The Republic of South Africa has an area of 471 thousand square miles - more than five times the area of Britain. It is bordered on the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by Namibia (South-West Africa), Botswana, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and Mozambique; its territory encircles Lesotho and Swaziland.
Its most important physical features are the high plateau, the Veld. reaching a height of 4,000 metres in the Drakensberg Mountains in the east and falling gradually to the west coast, and the prevailing south-easterly winds blowing from the Indian Ocean. Rainfall brought by the rising of the moist winds over the Veld occurs throughout the summer months, but decreases further west until the arid conditions of the Kalahari and Namib deserts are reached.
Map Included in Hard copy version
The eastern regions, with their high rainfall, support a high density of population. The Western Cape is also an area of high density of population, having a Mediterranean-type climate with warm wet winters and hot dry summers.
Cape Town is the site of one of the few good natural harbours in the
The earliest inhabitants of southern Africa were the San (called by the later European settlers "Bushmen"); they were a stone age people, who lived a nomadic hunting life; they survive today only in the Kalahari Desert. The Khoikhoi (called by the later European settlers "Hottentots") were later arrivals; they too were a stone age people, but had reached the stage of livestock herding; they are now almost extinct. The Bantu (known to the later European settlers as "Kaffirs") arrived from western Africa about the time of the birth of Christ; they were a still more advanced people who cultivated the land and had developed iron tools and weapons; they drove the San and Khoikhoi from the more fertile areas.
Dutch settlement began in the 17th century, British settlement in the
19th century. And in the second half of the 19th century, the newly established
sugar plantation owners in Natal imported Indians as cheap labour; most
of these later migrated to the urban centres of Natal.
The state corporations are: Assets
South African Transport Services (SATS)
R10.2 th. mn.
Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM) R 9.0 th. mn.
South African Reserve Bank R 7.7 th. mn.
Iron and Steel Corporation (ISCOR) R 3.4 th. mn.
South African Post Office R 3.2 th. mn.
Landbank R 2.7 th. mn.
Industrial Development Corporation R 2.0 th. mn.
Suid Afrikaanse Steenkool,
Olie en Gaskorporie (SASOOL) R 1.2 th. mn.
Armaments Development and
Production Corporation (ARMSCOR) R 1.2 th. mn.
Safmarine R 0.6 th. mn.
Dorbyl R 0.4 th. mn.
Metkor R 0.1 th. mn.
Total: R41.7 th. mn.
The largest private conglomerates are:
% of top 138
Anglo-American Group R27.1 th. mn. 17.3%
South African Life Assurance (SANLAM) Group R19.3 th. mn. 12.3%
Barlow Rand Group R 6.7 th. mn. 4.3%
Volkskas Group R 5.5 th. mn. 3.5%
South African Mutual Group R 5.1 th. mn. 3.3%
Anglovaal Group R 2.8 th. mn. 1.8%
South African Breweries R 2.7 th. mn. 1.7%
Rembrandt Group R 1.6 th. mn. 1.0%
In the sphere of banking, five large banking groups controlled in 1981 assets of R38.5 thousand million, as follows:
% of banking assets
Barclays and Standard are controlled by British parent companies.
Foreign multinational companies play an important role in the South African economy. For example, 9 large British companies controlled in 1981 assets of R19.0 thousand million, totalling 12.1% of the assets of the top 138. There are 1,200 British-controlled companies operating in South Africa out of 2,500 foreign-controlled companies.
Foreign investment is of great, but secondary, importance, amounting to R30.0 thousand million in 1981.
A number of economic organisations represent the common interests of South African capitalists: the South African Chamber of Mines (COM) represents mining capital; the Association of Chambers of Commerce (ASSOCOM) represents the interests of "English" non-mining" capital; the South African Federated Chambers of Industry (FCI) is one of several organisations representing industrial capital; the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA) represents both state and private capital in the metal industries; the Afriaanse Handelinstituut (AHI) (Afrikaner Commercial Institute) represents the interests of Afrikaner capital; the South African Agricultural Union (SAAL) represents the interests of agricultural capital; the National African Federated Chambers of Commerce (NAFCOC) represents the interests of the small number of African capitalists; the South African Foundation is a general organisation of capitalists designed to "sell" South Africa abroad as a "stable" and prosperous site for foreign investment; the Urban Foundation is a general organisation of capital aimed at forming a black Irmiddle class" as a prop for the white-dominated capitalist system.
The other side to the picture of the South African economy as one of monopoly capitalism is presented by survivals of its colonial past in that the capital goods sector of industry is relatively small, while industry as late as 1976 contributed only a modest 18% to merchandise exports, and the products of primary industries accounted for 75% (gold exports accounting for 30%).
Further, 53% of imports consisted of machinery and equipment, illustrating
the dependence of industry upon imported capital goods.
The Dutch East India Company declined with the decline of the Dutch Empire, and announced its bankruptcy in 1794.
British Colonial Rule
In 1805 the British navy conquered southern Africa from the Dutch and estabished Cape Colony, centred upon Cape Town. English was made the official language, the British court system introduced, and forts were built along the frontier. The absolute power of the Governor was gradually extended, and in 1853 a House of Assembly was established on an elective basis, but with the franchise restricted on a property and income basis so as to exclude Africans.
However, the Boer farmers found British rule even less to their taste than that of the Dutch East India Company, and this feeling was accentuated when slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834, since the Boers relied on domestic slaves - either Khoikhoi, or imported West Indians and West Africans. Thus, thousands of Boers began in 1835 the "Great Trek" to the northern areas of southern Africa - Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State, which became "laager republics" (the "laager" was originally a defensive circle of wagons) designed to preserve the Afrikaner way of life free from British control.
In 1843 Britain annexed Natal to Cape Colony, and made it a separate Crown Colony in 1856. British determination to bring the remaining Boer Republics into the British Empire was strengthened by the discovery of diamonds on the border of the Orange Free State in 1867 and of gold in the Transvaal in 1885. In the Transvaal Republic in particular, the dominant Afrikaner agricultural capital "milked" mining revenue to provide subsidies for agriculture and treated the predominantly "English" mineowners and white workers as "uitlanders" (foreigners) without political rights.
The attempt to establish effective British rule over the remaining Boer republics led to the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, which ended by the Peace of Vereeniging in 1902; by this the Transvaal and Orange Free State became British colonies with the promise of self-government in the near future. The destruction of Boer independence and the death of over 20,000 Boer women and children in concentration camps during the war left a legacy of hatred of the "English" which played an important role in stimulating "Afrikaner nationalism" in the years to come.
The advent of mining led also to measures to make available a large supply of cheap African labour for work in the mines. Land laws drove African peasants from the soil; taxes compelled them to work for wages as migrant labourers under contract in strictly policed, exclusively male compounds; a system of Pass Laws was introduced to control the influx of African workers; Masters and Servants laws made breach of contract, by desertion or insubordination, a criminal offence and were interpreted by the courts to be applicable only to African workers; inter-company monopolistic organisations were set up to recruit African workers both inside and outside the colony. By the end of the century 200,000 African workers were employed in the mining industry, under the supervision of 23,000 white workers.
In 1910 the four southern African colonies were made
"provinces" of the Union of South Africa, with English and Dutch as joint
The new state was one of "parliamentary democracy" in which "democratic rights" were limited almost exclusively to white citizens - white males until 1928, when white women received the right to vote. It was built in imitation of the Westminster' system, with nominal separation of the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
South Africa then being part of the British Commonwealth, the Head of State was the British monarch, represented locally by a Governor-General appointed by the South African government.
The legislative branch consisted of, at the centre, a House of Assembly, directly elected by the restricted electorate, and a Senate, elected indirectly by an electoral chamber composed of the House of Assembly and the Provincial Councils. At the provincial level Provincial Councils, directly elected by the same restricted electorate, was responsible for such things as education, health, roads, etc. And local authorities, directly elected in the same way, were concerned with purely local affairs.
The executive branch at national level consisted of the Cabinet, appointed by the leader of the majority party in the House of Assembly, who himself became Prime Minister. At the provincial level, a Provincial Administrator appointed by the central government appointed an Executive Committee reflecting the balance of the parties in the Provincial Council.
The judicial branch consisted of judges and magistrates
appointed by the Governor-General.
1910 - 1920
The first government after union was that of the South African Party (SAP), formed in 1910 to represent the interests of non-mining (predominantly agricutural) capital. Its leader was Louis Botha, who became first Prime Minister. The parliamentary opposition consisted of the Unionist Party, which represented the interests of mining capital, and the Labour Party, formed by the trade unions and giving capital an electoral base among the white working class.
The Provincial Councils carried forward the old colonial laws relating to passes, breach of contract of employment, etc.
The programme of the SAP government was designed to assist in the financing of capitalist agriculture, and to make available to it cheap African labour. It "milked" the mining companies by high taxes on their profits in order to give huge subsidies to the agricultural sector, and established differential railway rates biased against minerals and in favour of agricultural produce. It supported a policy of free trade, which was no handicap to the export of subsidised agricultural produce and assisted agricultural capital in importing cheap foreign agricultural equipment, but which made it difficult for the infant South African industry to develop.
The 1911 Native Labour Registration Act made breach of contract by African workers a criminal offence, and the 1911 Mines and Works Act barred African labour from skilled work in the mines (against the opposition of the United Party, which wanted cheap African labour in the mines). A Land Bank was established in 1912 to assist in the financing of agriculture. The 1913 Land Act demarcated 8% of the area of the country as "native reserves", outside which Africans were prohibited from owning land, and was instrumental in converting the African peasantry into landless potential labourers. The 1913 Mines and Works Act prohibited strikes by contract workers.
Representatives of embryonic Afrikaner industrial capital broke away from the SAP in 1914 to form the National Party (NP) under the leadership of James Hertzog, who had been Minister of Justice under Botha. It stood for a programme of protection for local industry, based on the slogan "South Africa First". The new party was greatly influenced by the Afrikaner Broederbond (AB) (the Afrikaner Band of Brothers), a secret society formed in 1918 to promote the interests of the "Afrikaner nation".
When the First World War broke out in August 1914, the SAP government immediately entered the war on the side of Britain - a decision opposed by the National Party. During the war South African troops invaded and occupied the German colony of South-West Africa, and after the war this was granted to South Africa as a mandated territory under the League of Nations.
Meanwhile, in 1915 radical elements withdrew from the Labour Party, in opposition to that party's support for the war, and formed the International Socialist League which became in 1921 the Communist Party of South Africa.
In 1918 the job colour bar in the mining industry was reinforced by a Status Quo Agreement imposed on the reluctant mining companies, under which they agreed to maintain the existing ratio of African to white workers.
Botha died in 1919 and was succeeded as leader of the SAP and Prime Minister by Jan Smuts.
1920 - 1924
After the 1920 election the powerful mining sector of capital succeeded in pressing the ruling South African Party to accept the merging into it of the Unionist Party, thus bringing mining capital into a dominant position in the state apparatus. The mining companies were now assisted by a reduction of the taxes on mining profits and of rail rates. When, in 1922, the mining companies cancelled the Status Quo Agreement of 1918 in order to increase the quantity of cheaper black labour, this provoked a three-month strike by the (white) Mine Workers' Union, which the government crushed savagely with the loss of 250 lives. In 1923 the Chamber of Mines (COM), established in 1887 to coordinate the mining companies, challenged the job colour bar in the courts, which declared the 1911 Mines and Works Act invalid. In 1924 mining profits reached their highest level since Union.
