Rustomjee as a delegate to the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

26 September 1946

The Passive Resister reports on a resolution of the Working Committee of All India Muslim League fully supporting the struggle.

Dr Dadoo is released after his first jail term for Passive Resistance. He receives no remission as this is his second imprisonment.

29 September 1946

A public welcome reception is accorded to Dr Dadoo, Rev. Michael Scott and Zainab Asvat, at the Natalspruit Indian Sports ground

October 1946

The Transvaal ANC says in an appeal: The Indian Passive Resistance requires our active support. Their struggle against the principle of discriminatory legislation is our struggle and we must not let them down.

7 October 1946

The Joint PRC of Natal and Transvaal passes a resolution of no confidence in the SAIC to the UNO in Durban. It calls upon Sorabjee Rustomjee and H.A. Naidoo to resign from the SAIC delegation and to represent the PRC separately.

10 October 1946

Among the 11 passive resisters arrested, six are African sympathisers from the Transvaal.

20 October 1946

At a mass election meeting over 12,000 people, from all over Transvaal, unanimously adopt the candidates list submitted by Dr Dadoo’s radical group under the banner of the Democratic Congress Action Committee. Dr Dadoo is re-elected President of TIC

23 October 1946

The UNO General Assembly begins, where the Government of India, under the leadership of Mrs Vijayalakshmi Pandit, submits a detailed memorandum on the position of Indians in South Africa.

24 October 1946

A massive campaign is organised in Durban to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. Several thousand witness a mass arrest when 358 passive resisters are arrested.

24 October 1946

General Smuts proposes the deletion of the South African Indian Question at the opening of the General Assembly of the UNO–proposal is rejected. A second proposal by Smuts to refer this issue to the Political and Legal Committees is also rejected. The United States of America (USA), supported by the United Kingdom (UK) recommendation to the General Assembly to refer the question to the Political and Legal Committees is adopted.

25 October 1946

Mahatma Gandhi congratulates the NIC on its reply to the Mayor of Durban’s invitation to participate in discussions on the impending 1947 Royal visit, saying:

“The Royal visit can evoke no feeling of joy among those who are fighting for their self-respect in South Africa in the making of which they have had no mean share. Let us hope that the Royal visit will be postponed to a more propitious time when the colour bar has become a thing of the past.

31 October 1946

The General Assembly of the UNO decides at its plenary session that the South African Indian question be referred to the Political and Legal Committees.

11 November 1946

The world famous author, George Bernard Shaw, speaks out against the anti-Indian law in South Africa.

November 1946

A.I. Meer, Joint Secretary of the NIC, in a telegram to the Minister of Justice, H.G. Lawrence, outlines the harsh and brutal treatment meted out to passive resisters in prisons throughout Natal. The PRC in Natal receives written statements from released resisters of the brutality inflicted on them by prison authorities.

22 November 1946

Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit opens the debate before the Joint Session of the Political and Legal Committees. Smuts argues that it is essentially a matter of domestic jurisdiction. He urges that the matter be referred to the World Court. Dr Wellington Koo of China strongly supports India saying that the political aspects of the case outweigh the legal. Mrs. Pandit moves a resolution saying that the treatment of Indians in South Africa constitutes a denial human rights and fundamental freedom; that the Union Government should revise its policy and report to the General Assembly action it has taken in this regard.

22 November 1946

At the second joint meeting of the Political and Legal Committees, Justice Chagle from India presents legal arguments. Canada, the USA and the UK propose referring the issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Polish and French delegates support India. The South African delegate, Heaton Nicholls, makes offensive remarks at India.

27-28 November 1946

The debates continue at the UNO. China objects to referring the issue to the ICJ. Norway, New Zealand and Argentina support the referring the case to the ICJ. Egypt, Ethiopia, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile El Salvador and Panama support India’s case. A French–Mexican resolution saying that the treatment of South African Indians should be in conformity with the obligation under agreements concluded between the two governments (S.A and India).

