Chapter 8

Making Power Secure

At the time of the 1948 elections those still serving sentences for war-time offences were Leibbrandt, Visser, and Van Blerk, with Holm (the South African Lord Haw who broadcast from Germany), Strauss, and Pienaar imprisoned for having committed treason in Germany. All were released on the advent of the Nationalist government to power, the Minister of Justice, C.R. Swart, stating that it was necessary to heal the wounds created by the war.

The wounds of which he spoke were not those suffered by the men and women who had fought in the armed services against the Hitlerites, or by the near relatives of the many South Africans who had sacrificed their lives. They were the spiritual wounds of Nationalist Afrikanerdom, certain of whose ' soldiers ' had been punished for offences against the State during wartime. The new government's action created an uproar, but since this was not reflected in Nationalist ranks it was ignored.

On his release Leibbrandt immediately announced his intention of establishing an 'anti-communist front' on military lines to support the Nationalist government. For this, however, the country was not yet ready, and after pressure had been brought to bear on him Leibbrandt announced that he was abandoning the plan to avoid embarrassing the Nationalist government. Years later, when former Ossewa Brandwag general B. J. Vorster was made Minister of Justice, Leibbrandt was to revive his plan; and this time the Minister would declare his willingness to receive help in the struggle against Communism no matter from what quarter it came.

From the moment that it came to power, the Nationalist government was acutely aware that it represented a minority of the electorate, and it immediately took action to strengthen its position. This took the form of (a) legislative and other steps to increase its representation in parliament and undermine the electoral basis of the opposition (b) the establishment of effective control over the army and police force, civil service and railways, etc.; and (c) the implementation of the basic apartheid laws so as to fragment the population and make Nationalist Afrikanerdom the dominant national group in a multi-national country.

There has been nothing haphazard or laissez-faire about Nationalist rule, in striking contrast to previous regimes. Operating on the basis of a preconceived ideology which has undergone very little change in the last fifteen years, the Nationalists have planned their strategy with care and worked step by step towards their goal. Nothing has been left to chance.

When Malan became Prime Minister he enjoyed a majority of only five in the House of Assembly, and once the Speaker and the Chairman of Committees had been appointed, his majority was reduced to four in the full Assembly and three in committee. In the Senate the government was actually in a minority and even after the reconstitution of the Senate as provided by law the government and the opposition were equal. The seat of one opposition Senator, a native Representative, was, however, vacant during the first sitting, so that the government enjoyed a working majority of one. Nevertheless, the position of the government could only be described as precarious; the slightest mischance, and its slender majority might disappear. Its power hung by a thread.

Step by step the government increased its majority. In March 1949 Senator J.M. van Brink was put out of the opposition caucus because he found that he was not opposed to apartheid. Eventually the Nationalists elected P.W. Joint in his place. In the Assembly, Rood (United Party) resigned, and Loock was elected for the Nationalist Party by sixteen votes to represent Vereeniging. The Nationalists had accordingly gained two seats, but still the gap between them and the opposition remained too narrow for comfort.

In the 1949 session of Parliament the Nationalists placed the issue beyond any doubt by the passage of a Bill giving South-West Africa representation in the Union Parliament by six elected M.P.s and four Senators, one of whom was to be nominated by the government for his knowledge of 'the reasonable wants and wishes ' of the ' Coloured races ' of the territory. The Bill was something of a legislative masterstroke. On the one hand it was a formal step towards the incorporation of the territory in the Union of South Africa, despite the demand of the United Nations that South-West Africa be handed over to the U.N. Trusteeship Committee like all the other former mandated territories. Since General Smuts before him had also defied the United Nations on this issue, Dr Malan was sure of widespread popular support for his proposal, any opposition to which could easily be dismissed as unpatriotic. At the same time, the passage of the Act was a piece of blatant constitutional juggling in the interests of the Nationalist Party, which was assured of support not only from the majority of Afrikaners in the territory but also from the Germans, still smarting from their treatment by Smuts during and immediately after the war, when it had been proposed to deport several hundred of those regarded as hard-core Nazis.

The representation granted to South-West Africa was out of all proportion to the electorate, which numbered only 24,000 Whites at the time. In South Africa proper a constituency varied in size between just under g,000 and just over 12,000 voters. Under the South West Africa Act, however, the size of a constituency became a mere 4,000. In the event, all six seats have been won by the Nationalists ever since the first elections for the territory in 1950. The four Senators have likewise all been Nationalists.

Thus in South-West Africa, which handled its own budget, the White minority got representation in the South African Parliament without taxation; whereas in South Africa as a whole the non-White majority gets taxation without representation in Parliament. Such is the logic of apartheid.

The next step taken by the Nationalist Party to strengthen its position was at the expense of its ally, the Afrikaner Party. This took the form of an announcement on 25 June 1951 that the two parties were uniting into one, which would be known as the Nasionale Party. The statement declared that the name had been chosen because it 'formerly described the political home of both our cooperating parties, and also included all nationally minded Afrikaners from both language groups'. Through cooperation, the statement added, 'Afrikanerdom has risen out of the condition of disunity, impotence, and mortification in which it found itself ... regained its self-respect and has actually reached a climax of unity and power'.

For the Afrikaner Party this was the kiss of death. The result of the merger was the elimination of all former parliamentary members of the Afrikaner Party with the exception of its leader, N.C. Havenga himself. The remaining Afrikaner Party M.P.s were rejected as Nationalist candidates for the 1953 elections, and Afrikaner Party influence within Nationalist ranks simply disappeared. From this time onwards the Nationalist Party has been the sole representative of 'Afrikanerdom' in the political field. Groups of Nationalist dissidents which have attempted to form themselves from time to time have been pulverized by the Nationalist Party machine.

