Political change in South Africa

Material Information

Political change in South Africa evolution or revolution
Ramsey, Mark
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
107 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
1900 - 1999 ( fast )
Politics and government ( fast )
Race relations ( fast )
Politics and government -- South Africa -- 20th century ( lcsh )
Race relations -- South Africa ( lcsh )
South Africa ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 105-107).
General Note:
Department of Political Science
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mark Ramsey.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
40337030 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L64 1998m .R36 ( lcc )

Full Text
Mark Ramsey
B.A. Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1996
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Mark Ramsey
has been approved


Ramsey, Mark (M.A., Political Science)
Political Change in South Africa: Evolution or Revolution.
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Glenn T. Morris
The purpose of this thesis was to examine the process of political change in
South Africa which culminated in the new constitution on May 08, 1996. This
examination was conducted within a framework of an evolutionary paradigm for
change. South Africas current political dispensation was identified as one of four
political milestones within an existing evolutionary pattern of political adaptation. Each
milestone was examined and analyzed to illuminate how they fit within the
evolutionary paradigm. While the milestones were identified consecutively, the
political evolution of these milestones was not a linear process that occurred
chronologically. The thesis illustrated how the third political milestone evolved parallel
to the three other milestones. The first of these milestones was identified as the
emergence of the National Party regime which involved the shaping and establishment
of the evolutionary path of the state. This evolutionary path was paved through the
process of refining existing segregation practices into a political ideology called
apartheid. The apartheid system, in the second political milestone, namely, the Soweto

uprising, was challenged and elicited a response from the president, P.W Botha.
Botha, in the aftermath of the Soweto uprising, implemented political reforms,
which included: the drafting of a new constitution in 1983; the upgrading of the
townships; and the deracialization of South African society. The reform initiatives had
little practical effect on the South African political arena and only served to elaborate
the apartheid system which ushered in the third political milestone.
This third political milestone had in itself evolved to a new level of opposition
to the state by the African National Congress (ANC) and the Black Liberation
Movements. Through sustained efforts, this heightened level of black opposition
compelled the state to evolve in response thereby culminating in the current negotiated
While there may exist a belief that the political changes in South Africa were
revolutionary, the examination and analysis of the aforementioned political milestones
provide an illumination of the evolutionary process of South Africas political change.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Glenn T. Morris

Figure 1. Map of South Africa........................................vii
Figure 2. Political Milestones In South Africa.......................viii
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION..............................................1
THE EMERGENCE OF THE NATIONAL PARTY REGIME............................12
The South African State.........................................14
Labor Regulation................................................17
Education of Laborers...........................................23
Communal Apartheid .............................................24
Political Supremacy.............................................33
Education for Control....................................33
Black Political Subordination............................34
The Politics of White Privilege.................................38
Power Sharing............................................40
THE SOWETO UPRISING OF JUNE 16, 1976..................................41
Reform Stratagem................................................45
The Constitution of 1983 ................................46
Township Upgrading.......................................48

Repression Stratagem......................................55
AND THE BLACK LIBERATION MOVEMENTS..............................59
The Resistance............................................65
The ANC Reborn............................................72
IN BY THE CONSTITUTION OF 1996..................................77
The ANC Celebrated........................................81
Economic Limitations of the New Constitution..............86
CHAPTER 6. CONCLUSION...........................................90
APPENDIX A. THE FREEDOM CHARTER................................100


Figure 2
3rd Milestone: Black Resistance
Protest Rebellion
(1912 -1976) (1976 1984)
Petition campaigns against State authority challenged
discriminatory laws.
4th Milestone: New Political Dlsoen
(1994 Current)
Negotiated settlement.
ANC In power.
Retention of state structures.
Retention of Capitalism.
South African State
(1994 Current)
White privilege
thru capitalism
New system of dominance in state's

The perception of the transition in South Africa from the apartheid regime to
the administration of Nelson Mandela is one of a deep and broad revolutionary
transformation. This thesis will provide a critical appraisal of the new Mandela
government, and its acquiescence in the continuing influence of the old political,
economic and social order in South Africa.
Waldmeir (1997), in a chapter entitled The End of History,1 judged that the
new constitution of South Africa was a product of ... a long, hard revolution....
2 While the adoption of the new constitution was an important, historic phenomenon,
it did not necessarily mean that the changes that had occurred in South Africa were
revolutionary, nor did it signal an end to the South African state that perpetuated
white privilege.
The modem South African state came into existence at the turn of the 19th
century, and the process of political change in the South African state can be described
in terms of four political milestones. These political milestones, which forced the state
to continue along its evolutionary path, include: (1) the emergence of the National
1 Waldmeir P. 1997 p. 221
2 Waldmeir P. 1997 p. 221

Party regime; (2) the Soweto uprising of June 16, 1976; (3) the opposition to the state
by the African National Congress (ANC) and other Black liberation movements; and
(4) the new political dispensation in South Africa as ushered in by the constitution of
1996. The political milestones were manifested as stimuli that set the evolutionary
process of political reform in motion. They were not predetermined political strategies
but evolved in response to threats against white supremacy. The process was not
linear, following a chronological sequence. Each milestone in itself evolved
concurrently with the Black Liberation Movement that represented a challenge against
white supremacy. The challenge evolved from protest action to rebellion and finally
This study will examine the four political milestones that culminated in the
current political dispensation as ushered in by the new constitution of South Africa, as
adopted by the Constitutional Assembly of the Republic of South Africa on May 8,
1996. This study will be conducted within a framework of an evolutionary paradigm
for change. An evolution .. tends to reform the constitution slowly and
deliberately, pausing at each stage to give the white electorate a chance to accustom
itself to the changes.3 An analysis will be conducted to illustrate how these political
milestones fit within an evolutionary paradigm that casts doubt on the changes in
South Africa as a genuine revolution.
3 GiliomeeH. & Schlemmer L. (1989)p. 133).

Evolutionary change, according to The Harper Collins Dictionary of American
Government and Politics (1993) is .. one that denies anyone the right to overthrow
the Constitution by force.4 While Websters Dictionary (1993) defines evolution as .
. a series of related changes in a certain direction: process of change: a process of
continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse condition to a higher, more
complex, or better state: progressive development: a process of gradual and relatively
peaceful social, political, and economic advance on amelioration often contrasted
with revolution.5 The Harper Collins Dictionary of American Government and Politics
defined revolution as a situation in which . one leader uses violent means to take
power from another.. and implements .. fundamental changes, rather than to
mere changes in power.6 The Oxford Dictionary is more consistent with political
science usage when it defines a revolution as [a] complete overthrow of the
established government in any country or state by those who were previously subject
to it; a forcible substitution of a new ruler or government.7 My personal definition of
a revolution involves a drastic, immediate replacement of the political and economic
structures of the state with the ideal of serving the interests of those previously
4 Shafiitz J. (1993) p. 425
5 Websters Third New International Dictionary, (1993) p. 789).
6 Shafiitz J. (1993) p. 425
7 The Old English Dictionary. (1989) p. 841

My motivation for embarking upon this study is that I was bom in Soweto in
1958, ten years after the National Party came to power. My impressionable years were
shaped by the implementation of the apartheid policies, and as a student, I was caught
up in the anger of the Soweto uprising. Deeply touched by the injustices of the
apartheid system, I participated in the local election of 1988. After being elected to the
Johannesburg City Council, I went on to serve my community with distinction on
local, regional, and state committees until January 1994.
While the new constitution signaled a new political dispensation, it failed to
address the extremes of inequality in South African society. Therefore, the three
preceding milestones culminating in the adoption of the new constitution, illustrate the
evolutionary nature of the change that has occurred in South Africa. This realization is
important because it indicates that only a revolution can address the extreme
inequalities in the South African society and satisfy the demands of the highly militant
black population. This question will be addressed by describing the South African state
which came into existence at the turn of the twentieth century for the purpose of
creating and maintaining white privilege. The work of various theorists will be drawn
on to analyze this evolutionary process.
While international pressure on the South African state to effect change was
important, by itself, it did not bring about revolutionary political change. The liberation
movements were not fundamentally inspired by the activities of the international
community, a point expressed by Oliver Tambo, the Acting President-General of the

ANC, who viewed the international community as ... big financial interests that are
trading partners of South Africa in Japan, USA, Britain, France and West Germany
who benefit from our shameless exploitation . 8
A comparative analysis on post-independent African societies reveals a
common problem of post-independence dependency. This may be largely due to the
fact that the colonizers groomed groups of moderate Africans, whom they believed
would best serve their interests, to succeed them. In many instances, the African
leaders who replaced the colonizers constituted an elite group of well educated
individuals, who upon succession to government, had the maintenance of the colonial
state system as their priority. Often the new colonizers have been less concerned
about improving the socioeconomic conditions of the population, and in this regard,
South Africa is no exception. The government comprises an educated elite, and the
expectations of the black population remain largely unfulfilled.
Several secondary sources and primary sources from the South African
government were relied on in this study. The most influential theorists were T. Ranuga
(1996), R. Price (1991), L. Thompson (1995), and P. Waldmeir (1997). Thomas
Ranuga is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts,
Dartmouth. His book is about the power of ideas in the struggle for a new, democratic
and socialist South Africa. The focus of the analysis is on the theoretical or ideological
8 La Guma A. Ed. (1971) p. 22

weapons employed by Black Liberation Organizations in the course of the struggle to
confront and dismantle the white power structure. This book was particularly
persuasive because Ranuga is an African from South Africa and writes from that
perspective which is unlike most of the other theorists, who have little more than a
tourists view of life in South Africa (including white theorists bom in South Africa).
Price wrote in anticipation of an end to white minority rule. He explained how
a political regime, which until recently had appeared to be utterly self-confident and
invincible, had been thrown on the defensive, losing its sense of purpose and initiative.
This book presents to the reader the specific dynamics of the process that reveals the
relationship between political, social, and economic forces that shaped the nature of
South African political change and drove it forward.
Published in 1997, Waldmeirs work is very timely in that she is one of the first
theorists to provide some analysis of the new political dispensation in South Africa. As
an American journalist working in South Africa, she wrote from her professional
perspective and devoted a great deal of her book to retelling the apartheid story. As a
historian, Thompson provided a critical account of the events that have shaped modem
South Africa. The chapter on the transition period in South Africa was very insightful;
however in his book, the author was reluctant to advance any projections for the new
South Africa.
Segregation in South Africa appeared by the end of the nineteenth century in
the mining and agricultural sectors, in response to the accelerated industrialization of

South Africa. Apartheid evolved from an early form of segregation that appeared in
the nineteenth century because [t]his was in the first place connected to the demands
of the capitalist system, in particular the mining and farming sectors, which responded
to the accelerated industrialization of South Africa.9 Clark described this
development when she said . white settlement in general on the subcontinent was
weakly established: the agricultural base of the various colonial communities was
uniformly shallow, and few immigrants were attracted from Europe. Gold
revolutionized the situation, shifting the hub of economic activities to the center of the
subcontinent and enabling whites to establish firm control of the land.10 From 1860
onwards, the unskilled low socioeconomic white and black11 populations were settling
on the fringes of the towns, and slum areas were established where these populations
settled interspersed. Giliomee and Schlemmer revealed that [b]y the 1890s this
development had manifested itself throughout South Africa. Afrikaner urbanization,
which was often a chaotic and humiliating process, had begun.12 The urban influx of
Africans had a significant impact on political measures of social control over the
African population. Politicians feared for the demise of the white civilization and
9 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 6
10 Clark N.(l 994) p. 12
The term black is used to encompass the predominantly Bantu-speaking African majority, as well as
the colored and Indian communities.
12 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 8

searched for a policy that could establish segregation as a social control.13
Between 1902 and 1904, the South African colonies and republics passed
legislation regulating migrant labor and influx control that forced Africans14 to live in
segregated compounds and locations. However, for segregation to function as a
modem system of control, an efficient state mechanism and a comprehensive race
policy were required. In the aftermath of the Boer War, Lord Alfred Milner
constructed the modem South African state and appointed the South African Native
Areas Commission to formulate a common native policy for the four colonies.15 The
commission, which comprised white British citizens exclusively, established
segregation guidelines that would influence South Africa into the 1990s.16
Successive Union governments between 1910 and 1939 established a
comprehensive sociopolitical order which reaffirmed and reinforced the main
components of segregation. Racial harmony was never a reality in South Africa as
[r]ace and class relations in the industrial period grew up around the forms of
domination and privilege which had arisen from the time of the founding of the
13 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 11
14 The term African is used to encompass the predominantly Bantu-speaking African community.
15 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 11
16 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 13

settlement in the Cape in 1652 17 One of the main elements of segregation was the
Natives Land Act of 1913, which prohibited Africans from owning or renting land
except in the limited areas set aside in the form of reserves. This came about as
[virtually all the Whites in the region, in common with their contemporaries in
Europe and the Americas, regarded themselves as belonging to a superior, Christian,
civilized race and believed that, as such, they were justified in appropriating native
land, controlling native labor, and subordinating native authorities.18 The second
chief segregation element involved the various forms of urban control which the state
implemented to regulate the lives of urban Africans. With these segregation laws, the
state deprived Africans of all political rights in South Africa and paved the way for the
increasing white inclination to view Africans as objects to be administered and
subjugated by the powers of the state.19
When the National Party came to power in 1948, the Afrikaners were an
impoverished people because under the previous government, the state had applied
segregation policies to create wealth for the English sector of the white population.
The English-speaking settlers pledged allegiance to the British crown and were
represented politically in South Africa by the United Party. The Africaners, as
17 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 1
18 Thompson L. (1995) p. 122
19 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989)

represented by the National Party, on the other hand, believed that [t]he only way
that they could safeguard their culture, language and bio-genetic identity was
through exclusive political control over white South Africa.20 Thompson credited
the National Partys success to the United Partys [yielding to arguments that
migrant labor, pass laws, and job color bars were inefficient as well as unjust... in
addition .. the government bent the color bar, allowed black wages to rise at a
faster rate than white wages, and temporarily relaxed the pass laws. It also recognized
that Africans were permanent part of the urban population and toyed with the idea of
recognizing African trade unions.21 The poor white situation was not seen as a class
issue, but specifically as a racial issue and [ijnstead of regarding white poverty as
being the result of individual moral failing to be ameliorated by charity, if was now
considered a threat to white supremacy which had to be addressed by state
intervention.22 During the period 1948 to 1984, the National Party aided the
evolution of the state into a structure that elevated the status of the white population,
particularly the Afrikaners. The state was perceived by the South African population
as an instrument of Afrikaner nationalism. During this period, the state and the
National Party fused into a unified entity. The state employed its political power to
manipulate the economy with the aim of uplifting the socioeconomic status of the
20 GiliomeeH. & SchlemmerL. (1989) p. 42
21 Thompson L.( 1995) p. 157
22 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 9