30 November 1946

The Joint Committee of the First and Sixth Committees of the General Assembly consider the Indian Government’s complaint against South Africa and adopt a French-Mexican resolution, supported by India and opposed by the Union of South Africa, by 24 votes to 19, with 6 abstentions.

A South African delegation — consisting of Dr A.B. Xuma, President-General of ANC, Sorabjee Rustomjee and H.A. Naidoo representing the Joint Passive Resistance Council and Senator H. Basner — is in New York to assist the Indian delegation to the United Nations and lobby delegations of other countries. A.I. Kajee, P.R. Pather and A. Christopher are also in New York as representatives of the SAIC.

7 - 8 December 1946

The General Assembly of the UNO passes a Franco-Mexican resolution related to Indians in South Africa, asking the Governments of South Africa and India to report at the next session of the Assembly on the measures adopted to settle their disputes about the treatment of Indians in South Africa.

A South African resolution asking that the meeting refer the dispute to the ICJ is defeated by 31 votes to 21 with 2 abstentions.

With this decision of the General Assembly, the first on the South African Indian question, an important milestone is reached in the history of the South African Indians. The issue is deemed to be of sufficient importance to find a place among the first matters of international proportions is placed on the first agenda of the first General Assembly of the United Nations, in the forums of the new world body.

The Assembly adopts resolution 44 (1) by 32 votes to 15, with 7 abstentions. Under the resolution, the General Assembly expresses the opinion that “the treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa should be in conformity with the international obligations under the agreements concluded between the two governments and the relevant provisions of the (United Nations) Charter”; and requested the two governments “to report at the next session of the General Assembly the measures adopted to this effect”.

9 December 1946

The Joint PRC hails the United Nations resolution a victory but decides that the struggle should continue. Resisters go into action once a week, rather than daily as earlier while the Council awaits discussions by the Union of South Africa and India under the United Nations resolution. The Council also decides to send Dr Monty Naicker and Dr Yusuf Dadoo to India for consultations with Indian leaders.

20 December 1946

The Passive Resister carries an a message from the Transvaal Provincial ANC to the PRC congratulating the Indian community of South Africa - - - on the victory achieved at the United Nations Assembly. This victory has been possible, no doubt, because of the struggle your people have waged for the last five months – the passive resistance struggle.

The unity of purpose and solidarity of the whole Indian community of South Africa against the Ghetto Act is clearly indicated by the history this movement has created within a short space of time.

The Passive Resistance Movement has exposed South Africa’s non European policy of colour discrimination to the entire world. We are grateful that world opinion is with us in our struggle for democracy in this country.

20 – 29 December 1946

The Natal PRC arranges public meetings in Greytown, Estcourt, Ladysmith, Glencoe, Dannhauser, Newcastle and Dundee. Speakers who address these meetings are, inter alia, Dr Monty Naicker, President of the NIC, M.D. Naidoo and AI Meer, Joint Secretaries of the NIC.


January 1947

The government seizes the passport of Dr Dadoo, and rejects an application by Dr Naicker for a passport. They are forced to postpone their plans to leave for India on 9 February. There were many protests and even pro-government newspapers criticise the government’s action.

19 January 1947

P.R. Pather, a SAIC delegate and advisor to the Indian Delegation to the UNO, proposes that the passive resistance be suspended. The suggestion meets with wide spread opposition.

21 January 1947

The Union Government decides to close its Trade Commissioner’s office in India.

21 January 1947

Dr D.F. Malan introduces a motion in Parliament rejecting the UNO’s request that South Africa negotiate with India on the ‘Indian question’. The motion also proposes to withdraw the recently granted group representation of Indians in Parliament and the Natal Provincial Council under the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act. Smuts states that the ‘Indian question is a domestic one’. He declares, “The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act must stand.”

21 January 1947

At a Special Conference of the Natal Municipal Association (NMA) its President, A.L. Barns, reiterates the call for Indians to be repatriated to India.

5 February 1947

The London Correspondent of the Hindustan Times reports the India League in England has actively taken up the question of Indians in South Africa by forming the South Africa Committee to explain to the people of Britain the plight of Indians under Smuts.

5 February 1947

The Executive Council of the India League of America discuss a message received from Durban that Drs Naicker and Dadoo have been refused passports by the Union Government to travel to India.

7 February 1947

The Passive Resister reports that 1 586 Resisters, including 259 women, have been sentenced. Of these, 242 men and women have courted imprisonment for a second time. Total sentences were 172 years, 5 months, and 2 weeks. Natal contributed 1 303 Resisters; Transvaal, 248; Cape, 27; and Basutoland (now Lesotho), 8.

9 February 1947

The Minister of the Interior, Senator Clarkson, announces that the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act will remain in operation and that in terms of the Act an Indian Advisory Board is to soon be appointed. This announcement is met with opposition from Indians who hold a mass meeting in Durban, to reject the proposed Advisory Board and to protest at the refusal of passports to Drs. Dadoo and Naicker, Presidents of the TIC and the NIC, respectively, who applied for permission to travel to India for consultations with the Interim Government of India and to attend the All-Asian Conference convened by Nehru and scheduled to take place in New Delhi on 24th March, 1947.

9 February 1947

At a meeting of Whites in Pietersburg, Northern Transvaal, a resolution proposing the boycott of Indian traders is passed. It is also proposed that Europeans entering Indian stores and European girls working in Indian stores be ‘tarred and feathered’.

10 February 1947

At a NIC meeting in Pietermaritzburg, speakers call on the Indian community to boycott the British Royal visit.

10 February 1947

At a meeting in Johannesburg, P.R. Pather appeals to the Indian community not to boycott the British Royal visit. A.I. Kajee and A. Christopher support Pather’s call.

10 February 1947

Mr. Lawrence, the Union Minister for the Interior, states that the refusal of permission to Drs. Naicker and Dadoo to visit India was done as they had flouted the laws of the land in pursuance of their political objectives, and that passports being a privilege have therefore been refused.

9 March 1947

Representatives of the ANC, NIC and TIC meet in Johannesburg. The Presidents of the three Congresses ANC, NIC and TIC) — Dr Xuma, Dr Naicker and Dr Dadoo — sign a “Joint Declaration of Cooperation” — The Three Doctors’ Pact.

11 March 1947

After intervention by Mahatma Gandhi and the Government of India, Doctors Dadoo and Naicker are granted passports and leave by air for India to attend the Conference. After a stop-over in Cairo where they meet the Secretary-General of the Arab League, they arrive in India on 18 March.

20 March 1947

Dr Dadoo and Dr Naicker met Mahatma Gandhi in Patna and hold several hours of discussions with him.

23 March 1947

A meeting of the ANC, APO (African People’s Organisation), NIC and TIC is held in Johannesburg to discuss cooperation.

The Asian Relations Conference opens in Delhi. Dr Dadoo and Dr Naicker hold discussions with many delegations from Asia and Egypt. At the conclusion of the conference they go on a tour of India. They address large mass meetings and are given civic receptions in several cities. They are assured of support by all political parties, many public organisations and prominent leaders.

9-11 April 1947

Three batches of resisters led by K. Rajah, B. Govindsamy and Lalla Moses occupy Resistance Plot. They are all sentenced to terms of hard labour varying between one and three months.

23 April 1947

An informal meeting of representative Indians is held under the chairmanship of Hajee Ahmed Sadek Kajee, who was one of the delegates of the SAIC to India in 1946. Kajee explained what had transpired at a meeting with the officials of the NIC on 18 April 1947, when the officials of the NIC did not give a clear reply on the issue of accepting in principle the necessity for a round table conference between the Government of India and the Union Government. Speaking at this meeting, P. R. Pather said that on his return from the United Nations he had suggested that passive resistance be suspended to pave the way for discussions between the two governments. The meeting adopts a resolution to convene a conference of representative Natal Indians to decide on what steps to take in the future.