A further legislative measure taken by the Nationalist government to strengthen its position amongst the White voters was the passage of the Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1958, whereby the vote was extended to White persons of eighteen years and over (the previous age limit had been twenty-one). The opposition strongly attacked the new measure, pointing out that people legally unable to conduct their affairs without the assistance of a parent or guardian were now being granted a say in the running of the State. But argument proved useless, as most of the newcomers to the voters' roll would be Afrikaners, and hence mostly Nationalists. By 1951 the Afrikaner birth-rate was one third higher than the English, with the median Afrikaner age being twenty-three compared with thirty for the English-speaking group.

More serious were the steps taken by the Nationalist government to restrict or eliminate altogether the non-White franchise Indian, Coloured, and African - since most of the non-Whites were inevitably anti-Nationalist. Only a small minority in each non-White group ever supported apartheid, and they were generally condemned by their communities as government stooges. The vast bulk of non-Whites are and always have been opposed to apartheid and, if possessed of the vote, could be expected to use it solidly against the Nationalist government.

A more deep-seated reason for disfranchising the non-Whites lay in the traditional attitude of the Nationalists to the franchise as the preserve of Whites alone. 'The Volk desires to permit of no equality between Coloured and White inhabitants in Church or State,' declared the Transvaal Grondwet (constitution) of 1858. It was one of the coincidences of history that round about the same period, in 1853, the grant of representative government to the Cape should have produced a franchise which, while laying down certain property and educational qualifications, placed no restriction on any voter because of race or colour. When Union came into being in 1910, the Cape's non-racial franchise was retained, but was not extended to the other provinces, and Nationalist Afrikanerdom has ever since fought strenuously to eliminate the non-White vote and restore the constitutional colour bar of the Boer republics.

In the very first session of Parliament after its advent to power in 1948, the Nationalist government passed two laws to restrict even further the already limited franchise of the non-Whites. The first was the Asiatic Laws Amendment Act, withdrawing the representation in Parliament and the Natal Provincial Council which had been granted to the Indians by the Smuts government in 1946 as a quid pro quo for the Pegging Act. True, the Indians, conducting a passive resistance campaign against the Act, had rejected the franchise, and no elections had ever been held. But the Malan government felt it necessary to place the issue beyond doubt by deleting the franchise clauses from the Act altogether.

The second measure was the Electoral Laws Amendment Act, which provided that the application form of a Coloured voter should be witnessed and completed in the presence of an electoral officer, a magistrate, or a police officer of a rank not below that of a second-class sergeant, or police officer in charge of a police post or his deputy. Previously a voter could complete his form without supervision, and all that was required was its lodgement with the electoral officer.

'If this amendment is carried,' commented H.G. Lawrence, former Minister of Justice, expressing the opposition viewpoint in the House, 'it will in practice make it virtually impossible for any qualified Coloured persons to be registered.' His warning proved to be justified. Though approximately 120,000 Coloured persons are estimated to be eligible, the number of voters on the roll has never risen as far as 50,000. Difficulty of registration is not, of course, the only factor preventing Coloureds from enroling themselves. There has always been widespread apathy towards the White-controlled elections, and a section of the Coloured people has even conducted a bitter boycott campaign against them, while the placing at last of the Coloured voters on a separate roll effectively killed Coloured interest in the parliamentary battle. According to figures given by the Minister of the Interior in 1959, the number of Coloured voters on 30 June 1948 was 46,051; on 2 May 1953, 47,849; on 3 April 1958, 19,128; and on 17 December 1958,23,822. These figures must be compared with a European electorate of 1,800,748 at the time of the republican referendum in 1960.

What frightened the Nationalist government was not the actual strength of the Coloured vote in 1948, but the potential strength of the whole non-White vote if the principle of a non-White franchise were permitted to survive and educational opportunities were extended to all sections of the population. The non-Whites, after all, constituted the majority. So long as they were allowed to belong to the same body politic as the Whites, the day would surely dawn when they would predominate and govern the Whites instead. The answer was obvious. Only the White man should be represented in parliament.

Abolition of African representation in parliament had been part of the Nationalist Party programme in the 1948 elections, but the Afrikaner Party leader N.C. Havenga felt obliged to honour the 1936 agreement to which he had been a party and when the Afrikaner Party merged with the Nationalists in 1951, it was tacitly agreed to shelve the question of the African franchise for the time being. Instead, all attention was concentrated on the Coloured vote.

The history of the Separate Representation of Voters Bill from the time that it was introduced in 1951 until it became law in 1956 showed that the Nationalist government would go to any lengths to twist the constitution to its purposes. Everything that was done was done lawfully, it is true. But in the process the whole tradition of parliamentary government was trampled in the dust.

The Separate Representation of Voters Bill proposed to remove the Coloured voters from the common roll in the fifty-five Cape constituencies and place them on a separate roll instead, which would then elect four Whites to the House of Assembly at regular five-yearly intervals, though not at general elections. The value of this exchange can be gauged from the fact that the Coloured vote was significant in about half of the Cape constituencies, and decisive in seven. Removal of the Coloured vote from the common roll would thus be of immediate benefit to the Nationalist Party, quite apart from the ideological considerations.

The Bill was passed first by the Assembly and then by the Senate, sitting separately, in spite of the opposition argument that the franchise rights of the Coloured people were entrenched in the constitution and could therefore only be altered by a two-thirds majority vote of the two Houses of Parliament sitting together. The legislation was then tested in the courts, and the Appellate Division handed down a unanimous judgement on 20 March 1952, declaring that the entrenched clauses of the Act of Union were still in force and that the Separate Representation Act was null and void because it had not been passed in the manner prescribed by the constitution.