1924 - 1933
The transformation of the ruling South African Party into predominantly the instrument of the interests of mining capital was accompanied by the transformation of the opposition National Party into the principal instrument of agricultural capital. Furthermore, the bloody suppresssion of the 1922 Rand strike alienated large sections of the white working class from the SAP government. In 1924 the National Party formed a coalition (the "Pact") with the Labour Party, and in the election of that year the Pact coalition was returned to office with Hertzog, leader of the NP, as Prime Minister. It represented the interests of agricultural capital and of embryonic Afrikaner industrial capital.
The "Pact" government reactivated the basic programme of the 1910-1920 SAP government, "milking" the mining industry in order to provide high subsidies to agriculture. Also, to assist agricultural capital by protecting it from the competition of cheap imported food, and to assist the still undeveloped South African industry by protecting it from the competition of imported manufactures, it introduced tariffs on imports by the 1925 Customs Tariff Act.
With the aim of transforming the white trade unions into instruments serving the interests of capital, the 1924 Industrial Conciliation Act provided for the registration of trade unions and set up Industrial Councils to arbitrate disputes between capital and labour (excluding "pass-bearing natives"); this effectively transformed the white trade unions into bureaucracies of professional negotiators, who were able to use the Industrial Councils to exclude African workers from skilled jobs. In 1925 a federation of registered trade unions was formed on the initiative of the Department of Labour, becoming in 1931 the South African Trades and Labour Council (SATLC). Then, by the 1925 Wages Act, registered trade unions were prohibited from striking.
In order to assist agricultural capital to have a large quantity of cheap African labour available, as well as to maintain the support of the white working class, the Pact government introduced a series of measures based on what was known as the "civilised labour policy" and designed to restrict skilled work (outside agriculture) to white workers. The Apprenticeship Act which came into force in 1925 laid down minimum educational requirements for apprentices which effectively barred Africans; the 1925 Customs Tariff Act made protection of industry conditional upon the employment of "a reasonable proportion of civilised workers"; the 1926 Mines and Works Amendment Act entrenched the job colour bar against the successful challenge to its legality; the 1927 Native Administration Act empowered the Governor-General to order any African or group of Africans to move from one place to another or to remain in one place for a specified time; and the 1927 Immorality Act prohibited sexual intercourse between whites and Africans.
In pursuance of the "South Africa First" slogans of the National Party, the Pact government replaced Dutch by Afrikaans as the second official language of the country, and established South Africa's own flag and national anthem alongside those of Britain. Pressure from the South African government was an important factor in the adoption by the British government in 1931 of the Statute of Westminster, which recognised South Africa as a sovereign state.
However, when the Hertzog government endeavoured to assert South Africa's sovereignty by refusing to follow Britain off the gold standard in 1931, this added to the depression in the capitalist world to damage the interests of agricultural capital, which was unable to compete with the produce of countries which had devalued. In the name of "national unity" to deal with the economic crisis, the National Party was forced by agricultural capital to bring the South African Party into a coalition government. The Labour Party then went into opposition.
In 1933 this coalition won an overwhelming victory at the election in this year, and Hertzog continued as Prime Minister. A section of the National Party, led by Daniel Malan and representing the specific interests of embryonic Afrikaner capital, regarded the coalition as a betrayal of their interests, and broke away to form the Purified National Party, which gained only 27 seats in the 1933 election to 134 for the coalition..
In 1934 the South African and National Parties merged into the United Party (UP).
The UP government, known as the "Fusion Governmment", continued the basis policies of the "Pact" government. The 1936 Native Representation Act removed Africans from the common electoral roll in Cape Province, giving them in place the right to vote for three white MPs who would "represent their interests"; it also set up a partly elected Natives Representative Council to advise the government on the affairs of the African community. The 1936 Native Trust and Lands Act increased the area of the "native reserves" to 13% of the total land area The 1937 Native Law Amendment Act gave power to local authorities to allow ~he entry of Africans only if work was available, and to return them to the "native reserves" if this ceased to be available. The 1937 Agricultural Marketing Act established a comprehensive system of Agricultural Marketing Boards to market agricultural produce at high prices.
The United Party was returned at the 1939 election with a slightly reduced majority.
On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Hertzog's motion that South Africa should be neutral was defeated in Parliament in favour of Smuts's motion that South Africa should enter the war on the side of Britain. Hertzog resigned, being succeeded as Prime Minister by Smuts, and with some of his supporters left the United Party to join Malan's Purified Nationalist Party, which then took the name of the Reunified National Party.
For the duration of the.war, the Labour Party and the newly-formed Dominion Party (representing the interests of Natal sugar plantation-owners) entered into coalition with the UP.
The Afrikaner Broederbond had in 1939 launched a fascist para-military organisation - the Ossewabrandwag (the Ox-Wagon Fire Guard) - whose membership had risen by 1940 to 400,000 members. Openly pro-Nazi, its military wing - the Stormjaers (Storm Troopers) - committed acts of sabotage and supplied Germany with intelligence information. One of its leading members, Balthazar Vorster, was convicted of espionage in 1941 and sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment.
The Second World War was a period of massive expansion
of industry, predominantly "English" owned, in South Africa; its output
grew by 141% in 1940-46. By 1943 its contribution to GNP surpassed mining
for the first time (it had overtaken agriculture in 1930). Its labour needs
produced a great increase in the size of the African working class -
In 1936 51% of Africans were classified as peasants, but by 1946 this had fallen to 17%. Furthermore, these needs forced a relaxation of job reservation practices - Africans entering semi-skilled and even skilled job categories.
At the 1943 election the ruling coalition government increased its majority, gaining 89 seats to 43 for the Reunified National Party. On the conclusion of peace, the Dominion and Labour Parties withdrew from the government.
At this time, too, the government instituted measures against the Indian community. The 1943 Pegging Act prohibited the further acquisition of land in the Durban area by persons of Indian origin, and the 1946 Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act (known as the "Ghetto Act") demarcated areas in which persons of Indian origin were totally prohibited from owning land. The latter act also provided for Indian "representation" in the House of Assembly by 2 (white) MPs, one elected, one nominated, but this section of the Act was never brought into force.
Meanwhile the AB had been collaborating with the South African Life National Life Assurance Company (SANLAM), a leading Afrikaner financial institution, to form the Afrikaner Economic Movement, the aim of which was to mobilise the savings of Afrikaners to create a class of Afrikaner capitalists. In 1942, as part of this movement, the Afrikaner Commercial Institute was created by AB to bring together all Afrikaner-owned businesses.
It had also been successfully infiltrating the white trade union movement, drawing many Afrikaner trade unionists into "Christian trade unions" controlled by it and gaining great influence in others, including the (white) Mine Workers' Union. In 1947 three right-wing unions withdrew from the South African Trades and Labour Council, formed in 1931, and joined the "Christian trade unions" to form in the following year a new federation - the Coordinating Council of Trade Unions, consisting of 13 white unions with a membership of 18,000.
The great increase in the strength of the predominantly "English" industrial capital during the war was augmented still further in the immediate post-war years by the buying-up of many British companies operating in South Africa. The United Party government had now become primarily the instrument of this "English" industrial capital; its "free trade" policy now seriously hindered the development of the embryonic Afrikaner sector of industrial capital, while its policy of holding down the prices of agricultural produce in the interests of cheap food for the working class adversely affected the profitability of agricultural capital.
The Reunited National Party had now transformed itself to represent the interests of agricultural capital as well as of embryonic Afrikaner industrial capital. It prepared to enter the 1948 election on the basis of the support it had built up among the Afrikaner working class - playing on such things as the relaxation of the job colour bar during the war - and put forward a programme of systematised racial segregation known as "apartheid". In 1947 it reached an electoral agreement with the Afrikaner Party, a party with a similar programme formed prior to the 1939 election under the leadership of Nicolaas Havenga, and representing Arikaner agricultural capital in the Orange Free State. The Labour Party now entered into an electoral agreement with the United Party, and the Dominion Party renamed itself the South African Party.
At the 1948 election, the Reunited National Party/Afrikaner
Party alliance, although receiving a minority of votes, obtained a majority
of the seats in the House of Assembly (79, against 71 for the United/Labour
Party alliance) and the leader of the Reunited Nationalist Party, Daniel
Malan, became Prime Minister.
The fundamental aim of systematised apartheid was
to continue the colonial exploitation and domination of the African population
of South Africa in the interests of the almost exclusively white capitalist
class under the cloak of "separate development".
1) to classify all South Africans into four racial groups;
2) to exclude non-whites from all parliamentary representation;
3) to divide the country into "white" areas of the country (where Africans would have no political rights, and Coloureds and Indians extremely limited political rights) and "Bantu homelands" (where Africans would be able to exercise political rights);
4) to restrict the movement of Africans into "white" areas, making it dependent upon the needs of "white" capital;
5) to segregate the racial groups in all spheres of life so as to minimise contact (and so minimise knowledge of one other's widely differing conditions); and
6) to give to white workers a greatly privileged position, with the aim of making them a social prop for the system.
The 1960 Population Registration Act provided for the classification of all South Africans into one of four racial groups: whites, coloureds, Indians and Natives - the latter category being called later "Bantus" and later still "blacks". The classification was based on descent, appearance, general acceptance and repute.
The 1967 Population Registration Act made descent the determining criterion in classification, and provided for the further classification of Coloureds and Africans into sub-groups. Later in the year Africans were further subdivided into the following sub-groups, based on tribal divisions:
The 1950 Group Areas Act empowered the proclamation of "controlled areas", in each of which eventually only people of a designated racial group would be able to live and work without-special authority. Soon after the Act was passed, controls were imposed throughout the country - the main exceptions being the African reserves. By 1984 899 group areas had been proclaimed, embracing an area of almost a million hectares:
However, most compulsory removals were carried out
under other legislation. By 1975 there were 17 Acts under which such compulsory
removals could take place. Between 1960 and 1983 a total of 3.5 million
people had been compulsorily removed, and a further 1.8 million were under
threat of such removal.
By the 1952 Native Laws Amendment Act so-called "influx control" was applied to all urban areas, and extended to African women; and by the 1952 Natives (Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents) Act the various pass documents were combined into a single "reference book".
The notorious "Section 10" of the 1955 Natives (Urban Areas) Amendment Act laid down that Africans could legally remain in a "white" area if born there, if employed by a single employer there for at least 10 years or by more than one employer there for at least 15 years, or in possession of a work permit issued by a Labour Bureau; all others could remain no longer than 72 hours. The Act also empowered the removal of any African from a "white" area considered "surplus to requirements".
The 1957 Native Laws Amendment Act prohibited Africans from carrying on any trade or profession without a licence.
Failure to produce a pass on demand is a criminal
offence, punishable by a fine or imprisonment; the heaviest fine recorded
is R250 (E125), the longest prison sentence recorded 250 days. Between
1916 and 1981 17 million arrests of Africans under the pass laws were recorded,
and arrests between 1975 and 1984 totalled 1.9 million - an arrest on the
average every 2 minutes.
The 1951 Separate Registration of Voters Bill removed Coloured voters from the common electoral roll in operation in Cape Province, and placed them on a separate roll with the right to elect 4 (white) MPs to "represent their interests". However, the courts ruled this piece of legislation invalid on the grounds that, under the Constitution, it required a two-thirds majority of both Houses of Parliament sitting together. The 1952 High Court of Parliament Bill transformed Parliament into the "High Court of Parliament" with power to overturn decisions of the.Supreme Court relating to legislation, but this Bill too was declared invalid by the courts. The government than enlarged the Supreme Court and the Senate with supporters of the Nationalist Party, and the 1956 South Africa Amendment Act reinstated the 1951 Bill and was passed with the requisite two-thirds majority. Finally, the 1968 Separate Representation of Voters Act abolished Coloured representation in Parliament and set up a partly-elected Coloured Persons Representative Council (CRC) to advise the government on matters relating to the Coloured community.
