What Was the Pass Laws Act of 1952

In South Africa, passport laws were a form of internal passport system designed to divide the population, manage urbanization, and distribute migrant workers. Also known as Indigenous Law, the laws severely restricted the freedom of movement not only of black African citizens, but also of others, by requiring or designating territories. Prior to the 1950s, this legislation applied widely to African men, and attempts to apply it to women in the 1910s and 1950s met with significant protest. Passport laws were one of the dominant features of the country`s apartheid system until its effective end in 1986. Most of the population was rural, but cities offered better employment opportunities and residents began to move to cities in search of work. Local and national governments have tried to discourage blacks and people of color from moving to cities, but some have had to work in urban areas. They were housed in places with few facilities on the outskirts of cities, far from white areas, and were not allowed to vote. Vagabond laws also required them to carry passports and restricted movement and travel. Apartheid was a system of racial segregation imposed by the South African government between 1948 and 1994. Under apartheid, the rights and freedoms of non-white South Africans were restricted by the adoption of laws and policies that included movement, education, health care and access to public services. [2] Passport laws were designed to restrict the freedom of movement of Africans – men. The planned extension of these laws to African women meant that, for the first time, they would become direct targets of white power. Before then, the government could claim that it kept African women in the countryside to do subsistence work and breed, but the reality was that difficulties in rural areas pushed many African women to migrate to the cities.

[1] www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/20-000-women-march-union-buildings-protest-pass-laws The resulting legislation (notably the Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents Act No. 67 of 1952) introduced in South Africa required black Africans to carry identity documents in the form of a “reference book” when outside a number of reservations (later known as homelands or bantustans). Protests against stifling laws drove the struggle against apartheid – including the Defiance campaign in the early 50s and the huge women`s protest in Pretoria in 1956. The functioning of the federation has been difficult as increasingly violent state repression has become a serious obstacle to its leaders, nationwide communication and funding. However, FEDSAW has managed to be active in many areas, particularly in the fight against the implementation of Bantu laws on education and in the fight for the restoration of the right to birth control. In 1955, the Federation launched plans for a meeting in Pretoria to present women`s demands directly to the central government. By law, an employer can only be a white person. The passport also indicated when and for what purpose permission to reside in a particular region was requested, and whether the application was refused or granted.

The Khoikhoi had lost their land to colonizers in the late 1700s and were forced to work for European landowners in order to survive. The colonial government turned a blind eye to the widespread mistreatment of Khoikhoi workers. These workers had to carry “approval documents” from their employers that allowed them to leave the farms where they worked. The arrival of Christian missionaries brought slight improvements after criticism of the treatment of the Khoikhoi. Finally, in 1828, Decree 50 was issued, which put the Khoikhoi on an equal footing with their white employers and exempted them from the requirement to carry passports. These discriminatory regulations have fueled growing discontent among the black population. In the 1910s, there was considerable resistance to passing laws applied to black women. The administration of passport laws was costly and difficult because all blacks in urban areas had to be controlled by the authorities. The constant humiliation and surveillance has provoked intense anger in Black communities. Under apartheid, passport laws were developed to control the movements of black Africans, and they are considered one of the worst methods used by the South African government to support apartheid.

Only whites were allowed to vote and own property in the Transvaal and expected blacks to work for them. Many Voortrekkers settled near large concentrations of blacks to gain access to a large pool of labor, but also aimed to control the movements of their neighbors. In 1866, a passport law was passed. Any black person found outside the authorized residential area without a passport from an employer, judge, missionary, field cone, or chief executive could be arrested. Thousands of blacks flocked to the gold mines of the Witwatersrand to earn a living. They were housed in pens, had to carry passports and were separated from their families, who were not allowed to visit them. Over the years, passport laws have been used less and less to prosecute people. There was a “decline in passport law enforcement during the period 1968-1981,” which is not surprising given “new forms of strict entry controls.” [3]: 201 There had been a radical change when the Riekert Commission recommended “that `illegal occupation of shelters by persons` as well as `illegal employment` be grounds for the `repatriation` of people from the white zone”, meaning that they changed their application to be “removed from the streets to homes and factories”. [3]: 201 passport laws were repealed in 1986. [6] The Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 to 1932, had profound effects on the entire country. Whites and blacks were plunged into extreme poverty, but the government focused on alleviating the plight of whites while ignoring the suffering of blacks. More and more blacks moved to urban areas to survive, and passport laws were strictly enforced.

This could not stop the flow of desperate people. In 1930, the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) and the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) launched a passport-burning campaign for December 16, in which blacks and Indians gathered across the country to burn their passport booklets. In Durban, police stormed protesters, eventually killing four people. The fire of the pass lasted until February 1931, when the campaign was crushed. Our editors will review what you have submitted and decide if the article needs to be revised. This struggle brought South African women, especially black women, into the political arena. [8] Although the protests did not necessarily lead to the expected gains, they proved to be an important, if difficult, political lesson. South African women have continued to participate to varying degrees in liberation movements to liberate their country from apartheid, but the anti-savings campaign is particularly important to unite women of all races and spaces to take collective action for their rights. [9] As these demands and beliefs have changed, so have the rights of the black population in South Africa. When passport laws were implemented at the turn of the century, “they encouraged the influx of labor into `white` agriculture and industry and the redistribution of labor to geographic areas where it was needed.” [3]: 182 This process lasted until the 1950s, when the government decided to change the paradigm. This means that “since 1950, passport laws have openly focused on exclusion and aimed at moving Africans from `white` areas and containing them in bantustans.” [3]: 182 Therefore, there has always been tension between the white and black communities in South Africa. This was the result of “efforts to use the passport system to balance the security and work needs of whites,” while creating laws that would control “African employment, housing, access to land, and citizenship.” [3]: 182 Under these laws, “more than 17,745,000 Africans were arrested or prosecuted” between 1916 and 1984.

[3]: 181 African police allowed whites to maintain their dominance over the black population for most of the 20th century. Women from rural Zeeruste (Western Transvaal) joined the demonstration.