Masters and Servants Acts of 1856

These Acts, which had been passed between 1856 and 1904 in the four territories, remained in force after Union. They made it a criminal offence to breach the contract of employment. Desertion, insolence, drunkenness, negligence and strikes were also criminal offences. Theoretically these laws applied to all races, but the courts held that the laws were applicable only to unskilled work, which was performed mostly by Black people (Dugard 1978: 85; Horrell 1978: 6). Repealed by section 51 of the Second General Law Amendment Act No 94 of 1974.

Mines and Works Act No 12 of 1911

Permitted the granting of certificates of competency for a number of skilled mining occupations to Whites and Coloureds only.

Repealed by section 20 of the Mines and Works Amendment Act No 27 of 1956

Black Land Act No 27 of 19 June 1913

Prohibited Blacks from owning or renting land outside designated reserves (approximately 7 per cent of land in the country). Commenced: 19 June 1913. Repealed by section 1 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.


The Native Affairs Act of 1920

The Native Affairs Act was yet another spin-off of the South African Native Affairs Commission report of 1905. It paved the way for the creation of a countrywide system of tribally based, but government appointed, district councils modelled on the lines of the Glen Grey Act of 1894. The principal of separate, communally-based political representation for Africans was extended by the 1936 Representation of Natives Act.

The Durban Land Alienation Ordinance, No 14 of 1922

Timeline: Anti-Indian Legislation.

This ordinance enables the Durban City Council to exclude Indians from ownership or occupation of property in White areas.

The Natal Provincial Council passes three ordinances of 1922:

  1. The Rural Dealers’ Licensing Ordinance - limited the right of appeal.
  2. The Townships Franchise Ordinance - Indians lose municipal franchise.
  3. The Durban Land Alienation Ordinance - gives the Durban Town Council the right to restrict ownership and occupation of land of any race group.

The Class Areas Bill of 1923

Minister of Interior, Sir Patrick Duncan, introduces Class Areas Bill, which proposes compulsory residential and trading segregation for Indians throughout South Africa.

The Natives (Urban Areas) Act No 21 of 1923

The Natives (Urban Areas) Act legislated on a broad front to regulate the presence of Africans in the urban areas. It gave local authorities the power to demarcate and establish African locations on the outskirts of White urban and industrial areas, and to determine access to, and the funding of, these areas. Local authorities were expected to provide housing for Africans, or to require employers to provide housing for those of their workers who did not live in the locations. Africans living in White areas could be forced to move to the locations. Local authorities were empowered to administer the registration of African service contracts, and to determine the extent of African beer brewing or trading in the locations.

Municipalities were also instructed to establish separate African revenue accounts based on the income from fines, fees and rents exacted from 'natives' in the locations; this money was to be used for the upkeep and improvement of the locations. The critical function entrusted to the local authorities was, however, the administration of tougher Pass laws: Africans deemed surplus to the labour needs of White households, commerce and industry, or those leading an 'idle, dissolute or disorderly life', could be deported to the Reserves. In implementing the Act, local authorities were careful to consider the needs of industry. In Johannesburg, for instance, where industrialists made no bones about wanting a large pool of permanent standby labour, it was only intermittently applied until the end of the 1940s. The Act was amended in later years.

Boroughs Ordinance No 189 of 1924

This Bill effectively disenfranchises Indians in Natal. They lose vote in boroughs.

The Industrial Conciliation Act No 11 of 1924

This act provides for job reservation. Excluded Blacks from membership of registered trade unions and prohibited registration of Black trade unions. Commenced: 8 April 1924. Repealed by section 86 of the Industrial Conciliation Act No 36 of 1937.

The Township Franchise Ordinance of 1924

The Township Franchise Ordinance is approved by the Provincial Council of Natal to deprive Indians of municipal franchise rights, vetoed by the Union Government.

The Rural Dealers Ordinance of 1924

This Ordinance attempts to cripple Indian trade. This Ordinance prevented Indian ownership of land in White areas.

The Transvaal Dealers (Control) Ordinance No 11 of 1925

This ordinance puts obstacles in the way of obtaining licences. Aim to restrict Indian trade.

The Minimum Wages Act of 1925

This Act leads to a form of job reservation and promotes White employment. Certain trades are earmarked for Whites.

The Class Areas Bill of 1925

This Bill is designed for mere segregation.

The Areas Reservation and Immigration and Registration (Further Provision) Bill 1925

Dr. D. F. Malan, Minister of the Interior, introduces Areas Reservation and Immigration and Registration (Further Provision) Bill in Parliament. It defines Indians as aliens and recommends limitation of population through repatriation.

The Mines and Works Act (Colour Bar Act) No 25 of 1926.

Working Life Factories, Township and Popular Culture 1886 - 1940 by Luli Callinicos

Property Rights and Rent Seeking in South Africa by John M. Mbaku

The 1926 Mines and Works Act must be seen against the background of the wage and job colour bars in South Africa. The 1911 Act, mentioned earlier, reserved skilled work for Whites only. But in spite of this law, mine owners continued to desk ill jobs and give more and more work to Black miners to save labour costs. (The wages of Black mine workers remained the same no matter what work they were doing ”” they earned about a tenth of the wages of a skilled White worker.) The 1922 strike was caused by the mine owners’ attempt to replace a number of White workers with lower-paid Black workers. This Act provides certificates of competency for skilled work, Indian workers are excluded.  The legislation was a reflection of the belief of most Whites, especially in the labour market, that the welfare of Whites would suffer significantly if Blacks were not legislated out of the market.

The Liquor Bill of 1926

Indians and Africans could not be employed by licence holders and were not allowed on licensed premises and liquor supply vehicles. 3000 Indians employed in the brewery trade are affected.

The Local Government (Provincial Powers) Act of 1926

This Act denies citizenship rights to Indians.

The Immigration and Indian Relief (Further Provision) Bill of 1927

Minister of Interior, Dr Malan, introduces Immigration and Indian Relief Further Provision) Bill, which follows closely on Round Table Conference between India and South Africa. It requires children of South African Indian parents, born outside the Union to enter the country within three months of birth. In addition South Africans who absent themselves for three continuous years from the country forfeit domicile rights, and Indians who have entered the country illegally (mostly at the time of the Anglo-Boer War) condoned and issued with condonation certificates. Families of condonees are not allowed to join them. The Act also establishes a scheme of voluntary repatriation of South African Indians to India. The Indian government complies. Repatriates are to receive bonuses of £20 per adult and £10 per child, plus free passages. The bonus doubled in 1931, and finally abolished in 1955 when it becomes apparent that only the old, intending to retire in India, take advantage of it.

The Asiatics in the Northern Districts of Natal Act of 1927

Transvaal laws are to be applied to Indians in Utrecht, Vryheid, and Paulpietersburg. Restrictions placed on land purchase, trade and residence rights.

The Liquor Act of 1927

Africans and Indians are denied employment by license holders and are not allowed to serve liquor and drive liquor vans. They are also denied access to licensed premises.

The Women’s Franchise Bill of 1927

No Indian women are allowed to vote.

The Riotous Assembly Act of 1927

Any Indians are considered dangerous agitators subject to deportation.

The Immigration and Indian Relief (Further) Provision: Act no 37 of 1927

This Bill becomes law and the scheme of assisted emigration comes into operation. (Repatriation: 1927 1655 Indians repatriated; 1928 3477 repatriated; 1929 1314 repatriated).

The Nationality and Flag Act of 1927

Segregation and Apartheid Laws as Applied to Indians (1859-1994)

Nationality and Flag Act denies Indians right to become citizens by naturalization. Indians not recognised as South African Nationals.

The Old Age Pension Act of 1927

No pension provisions made for Indians.

The Liquor Act of 1927

Prohibition (Statutory) of Natives and Indians to be employed in the Liquor Trade.

The Black Administration Act No 38 of 1927

The Act stated that all moveable property belonging to a Black and allotted by him or accruing under Black law or custom to any woman with whom he lived in a customary union, or to any house, shall upon his death devolve and be administered under Black law and custom.

The Liquor Bill Section 104 of the Liquor Bill of 1928

Prohibiting Indians from entering licensed premises is withdrawn.