Until 1957 National Party policy was that the whole
of the Indian community should be repatriated to India ' or Pakistan, and
until 1975 a free passage was available to anyone accepting repatriation;
however, there were very few takers - only 24 between 1965 and 1975. The
Indian community already had no representation in Parliament when the NP
came to office, and the 1968 South African Indian Council Act established
the wholly-nominated South African Indian Council (SAIC) to advise
the government on matters relating to the Indian community.
The 1951 Bantu Authorities Act appointed local "traditional chiefs" as the administrators of the old "native reserves", which embrace 13% of the area of South Africa, and the 1959 Promotion of Bantu Self-government Act officially transformed the reserves into 8 (later 10) "Bantu homelands", and envisaged their eventual "independence". These are: Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Gazankulu, KwaNgwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa, QwaQwa, Transkei and Venda - each being designated the "homeland" of one or other African tribal group.
The present population of the "Bantu homelands", almost exclusively African, totals 13 million - equivalent to 40% of the total population of South Africa, or 55% of the African population. During the period 1960-1979 3 million Africans were compulsorily removed from "white" areas to the "homelands", most of these being accommodated in "resettlement camps", in which today 4 million people live under appalling conditions.
The "homelands" are territorially fragmented and, although predominantly rural - only 5% of the population of the "homelands" is urban - the land is desperately overcrowded; for example, in Bophuthatswana in 1977 142,000 families were living on land that, under existing conditions, could support only 26,000. This has resulted in catastrophic soil erosion and low agricultural productivity: none of the "homelands" is self-supporting, either in food or public finance, for the first of which they are dependent on imports from "white" areas and for the second on subsidies from the South African government. In 1983 the South African government spent R 2,200 million (Pounds Sterling 100 million) in subsidies to the "homelands" - about 9% of total budget expenditure and equivalent to 70-75% of the budgets of the "homelands". Furthermore, in 1980 72% of the gross national income of the "homelands" came from the remittances of migrant workers.
Poverty in the "homelands" is endemic. Among peasant families 60% are unable to support themselves, and a further 23% are able to do so only in a "good year". Infant mortality in the "homelands" is 200-250 per thousand (compared with 14 per thousand for whites in South Africa proper). Annual expenditure on education per pupil in the "homelands" in 1983-4 was R 113 - R 246 (PS 57 - PS23), compared with R 1,564 (PS 827) for whites in South Africa proper. Old age pensions in the "homelands" in 1984-5 were R 40-49 (PS 24.50) per month, compared with R 166 (PS 83) per month for whites in South Africa proper. In 1981 81% of the population of the "homelands" was officially stated to be living below the poverty datum line: unemployment averages 27%, and 13% of the population is completely destitute - without any income at all.
In these circumstances the majority of the inhabitants
of the "homelands" are forced to seek work in the "white" areas, which
can only be legally done by permission of the state Labour Bureaux; such
permission is only given to the extent that work - on temporary contracts
of employment - is available. Most of such work is for men, and 83% of
the adult male population of the "homelands" are migrant workers, whose
wages form 72% of the gross national income of the "homelands". Such migrant
workers, with rare exceptions, are
prohibited from taking their families with them; consequently, 70% of the adult population of the "homelands" consists of women, living below the poverty line to bring up their children to furnish the next generation of migrant labour.
In an abortive attempt to create a sizable class of African capitalists in the "homelands" as a social prop for the white-dominated capitalist system, the South African government set up in 1959 the Bantu Investment Corporation (BIC). Initially this bought up a number of small white-owned businesses and then resold or rented them to African businessmen. In 1959-74 the BIC made loans totalling R 77 million (PS 8.5 million), but only 18% of these loans were made to African-owned businesses, while 56% went to white-owned businesses.
From 1965 to 1969 - when the South African government's Bantustan policy prohibited new "white" investment in the "homelands" - the bulk of the efforts of BIC were devoted to trying to persuade white capitalists to resite old, or erect new, factories on the borders of the "homelands", utilising African commuter labour from within the "homelands". The 1967 Physical Planning and Utilisation of Resources Act required capitalists wishing to extend an existing factory or erect a new one to obtain government approval, this being normally given in the case of labour-intensive operations only for such border enterprises. Although in 1982 almost a million Africans commuted daily from the "homelands" to work in "white" areas, despite concessions in taxation, etc., the border programme met with comparatively little success. In 1969, therefore, white capitalists were permitted to invest in the "homelands" as agents of the BIC, while African businessmen were not granted such agencies.
Despite the abysmal poverty of the mass of the people, the ruling chiefs live in luxury. In Venda, for example, where the average per capita income is R450 (PS225) a year, the Chief Minister receives a salary of R48,700 (PS24,350) a year plus a tax-free allowance. The chiefs, along with their relatives and friends, have utilised their limited control of the local state machine in the "homelands" to become landowning, commercial and industrial capitalists - even though this has been on a small scale. There is also in each "homeland" a prolific bureaucracy providing work for petty bourgeois supporters of the collaborationist chiefs; in Transkei, for example, there are 44,000 civil servants - one for every 59 people. All this has created a privileged stratum in the "homelands" dependent for their privileged status upon the maintenance of the white domination of South Africa.
There is thus almost universal contempt and hatred
in the "homelands" for these corrupt African collaborators with apartheid,
who retain their power by undemocratic constitutions (the "Legislative
Councils" in all the homelands have between 50% and 100% of their seats
filled with nominees). Only Gatsha Buthelezi, Chief
Minister of KwaZulu, has any significant mass base through the Inkatha
party he controls. Furthermore, the powers of these "governmentsit
are extremely limited; any of their decisions may be overuled by the South
African government; and although each "homeland" has its own armed forces,
which work closely with the corresponding South African forces, the "government"
of a "homeland" has no control over these armed forces, nor over the entry
of South African police, foreign affairs, the postal service, railways,
harbours, national roads, civil aviation, currency, customs and excise,
and the entry of aliens.
Behind the spurious propaganda about "African self-determination" in the "homelands", therefore, stands the sordid reality: the "homelands" are nothing but squalid, repressive rural slums which serve as dumping grounds for Africans who are at any given moment surplus to the requirements of "white" capital.
Marriage between whites and Africans had been illegal since the 17th century, and sexual intercourse between whites and African since 1927. The 1949 Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act prohibited marriage between whites and persons of any other race; the 1950 Immorality Amendment Act prohibited sexual relations between whites and persons of any other race; and the 1968 Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act provided that a marriage contracted abroad between a male South African and a woman of another race was invalid in South Africa. In the period 1950-1980 more than 11,500 persons were convicted under the "immorality" legislation.
Education was until 1970 compulsory only for white
children, and - apart from higher education - was in 1948 already
segregated in practice in that most African schooling and all black teacher
training was in the hands of the mission schools; a few private schools
were flopen", but their fees were beyond all but a handful of African parents.
The1953 Bantu Education Act removed the state education of
African children from Provincial control and placed it in the hands of
the Ministry for Native Affairs, pegging state expenditure on
education for Africans to the level of taxes received from Africans, and limiting the contribution from general state revenue to R13 million (E6.5 million). All state schools for Africans were required to follow a syllabus laid down by the government; the language of teaching in primary schools for African children was to be in the African tribal languages, with English and Afrikaans added in the senior schools. Introducing the Bill in the Senate,
Minister for Native Affairs Hendrik Verwoerd said:
The 1959 Extension of University Education Act established segregation in all universities and excluded non-whites from the previously "open" "English" universities of Cape Town and Witwatersrand. Separate university colleges were established for Coloureds,-Indians and Africans respectively.
The 1967 National Education Policy Act decreed that Afrikaner and "English" children should go to separate primary and secondary schools or, where numbers made this impractical, should be segregated in separate classes.
Until 1975 Africans could not own any freehold property outside the "homelands", while the leasing of houses was beyond the income of most Africans. The average annual rent for a typical "matchbox" house in Soweto in 1983 was R484 (E242), while the median wage for an African unskilled worker was only R351 (E175.50). In consequence, several million Africans live in makeshift accommodation as squatters, as in the African squatter camp at Crossroads, outside Cape Town. The 1951 Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act made squatting a criminal offence and provided that any structure occupied by a squatter could be demolished by court order without prior notice to the occupier.
The 1953 Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act excluded Africans from the term "employee", so that African workers could not remain members of registered trade unions, and the 1956 Industrial Conciliation Act prohibited the formation of new racially-mixed trade unions, recommending that existing racially-mixed unions should set up separate organisations, or at least 17 separate branches, for non-white members.
The 1968 Prohibition of Political Interference Act banned racially-mixed political parties, and prohibited a person from addressing a number of people belonging to a different race.
The 1953 Reservation of Separate Amenities Act
provided for separate buildings and services for different races, and barred
the courts from ruling that such segregation was invalid because the separate
facilities were unequal in quality, or not provided for all races. This
legislation was strictly enforced over the next two decades: racial segregation
was enforced in public transport - except for South African Airways and
the luxury Cape Town Johannesberg "Blue Train" and the Durban-Johannesberg
"Drakensberg Express"; in state hospitals; in ambulances; in cemeteries;
in bars, cafes, theatres, cinemas, and civic halls; in hotels - except
for 80 out of the 1,450 which were granted "international status"; in restaurants
- except for 8 given "international status"; in post offices; in police
stations; in libraries; in clubs; in sports fields, swimming pools, parks
and beaches. Segregation was also enforced upon visiting sports teams:
in 1961 Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd banned Maoris from being
included in visiting New Zealand rugby teams, and in 1968 Prime Minister
Balthazar Vorster banned the Coloured cricketer Basil d'Oliveira
from playing as a member of the MCC team due to tour South Africa.
There is no legal minimum wage in South Africa. A Select Committee of the British House of Commons reported in 1974 on the wages and conditions of African workers in South Africa; of 141 employing companies investigated, it found that 63 paid wages below subsistence level.
The 1953 Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act excluded African trade unions from the official bargaining system and prohibited strike action by African workers. As a result of such legislation there is no equal pay for equal work in operation in South Africa: in 1983 the wage of African workers was 56% of those of white workers performing the same tasks in unskilled wortk, and 60% in skilled-work.
The differentials between the incomes of white and non-white workers are greatly increased by the principle of "job reservation" - the reservation of skilled and supervisory work for white workers. Such reservations date in the mining industry from 1911. The 1951 Native Building Workers' Act imposed a statutory bar on African workers from the building industry, except in "native areas and the 1956 Industrial Conciliation Act set up an industrial tribunal with powers to impose such statutory colour bars in any sector of the economy except agriculture. In the two decades which followed, 28 job reservation orders were made, covering such industries as clothing, footwear, motor assembly, transport, meat wholesaling and road construction. As a result of job reservation - together with the lower standard of the educational system for Africans - while Africans formed in 1960 85% of farm workers and 68% of urban labourers, they occupied only 9% of administrative jobs and 6% of clerical jobs. Through these factors, in 1971 the wages of white workers in industry and construction averaged 6.0 times the level of the wages of African workers, while in mining the corresponding figure was 20.9. Even in 1984 the average annual earnings of white workers were R1,300 (E650), against R630 (015) for Indian workers, R440 (E220) for Coloured workers and R350 (E165) for African workers - the latter being 25% of the earnings of white workers.
