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South African Apartheit

 





SOUTH AFRICAN APARTHEIT





Apartheid was a system of racial segregation enforced through legislation by the National Party governments of South Africa between 1948 and 1994, under which the rights of the majority non-white inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained. Apartheid was developed after World War II by the Afrikaner-dominated National Party and Broederbond organizations and was practiced also in South West Africa, which was administered by South Africa under a League of Nations mandate (revoked in 1966), until it gained independence as Namibia in 1990.

 
Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times under Dutch and British rule. However, apartheid as an official policy was introduced following the general election of 1948. New legislation classified inhabitants into four racial groups ("native", "white", "coloured", and "Asian") and residential areas were segregated, sometimes by means of forced removals. Non-white political representation was completely abolished in 1970, and starting in that year black people were deprived of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of one of ten tribally based self-governing homelands called bantustans, four of which became nominally independent states. The government segregated education, medical care, beaches, and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of white people.


Apartheid sparked significant internal resistance and violence as well as a long arms and trade embargo against South Africa.Since the 1950s, a series of popular uprisings and protests were met with the banning of opposition and imprisoning of anti-apartheid leaders. As unrest spread and became more violent, state organisations responded with increasing repression and state-sponsored violence.


 
Reforms to apartheid in the 1980s failed to quell the mounting opposition, and in 1990 President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid, culminating in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, which were won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela. The vestiges of apartheid still shape South African politics and society.







Under the 1806 Cape Articles of Capitulation the new British colonial rulers were required to respect the previous legislation enacted under Roman-Dutch law and this led to a separation of the law in South Africa from English Common Law and a high degree of legislative autonomy. The governors and assemblies that governed the legal process in the various colonies of South Africa were then launched on a different and independent legislative path from the rest of the British Empire. In the days of slavery, slaves in general required passes to travel away from their masters.


However, in 1797 the Landdrost and Heemraden of Swellendam and Graaff-Reinett the Dutch colonial governing authority extended pass laws beyond slaves and ordained that all Hottentots moving about the country for any purpose should carry passes.This was confirmed by the British Colonial government in 1809 by the Hottentot Proclamation which decreed that if a Hottentot and Khoikhoi were to move they would need a pass from their master or a local official. Ordinance No. 49 of 1828 decreed that prospective black immigrants were to be granted passes for the sole purpose of seeking work.The Hottentot Proclamation was repealed by Ordnance 50 in 1828 for Coloreds and Khoikhoi but not for other Africans and other Africans were still forced to carry passes.


The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 ,3 & 4 Will. IV c. 73  was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire and overrode the Cape Articles of Capitulation. To comply with the Slavery Abolition Act the South African legislation was expanded to include Ordinance 1 in 1835 which effectively changed the status of slaves to indentured labourers. This was followed by Ordinance 3 in 1848 which introduced an indenture system for Xhosa that was little different from slavery. The various South African colonies then passed legislation throughout the rest of the nineteenth century to limit the freedom of unskilled workers, to increase the restrictions on indentured workers and to regulate the relations between the races.






The Franchise and Ballot Act of 1892 instituted limits based on financial means and education to the black franchise, and the Natal Legislative Assembly Bill of 1894 deprived Indians of the right to vote. In 1905 the General Pass Regulations Bill denied blacks the vote altogether, limited them to fixed areas and inaugurated the infamous Pass System.Then followed the Asiatic Registration Act (1906) requiring all Indians to register and carry passes.


In 1910 the Union of South Africa was created as a self-governing dominion that continued the legislative program: the South Africa Act (1910) that enfranchised whites, giving them complete political control over all other race groups and removing the right of blacks to sit in parliament, the Native Land Act (1913) which prevented all blacks, except those in the Cape, from buying land outside reserves, the Natives in Urban Areas Bill (1918) designed to force blacks into locations, the Urban Areas Act (1923) which introduced residential segregation and provided cheap labour for industry led by white people, the Colour Bar Act (1926), preventing anyone black from practising skilled trades, the Native Administration Act (1927) that made the British Crown, rather than paramount chiefs.

 
The supreme head over all African affairs, the Native Land and Trust Act (1936) that complemented the 1913 Native Land Act and, in the same year, the Representation of Natives Act, which removed previous black voters from the Cape voters' roll and allowed them to elect three whites to represent them in Parliament. One of the first pieces of segregating legislation enacted by the Jan Smuts' United Party government was the Asiatic Land Tenure Bill (1946), which banned any further land sales to Indians.

 
For example, before the laws mine owners preferred hiring black workers because they were cheaper. Because the market forces direct against discrimination, the whites had to persuade the government to enact laws that highly restricted the black' rights to work, in order to get higher wages than their comparative performance would otherwise yield.Jan Smuts' United Party government began to move away from the rigid enforcement of segregationist laws during World War II.Amid fears integration would eventually lead the nation to racial assimilation, the legislature established the Sauer Commission to investigate the effects of the United Party's policies. The commission concluded integration would bring about a "loss of personality" for all racial groups.
 





National Party leaders argued that South Africa did not comprise a single nation, but was made up of four distinct racial groups: white, black, coloured, and Indian. These groups were split further into thirteen nations or racial federations. White people encompassed the English and Afrikaans language groups; the black populace was divided into ten such groups.

The state passed laws which paved the way for  grand apartheid, which was centred on separating races on a large scale, by compelling people to live in separate places defined by race This strategy was in part adopted from left-over  British rule that separated different racial groups after they took control of the Boer republics in the Anglo-Boer war. This created the so called black only "townships" or  locations  where blacks were relocated in their own towns. In addition, petty apartheid laws were passed. The principal apartheid laws were as follows.

The first grand apartheid law was the Population Registration Act of 1950, which formalised racial classification and introduced an identity card for all persons over the age of eighteen, specifying their racial group. Official teams or Boards were established to come to an ultimate conclusion on those people whose race was unclear.This caused difficulty, especially for coloured people, separating their families as members were allocated different races.

The second pillar of grand apartheid was the Group Areas Act of 1950. Until then, most settlements had people of different races living side by side. This Act put an end to diverse areas and determined where one lived according to race. Each race was allotted its own area, which was used in later years as a basis of forced removal. Further legislation  which in 1951 allowed the government to demolish black shackland slums and forced white employers to pay for the construction of housing for those black workers who were permitted to reside in cities otherwise reserved for white people.

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between persons of different races, and the Immorality Act of 1950 made sexual relations with a person of a different race a criminal offence.

Under the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race, creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Signboards such as whites only applied to public areas, even including park benches. Black people were provided with services greatly inferior to those of whites, and, to a lesser extent, to those of Indian and coloured people.

Further laws had the aim of suppressing resistance, especially armed resistance, to apartheid. The Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 not only banned the South African Communist Party and any other party subscribing to Communism, but defined Communism and its aims so sweepingly that it had the effect of legally gagging any opposition to government policy, especially to apartheid. Disorderly gatherings were banned, as were certain organisations that were deemed threatening to the government.





Education was segregated by means of the 1953 Bantu Education Act, which crafted a separate system of education for African students and was designed to prepare black people for lives as a labouring class. In 1959 separate universities were created for black, coloured and Indian people. Existing universities were not permitted to enroll new black students. The Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 required the use of Afrikaans and English on an equal basis in high schools outside the homelands.

The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 created separate government structures for black and white citizens and was the first piece of legislation established to support the government's plan of separate development in the Bantustans. The Promotion of Black Self-Government Act of 1959 entrenched the National Party's policy of nominally independent "homelands" for black people. So-called "self–governing Bantu units" were proposed, which would have devolved administrative powers, with the promise later of autonomy and self-government. It also abolished the seats of white representatives of Africans and removed the few blacks still qualified to vote from the rolls altogether.


The Bantu Investment Corporation Act of 1959 set up a mechanism to transfer capital to the homelands in order to create employment there. Legislation of 1967 allowed the government to stop industrial development in "white" cities and redirect such development to the "homelands". The Black Homeland Citizenship Act of 1970 marked a new phase in the Bantustan strategy. It changed the status of black people living in South Africa so that they were no longer citizens of South Africa, but became citizens of one of the ten autonomous territories. The aim was to ensure a demographic majority of white people within South Africa by having all ten Bantustans achieve full independence.

Interracial contact in sport was frowned upon, but there were no segregatory sports laws.
The government tightened existing pass laws, compelling black South Africans to carry identity documents to prevent the migration of blacks to South Africa. Any black residents of cities had to be in employment. Up until 1956 women were for the most part excluded from these pass requirements as attempts to introduce pass laws for women were met with fierce resistance.






The population was classified into four groups: Black, White, Indian, and Coloured. These terms are capitalised to denote their legal definitions in South African law. The Coloured group included people regarded as being of mixed descent, including people of Bantu, Khoisan, European and Malay ancestry. Many were descended from people brought to South Africa from other parts of the world, such as India, Madagascar, China and the Philippines, as slaves and indentured workers.