The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure of 1930

The (Amendment) Bill is introduced by Minister of Interior as a result of recommendations of Select Committee. Proposes segregation: relocation of Indians to designated areas exempted from Gold Law within five years. No protection for those who had acquired interests on proclaimed (mining) land.

Timeline: Anti-Indian Legislation.

The Industrial Conciliation Act of 1930

Provided for the registration and regulation of trade unions and employers' organisations, the settlement of disputes between employers and employees, and the regulation of conditions of employment. Repealed by s 56 of the Industrial Conciliation Act No 28 of 1956

The Wage Amendment Act of 1930

This is the continuation of 1925 ActThis Act provides a single national board (the Wage Board) to recommend minimum wages and conditions of unorganised or unregistered groups of workers in all industries. The Act aimed to raise the wages of semi-skilled workers to a ‘civilised’ level. Ironically, the government recognised that there was a need to fix a minimum for Black workers in order to protect the White workers’ wages against undercutting.

The Women's Enfranchisement Act of 1930

The Act gave only European women the right to elect and to be elected to the Houses of Parliament.

The Riotous Assemblies (Amendment) Act No 19 of 1930

This Act authorised the Governor-General to prohibit the publication or other dissemination of any ‘documentary information calculated to engender feelings of hostility between the European inhabitants of the Union on the one hand and any other section of the inhabitants of the Union on the other hand’ (Dugard 1978: 177). Commenced: 21 May 1930. Repealed by section 20 of the Riotous Assemblies Act No 17 of 1956.

The Asiatic Immigration Amendment Act of 1931

Indians have to prove the legitimacy of their domicile in the country.

The Native Service Contracts Act of 1932

The Act drew all Africans outside of the reserves into the agricultural economy, while extending existing controls over labour tenancy. This meant that a farmer could expel the entire tenant family if any one member defaulted on his or her labour obligation. The Act had additional elements allowing for farmers to whip tenants, as well as compel farm tenants to carry passes.

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure (Amendment) Act No 35 of 1932

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure Act and its subsequent amendments in 1934, 1935 and 1937 establish statutory segregation of Indians in the Transvaal end the state of uncertainty about their status in the Province that has obtained since the passing of Law 3, 1885. It is passed in 1935.

The Slums Act: Demolition of Slums of 1934

This Act is aimed at improving conditions in locations, but actually expropriates Indian property. Under the pretext of Sanitation, the Act is enforced to demolish and expropriate with the ultimate aim of segregation.

Segregation and Apartheid Laws as Applied to Indians (1859-1994)

The Rural Dealers Licensing Ordinance Natal of 1935

This Ordinance causes the refusal of licenses to people whose properties have depreciated in value or whose licenses endangers the comfort and health of neighbours.

Representation of Blacks Act No 12 of 1936

Removed Black voters in the Cape from the common roll and placed them on a separate roll (Dugard 1978: 90). Blacks throughout the Union were then represented by four White senators. Commenced: 10 July 1936. Repealed by section 15 of the Representation between the Republic of South Africa and self-governing Territories Act No 46 of 1959.

The Representation of Natives Act No 16 of 1936

The Bills proposed by General Barry Hertzog in the 1920s finally got the two-thirds majority required to be passed into law 1936, when the Development Trust and Land Act (also referred to as the Native Trust and Land Act and Bantu Trust and Land Act) and the Representation of Natives Act were enacted. The Representation of Natives Act essentially stripped African people in the Cape of their voting rights and offered instead a limited form of parliamentary representation, through special White representatives. Under this Act, a Natives Representative Council (NRC), which was a purely advisory body, was also created. The NRC could make recommendations to Parliament or the Provincial Councils “on any legislation regarded as being in the interest of natives”.

The Development Trust and Land Act No 18 1936

Expanded the reserves to a total of 13, six per cent of the land in South Africa and authorised the Department of Bantu Administration and Development to eliminate ‘Black spots’ (Black-owned land surrounded by White-owned land) (Horrell 1978: 203). The South African Development Trust (SADT) was established and could, in terms of the Act, acquire land in each of the provinces for Black settlement (RRS 1991/92: 381). Commenced: 31 August 1936. Repealed by Proc R 28 of 1992, 31 March 1992 (phasing out and abolishing the SADT in terms of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991)

The Aliens Registration Act No 26 of 1936

Provided for the registration and control of aliens. Assent gained: 14 June 1939; commencement date not found. Repealed by s 60 of the Aliens Control Act No 96 of 1991.

The Asiatic Land Tenure Amendment Act No 30 of 1936

Minister of Interior empowered to exempt further areas for Indian occupation with possibility of freehold title. Act accepts policy of segregation. Indians to be confined to separate areas.

The Native Trust and Land Act of 1936

The 1936 Native Trust and Land Act served to secure the provisions in the 1932 Native Service Contracts Act. The 1936 Native Trust and Land Act contained the following key provisions: The Act integrated land identified by the 1913 Act into African reserves, and thereby formalised the separation of White and Black rural areas; The Act established a South African Native Trust (SANT) which purchased all reserve land not yet owned by the state, and had responsibility for administering African reserve areas. The SANT imposed systems of control over livestock, introduced the division of arable and grazing land, and enforced residential planning and villagisation (called 'betterment') under the guise of modernising African agricultural systems; An elaborate system for registering and controlling the distribution of labour tenants and squatters was introduced under the Act. With these provisions, any African unlawfully resident on White-owned land could be evicted; and Areas in White South Africa where Blacks owned land were declared "Black spots", and the state began to implement measures to remove the owners of this land to the reserves.

The 1936 Act provided the basis for formalising African reserve areas, as well as the eviction of tenants from farms for the next fifty years.

The Development Trust and Land Act No 18 of 1936

This Act compliments the Representation of Natives Act of 1936, in that it allows for a further 6.2 million hectares of land to be added to the African reserves under the 1913 Land Act. It also establishes the South African Native Trust, which became the Bantu Trust and then later the Development Trust. The function of the Trust is to acquire and administer all released land. This means that African people were not permitted to own land in their own right.

The Aliens Act No 1 of 1937

Restricted and regulated the entry of certain aliens into the Union and regulated the right of any person to assume a surname. Commenced: 1 February 1937. Repealed by section 33 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act No 51 of 1992.

The Industrial Conciliation Act No 36 of 1937

Provided for the registration and regulation of trade unions and employers’ organisations, the settlement of disputes between employers and employees, and the regulation of conditions of employment. Repealed by section 56 of the Industrial Conciliation Act No 28 of 1956.

The Black (Native) Laws Amendment Act No 46 of 1937

Prohibited acquisition of land in urban areas by Blacks from non-Blacks except with the Governor-General’s consent (Horrell 1978: 3). Commenced: 1 January 1938. Sections repealed by the Abolition of Influx Control Act No 68 of 1986 and the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991. The only section remaining in force is section 36, which amended s 7 of the Agricultural Holdings (Transvaal) Registration Act 22 of 1919 and has no discriminatory implications.

The Marketing and Unbeneficial Land Occupation Act No 26 of 1937

This Act debars Indians from holding seats on regulatory boards. It also controls imports and exports to South Africa.

The Native Administration Amendment Act No 9 of 1937

The Industrial Conciliation Act No 36 of 1937

This Act introduces the colour bar in trade unions.

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure (Further Amendment) Act of 1937

Indians are prohibited from employing Whites.

The Mixed Marriages Bill of 1937

This Bill aims to prohibit marriage between Asiatics, Europeans and Africans. It is not passed, but a Mixed Marriages Commission is appointed.

The Provincial Legislative Powers Extension Bill of 1937

This Bill aims to refuse trading licenses to non-Europeans who employ White people.

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Bill of 1937

This Bill aims to deny right of owning property to any White woman married to a non-European.

The Marketing and Unbeneficial Land Occupation Act of 1937

The right of farmers (Indian) to till their own soil challenged.

The Asiatics (Transvaal Land and Trading) Bill of 1938

The Union Government introduces the Asiatics (Transvaal Land and Trading) Bill , which provides protection of Indians in exempted areas for two years; certificates for trading licences to be authorized by Minister of Interior; Asiatics not allowed to appoint nominees to buy land and obtain trading licences on their behalf.