Afrikaner nation. The extent to which South African capitalism and apartheid merged
greatly strengthened the state.23
Black militancy was largely responsible for compelling the National Party to
shift away from classic apartheid with major constitutional reforms including the
development of a tricameral parliament. The mid-1980s were characterized by a
strengthening of the apartheid bureaucracies through increased restaffing of white
employees whose task it was to implement the myriad of apartheid laws. Mr. P.W.
Botha, the architect of the reform period as leader of the National Party beginning in
1978, elevated his position to that of state president and placed himself at the head of
the South African bureaucracy. In this manner, Botha separated the state from the
National Party, thereby decreasing the cabinets control of the political institutions.
Under the leadership of Botha, the state evolved to a position of increased political
power. Du Toit P. (1995) puts into perspective this period of dominance, when he said
[t]he 1983 constitution can be seen as the constitutional high point of apartheid, for it
incorporated the most basic principles of apartheid in such a way as to effectively
merge the state regime.24 Today, this power enjoyed by the state, provides some
illumination of the ANCs current dilemma of a predominantly Afrikaner civil service
which continues to administer the state. The segregation policies of the British and the
subsequent apartheid system of the National Party entrenched the Afrikaners and the
23 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989)
24 Du Toit P. (1995) p. 159

white population with power and social status. Du Toit P. described the status quo as
a situation that .. entrenched power and status in the hands of a white minority,
concentrated wealth in a predominantly white middle class, and elevated the
significance of race as the basis of discrimination by the state.25
Under the presidency of Mr. P.W. Botha, the state developed into a powerful
institution establishing it as an entity independent of the controlling political party.
Schrire R.(1991) revealed that .. Botha defined key white interests in such a way
that they precluded effective democratization. The elaborate system of government
that he created was designed to ensure control rather than generate political reform ..
. 26 The constitutional and social reforms implemented by President P.W. Botha did
not satisfy the Black Liberation Movement and, in particular, the ANC. As a
consequence, the Black Liberation Movement intensified the level of opposition to the
National Partys control of the political arena and, as discussed in detail in chapter
four, forced the National Party to negotiate a political settlement which culminated in
the adoption of a new constitution on May 8, 1996.
25 Du Toit P. (1995) p. 182
26 Schrire R. (1991) p. 124.

The construction of the South African state as a distinct political unit started in
1910 with the merging of the British colonies (the Cape of Good Hope and Natal) and
the Boer republics (the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal), into the Union of
South Africa, a self-governing entity with the status of a dominion of the British
commonwealth.27 However, segregation had rooted itself in the very fabric of the
South African society many years before the formation of the Union. The apartheid
system was not invented by the Afrikaner nationalists, but rather [i]t built upon the
segregation order which had developed along with the accelerated industrialization of
South Africa following the discovery of diamonds (1869) and gold (1886).28
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a detailed discussion of the political
system that evolved under the control of the National Party from 1948 to 1983. The
discussion will illuminate the role of the National Party in shaping the South African
society, the economy, and the political institutions through its apartheid policy which
was based on a culture of white privilege. This ... privilege for whites was the result
27 Maguire K. (1991).
28 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. 1989 p. 1

not solely of ffee-market forces but also of intentional government action, subsidies,
regulation, and provisions of service.29
The South African State
The National Party won by a narrow margin in the elections of 1948, and was
able to form a government. The government led by Dr. D.F. Malan (the National Party
leader) set out with the reorganization of South African society in accordance with
Afrikaner nationalist tenets. The cornerstone of the Afrikaners ideology was the
system of apartheid, which systematized the existing racial segregation and stratified
the South African society.
The apartheid system, which the National Party implemented in 1948, had as
its goal, the introduction of racially discriminatory policies into every sphere of
society. As a deeply religious group,30 the Afrikaners relied heavily on the Bible to
justify their political credo of apartheid. Passages from the Old Testament were
interpreted to reinforce segregation and white supremacy.31
The National Party exploited its constitutional position of power to implement
29 Clark N. (1994) p. 2
At the heart of this civil religion is the notion of Afrikaners as Gods chosen people with an ordained
calling or mission. (Price R. 1991 p. 14).
Apartheid the doctrine and practice of complete group separation can be seen as the
operationalization of this Afrikaner national calling. (Price R. 1991 p. 14).

measures to change the character of society through the apartheid measures, and the
character of the state and regime. The autonomy of the courts was whittled away. The
power became more centralized in the parliamentary executive and was eventually
delegated to bureaucrats by President P.W. Botha. Today, the government inherited by
the ANC as a result of its victory at the democratic elections held on April 26-29,
1994, comprises a state controlled largely by powerful bureaucrats from the previous
apartheid government.
The apartheid system required an exceptionally strong state. The legal
enactments of apartheid comprised an extraordinarily wide set of state prescriptions
for how people should behave and where they should live and work. In short, it was an
enormous project of social control. The distribution of people within the urban and
rural areas highlighted the profound social impact of the apartheid laws.
The strong apartheid state, acting in association with a capitalist system,
translated into an English/Afrikaner alliance to exploit labor for the benefit of
employers and the elite owners of capital. This was a new alliance between the British,
who commanded the economy and the Afrikaners who controlled the state apparatus.
This alliance was made possible through ... a major expansion of the state into the
economy, which allowed government to use regulation, licensing, and investment to
create a level playing field between Afrikaner and English businessmen. In this
manner the previously deprived Afrikaner community was able to participate in and
successfully compete with English-speaking business in all sectors of the South African

economy.32 In practical terms, apartheid was much more than a policy to advance the
interest of the Afrikaners. More fundamentally, it secured the interest of the entire
capitalist class, enabling all capitalists to intensify the exploitation of African workers
and so raise the general rate of profit. Crucial to the issue of the power of the state
was the extent to which South African capitalism and apartheid were merged into a
coherent system of social control under the auspices of the state. Price asserts that
[t]he National Partys success in securing white rule was matched by the rapid social
and economic rise of the Afrikaner ethnic group. Apartheid and state capitalism were
the twin measures used by the Nationalists to accomplish this transformation.33 State
capitalism not only accelerated Afrikaner opportunities in the business sector, but ...
by requiring the expansion of state instruments of economic production and control it
opened up channels of progress through state employment as well.34 In this respect
apartheid had a profound function. Through the imposition of direct government
regulation over practically every aspect of black life, apartheid required the elaboration
and expansion of the state bureaucracy. In this manner ... a policy designed to
control and repress black majority became a means for the socioeconomic deliverance
of the Afrikaner minority.35 When the new South Africa was bom in 1994, very little
32 Price R. (1991) p. 25
33 Price R. (1991) p. 25
34 Price R. (1991) p. 25
35 Price R. (1991) p. 25

was done by the ANC to restructure the capitalist system, thus ensuring the
maintenance of the socioeconomic status quo, as will be discussed in Chapter Five.
The significance of the National Party regime was manifested in the following main
elements of the apartheid system: (1) labor regulation; (2) communal apartheid; and
(3) political control.
Labor Regulation
The swift development of the South African economy in the post World War II
years presented the National Party with a political predicament.36 The challenges that it
faced involved the formulation of a system that would guarantee adequate African
labor without threatening Afrikaner supremacy. The segregation policy was more than
an attempt to regulate black labor; [i]t also resulted from the desire of whites to
create towns and cities as orderly white islands in Africa, uncorrupted by the lower
civilization and unhygienic standards of blacks.37 In this regard, the mining industry,
which exploited migrant labor, served as a model for the National Party in its
formulation of labor related apartheid. Clark (1994) asserted that: .. South African
state enterprises found their greatest success by modeling not only labor policies but
also industrial strategies from the countrys most lucrative business: the mining
The emergence of manufacturing as the leading sector of the South African economy had profound
sociological and economic implications for the apartheid system. (Price R. 1991 p. 29).
37 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 10

industry.38 From the perspective of the National Party, the mines with their
compound accommodation system for Africans and the migrant labor-force,
approximated the apartheid ideal. Laborers were forced to work away from home with
no claim to citizenship or other political privileges. The African mine workers were
underpaid because of the underlying oppressive presumption that migrant workers did
not have to support families.
The apartheid regime obstructed any attempts by employers, who were
concerned about the severe deficiency in skilled labor and the economic impact of the
high turnover of migrant labor, to modify the migrant system. Price pointed out the
high cost of the apartheid system for employers and stated that [f]or manufacturers
employing African labor the influx-control system proved costly. When workers were
caught in its pass-law dragnet the investment employers had sunk into training was
lost, productivity declined and the hiring of new, inexperienced workers necessitated
training expenses.39 This reticence indicated the pervasive social control function of
apartheid, based on race. When the Anglo American Corporation (a South African
company) announced its scheme to provide accommodation for a small percentage of
its migrant laborers in family houses in African villages, Dr. Verwoerd, the Minister
for Native Affairs, declared the governments objection to the implementation of the
project. The objection was based on contributory National Party policy which held that
38 Clark N.(l 994) p. 10
39 Price R. (1991) p. 33

African families had to be accommodated in the homelands. As a result, the migrant
labor system remained in effect until the 1980s.
The homeland system was established through the Promotion of Black Self-
Government Act, which was promulgated in 1959. According to this Act, African
peoples of South Africa were to be allocated land wherein the political and
constitutional structure would be established to enable each national state to reach
self-governing status, leading to independence. Historical territories of the various
African peoples were identified, and, regardless of existing domicile, African people
were declared citizens of the designated homelands, where they were expected to
exercise their political rights. Because black South Africans had been deemed citizens
of the various homelands, they were considered aliens in other parts of the country
where they lived and worked. The implementation of the legislation saw the
establishment of ten homelands. They were Transkei (Xhosa speaking), Ciskei (Xhosa
speaking), KwaZulu (Zulu speaking), Lebowa (North Sotho speaking), Venda (Venda
speaking), Gazankulu (Shangaan-Tsonga speaking), Qwaqua (South Sotho speaking),
Bophuthatswana (Tswana speaking), KaNgwane (Swazi speaking) and KwaNdebele
(Southern Ndebele speaking).40
Gatsha Buthelezi, the Chief Minister of the KwaZulu homeland, whom the
National Party targeted for cooptation and collaboration, seized every opportunity to
40 Bureau of Information, (1986).

advocate for the unconditional release from prison of Nelson Mandela, the worlds
most famous political prisoner. However, when Mandela was freed in 1990, he
scorned Buthelezi. Fearing he would be relegated into political obscurity along with
the other homeland leaders, Buthelezi allowed his Inkatha Freedom Party members to
be trained by the South African police. This third force as it became known, was
responsible for the deaths of thousands of Africans, mainly in Johannesburg and the
Natal Midlands. A consequence of this reign of terror, was that Buthelezi was
propelled into the political forefront.
In sharp contrast to its callous dealings with African miners, the National Party
worked closely with white miners, using the longstanding apartheid labor system and
the job color bar to maintain a society in which the white population flourished and
Africans were socially and economically deprived. The color bar was implemented
[t]o protect the white man from native competition and this was achieved through
laws like the .. Native Labor Regulations Act of 1911 . and ... the Motor
Transportation Amendment Act (1959) and the Industrial Conciliation Act (1956) .. .
which mandated ... that certain jobs be held by whites only.41 White miners were
encouraged to establish and enroll in unions, to protect their privileges. Their demands
for a wage increase were largely met, by decreasing the wage of African miners.
In agriculture, the apartheid policy was chiefly directed toward providing
41 Williams W. (1989) p. 47

abundant labor for agriculture. The influx control as applied to agriculture, demanded
that before any African could leave a rural district, the local bureau had to be
convinced that the adequacy of local labor would not be threatened. The subjugation
of the cheap42 African farm workers prevented them from legally establishing
themselves in urban areas. Farm workers represented the lowest paid population, and
agriculture represented the highest government subsidized industry, thereby
illuminating the dichotomy that existed to ensure white privilege. This disparity was
compounded by the fact that government subsidies were paid chiefly to successfully
developed farms, with very little being appropriated to agriculture in the homelands.
This social injustice destroyed any potential for homeland agriculture as a feasible
alternative to migrant labor.
The National Party regime launched far-reaching measures to ensure that the
rural areas remained white. These measures forced the white farmers to give up
practices such as the labor tenant system and, as a result African tenants who had lived
on the land for generations were compelled to accept wage labor, or face resettlement
in the Bantu homelands. As a consequence of large scale agricultural mechanization,
excess African laborers, whose families had lived on the land before the white
conquest, were resettled in the homelands. Thompson (1995) stated that [t]he surplus
Africans were expelled from the white rural areas, and, because they could not enter
42 Workers are cheap because their individual skills can be easily obtained. (Clark N. 1994 p. 10).

