The last sitting of an all-white Parliament

National Assemble Cape Town

Friday, 13 July 1984

South Africa was recognised as a republic and pursued a political course in which Blacks, Coloureds and Indians were denied the right to parliamentary representation. White political domination was maintained through the election of national office holders and by the extension of an all-white parliament.

By 1964, limited political rights had been extended to Coloureds and Indians. However, Blacks were only granted political rights within their so-called self-governing territories, and had no political representation in the parliament of the Republic.

Intense debate over legislative issues in the 1980s led to the adoption of a new constitution for the Republic of South Africa, in which provision was made for increased Coloured and Indian parliamentary representation.

This system of representation became known as the Tricameral Parliament, which introduced three separate houses of representation for Whites, Coloureds and Indians in 1983 (Blacks were still limited to representation in self-governing territories).

The last sitting of an all-white parliament was therefore held on 13 July 1984, with the Tricameral Parliament coming into effect on 22 September 1984, under the South African constitution of 1983.

• B.J. Vorster: Selected Speeches. Opening speech at Legislative Assembly at the self-governing territory of Kavango, 8 November 1973 [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 July 2009]
• Kalley, J.A.; Schoeman, E. & Andor, L.E. (eds) (1999). Southern African Political History: a chronology of key political events from independence to mid-1997, Westport: Greenwood).
• Election Resources, (2009), 'The Republic of South Africa Electoral System: Background', from Electionresources, April 29 [online], Available at: [Accessed 6 July 2009]

Last updated : 13-Jul-2016

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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