The Apartheid bureaucracy devised complex and often arbitrary criteria at the time that the Population Registration Act was implemented to determine who was Coloured. Minor officials would administer tests to determine if someone should be categorised either Coloured or Black, or if another person should be categorised either Coloured or White. Different members of the same family found themselves in different race groups. Further tests determined membership of the various sub-racial groups of the Coloureds. Many of those who formerly belonged to this racial group are opposed to the continuing use of the term ,coloured  in the post-apartheid era, though the term no longer signifies any legal meaning. The expressions so called Coloured , Afrikaans sogenaamde Kleurlinge and 'brown people bruinmense acquired a wide usage in the 1980s.

Discriminated against by apartheid, Coloureds were as a matter of state policy forced to live in separate townships in some cases leaving homes their families had occupied for generations and received an inferior education, though better than that provided to Black South Africans. They played an important role in the anti-apartheid movement: for example the African Political Organization established in 1902 had an exclusively coloured membership.

Voting rights were denied to Coloureds in the same way that they were denied to blacks from 1950 to 1983. However, in 1977 the NP caucus approved proposals to bring Coloureds and Indians into central government. In 1982, final constitutional proposals produced a referendum among white voters, and the Tricameral Parliament was approved. The Constitution was reformed the following year to allow the Coloured and Asian minorities participation in separate Houses in a Tricameral Parliament, and Botha became the first Executive State President.

The idea was that the Coloured minority could be granted voting rights, but the Black majority were to become citizens of independent homelands. These separate arrangements continued until the abolition of apartheid. The Tricameral reforms led to the formation of the anti-apartheid UDF as a vehicle to try to prevent the co-option of Coloureds and Indians into an alliance with white South Africans. The subsequent battles between the UDF and the NP government from 1983 to 1989 were to become the most intense period of struggle between left wing and right-wing South Africans.




Early in 1989, Botha suffered a stroke he was prevailed upon to resign in February 1989. He was succeeded as president later that year by F.W. de Klerk. Despite his initial reputation as a conservative, De Klerk moved decisively towards negotiations to end the political stalemate in the country. In his opening address to parliament on 2 February 1990, De Klerk announced that he would repeal discriminatory laws and lift the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid groups such as the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the United Democratic Front.
 
The Land Act was brought to an end. De Klerk also made his first public commitment to release jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, to return to press freedom and to suspend the death penalty. Media restrictions were lifted and political prisoners not guilty of common-law crimes were released.

On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after more than 27 years in prison.
Having been instructed by the UN Security Council to end its long-standing involvement in South-West Africa / Namibia, and in the face of military stalemate in Southern Angola, and an escalation in the size and cost of the combat with the Cubans, the Angolans, and SWAPO forces and the growing cost of the border war, South Africa negotiated a change of control of this territory; Namibia officially became an independent state on 21 March 1990.

Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1993, culminating in elections in 1994, the first in South Africa with universal suffrage.
From 1990 to 1996 the legal apparatus of apartheid was abolished. In 1990 negotiations were earnestly begun, with two meetings between the government and the ANC. The purpose of the negotiations was to pave the way for talks towards a peaceful transition of power. These meetings were successful in laying down the preconditions for negotiations despite the considerable tensions still abounding within the country.

At the first meeting, the NP and ANC discussed the conditions for negotiations to begin. The meeting was held at Groote Schuur, the President's official residence. They released the Groote Schuur Minute which said that before negotiations commenced political prisoners would be freed and all exiles allowed to return.
There were fears that the change of power in South Africa would be violent. To avoid this, it was essential that a peaceful resolution between all parties be reached. In December 1991, the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began negotiations on the formation of a multiracial transitional government and a new constitution extending political rights to all groups. CODESA adopted a Declaration of Intent and committed itself to an undivided South Africa.

Reforms and negotiations to end apartheid led to a backlash among the right-wing white opposition, leading to the Conservative Party winning a number of by
elections against NP candidates. De Klerk responded by calling a whites only referendum in March 1992 to decide whether negotiations should continue. A 68
percent majority of white voters gave its support, and the victory instilled in De Klerk and the government a lot more confidence, giving the NP a stronger position in negotiations.

Thus, when negotiations resumed in May 1992, under the tag of CODESA II, stronger demands were made. The ANC and the government could not reach a compromise on how power should be shared during the transition to democracy. The NP wanted to retain a strong position in a transitional government, as well as the power to change decisions made by parliament.

Persistent violence added to the tension during the negotiations. This was due mostly to the intense rivalry between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the ANC and the eruption of some traditional tribal and local rivalries between the Zulu and Xhosa historical tribal affinities, especially in the Southern Natal provinces. Although Mandela and Buthelezi met to settle their differences, they could not stem the violence. One of the worst cases of ANC-IFP violence was the Boipatong massacre of 17 June 1992, when 200 IFP militants attacked the Gauteng township of Boipatong, killing 45. Witnesses said that the men had arrived in police vehicles, supporting claims that elements within the police and army contributed to the ongoing violence. Subsequent judicial inquiries found the evidence of the witnesses to be unreliable or discredited, and that there was no evidence of National Party or police involvement in the massacre.


