The South African Regime From 1910 Through

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The South African Regime From 1910 Through 1994 Essay, Research Paper The South Africa which was born in 1910 included people from Africa, Europe and Asia, and the system of government was modeled on the common law of the Netherlands, supplemented by modern English law. In many respects, this new country was a compromise. It would acquire two official languages (Afrikaans and English); three capitals (an administrative capital, Pretoria; a legislative capital, Cape Town and a judicial capital, Bloemfontein); and the symbols of the state would reflect the union of Afrikaans and English-speaking whites. While the new state had a democratic form, with a few controversial exceptions, only whites enjoyed the vote. For virtually the whole of its history therefore, politics has been

practiced on a ‘whites only’ basis. Therefore, when looking closely at the system and attempting to place the government in a category, I would create a new category summarized as a selectively democratic regime. White interests obviously shaped public policy. Spending on areas like education, pensions, health and housing, has greatly favored whites, who were clearly the major beneficiaries of the system. In addition, discrimination and injustice inflicted upon black South Africans have largely shaped the present political system. Black South Africans played virtually no part in the founding of the Union of South Africa. This was to be the start of a long and inspiring resistance to minority political rule that culminated some 85 years later in South Africa’s first truly

democratic elections. Political protest began in 1909 when a delegation of blacks unsuccessfully petitioned the British parliament against approving the country’s independence constitution with its color bar. Some two years later in 1912, the largest black political organization, the African National Congress was founded. Blacks pursued moderate goals during the 1920’s and 1930’s and were then largely reliant on white liberals to achieve their aims. The basis for racial segregation, the offshoot of the policy of self-determination was the Population Registration Act of 1950. What followed was a now infamous collection of apartheid legislation that sought to segregate whites, coloreds, blacks and Asians from each other in all spheres of life and activity. Black resistance to

apartheid was encouraged by an increasingly critical United Nations, the birth of the civil rights movement in the United States and the growing pressures for de-colonization and independence in the former European colonies of Africa and Asia. Rather than give in to increasing pressure, the Verwoerd government responded by accelerating the ‘homeland policy’ in terms of which black South Africans were denied citizenship of “white” areas and were expected to exercise their political rights in designated “traditional ” tribal areas. By 1970, in terms of a law, every South African black became a citizen of one of the ten homelands thereby excluding blacks from the South African body politics. This maintains the “democratic” regime of South Africa for the white

citizens, and forces the black citizens out of any political realm. Afrikaner Nationalists had devised apartheid in a way of satisfying black aspirations without loosing political control. It was a response that failed for economic reasons. Given the nature of the economy, the natural movement of people to the cities could not be stopped, and in due course the major pillars of apartheid had to be scrapped. In 1983, Botha introduced a new constitution, which would incorporate the colored and Asian communities into government but only on a junior partner basis to whites. Blacks were totally excluded. To address the issue of black political rights, Botha suggested a national advisory council. Blacks rejected this idea and participation in the elections to fill the new colored and