The Pegging Act of 1943

The government passed this Act in subsequence of the complaint launched by the White traders and other White racists. The complaints from White traders stemmed from the stiff business competition they encountered from their Indian counterparts or business opponents. The Whites wanted Indians to be precluded from residing in White areas. This Act laid down that Indians should not be granted the right to acquire or own property in the area reserved for the Whites for a period of three years.

The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation/Ghetto Act of 1946

This Act substituted the Pegging Act in 1946. It was also known as the Ghetto Act and was more restrictive than the Pegging Act. It prohibited Indians from purchasing land from non-Indians except in specified areas. It further prevented Indians from occupying property from the exempted areas. However, the Act implemented positive changes at representative levels. Indians were granted permission to elect three White (not Indian) representatives to the House of Assembly and one of two White senators to the Senate House. The government appointed the other senator. The Act effected no desired changes, in particular political rights, on the part of the Indians because they didn't elect their own people.

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, Act No 55 of 1949 The National Party in its early quest to implement social apartheid introduced the Mixed Marriages Act in 1949. This Act prohibited marriage between Whites and any other racial group. The Nationalists demonstrated in the parliamentary debate on this issue that they were concerned about the rising infiltration by the Coloureds into the White group. When this law was enacted in 1949 there were about 75 mixed marriages recorded compared to 28,000 White marriages.

Factories, Machinery and Building Works Act of 1941

The Act put limitations on number of overtime hours that skilled workers could work in response to the challenges posed by the skilled labour constraints. This provision unfortunately tempered with their take-home pay. The Act also set a minimum safety standards and working conditions. It also empowered the Labour Minister to instruct the Governor-General to require 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.

Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940

The Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940 provided for the compulsory registration of White voters only. The attempts by the National Liberation League and African People Organisation to protest this provision never achieved success.

Pensions Laws Amendment Act 1944

The Pensions Laws Amendment Act was passed by the parliament in 1944. The Act provided war pensions and 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 was a discrepancy with regard to the payment of the benefits to the pensioners. The maximum benefit payable to African pensioners was set less than one-third of the maximum payable to White pensioners. The Act received a racism-influenced strong opposition from the National Party. They opposed it on the following grounds: White taxpayers would pay, there would be administrative problems determining age and nationality, it would undermine the supply of labour to White farmers (because African people are naturally lazy) it would disrupt the social structure and cause urbanisation and detribalisation, above all they protested that it was not needed.

Industrial Conciliation (Natives) Bill 1947

The Industrial Conciliation (Natives) Bill was presented in parliament by the United Party's government under the leadership of Jan Smuts in 1947. The bill, which received support from employer's organisations drawn from secondary industry, provided for a degree of recognition for African trade unions. This provision was further continued by the Nationalist appointed Industrial Relations Commission, which urged the case for the proper control of African trade unions through the process of certification and registration. However the bill precluded African unions from affiliating to any political organisation or participation in political activities as well as joining any trade union confederation.


Immorality Amendment Act, Act No 21 of 1950

This Act was one of the most controversial pieces of Apartheid legislation. It prohibited adultery, attempted adultery or related ‘immoral' acts such as sexual intercourse between White and Black people.

Amended in 1957 as Act 23.

Suppression of Communism Act, Act No 44 of 1950

The Act was passed as a result of the National Party government's fear of the influence that the Communist Party of South Africa might have on Afrikaner, and later African, working class. However the Act was not solely directed at the Communist Party. Other formations that opposed to the government's racist policies also felt the wrath of this Act. It made the Communist Party and propagation of communism unlawful. The term communism was extensively defined. It referred to any non-parliamentary political opposition to the government. The Act sanctioned the punishment of any group that did anything intended to bring about political, economic, industrial and social change through the promotion of disorder or disturbance, using unlawful acts or encouragement of feelings of hostility between the European and non-European races of the Union. The Act further vested the Minister of Justice with power to restrict or ban any person he viewed to be pursuing communist activities. A banned person was confined to a particular district and was precluded from occupying an office in any trade union or political organisation. He was also prohibited from attending political gatherings. The victims of this Act in the 1950s included Albert Luthuli, Moses Kotane, J.B. Marks, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Yusuf Dadoo, Walter Sisulu, Dora Tamana, Josie Mpama, Eli Weinberg, Betty du Toit, Dan Tloome, M. P. Naicker, Reg September and Joe Slovo. Other communists were also removed from their seats in parliament and Cape Provincial Council. These were Sam Kahn, Fred Carneson, Brian Bunting and Ray Alexander. This law was repealed by section 33 of the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act, Act No 138 of 1991.

The Group Areas Act, Act No 41 of 1950

After its election victory the National Party regime institutionalised and consolidated existing discriminatory and segregatory policies and bills. In 1948 the National Party government extended and strengthened the Group Areas Acts. The primary aim of this Act was to make the residential separation compulsory. The Acts laid down legal provisions on the specific areas where different population groups could own property, reside and work. There was quite a range of reasons why this Act was introduced and strengthened. The primary reason was to curb the movements of the non-Whites, in particular Blacks from rural areas into the big cities and Whites-only areas. The influx into the big cities was stimulated by the booming economy. To counter the influx and consolidate the growing numbers, the government set up semi-urban townships for Black, Indian and Coloured population groups. With the establishment of these urban areas the government was attempting to keep riots and any other form of threat by non-Whites on the White population group, under control. The Act also cut across all traditional property rights and led to the evictions of thousands of Blacks, Coloureds and Indians. It became a source of resentment to the non-Whites. The Indian community were the most affected as they were forced out of the central city areas where they had previously operated their businesses. Commenced: 7 July 1950. It was repealed by section 44 of the Group Areas Act, Act No 77 of 1957.

The Population Registration Act, Act No 30 of 1950

The Population Registration Act provided that all South Africans be racially classified in one of three categories: White, Black or Coloured. According to this Act Indians fell under the Coloured category. The criteria used to determine the qualification into each of these categories was based on appearance, social acceptance and descent. The Act described a White person as one whose parents were both White. The other things that categorised a person as White were his habits, speech, education, deportment and demeanour. Blacks were defined as being members of an African race or tribe, and Coloureds as people who were neither White nor Black. The Department of Home Affairs was responsible for handling the classification process of the citizenry. As a result of this Act Blacks were forced to carry passbooks, the infamous “dompas” which had their fingerprints, photo and information in order to accessnon-Black areas. Commenced: 7 July 1950. It was repealed by section 1 of the Population Registration Act, Repeal Act No 114 of 1991.

The Bantu Authorities Act, Act No 68 of 1951

In 1951, in their objective to keep Black people permanently from the urban areas, the government introduced The Bantu Authorities Act. The Bantu Authorities Act was one of the Acts that attempted to keep South African citizens apart on a racial and ethnic basis. The government introduced this Act by setting up Black ethnic governments known as “Homelands”. The government used this Act to push Black people out of urban areas to stay in these homelands. These homelands were subsequently granted independent status by the central government. Homelands were under chiefs who were subordinate to their masters in Pretoria. The Inhabitants of these homelands would lose South African citizenship and all political rights including voting. They even had to have passports to enter South Africa. Commenced: 17 July 1951. It was repealed by section 69 of the Black Communities Development Act, Act No 4 of 1984. more

Bantu/Native Building Workers Act, Act No 27 of 1951

The Act was two-fold. Firstly, government signaled its determination to protect White workers' interests. Secondly, the Act granted permission to Blacks to be trained as artisans in the building industry, something previously reserved for Whites. Coloureds were the third race group to benefit form this Act. The primary goal of the Act was to protect White and Coloured workers against the threat of competition from Black workers. Sections 15 and 19 precluded Whites from employing Africans in their homes to perform skilled jobs such as bricklaying and carpentry. Africans who performed skilled jobs outside those that had been allocated, were guilty of an offence unless special permission had been granted. It was repealed by section 11 of the Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act, Act No 95 of 1980.

Separate Representation of Voters Act, Act No 46 of 1951

This Act was passed in 1951 as a result of the government intention to strip Coloureds of their voting rights and remove them from the common voters roll. The Act provided for the creation of a separate voters' roll on which Coloureds would be able to elect White representatives. However, this Act was only passed after great difficulty. Firstly, the Supreme Court announced it illegal as Parliament had failed to secure the two-thirds majority required by the constitution to abolish the voting rights. Secondly when the Act was finally passed it suffered opposition from the Franchise Action Council. The Franchise Action Council organised a one-day strike in which Black and Coloured people came together to protest against its terms. The Act received further opposition from White organisations such as the Torch Commando, Springbok Legion and United Party, which received the majority of the Coloureds' votes. This Act became the target of the Defiance Campaign of 1952. Commenced: 18 June 1951. It was revalidated on 2 March 1956 after a court challenge. It was repealed by section 4 of the Separate Representation of Voters Amendment , Act Act No 50 of 1968.

Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act, Act No 52 of 1951

This was a very harsh law. It was used to forcefully remove squatting communities. It afforded landowners, local authorities and government officials many ways of evicting people or demolishing their houses to get them off the land. Commenced: 6 July 1951.

Natives Laws Amendment Act of 1952

This Act effected amendments to section 10 of the Group Areas Act. It narrowed the definition of the category of Blacks who had the right to permanent residence in towns. Section 10 limited this to those who'd been born in a town and had lived there continuously for not less than 15 years, or who had been employed there continuously for at least 15 years; or who had worked continuously for the same employer for at least 10 years. It made section 10 of the Group Areas Act automatically applicable to every municipality.

Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act, Act No 67 of 1952

A further measure by government to curb labour mobility was facilitated by the implementation of the Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act. The Act prescribed the introduction of the reference book bearing photographs, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, fingerprints and encounters with the police. Africans were expected to carry passes with them wherever they went. Failure to produce a pass on request by the police officer was an offence. Africans could not leave the rural area for an urban one without a permit granted by the local authorities. Upon arrival in the urban area a permit to seek employment had to be obtained within 72 hours. After realising the significant role played by the workers in industry, the government extended this system to women. For the first time in the history of South Africa, women had to carry passes. This provision resulted in a widespread strike by women in 1956. Commenced: 11 July 1952. It was repealed by section 23 of the Identification Act, Act No 72 of 1986.

Natives Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act of 1953

This Act was a government attempt to control African labour. The Act prohibited strikes by Africans. The Act did not give legal recognition to African trade unions, but did not prohibit them from operating. The then minister of labour, B.J. Schoeman, announced in Parliament that African trade unions would be used as political weapon to create chaos. He added that in his opinion “We [the Afrikaners] would probably be committing race suicide if we gave them that incentive.” Commenced: 1 May 1954 It was repealed by section 63 of the Labour Relations Amendment Act No 57 of 1981.

Public Safety Act of 1953

This Act was passed as a response to the ANC‘s civil disobedience campaigns. The Act granted the British governor general authority to set aside all laws and declare a state of emergency. Under a state of emergency the Minister of Law and Order, the Commissioner of the South African Police (SAP), a magistrate or a commissioned officer could detain any person for reasons of public safety . It further provided for the detention without trial for any dissent. Commenced: 4 March 1953. It was repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act, Act No 8 of 1953

This Act asserted that anyone accompanying a person found guilty of offences committed during protests or in support of any campaign for the cancellation or modification of any harsh law would also be presumed guilty and would have the responsibility to prove his or her innocence. Commenced: 4 March 1953. It was repealed by section 73 of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Bantu Education Act, Act No 47 of 1953

This Act provided for the establishment of a separate educational system run by the Department of the Native Affairs under the minister Dr H. F. Verwoerd and was in fact penned by Dr Verwoerd. The primary aim of this educational system was to provide Blacks with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in labouring jobs under Whites. Dr Verwoerd explained his policy as follows: “There is no place for the Bantu in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour. Until now he has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his own community and misled him by showing him green pastures of European society in which he was not allowed to graze ”. Commenced: 1 January 1954. This legislation was repealed by section 45 of the Education and Training Act, Act No 90 of 1979.

Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, Act No 49 of 1953

The Nationalist Party government developed the concept of unequal allocation of resources such as general infrastructure, education and jobs and formalised this into law. The Amenities Act provided that there should be separate amenities such as toilets, parks and beaches for different racial groups. Furthermore these facilities should not be of the same quality for different groups. Subsequently, apartheid signs indicating which people were permitted to enter/use the facility were displayed throughout the country. Commenced: 9 October 1953. This legislation was repealed by section 1 of Discriminatory Legislation Regarding Public Amenities Appeal Act, Act No 100 of 1990.

Natives Resettlement Act, Act No 19 of 1954

This Act granted powers to the government to remove Africans from any area within and next to the magisterial district of Johannesburg. In essence this Act aimed to effect the removal of Africans from Sophiatown to Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg.

Riotous Assemblies and Suppression of Communism Amendment Act, Act No 15 of 1954

The Minister of Justice was ‘empowered to prohibit listed persons from being members of specific organisations or from attending gatherings of any description without giving them the opportunity of making representations in their defence or furnishing reasons'. The Minister was also ‘authorized to prohibit any particular gathering or all gatherings, in any public place for specified periods'. Commenced: 15 April 1954. It was repealed by section 73 of the Internal Security Act, Act No 74 of 1982.

Criminal Procedure Act, Act No 56 of 1955

This legislation consolidated the laws relating to procedural matters and provision of evidence in criminal proceedings. The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Act No 31 of 1917 and its numerous amendments were thereby all repealed. Commenced: 1 July 1955. It was repealed by section 344(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, Act No 51 of 1977.

Black Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Amendment Act, Act No 59 of 1955

This Act amended the 1953 Black Labour Relations Regulation Act. It provided for separate industrial conciliation machinery which applied to Black workers other than those employed in farming operations, in domestic service, governmental or educational services and those in the coal and gold mining industries. It was repealed by section 63 of the Labour Relations Amendment Act, Act No 57 of 1981.

Natives (Prohibition of Interdicts) Act, Act No 64 of 1956

This Act deprived Africans of the right to apply to court for protection by means of an interdict or any legal process against any draconian laws imposed upon them by the government. Orders attached to this Act refer, for example, to the prohibition of entering or leaving a place not allocated specifically for Africans.

The Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act of 1956

This Act was substituted for the 1924 and 1937 Industrial Conciliation Acts. The primary objective of the Act was to separate the trade union movements along racial lines, with the aim of weakening them. The Act ended recognition of trade unions with White, Coloured and Indian membership. It laid down that trade unions with mixed membership had to cater exclusively for one racial group or split up into exclusive racial sections, each under the guidance of a White-controlled executive. At this time Africans had not yet been granted permission to belong to a registered union. The Act also gave additional powers to the minister to announce strikes illegal in essential industries. Whites benefited from this Act because it gave legal force to White job reservation practices.

South Africa Act Amendment Act, Act No 9 of 1956

This Act effectively revalidated the 1951 Separate Representation of Voters Act, which had been challenged by the Franchise Action Council and declared invalid by the Supreme Court. Commenced: 2 March 1956. It was repealed by the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, Act No 32 of 1961.

Riotous Assemblies Act, Act No 17 of 1956

In terms of this legislation, gatherings in open-air public places were prohibited if the Minister of Justice considered that they could endanger the public peace. Banishment was also included as a form of punishment. Commenced: 16 March 1956.

The Natives Taxation and Development Act, Act No 38 of 1958

The Act provided that as from 1st January 1959, every male African of the age eighteen years and over, domiciled or resident in the Union, had to pay a basic general tax of £1-5-0 (One pound fifteen shillings) a year instead of the £1 (one pound) paid previously. As from 1st January 1960, men earning over £180 per annum had to pay increased amounts and women, for the first time, became liable to pay general tax. A sliding scale, according to which the tax was payable increased depending on income. The income of a wife was regarded as her separate income and not that of her husband. The new system was in the view of the African National Congress inequitable and would create further hardship for the people. The system was adjudged inequitable in the following respects.

  1. According to the new rates African men with income of under £140 had to pay a greater percentage of their earnings in general taxation than men of any other racial group, whether married or single, anywhere in the Union. In other words as far as the lowest income groups were concerned, Africans were required to pay more than Whites with the same income.
  2. Africans became liable to pay tax at the age of 18, while members of other groups only paid personal tax when they attained the age of 21.
  3. The new scheme not only made Africans pay more (although they were the least able to pay) but took no account of taxes which were only paid by Africans. The Africans had to pay Local Tax of 10/- (ten shillings) per year, educational levies, dipping fees, grazing fees, dog tax, pass and compound fees.
  4. Africans were imprisoned for non-payment of tax. In the case of other races there was no criminal sanction for failure to pay taxes. In 1955, 177,890 Africans were arrested and brought before the courts for failure to pay tax.

Extension of University Education Act, Act No 45 of 1959

This Act made provision for the establishment of separate tertiary institutions for Blacks, Indians, Coloureds and Whites. Blacks were not allowed to attend White universities unless with special permission by the government. The separation of these institutions was not only along racial lines but also along ethnic lines. The University of Fort Hare was opened for Xhosa speaking students only, while the University of the North in Turfloop was set up for the Sotho and Tswana students. Coloureds had their University in Bellville, while Indians and Zulus had their universities in Ngoye (KZN) and Durban-Westville respectively. The provision of this Act was met with protest from most lecturers at Fort Hare. Prof Z.K. Matthews who was also a lecturer at Forh Hare relinquished his position in protest against the Act.

Bantu Investment Corporation Act, Act No 34 of 1959

The Act provides for the creation of financial, commercial, and industrial schemes in areas designated for Black people.

The Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959

This Act announced the existence of eight African ethnic groups based on their linguistic and cultural diversity. Each group had a Commissioner-General as an official representative of the South African government. The Commissioner-General was assigned to develop a homeland for each group. Provision was made for the transfer of powers of self-government whereby each ethnic group would govern itself independent of White intervention. Transkei was the first territory to benefit from the provision of this Act when the Transkei Self-Government Act and the Transkei Constitution Act were passed in 1963.


Proclamation No 400 and Proclamation No 413

Emergency regulations contained in Proclamations 400 and 413 were issued under pre-union statutes (Dugard 1978: 110). Proclamation 400 was only repealed in 1977 by the Public Security Act No 30.

Extension of University Education Amendment Act No 32 of 1960

Amended the extension of University Education Act No 45 of 1959 and the University of Fort Hare Transfer Act No 64 of 1959. Assent gained: 7 April 1960; commencement date not found. Repealed by s 21 of the Tertiary Education Act No 66 of 1988.

Unlawful Organisations Act No 34 of 1960

Provided for organisations threatening public order or the safety of the public to be declared unlawful. The ANC and the PAC were immediately declared unlawful. Commenced: 7 April 1960. Repealed by s 73 of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Urban Blacks Council Act No 79 of 1961

The first provision for Black ‘self-government' in the urban townships. Assent gained: 30 June 1961; commencement date not found. Repealed by s 14 of the Community Councils Act No 125 of 1977.

General Law Amendment Act No 39 of 1961

Provided for twelve-day detention. Amended:the Arms and Ammunition Act 28 of 1937 regarding the issuing and cancellation of firearm licences;the 1955 Criminal Procedure Act regarding powers of the Attorney-General to prohibit release on bail or otherwise; and

  • the 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act. Commenced: 19 May 1961. Sections 6 and 7 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Indemnity Act No 61 of 1961

With retrospective effect from 21 March 1960. This Act indemnifies the government, its officers and all other persons acting under their authority in respect of acts done, orders given or information provided in good faith for the prevention or suppression of internal disorder, the maintenance or restoration of good order, public safety or essential services, or the preservation of life or property in any part of the Republic. Commenced: 5 July 1961

General Law Amendment Act (Sabotage Act) No 76 of 1962

Increased the State President's power to declare organisations unlawful. Further restrictions could be imposed in banning orders, restricting movement. Persons could now even be banned from social gatherings, including having more than one visitor at a time. The Minister could list banned persons in the Government Gazette (GG).

This Act created the offence of sabotage by providing that any person who committed any wrongful and wilful act whereby he/she injured, obstructed, tampered with or destroyed the health or safety of the public, the maintenance of law and order, the supply of water, light, power, fuel or foodstuffs, sanitary, medical, or fire extinguishing services could be tried for sabotage (Horrell 1978: 443). Commenced: 27 June 1962. Section 16 repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

Terrorism Act No 83 of 1962

According to Horrell (1978: 473), this Act signalled the beginning of the struggle against ‘Red arms' as opposed to purely ‘Red ideology'. It authorised indefinite detention without trial on the authority of a policeman of or above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The definition of terrorism was very broad and included most criminal acts. No time limit was specified for detention; it could be continued until detainees had satisfactorily replied to all questions or no useful purpose would be served by continued detention. Fortnightly visits by magistrates were provided for ‘if circumstances permit'. No other visitors were permitted. The Act was operative retrospectively to 27 June 1962 and also applied to South West Africa retrospectively (Horrell 1978: 445). It differed from the ninety-day and 180-day detention laws in that the public was not entitled to information relating to the identity and number of people detained under the Terrorism Act (Dugard 1978: 118). Commenced: 27 June 1962. All sections except s 7 repealed by s 33 of the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act 138 of 1991.

General Law Amendment Act No 37 of 1963

Section 17, the ninety-day detention law, authorised any commissioned officer to detain - without a warrant - any person suspected of a political crime and to hold them for ninety days without access to a lawyer (Horrell 1978: 469). In practice people were often released after ninety days only to be re-detained on the same day for a further ninety-day period. The ‘Sobukwe clause' allowed for a person convicted of political offences to be detained for a further twelve months. The Act also allowed for further declaration of unlawful organisations. The State President could declare any organisation or group of persons which had come into existence since 7 April 1960 to be unlawful. This enabled the government to extend to Umkhonto we Sizwe and Poqo the restrictions already in force on the ANC and the PAC (Horrell 1978: 416). Commenced: 2 May 1963, except ss 3, 9 & 14, which came into effect at different times. Sections 3-7 and 14-17 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Transkei Constitution Act No 48 of 1963

Self-government given to Transkei. Commenced: 30 May 1963. Repealed by s 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

Extension of University Education Amendment Act No 67 of 1963

Amended the 1959 Extension of University Education Act and the University College of Fort Hare Transfer Act No 64 of 1959. Commenced: 3 July 1963: Repealed by s 21 of the Tertiary Education Act No 66 of 1988.

General Law Amendment Act No 80 of 1964

Amended the 1963 General Law Amendment Act so that the Minister of Justice could extend the operation of the Sobukwe clause in individual cases. Sobukwe was thus imprisoned until 1969. This clause was re-enacted in amended form in 1976. Commenced: 24 June 1964. Repealed by the Corruption Act No 94 of 1992.

Transkei Authorities Act No 6 of 1964

Set in place mechanisms for the recognition of the Transkei government. Commenced: 28 August 1964. Repealed by the Transkei Authorities Act No 4 of 1965.

Black Labour Act No 67 of 1965

Consolidated the laws regulating the recruiting, employment, accommodation, feeding and health conditions of Black labourers. Commenced: 1 January 1965. Repealed by s 69 of the Black Community Development Act No 4 of 1984.

Education Act No 2 of 1965

Overrode South African apartheid schooling systems and provided for Black schooling and subsidies. Commenced: 1 April 1965

Criminal Procedure Amendment Act No 96 (180-Day Detention Law) of 1965

Provided for 180-day detention and re-detention thereafter. The Attorney-General was empowered to order the detention of persons likely to give evidence for the state in any criminal proceedings relating to certain political or common-law offences. Unlike the ninety-day provision, this did not specify interrogation as part of the detention. Detainees could be held for six months in solitary confinement and only state officials were permitted access. No court had the jurisdiction to order the release of prisoners or to rule on the validity of the regulations under the Act. Commenced: 25 June 1965. Repealed by s 344 of the Criminal Procedure Act No 51 of 1977 except for ss 319(3) and 384.

Transkeian Authorities Amendment Act No 7 of 1966

Amended the list of authoritative bodies in the homeland. Commenced: 30 June 1966.