When De Klerk tried to visit the scene of the incident, he was initially warmly welcomed in the area. But he was suddenly confronted by a crowd of protesters brandishing stones and placards. The motorcade sped from the scene as police tried to hold back the crowd. Shots were fired by the police, and the PAC stated that three of its supporters had been gunned down.Nonetheless, the Boipatong massacre offered the ANC a pretext to engage in brinkmanship. Mandela argued that de Klerk, as head of state, was responsible for bringing an end to the bloodshed. He also accused the South African police of inciting the ANC ,IFP violence. This formed the basis for ANC's withdrawal from the negotiations, and the CODESA forum broke down completely at this stage.






The Bisho massacre on 7 September 1992 brought matters to a head. The Ciskei Defence Force killed 29 people and injured 200 when they opened fire on ANC marchers demanding the reincorporation of the Ciskei homeland into South Africa. In the aftermath, Mandela and De Klerk agreed to meet to find ways to end the spiralling violence. This led to a resumption of negotiations.

Right-wing violence also added to the hostilities of this period. The assassination of Chris Hani on 10 April 1993 threatened to plunge the country into chaos. Hani, the popular general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), was assassinated in 1993 in Dawn Park in Johannesburg by Janusz Waluś, an anti-communist Polish refugee who had close links to the white nationalist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB). Hani enjoyed widespread support beyond his constituency in the SACP and ANC and had been recognised as a potential successor to Mandela; his death brought forth protests throughout the country and across the international community, but ultimately proved a turning point, after which the main parties pushed for a settlement with increased determination.

On 25 June 1993, the AWB used an armoured vehicle to crash through the doors of the Kempton Park World Trade Centre where talks were still going ahead under the Negotiating Council, though this did not derail the process.

In addition to the continuing "black-on-black" violence, there were a number of attacks on white civilians by the PAC's military wing, the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA). The PAC was hoping to strengthen their standing by attracting the support of the angry, impatient youth. In the St James Church massacre on 25 July 1993, members of the APLA opened fire in a church in Cape Town, killing 11 members of the congregation and wounding 58.
In 1993, de Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.

Violence persisted right up to the 1994 elections. Lucas Mangope, leader of the Bophuthatswana homeland, declared that it would not take part in the elections. It had been decided that, once the temporary constitution had come into effect, the homelands would be incorporated into South Africa, but Mangope did not want this to happen. There were strong protests against his decision, leading to a coup d'état in Bophuthatswana on 10 March which deposed Mangope, despite the intervention of white right-wingers hoping to maintain him in power. Three AWB militants were killed during this intervention, and harrowing images were shown on national television and in newspapers across the world.

Two days before the elections, a car bomb exploded in Johannesburg, killing nine.The day before the elections, another one went off, injuring thirteen. Finally, though, at midnight on 26–27 April 1994, the old flag was lowered, and the old now co-official national anthem Die Stem The Call  was sung, followed by the raising of the new rainbow flag and singing of the other co-official anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika ("God Bless Africa").


The election was held on 27 April 1994 and went off peacefully throughout the country as 20,000,000 South Africans cast their votes. There was some difficulty in organising the voting in rural areas, but, throughout the country, people waited patiently for many hours in order to vote amidst a palpable feeling of goodwill. An extra day was added to give everyone the chance. International observers agreed that the elections were free and fair. However, this view has been challenged. There were widespread irregularities, ignored by the international observers.


The European Union's report on the election compiled at the end of May 1994, but only published two years after the election, criticised the Independent Electoral Commission's lack of preparedness for the polls, the shortages of voting materials at many voting stations, and the absence of effective safeguards against fraud in the counting process. In particular, it expressed disquiet that "no international observers had been allowed to be present at the crucial stage of the count when party representatives negotiated over disputed ballots." This meant that both the electorate and the world were "simply left to guess at the way the final result was achieved.

The ANC won 62.65% of the vote, less than the 66.7% that would have allowed it to rewrite the constitution. In the new parliament, 252 of its 400 seats went to members of the African National Congress. The NP captured most of the white and coloured votes and became the official opposition party. As well as deciding the national government, the election decided the provincial governments, and the ANC won in seven of the nine provinces, with the NP winning in the Western Cape and the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal. On 10 May 1994, Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's president.

The Government of National Unity was established, its cabinet made up of twelve ANC representatives, six from the NP, and three from the IFP. Thabo Mbeki and Frederik Willem de Klerk were made deputy presidents.
The anniversary of the elections, 27 April, is celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa known as Freedom Day.



             
 









 








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