the towns, most were obliged to resettle in the Homelands, even if they had never been
there before. 43 This practice became so widespread that certain areas in the
homelands became overcrowded with impoverished farm peasants. The government
administrators implored farmers to keep the unwanted farm laborers on the farms until
they could be appropriately resettled.
When the National Party came to power in 1948, it was concerned with the
fact that the customary division between skilled whites and unskilled blacks had
deteriorated. This erosion came about when employers surmounted the skilled labor
deficiency by fragmenting skilled jobs and employing blacks as semiskilled operatives.
As a consequence, the middle layers of the labor market became a contested area for
both white and black workers. The National Party responded by implementing
legislation which extended the statutory color bar beyond the mining industry to
include the industrial sector. In many instances the government intervened directly in
the industrial sector by dismissing African workers and appointing whites in their
The prescribing of the Industrial Conciliation Act empowered the Minister of
Labor to reserve jobs for whites and establish a ratio of white to African employees for
a particular industry. The National Party used this power to guard the interests of
whites which was evidenced by the fact that employment in jobs such as fireman,
43 Thompson L. (1995) p. 193

ambulance drivers, traffic officers, and even lift operators was reserved for whites.
This practice led to full employment of whites, and in some instances the demand for
labor surpassed the white labor force. To meet this demand, the government permitted
some skilled jobs to be fragmented into semiskilled operations in which blacks were
employed. In many instances, blacks performed in skilled jobs but were not given
recognition or compensated as skilled workers. White workers moved up to more
senior jobs, usually into supervisory positions, forcing the government to relax its job
reservation policy by allowing Africans to enter the lower grade jobs in the steel and
engineering industry. This liberty was granted with the rigid requirements that no
whites be displaced, and that no black worker would supervise the work of a white. In
the event of a recession, the concession would be revoked and the jobs would be given
back to whites. The consequence of this development was that while the government
allowed movement of labor across the color bar, the state held firmly to its policy of
regulating employment practice based on race.
Education of Laborers
Black advancement in the labor market was severely hampered by a deficient
education system under apartheid. Legal employment stipulations were often of lesser
significance than poor education, which did not equip blacks to compete with white
counterparts in the labor market. The apartheid system ensured that the white
population was educated and trained for technical and professional job opportunities,

while providing Africans with only a rudimentary education to do remaining jobs. The
small number of blacks, who defied the odds by completing high school, were
considered qualified to meet the requirements of the teaching profession and select
categories within the civil service. The National Party purposely neglected Black
education as a matter of policy in order to perpetuate the inequalities. This was
underscored by Giliomee when he stated: [i]n 1943 it was estimated that the state
would have had to multiply its expenditure on African education by thirty-six times in
order to place it on the same level as white education.44
Communal Apartheid
One of the chief motives of the apartheid system was the survival of the
Afrikaners in particular, and the white population in general. Price asserted that
[ajpartheid offered to the Afrikaner elite a method for overcoming its most basic
political challenge a challenge built into the very structure of the South African
sociopolitical system: how to maintain in perpetuity the domination of a white minority
over a vastly numerous black majority.45 The National Party theorized that this
survival of the Afrikaners and the larger white community could only be accomplished
through a position of entrenched privilege and the preservation of a separate white
group. The Afrikaners .. believed that failure to impose apartheid would lead to the
44 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 18
45 Price R. (1991) p. 15

political suicide of whites.46 The government embraced the basic premise of
communal apartheid whereby white control had to be safeguarded by statutorily
classifying the race groups and banning interracial relationships. This banning policy
was fortified by segregated residential areas and public amenities and by a stratified
education system. The National Party believed that communal apartheid was a
prerequisite for eliminating interracial contact and conflict.
The government set out to separate the population by sketching racial lines and
classifying the South African population into predetermined racial groups. The
classification of Africans and Indians was not as challenging for the government
because these groups generally maintained distinctive cultural identities. However, it
was virtually impossible to classify people of mixed race and white people into
statutory categories without imposing untold human suffering. Giliomee and
Schlemmer sited a case from the Survey of Race Relations of 1956 which detailed an
account where a ... man had lived his entire life as life as a European, as had two of
his brothers. His wifes employer accepted her as white. However, two of his children
were dark-skinned and were sent to a coloured school to save them from
embarrassment, while another was fair-skinned and attended a prominent white
school.47 This family lived in an area reserved for whites and as a consequence, the
husband and wife was charged with the unlawful occupation of the property.
46 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 54
47 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 85

Communal apartheid was achieved through the enactment of legislation, the
first of which was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, which outlawed all
interracial marriages. In practice this law checked all sexual intercourse across racial
lines. Further legislation was passed which decreed that any union entered into in
contravention of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, would be pronounced void
and of no effect.
The Immorality Act of 1950 was passed to stamp out extramarital sex across
racial lines. In 1957, this law was extended to outlaw interracial intimacy even if it fell
short of sexual intercourse. This law inflicted untold misery on the population as the
state committed a significant portion of its police force to snare offenders. Before the
Immorality Act was rescinded in 1985 . more than 11, 500 people had been
convicted under this Act and more than twice this number had been charged.48
Sectors from within the National Party were convinced that the Immorality Act was
heartless; however, the government retained the Immorality Act, considering it
fundamental to the political system. Thompson (1995) summarized these laws when
he wrote The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act (1949) and the Immorality Act
(1950) created legal boundaries between the races by making marriages and sexual
relations illegal across the color line.49
48 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 83
49 Thompson L. (1995) p. 190

The cornerstone Of communal apartheid was the Population Registration Act
of 1950. The Population Registration Act (1950) .. provided the machinery to
designate the racial category of every person. Its application led to the breaking up of
homes; for example, where one parent was classified White and the other was
classified Colored.50 The overriding objective of this decree was to detach statutorily
the apartheid communities and thus provide the foundation for the entire apartheid
structure. The national register that was established as a consequence of the
Population Registration Act became the basis of the whole policy of apartheid. The
Act empowered the state to classify every citizen into a racial category determined by
the state. South Africans were racially classified through the use of categories of
appearance, social acceptance, and descent, with descent being the overriding factor.
The National Party regime disregarded the fact that racial identity was a
sociological rather than a biological concept. In South Africa, centuries of mixing,
particularly in the Western Cape, had resulted in many marginal cases in which persons
who were bom into one category could easily pass into another. There were many
instances of individuals being classified as colored or African while blood-relations
were classified as white or colored.
The race classification unleashed immense suffering for the borderline cases.
Individuals were questioned at length about their heritage, and in extreme cases, the
50 Thompson L. (1995) p. 190

pencil test was applied. When administering the pencil tests, the official would
push a pencil into the hair of the person being classified, and if the persons hair was
straight enough to allow the pencil to fall out, that person would be classified white.
Needless to say, when the pencil remained entangled in the persons, hair, that person
was classified colored. The National Party asserted that classification was merely a
technical exercise for those not classified white because the governments objective
was to seclude the white population from the other races.
The statutorial ordering of the residential pattern of South African cities went
in tandem with the racial sex laws and race classification. The Group Areas Act was
the pillar of the apartheid system and was considered to be most decisive for
determining race relations in South Africa. It was closely connected to the other laws
directing communal apartheid. The Group Areas Act did not have as catastrophic an
impact on Africans since they were largely allowed in cities as migrant workers, and
the permanent Africans were regulated by the Urban Areas Act. It was the colored
community that was brutally affected by this Act. In Cape Town, a large portion of the
colored people lived in suburbs integrated with whites. This was particularly the case
in the working class sections of the towns where the low-socioeconomic white
population lived interspersed with the colored people. This pattern was largely due to
the fact that before the National Party came into power, colored people had not been
subject to any control over where they could acquire property.
By 1976, millions of black people were dislodged under the stipulation of the

Group Areas Act. In Cape Town, the government moved colored communities from
areas such as District Six and Kalk Bay into the townships. Across the country,
colored families were removed from the cities and resettled on the periphery of the
town. In many cases, extended families were broken up and the neighborhood spirit
destroyed, causing great sorrow and hardship. In the new townships a breakdown of
social dictates often occurred which gave rise to high crime rates. Many colored
homeowners suffered financially because they were inadequately compensated for their
homes in the proclaimed whites areas and had to accept smaller homes in the
Group Areas removals meant that houses had to be built on a large scale to
accommodate the dispossessed people. Often, these mass-produced homes were small,
and architecturally monotonous, resembling little boxes. In many instances, the
townships were located in close proximity to industrial areas, making the township
nothing more than dormitory residential areas. A further motive for legislating the
Group Areas Act was for security purposes as stated by Price: [t]he new periurban
townships, planned with internal security considerations in mind, were also conceived
as a means to facilitate the suppression of rebellion. Thus apartheids group areas
policy offered the means to contain and defeat any uprising in the urban areas, while at
the same time insulating the white minority from black political unrest.51
51 Price R. (1991) p. 19

Under the Group Areas Act, the Group Areas Board was established, which
consisted of white officials who were authorized to recommend the setting aside of
particular group areas for the sole ownership and occupation of an exclusive race
group. Effectively this recommendation meant that only individuals belonging to a
particular apartheid community were permitted to live in a determined group area. The
Group Areas Act not only governed the ownership and occupation of residential and
business premises but also the provision of entertainment. This law effectively
excluded black people from restaurants, theaters, cinemas, and sports clubs in white
residential areas or in the central business districts.
The removal of the black population to the outskirts has produced a
distinctive characteristic of the South African urban landscape, where the poor live in
high densities and further from the city than do the whites population. A direct
consequence of this removal was that the hardships which the Africans had to bear
were out of sight for the white people. Breyten Breytenbach, a renowned South
African poet and artist described this situation when he said: [ajpartheid is the White
mans night, the darkness which blurs his consciousness and his conscience. What one
doesnt see doesnt exist.52
The National Party considered Africans to be temporary residents in townships
like Soweto and did not want these townships to develop into self-sufficient locales.
52 La Gama A. ed (1971) p. 138

Township businessmen were not allowed to run more than one business, and they were
barred from forming companies or entering into partnerships. They were prohibited
from dealing in anything but day-to-day necessities, and restricted from establishing
African-controlled financial institutions and wholesale firms. Successful township
businessmen were encouraged by the municipal authorities to relocate to the
homelands. The effect of the governments restrictions on African business was that
African wages were channeled back into the white economy.
The apartheid regime passed the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of
1953 specifically to legalize unequal facilities for different races, thus contributing to
the wide-ranging segregation of virtually every public facility. Under this Act, blacks
were forced to use separate entrances to post offices, police stations, and railway
stations, separate buses and trains, separate parks, swimming pools, and beaches, and
separate public toilets.S3 This public segregation greatly entrenched white privilege
and went far in shaping the perception of black inferiority.
The National Partys policy of communal apartheid, with its extreme race
classification, racial sex laws, and urban segregation, was one of the most severe
exercises in social engineering ever undertaken. Communal apartheid ensured that
intergroup contact was kept to a minimum and served as the backbone for segregated
education, health facilities, and social services. From 1948 on, Whites Only notices
The law did not require that equal facilities be created for blacks; it meant only that blacks could not
share the facilities that whites had. I was an adult before I visited a movie theater.