Group Areas Act No 36 of 1966

While in theory this was not discriminatory legislation, it was implemented in a way that was advantageous to Whites (Dugard 1978: 82). Commenced: 26 October 1966. Repealed by s 48 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Industrial Conciliation Further Amendment Act No 61 of 1966

Prohibited strikes and lock-outs for any purpose unconnected with the employee/employer relationship (Horrell 1978: 279). Commenced: 4 November 1966. Repealed by Labour Relations Act No 66 of 1995.

General Law Amendment Act No 62 of 1966

Designed in response to guerrilla activities on the northern borders of the then South West Africa (Dugard 1978: 116). Section 22(1) was amended to provide for the detention of suspected ‘terrorists' for up to fourteen days for purposes of interrogation. The Commissioner of Police could apply to a judge to have the detention order renewed. This was essentially a forerunner of the 1967 Terrorism Act. Commenced: 4 November 1966. Sections 3-6 & 22 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982

Education Act No 9 of 1967

Enacted various schooling mechanisms. Commenced: 6 January 1967.

Transkeian Police Act No 5 of 1967

Provided for a national policing service and the various powers vested in it. Commenced: 6 January 1967.

Environmental Planning Act No 88 of 1967

Placed restrictions on the number of Blacks who could be employed in the manufacturing industry in the larger industrial areas. Assent gained: 19 June 1967; commencement date not found. IN FORCE: LAND.

Suppression of Communism Act No 24 of 1967

Prohibited certain persons from making or receiving donations for the benefit of certain organisations; prohibited others from practising as advocates, attorneys, notaries and conveyances, and extended the grounds for deporting people from the Republic. Commenced: 8 March 1967. Repealed by s 73 of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982.

Labour Laws Amendment Act No 4 of 1967

Amended South African labour laws for Transkei. Commenced: 1 September 1967

Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act No 50 of 1968

The Coloured Persons Representative Council was formed with forty elected members and twenty nominated members. It had legislative powers to make laws affecting Coloureds on finance, local government, education, community welfare and pensions, rural settlements and agriculture. No bill could be introduced without the approval of the Minister of Coloured Relations, nor could a bill be passed without the approval of the White Cabinet (Dugard 1978: 98). Assent gained: 27 March 1968; commencement date not found. Repealed by s 101(1) of the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act No 110 of 1983.

Prohibition of Political Interference Act No 51 of 1968

Prohibited non-racial political parties (ss 1 & 2) and foreign financing of political parties (s 3). The Act was later renamed the ‘Prohibition of Foreign Financing of Political Parties Act' by the 1985 Constitutional Affairs Amendment Act. Sections 1 and 2 relating to the ban on non-racial political parties repealed by the same Act (No 104) of 1985. Section 3 repealed by Abolition of Restrictions on Free Political Activity Act No 206 of 1993.

South African Indian Council Act No 31 of 1968

Established the Council consisting of twenty-five members appointed by the Minister of Indian Affairs. The number was increased to thirty members, of which fifteen were appointed by the Minister and fifteen indirectly through electoral colleges in the provinces (Dugard 1978: 100). Unlike the Coloured Persons Representative Council, the South African Indian Council was not granted legislative powers. Commenced: 26 March 1968. Repealed by s 23 of the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act No 110 of 1983.

Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act No 21 of 1968

Invalidated any marriage entered into outside South Africa between a male citizen and a woman of another racial group (Dugard 1978: 69). Commenced: 27 March 1968. Repealed by the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act No 72 of 1985.

Dangerous Weapons Act No 71 of 1968

Prohibited the possession of weapons which could cause bodily injury if used in an assault. The Minister of Justice could prohibit the possession or manufacture or supply of such objects. Commenced: 3 July 1968 IN FORCE (as amended by the Dangerous Weapons Amendment Act No 156 of 1993): ARMS AND AMMUNITION.

Public Service Amendment Act No 86 of 1969

Established the Bureau of State Security (BOSS) (Horrell 1978: 449). Commenced: 1 April 1969. Repealed by s 37 of the Public Service Act No 111 of 1984.


Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970

No Black person will eventually qualify [for South African nationality and the right to work or live in South Africa] because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister." Connie Mulder, South African Information and Interior Minister, 1970. Repealed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

  • Act 21 of 1971 Self-governing Territories Constitution Act, 1971
  • Act 31 of 1971 Transkei Constitution Amendment Act, 1971
  • Act 61 of 1975 Transkei Constitution Amendment Act, 1975
  • Act 3 of 1976 Transkei Constitution Amendment Act, 1976
  • Act 65 of 1976 Financial Relations Act, 1976
  • Act 100 of 1976 Status of Transkei Act, 1976
  • Act 30 of 1977 Constitution Amendment Act, 1977
  • Act 31 of 1977 Financial Relations Amendment Act, 1977
  • Act 89 of 1977 Status of Bophuthatswana Act, 1977
  • Act 8 of 1978 Bophuthatswana Border Extension Act, 1978
  • Act 13 of 1978 National States Citizenship Amendment Act, 1978
  • Act 36 of 1978 Alteration of Provincial Boundaries Act, 1978
  • Act 107 of 1979 Status of Venda Act, 1979
  • Act 47 of 1970Wine and Spirit Control Act, 1970
  • Act 70 of 1970Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act, 1970
  • Act 25 of 1977Livestock Improvement Act, 1977
  • Act 87 of 1979Designated Areas Development Act, 1979

Pre-Union Statute Law Revision Act, 1970 (Act 42 of 1970)

This Act repealed certain Pre-Union laws which were in force in the various provinces of the Republic.

South African Law Reform Commission Act, 1973 (Act 19 of 1973),

It provides for the establishment of the South African Law Reform Commission. Provision is also made for the constitution, objects, powers, and duties of, and reports by, the Commission.

Companies Act, 1973 (Act 61 of 1973).

The Department only administers Chapters 14 and 15 of this Act. Chapter 14, which deals with the winding”‘up of companies, provides, among others, for winding-up by a court; voluntary winding-up; the appointment, powers and duties of liquidators; the examination of persons in winding-up; and the dissolution of companies and other bodies corporate. Chapter 15, which regulates judicial management, provides, among others, for the circumstances in which a company may be placed under judicial management; the duties of judicial managers; and the cancellation of a judicial management order.

General Law Amendment Act, 1973 (Act 62 of 1973)

Section 50 of this Act is amended Proclamation No. 333 of 1949.

Prescribed Rate of Interest Act, 1975 (Act 55 of 1975)

This Act provides for the calculation of interest on a debt, in certain circumstances, at a prescribed rate and for the payment of interest on certain judgment debts.

Petition Proceedings Replacement Act, 1976 (Act 35 of 1976)

In terms of this Act any reference in any law to the institution of application proceedings in any court by petition, shall be construed as a reference to the institution of such proceedings by notice of motion in terms of the rules of such court.

Pre-Union Statute Law Revision Act, 1976 (Act 36 of 1976)

It repealed certain Pre-Union laws which were in force in the various provinces of the Republic.

Abolition of Civil Imprisonment Act, 1977 (Act 2 of 1977)

This Act abolished civil imprisonment of a debtor on account of his or her failure to pay a sum of money in terms of any judgment.

Indemnity Act, 1977 (Act 13 of 1977),

This indemnifies the State, members of the Executive Council of the Republic, persons in the service of the State and persons acting under their authority in respect of acts, announcements, statements or information advised, commanded, ordered, directed, done, made or published in good faith for the prevention, suppression or termination of internal disorder or the maintenance or restoration of good order or public safety or essential services or the preservation of life or property in any part of the Republic.

Prohibition of the Exhibition of Films on Sundays and Public Holidays Act, 1977 (Act 16 of 1977),

This prohibits the exhibition of films on Sundays and certain public holidays in certain circumstances.

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act, 1977 (Act 40 of 1977)

This Act provides for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Provision is made that any foreign arbitral award may be made an order of a court and be enforced as such. The Act also provides for the circumstances under which an order of a court may be refused.

Pre-Union Statute Law Revision Act, 1977 (Act 43 of 1977)

This Act repealed certain Pre-Union laws which were in force in the various provinces of the Republic.

Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977)

This regulates aspects relating to the criminal procedure in the South African law. The Act provides, among others, for the procedures to be followed in criminal proceedings; arrest and other measures of securing the attendance of accused persons in court; and the release of an accused on warning or bail. It further regulates the laws pertaining to search and warrants; seizure and forfeiture of property; assistance to accused persons; summary trials and preparatory examinations; conduct of proceedings; witnesses and evidence; competent verdicts, previous convictions and sentence; compensation and restitution; reviews and appeals in cases of criminal proceedings in lower courts; and for appeals in cases of criminal proceedings in superior courts.

Dissolution of Marriages on Presumption of Death Act, 1979 (Act 23 of 1979)

This Act provides for the dissolution of marriages of persons presumed to be dead.

Attorneys Act, 1979 (Act 53 of 1979),

This Act consolidated the laws relating to the admission and practice of attorneys, notaries and conveyancers. The Act, among others, provides for the continuation of the Attorneys Fidelity Fund and law societies in respect of the attorneys' profession. Provision is further made for the qualifications for, and admission as, attorneys, notaries and conveyancers and for the removal from the roll of attorneys.

Divorce Act, 1979 (Act 70 of 1979)

The Act regulates the law of divorce in South Africa. Provision is made for the dissolution of a marriage and the grounds for divorce; the safeguarding of interests of dependent and minor children; the division of assets; and the maintenance of parties to divorce proceedings.

Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act (National States Citizenship Act) No 26 of 1970

Required all Black persons to become citizens of a self-governing territorial authority. As Minister Connie Mulder stated: ‘No Black person will eventually qualify in terms of section 10 because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister,’ i.e. Black people are forced by residence in designated ‘homelands’ areas to be citizens of that homeland and denied South African nationality, the right to work in South Africa etc. Assent gained: 26 March 1970; commencement date not found Repealed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

Bantu Homelands Constitution Act (National States Constitutional Act) No 21: 31 March 1971

Provided for the granting of increased powers to homeland governments, thus facilitating their eventual ‘independence’.

Commenced: 31 March 1971. Repealed by Sch 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

Extension of University Education Amendment Act No 29: 12 May 1971

In order to prevent students from changing courses after admission, the Minister would give consent only in respect of a specific university and a specified qualification. He could withdraw his consent if the student concerned changed her/his course of study (SRR 1971:288). Commenced: 12 May 1971. Repealed by s 21 of the Tertiary Education Act No 66 of 1988.

Black Affairs Administration Act No 45: 26 November 1971

Provided for Black self-government in townships. Commenced: 26 November 1971. Repealed by s 69 of the Black Communities Development Act No 4 of 1984.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970

No Black person will eventually qualify [for South African nationality and the right to work or live in South Africa] because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister." Connie Mulder, South African Information and Interior Minister, 1970. Repealed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993. Bophuthatswana, Ciskei and Lebowa proclaimed self-governing territories (Name of Act?)

Marriage Act No 4 of 1973 Created a local marriage recognition regime, distinct from that of South Africa. Commenced: 19 April 1973

Suppression of Communism Amendment Act No 2 of 1972

Amended provisions regarding the participation of certain persons in the activities of certain organisations as well as ministerial powers regarding the registration of newspapers. Commenced: 8 March 1972 Repealed by s 73(1) of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Admission of Persons to the Republic Regulation Act No 59 of 1972

Consolidated the laws relating to prohibited persons and to the admission of persons to the Republic or any of its provinces. Commenced: 2 June 1972. Repealed by s 60 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Security Intelligence and State Security Council Act No 64 of 1972

Commenced: 14 June 1972. Repealed by s 7 of the National Strategic Intelligence Act No 39 of 1994.

Between 1972 and 1977, all the homelands were given self-government similar to that of the Transkei (Dugard 1978: 91). All enactments of the Legislative Assemblies of the homelands required the approval of the State President of the Republic of South Africa. In 1973 Venda and Gazankulu proclaimed a self-governing territories. In 1974 QwaQwa is proclaimed a self-governing territory.

In 1976 Transkei becomes the first independent homeland.

In 1977 Bophuthatswana gains its independence and KwaZulu is proclaimed a self-governing territory.

Aliens Control Act No 40 of 1973

Exempted Indians from the need to obtain permits for travel between provinces. However, in terms of provincial legislation, Indians were not allowed to stay in the Orange Free State and parts of northern Natal for more than a brief period unless prior permission had been obtained (Dugard 1978: 73). Repealed by s 60 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Black Labour Relations Regulation Amendment Act 70 of 1973

This Act was passed in response to a wave of strikes in 1972 and 1973 (Bendix 1989: 302) and included a limited right to strike. Previously Black workers had been completely prohibited from striking. Repealed by s 63 of the Labour Relation Amendment Act No 57 of 1981.

Black Laws Amendment Act No 7 of 1973

Designed to speed up the planning for partial consolidation of homelands. The 1927 Black Administration Act was amended so that ‘a removal order might be served on a Bantu Community as well as on a tribe or portion thereof’ (Horrell 1978: 205). If a tribe refused to move, and Parliament approved the plan, the tribe was unable to appeal to Parliament. Commenced: 21 March 1973. Repealed by the Abolition of Influx Control Act No 68 of 1986.

Legal Aid Act No 2 of 1973

Provided legal aid for Blacks, which was absent in the South African setting. Commenced: 24 August 1973

Prisons Act No 6 of 1974 Set out prison services in Transkei. Commenced: 1 August 1975

Riotous Assemblies Amendment Act No 30 of 1974

Redefined ‘gathering’ and removed the reference to ‘public’. A gathering could comprise any number of persons. Commenced: 15 March 1974. Sections 1-8 and 11 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982. IN FORCE: Sections 9 and 10 (dealing with ss 16-18 of the Riotous Assemblies Act No 17 of 1956): CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE.

Affected Organisations Act No 31 of 1974

Provided for the declaration of Affected Organisations. Such organisations could not solicit foreign funds. Commenced: 15 March 1974. Repealed by s 7 of the Abolition of Restrictions on Free Political Activity Act No 206 of 1993.

Second General Law Amendment Act No 94 of 1974

As amended by Acts No 87 of 1977, No 99 of 1978, No 74 of 1982, No 110 of 1983, Nos 84 & 95 of 1986 and No 101 of 1987: Repealed the Masters and Servants Acts (1856-1910). Section 1 of this Act prohibits any words or acts intended to cause feelings of hostility between different population groups of the Republic. Section 2 prohibits the furnishing of information about business carried on in or outside the Republic to any person outside the Republic without the permission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Commenced: 20 November 1974.

Proclamation No 86 of 1975

Provided that the Legislative Assembly could, by petition, request the State President to remove a minister from office and order the appointment of another. Commenced: 29 April 1975

Name of Act of 1976

Inter-Cabinet Council formed by the Prime Minister with members drawn from the Coloured Persons Council and the Indian Council and the White cabinet. First meeting boycotted by the Coloured Labour Party (Dugard 1978: 101).

Bantu Administration Amendment Act No 2 of 1976

This Act was similar to the 1927 Black Administration Act [SA], with a few amendments.

Population Registration Act No 24 of 1976

Provided for census and citizenship rights in Transkei and for the compilation of a population register. Commenced: 4 March 1977

Citizenship of Transkei Act No 26 of 1976

Set out requirements for citizenship. Commenced: 4 March 1977

Parliamentary Internal Security Commission Act No 67 of 1976

Established a parliamentary Internal Security Commission and set out its functions. It differed little from the USA House Committee on Un-American Activities except that the South African law had more sanctions at its disposal (Dugard 1978: 173). Commenced: 21 May 1976. Repealed by s 7 of the Abolition of Restriction on Free Political Activity Act No 206 of 1993.