Dr Verwoerd, then Minister of Native Affairs, had declared on 7 June 1951 that, if the courts rejected the Bill, Parliament would immediately reverse the decision, and as soon as the judgement had been delivered, Dr Malan stated that it had produced an unacceptable constitutional position, drawing the courts into the political sphere and endangering the legislative supremacy of Parliament. The government, he said, would take steps to ensure that this sort of thing did not happen again. Government fury at the Appeal Court knew no bounds. One Cabinet Minister referred to the judges as the 'handful of old men in Bloemfontein' (the seat of the Appeal Court). Another called them 'a bunch of liberals'. The thin line separating the judicial from the executive power became obvious to all, and the country awaited the government's next step in a mood of some apprehension.

In the 1952 session of parliament, the government introduced the High Court of Parliament Bill 'to vest in the democratically elected representatives of the electors, as representing the will of the people, the power to adjudicate finally on the validity of laws passed by Parliament'. This measure provided that a Special Committee of the Union Parliament, composed of its members and called the High Court of Parliament, should have the power to review any judgement of the Appeal Court which invalidated any Act. This new High Court was expressly declared to be a court of law, and its decisions were to be final and binding in the same way as those of the Supreme Court.

The attitude of the Nationalist Party to this flimsy device was illustrated by S. M. Loubser who said in the debate: 'The United Party comes and whines, "the constitution". Anyone would think that the constitution was of greater importance to them than the maintenance of White civilization in our country.'

At the committee stage of the Bill the opposition refused to participate further, on the grounds that the Bill was a fraud and that they wished to waste no time in discussing the details. Then, early in August, the Cape Provincial Division of the Supreme Court temporarily barred the removal of Coloured voters from the common roll pending a decision of the courts on the High Court of Parliament Act. Late in the same month the High Court of Parliament met in Pretoria. The Court comprised only the Nationalist Members of Parliament, since the opposition refused to have any truck with it, but it felt itself competent to reverse the Appeal Court decision on the Separate Representation of Voters Act none the less, and on 28 August issued its 'verdict'. The true verdict, however, was pronounced on the following day by the Cape Supreme Court, which declared the Act invalid, a decision unanimously upheld in November by the Appeal Court.

Malan now decided to comply with the requirements of the constitution and the courts and, after the 1953 elections, submitted the Separate Representation of Voters Act to a joint session of the Assembly and the Senate, but he failed to secure the necessary two-thirds majority. He then directly threatened the Appeal Court by introducing an Appellate Division Bill to provide for a Court of Constitutional Appeals which would become the only court competent to hear appeals relating to Acts of Parliament. Using this as a big stick, he belaboured the opposition parties, trying to win the support of sufficient conservative United Party members to achieve his elusive majority and so place the Coloured voters on a separate roll constitutionally. His tactics were not entirely misdirected. In the period from 1953 to 1955, six members of the United Party were expelled from the caucus and formed themselves into the Conservative Party; while one, Dr Bernard Friedman, hived off to the left and ultimately joined the Progressive Party.

Believing that he had made significant progress in undermining the opposition, Malan withdrew the Appellate Division Bill and placed a Separate Representation of Voters Validation and Amendment Bill before another joint session of the Assembly and Senate during 1954. But this, too, failed to secure a two thirds majority.

In November 1954, Dr Malan suddenly resigned as Prime Minister. To this day nobody outside the inner circles of the Nationalist Party really knows why. Perhaps he had balked at the next necessary step in the struggle over the Coloured vote, though Nationalist politicians have never been remarkable for squeamishness in the attack on non-White rights. He had wanted Havenga to succeed him and made it plain where his preference for the leadership lay. But Transvaal strong-man J. G. Strijdom allowed himself to be nominated and was duly elected Prime Minister. Havenga retired completely from the political scene - the last of the Hertzogites, broken by the extremist faction in the Nationalist Party.

Strijdom proceeded to attack both the Appellate Division and the Senate. He (a) appointed five new judges to the Appellate Division - presumably judges in whom he reposed complete confidence; (b) in May I955 had Parliament pass the Appellate Division Quorum Act, raising to eleven the number of judges required to sit in any case involving the validity of an Act of Parliament; (c) in June I955 propelled through Parliament a Senate Act to enlarge the Senate from forty-eight to eighty-nine members, elected on a basis which ensured that the Nationalists would enjoy the preponderant majority. In the event, seventy-seven members of the new Senate were Nationalists, compared with thirty in the old one.

Then, with the ground prepared for victory, Strijdom convened another joint sitting of both Houses in February I956 and submitted to it a South Africa Act Amendment Bill which (a) removed the entrenchment of voting rights from the constitution; (b) debarred any court from inquiring into the validity of any law other than a law dealing with the only remaining entrenchment, namely, equality of language rights; and (c) validated the Separate Representation of Voters Act of I95I. With the overwhelming support of its cohorts in the new Senate, the Nationalist government won the day by I73 to 68 votes. In November I956, the new Appellate Division ruled both the Appellate Division Quorum Act and the Senate Act valid by ten votes to one - and the Coloured voters were finally off the common roll, after a six-year struggle which had shaken the constitutional structure of South Africa to its foundations.

The form of representation subsequently enjoyed by the Coloured people could only be regarded as temporary. It corresponded with the representation granted to the African people in I936 but was likely to prove of even less value and shorter duration. For it contradicted the basic Nationalist doctrine that the separate non-White groups should develop ' on their own lines ', with their own representative institutions, preferably in 'their own areas', and must not enjoy rights or representation in the White areas or the White parliament.

The government's reluctance to settle the matter was ended when members of the Progressive Party, Dr Oscar Wollheim and Mr W. J. van Heerden, won both Coloured seats in the Cape Provincial Council against United Party opposition in 1965. This suggested that, when the next elections were held for the representatives of the Coloured electorate in Parliament, the four seats in the House of Assembly would be won by Progressive Party members, to replace the United Party members and Independents in occupation at that time.