appeared in every conceivable place. Laws and regulations confirmed or imposed
segregation for taxis, ambulances, hearses, buses, trains, elevators, benches, lavatories,
parks, church halls, town halls, cinemas, theaters, cafes, restaurants, and hotels, as well
as schools and universities.54 The great majority of black townships remained as
dormitory towns, with the inhabitants spending their money in white towns and with
their civic affairs controlled by the central state.
A considerable number of police man hours was expended regulating apartheid
laws. This expense was evidenced by the fact that [i]n 1982 some 206,022 persons
were arrested for violating pass laws, an increase of 43 percent over the 1980 figure of
117,518... ,55 However, it is important to note that much of the communal apartheid
was regulated by white civilians. The apartheid laws empowered the white population
to the extent that they could demand compliance from blacks. It can be argued that .
.. the withholding or withdrawal of positive rewards can itself be a positive form of
terror.56 During P.W. Bothas reform program of total strategy (discussed in
Chapter Three) the military was deployed in the townships. The South African military
was largely comprised of white civilians who were required by law to serve in the army
for a few months each year. Therefore, white civilians perceived black South Africans
as the enemy and on many occasions the heavily armed military units were in
54 Thompson L. 1995 p. 197
55 Price R. (1991) p. 126
56 Gross B. (1980) p. 294

combat in the townships against black youths armed with stones in self-defense.
Political Supremacy
The National Party established the Afrikaners as the core group on whom the
privileges and security of the larger white group depended. As a consequence, all
white people, regardless of their political affiliation, were persuaded to support both
the Afrikaner-controlled political order and the capitalist system. In order to effect
better control, the government divided the various black groups by allocating the
houses in the townships according to tribal affiliation. As a result, instead of the
various black groups joining forces against the apartheid system, they were divided by
the tensions the National Party engineered.
Education for Control
Given the enormous disparity in wealth between the race groups and the
discrimination and suffering endured by the blacks, apartheid demanded a workable
system of socialization and political indoctrination. The apartheid system needed to
persuade the white population, and Afrikaners in particular, not only that apartheid
served their individual and group interests, but that white supremacy was justified and
needed. The legitimacy of the apartheid system depended on a belief structure that
increased the solidarity of the National Party. The apartheid system also demanded
that this privileged white group be buffered from the harsh realities experienced by

blacks. According to Thompson: [s]ocial custom, reinforced by the official radio and
television and controlled press, sheltered whites from knowing how their black
compatriots lived. Few Whites ever saw an African, a Colored, or an Asian home. 57
The South African education system played a significant role in the task of
fabricating and disseminating the set of political beliefs needed for the apartheid
system. The myth of the racial superiority of the Afrikaner in particular, and the white
population in general, was propagated in school text books that emphasized racial
differences. The thesis of several textbooks was that white people were superior, that
the Afrikaner had a special relationship with God, and that the land rightfully belonged
to the Afrikaner. The English-speaking whites were financially able to have their
children educated in private schools thus escaping the rhetoric of the Afrikaner.
Black Political Subordination
The National Party had political supremacy as a primary objective and
demanded that the black population exist and develop apart from and under the
supervision of the Afrikaner. Political supremacy was achieved in various phases, the
first of which was the removal of all forms of black representation in Parliament. The
immediate target of the National Party in 1948 was the elimination of the Colored
people from the common voters roll. The National Party government felt so
57 Thompson L. (1995) p. 200

negatively about the colored vote, that it weathered a constitutional crisis to
accomplish its goal.5 In order to remove the colored population from the common
voters role, the National Party flooded the senate to achieve the majority they needed
to amend the constitution.
The National Partys phobia over the colored vote was shaped by the
Afrikaners perception that colored representation in Parliament would create a
disastrous precedent which other black groups could aspire to. Disfranchisement was a
deliberate attempt to impress on Black people that they were not to consider
themselves full citizens nor were they part of the South African nation. When dealing
with Africans, the government went much further along the road of denationalization.
All Africans were considered to be citizens of the different homelands even if they had
been bom or resided in an urban area in South Africa. Through the implementation of
this policy, u[t]he government tried to herd into the Homelands nearly all African,
except those whom white employers needed as laborers. 59
Political apartheid was essentially about the establishment of subordinate
structures for the disenfranchised Black peoples. The homelands were developed as
compensation for African representation in the white state, but there was poor
30 Thompson L. (1995) p. 191
59 Thompson L. (1995) p. 193

industrial development and slow economic growth in the African territories.60 Africans
working outside the homelands were forced to return annually, and they enjoyed
limited human rights outside of the homelands. The National Party justified its policy
by claiming that [i]n its Homeland, an African (can) .. develop ... with all the
rights that were denied it in the rest of the country.61 Even after the weaknesses of
the homeland system were identified, the National Party made no attempt to increase
the land allocated to the homelands. Instead of recognizing the human rights of urban
Africans, the Nationalist government used the homeland system as a justification for
the repatriation of residual African workers and as an excuse to deny Africans in white
areas citizenship and their South African nationality.
The major reason for the economic failure of the homelands was the
governments prohibiting of investment by white entrepreneurs in the homelands. This
restriction, coupled with the governments resettlement policy and rigid controls on
African urbanization, greatly frustrated prospects for growth. In addition to a rapid
natural population increase, the homelands had to accommodate millions of Africans
displaced from farms, customary lands, and white cities under the policy of township
In the 1970s, the government committed a slightly larger portion of the South
Thompson described this territory as [n]early every Homeland consisted of several pieces of land,
separated by white-owned farms. (Thompson L. 1995 p. 191).
61 Thompson L. (1995)p. 191

African budget to the homelands and socioeconomic conditions in the homelands
began to ameliorate. The National Party hoped that by improving the socioeconomic
conditions in the homelands, the homelands would develop into independent national
states. Nevertheless, the homeland governments remained almost entirely economically
dependent on the Nationalist government. The homeland leaders were well aware that
any show of opposition to the National Party, could lead to catastrophic punitive
measures such as the curtailment of financial assistance or the repatriation of migrant
workers from white South Africa. The homeland structures had no economic base, and
therefore, the Pretoria government assumed full responsibility for balancing its fiscal
budget. According to Giliomee and Schlemmer: KwaZulu, for instance, continued to
rely on between 70 and 80 percent of its income on financial transfers from Pretoria.62
Instead of the devolving any real political power to the homelands, the
National Party devolved only administrative functions. By the 1980s, the South
African government was spending a significant portion of its budget on the homelands.
Initially the homelands met the National Partys political and ideological objectives
without any prohibitive costs; however, over the period of time, the expenses relating
to the duplication of administrative structures in the homelands became a major
financial burden.
62 Giliomee H & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 102

The Politics of White Privilege
Apart from protecting white people in the private sector, the apartheid order
also directed all its policies to favor the white population, and particularly Afrikaners,
over black people. Clark (1994) asserted that: [political apartheid was accompanied
by years of government economic intervention that shaped and limited the material
opportunities of generations of Africans.63 As a result of these policies, income
distribution of the white and black populations was badly skewed.
Apartheid formed a common platform on which Afrikaners were able to join
forces with the common objective of fostering Afrikaner interests. Given that the
English-speaking whites controlled the economy, the government employed the civil
service for the socioeconomic upliftment of the Afrikaners. Since the government was
committed to the policy of apartheid, it implemented the swift Afrikanerization of the
civil service to facilitate the socioeconomic within a relatively short period of time.
This process was characterized thus: K[t]he government ... Afrikanerized every state
institution, appointing Afrikaners to senior as well as junior positions in the civil
service, army, police, and state corporations. Medical and legal professional
associations, too, came increasingly under Afrikaner control. The government also
assisted Afrikaners to close the economic gap between themselves and English-
ClarkN. 1994p. 1

speaking white South African.64 Consequently, Afrikaans-speaking Nationalists filled
virtually all public sector positions.
The National Party also used the rapidly expanding public and quasi-
govemmental corporations to promote Afrikaner economic progress, and as a result
the number of Afrikaner businesses in the private sector grew sharply. The Nationalist
government intervened through the marketing boards to set favorable prices which
greatly assisted the farmers, who were predominantly Afrikaners. Over a relatively
short period of time, the gap in income of Afrikaners and other white populations
reduced rapidly.
Apartheid also boosted the privileges that white people received in the social
services provided by government. This boost was very evident in the disparities that
developed in the pensions paid to the four racial groups, with African pensioners
receiving only .. 30,3 per cent.... 65 of what was paid to white pensioners.
Spending on education favored white people disproportionately as a group, but
this favoritism began to change in the 1970's when a shortage of skilled workers
weakened the economy. The National Party responded to the demands of the business
community for a more trainable black work force, by amending the national budget to
increase the amount spent on the education of black groups.
64 Thompson L. (1995) p. 188
65 GiliomeeH & SchlemmerL. (1989) p. 105

Power Sharing
Through its actions, the Nationalists articulated the interests of white people at
the expense of the black groups. The primary features of reform-apartheid was
manifested in the governments desire to reform apartheid in an attempt to present its
rule as being in the interest of all South Africans. While the National Party felt it
prudent to give all groups a say in government, it equally had no inclination to
abandon having the final say. This change in political strategy evolved as a direct result
of the second political milestone, namely, the Soweto uprising which was dominated
by Mr. P.W. Bothas constitutional reforms of 1984. Price (1991) asserted that: [t]his
evolution in the apartheid project represented the Afrikaner elites response to the
domestic and international security threats.. .,66
Price R. (1991) p. 21

The Soweto uprising of June 16, 1976 represented a significant advance in
black opposition to white rule. Price placed the Soweto uprising in perspective when
he said: . . it broke through the political passivity that had reigned since Sharpville
and it was the most sustained episode of militant mass resistance in South Africas
modem history. . ,67 On March 28, 1960, in the African township of Sharpville, a
protest demonstration against the pass laws was organized by the Pan Africanist
Congress (PAC). The police responded by attacking the demonstrators, killing . . 69
and wounding another 178.68 The ferocious attack on all manifestations of the
apartheid state by the politically engaged urban black youths signaled that the black
opposition had evolved into rebellion against the established authority. This chapter
describes the South African states evolution in response to the Soweto uprising and
its perceived threats to white minority rule.
On this portentous morning of June 16, 1976, African school children gathered
at a secondary school in Soweto to protest the introduction of Afrikaans as the
67 Price R. (1991) p. 58
68 Price R. (1991) p. 21

medium of instruction in secondary schools. The police reacted to this gathering by
tear-gassing the crowd and opening fire, killing and injuring several students.
According to Price, [t]his series of events touched off a rebellion against the
apartheid system that was unprecedented in its scope and endurance.69 The police
action against unarmed protestors caused students to fan out across the township,
hurling stones and bricks at police from behind erected barricades. Over the ensuing
days, school children continued to smash and bum the property of the hated state
structures which regulated the townships. The apartheid regime despatched the police
in greater numbers, but at ... each new trouble spot they encountered large groups
of youths manning barricades who stood their ground, battling the well-armed security
forces with stones, bottles, bricks, and whatever sort of weapon or projectile they
could muster.70 Within a few days the uprising had spread from Soweto to other
townships across the country, where, in each place demonstrations were held in
support of the Soweto students.
The Soweto uprising destroyed the remaining normative underpinning of
apartheid ideology. The ferocity of the assault on the exhibitions of white supremacy,
the depth and breadth of empathy for the rebellion within the black community, and
the sustained nature of the revolt dissolved the claim of apartheid as being a superior
system for social harmony. The Afrikaner elite lost confidence in its ideological
69 Price R. (1991) p. 46
70 Price R. (1991) p. 47

foundation and along with it the sense that it had a correct and superior guide to
ordering political and social relations. The ideological disconnection within the
Afrikanerdom was such that many leading figures came to view apartheid as a cause of
South Africas intergroup conflict. The Cillie Commission of 1976, appointed to
undertake an inquiry into the Soweto uprising, concluded that apartheids central
features created the social and political conditions that produced the uprising. Price
noted: [t]hat a government-appointed commission, especially one closely advised by
the Department of Bantu Administration, could present apartheid as part of the South
African problem rather than the solution, and that this was deemed acceptable by
officialdom, is a dramatic indicator of the extent to which Soweto helped force a
disintegration of the ideological unity. ...71
In the years following the Soweto uprising, the crises created by the apartheid
system could not be resolved, because of violations of apartheid theory or practice.
This meant that any possible solution to the crisis would have brought the state in
conflict with its apartheid ideology. This failure led important sections within the
Afrikaner political elite to conclude that pivotal aspects of apartheid needed to be
transformed or even abandoned. Therefore, Afrikaner intellectuals and the National
Party leadership searched for a new political formula to succeed where the apartheid
system had failed.
71 Price R. (1991) p. 60

To lead them in this crisis, the National Party in 1978, turned to P.W. Botha.
Botha was elected to parliament in 1948 as the National Party representative from
George in the Western Cape, in the election that brought the party to power. In 1966
he became the minister of defense in Verwoerds cabinet, an appointment he held until
becoming prime minister in 1978. During his term as defense minister, Botha refined
his leadership style and developed his ideas on broader national issues. He absorbed
many of the militarys attitudes and work styles, stressing teamwork, organization*
planning, and a managerial perspective dominated by a problem-solving approach.72
The leadership qualities that Botha developed as minister of defense was the chief
reason that the National Party turned to him in the aftermath of the Soweto uprising.
Once elected as prime minister, Bothas first priority was to consolidate his political
base. He achieved this by: ... creating his own team at the cabinet level, taking
control of the party machine, stamping his authority on government, especially the
senior levels of the civil service, and winning his mandate from the white electorate.73
According to Botha, the state had to respond to black rebellion through the
incorporation of political, economic, psychological, technological, and military
means.74 The concept of total strategy75 was developed by Botha, who believed that
72 SchrireR. (1991) p. 35
73 SchrireR. (1991)p. 36
74 Price R. 1991 p. 85.

the survival of white privilege required more than mere military defense.75 76 The
government labeled its overall effort a total strategy, indicating the
comprehensiveness of the states response to the Soweto uprising and its strategy of
maintenance of white supremacy in the South African state system, with or without
apartheid. Botha made domestic reform the centerpiece of the governments rhetoric.
While he championed the governments purpose as adaptation and change, he restored
white confidence in the state through repression of black liberation movements.77
Reform Stratagem
Prime Minister Bothas reform ambitions had three primary objectives: the
removal of economic bottlenecks associated with the apartheid system, the
development of an African middle class, and the political cooptation of the black
population. The reform program introduced to accomplish these goals can be
methodically divided into three basic segments: (1) redesigning the constitutional in
order to permit black political participation in a manner that did not threaten ultimate
P.W. Botha was convinced that in order for white supremacy to survive in South Africa, the state had
to muster all activities political, economic, diplomatic and military. (Price R. 1991 p. 85).
P. W. Botha, although the father of South African reform, had been closely associated with the
security apparatus since his ten-year service as minister of defense. (Price R. 1991 p. 276).
This goal was attainable as [w]hite political supremacy and the socioeconomic privilege that flows
from it characterized South Africa long before the concept of apartheid was developed and instituted
by the National Party. (Price R. 1991 p. 82).