2 May 1947

The Passive Resister reports that the number of Resisters has reached 1 698. In all, the resisters had served 181 years, 10 months and three weeks in prison. According to figures prepared by the Assistant Recruiting Officer, S.V. Moodley, 116 batches from Natal and 28 from Transvaal participated.

Of the 1 423 men sentenced, 193 served a second term, 14 a third term, and 2 a fourth term. Of the 275 women sentenced, 17 courted imprisonment a second time

4 May 1947

At a conference held in Durban a new political body called the Natal Indian Organisation (NIO) is constituted. On 21 May 1947, a NIO delegation presents a memorandum to Smuts requesting that he take immediate steps for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Union and India and that he initiate discussions in accordance with the United Nations resolution of 8 December 1946, between representatives of the Union and Indian Governments to arrive at a solution of all matters affecting Indians and in such discussions to allow South African Indian representatives to participate. In respect of the Asiatic Advisory Board, the NIO memorandum stated the formation of such bodies will accentuate racial differences

16 May 1947

Dr Dadoo and Dr Naicker meet Mohamed Ali Jinnah, President of the All India Muslim League (and later, Governor General of Pakistan), who assures them of support.

18 - 19 May 1947

Dr Dadoo and Dr Naicker meet again with Mahatma Gandhi in Patna

21 May 1947

A batch of seven passive resisters, led by 52 year old Albert Thomas, a hawker, is sentenced for resisting the Ghetto Act. The magistrate discharges R.N. Padayachee owing to his age. The others sentenced are Sewchuprah Singh, M.D. Singh, G.R. Pillay, R.P.Naidoo, K.G. Chetty and I.J. Chetty all from Durban.

27 May 1947

Doctors Dadoo and Naicker return to Johannesburg from India after attending the Inter Asian Conference.

June 1947

Dr Dadoo opens the Conference of the APO.

6 – 8 June 1947

Senator H. M. Basner opens the first Biennial Conference of the NIC, held in Durban. Dr Monty Naicker presides over the conference.

13 June 1947

The NIC and TIC observe the first anniversary of the PRC

17 June 1947

The Transvaal Passive Resistance Council (TPRC) hosts a welcome reception for the third batch of passive resisters from the Cape at the Gandhi Hall in Johannesburg. Dr Dadoo pays tribute to Sundra Pillay, leader of the Cape batch and Chairman of the Cape Passive Resistance Council (CPRC). Dr Dadoo also introduces H.C.Holland, a member of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) who chose to court imprisonment for participating in the PRC. Other members of the Cape batch include Miss Catherine George, Robert Pillay and Gunas Huria. Other speakers at the reception were Mrs Suryakala Patel, Nana Sita and Danie du Plessis.

June 1947

Six members of the TIC, D.S. Ramsamy, K.S. Ramsamy, I.M.Desai, S.M. Timol, N. Sammy and C. Samy, from Heidelberg, receive summons for alleged contravention of the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act. The summons states that they being Asiatics “wrongfully and unlawfully without the authority of a permit - - - occupy land or premises which is not allowed to be occupied by Asiatics under the Ghetto Act.

24 August 1947

Dr Yusuf Mohammed Dadoo is re-elected as leader of the TIC.

9 September 1947

Ashwin Choudree and A.I. Meer, representing the TIC and the NIC, leave for New York, USA to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

18 September 1947

Dr Dadoo calls for international sanctions against South Africa.

10 October 1947

Authorities stop arrests at the resistance camp in Gale Street.

13 October 1947

The NIC holds a mass meeting in Durban to launch a new phase of the Passive Resistance Campaign in view of the stalemate at the Gale Street resistance camp and the activities of the “moderates”.