In the field of state education, in 1985-6 18% of budget educational expenditure went on education for Africans, while in 1983-4 per capita expenditure for whites was R1,654 (R827), for Indians R1,088 (E544), for Coloureds R569 (E284.50) and for Africans in South Africa proper R234 (E117). 77% of teachers in schools for African children were unqualified, only 15% had a teaching diploma and only 2.4% were graduates. The pupil/teacher ratio was in 1984 19:1 for whites, 23:1 for Indians, 26:1 for Coloureds, and 41:1 for Africans. In addition, many African schools have "double sessions" (the same teacher taking two classes) or the "platoon system" (two classes in the same room).
In the field of housing, the state spent in 1983 an average of R28,000 (E14,000) on each low-income dwelling for whites, and an average of R2,000 (fl,000) for each low-income house for Africans. In 1985 42% of African dwellings were without electricity.
In the field of social services, domestic servants, agricultural workers, African mineworkers, contract workers and some seasonal workers - all spheres in which African workers predominate - are excluded from the state unemployment insurance scheme. Old age pensions in 1984 were R166 (E83) a month for whites, R103 (E51.50) for Indians and Coloureds, and R65 (02.50) for Africans. There is one doctor for every 330 whites, 730 Indians, 1,200 Coloureds and 12,000 Africans. The infant mortality rate in 1985 was 100 per thousand for Africans, compared with 14 per thousand for whites. In the same year life expectancy for whites was 72.3 years, for Africans 58.9 years.
In the field of sport, 72% of school sports facilities, 73% of all athletic tracks, 82% of all rugby fields and 83% of all swimming pools were reserved for whites. In 1984 the state spent R7-20 (E3.50-10) per head on sport for whites against RI (50p) for Africans.
The relatively privileged position of white workers was a feature designed to create a mass social stratum with a vested interest in the maintenance of apartheid - an aim which has not been without success.
Parliamentary Politics (1948-1969)
In 1951, as has been said, the small Afrikaner Party merged with the Reunified National Party to form the Nationalist Party.
The Nationalist Party increased its share of the vote at each election following 1948 - from 42% in 1948 to 58% in 1966 - and the number of its seats in the House of Assembly from 70 in 1948 to 126 in 1966. Already by 1953 it had an absolute majority of seats.
The new ruling party used its governmental power to stack the civil service and the state corporations with its Afrikaner supporters, and the finance available from the latter to develop Afrikaner capital.
When Daniel Malan retired in 1954,. he was succeeded as the leader of the NP and Prime Minister by Johannes Strydom. On Strydom's death in 1958, he was succeeded by the former Minister of Native Affairs Hendrik Verwoerd, who was assassinated in 1966 and succeeded in turn by former Minister of Police and Prisons Balthazar Vorster.
In 1957 "Die Stem van Suid Africa" replaced "God Save the Queen" as South Africa's national anthem, and the Union flag replaced the British flag. Then, faced with increasing opposition from black states within the Commonwealth, in 1960 the Verwoerd government held a referendum of the white electorate on the question of whether South Africa should become a republic: 52% declared in favour, 47% against. In 1961 the Republic of South Africa Act detached the country from the Commonwealth and converted it into a republic with a State President as Head of State. The first State President was former Minister of Justice Charles Swart, who was succeeded on his retirement in 1967 by former Minister of Agriculture Jacobus Fouche.
The opposition of the United Party to the policies of the ruling party was muted; it supported many of the aspects of apartheid, such as white domination and racial-segregation, together with the government's repressive measures against the left; indeed, it opposed the formation of the "Bantu homelands" mainly because it regarded them as "vulnerable to Communism". In consequence, the UP's share of the poll fell steadily from 49% in 1948 to 38% in 1966, and the number of its seats from 65 in 1948 to 39 in 1966.
The South African Party, formerly the Dominion Party, won no seats at the 1948 election and soon disappeared from the political scene. The South African Labour Party won 6 seats at the 1948 election, but when the number of its seats fell to nil in the 1958 election the United Party repudiated its electoral alliance with the SALP and this party too collapsed.
In 1954 the Liberal Party was formed under the leadership of Alan Paton and Margaret Ballinger, with the declared aim of. convincing the (white) electorate of the evil of apartheid. At first its programme of "democracy" included a limited African franchise limited by property and educational qualifications; but in 1959, under the pressure of its growing African membership, it came round to supporting the principle of universal franchise. The party was strongly anti-communist, and opposed to any form of violent or illegal methods of struggle. It won little electoral support and no seats in the House of Assembly. In 1968 it dissolved itself rather than transform itself into a single-race party, as demanded by the Prohibition of Political Interference Act.
In 1959 12 MPs led by Jan Steytler, broke away from the United Party in protest against the party's lukewarm opposition to apartheid and formed the Progressive Party. However,.the new party's programme of "democracy" remained, in deference to the racist sentiments prev4lent among the white electorate, a limited one, which aimed to include in the franchise only those with a property and educational qualification that would exclude most Africans; it also aimed to bring about the creation of an African capitalist class as a social prop to white domination. The party was largely financed by Harry Oppenheimer, Chairman of the Anglo-American Corporation. In elections between 1961 and 1966 it won only I seat - held by Helen Suzman.
4. THE REVOLUTIONARY PROCESS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Marxist-Leninists regard South Africa as a monopoly capitalist state with an internal colony composed of its non-white peoples. They see the solution for the problems of the masses of the people only in the establishment of a planned socialist society.
They regard the revolutionary process in South Africa as composed of two successive stages: that of national democratic revolution against the present white ruling class, and that of socialist revolution. The classes which have an interest in furthering the revolutionary process are not the same for each stage of the revolutionary process; for example, the national capitalist classes (the capitalist classes of the non-white peoples) have an interest in bringing about the national democratic stage - in fact, in leading it - but their interests are opposed to the bringing about of the socialist stage.
The aim of Marxist-Leninists, therefore, is to achieve the leadership of the national democratic revolution by the working class of the colonial peoples, led by an organised, disciplined Marxist-Leninist Party - a development which will cause the desertion of the national bourgeoisies from the revolutionary process - and then proceed uninterruptedly to the socialist revolution, establishing a state of the dictatorship of the working class which will proceed to construct a socialist society under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party.
The Trade Union Movement (to 1969)
The development of trade unionism among non-African workers to 1948 has been briefly touched upon in earlier sections. Unionism among African workers was slower to develop. The first significant union of African workers was the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union of Africa (ICU), formed in 1920. It grew rapidly to 100,000 members by 1925, but thereafter declined following a split on the question of the expulsion of comunists; by 1930 it had virtually ceased to exist.
The growth of unionism among black workers was hindered in the 1930s by the depression, but in 1941 many of these unions grouped together to form the Council of Non-European Trade Unions (CNETU), with 158,000 members in 119 affiliated unions.
In 1953 the Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act excluded Africans from membership of registered racially mixed unions, and prohibited unions for Africans only (of which there were then over 30) from being registered.
In 1954, in deference to this legislation, registered trade unions transformed the South African Trades and Labour Council into the Trade Union Council of South Africa, (TUCSA), the constitution of which prohibited political activity and proclaimed the aim of promoting the economy of South Africa. It had 43 affiliated unions (all of which excluded African workers from membership) and 350,000 members.
In 1055 a number of left-wing trade unions, who had withdrawn from TUCSA in protest at its decision to exclude unions with African members, established, together with a majority of the unions in CNETU, the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), discussed in a later section.
In 1956 a group of 12 unions with a membership of 60,000 split away from TUCSA to form the even more right-wing South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) which in 1957 was persuaded by the Department of Labour to merge with TUCSA and the Coordinating Council of Trade Unions to form the South African Confederation of Labour (SACLA). However, in 1958 TUCSA withdrew from SACLA on the grounds that it was too closely linked with the ruling Nationalist Party. SACLA now has 11 affiliated unions with 100,000 members (all white).
In 1959, (under strong pressure from the right-wing
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), which feared
that the "moderate" unions would lose ground among African workers) TUCSA
established a "parallel" federation of African unions - the Federation
of Free African Trade Unions of South Africa (FOFATUSA) - under its
control; however, it made little attempt to recruit African workers and
the membership of FOFTUSA remained derisory. By 1969 TUCSA had 68 affiliated
unions with 167,000 white, Coloured and Indian members, while the puppet
FOFATUSA had 11 parallel unions with a membership of 32,000 African members.
The African National Congress
Now the leading body in the national democratic revolutionary movement, the South African Native National Congress was formed in 1912, and renamed in 1923 the African National Congress (ANC). Its original aims were to to unite Africans of all tribes in order to eliminate racial discrimination and to secure civil rights for all the population by means of the non-violent tactics put forward by Mohandas Gandhi.
During the 1940s the ANC began to collaborate with the Communist Party, whose members became active in it, some being elected to leading positions, and with the South African Indian National Congress.
In 1943 the Congress Youth League (CYL) was formed within the ANC and became increasingly influential within it. The League held that white domination could be overthrown only by mass struggle. In 1949 the Youth League Programme of Action was adopted as the programme of the ANC, and it was implemented in 1952 in the Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws, which aimed to render the National Government's apartheid laws inoperable by mass nonviolent repression.
Although the campaign was eventually broken by strong state repression, it generated mass support for the ANC, whose membership rose in a few months from 7,000 to nearly 100,000, and began,organised joint action with other organisations, forming the Congress Alliance - composed of the ANC, the South African Indian Congress, the Coloured People's Congress (which later became inactive and disappeared), the Congress of Democrats and - after 1955 the South African Congress of Trade Unions.
In 1955 a Congress of the People with 3,000 delegates was organised and adopted the Freedom Charter, the main demands of which were: democracy; equal right for all national groups; equal pay for equal work; nationalisation of the banks and monopoly industry; and redistribution of land.
These developments brought about the emergence of a right-wing opposition - the so-called "Africanist" movement - within the ANC. This charged the leadership, headed by Chief Albert Luthuli, with having become "communist tools" who had "betrayed" the African people by cooperation with nonAfricans. This group left the ANC in 1959 to form the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) (discussed in a later section).
State action against the ANC increased: police broke up the 1955 Congress of the People on its second day and in 1956 156 leaders of the Congress Alliance were charged with treason on the basis of the Freedom Charter. Although the five-year trial ended with the acquittal of the defendants, it removed the top ANC leadership from daily political activity at a time of increasing mass struggle.
In 1960 the ANC was declared illegal under the Unlawful Organisations Act of that year.
The new underground position ended the ANC's strategy of non-violent action for which Luthuli was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960. A number of prominent Congress Alliance leaders were sent abroad to form an External Mission headed by by Oliver Tambo, and in 1961 ANC, in cooperation with the Communist Party, formed a military wing - the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK)(The Spear of the Nation) with Nelson Mandela as its Commander-in-Chief, and adopted armed struggle, combined with mass political struggle, as its basic strategy.
The early actions of MK consisted mainly of sabotage attracks on state institutions. The state responded with new repressive measures, and in 1963 police captured a number of the top leaders at their underground headquarters in Rivonia; Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki were sentenced to life imprisonment.
When MK had recovered from this blow, guerilla warfare began to be undertaken from bases in sympathetic neighbouring African states, accompanied by a revival of mass actions.
The Communist Party
The Communist Party of South Africa, as has been said, was formed in 1921. It claims to be a "Marxist-Leninist Party", but examination of its programme reveals it to be, in fact, a revisionist party - one which has deviated from the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism on significant points.