The Coloured elections for Parliament were due to be held in October 1966; but during the third week of September, a few days after Mr Vorster became Prime Minister, the terms of the Prohibition of Improper Interference Bill, outlawing interracial contact and organization in the political sphere, were made public. The Bill proposed making it unlawful to be a member of or take part in the activities of any political party or organization representing another racial group, or to oppose any party or organization representing another racial group. Candidates for election as Coloured representatives in Parliament or in the Cape Provincial Council had to file declarations that they had never been a member of a White political party for the three years prior to their nomination. During election campaigns it would be unlawful for candidates to mention to Coloured persons that they had ever belonged to any 'mixed' political party, or to explain to Coloured voters what the objects of such a party were. It would be unlawful for members of one racial group to refer by name to the political party constituting the government of another group.

The aim of the Bill was not merely to prevent members of the multi-racial Progressive Party from being returned as Coloured representatives to Parliament and the Cape Provincial Council, but also to outlaw all forms of political organization with a multiracial membership, such as the National Union of South African Students, the Progressive Party and the Liberal Party. In fact, the Liberal Party decided that if the Bill became law it would dissolve itself, since non-racialism was basic to its policy and activities. The Bill would make it compulsory for every political organization, or any organization which at any time discussed politics, to confine its membership to persons of one racial group. The Progressive Party, in deciding to carry on if the Bill became law, recognized that it could do so only by shedding its non-White membership.

The terms of the Bill were so imprecise that it led to a national outcry in which even sections of the Nationalist Press felt constrained to join. Prime Minister Vorster was no doubt embarrassed to open his career as Premier on such a note, with a piece of legislation bearing the rigid ideological stamp of his predecessor Dr Verwoerd. After considerable back-stage bargaining, the Minister of the Interior announced on 26 September 1966 that an agreement had been signed by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in terms of which the Bill would be referred to a Select Committee before the second reading. In the meantime, the term of office for the existing Coloured representatives would be extended to not later than 31 October 1967.

The Select Committee, consisting of six Nationalists, three United Party members and one Coloured Representative, was converted into a commission on 19 October, and its terms of reference were broadened to include any matters concerning the political representation of the various population groups. During the debate on his Vote on 22 September, the Prime Minister said: ' I am indicating a road for the Coloureds to follow, a road removed from the Whites.... The Coloureds will not be represented by Coloureds in this House.'

Two Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Bills were subsequently passed, one late in the 1966 session, and one in the 1967 session, extending the life of the Coloured Representatives while the Commission wrestled with its problem. And meanwhile the Prime Minister, Mr Vorster, in an address to the Natal congress of the Nationalist Party in August 1967, made it clear that the government intended to do away with Coloured representation in Parliament. He said that separate development, in addition to meaning separate residential areas, social amenities and recreation for the different racial groups, also meant ' no mixed representation in Parliament '. The Nationalist Party, he said, was determined that 'Whites and Whites only will be represented in Parliament in Cape Town' (Star weekly, 19 August 1967).

At last the Commission presented its report, which was tabled in the Assembly on 16 February 1968. The majority (Nationalist) recommended that the existing system of representation for Coloureds in Parliament and in the Cape Provincial Council should be discontinued, on the expiry of the extended term of the present representatives. The powers of the Coloured Persons Representative Council should be increased, its name should be changed to the Coloured Legislative Council, and its numbers should comprise forty elected and twenty nominated members. A form of liaison between the Council and Parliament should be established. And a similar form of representation should be provided for the Indian community.

The majority report also recommended that the Prohibition of Improper Interference Bill as it stood should not be proceeded with, but that some form of legislation against interference by one racial group in the affairs of another was desirable.

The minority report (United Party and one Coloured representative) recommended the retention of some form of direct representation for the Coloured electorate in the sovereign Parliament. But not surprisingly, when the Commission's report was debated in the Assembly, the Prime Minister, Mr Vorster, announced that he had decided to accept the majority report, and would establish a Coloured Person's Representative Council on the lines recommended.

For the first time in history, the Prime Minister boasted, the entire Coloured population would have political rights on a scale that they had never enjoyed under any previous government, even under British rule. Under the existing system, there were only 30,000 Coloured voters with a certain form of representation in Parliament, but in future 700,000 Coloureds would be eligible to vote for the Coloured Council.

Vorster did not explain that it was by denying the whole principle of adult suffrage that the Coloured Parliamentary electorate was restricted to 30,000. Nor did he explain why, if 700,000 Coloureds were considered eligible to vote for the Coloured Council on the basis of adult suffrage, they should not be equally entitled to vote for Parliamentary representatives.

Three Bills to implement the Commission's recommendations were passed during the 1968 session of Parliament.

(1) The Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act brought to an end the representation of the Coloured people in the House of Assembly, the Provincial Council and the Senate, as established by the original Act of 1951, and validated by the South Africa Act Amendment Act of 1956. The term of office for the M.P.s elected under the Act was extended to 1971 after which the seats would be abolished. The term of office for the two White members of the Provincial Council elected by Coloured voters was due to expire in 1970 together with the life of the Council itself; and thereafter these two seats would also be abolished. One Senator nominated by the government to represent the Coloured people under the 1951 Act would also be abolished.

Four White Senators nominated by the Government under the South African Constitution Act were not affected by the 1968 Act and would continue as channels through which the 'interests of the Coloured people may be promoted'. Also unaffected was the position of the Senator nominated to represent the non-White peoples of South-West Africa.