Internal Security Amendment Act No 79 of 1976

Removed the requirement that internment be linked with states of emergency. It amended five other Security Acts and embodied the 1967 Suppression of Communism Act with some amendments. The ‘Sobukwe’ clause for indefinite detention was deleted and a new provision for indefinite preventive detention was created instead. A Review Committee was established to review detentions within two months and could recommend further detention. Prohibition of bail and detention of potential witnesses were provided for. Restrictions on movement of banned persons were included. Commenced: 16 June 1976. Repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982 and the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act No 138 of 1991 except for s 10. Section 10 was repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

Extension of the Application of Transkeian Laws Act No 6 of 1976

Attempted to define areas of function for Transkeian laws. Commenced: 19 July 1976

Republic of Transkei Constitution Act No 15 of 1976

Created a Transkei Constitution. Commenced: 20 October 1976

Community Councils Act No 125 of 1977

Provided for the establishment of community councils, and for civil and criminal judicial powers to be conferred in certain Black townships. Assent gained: 11 July 1977; commencement date not found. Repealed by s 56 A of the Black Local Authorities Act No 102 of 1982.

Proclamation R174:

(Government Gazette 5716 of 19 August 1977) Laid down certain regulations for the administration of declared security districts in Bophuthatswana (SRR 1977: 1-2).

Proclamation R 252:

Gave the government of Ciskei powers to declare a State of Emergency. Powers repealed by the 1982 National Security Act, below (SRR 1977: 348-9).

Indemnity Act No 2 of 1977

Retrospective to 16 June 1976. Commenced: 16 March 1977 IN FORCE: PUBLIC SERVICE.

Criminal Procedure Act No 51 of 1977

Consolidates the law relating to procedure in criminal proceedings. Repeals the 1955 Criminal Procedure Act and its numerous amendments except for ss 319(3) and 384. Commenced: 22 July 1977 IN FORCE (as amended by the Criminal Procedure Second Amendment Act No 75 of 1995): CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE.

Intelligence Service and State Security Council Act No 16 of 1977

Provided for a state security advisory board in which South Africa played a role. Commenced: 22 July 1977

Military Discipline Act No 23 of 1977

Specified punishment for military disobedience. Commenced: 12 August 1977

Aliens and Travellers Control Act No 29 of 1977

Provided for the control and monitoring of aliens, and for refusal of entry. Commenced: 18 August 1978

Acquisition of Immovable Property Control Act No 21 of 1977

Provided for state expropriation and other powers. Commenced: 2 September 1977

Labour Relations Act of 1977

Transkei’s equivalent of the Labour Relations Act [SA]. Commenced: 1 October 1977

Labour Act No 14 of 1977

Set out further requirements for labour in Transkei.Commenced: 1 October 1977

Wage Act No 15 of 1977

Provided for a minimum wage and wage regulation bodies. Commenced: 1 October 1977

Public Security Act No 30 of 1977

Repealed all security laws applicable in South Africa (including the 1950 Suppression of Communism Act, the 1930 Riotous Assemblies Act and the 1960 Unlawful Organisations Act). Further, it repealed the Proclamation 400 of 1960 but retained some of its provisions (Horrell 1978: 230; SRR 1977: 336; Dugard 1978: 96). Commenced: 7 October 1977. Sections 44 and 45 repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

Newspaper and Imprint Registration Act No 19 of 1977

Required newspapers to be registered and conform to a code of conduct. Commenced: 28 October 1977

Riotous Assemblies Amendment Act of 1978

This Actamended the 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act [SA] and made provisions relating to the prohibition of gatherings and the dispersal of unlawful gatherings.

Marriage Act No 21 of 1978

Made further amendments to the Marriage Act No 4 of 1972, largely in keeping with South African trends. Commenced: 2 July 1979

Publication Act No 18 of 1978

Provided for state-sanctioned censorship.Commenced: 14 April 1978

Proclamation No 276:

Passed in response to an outbreak of trouble in Venda schools. It is ‘identical to Proclamation 252 of the Ciskei except that an additional clause includes in the definition of subversive statements or actions, the threatening of a scholar or by any means influencing him to refrain from attending classes or sitting for any examination’ (SRR 1977: 360).

Undesirable Organisations Act No 9 of 1978

Granted the state power to act against illegal organisations. Commenced: 19 May 1978

Blacks (Urban Areas) Amendment Act No 97 of 1978

Introduced a ninety-nine-year leasehold system. Full ownership was not attainable until 1986. Commenced: 17 November 1978. Repealed by s 17 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Commission of Inquiry into Alleged Irregularities in the Department of Information of 1978-1979

Mandate: To evaluate and make findings and recommendations on certain evidence of alleged irregularities in the former Department of Information which had come to light through other authorities and through the press; and [for the supplementary report] to extend the inquiry into new facets and areas brought to light in the course of the Commission’s first inquiry. Date of Report: 1978, supplementary report 1979 Chair: ERASMUS, R.P.B. Ref: RP 63/1979 (supplementary report)

Education and Training Act No 9 of 1979

Repealed the Bantu (Black) Education Act No 47 of 1953 and the Bantu Special Education Act No 24 of 1964. Commenced: 1 January 1980 IN FORCE (as amended by Educators Employment Act No 138 of 1994): EDUCATION.

Births and Deaths Registration Act No 20 of 1979

Specified persons who could be registered as Transkeian citizens by birth. Commenced: 3 October 1980

Commission of Inquiry into Labour Legislation of 1979

Mandate: To inquire into, report on and make recommendations in connection with the following matters:

  1. Industrial Conciliation Act, 1956
  2. Bantu Labour Relations Regulation Act, 1953
  3. Wage Act, 1957
  4. Factories, Machinery and Building Work Act, 1941
  5. Shops and Offices Act, 1964
  6. Apprenticeship Act, 1944
  7. Training of Artisans Act, 1951
  8. Bantu Building Workers Act, 1951
  9. Electrical Wiremen and Contractors’ Act, 1939
  10. Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1941
  11. Unemployment Insurance Act, 1966
  12. Registration for Employment Act, 1945

The mandate was extended to include:

  1. Mines and Works Act, 1956 or any other act administered by the Department of Mines. Date of Report: 1979/1990,

The report was made in six parts (see separate references below)

  • Chair: WIEHAHN, N.E.
  • Ref: Part 1: RP 47-79 (E&A)
  • Part 2: RP 38-80 (E&A)
  • Parts 3 & 4: RP 82-80 (E), RP 87-80 (A)
  • Part 5: RP 27-81(E&A)
  • Part 6: RP 28-81 (E&A).

Commission of Inquiry, 1979, into the Riots at Soweto and Elsewhere from 16 June 1976 to 28 February 1977

Mandate: To inquire into and report on the riots at Soweto and other places in the Republic during June 1976, and their causes. Date of Report: 1979, Chair: CILLI- P.M. Ref: RP 55/1980 (E), RP 106/1979 (A)

Republic of Bophuthatswana

Constitution Further Amendment Act No 21 of 1979

Provided for the detention of individuals ‘in the interests of national security or public safety’ (s 12(g)). Commenced: 9 March 1979.

Internal Security Act No 32 of 1979

Empowered Government to declare an organisation unlawful and to control the distribution of publications. Meetings of more than twenty persons were declared unlawful unless authorised by the magistrate. This Act repealed the whole of the 1950 Internal Security Act [SA] and related Acts, with the exception of the 1960 Unlawful Organisations Act which declared that any organisation which threatened public safety was unlawful. Included in this category were the ANC and the PAC (SRR 1979: 312). Commenced: 27 April 1979 Sections 27-9 inclusive repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995 [SA]

State Land Disposal Act No 23 of 1979

Set out mechanisms for the disposal of state land. Commenced: 8 June 1979.

Police Act No 16 of 1979

Granted the police further powers with regard to search and seizure. Commenced: 3 August 1979

Republic of Venda Constitution Act No 9 of 1979

Provided for a Venda Constitution. Commenced: 13 September 1979

Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act No 94 of 1979

Permitted certain Blacks, excluded under the 1953 Act, to join unions. However, the exclusion of migrant workers and frontier commuters remained in force until it was lifted in the Government Gazette No 6679 of 28 September 1979 (SRR 1979: 285). This Act prohibited the existence of mixed trade unions (SRR 1979: 281) and repealed s 77 of the 1956 Act (see above) regarding job reservation (SRR 1979: 282). Commenced: 1 October 1979. Repealed by the Labour Relations Act No 66 of 1995.

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