control by whites; (2) upgrading black urban living conditions; and, (3) deracializing
social segregation. The rational for this strategy was to . demonstrate the power of
the state and the relative impotence of its opponents, the credibility of the
revolutionary option would be undermined and its proponents rendered dangerous
Utopians in the eyes of their own community. With the revolutionary option seemingly
foreclosed, the expectations of the majority community in regard to change would
decline, and blacks would be willing to accept a more limited form off inclusion, i.e.,
The Constitution of 1983
The first concrete exhibition of Bothas reform creation was the introduction of
a new multiracial constitutional dispensation. The new constitution supplanted a
political order defined by white racial exclusivity with one built on multiracial
participation. However, the exclusion of the African people from the new
constitutional dispensation reflected the National Partys persistent adherence to white
political control, despite its commitment to reform.
In reforming apartheid, the National Party was seeking to ameliorate the
deprivations of the black community so as to reduce the level of grievance and
alienation that produced the Soweto uprising. In this political milestone, the National
78 Price R. (1991) p. 92

Party shifted away from the ideology of classic apartheid as a result of intensified black
militancy, foreign pressure, and the fiscal crisis. The state made significant political
concessions to protect and safeguard white privilege in response to this rising
challenge. This political milestone was distinguished by the establishment of the
tricameral parliament, which was intended as a vehicle of co-optation, drawing
subjugated populations into the decision-making process without enabling them to
decisively affect the outcomes of the policy-making process. These reforms entailed
the relaxation of control measures over multiracial sport and the deracialization of
public facilities such as parks, buses, trains, theaters, and libraries. Owners of hotels
and restaurants as well as tertiary educational institutions were given greater autonomy
to determine criteria for admission. In the economic terrain, the statutory color bar
was abandoned, black labor unions were legalized, and restrictions on black
entrepreneurs in white urban centers were lifted. The most significant of these reforms
was the legalization of the black labor unions because it enabled the masses to mobilize
and intensify the pressure on the Pretoria regime through strikes, consumer boycotts,
and work stayaways. The constitutional reforms of 1983 ... had an especially
profound impact because, along with sparking new levels of anger, they provided the
impetus for a country-wide campaign off political mobilization.79 Meanwhile, the
states determination to formally implement the constitution as a transparent strategy
79 Price R. (1991) p. 177

for the maintenance of apartheid masquerading as reform, served as a stimulus for
mass mobilization by government opponents, further illuminating the evolutionary
paradigm of political change in South Africa.
Township Upgrading
The Cillie Commission of 1976 concluded that the Soweto uprising resulted in
part from the poor living conditions in the black townships. Price pointed out that:
[a]s noted in the commissions report, an inadequate housing supply, the nearly
complete absence of electricity, a lack of running water, insufficient social amenities,
and poor transportation to adjacent urban centers had contributed to a state of mind
among township residents that could easily lead to revolt and rioting.80 In August
1977, the Riekert Commission was appointed to investigate the problems related to
the system of influx control. Price noted Riekerts early observation that: .. black
labor represents by far the largest proportion of the total labor force in the so-called
White area, that it was growing significantly faster than the white component, and
that it was concentrated in the cities.81 According to Price the significance of these
findings was that: [t]he report of the Riekert Commission represents a watershed in
the ideological evolution of National Party rule. From that point on officialdom
discarded the doctrinal apartheid concept of the urban black worker as a transient, and
80 Price R. (1991) p. 102
81 Price R. (1991) p. 103

the black township as a short-term aberration.82 With P.W. Bothas accession to
power in 1978, the findings and recommendations of both the Cillie and the Riekert
Commissions were incorporated into an evolving program of physical upgrading of the
townships and a revision of the legal, economic, and social status of township
The governments commitment to upgrade the black townships required an
alteration in the ideological notion that Africans had no permanent place within white
South Africa. By committing itself to upgrade the townships, the National Party was
accepting not only that black residential areas were a permanent part of South Africa,
but also that the African community was a permanent member of the South African
society. One of Bothas earliest reform moves was to enact the Black Urban Areas
Consolidation Act, which permitted black persons to own a home outside of the
homelands. However, ... it should be noted that in 1978 the government was not
yet ready to accept outright ownership of property for Africans within what had, since
1913, been considered white South Africa. The 1978 reform of the Black Urban Areas
Act provided for leasehold, not ownership, and pertained to houses, not the land upon
which they were built.83 Although the reforms that allowed for black home ownership
represented a reversal of certain apartheid tenets, black home ownership was still
subject to restrictions under the Group Areas Act, and black persons had to establish
82 Price R. (1991) p. 103
83 Price R. (1991) p. 107

residence before they could qualify to purchase a home. The ideology of classic
apartheid negated the concept of ownership by the black population.
The goal of this reform was to reduce the level of social dissatisfaction in the
townships. Instead, by increasing the expectations of blacks even more, it succeeded in
igniting the fire of Afiican opposition, thereby compelling further adaptations by the
state for the protection of white supremacy.
The business sector was the second area in which the Botha regime sought to
revise the apartheid system to facilitate the emergence of an African middle class. The
Group Areas Act was a constraint in that it prohibited black entrepreneurs from
operating in areas designated white. The government modified the Group Areas Act
by adding a new section that empowered the state president to declare free trade
areas. In these geographic zones, businesses could be operated by people of all
races.84 This reform measure led to the gradual expansion of business opportunities for
black entrepreneurs, and professionals in the major cities of the central business
districts of South Africa.85 While the government no longer enforced the segregation
of business areas, it did not commit itself to the national desegregation of the business
sector. The opening of free-trade areas was left to local authorities to initiate, and as a
It is notable that free-trade areas have all been declared in the downtown business districts and not in
the white suburbs. (Price R. 1991 p. 108).
As of mid-1987, forty-eight CBDs had been declared open for trading by businesspeople of any race;
by the end of 1988 the number of open CBDs had grown to ninety. (Price R. 1991 p. 108).

result, the extent to which the economy was actually opened to black entrepreneurs
was limited.
P. W. Bothas reform program included a commitment to upgrade the physical
infrastructure of the townships. High on Bothas reform agenda was a program for
housing construction, electrification, water and sewerage hookups, and the provision
of better recreational amenities in the townships.86 The governments policy of
restricting housing construction for Africans in urban areas resulted in a disastrous
housing shortage in the townships.87 The costs of township upgrading proved too
much for the government to bear, and the development policy was opened to the
private sector to finance. The National Party failed to realize that businesses financed
housing construction only with a reasonable prospect of the repayment of the loans,
and that the private sector would rather construct fewer luxury homes than many low
cost homes. The low socioeconomic status of the black population as a result of white
supremacy, restricted blacks ability to acquire homes that would economically benefit
the private sector. As a consequence, .. between 1980 and 1984 the private sector
built only 6,756 houses for Africans and 15,091 for coloureds throughout South
Africa, including the homelands. During the same period, the private sector financed
86 PriceR. (1991)p. 111.
The Riekert Commission, offering a very conservative estimate, calculated the backlog of houses for
Africans at 141,000 units, which it said would require an expenditure of R764 million to eliminate.
(PriceR. 1991 p. 111).

some 132,903 units of white housing.
The segregation policies that the National Party since 1948 had claimed to be
the best means for avoiding political conflict in a racially heterogenous society were,
after the Soweto uprising, widely seen as a source of racial conflict. Moreover, the
laws mandating social segregation had no direct role in the preservation of white
political power and material privilege. Thus, from 1979 P.W. Botha undertook policies
directed at deracializing the official aspects of personal, social, and public life. The
government sought to abolish as much of state-imposed racial separation and
discrimination as was no longer necessary for the maintenance of white control. In
1979 P.W. Botha referred to this as the removal of unnecessary race discrimination.
The Riekert Commission sounded the same theme when it reported that
discriminatory measures should be avoided as far as possible by not drawing any
distinction on the grounds of race in legislation or administration.88 89 In 1980 P.W.
Botha announced his intention to repeal the Mixed Marriages and Immorality Acts,
which made cross-racial marriage and interracial sexual relations a criminal offense,
but it was only in 1986 that the laws were actually abolished.
In keeping with P.W. Bothas order to remove unnecessary racial
88 Price R. (1991) p. 113
89 Price R. (1991) p. 116

discrimination, the government reduced officially mandated racial segregation in public
amenities such as parks, beaches, swimming pools, transportation, hotels, restaurants,
and theaters. However, instead of scrapping the Reservation of Separate Amenities
Act of 1953, the government empowered local authorities to desegregate the public
facilities at their discretion. The result was an uneven and subjective move toward
desegregation, since the endeavors of the different local authorities reflected their
particular sociopolitical environment. A consequence of giving local authorities the
power to desegregate facilities was that ... at one end of the change continuum
stands Cape Town, the traditional bastion of English-speaking liberalism, where public
beaches, swimming pools, parks, and transportation services were desegregated by the
early 1980s, while on the other end stands cities like Pretoria, where only minimal
steps had been taken toward desegregation by the end of the decade.90 In 1986, the
government repealed the Group Areas Acts restrictions on hotels and restaurants
nationwide. However, the economic gap between blacks and whites would maintain
the racial segmentation in public facilities such as hotels and restaurants.
In residential segregation, the local option was employed once more in the
governments reform effort to combine integration and continued segregation. The
National Party retained the Group Areas Act throughout the 1980s, but some
90 Price R. (1991) p. 118

residential areas were allowed to become integrated.91 Under the new reform policy,
P.W. Botha committed the government to allowing residential desegregation in newly
developed suburbs that would be denoted as open areas.92 These social reform
policies further demonstrated the states evolution towards maintaining white
supremacy through an attempt to create a black middle class as a buffer between white
privilege and black poverty.
The South African state until 1979, refused to recognize the right of African
workers to organize, bargain collectively, and otherwise participate in trade unions.
The large-scale labor strikes in Durban in 1973 gave the state an indication of the
African workers capability to mount and effectively challenge apartheids low-wage
system.93 The government, driven by a primary concern to regain control over the
labor situation that appeared increasingly threatening, announced on September 1979
the granting of formal trade union rights to African workers.94 Control of the
workplace was one of the few levers of power available to the black population given
the extensive reliance of the state on black labor. The emergent trade union movement
was marked by heightened militancy and increased politicization. This politicization
At first Pretoria simply ignored the de facto existence of racially mixed neighborhoods, what were
termed grey areas, as black people moved into neighborhoods legally prescribed for whites. (Price
R. 1991 p. 118).
92 Price R. 1991 p. 119.
93 Price R. 1991 p. 122
94 Price R. 1991 p. 122.

manifested itself in the formation of the giant Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) in December 1985, which coalesced trade unions representing a majority
of black workers. From the outset, COSATU committed itself to a national political
struggle for black social, political, and economic rights.95 In its attempt to adapt the
apartheid state to allow for black trade unions, the National Party had miscalculated
miserably and, as a result, faced a more popular, organized and effective opposition.
Repression Stratagem
In response to the Soweto uprising of 1976, the National Party embarked upon
a reform program with the intent of restoring domestic political peace and to return
the economy to a path of sustained growth. The centerpiece of this approach was a
program of domestic reform whereby the National Party sought to disassemble much
of the racial separation and control that it had constructed over a thirty-year period.
However, by the middle of the 1980s the country was overwhelmed by a black
insurrection that was more radical, more violent, more widespread, and more sustained
than anything witnessed in modem South Africa. This insurrection was led, not by the
ANC, but by the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Mass Democratic
Movement (MDM). This development can be attributed to the fact that reform was
not the only component employed by the state to deal with the challenge made on
95 Price R. 1991 p. 122.

white minority domination. P.W. Botha employed a multi-pronged response to the
states perceived security threats, combining socioeconomic policy and ideological
warfare with more conventional police activities, which were identified as repression.
When P.W. Botha became prime minister, the State Security Council was
transformed from a relatively inactive advisory board on intelligence matters, into a
policy-formulating body involved in virtually all domestic and foreign matters. By the
mid-1980s, the State Security Council, which was under Bothas direct control,
supplanted the cabinet as the supreme source of power and policy. The membership of
the State Security Council was made up of the heads of each branch of the South
African military; police; intelligence services; the ministers holding key government
portfolios such as foreign affairs, defense, law and order, constitutional development
and planning, finance; and senior bureaucrats from several key government
departments.96 It was within the national strategic planning sessions of the State
Security Council that Botha devised the governments policies of reform and
The Soweto uprising of 1976 raised both the hope and specter of revolution.
The spirit of militant resistance bom in the Soweto uprising served to advance African
expectations not only for a decrease in racial discrimination but of an end to white
minority rule. P.W. Botha responded to these expectations with repression as a means
96 Price R. (1991) p. 86.

to deal with black ambitions and white apprehensions. The National Party deployed
the coercive arm of the state to destroy extraparliamentary organizations whose
demands went beyond the governments reform plans. The government believed that
by its demonstrating the power of the state and the relative powerlessness of its
opponents, the credibility of the revolutionary alternative would be undermined. With
the revolutionary option seemingly foreclosed, the expectations of the majority
community in regard to change would decline, and blacks would be willing to accept a
more limited form of inclusion. It was for this reason that the National Party regime
used repression to make its reform program acceptable to the black population.
Repression against militant blacks was also intended to bolster the white minoritys
confidence in the ability of the state to maintain control over the pace and direction of
change. In this way, the National Party leadership under P.W. Botha hoped to enhance
the white communitys sense of security and thus maintain an electoral constituency
for its efforts to alter apartheid. By demonstrating, the states ability to maintain
control through repression, the government sought to avoid wholesale political
defection to those leaders who objected to any move away from dogmatic adherence
to apartheid doctrine. During this time, the Conservative Party, under the leadership of
Andries Treumicht, emerged as a serious contender to the National Party for the
political control of the white electorate.
The National Party under the leadership of Botha entered the 1980s with a
design for restoring peace and stability in South Africa. However, within five years,

Bothas total strategy had tom up the domestic political landscape more thoroughly
than at any other time in the history of the South African state. Bothas combination of
reform and repression was supposed to produce cooption, collaboration, and
acquiescence, but instead it produced insurrection. The National Party envisioned that
repression against radicals would lower black political expectations. Its leaders
believed that the amelioration of black living conditions would reduce levels of
grievance, thereby facilitating the cooptation of the black population into the state
structures. The National Partys strategy of reform and repression provided the
sociopolitical conditions that gave rise to the rapid and wide-scale formation of grass-
roots organizations. These conditions precipitated the commencement of the phase of
insurrection which ultimately facilitated the negotiation process between the National
Party and the ANC. While insurrection is a means to transform or nullify state power,
the evolutionary paradigm becomes evident in the states manipulation in channeling
the revolutionary forces to a negotiated settlement that, while allowing superficial
social changes, ultimately maintained the white supremist nature of the South African
state. This channeling was accomplished in large part through the legalization of the
ANC and other black liberation movements, which shall be discussed in detail in the
next chapter.

In this political milestone, which occurred concurrently with the other
milestones, the African National Congress (ANC) and the various liberation
movements such as the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the Black Consciousness
Movement (BCM), the Azanian Peoples Organization, and the United Democratic
Front (the most prominent liberation movements), played a major role in shaping this
evolutionary phase of the South African state. Dignified and restrained protest in the
form of an African deputation to London and similar deputations to the parliament in
Cape Town had been the nature of African protest early in the century, but this
changed with the formation of the South African Native Congress in 1912 in response
to the construction of the segregated state. In 1923 this organization was renamed to
the African National Congress, with the early leadership pursuing the objective of
inclusion in the political center of the South African state. This chapter analyses the
black resistance, including the ANC, from 1912 to 1991, which opposed the National
Party and compelled the apartheid state to evolve in response.
Africans from all over South Africa converged in Bloemfontein on January 8,

1912, to form the ANC. Ranuga clarified this term by stating that: [t]he ANC carried
the designation national not because it was committed to clearly defined nationalistic
objectives such as self-determination or majority rule but rather because it was
originally established and inaugurated as a supra-ethnic movement committed to the
achievement of equal opportunities within White-ruled South Africa.97 Since its
inauguration, Christian leaders charted the organizations destination, beginning with
Reverend John Dube, up to and including the years of leadership by Oliver Tambo,
who guided the ANC while in exile. Historically, J.T. Gumede was the only quasi-
Marxist leader of the organization, but his involvement with the Communist Party of
South Africa cost him his leadership. Josiah Tshangana Gumede was one of the
founding members of the ANC who traveled to Moscow to attend the Russian
revolution celebrations. On his return to South Africa, J.T. Gumede was convinced
that [t]he Soviet Union was the best ally of those who were struggling for freedom
and equality because the only friends of oppressed peoples are the communists.98
The Christian-liberal heritage of the ANC made it ideologically difficult for the
organization to make speculative moves to the left.
The aspiration of the organization was to redress the injustice of the South
African political system by employing peaceful and constitutional means. In its 1919
Constitution, the ANC identified its goal as that of educating the government on the
97 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 14
98 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 25

needs of Africans. Its amended constitution of 1943 differed from the previous
constitution in that the organization centered its activities on gaining inclusion in the
South African political arena but remained moderate in perspective. Absent from the
constitution were demands for majority rule." The establishment of the African
National Congress Youth League (CYL) in 1944, signaled an ideological turning point
for the ANC. The increasing number of young militants who joined, transformed the
traditional ANC policy of reformism to an ideology of African nationalism. On the
national question, Ranuga wrote that: [t]he ANC was, strictly speaking, not a
nationalist movement for national liberation and independence, but a movement for the
promotion and protection of democratic rights for the African people within a
multiracial state.99 100 This reformist ideology desired . . the unity of the African
people and the advancement of their interest by eradicating racial discrimination from
South Africa resulting in the .. direct participation in all the councils of state.101
Under the leadership of Anton Muziwakhe Lembede a CYL Manifesto was drafted
that described African nationalism as an ideology by which [t]he African now elects
to determine his own future by his own efforts and that self-determination is the
The 1943 Constitution of the ANC did not contain aspirations for ...political power or control of
government. (Ranuga, T. 1996 p. 34)
100 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 9
101 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 34

philosophy of life which will save him from the disaster he clearly sees on his way.102
In June 1955, the South African Indian Congress (SAJC), the ANC, and the
South African Colored Peoples Organization (CPC) met at Kliptown near
Johannesburg to formulate the Freedom Charter.103 104 105 The SAIC and the CPC worked
closely with the ANC in their fight against White oppression.10* Historically, the
Freedom Charter was the most discerning document for the nationalist movements in
South Africa. It was the Charters position on nationalization and land ownership that
proved to be the most controversial. On nationalization, the document centered on
multiracialism103 and did not mention national freedom106. The Charter entrenched
private ownership and did not attempt to address the revolutionary nationalist
demands for the restoration of seized lands. The ANCs adoption of the Freedom
Charter forced a split between the Charterists and Africanists, with the Africanists
breaking away in 1959 to form the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC). Ranuga defined
the Charterist as those .. who were committed to a multiracial South Africa as
102 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 36
103 Ranuga, T. (1996)
104 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 69
The Freedom Charter proclaimed that ____South Africa belonged to all who lived on it, Black and
White. Ranuga, T. 1996 P. 10).
Ranuga defined national freedom as ... freedom from white domination and the attainment of political
independence and the realization by the African people of the right to self-determination. (Ranuga, T.
1996 P. 48).

envisaged by the Freedom Charter.107 The Africanists followed the . ideology of
African nationalism in the struggle for African liberation in South Africa108 as
expounded by Anton Muziwakhe Lembede. Ranuga (1996) described the PAC as: .
. Africanists (who) undertook to be the custodians of the ANC policy. They set out
on their new path to defend and propagate the philosophy of African nationalism as a
basis for African liberation.109 The PAC asserted that by adopting the Freedom
Charter the ANC had taken on a multiracial premise, allowing white liberals to play a
major role in the nationalist struggle. The PAC identified its goal as that of defending
and proliferating the philosophy of African nationalism as a basis for African liberation
in South Africa.110
The philosophy of African nationalism was expanded upon by Steve Bantu
Biko, who became known as the father of Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) in
South Africa. Steve Biko advocated that the emancipation of black people in South
Africa depended ultimately on the role black people themselves were prepared to play.
Biko was passionately opposed to white liberals holding leadership roles in the BCM
because he believed that . .. blacks were determined to manage or mismanage their
107 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 49
108 Ranuga, T. (1996)p. 77
109 Ranuga T. (1996) p. 77
110 Ranuga T. (1996).

own affairs.111 The brutal death of Steve Biko in 1977, while in police custody, led to
renewed demonstrations in the black townships. The violent clashes with police in the
aftermath of Bikos murder, was reminiscent of the Soweto uprising.
In 1960 the PAC, freed from the liberal-reformist ideology of the Charterists,
embarked on a confrontational crusade by launching a mass antipass112 campaign. The
South African pass laws required ... blacks to obtain special permits to live and
work in the cities. The antipass campaign was launched by the PAC to ... defy the
pass laws.113 This campaign culminated in the historic Sharpville Massacre, in which
67 demonstrators were killed and 178 injured. A further consequence was that the
National Party regime responded by legislating the Unlawful Organizations Act of
1960, which outlawed both the ANC and the PAC. The Unlawful Organizations Act
made it ... illegal for any person to be a member of the former African nationalists
111 Ranuga T. (1996) p. 94
112 Ottaway, M. 1993 p. 72
113 Ottaway, M. 1993 p. 72
114 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 51

The Resistance
To the oppressed black population of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was the
symbol of hope. As one of the leading members of the ANC Youth League (CYL),
Mandela warned the South African government that: .. no physical might in the
world can crush the invincible spirit of a nation.115 The CYL engaged on a program
of action that spelled out the type of weapons to be employed in the struggle for
national freedom, namely: immediate and active boycott, strike, civil disobedience,
non-cooperation and such other means as may bring about the accomplishment and
realization of our aspirations116 The government responded by arresting the ANC
leaders, including Nelson Mandela, and cited the reason as being the attempted
overthrow the state through violent revolution. At the conclusion of the Rivonia Trial
(as it became known), Nelson Mandela and the other ANC leaders were sentenced to
life imprisonment. In 1976, Botha made a release offer to Mandela that would have
involved him giving up the liberation struggle. If Mandela had accepted Bothas offer,
the consequences would have been catastrophic for the Black Liberation Movements
who were inspired by Mandelas personal sacrifice. In 1985, Botha repeated the offer
with the concession involving the rejection of violence. Mandela had become a
mythical figure for the oppressed masses and his bowing to the apartheid regime
Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 44
Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 44

would have crushed the spirit of the struggle for freedom. In 1990, Mandela finally
accepted the offer for his freedom after the ANC, PAC, and SACP were declared
unrestricted organizations by the South African government.
The extreme repressive measures taken by the National Party regime in the
1980s to stamp out African nationalist organizations made their differences in ideology
of little consequence. As a result, the various groups and organizations banded
together to resist the common oppressor, and each found strength in the others
activities of resistance.
In 1961 the ANC and the PAC felt compelled to abandon their nonviolent
methods of change, and the period of the armed struggle began. The responses of
the Apartheid regime to the challenges of the liberation movements convinced the
ANC and the PAC that violent opposition was the only way to produce change in
South Africa. In 1961, Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK), the new military wing of the ANC
and the South African Communist Party (SACP), was established to unleash a
progression of sabotage explosions throughout South Africa. The goal of these acts of
sabotage was to compel the government to repeal its oppressive policies and to
negotiate political reforms.117
Between 1963 and 1976 the ANC and the other liberation movements could
boast of no significant achievements. The turning point in the struggle came on June
117Ranuga T.(1996)

16, 1976 with the Soweto student uprising (described in Chapter Three). Prior to the
Soweto uprising, the African people were so demoralized, divided, and
psychologically depleted that they did not have the will to conduct a nationalist
struggle for liberation. Ranuga believed that the struggle for liberation had to begin
with the mind of the individual; ...the will of the oppressed people to initiate and
prosecute the struggle for national liberation is an essential and primordial ingredient
of national consciousness without which African Nationalism can have no firm
anchorage.118 A significant consequence of the Soweto uprising was that it gave
African people a sense of national awareness that enabled them to stand up to the
oppressor. A further outcome of the uprising was that it revitalized the ANC. Ottaway
described the state of the ANC in 1976 as follows: [b]y the time of the 1976 Soweto
uprising, more than a decade had passed without MK registering a shot or a bomb
blast inside South Africa.119 The governments crackdown on African organizations in
the aftermath of the Soweto uprising sent thousands into exile. Once in exile, the
African students joined with the ANC which was well established in neighboring
independent African states.
At a time when many black political leaders were jailed, in exile, or restricted
from political activity, archbishop Desmond Tutu was the spokesman for the anti-
118 Ranuga, T. (1996) p 91
119 Ottaway M. (1993) p. 51

apartheid movement. Ordained as a priest in 1961 and elected bishop of Lesotho in
1976, Tutu gained international recognition as a theologian, orator, and peacemaker.
Tutu became prominent after he refused to withdraw statements he had made calling
for economic pressure to be exerted on the South African government. The
international recognition that Desmond Tutu received after being awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1984 elevated him to a respected position from which he could
strengthen his campaign on behalf of the anti-apartheid movement.
In response to the Soweto uprising, the highly politicized African population
rapidly became organized in the townships. This development can be attributed to the
fact that: ... this Soweto generation was less naive about the harshness of Pretorias
security apparatus than were the participants in the anti-apartheid mobilization of the
1950s. The township residents of two decades later had been educated by the 1960s
state of emergency and the realities of urban life in apartheid South Africa.120
Numerous civic, student and womens groups were mobilized around issues of
housing, rents, services and transportation effects of the oppressive measures of the
apartheid regime. Perhaps the most important consequence of the Soweto uprising
was that in 1983, the United Democratic Front (UDF) was formed as an umbrella
organization for the township associations. Holland (1990) credited the UDF with: .
.. representing some 300 civic associations, churches, trade unions, student
120 Price R. (1991) p. 166

organizations and sports bodies and as being .. the widest alliance of anti-
apartheid opposition ever seen in the country.121 While Thompson (1995) accounted
for this historic event as a thousand delegates of all races, representing 575
organizations trade unions, sporting bodies, community groups, and womens and
youth organizations founded the United Democratic Front (UDF) to coordinate
internal opposition to apartheid.122 The common goal of resisting the apartheid
regime was the unifying factor for the UDF, and the organization was free of any
omnipresent ideology. The intention of the UDF was to render South Africa
ungovernable, and this goal was to be achieved through massive civil disobedience.
During the period 1984 to 1986, South Africa was shaken by the most
sustained and rampant African revolt it had ever experienced. Giliomee and
Schlemmer asserted that during this period [a]ttitudes to violence have also changed.
It is no longer seen as something that should only be used as a last resort.123 For the
three years following the inauguration of the UDF, there was vigorous resistance to
the apartheid regime in every city and in nearly every Bantu Homeland in South
Africa. The Colored and Indian elections for the tricameral parliament in 1984 were
marked by widespread violence and this violence accelerated when the African
councils increased rents. Thompson recorded that: [b]y years end, official statistics
121 Holland, H. 1990p. 199
122 Thompson, L. 1995 p. 228
123 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. Eds. 1989 p. 73