(2) The Coloured Persons' Representative Council Amendment Act provided for the establishment of a Coloured Council of sixty members, forty elected and twenty nominated by the government. Every Coloured man and woman over twenty-one will be compelled to register as a voter for Council elections or face a fine of 50 Rand (or three months' imprisonment).

The Council will have a five-member executive, four members elected by the Council and a chairman designated by the State President. The chairman of the Council and the chairman of the Executive will be different people. The President has power to remove the chairman of the executive, and the Council may remove any of the elected members of the executive by a two thirds majority vote.

The executive will have powers over finance, local government, education, welfare and pensions, rural areas and settlements for Coloured people. The Council will have powers to legislate on these matters, but only so far as they affect Coloured people.

There will be a Commissioner for Coloured Affairs and a Secretary for Coloured Relations, who will function under the Minister of Coloured Affairs.

(3) The Prohibition of Political Interference Act (first introduced as the Prohibition of Improper Interference Bill), after dividing the South African population into four racial groups Bantu, White, Coloured and Asian -prohibits any person belonging to one population group from: (a) becoming a member of any political party of which any person who belongs to another population group is a member; (b) giving assistance as an agent or as an election committee member to any political party of another group or any candidate belonging to another population group; (c) addressing any meeting of which all or the majority belong to another population group or to other population groups.

The Act also prohibits the receipt from outside South Africa of money which may be used to further the interests of any political party or candidate.

The immediate consequence of the Act was the dissolution of the Liberal Party. At a 'farewell' meeting in Durban, the national President of the Party, Mr Alan Paton, said: ' We could have re-formed as separate racial Liberal parties, each committed by law to having nothing to do with any other. But we came into existence to oppose apartheid and separate development and therefore we have no alternative but to decline to re-form' (Rand Daily Mail, 8 May 1968).

The Progressive Party chose to continue in being but to shed its non-White membership, 'under protest and under compulsion'. After a meeting of the national executive committee, the party leader, Dr Jan Steytler, said: 'We have never been, nor wish to be, a uniracial party. But we shall do so because it is our duty and our determination to continue our work with undiminished vigour' (Rand Daily Mail, 22 April 1968).

After 1971, South Africa's supreme law-making body, the House of Assembly, will represent only the White electorate of South Africa and South-West Africa. The non-White majority of the population will be without representation of any kind, direct or indirect.

The disappearance of Havenga from the political scene made it possible for the Nationalists to proceed with the total disfranchisement of the African people. This took the form of the quaintly worded Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Bill, introduced in the 1959 parliamentary session, which linked the abolition of African representation in Parliament with the concept of separate territorial development, or the establishment of 'Bantustans' as the new African tribal 'homelands' have come to be called. Theoretically, the abolition of all parliamentary representation for Africans was supposed to be balanced by the creation of 'self-governing' African territories, which would enjoy their own representative institutions or parliaments. All that need be said at this stage is that African representation was abolished before any 'self-governing' Bantustan had come into existence, and that for some years now Africans have been totally deprived of any voice at all in the councils of the nation.

A White Paper explaining the background and purpose of the Bill declared that all impediments to the development of the African areas had to be removed.

The greatest impediment is the representation of the Bantu in the highest institution of European government.... On the one hand it is the source of European fears of being swamped by the Bantu in the political sphere, and on the other hand it fails to stimulate the development by the Bantu of Bantu institutions because it fosters expectations of greater participation in European political institutions and promotes the desertion of trained human material from service within its own community.... Participation in the government of the guardian territory does not form part of the preparation of the subordinate units for the task of self-government.... (It) is in effect a signpost to the alternative direction which has been rejected.... Such representation is, therefore, now to be abolished.

During the debate in the Assembly, the Prime Minister said: 'One cannot confuse two systems and two directions.' He gave two reasons for the removal of the Native Representatives. 'The one is that they do not form part of the pattern we are now choosing, and the second is that they abuse their position as Members of Parliament by inciting the natives against the national policy in the Reserves, to which they only have access as such (Members).' Opposition to this aspect of the Bill was widespread throughout the country. The Native Representatives had been by far the most consistent opponents of the government's apartheid policies. Doyen of the group was Mrs Margaret Ballinger, who had represented Africans in the Assembly ever since the first election following the passage of the original Act in 1936 and was regarded as an institution in her own right. Her colleagues had included members of the Liberal and Communist Parties, all of whom had made a significant contribution to the struggle against racial rule.

Perhaps the most forceful parliamentary opposition to the Bill was provided by J. D. du P. Basson, a member of the Nationalist Party, who was expelled from his party caucus over the issue. He said:

Parliamentary democracy is never exposed to greater and more actual danger than when a political party which is in power at a specific moment and which has been given a limited mandate for a period of five years, uses the parliamentary machine to change the constitution of Parliament in a way which, deliberately or otherwise, strengthens its own political position.

Basson also revealed that the Promotion of Bantu Self Government Bill, with all its profound implications, had never been discussed within the Nationalist Party before it was introduced in Parliament.

This radical change which has been introduced into the party's policy ... has taken place without any of the senior governing bodies ... being consulted on the matter in advance - neither the Federal Council, nor the Head Committee of the party, ... and not even the caucus of our parliamentary party; not to mention the voters.

The whole procedure was typical of the methods pursued by the new Prime Minister, Dr Verwoerd, who had been elected by the National caucus after Strijdom died in August 1958. Verwoerd believed - or pretended to believe - that he derived his authority from God, and that nothing he thought or did could ever be wrong. In his first broadcast to the nation after becoming Prime Minister, he declared: 'The grief which plunged the whole country into mourning was His will. But the life of the nation goes on. In accordance with His will, it was determined who should assume the leadership of the government in this new period of the life of the people of South Africa.' In his cartoons of Verwoerd for some time after this speech, David Marais, of the Cape Times, included a telephone with the cord leading straight up out of the frame of the picture - presumably linking the Prime Minister with Heaven. Judging by a remark he made on one occasion, Verwoerd was not amused !Yet he had only himself to blame. A reporter on a Nationalist newspaper once asked Verwoerd whether his work did not tax or strain him, whether he never got ill under the burden of so much responsibility.