Its first programme characterised South Africa as an ordinary capitalist state, and its aim as to lead a socialist revolution; this led it to denounce national democratic revolutionary organisations as "bourgeois reformist". Furthermore, it saw the white working class as the vanguard of the revolution, and this error led it to play a leading role in the Rand strike of 1922, which was directed against moves to ease the job restrictions on African labour; its banner read, with apparent unawareness of its absurdity: "Workers of the World Unite! Fight for a "White South Africa!"
The Programme of the Communist International,
adopted in 1928, declared, however, that in colonial-type countries:
The 7th World Congress of the Communist International in 1935 had as its main theme "united front tactics", which in colonial-type countries had to be directed to the formation of such a united front which would include embryonic capitalists among the colonial people. The party therefore extended its concept of the united front for the national-democratic stage of the revolution to include non-white capitalists. But it also adopted the right-revisionist position adopted at the CI Congress that such a united front government could come to office through peaceful parliamentary means. After 1935 a number of CP candidates were elected to various municipal councils, and also to Parliament as "Native Representatives", while the growth of the African trade union movement during World War II stimulated the rapid growth of the CP. It was at this time that a number of trotskyist elements were expelled or broke with the CP to establish in 1943 the trotskyist Non-European Unity Movement (discussed in a later section).
The leadership by the CP of the 1946 strike of 100,000 African mineworkers marked an important step forward in the history of the party.
In 1950, however, the new Nationalist Party government banned the Communist Party by the Suppression of Communism Act. As a result of what the party's official history calls "legalistic illusions", it had taken no steps to establish an underground organisation for illegal work; indeed, the Central Executive Committee dissolved the party in June 1950, prior to the final passage of the Act.
In 1953 the party was reformed as the underground South African Communist Party (SACP) to combine illegal with legal work; in 1959 it began to publish a theoretical journal "The African Communist". Issues of this journal reveal that in the 1960s the SACP rejected maoism in favour of pro-Soviet revisionism - claiming that the revisionist Soviet Union and its associated states in Eastern Europe remained "socialist".
The party now concentrated on working within the various organisations of the Congress Alliance and, when the ANC itself was banned in 1960, collaborated with it in the formation of the military organisation Umkhonto we Sizwe.
In 1962 the party adopted a new programme,
which remains in force troday and which is somewhat closer to genuine Marxism-Leninism.
It characterises South African society as one of "internal colonialism",
a "combination of the worst features of imperialism and of colonialism
within a single frontier". It accepts the two successive stages of the
revolutionary process in South Africa, and the fact that the first stage
of this process can be accomplished only through armed struggle. It pledges
the party to work to win the leadership of the national democratic revolution
for the working class, in order that this may be transformed uninterruptedly
into the socialist revolution. The party's immediate aim is the successful
carrying out of the national democratic revolution, by which "an independent
state of national democracy" or "people's democracy" is to be
The formulations on the socialist revolution are very limited and vague, but "people's democracy" is presented as it more democratic" that western "parliamentary democracy", where it agrees with the revisionist Communist Parties there that the transition to socialism can be effected peacefully and constitutionally; there is, therefore no doubt that the SACP presents the transition to socialism as being brought about in South Africa through peaceful constitutional struggle within "People's Democracy". No mention is made of the inevitable resistance of the national capitalist class to the establishment of socialism.
Furthermore, the 6th Congress of the SACP, held in 1985, rejected the necessity of the national democratic revolution being led by the "Marxist Leninist Party" as a pre-requisite for the uninterrupted transformation into the socialist revolution; instead, it held that it was the "historic mission" of the broad, non-socialist ANC to leads the forces of national democratic revolution.
It is therefore clear that the South African Communist
Party is not a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party and so is incapable of fulfilling
the role of leading the revolutionary process in South Africa through to
a socialist society.
However, the passage of two laws - the 1943 Pegging Act and the 1946 Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act (the so-called "Ghetto Act") - brought about, as with the ANC, the passage of the leadership to more radical elements. This new leadership began to seek alliances with organisations representing Coloureds and Africans. In 1947 it signed a pact for joint action with the ANC.
The South African Congress of Trade Unions
The South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) was formed in 1955 by progressive unions opposed to the decision of the South African Trades and Labour Council to exclude unions with African members.
It affiliated to the World Congress of Trade Unions
and from the outset rejected the concept of "non-political" unionism and
participated actively in the Congress Alliance, taking part in all the
"stay-at-home" strikes called by the latter. By 1961 it had 46 affiliated
unions with a multi-racial membership of 53,000. Among its own most important
campaigns was that for a legal minimum wage for all workers-of R2 (PS l)
a day, although this was crushed by the state in 1962.
Although never formally proscribed, in 1963-64 more than 30 of its leaders were imprisoned, and a further 48 placed under banning orders which prevented them from functioning in the organisation. In 1964, therefore, it went underground and its leadership operated from abroad. At first its activities were largely devoted to publicising internationally the conditions of the South African working class; in 1964, for example, it succeeded in bringing about the withdrawal of the South African state nominee from the International Labour Organisation.
The Pan-Africanist Congress of South Africa (PAC) was formed in 1959 by "Africanist" elements who had broken away from ANC, claiming that it was controlled by "leftists" and non-Africans.
Its declared ultimate aim is to bring about "government of the Africans, by the Africans for the Africans". From the outset it waged a campaign of vilification against the ANC and the SACP, and expressed violent opposition to the Freedom Charter - denouncing in particular the clause that "Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white" as "a betrayal of the African people".
Its first and only congress was told that it had 31,000 members. It is clear that the bulk of its membership is drawn from African petty bourgeois and lumpen-proletarian elements. It was on the initiative of the PAC and the assistance of the right-wing ICFTU that the Federation of Free African Trade Unions of South Africa (FOFATUSA) (discussed in a previous section) was formed.
After rejecting an invitation from the ANC to participate in a joint campaign against the pass laws to commence on 30 March 1960, it began its own campaign on 21 March. Police opened fire on a demonstration organised by the PAC at Sharpeville, killing 69 people, after which the PAC was declared illegal under the 1960 Unlawful Organisations Act.
After its banning, the PAC embraced maoism and began to refer to itself as "The Marxist-Leninist Party of Azania". It organised a para-military wing called Poqo (Ourselves). However, its underground organisation was quickly destroyed. Since then it has become something of a gangster organisation, notorious for its sectarianism and for its violent internal factional struggles, in which a number of its leaders have been murdered at the hands of rival factions. However, since the 1960s the PAC has shown virtually no signs of effective presence within South Africa. Its main strength lies in its support by the ruling parties of Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
The Unity Movement of South Africa (UMSA) was formed in 1943 under the name of the Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM). It adopted at its founding congress a 10-point programme for "the acquisition by the non-Europeans of all those rights which are at present enjoyed by the European population", to be attained by means of the boycott of all racist institutions. Under trotskyist leadership, it rejected the Marxist-Leninist theory of two stages in the revolutionary process in colonial-type countries in favour of Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution", which held that the revolutionary process in colonial-type countries should consist of a single stage, that of socialist revolution. It strongly opposed the ANC as "Moscow-dominated" and favoured participation in broad movements only when these were under its own leadership or where this would be likely to advance its own recruiting. '
Neither UMSA nor any of its affiliated organisations have been banned, but a number of its leaders have beren imprisoned or forced into exile.
During World War II the ANS became a leading pro-Nazi mouthpiece for the Ossewabrandwag.
After the NP victory in 1948, it dissolved itself and was re-formed under the its present name of the Afrikaner Studentebond (ASB)(Afrikaner Students' League). By 1955 it had won to its' membership the students' unions of all the Afrikaner universities and was active in propagandising apartheid among Afrikaner students.
The term "Dutch Reformed Churches" - often called "the Nationalist Party at prayer" - refers collectively to the three major Afrikaner Protestant churches: the Nderduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK)(Dutch Reformed Church), and two smaller groups: the Gereformeerde Kerk (GK) (Reformed Church) and the Nederduitsche Hervormde Kerk (NHK) (Dutch Reconstituted Church).
Most Afrikaners are members of one or other of these churches, which have played and play an important in the maintenance of apartheid.
The NGK was originally affiliated to the Reformed Church in Holland, and only becanme autonomous in the 19th century. In 1857 it segregated its congregations. When the church fell under the domination of the evangelists in the second half of the 19th century, the strict, austere Calvinists broke away to form the GK and, later, the NHK.
In the 1930s a group of GK theologians redefined Afrikaner "nationalist" ideology in religious terms, characterising the Afrikaners as chosen by God to rule South Africa, and became the dominant force in the AB. Anti-apartheid dominees, such as the Moderator of the Transvaal NGK, Beyers Naude, were expelled from the church and set up in 1963 the anti-apartheid Christian Institute later banned.
The 1950 Suppression of Communism Act banned not only the Communist Party but virtually any doctrine directed at bringing social or economic change in South Africa. It also empowered the Minister of Justice to issue, without reference to any court and without any right of appeal, a "banning order" against any person, preventing him or her from attending any gathering, from setting foot in any educational institution or newspaper office, from writing anything for publication or being cited by any newspaper or magazine; a "banned" person could also be confined to a particular district or prohibited from leaving home between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and at any time during the weekend. It was ruled that a "gathering" constituted any assembly of more than one other person, and that a purely social event constituted a "gathering" under the Act. By the end of 1978 a total of 1,378 people had been "banned", including several members of the old anti-communist Liberal Party.
The 1953 Public Safety Act gave the Governor-General (later the State President) power to declare a state of emergency in any part of South Africa. Under a state of emergency any person could be detained without trial.
The 1953 Criminal Laws Amendment Act imposed extra penalties, including flogging, for the breaking of any law as a,form of protest.
The 1955 Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Act gave the police power to enter, without a warrant, any premises or any private or public meeting, to conduct searches, and "justifiably" to kill any suspected person in flight who could not be stopped by other means.
The 1956 Native Administration Act empowered the government to serve "banishment" order, without right of interference by the courts, on any African or group of Africans. By 1985 such orders had been served on 194 individuals and 4 groups of Africans totalling 11,508 people.
The 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act empowered a magistrate to ban any public gathering of any number of people, and made it a criminal offence to convene, preside at or address such a banned gathering.
The 1960 Unlawful Organisations Act empowered the government to ban any organisation it regarded as "likely to threaten the maintenance of order". The Pan-Africanist Congress was banned under this Act in 1960, and the Congress of Democrats in 1962.
The 1960 General Law Amendment Act empowered the detention of persons after they had served their sentences.
The 1961 General Law Amendment Act added to the offences under the Riotous Assemblies Act the advertising of a banned gathering.
The 1961 Indemnity Act barred detainees from sueing through the courts for unlawful detention, and protected the government and any of its servants from being sued in connection with any action intended to suppress disorder.
The 1962 General Law Amendment Act (known as the "Sabotage Act") gave the police power to detain suspected persons indefinitely without trial.
The 1963 Publications and Entertainments Act established a Publications Control Board to control publications (except for those newspapers which as members of the Newspaper Press Union had adopted their own Code of Conduct), and entertainments, and giving the Board power to prohibit any publication it considered "undesirable".
The 1965 Suppression of Communism Amendment Act empowered the Minister of Justice to prohibit the publication of any statement, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet or leaflet.
The 1965 Criminal Procedure Amendment Act empowered the Attorney-Oeneral to order a court not to give bail to a defendant.
The 1967 Terrorism Act imposed penalties of from 5 years' imprisonment to death for "acts of terrorism" - a term which included such "offences" as "embarrassing the administration", and placed onus of proof of innocence upon the defendant.
The 1969 Abolition of Juries Act abolished trial by jury.
The 1969 General Law Amendment Act prohibited the presentation of any evidence in a court stated by the government to be prejudicial to state security.