10 November 1947

Ashwin Choudree and a batch of resisters occupy Resistance Plot in Durban. Among them is Khalil Saloojee of Johannesburg — his second stint as a passive resister — the Chairman of the Newlands Branch of the Transvaal Indian Youth Volunteer Corps. Other members of the Corps in the same batch included Essop Seedat (second time) and Mahommed Wajah. The rest of the batch is made up of Suliman Esakjee, Ismail Hassen, Soobramoney Pillay and Marimuthu Moodely. Neither the furious gale, that blows away the tents that the resisters had set up, nor the pelting rain deters them. The batch continues to occupy Resistance Plot.

13 November 1947

The total number of passive resisters imprisoned to this date, 17 months later, is 1588 men and 338 women.

13 December 1947

The Transvaal Indian Organisation (TIO) is formed.


9 January 1948

Since October 1947, as a tactic to break up the campaign, the police decline to arrest resisters occupying the Camp. Small groups of resisters continued to occupy the camp but interest began to wane. The Joint Council of the PRC decides to change its tactics. At a meeting it resolves to contravene the 1913 Immigrants Regulations Act as Gandhi had done 35 years earlier. The Joint Passive Resistance Council decides to reinvigorate the campaign — by defying restrictions on inter-provincial movement.

11 January 1948

The 9 January decision of the Joint PRC is endorsed by a conference of its Action Committees and Congress branches held in Durban.

24 January 1948*

Rungasamy Aranajalam Pillay and R. Mahabeer lead the first batch of 25 resisters across the Natal/Transvaal border. The police only arrest them on 10 February 1948 after Pillay addresses numerous meetings in the Transvaal. When no arrests are made he declares at a public meeting that the passive resisters are to move into the Orange Free State where Indians were barred from entry. They are sentenced in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court to one month’s imprisonment, suspended provided the offence was not repeated. They were then sent back to Newcastle across the border.

* E.S Reddy & Fatima Meer give this date as 15 January 1948 in their book, Passive Resistance 1946, A Selection of Documents

28 January 1948

Mahatma Gandhi, in a speech at a prayer meeting two days before his assassination, supports the new stage of the Passive Resistance Movement.

29 January 1948

At a conference of the NIO, TIO and the Cape Indian Congress — addressed by Prime Minister Smuts — it is decided to form the South African Indian Organisation (SAIO)

10 February 1948

The first batch of resisters who cross the Natal—Transvaal border are arrested and given one month’s suspended sentence each

12 February 1948

After being deported to Newcastle, 15 of the 25 resisters once again contravene the Immigrants Regulations Act and re-cross the Natal-Transvaal border and are arrested. On 18 February they are sentenced to three months hard labour with one month suspended sentence. By May 1948, 92 persons were arrested for crossing the Natal-Transvaal border

16 February 1948

Dr Dadoo and Dr Naicker are charged with aiding and abetting the contravention of the 1913 Immigrants Regulations Act and are sentenced to six months hard labour each.

13 March 1948

Dr K. Goonam leads a batch of twelve resisters across the Natal-Transvaal border.

15 March 1948

The South African Indian Organisation (SAIO) is formed at a conference in Durban.

11 April 1948

Manilal Gandhi leads a batch of resisters across the Natal-Transvaal border. He is not arrested but members of his batch are arrested and sentenced to three months with hard labour.

9 May 1948

A Transvaal batch of five resisters crosses into Natal. Three of the members who are below the age of 21 — Jackie Govender, Harold Solly and Albert Vittie — are sentenced to whipping.

26 May 1948

The National and Afrikaner Parties win the general elections and soon institutes apartheid as state policy. Dr D.F. Malan becomes Prime Minister of South Africa

2 June 1948

The Joint Passive Resistance Council issues a statement that Passive Resistance will be suspended pending a meeting with the new government so that discussions could “be held in an atmosphere removed from any strained conditions”

13 June 1948

The Passive Resistance Campaign continues for exactly two years and by the time the campaign is suspended over 2,000 people are arrested

July 1948

Dr Yusuf Dadoo and Dr Monty Naicker are released from prison. They call for action against fascism. Dr Monty Naicker calls for a “united democratic front”.

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