'No,' said Dr Verwoerd. ' I do not have the nagging doubt of ever wondering whether, perhaps, I am wrong.' Dr Verwoerd did not argue with his opponents, he lectured them. His followers, if Basson's testimony is accurate, he apparently believed he could ignore. He, Verwoerd, would think for them.

Slowly, by consolidating the supremacy of the Nationalist Party among the White electorate, and eliminating any chance of challenge to that supremacy by the extension of the franchise to the non-Whites, the Nationalist Party increased its strength in the House of Assembly. In the 1953 general election it won ninety-four seats, to fifty-seven for the United Party and five for Labour. In the 1958 election the Nationalist Party gained 103 seats and the United Party fifty-three. Labour, whose seats had been won by agreement with the United Party, was eliminated because by 1958 the United Party considered the Labour Party an embarrassment and refused to renew the electoral alliance. In the 1961 elections (held eighteen months early because Verwoerd wanted the decks cleared for action in case non-Whites tried to put into effect their slogan of 'Freedom in 1963'), the Nationalist Party advanced still further to 105, while the United Party obtained forty-nine seats, the National Union Party (led by J.D. du P. Basson and ex-Chief Justice Fagan in alliance with the United Party) one seat, and the Progressive Party one seat. The National Union later merged with the United Party. It had been formed with the idea of providing a bridge to the United Party for moderate Nationalists who were unhappy with Verwoerd's leadership, but had dismally failed.

The extent of the successive Nationalist victories is exaggerated, however, by the South African electoral system. The Nationalist Party came to power in 1948 although it had polled 140,000 votes fewer than its opponents. In 1953 it gained sixty one percent of the seats and only forty-five percent of the votes. In the 1958 election the Nationalist Party polled 642,069 votes, to 503,639 for the United Party and a combined total of 6,096 votes for Labour, Liberals, and one anti-Nationalist Independent. But there were twenty-four seats for which United Party candidates were returned unopposed, and it is probable that if elections had been held in these seats, the United Party would once again have netted the largest number of votes.

The main reason for this paradox lies in the South Africa Act itself which establishes five criteria for the delimitation of constituencies - community or diversity of interest, means of communication, physical features, existing electoral boundaries, and sparsity or density of population. Constituencies can be loaded by fifteen percent above or below the basic quota, so that the difference in the number of voters between any two constituencies can be as high as thirty percent.

A memorandum submitted to the tenth delimitation commission in 1952 by Advocate Arthur Suzman on behalf of the Torch Commando pointed out that over the years there had been ' a general though not entirely consistent tendency to weight a rural vote considerably more than an urban one'. The memorandum stressed that loading and unloading had increased substantially over the years. In 1923, for example, only four percent of the seats had been loaded or unloaded between ten and fifteen percent, whereas twenty years later the figure had jumped to fifty-nine percent. The memorandum claimed that in consequence of loading and unloading under the 1948 delimitation rural constituencies had gained six seats at the expense of urban ones, which had meant in effect a difference of twelve seats, and that this was the way in which a minority of the electorate had been enabled to return a majority to Parliament.

Most rural seats were held by the Nationalist Party at that time; today all of them are. A further factor weakening opposition strength is the concentration of opposition voters in the urban constituencies, where their voting power is wasted because the seats are usually uncontested, whereas rural seats are often won by the Nationalists with very small majorities. Had seats been allocated according to votes, the Nationalists in the 1953 elections would have received seventy-one instead of ninety-four, and the opposition eighty-five instead of sixty-two.

Nevertheless, even allowing for these factors, the Nationalist position has steadily improved. In the republican referendum of 1960 it was possible for the first time to judge the relative strength of the parties in terms of actual votes cast. Those voting for a republic totalled 850,458; those against, 775,878. There were 7,436 spoilt papers and the average percentage poll was 90 75. Assuming that Nationalist Party members voted for a republic and that other parties opposed it (which is broadly what the position must have been), and assuming too that seats were allocated proportionately to votes, the Nationalist Party would have had 52 3 percent of the total, or eighty-two members in the Assembly instead of the 102 it possessed at the time.

In the next parliamentary general election, held on 30 March 1966, the Nationalist Party went still further ahead, winning 126 seats, to thirty-nine for the United Party and only one for the Progressive Party. The four Coloured representatives did not have to stand for re-election yet, and of the 166 seats representing the White voters of South Africa and South-West Africa, nineteen were uncontested. Out of 1,324,995 votes cast, the Nationalists won 58.6 percent (enough to get them 76 percent of the White seats); the United Party, 37.1 percent (receiving, however, only 23 percent of the White seats); and the Progressive Party, 3.1 percent. Thirty candidates representing three splinter parties of the right wing and four independents shared the remaining 1.2 percent of the votes cast. (The number of Assembly seats for White voters in South Africa had been increased from 150 to 160 by the Constitution Amendment Act of 1965.) It is tempting to consider what the fate of South Africa might have been had the country enjoyed proportional representation, and had the United Party been sufficiently enlightened by the voting trend of 1943 progressively to extend the franchise. But facts have to be faced as they are, and the fact is that the United Party has sold the pass, failed to oppose Nationalist policies on basic principle, and by its tactics paved the way for successive Nationalist victories, with the gradual strengthening of the Nationalist grip on the South African body politic.