The repressive legislation discussed in the previous section had the effect, not of diminishing but of stimulating resistance to the apartheid state in South Africa. To try to counter this, the state apparatus of repression was greatly increased the strength.
The South African Police (SAP) were increased in numbers (nearly threefold to 72,000 between 1960 and 1979), and armed with more sophisticated weapons, including a variety of weapons designed for "riot control". In 1984 alone 287 people - including 19 juveniles - were officially stated to have been killed by the police, and 937 (including 87 juveniles) wounded.
The Security Police (SP) are responsible for the arrest, detention, interrogation and prosecution of political opponents of the government. The SP have become notorious for their use of torture during interrogation: of 176 ex-detainees interviewed in 1985 by the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cape Town, 83% claimed physical abuse, 75% beatings, 25% torture by electric shocks, 18% partial strangulation, and 14% suspension. At least 69 people died in detention between 1963 and 1985.
The Bureau for State Security (BOSS), accountable only to the Prime Minister, replaced in 1969 Republican Intelligence (RI), established in the early 1960s as an undercover section of the SP and primarily responsible for smashing the ANC underground organisation in 1964-64. The primary function of BOSS was to plant agents in progressive organisations in South Africa and abroad, but its Z Squad is known to have organised a number of murders of political opponents of the government both at home and abroad.
The Prisons Department, responsible for the incarceration and execution of convicted persons, had a staff of 16,000 in 1979 and a prison population in 1985 of 110,000 in prisons designed to accommodate 80,000 (i.e., an overcrowding of 36%). This is equivalent to a figure of 585 prisoners per 100,000 of population (compared with 92 per 100,000 population in Britain). 74% of the prisoners are Africans, and are segregated from prisoners of other races. In 1985 137 people were executed.
The South African Defence Force (SADF) increased its man-power from 78,000 in 1960 to 494,000 in 1979. The 1957 Defence Act made all white males between the ages of 18 and 65 liable to military service; at first call-up was by ballot, but in 1967 all physically-fit white males in certain age categories. were mobilised. SADF has comer to be used increasingly for purposes of internal repression, and is trained particularly in counter-insurgency techniques, In 1963 a "Home Guard" was set up for the protection of white residential areas.
The South African defence budget rose from R40 million (E20 million) in 1959-60 to R1,654 million (E827 million) in 1977-78. As a percentage of GNP, this represents a rise from 0.75% to 5%.
The Altered Structure of South African Capitalism
By 1969, after more than two decades of Nationalist Party rule, the structure of South African capitalism had become significantly changed:
Firstly, the economic power of Afrikaner capital had greatly
Outside agriculture, already dominated by Afrikaner capital in 1948, the Afrikaner share of private capital rose from 10% in 1948 to 25% in 1978; this growth was assisted by the Nationalist Party, which transferred central and local government accounts to Afrikaner financial institutions, established new state economic corporations closely linked with Afrikaner capital - such as SASOL in 1950 and ARMSCOR in 1964 - and directed government contracts to Afrikaner-owned enterprises.
Secondly, there had been
great interpenetration between agricultural, mining and industrial capital,
between Afrikaner and "English" capital, and between South African and
The period 1948 to 1969 was one was of frantic concentration of capital; through mergers and takeovers, large numbers of individual companies were absorbed into a small number of great conglomerates.
Seventhly, a shortage of skilled labour had developed.
By 1969 the mining industry alone was short of 2,000 skilled workers.
Eighthly, the internal opposition to apartheid had given rise
to a danger
to internal security, which was adversely affecting investment (especially
Ninthly, international opposition to apartheid had adversely
affected foreign capital investment, as well as the inflow of foreign labour
from neighbouring African states, while international boycotts had significantly
affected South Africa's foreign markets.
For example, international outrage at the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 -and the concern of domestic and foreign capital about the security of its investments - had led to a major fall in South African share values (by PS620 million in four months); this led to a net outflow of capital in the period 1960-63 of between 60% and 134% of the net inflow recorded in 1958, and to a fall in the country's gold reserves from PS152 million in March 1960 to PS72 million in May 1961, necessitating the imposition of drastic exchange controls in the latter month.
In consequence, a struggle broke out on the question of apartheid between the political representatives of large-scale capital-intensive capital, the "verligtes" (enlightened) - who wished to "reform" those aspects of apartheid which were threatening its profitability - and the political representatives of small-scale labour intensive capital, the "verkramptes" (conservatives) -who wished to maintain "pure" apartheid. The former was, of course, the most powerful of the two opposed forces, but the latter had the support of the majority of the white working class, who constituted the majority of the electorate and, for the time being, saw their interests rather as maintaining the privileged status accorded them by apartheid than as uniting with their non-white fellow workers to end apartheid as a step towards ending their exploitation altogether.
From 1969 onwards, therefore, against the violent opposition of the "verkramptes", the government of South Africa, which represented the interests of large-scale capital-intensive capital, undertook a programme of piecemeal destruction of certain aspects of apartheid.
This programme was later called "Total Strategy", presented by the government as necessary to fight "the total onslaught of Marxism" under the slogan "Adapt or die". Its underlying aims were to eliminate those aspects of apartheid which were threatening the profitability of Big Business and to win over the African petty bourgeoisie and embryonic bourgeoisie as a social basis of support for white-dominated capitalism. With this second aim in view the Urban Foundation was launched in 1977 with funds donated by Big Business to assist in the development of African business; its Chairman is Harry Oppenheimer of Anglo-American. This worked alongside the African Bank of South Africa, set up in 1975 by the National African Federated Chambers of Commerce (NAFCOC) to try to mobilise the savings of Africans for the same purpose; this attempt having met with little success, it is kept afloat by white-owned Big Business.
Job reservation was abolished in one sector after another, until by 1983 only blasting operations in the mining industry were still reserved for white workers. In 1986, the government pledged that this reservation would be abolished this year.
In order to fill the shortage of skilled labour with African workers, the amount spent on education for Africans rose from R50 million (E25 million) in 1970 to R1,168 million (E584 million) in 1983, and the number of African children at school from 2.7 million in 1970 to 5.0 million in 1981. In1961 only 2,200 Africans held university degrees, while by 1980 there were 25,000 African university students. In 1973 the government commenced a E20 million job training scheme for semi-skilled African workers.
In 1975 Prime Minister Balthazar Vorster announced that the government would seek the:
Over the next few months local authorities and enterprises were permitted to apply to open to all races: private hospitals; libraries; theatres, concerts and drive-in cinemas; clubs; exhibitions; restaurants and cafe's in certain areas; hotels; buses; parks; beaches; and sports facilities (outside schools). While some "verkrampte" local authorities and small capitalists refused to apply for permission, the relaxation of racial segregation was significant over the country as a whole.
The 1978 Urban Areas Amendment Act permitted Africans living legally in "white" areas to purchase 99-year leaseholds; by July 1985 34,000 such leaseholds had been sold. In 1985 all Africans who qualified for leasehold rights were permitted to buy full freehold rights.
The 1979 Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act permitted African workers living in "white" areas and in employment to belong to trade unions; later in the year this was extended to migrant and commuter workers from the "homelands", and in 1981 to foreign workers. The Act provided also for the voluntary registration of African trade unions.
In 1985 the government announced the suspension of all compulsory removals pending a review, and an 18-month moratorium for illegal Crossroads squatters.
During 1985 a considerable quantity of apartheid legislation was repealed: the 1949 Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, so permitting marriage between persons of different races; the 1957 Immorality Act, so legalising sexual intercourse between persons of different races; the 1968 Prohibition of Political Interference Act, so permitting political parties to have a multiracial membership.
In 1986 State President Pieter Botha announced
that there would be no further arrests under the Pass Laws, that those
in prison for violation of these laws would be released immediately, and
that the Pass Laws would shortly be abolished, so that failure to produce
documents would no longer be a criminal offence.
Far from satisfying the aspirations of the national liberation movement, the partial "reform" of apartheid greatly stimulated its development.
The Soweto massacre of 1976 was followed by a general strike, a large scale exodus to ANC training camps in neighbouring African states, and an unprecedented upsurge in ANC guerilla activity. Between 1976 and September 1985 the government officially reported 355 guerilla attacks. The most spectacular involved the sabotage of the Koelberg nuclear power station under construction in 1982. The South African Defence Force estimated in 1985 that the African National Congress had approximately 7,000 guerillas.
In 1983 the United Democratic Front was formed as a legal "umbrella" organisation of some 600 anti-apartheid groups to oppose the proposed new Constitution. It associates itself closely, but diplomatically, with the aims of the illegal ANC. It held its first National Conference near Johannesberg in April 1985.
In June 1985 a Conference of the African National Congress in Zambia adopted a policy of extending its strategy of armed struggle from inanimate objects to the assassination of.collaborators - policemen, councillors and mayors of the municipal councils of the black townships which had replaced the former community councils, and leading apartheid politicians. A new 30-strong National Executive Committee, including 5 whites, was elected, with Oliver Tambo as President.
A few weeks later Minister of Cooperation, Development and Education Gerrit Viljoen announced that 269 councillors and mayors had resigned from the black municipal councils.
The number of white objectors to military service
has grown significantly. In 1985 Minister of Defence General Magnus
Malan stated that 7,589 men had failed to report for call-up, compared
with 1,596 for the whole of 1984. Some 3,000 men leave South Africa annually
to evade conscription, and there are an estimated 7,000 objectors to military
service in Britain, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States.
The struggle between the "verligtes" and the "verkramptes" broke out into the open in 1969 when four NP MPs, led by the former Minister of Posts and Telegraphs Albert Hertzog (son of the first South African Prime Minister, James Hertzog) broke away from the ruling party in protest at the Vorster government's announced intention of relaxing apartheid in international sport. The dissident MPs formed the Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP) (Reconstituted National Party), led by Hertzog. Its programme was based on a return to "pure" Verwoerdian apartheid, on the promotion of Afrikaner culture and the demand for the recognition of Afrikaans as the sole official language. Its present leader is Jan Marais.
The United Party continued to decline - to 37% of the vote and 47 seats at the 1970 election, and to 33% of the vote and 41 seats (against 57% and 122 seats for the NP) in the 1974 election.
At the 1974 election the Progressive Party increased its parliamentary representation from I to 6 seats. It was joined in 1975 by a group of former UP MPs and renamed the Progressive Reform Party (PRP), led by Colin Eglin.
Moves in 1977 to merge the rump of the UP with the PFP led to the dissolution of the party; right-wing MPs formed the South African Party (SAP) (which joined the National Party in 1980), six joined the PRP (which changed its name yet again to the Progressive Federal Party (PFP), while the majority merged with the tiny Democratic Party (formed in 1973 under the leadership of Theo Gerdener) to form the New Republic Party (NRP), led by Vause Raw. Both parties stood for a "parliamentary democracy" that would include an African franchise but with "safeguards" to ensure continuing white domination - the PFP by means of universal suffrage with a right of veto of 10-15% of MPs, the NRP by means of a federation of separate racial parliaments under "white leadership". In 1979 Frederick van Zyl Slabbert succeeded Eglin as leader of the PFP.
At the 1977 election the PFP emerged as the strongest opposition party with 17% of the votes and 17 seats (against 64% and 134 seats for the NP). The NRP lost 13 of its initial seats and retained 10. The HNP won no seats.
In 1978 Big Business combined with the "verligte" faction of the NP and the military to engineer the "Information Scandal" (or "Muldergate") in which Minister of Information Cornelius ("Connie") Mulder was implicated in financial irregularities and forced to resign. In the same year the State President, Nicholas Diederichs, died and former Prime Minister Balthazar Vorster was elected to succeed him. In the election of a new party leader the "verligtes" backed Defence Minister Pieter Botha, who defeated the discredited Mulder and succeeded Vorster as Prime Minister.
In 1979 Mulder formed the National Conservative Party (NCP) as his own personal vehicle to resist the relaxation of apartheid. In the same year the Afrikaner Weerstand Beweging (AWB) (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) was formed as a semi-terrorist organisation under the leadership of Eugene Terreblanche. It formed in 1980 a political party - the Blanke Volkstaat Party (White People's State Party) which advocated the establishment of a fascist-type dictatorship in South Africa; its emblem is a three-legged swastika. Its "military wing" is called the Stormvalke (Storm Falcons).
At the 1981 election the NP's share of the poll fell to 56% and its seats to 131, while the PFP increased its poll to 20% and its seats to 26. The HNP polled 14% and the NCP 2%, but neither party gained a single seat. The NRP held on to 8 seats.
In 1981 the Republic of South Africa Consolidation Act abolished the Senate and replaced it by an advisory President's Council, consisting of 60 white, Coloured and Indian members nominated by the State President.
Within the NP, "verkrampte" opposition to the relaxation of apartheid now crystallised around Minister of State Administration and Statistics Andries Treurnicht. In 1982 16 MPs were expelled from the party for opposition to the party's policies and formed - with Mulder's National Conservative Party, Aksie Eie Toekoms (AET) (Action for one's own Future (formed in 1981 by a group of "verkrampte" members of AB under the leadership of Alkmaar Swart), and Africa First (a small fascist party led by Brendan Wilmer, formed by immgrants who had been members of the British National Front) - the Konserwatiewe Party (KP) (Conservative Party) led by Treurnicht. The AWB dissolved its political party, the members of which joined the KP. At the end, of 1982 the KP had 18 MPs, making it the third largest parliamentary party.
In 1984 the Afrikaner Volkswag (Afrikaner People's Guard) was formed under the leadership of Carel Boshoff, a former Chairman of the Afrikaner Broedersbond, by ultra-right elements who considered that the AB was tending towaards "verligte" views.
In 1984, too, the Conservative Party gained a seat at a by-election from the Nationalist Party, and in 1985 an NP meeting in Pietersburg (Transvaal), due to be addressed by Foreign Minister Roehof ("Pik") Botha, was broken up by the AWB.
In 1986 Slabbert resigned as leader of the PFP on
the grounds that he could "no longer act with integrity" within the system.
Following a referendum (for whites only) on a new draft Constitution (in which 66% voted in favour and 34% against), the 1983 Republic of South Africa Constitution Act established a new Constitution for South Africa, which came into force in September 1984.
Parliament now consists of three separate chambers:
The (white) House of Assembly has a total of 178 members, the (Coloured) House of Representatives 85 members, and the (Indian) House of Delegates 45 members.
The State Presidency has been transformed from a titular and ceremonial office into an Executive Presidency, combining the functions of Head of State and Prime Minister. The powers of the State President include those of appointing and dismissing Ministers and civil servants, proclaiming or ending martial law, declaring war and making peace, and certain rights to veto legislation. The State President is elected by an electoral college composed of 50 members of the (white) House of Assembly, 25 members ol the (Coloured) House of Representatives, and 13 members of the (Indian) House of Delegates.
Bills certified by the State President to be of "exclusive concern" to one racial group are dealt with by the approporiate chamber; bills certified by him to be of "common concern" must go through all three chambers. The State President's certfication cannot be challenged.
The members of the Cabinet are appointed, and may be dismissed, by the State President.
The powers of the President's Council have been greatly extended. It consists of 60 members - 25 appointed by the State President, 20 elected by the (white) House of Assembly, 10 by the (Coloured) House of Representatives and 5 by the (Indian) House of Delegates. In the event of disagreement between the three chambers on a Bill of common concern, the Bill is referred to the President's Council for final decision.
The Constitution provides no representation at central
level for Africans, stating:
Pieter Botha was elected State President, and appointed
a Cabinet containing 1 Coloured and I Indian member - both without executive
In 1973 the South African government permitted the "black homelands" (as they were now called) to receive foreign investment directly, and Israel and Taiwan have made considerable investment in this way.
The government continued with its original policy that the "black homelands" should become "independent". Such "independence", which is recognised only by South Africa and other "independent homelands", was bestowed upon Transkei in 1976, Bophutatswana in 1977, Venda in 1979 and Ciskei in 1981.
As each of these "homelands" became "independent", there was great outrage at the fact that its "citizens it - many of whom had never seen their "homeland" - were deprived of their South African citizenship. In 1985 State President Pieter Botha pledged that dual citizenship would be granted to citizens of the "independent homelands" in South Africa proper.
Meanwhile, in 1983, the South African Development
Board had been established, with 80% of its funds South African, to
finance development in the "independent" homelands.
Trade union membership rose significantly after 1969 - from 600,000 in 1969 to 1.6 milllion in 1984 - although still representing only 15% of workers. For example, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), established in 1982, doubled its membership to 50,000 in the first six months of 1983 and became the first union of African workers to be recognised in the mining industry. Its General Secretary is Cyril Ramaphosa.
The 1973 Labour Relations Amendment Act gave African workers the right to strike (except in "essential industries") after going through a complicated negotiation procedure.
Since then the number and scope of strikes has greatly increased - from 90 strikes involving 15,000 workers in 1974 to 469 strikes involving 182,000 workers in 1984. 86% of the workers involved in strike action over this period were African, and 90% of the strikes were technically illegal in that the lengthy and customary procedure for calling a legal strike had not been gone through.
In response to this situation, the 1981 Labour Relations Amendment Act empowered the Registrar to intervene in the affairs of trade unions, whether registered or not, and made it an offence to pay out strike pay in an illegal strike.
The Federation of South African Trade Unions (FOSATU) was formed in 1979 as the first multi-racial trade union federation to operate above ground since SACTU in the 1960s. It favours industrial unionism, concentrating its activities on shop-floor organisation in multinational companies, but refuses to participate in what it terms "community politics", and from the outset favoured registration. It has 11 affiliated unions with 95,000 members. Its General Secretary is Joe Foster.
The Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA) was formed in 1980 as a federation of exclusively African trade unions wedded to "black consciousness" and opposed both to multi-racial unionism and to the engagement of trade unions in political activity. It has links with the American Federation of Labour/ Congress of Industrial Organisations, and has 9 affiliated unions with a total membership of 49,000. From the outset it favoured registration. Its General Secretary is Phiroshaw Camay.
A number of important trade unions are not affiliated to any federation:
The General Workers' Union (GWU) was formed in 1978, its multi-racial membership rising to 10,000 by the end of 1982. Its General Secretary is Dave Lewis.
The South African Allied Workers' Union (SAAWU) was formed in 1979 as a general workers' union, its multi-racial membership rising rapidly to 70,000 by the end of 1981. Its Secretary is Sam Kikine.
The General Allied Workers' Unions (GAWU) was formed in 1980 as a multiracial general union. Its President is Samson Ndou.
These three militant unaffiliated trade unions are strongly opposed to registration and actively support political activity of benefit to the working class. They have been targets for state repression and many of their leaders have been detained.
The Azanian Confederation of Trade Unions (AZACTU) was formed in 1985 by a number of trade unions which, basing themelves on "black consciousness", withdrew from the talks leading up to the formation of COSATU (see below) objecting to its multiracial principles. It aims for a "closer working relationship" with CUSA, which refused to join COSATU for the same reasons.
In 1985, after four years of unity talks, a new federation
was established in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
This stands for multiracial and industrial unionism (the latter implying
the dissolution of general unions), and support for national liberation
and the African National Congress. It has 34 affiliated unions with 500,000
(mostly African) workers. AZACTU and CUSA refused to join the new federation,
objecting to its multiracial principle.
A number of new disruptive organisations - that
is, organisations paying lipservice to anti-apartheid sentiments, but the
policies and/or actions of which have the effect of disrupting the national
liberation movement - emerged after 1969, the principal of these
being: the South African Labour Party, the Reform Party, the Black Consciousness
Movement, Inkatha and the South African Black Alliance.
The South African Labour Party (SALP) founded in 1965 under the leadership of Sonny Leon, ostensibly to represent the interests of the Coloured community, has no connection with the earlier party of the same name (1910-58).
The party was formed and led by petty bourgeois elements among the Coloured commnunity; strongly anti-Communist, it has the declared aim of working for "democracy" by non-violent, parliamentary means, using the "platforms" created by the institutions of apartheid. In 1978 it joined the South African Black Alliance.
It was originally structured around the partly-elected Coloured Persons' Representative Council. After the abolition of this body in 1980, the party resolved at its 1983 Congress to pursue its policy through the new (Coloured) House of Representatives. This decision led to its suspension by, and withdrawal from, SABA.
The boycott campaign organised in connection with
the 1984 election for the House of Representatives resulted in a poll of
only 18% - less than 5% in the Coloured heartland of Cape Peninsula. In
the election, the SALP won 76 of the 78 seats. Its present leader is Alan
The Reform Party (RP) was founded in 1976 by bourgeois and petty bourgeois members of the (wholly unelected) South African Indian Council (SAIC), claiming, like the SALP, to be using the institutions of apartheid as a "platform" for advance to "democracy". However, the party does not support the principle of "one person, one vote".
When the first elections to SAIC were held in 1981, the South African Indian Congress organised a boycott campaign on the grounds that it was purely a puppet body. This campaign was so successful that the RP was compelled to reverse its position and announce that it would not stand any candidates "in the present climate". At the election a derisory 10% poll was recorded.
Now deprived of any effective base from which to pursue its strategy, the RP is largely inactive, though it continues to attend SABA meetings.
As a result of the boycott, at the elections to the
(Indian) House of Delegates in 1984, the poll was only 20% and 35 of the
40 elected seats were shared between two groups of collaborating politicians,
organised as the National People's Party (NPP), led by Amichand Rajbansi
(18 seats) and Solidarity, led by J. Reddy (17 seats).
The Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) emerged in 1969 with the formation by black students of the South African Students' Association (SASO) within the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). SASO broke away from NUSAS in 1970 on the grounds that it was dominated by white students and adopted an ideology known as "black consciousness", based on the view that the struggle against apartheid was a struggle against the white race, so that whites had to be excluded from the anti-apartheid movement.
Following the 1972-73 strikes in Durban, the Black Allied Workers' Union (BAWU) was set up on an explicitly black consciousness programme of outlawing strike action and favouring training of black workers to raise productivity. And in the 1970s the Black Community Programmes came into existence to generate black "self-help" programmes, especially in the rural areas, and "black theology" was developed to debate the question "to what extent is Jesus Christ identified with the plight of the black oppressed masses?". A further trend in the "black consciousness" movement was that headed by Steve Biko, which called for "black cooperatives" in order to develop black business. The National African Federated Chambers of Commerce (NAFCOC) utilised "black consciousness" sentiments to try to attract black savings to its African Bank of South Africa.
The regime's support for "black consciousness" - which it saw as an African counterpart to apartheid - ended with the formation of the South African Students' Movement (SASM) to mobilise black school pupils against the government's attempts to impose Afrikaans as the language of instruction for half the subjects taught in African secondary schools. A peaceful mass demonstration of school students in Soweto on 16 June 1976 was met with a hail of bullets. In September 1977 Biko was killed while in police custody, and in October eighteen "black consciousness" organisations were outlawed. Many younger cadres now left the country to join the ANC.
