10 May 1963
When the apartheid government introduced the General Law Amendment Act, the South African Security Police, or Special Branch, were given the authority to arrest anyone they suspected of involvement in an act against the State, and to hold them incommunicado for 90 days at a time. This act, usually referred to as the 90-Day Act (later 180-Day Act), was passed to give the Special Branch the authority to interrogate and extract information from subjects. When detained under this act, the public was not entitled to any information, even the identity or whereabouts of detainees. Detainees were often held in solitary confinement, without access to lawyers or family. The statute said nothing about the conditions under which detainees were to be held, and as a result detention conditions permitted wide scale abuse. If no charges were to be laid, the Special Branch had to release the individual or individuals after 90 days. At the time, Vorster boasted that this was protocol would be repeated "until this side of eternity." Some sources say that the first detainees were held under the 90-day law on the 10 May 1963; other sources say that it was on 1 May 1963. Nevertheless, between May 1963 and January 1965, approximately 1095 people were detained under the 90-day law. Of these 575 were charged and only 272 were convicted.    References: "This day in History, 10 May" [online] Available at: news24.com [Accessed 4 May 2009] South African Democracy Education Trust (2004). The Road to Democracy in South Africa: 1960-1970. Zebra publishers. pg. 357. Vassen, R. (date unknown). Detentions without Trial during the Apartheid Era [online] Available at: overcomingapartheid.msu.edu [Accessed 4 May 2009]