To some extent the United Party has been the prisoner of the country's steadily restricted franchise. Unable to strengthen itself from the ranks of voteless non-Whites, it has sought by a policy of appeasement to win over to its side the so-called 'moderate' Nationalists, and has therefore always refused to adopt progressive policies which might alienate potential recruits. It has never been able to formulate a clear-cut alternative to apartheid. In fact, it accepts the basic doctrine of 'White supremacy', which it prefers to call 'White leadership', and differs from the Nationalist Party only over the details by which this is to be secured.

On 20 June 1957, the Prime Minister, J.G. Strijdom, proclaimed: 'If the white man is to retain the effective political control in his hands by means of legislation, then it means that the white man must remain the master.... We say that the white man must retain his supremacy.'

The leader of the United Party, Sir de Villiers Graaff, had said only the day before: 'When we get into power again there will also be discrimination.'

D. Mitchell, U.P. front-bencher from overwhelmingly English Natal, did not disagree: 'The United Party would never allow the effective political control of the country to pass into the hands of the non-Europeans.'

Nor did Senator Swart, U.P. leader in the Free State: ' Under our policy the white man will remain the master.'

These tactics, designed to assure the electorate that White supremacy will be safe under United Party rule, have convinced neither the U.P.s friends nor its foes, and over the years since 1948 the party has shed support both to the right and to the left.

We have already seen how the long-drawn-out dispute over the Coloured vote resulted in the breakaway of several U.P. members, most of whom subsequently joined the Nationalists. But there has also been a significant drift in the other direction. After the U.P. defeat in the I 953 election the Liberal Party was formed, at first advocating a limited franchise but then adopting a policy of universal adult suffrage in the hope of attracting non-White support. Similarly the U.P. defeat in 1958 was followed by the formation in 1959 of the Progressive Party, which stands for Cecil Rhodes's old policy of ' equal rights for all civilized men ' irrespective of race. Showing more interest in parliamentary politics than the Liberal Party, which was by now concentrating more and more on the extra-parliamentary sphere, the Progressives were even able to win back some Liberals to the fold. Their impact on the electorate as a whole, however, has been limited, despite the courageous fight put up in parliament by their lone representative, Mrs Helen Suzman.

It is safe to say that so long as the future of South African politics is to be decided at the polls, so long will the Nationalist Party continue to dominate the scene - provided no overwhelming crisis, internal or external, supervenes. The alternatives to Nationalist rule submitted by the United and Progressive Parties, and even by the Liberal Party, are irrelevant, because none of them will consider the mechanics of achieving power. The franchise cage itself, in which these parties are trapped, must be destroyed before politics can become free again in South Africa. That is why the real challenge to Nationalist rule is not presented by the parliamentary opposition, which has been reduced to a position of petulant impotence, but by the non-White peoples themselves, who, denied the vote, are increasingly compelled to seek other and ever more drastic channels of political expression.

While taking pains to strengthen their position in Parliament, and always being careful (once in power) to emphasize their respect for parliamentary democracy, the Nationalists have been equally assiduous in building up their battalions in the army and police force, the public service, the railways, and the courts. The same Broederbond-directed strategy which had won them the conquest of key positions inside the front of Nationalist Afrikanerdom was applied after the 1948 election to one sphere of public life after another. 'Smuts men' were chased out of office; Broederbond nominees took their places.

In the army, police force, railways, and public service, men who had lost promotion during the war because they had opposed the war effort were not only restored to the positions they would otherwise have reached but in several instances were given seniority over those who had loyally served their country. Grievances' commissions were appointed, and those who considered that they had been victimized because of their political affiliations during the war were given the opportunity of staking their claims to advancement.

In the railways, for example, the grievances' commission appointed by the Minister of Transport, Paul Sauer, received applications from 3,000 railway workers, and the grievances of 300 senior officials were upheld. The cost of the commission to the taxpayer was ú52,000. To make way for their own nominee, W. Heckroodt, the government forced the retirement of Marshall Clark as general manager of railways, at a cost to the country in compensation of ú72,000.

An even more drastic purge was pursued in the army, and several experienced senior officers, with distinguished peacetime and war service, were relieved of command or forced to resign soon after the Nationalist government came to power.

Major-General W. H. Evered Poole, war-time General Officer Commanding the Sixth South African Armoured Division, was relieved of his appointment as Deputy-Chief of the General Staff three months after Erasmus became Minister of Defence. General Poole had been appointed to his position by the previous Minister of Defence, General Smuts himself, and in the normal course of events would have succeeded General Sir Pierre van Ryneveld as Chief of General Staff. Instead he lost his job, his post was abolished, and he was sent to Germany as head of the Union's military mission to the occupying powers. Later he was appointed to a diplomatic post as Union Minister to Greece, Italy, and Egypt. For political reasons, his military usefulness to the nation had been terminated.

When the Chief of Staff, General Sir Pierre van Ryneveld, retired, Erasmus recalled to service Major-General Len Beyers, who was appointed Chief of Staff for a two-year period with the rank of Lieutenant-General. But after completing only half of his two-year appointment, General Beyers resigned, stating:

My resignation was in fact tendered as far back as November 1949, in protest against the unconstitutional and unwarranted interference in the functions of the Chief of General Staff who, in fact and in law, is the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in South Africa. The facts are that the Minister sought to change the strategic dispositions of units and to appoint, promote, and transfer both officers and other ranks, without sufficient knowledge of their qualifications and without reference to the General Staff, of which I was the head. Without reference to me, he created posts for the absorption of persons in whom, irrespective of their unsuitability or otherwise, he personally reposed political confidence. Political ambitions ... should not be allowed to intrude into the responsibility of command and functions of military organizations.

The Nationalist government's own nominee for the post of C.G.S. had found the methods of political indoctrination too much for him.