In 1978 a number of, mainly intellectual, supporters of "black consciousnessif formed the Azanian People's Organisation (AZAPO) to work for "black liberation" by strikes and boycotts. This is currently the principal "black consciousness" organisation, and is led by Lybon Mabasa.
In 1979, the Black Consciousness Movement of South
Africa (BCMSA) was formed in London, later changing its name to the
Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA). It recognises the
necessity of armed struggle, but one which had to be be exclusively black.
Inkatha Ve Nkululeko ye Sizwe (the National Cultural Liberation Movement) was founded in 1975 by Chief Gatsha Buthelezi, a prominent member of the Zulu aristocracy who is now Chief Minister of the "homeland" of KwaZulu. Its fundamental declared aim is to liberate Africans from cultural domination by whites. It is the ruling party - and virtually the only party permitted to operate - in this Bantustan; its membership consists overwhelmingly of Zulus living within KwaZulu; almost 80% of its branches are located in rural areas of KwaZulu and Natal. It stands for an economic policy of "African communalism", i.e., the development of African capitalism through state-owned development corporations. This has been implemented in KwaZulu through cooperation with the Urban Foundation and the state-owned KwaZulu Development Corporation (KDC) and the formation of companies with some black shareholders, but with the KDC or private capital having a controlling interest.
Unlike most other Bantustan leaders, Buthelezi voices opposition to apartheid; he claims that Inkatha, in spite of its tribal character, is the "national party of the African people". However, he rejects majority rule and supports a "consociational solution" - defined as "power sharing" which would grant a degree of African representation in the central state apparatus. Inkatha rejects armed struggle, and Buthelezi proposes to achieve its aims through negotiation between a "national convention" and the government, holding out to the rulers the alleged capacity of this scheme to stave off revolution.
Buthelezi has regularly appeared in advertisements in foreign newspapers paid for by the apartheid state appealing for increased foreign investment in South Africa and opposing the imposition of sanctions.
He had discussions with ANC leaders'in London, but
in 1980 the latter finally denounced Inkatha. It remains the dominant organisation
within the South African Black Alliance (SABA).
The South African Black Alliance (SABA) was formed in 1978 by two "homeland" parties - Inkatha of KwaZulu and the Inyandza (United) National Movement, led by Enos Mabuza, Chief' Minister of KaNgwane - and two parties operating within apartheid institutions - the Labour and Reform Parties. Its formation followed the banning of the Black Consciousness Movement and represented an attempt to take over its role. It is dominated by Inkatha, for whose political pretensions it has served to give a wider platform. When the Labour Party decided to put up candidates for the "Coloured" chamber in the proposed three-tier parliament (a decision strongly opposed by Buthelezi) it was suspended from SABA and subsequently withdrew.
SABA's major aim was to prepare the way for a "national
convention" to draw up a draft non-racial constitution, but this objective
was abandoned in 1981 when it became clear that the basis for it was lacking.
The state responded to the rising unrest and guerilla warfare with a further increase in its strength and an intensification of its represssion.
The 1972 State Security Council Act set up
the State Security Council (SSQ as a committee of the Cabinet to
advise the government on national security. And in 1979 the government
announced the creation of the National Security Management System,
which developed into a five-tier system of more than 500 committees. By
1986 the system was being described by "The Observer" (October 5th, 1985;
p. 7) as:
The 1974 Affected Organisations Act empowered the State President to declare any organisation an "affected organisation", in which case it was prohibited from receiving any funds from abroad. The National Union of South African Students was declared an "affected organisation" in 1974, and the Christian Institute in 1975 - two years before it was banned.
In 1976 575 people were killed in disturbances at Soweto.
The 1977 Indemnity Act made the security forces immune from civil or criminal proceedings. Also in 1977 all 17 "black consciousness" organisations were banned following the death in custody of Steve Biko. In the same year the Union of Black Journalists was banned, while between 1973 and 1981 nore than 73 black journalists were detained.
In 1978, following its failure to predict, or to devise an adequate response to, the 1976 Soweto uprising, the Bureau for State Security was restructured; in 1980 it was renamed the National Intelligence Service (NIS). In May 1981 it was stated that NIS would in future be concerned only with "overseas operations" while the Security Police would deal with "internal security". Its director is Lukas Barnard.
The 1978 Fund-raising Act empowered the government to prohibit, without right of appeal to the courts, the collection of funds by any organisation. This Act was applied to the Federation of South African Trade Unions in 1980.
The 1979 Police Amendment Act made it a criminal offence to publish any "untrue matter" concerning the police.
The 1982 Internal Security Act consolidated much earlier security legislation, provided for preventive detention, detention without trial of witnesses and for interrogation, and separated the offences of "terrorism", "subversion", and "sabotage".
The 1982 Protection of Information Act prohibited the publication of information about detentions where this might prejudice state security; the 1982 Intimidation Act made it an offence, subject to a penalty of up to 10 years' imprisonment, to intimidate any person; and the 1982 Defence Amendment Act extended the period of compulsory military service.
In 1984 Minister of Law and Order Louis de Grange stated that South African Defence Force units would in future be employed in a supportive role to the police against "radical elements".
In February 1985 22 leaders of the United Democratic Front were arrested, and 6 were charged with treason.
In March 1985 police opened fire on a funeral procession at Uitenhage, killing 27 people. Later in the month 239 people were arrested during a march on Parliament in Cape Town to protest against the killings. Restrictions were then placed on the funerals of people killed in an effort to prevent them from becoming political demonstrations.
In July 1985 a state of emergency was proclaimed in 36 districts under the 1953 Public Security Act, and under the regulations imposed the reporting of any "incident of unrest" or "any conduct of the security forces" was punishable by a fine of up to R20,000 (PS 1O,000) or up to 10 years' imprisonment. By the end of 1985 more than 7,000 people had been detained, and the death roll exceeded 1,000.
In August 1985 the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), formed in 1979 as the successor to the banned South African Students' Movement (SASM), was banned.
In February 1986 the state of emergency imposed in July 1985 was lifted. However, in June, four days before the 10th anniversary of the Soweto disturbances, a new state of emergency was proclaimed - this time with regulations prohibiting the reporting of any events connected with the emergency.
The 1986 Internal Security Amendment Act provided
for detention for 180 days without trial, while the 1986 Public Safety
Amendment Act empowered the Minister of Law and Order to declare any area
an "unrest area" and to take "appropriate measures".
Since 1969 the international situation of South Africa has deteriorated greatly.
In southern Africa, the states to the north sympathetic to apartheid -the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique and the white racist state of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) - have given way to independent African states sympathetic to national liberation in South Africa. Some of these states have permitted their territory to be used as training grounds and bases for ANC guerillas.
The South African government has attempted to meet this threat by armed raids into the territories of these states, by blockades - as in the case of Lesotho in 1982 - and by bribery - as with the offer to Swaziland in 1982 (later withdrawn under domestic pressure) of the "homeland" of KaNgwane and part of KwaZulu. In 1979 the South African government elaborated the concept of a "Constellation of Southern African States" (CONSAS), under South African domination, embracing 11 states stretching up to the Equator; the aim of this abortive project was not only to strengthen South Africa's security but to furnish its economy with an extensive common market. This project stimulated 9 southern African states to form the Southern African Development Coordination Conference. (SADCC) with the aim of reducing their economic dependence upon South Africa. The CONSAS project was then revised into the form of a "Confederation of Southern African States" to embrace only South Africa and the "independent" homelands.
The Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established in 1963, with the aim of promoting solidarity among African states and eradicating all. forms of colonialism from the continent, fully supports the national liberation struggle in South Africa.
International loathing of apartheid has led not only to unofficial, but often effective, boycotts of South African goods, but to the isolation of South Africa from many aspects of international life. It has been excluded from participation in the Olympic Games, and from virtually all international sport except cricket and rugby, It has been expelled from the International Labour Organisation, the World Meteorological Organisation, the Universal Postal Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and only the veto of Britain and the United States has averted its expulsion from the United Nations Organisation. In 1982 the World Alliance of Reformed Churches suspended from membership the Dutch Reformed Churches of South Africa because of their support for the "heresy" of apartheid.
The General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted resolutions condemning apartheid and South Africa's illegal occupation of Namibia (South-West Africa) at every session for many years. In 1977 the UN Security Council, by 15 votes to none, imposed a mandatory arms embargo against South Africa. In 1985 the European Community, the British Commonwealth, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Denmark imposed limited economic sanctions against South Africa, and only the British and United States veto prevented the Security Council of the United Nations from imposing mandatory sanctions. In October 1986 the US Congress overruled President Ronald Reagan's veto to impose limited sanctions.
Although the government has taken steps - such as the stockpiling of materials - to try to minimise the damage caused by sanctions, 1985 saw a net outflow of capital and a sharp depreciation of the value of the Rand (from $1=Rl.89 on July 17th to $1=R2.82 on August 27th, on which day the government ordered the stock exchange and currency market to close for several days).
South Africa's international financial position is,
in fact, precarious. In 1982 the country was compelled to borrow $1,000
million from the International Monetary Fund, which granted the'loans in
defiance of a resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The country's foreign debt totals $17,000 million, of which $12,000 million
consists of short-term loans due for repayment within twelve months. In
August/September 1985 Gerhard de Kock, Governor of the South African
Reserve Bank, made a tour of European and US financial institutions to
ask them to "roll over" some loans, and in September the government announced
a unilateral "standstill" on all principal repayments on foreign loans.
Despite the strength of the South African state apparatus of repression, the eventual victory of the national democratic revolution and the abolition of apartheid is clearly irresistible.
However, a national democratic revolution is not a socialist revolution, and it is impossible for the national democratic revolution to be transformed, under current circumstances in South Africa, into a socialist revolution because this requires the leadership of the working class by a MarxistLeninist Party, which does not at present exist in that country.
A completed national democratic revolution which does not proceed to a socialist revolution will end apartheid and transfer political power to the embryonic national capitalist classes of the non-white communities, but will not end the capitalist system.
But it has been shown that large-scale capital-intensive capital no longer has its interests served by apartheid, and that opposition to the abolition of apartheid comes principally from small-scale labour-intensive capital, from the white petty bourgeoisie and from the white working class.
Thus, the dominant section of capital - large-scale
capital-intensive capital - is likely, as the strength of the revolutionary
forces grows, to reject the course of "fighting to the end" against the
forces of national democratic revolution and being destroyed, in favour
of that of seeking a negotiated settlement with the African National Congress
for the acceptance of the basis of the latter's programme - the abolition
of apartheid and the establishment of "parliamentary democracy" based on
universal franchise which would enable white capital to continue to function.
The achievement of such a settement could well involve the use of the state
machinery of repression to suppress violent opposition from the forces
of the ultra-right
representing white small-scale capitalists and backed by sections of the white petty bourgeoisie and white working class.
Whatever changes might be necessary in the governmental forces to bring about such a negotiated settlement, effective rule in a capitalist society lies with Big Business and it is clearly in the interests of Big Business to reach such a settlement. Pointers in this direction were the joint approaches to the government in August 1985 of the Association of Chambers of Commerce, the Federated Chambers of Industry, the National African Federated Chambers of Commerce and the Urban Foundation, urging it to open negotiations with "black leaders", including those in prison, and the meeting in Zambia in September 1985 between leading South African business executives and ANC leaders, including Oliver Tambo.
But the abolition of apartheid, although an advance on the present situation, cannot solve the problems of the masses of the people in South Africa. Only a planned socialist society can do this, and the achievement of a socialist revolution requires the establishment of a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party, free of all revisionist trends, and the winning by this Party of the leadership of the working class.