reported 175 people killed in such incidents, including four black councillors killed by
enraged crowds. Moreover, the government reported fifty-eight incidents of sabotage
against state departments, petrol depots, power installations, and railroad lines, and
twenty-six attacks on police.124 The protests persisted into 1986, by which time the
local governments had broken down in the townships.125 The protracted rent strike in
the townships destroyed the revenue base of the African councils. As agents of the
state, the African councils were targeted by the black community such that: [o]ver
200 councillors lost either their homes or business; 124 such structures were burned
down during the first nine months of the insurrection. By the beginning of May 1985,
some 257 community town councillors had resigned, including many mayors and
council chairmen.126 The civil disobedience conducted by the UDF caused severe
losses to industries and commerce, and brought unparalleled condemnation of the
South African government from the white business community. The majority of
African councillors resigned formally and the comrades assumed control of the
townships. Holland described comrades as: ... black youths ..., who saw
themselves as the vanguard of the revolution and defied the police and the army with
124 Thompson, L. (1995) p. 229
Thompson (1995) notes that [t]he number of recorded insurgency attacks rose to 136, the recorded
death toll in political violence to 879. There were also 390 strikes involving 240,000 workers.
(Thompson, L. 1995 p. 229).
126 Price R. (1991) p. 197

stones and homemade petrol bombs.127
The formation of the UDF had made cohesive nationwide protest campaigns
possible by uniting community organizations which included the establishment of a
national network of secret cells linking streets to streets, townships to townships, and
provinces to provinces128. This network of a grassroots infrastructure was facilitated
by leaving the responsibility for actual resistance at the local level. From a combination
of grass-roots militancy and leadership, the street committee system emerged to
adapt to conditions created by ungovernability. Street committees were small
geographic constituencies, organized in each township, that: .. served as units of
political participation, representation, and control.129 As a conglomeration of
preexisting black civic, student, womens, and workers organizations, with the goal of
grass-roots mobilization against the apartheid state, the UDF had a strong relationship
with the ANC. This fact was made explicit in ... 1985 when the Freedom Charter
was adopted as embodying the organizations guiding principles.130
127 Holland, H. (1990) p. 201
128 Holland, H. ( 1990).
129 Price R. (1991) P.204.
130 Price R. (1991) p. 181

The ANC Reborn
Prior to 1990, the African National Congress (ANC) was largely a symbol of
the liberation struggle, and the reputation and image of the ANC served as a source of
strength for the mass democratic movements. When the ANC was unbanned in 1990,
it was a liberation movement and not a political party with aspirations to represent the
entire oppressed population in South Africa. As a liberation movement this goal did
not bring the ANC into conflict with other township organizations because the various
mass democratic movements complemented each other. However, the transformation
of the ANC from a liberation movement into a political party had far-reaching
implications because the ANC no longer had the goal of liberating the population but
rather of attaining a share of the political power in a new democratic system. Ottaway
placed the enormity of this task in perspective by noting that: [t]he difficulty of such a
transition is demonstrated by the fact that no African liberation movement ever
successfully turned into a political party.131 Alexander et. al asserted that: [w]ith the
unbanning of the ANC and the release of its leaders, and as the AN has become
institutionalized into everyday life, its leaders are being seen as human after all, with
weaknesses as well as strengths.132
As leaders of the liberation struggle, the ANC adopted an appeasing approach
to the negotiation process by adopting a new policy document that advocated political
131 Ottaway, M. (1993) p. 44
132 Alexander J., Shezi S. & Bradshaw G. (1993) p. 97

accommodation, concessions, and compromises. This new policy document was
entitled Negotiations: A Strategic Perspective which was adopted by the National
Executive Committee of the organization (on) November 25, 1992 and asserted that:
. a compromise should be considered in certain areas of a negotiated settlement in
order to avoid a potential counterrevolution led by the White army, the police, and the
civil service.133 While members of the ANC National Executive Committee expressed
alarm at the organizations adoption of the new policy document, the document was in
keeping with its ideological heritage of liberal reformism. The overall objective of the
ANC was that of . seeking equality of opportunity within the system.134 In
keeping with this objective, the ANC made various .. political accommodations,
concessions, and compromises to meet its goal.135 136 During the ANC and PACs years
in exile, the mass democratic movements that resisted the apartheid regime offered
very little in the area of ideology. Their contribution .. lay in the provision of
political symbols and political culture rather than in the elaboration of specific belief
system or ism.1136 With the rebirth of the ANC, ideology became a central issue once
again. However, various members of mass democratic movements (whose members
were both Africanists and Charterists) had been absorbed onto the ANCs National
133 Ranuga, T. (1996) p. 61
134 Ranuga T. 1996p. 26
135 Ranuga T. (1996) p. 61
136 Price R. (1991) p. 180

Executive Committee 137 and therefore could offer no opposition. This fact was
evidenced by .. the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Cyril
Ramaphosa, who became secretary general of the ANC. Various important UDF
leaders, including Popo Molefe and Patrick Terror Lekota, were elected to the
NEC.138 The adoption of the new policy document revealed that the ANC leaders
were receptive to the compromise proposal because it was in line with the established
tradition of the liberal reformist that is the ideological bedrock of the Charterists.
The National Party elite had learned from the failed introduction of the 1983
constitution that a new political dispensation imposed unilaterally by the government
would not serve its domestic purposes. In 1985, prime minister Botha announced that
a search for a new constitution had begun, ... but this time its particulars would be
negotiated with representatives of South Africas black population.139 Waldmeir
noted that: Mandela credits Botha with taking the essential steps that led to his
eventual release from prison; with opening channels of communication shut for
decades; in short, with laying the groundwork for the new South Africa.140 To
The ANC is controlled by its National Executive Committee (NEC), made up of thirty-five members, the
majority of whom are also members of the SACP. The NEC, like most corporate political entities, is
broken down into committees that oversee the day-to-day operations of the ANC and, prepare policy
matters under their control for final approval by the whole NEC. (Morgan, N. 1990 p. 159).
138 Ottaway, M. (1993) p.61
139 Price R. (1991) p.279
140 Waldmeir P. (1997)p.39

facilitate this process the National Party lifted the bans on the ANC, the PAC, and the
South African Communist Party as well as releasing all political prisoners, and
particularly Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela led the ANC into negotiations with the
National Party for a new constitution that would be based upon .. equal rights,
treatment, and opportunity in every sphere of endeavor.141
The ANC, succeeded in its goal of educating the government on the need to
include Africans in a search for a just South Africa, and therefore its aspirations for a
future political system were simple. The ANCs demand rested on a call for a
multiracial democracy in a consolidated state. The organization recognized the need
for decentralization bolstered by strong regional governments while it rejected a
federal solution. The ANC advocated a bicameral system142, elected on proportional
representation. It came as a surprise to many political analysts that the ANC .. .
rejected the winner-take-all Westminster system prevailing in South Africa in favor of
proportional representation, although it was the party most likely to benefit from the
Westminster system.143 The ANC embraced a power-sharing executive with a cabinet
formed by the elected president. During the years of the struggle, the ANC rhetoric
rejected any form of collaboration with the apartheid regime and a political settlement
141 Price R. (1991) p. 280
Ottaway (1993) suggested that in this political system, there would be two chambers, with ... both
chambers ...elected on the basis of proportional representation,.... (Ottaway, M. 1993 p. 100).
143 Ottaway M. (1993) p. 100

which would include the National Party was inconceivable.
The mass opposition to white rule evolved over a period of time in response to
the states attempt to dispel resistance. The first phase was that of the anti-apartheid
mobilizations of the 1950s, which did not directly seek to fundamentally restructure
the power of the state or represent a threat to the general system of law and order.
The second phase, that of rebellion, attacked all the visible signs of the state and was
characterized by mass alienation and anger. The third evolutionary phase of the
liberation movements was that of insurrection whereby the transformation of the state
through revolution was desired. While the ANC participated in varying degrees in each
phase, the organization did not shift from its ideology of inclusion in the South African
state, which was formulated during the first phase, namely the protest phase. Through
intensified opposition leveled during the insurrection phase, the National Party regime
capitulated and initiated discussions for a negotiated settlement. With victory in sight,
the UDF surrendered its power to the ANC who negotiated with the National Party
for inclusion in the South African state. The result of this surrender and negotiation
was that an evolutionary change was achieved which was contrary to the expectations
of the black masses, who desired a revolutionary change.

In January 1989, when Botha was hospitalized because of a stroke he had
suffered, his authority within the National Party was unchallenged. While still
recovering from his illness, Botha sent a letter to the Nationalist caucus announcing his
resignation as party leader. In his letter, Botha expressed his desire to be the state
president of all South Africans, which he believed was impossible in his capacity as
leader of the National Party. In response to Bothas letter, the Nationalist caucus held
an election which F.W. de Klerk won by a narrow margin. As a result of Bothas
resignation as leader of the National Party, he no longer had a political base and was
forced to step down as state president, clearing the way for de Klerk to succeed him.
The National Party by the mid-1980s had embraced the reality that white
control, white hegemony, and white rule were slipping out of its hands, but, white
power was still firmly in place. The liberation movement structures of peoples
power that materialized in the midst of the insurrection struck at the very foundation
of the system of state control. The liberation movement had begun to offer to the
urban black populace, the resources for prevailing and protection that had previously
been available only through instruments of the state.144 De Klerk knew that a

revolution in power relations was inevitable, but he was convinced that he could
manage the revolution. His confidence was bom out of the fact that the National
Party, as incumbents of the state, controlled the institutions and could exploit this
control in its own interests.144 145 The National Partys ability to manipulate the state
institutions was buttressed by the perception that the ANC was unprepared for the
realities of open politics after spending decades in exile.146
This chapter explores the most likely reasons for the National Partys entering
into negotiations for a political settlement, and discusses the key aspects of the new
political dispensation as ushered in by the constitution of 1996.
Through its apartheid system, the National Party recognized that it had brought
South Africa to the brink of racial conflagration. Therefore, the Afrikaner elite decided
to enter into negotiations with their black countrymen while they could still configure
and control the outcome, and through their political institutions, influence post-
apartheid South Africa. De Klerk committed the National Party to the negotiation
mechanism, which occurred at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa
(CODES A) because he was convinced that the Afrikaners could outsmart and
outmaneuver the ANC in negotiations, and possibly even outvote them by forming a
coalition with moderate black leaders like Zulu Chief Buthelezi of the Inkatha
144 Price R(1991 )p. 216
145 DuToit(1995) p. 205
146 MkhondoR. (1994) p. 130

Freedom Party.147 The National Party understood that the most consequential
prerequisite for Afrikaner survival was the acceptability of a new constitution which
included the majority of the population. At the very least, de Klerk felt assured that the
National Party could deny the ANC an overwhelming majority.
De Klerk artificially tried to balance power among immensely diverse ethnic
groups, with a constitution that compelled a multi-party coalition government. This
meant that cabinet posts would be shared according to each partys proportion of the
vote, namely; additional representation for minorities in an upper house of parliament,
matched with special high majorities for passage of legislation in the lower house; a
presidency that would rotate between the leaders of competitor parties, rather than
residing in one man; the requirement that cabinet resolutions be taken by consensus a
system that would provide each party effective veto over the others. In short, no single
party would have absolute power. The National Party was convinced that at the very
least it would win what amounted to a veto in the new structure of power a little bit of
extra help to give the white minority, a scant 12 percent of the population, a real
chance in the political battle.148
De Klerk manipulated the ANC into agreeing that an interim constitution be
written by the delegates to CODES A, which was comprised of homeland parties,
ethnic parties, parties with massive support, and parties with no support at all. The
147 WaldmeirP. (1997).
148 Waldmeir P. (1997) p. 193

compromise further stipulated that elected representatives would draft the final
constitution. However, the ANC failed to realize was that the interim constitution
provided the ground rules for the first all-race elections, and that it would be difficult
for the elected representatives to deviate greatly from the interim constitution, thus
ensuring that a power-sharing constitution would emerge.
From April 26-29, 1994, millions of South Africans of all races went to the
polls together for the first time in the countrys history, to elect a Government of
National Unity. Each voter had the right to cast two votes one for the National
Assembly and one for the provincial government in the province in which he or she
On May 9, 1994, the 400 members of the National Assembly were sworn in
and occupied their seats in Parliament for the first time. The new Members of
Parliament accordingly elected Mr. Nelson Mandela as state president of the Republic
of South Africa. During his inaugural address to the nation, State President Mandela
summed up the challenge facing his government when he stated: ... the morass of
racism and apartheid will require determination and effort. As a government, the ANC
will create a legal framework that will assist, rather than impede, the awesome task of
reconstruction and development of our battered society.149 The makeup of the
Nelson Mandelas Address to the People of Cape Town. Grand Parade, on the Occasion of His
Inauguration a State President 9th Mav 1994. (On-line). Available:

National Assembly was follows: African National Party, 252 seats; National Party, 82
seats; Inkatha Freedom Party, 43 seats; Freedom Front, 9 seats; Democratic Party, 7
seats; Pan Africanist Congress, 5 seats; African Christian Democratic Party, 2 seats.150
The ANC Celebrated
On May 10, 1994, three hundred and forty-two years after the first settlers
arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, steering the importation of slaves and the conquest
of the indigenous peoples, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was swom-in as the President of
South Africa. The euphoria of the one-man one-vote elections and the inauguration
of President Mandela was short lived as the focus shifted to the new constitution. It
was immediately evident that the democratic constitution was only the first step in
deracializing the state machinery and improving the quality of life of the majority of
the people in South Africa.
The new constitution of South Africa centered on power-sharing based on
proportional representation151. This contrasted sharply with the constitution of 1984,
which was based on the Westminster system. Under the Westminster system, a
political party with a simple majority was empowered to form the government. In
1948, it was the Westminster system that had enabled the National Party, which had
150 South African Government of National Unity. (On-line). Available:
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. (On-line). Available:

. received only 48 percent of the white vote ... (to) not control just the cabinet and
the majority of seats in Parliament but all institutions.152 This new stipulation for
obligatory power-sharing represented a significant concession to minority parties and
particular to white South Africans.
Under the old constitution, the National Party regime deprived Africans of
their citizenship and herded them into one of the ten homeland territories. Africans
who were forced to leave the homelands to find employment, were treated as migrant
laborers. Africans were granted very few rights outside the homelands where, [a]s
soon as they become, for one reason or another, no longer fit for work or superfluous
in the labor market, they are expected to return to their country of origin or the
territory of the national unit where they fit ethnically if they were not bom and bred in
their homeland.153 Africans were allowed outside of the Homelands only as laborers
or visitors, and their movement in South Africa was severely regulated. The influx of
Africans was limited ... by prohibiting them from visiting an urban area for more
than seventy-two hours without a special permit and by authorizing officials to arrest
any African who did not produce the requisite documents. Every year, more than
100,000 Africans were arrested under the pass laws; the number peaked at 381,858 in
152 Ottaway.M. (1993) p. 24
153 Thompson, L. (1995) p. 193

the year 1975-76.154
Nine provinces with considerable powers were created by the new constitution,
and the Bantu Homelands were incorporated into the provinces. The new constitution
.. strengthened the provincial governments by increasing the range of issues on
which the provinces would be able to legislate and permitting the provinces to devise
their own constitutions.155 This constitution was especially sensitive to ethnic groups,
and the provinces were established in keeping with ethnic aspirations. Thompson
asserted that: [d]uring the constitutional negotiations, the delegates from the National
party, the Freedom Front, the Inkatha Freedom Party, and the homelands had ensured
that the interim included a series of concessions to ethnic interests and that the
constitutional principles obliged the Constitutional Assembly to preserve those
concessions in the permanent constitution.156 The influence of these apartheid
structures was evidenced by the fact that: [t]he boundaries of the nine provinces,
except for Gauteng, conformed closely with the major language areas. .. 157
Under the new constitution, the Supreme Court of South Africa survived
intact, but the white male membership was slowly altered by attrition and by the
President appointing judges of color and women to its bench. The Supreme Court was
154 Thompson, L. (1995) p. 193
155 Thompson, L. (1995) p. 253
156 Thompson L. (1995) p. 271.
157 Thompson, L. 1995 p. 271

created by the apartheid state, and judges have historically served the interest of white
privilege. A new Constitutional Court was established comprising seven Whites (one
woman), three Africans (one woman), and one Asian.158 The Constitutional Court has
jurisdiction over all matters relating to the interpretation, protection, and enforcement
of the provisions of the constitution. The Constitutional Court currently is empowered
to declare any law invalid if it finds that the law is inconsistent with the constitution159.
The new constitution compelled the government to integrate the old South
African Defense Force, soldiers of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the Azanian Peoples
Liberation Army, and the members of the armies of the former homelands into a new
South African National Defense Force. Many of the former guerrilla leaders were
appointed as generals in the new defense force. While compelled by the new
constitution, the South African National Defense Force has been very disinclined to
incorporate the former members of Umkhonto we Sizwe. This reluctance may be due
to a perception that the soldiers of Umkhonto we Sizwe may not share the goal of
preserving white privilege.
Under the previous constitution, English and Afrikaans were the only two
official languages. However, the new constitution recognizes the divergent populations
of South Africa and as a result recognizes eleven official languages. The official
158 Thompson, L. (1995).
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. (On-line). Available:

languages of the Republic of South Africa are English, Afrikaans, isiNdebele, Sesotho
sa Leboa, Sesotho, siSwati, Xitsonga, Setswana, Tshivenda, isiXhosa, and isiZulu160
The ANC identified the Color Bar clause in the old South African
constitution as a chief barrier to African advancement and progress. The ANC singled
out the Color Bar Act of 1926 as being the most oppressive and asserted that: [t]he
removal of the Color Bar was of paramount importance because it was the key to
the solution of what was commonly known as the Native Question or the Native
Problem.161 The second chapter of the new constitution is devoted to the Bill of
Rights, which clearly, and in the strongest of terms, destroys the Color Bar.
While the inclusion of a bill of rights in the new constitution is a positive
development, it is severely limited by the fact that it was agreed to at CODESA, which
recognized property rights and thereby prevented the summary expropriation of land
or property. The black population of South Africa had an expectation that in the new
political dispensation, a redistribution of wealth, land, and property would occur.
Without the redistribution of wealth the ANC government has no prospect of
narrowing the economic gap between the white and black population. The new
constitution of the Republic of South Africa makes no reference to color or race and
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. (On-line). Available:
161 Ranuga T. (1996) p. 15

guarantees equality before the law to all its citizens162.
Economic Limitations of the New Constitution
While the South African state had evolved to where it could tolerate a black
president, the economic transformation has not occurred yet.163 Leading up to the
adoption of the new constitution, de Klerk struggled to find a way to end white rule
without surrendering white prosperity, while Nelson Mandela was determined to
redistribute wealth along with power. It soon became evident that the new
constitution, on its own, could not settle the economic battle because government, on
the one hand, and business, labor, and the public service, on the other hand, would be
fighting about the redistribution of economic power for years to come. Economic
functioning in post-apartheid South Africa is evidence that the ANCs economic
policies had been subjected to an evolutionary process.
In its economic blueprint, the Freedom Charter of 1955 (see appendix), the
ANC detailed its economic policy, which included the nationalization of mines, banks,
and large corporations.164 While in exile, the African National Congress believed that it
had to control economic production in order to redistribute wealth. At the time of his
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (On-line). Available:
163 WaldmeirP. (1997) p. 252
164 WaldmeirP. (1997) p. 252

release from prison in 1990, Nelson Mandela still held to the belief that an ANC state
would control much of the economy after liberation. However, when he took office in
1994, nationalization was no longer on the ANCs agenda, and capitalism was to be
encouraged and nurtured to provide growth, fiscal and financial discipline were
dogma.165 This turning point in the ANCs economic policy was expounded by
Nelson Mandela after he attended the 1992 World Economic Forum Conference at
Davos in Switzerland when he exclaimed [w]e have observed the hostility and
concern of businessmen toward nationalization, and we cant ignore their perceptions .
. we are well aware that if you cannot cooperate with business, you cannot succeed in
generating growth.166 Much credit for the ANCs adaptation of its economic policy
has been given to Derek Keys, a former businessmen who served in de Klerks
government.167 It was claimed that Keys brought home to the ANC the extent of the
fiscal crisis they would inherit from the previous government the high level of
government debt and the bloated civil service. Servicing the one and paying the other
would consume 91 percent of the government budget, leaving only 9 percent for
development expenditure.168 The retention of Derek Keys as minister of finance under
the new government supports the assertion that the new political dispensation fits
165 WaldmeirP. (1997) p. 253
166 WaldmeirP. (1997) p. 256
167 WaldmeirP. (1997) p. 257
168 WaldmeirP. (1997)p. 257

within the evolutionary paradigm.
The adaptation of the ANCs economic policies greatly aided de Klerk in his
goal to preserve white prosperity. The fact that de Klerk was able to secure his goal of
preventing immediate economic trauma for whites translated into Nelson Mandelas
inability to achieve his organizations goal of redistributing wealth along with political
power. The ANC realized that economic liberation would not accompany political
liberation. P. W. Bothas reform program in the mid-1980s failed in its goal of
reducing the level of grievance in the townships because the political aspirations
surpassed the reform program.
The South African state under the leadership of Nelson Mandela may be faced
with a similar challenge because the level of expectations for economic relief may have
surpassed the states resources. The new constitution is surrounded by an economic
struggle wherein there can simply be no solutions within a system that is based on
structured inequalities.169 The adoption of the new constitution ushered in a new
political dispensation, but in the economic sphere, the power relationship between
black and white remains unchanged. The reality is that: [i]n 1995, at the dawn of the
post-apartheid era, whites still earned on average eight times more than blacks. An
estimated 45 percent of the economically active population (mostly nonwhites) were
either unemployed or worked in the so-called informal sector (hawking a handful of
Ranuga T. (1996) p. 131

vegetables on the street, or doing other odd jobs).170 The prospects for stability in
the new of South Africa will depend on the ANC governments ability to bring
prosperity to ordinary blacks. Somehow, the government will have to find a way to
give black South Africans hope that their lives will improve. The improved social
conditions in the new South Africa may not be a consequence of ANC policies, but
rather a result of Bothas reforms, which had the . goals of equalized spending on
social services for whites and blacks, equal opportunities for everyone, equality before
the law, common participation in decision-making in pursuit of the democratic ideal,
and full human rights for everyone.171 Given the inclination of the South African state
to survive a new constitution, this task may be difficult to fulfill because it is the
inherent nature of capitalism to maintain class privileges and unequal conditions.172
The greatest challenge to the ANC government is the poverty level in the country,
which may prove tougher to resolve than the apartheid state. The ANC government
must prove to the impoverished black population that democracy can be made to
perform in their interest, or pressures will build whereby the ANC state will be forced
to evolve in response.
170 Waldmeir P. (1997) p. 281
171 GiliomeeH. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 137
172 Ranuga T. (1996) p. 132

The modem South African state that came into existence at the end of the
nineteenth century had as its goal the creation and maintenance of white privilege. The
colonizers exploited the black population to create wealth for the white population.
However, the governments policies favored English-speaking whites and allowed a
large Afrikaner poor white population to emerge. Giliomee and Schlemmer confirmed
that: [b]y 1939 some 300,000 whites were considered to be living in terrible poverty.
The great majority were Afrikaners, who were just over a million strong at that
stage.173 The poor socioeconomic conditions of the Afrikaners gave rise to the first
political milestone, which was the emergence of the National Party regime.
The Afrikaners became the majority group within the white population and as
such were able to capture the government with a narrow victory in the 1948
elections.174 The National Party then proceeded to shape the evolutionary path of the
state by refining the existing segregation practices into a political ideology called
apartheid. Giliomee and Schlemmer reported that: [o]n the eve of the 1948 election,
the NP published a pamphlet entitled National Partys Color Policy, which contained
173 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 31
174 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 35

the following subtitles: Maintenance of white race as highest goal; Welfare of blacks in
developing separately. the pamphlet . proposed apartheid as the only guarantee
for racial peace. Giliomee and Schlemmer attested that: Afrikaner nationalism and
apartheid are ideologies that developed as a result of a particular manner in which
Afrikaners tried to accumulate capital.175
The Soweto uprising, as the second political milestone, challenged the
apartheid system through widespread and sustained black resistance. In response,
President P.W. Botha introduced a program of reform and repression, which included:
constitutional reforms; township upgrading; and the deracialization of the South
African society. Leading up to the political milestone of the Soweto uprising, the
National party had achieved its goal of socioeconomic upliftment of the Afrikaner
nation. Giliomee and Schlemmer noted that: [b]y the mid-1970s, however, at least 70
per cent of Afrikaners belonged to a relatively secure middle class.176 In its response
to the Soweto uprising, the National Party took a calculated risk to allow the state to
evolve by moving away from classic apartheid. Surprisingly, the reform initiatives had
little practical effect on the South African political arena and only served to elaborate
the apartheid system. Under this political milestone, the National Party did not shift
from its unwavering determination to protect white privilege. However, it was
President Bothas security legislation, which introduced even more draconian controls
175 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 35
176 Giliomee H. & Schlemmer L. (1989) p. 120

in the wake of the Soweto uprising, that brought about the third political milestone of
a new level of opposition to the state by the Aftican National Congress and the Black
Liberation Movements. According to Price, these control measures included the ..
detention of leaders, deployment of police to break up demonstrations... ,177 Hanf,
Weiland and Vierdag asserted that: . leading spokesmen have been arrested,
served with banning orders, or died in detention to prevent them from expressing the
majoritys expectations of change.178
According to Price, the opposition to the white rule of the modem state moved
through three developmental stages. The first developmental stage was characterized
by petition campaigns organized by the small ANC educated elite who sought to
pressure the government into repealing discriminatory laws.179 Price suggested that:
[although willing to violate immoral laws and to make aspects of the existing
sociopolitical system unworkable through civil disobedience, the leaders of these
campaigns did not directly seek a fundamental restructuring of state power, nor did
they represent a treat to the general system of law and order.180 The second
developmental stage was that of rebellion, which began with the Soweto uprising,
whereby the states authority was challenged. Price identified that in this
177 PriceR(1991) p. 174 (Hanf T., WeilandH. & Vierdag. 1981 p.243)
178 Hanf T Weiland H. & Vieidag. (1981) p. 243
179 Price R. (1991).
180 Price R. (1991) p. 190