In 1952 a third senior officer, Brigadier J.T. Durrant, Director-General of the South African Air Force (South Africa's most experienced air officer who had commanded an R.A.F. group in the war), resigned from the Union Defence Force. He stated that, despite Ministerial assurances that there were no politics in the U.D.F., a senior officer on his own staff had said to the Chief of the General Staff (at that time Lieut.-General C.L. de Wet du Toit) in his presence: 'I want you to understand that I am 100 percent Nationalist, and that anything I am reputed to have said or done has been in the interests of my Minister.'

When Brigadier Durrant had objected to this statement, the Chief of the General Staff ruled that such a declaration of politics could be made if so desired.

Commenting on affairs in the armed forces, Lieutenant General George E. Brink, war-time General Officer Commanding the First South African Infantry Division, now retired, stated: 'A once magnificent defence organization has become a political toy, seething with discontent and frustration.... Men without war service are being appointed to command Active Citizen Force units . . . while we have witnessed the supersession, dismissal, and degradation of men who played prominent and distinguished roles as leaders in the field' (The Star, 12 March 1952).

Erasmus himself admitted in the House of Assembly that of 146 officers appointed to command skietkommandos sixty-eight had had no military experience, while the previous experience of a further thirty-one was limited to school cadets. The chairman of a Nationalist Party branch wrote in a letter which was read out in the House: ' I know of a commandant who was appointed from outside the province concerned, and who at the first attempt missed all the shots at the target. He has had no military training, but wears the uniform and insignia of a commandant.'

Similar purges were conducted of the police, the public service, and every sphere in which the Nationalist government had power or influence. When the time came to appoint a Secretary for Native Affairs, the Nationalist government ignored the recommendation of the Public Service Commission and appointed Dr W. W. M. Eiselen, a Stellenbosch academic and apostle of apartheid to the post. Even the courts were not immune. The composition of the Appeal Court was changed, of course, to suit the purposes of the Nationalist government in the struggle over the Coloured vote. But the day-to-day appointments of puisne judges were often politically motivated as well. Senator Leslie Rubin commented in an article 'Contempt of Court' (Africa South, January-March 1960):

Appointments to the Bench during the last few years have been puzzling and disquieting, for lawyer and layman alike. On the one hand members of the Bar, of impeccable character, ability and experience, in some cases outstanding members of the profession, have been overlooked; on the other hand, lawyers of junior status and with limited experience have been appointed. To an extent not known before in the history of South Africa's courts, many cases are argued today by counsel before a judge who was several years his junior at the Bar.... The Hon. Mr Justice Botha was appointed Judge-President of the Orange Free State Provincial Division twenty-two months after he had been appointed to the Bench, and at a time when he was junior to most of his colleagues on the Bench and to twenty-eight other puisne judges in the country. Among recent appointments to the Appellate Division, one is junior to fifteen, another to sixteen, and a third to twenty-three puisne judges in the country. The present Chief Justice, the Hon. Mr Justice Steyn, who had been law adviser to various government departments, was appointed to the Bench in the Transvaal (in the face of vigorous protests by the Transvaal Bar) in 1951, and to the Appellate Division in 1955. He is junior to two Judges of Appeal, and in judicial experience to seventeen of the fifty-nine judges in South Africa. His appointment as Chief Justice overlooked Appeal Judges Schreiner (seventeen years at the Bar, appointed to the Bench in 1937 and to the Appellate Division in 1945, who acted as Chief Justice) and Hoexter (called to the Bar in 1918, appointed to the Bench in 1938, and to the Appellate Division in 1949). The Hon. Mr Justice Beyers was appointed to the Bench of the Cape Provincial Division in 1955, and to the Appellate Division in 1958. In 1959 he returned to the Cape Provincial Division as Judge-President of a court which includes three judges senior to him in judicial experience.

While the courts are still nominally independent, there is little doubt that as a result of Nationalist manipulation the judiciary has swung sharply to the right. No outspoken Liberal, no matter how eminent in the profession, has any hope of an appointment to the bench today. On the other hand, men of more modest attainments may confidently look forward to preferment if they can satisfy the government that on race questions they are above suspicion.

The influence of the English-speaking section in the public service was reduced by the strict application of tests for bilingualism. At the time of Union the public service was largely English-speaking (nearly eighty-five percent in 1912), so that the advancement of the Afrikaner tended to bring the service more into line with the proportions in the population as a whole. Even after the Nationalist government came to power there were inequalities. According to Sauer when he was still Minister of Railways, eighty percent of railway personnel were Afrikaans speaking, but sixty-seven percent of those in the ú1,000 a year and over income group were English. In 1951, however, the railway administration decided to group administrative posts in three categories based on the degree of bilingualism. One man was even refused promotion because he could not name the bones of the hand in Afrikaans !In December 1953 the Deputy Postmaster-General gave figures indicating that while sixty-eight percent of the total personnel in the Post Office were Afrikaans-speaking only forty percent of the senior posts were held by Afrikaners. No doubt a similar position existed in other branches of the service. In all, the requirements of bilingualism were more and more stressed with a view to redressing the balance, but often the results were unfortunate. In 1951 the Transvaal Provincial Administration lost a number of highly trained nurses, specially recruited in England, because they were unable to obtain promotion without passing bilingual tests. Similarly, the Air Force between 1947 and 1949 brought to the Union 284 specially selected R.A.F. technicians, but more than 100 of them resigned by 1951 because of 'language difficulties'.

The net result of all this government intervention is that the Nationalists are today possessed of an army, a police force, and a public service overwhelmingly Afrikaner in complexion, and with all the key posts occupied by men acceptable to the Broederbond. The Nationalist stranglehold on Parliament is paralleled by complete domination of the bureaucracy. The apparatus of the State, in fact, has been effectively 'Nationalized'.