Repression in South Africa
by Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund
Washington, DC, United States
The leaflet says hundreds of laws have been passed by the South African Parliament, all of which combine to form the legal system which controls the daily lives of Black South Africans. The leaflet says some of these laws include: the Group Areas Act No. 41 of 1950 - requires that the population be assigned to separate areas and territories; Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 - converts into a criminal act marriage between persons of different races; various provincial and municipal ordinances that require total segregation with respect to transportation and separate facilities in places of employment, libraries, theatres, stores, etc.; Suppression of Communism Act No. 44 of 1950 - links anyone opposing apartheid to communist objectives; Terrorism Act No. 83 of 1967 - establishes the crime of "terrorism" so loosely defined as to leave the Government virtually a free hand to prosecute anyone it so wishes Native Act #67 of 1952 - requires persons to possess and carry reference books containing identity, tax receipts, etc. The leaflet says whenever South Africa wishes to restrict an individual or an organization's freedom of movement, association and speech, it imposes a banning order. Under this policy the South African government can ban persons whom it wishes to silence, but who have broken no law. The leaflet says those who are banned are restricted to a particular area or placed under house arrest; since 1961, over 1400 people have been banned in South Africa; figures such as Winnie Mandela, wife of political prisoner Nelson Mandela, and Beyers Naude of the Dutch Reformed Church remain banned. The leaflet says detention without trial is a reality in South Africa and persons can be held incommunicado indefinitely. The leaflet says torture of detainees in South Africa is carried out by the Security Police; in spite of the difficulty in producing evidence of torture inflicted on people detained without trial and without access to families or legal representatives, enough information has accumulated to cause widespread concern; although police and government spokesmen have repeatedly denied allegations of torture and assault, sworn affidavits from 87 people detail torture including tying weights to testicles, non-stop interrogation for several days and nights, forcing detainees to stand for long periods on bricks, driving nails through male genitals, holding loaded guns to detainees heads and constant threats of death. The leaflet says many political detainees have died in security police custody and others have required hospital treatment; since 1963, 59 people are known to have died in detention; inquests have verified that the cruel imposition of torture has driven some to suicide, in other cases, although South Africa has not acknowledged responsibility, death came directly from injuries inflicted by the State. The leaflet says forty percent of the African prison population consists of people who have violated the pass and influx control laws. The leaflet discusses the Sharpeville massacre, Soweto, political prisoners, passbooks, peaceful protest, demonstrations, security forces, rebellion, schoolchildren, black townships, Afrikaans, Boers, and Africans.
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the Africa Policy Information Center).
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers