Apartheid Laws Timeline

Timeline created by cbrodriguez
  • Black Land Act No. 27

    Black Land Act No. 27
    This act prohibited blacks from owning land outside of designated reserves, giving 2/3 of the population 7% of the country’s land. The land in the reserves was unwanted, and Africans decreased their quality of life there. The government separated blacks from whites to start apartheid, but the law obviously preferred whites. In addition, whites and blacks could not buy land from each other, limiting their interactions. It was amended in 1913 giving 13% of unwanted land to the Africans.
  • Immorality Act No. 5

    Immorality Act No. 5
    This act prohibited extra-marital intercourse between the races, which was meant to preserve the purity of the white race. It was passed to keep blacks and whites from interacting towards the beginning of apartheid before the Nationalist Party came into power. The law showed how the white people of South Africa began to believe in more extreme separation of races. This act lead to police raids, as they wanted to catch and arrest Africans whom they believed were below them as a people.
  • Representation of Blacks Act No. 12

    Representation of Blacks Act No. 12
    This removed blacks in the Cape from their voting polls into a separate one, where they were represented by four white senators, limiting the power that Africans had in their government, as not all of their representatives were elected. Very few blacks could vote in the common roll before this law was passed, but their influence was made even smaller by this. For apartheid to exist, the whites would have their own government; this act started that process by taking away African’s political role.
  • Population Registration Act No. 30

    Population Registration Act No. 30
    This act required all South African people to be identified and registered as belonging to one of the four racial groups in South Africa. This act was “more rigid” than other classification laws and split society and the identity of the people based on the color of their skin. This was enacted shortly after the rise of the Nationalist Party and showed their desire for grand apartheid, as each racial group was to identify only with those within their group and keep away from the others.
  • Preventing of Illegal Squatting Act No. 52

    Preventing of Illegal Squatting Act No. 52
    This act prevented people from entering a building without lawful reason or permission from the owner. Magistrates were given power to order squatters out of urban areas and move them somewhere else. The act was made to keep Africans out of urban areas, which were seen as a place for whites only since they were more advanced as a society. Africans were not seen as civilized enough to be in cities, so the cities were reserved for whites and blacks in cities were followed, monitored, and arrested.
  • Public Safety Act No. 3

    Public Safety Act No. 3
    Following the ANCs disobedience campaign, this act allowed the government to call for a state of emergency, which increased police presence and penalties for disobedience, and permitted the arrests of people solely for being a threat to public safety. This law gave the government the power to arrest anti-apartheid activists without good reason without giving them the right to appeal. This also allowed the government to ban gatherings as an attempt to end or slow the anti-apartheid movement.
  • Black Education Act No. 47

    Black Education Act No. 47
    This act formalized black education, enforcing the separation of education facilities and changing the curriculum for Africans. Blacks were given a curriculum based on learning labor skills, while whites were given a more advanced education. The act emphasized the role that blacks were supposed to play in society as workers/servants for whites. They weren’t seen as able to reach the same intellectual capacity as whites, and thus were taught how to do what they were deemed able to.
  • Riotous Assemblies Act No 17

    Riotous Assemblies Act No 17
    This act prohibited gatherings in open-air public places at the Minister of Justice’s discretion if it endangered public peace. It also allowed banishment to become a punishment of breaking the law. This act was an effort by the government to control the scale of anti-apartheid groups such as the ANC, keeping them from speaking and therefore influencing the minds of the people. As the ANC became stronger, the government needed a way to keep control over the masses, as they were outnumbered.
  • Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act No 30

    Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act No 30
    This removed the coloured population from the common roll and the senate was enlarged to obtain the required majority, making it easier for the Nationalist Party to pass laws. Originally this act was declared unconstitutional, which is why the government enlarged the senate. This policy was not approved of even within the party, but the leadership thought it necessary to continue with apartheid. This shows how apartheid escalated and how desperate the Nationalist Party was to maintain power.
  • Unlawful Organisations Act No 34

    Unlawful Organisations Act No 34
    This act allowed the government to declare organizations that were a threat to public safety as unlawful, immediately doing so to the ANC and PAC, the two largest anti-apartheid movements in the country. The purpose of this act was to protect the safety of the Nationalist party by criminalizing members of anti-apartheid groups. It was enacted shortly after the Sharpeville Massacre where police opened fire on protestors. The government thought it an example of the ANC’s violent nature.
  • Indemnity Act No. 61

    Indemnity Act No. 61
    This law protected the government and all the people working under the government from any harm or trouble when acting to maintain public safety. Essentially, it protected police officers who arrested anti-apartheid people. The court would not hear any hearings against figures of authority, which was especially impactful after the Sharpeville Massacre. The government used this to keep their power over blacks, enabling them to take any action against the anti-apartheid movement.
  • General Law Amendment Act (Sabotage Act) No 76

    General Law Amendment Act (Sabotage Act) No 76
    This increased the government’s power to charge people for sabotage by increasing the ability to declare unlawful organizations and impose further restrictions in banning orders, such as limiting the number of visitors one could have. The purpose of this act was to keep anti-apartheid movements from increasing their influence on the people and to limit the amount of power they had. This put many of the anti-apartheid leaders in jail or exile, which the government hoped would end the movement.
  • General Law Amendment Act No 37

    General Law Amendment Act No 37
    Allowed any officer to detain a person suspected of political crime without a warrant, as well as hold them for ninety days without a lawyer. The Sobukwe clause allowed a person to be detained for another year, as well as declare more organizations as unlawful and impose more restrictions on them. This act was a major push for the government after previous acts did not slow down the anti-apartheid movement. The government attempted to crack down on the organizations by imprisoning their members.
  • General Law Amendment Act No 80

    General Law Amendment Act No 80
    Increased the power given by Act 37 by allowing the Sobukwe cause to be applied by the Minister of Justice in individual cases. This made it easier for the government to put people on trial. At this time the apartheid laws were made to keep the white minority in power over the Africans, and as the Africans grew stronger, so did the government. This act allowed the government to arrest/detain whoever they wanted under very vague circumstances to instill fear and compliance in the Africans.