Apartheid and Separate Development
Johann Wingard - 6/6/2005
A common misconception exists that the Afrikaners (Whites of West European descent who lived in southern Africa for 350 years) introduced the apartheid to South Africa when they assumed political power in 1948. This perception is widely promoted by Britain's liberal press, as well as the African National Congress, which now governs the country. The result is that Afrikaners are being demonised as not worthy of any form of self-determination, as they cannot be trusted with any power.
It also serves to justify the ANC's policies of black economic empowerment and affirmative action. Part of the ownership of all businesses, including commercial farms, should in the future be handed to black partners. A ceiling is placed on white employment, as the labour market "...should reflect the demographic realities of the country as a whole..." These measures are justified on the moral grounds of rectifying the injustices of the past, but is nothing other than a redistribution of wealth, a common philosophy in African history and based on the premise of collective guilt, widely promoted by the international liberal establishment. Politicians refer to those measures as the 'cuckoo syndrome'.
It must be remembered that South Africa became the Union of South Africa in 1910. After the Anglo Boer War, and up to 1910, the four colonies were governed directly by Whitehall in London. British Law was applicable to these colonies. The Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 as an autonomous state within the British Commonwealth.
The situation only changed in 1961 when South Africa left the Commonwealth and became the Republic of South Africa. In order to pin the responsiblility for the evolution of apartheid on somebody, it would be an interesting exercise to take a helicopter snapshot of South Africa's racial policies to establish where or when the apartheid system of racial segregation really originated.
- The Native Pass Law of 1809 was promulgated by the British Government, which required that every black person should carry an ID document, called a pass. Failure to do so was a criminal offence.
- In 1865, the British Governor, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, ruled that black people in Natal shall not have the right to vote.
- Apartheid in sport can be traced back to 1894 when Cecil John Rhodes prevented Krom Hendriks, a colored cricketer, to accompany the Cape team to England.
- The South African Native Affairs Commission (SANAC) was appointed by Lord Milner in 1903 and published their findings in 1905. Scholars today recognise their recommendations as having laid the blue-print not only for the policies of racial segregation from 1910 to 1948, but also apartheid and separate development up to 1990.
- Apartheid in the schools was introduced in 1905 when Rhodes introduced compulsory segregation of black and white children in Cape schools. No such laws existed in the two Boer Republics, where an easy relationship existed between the Afrikaner and the African, as children were largely home taught by their parents or visiting teachers.
- Lord Balfour, intervened in the house of Commons in London and warned about the dangers of extending the franchise to the 'natives' as the black community was known at the time. Chamberlain, Lord Milner, J.A. Froude, Anthony Trollope and Lord Bryce, among others, were dead-set against extending the franchise to the 'natives.' The South African colonies were to join the 'white' commonwealth in the form of the Union of South Africa to become 'a white man's country like Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
- The South African Act, which was adopted by the British Government in 1907, determined that only persons of European descent may be elected to parliament in South Africa.
- The infamous Native Land Act 2 of 1913 prohibited private ownership of land by black people. That is also the official cut-off date today for the land restitution process that is currently being implemented.
- Minister H.W. Sampson introduced the concept of job reservation in the Mines and Industry act of 1925.
- Interracial marriage or sex was prohibited between whites and others by the Natal Immorality Act of 1927. The Immorality act of 1957 was based on that act.
- General Smuts, then a leading light in the British Commonwealth, introduced separate representation of race groups in Parliament in 1936 so as to preserve the British dictate that South Africa shall be a white man's country. In that Act the blacks were removed from the common voters roll and the recommendations of the Lagden Commission were implemented, namely "separation of Black South Africans and White South Africans as voters". The term 'apartheid', was coined by Gen J.C. Smuts when he was Prime Minister, and not by Dr Verwoerd as politicians would have us believe.
- During Smuts' last term of office he introduced the Native Urban Area Act 25 of 1945 which determined that a black person may not be present in a white area for longer that 72 hours without a permit. (Similar to the provision in Russia where a resident of one city needs a special permit or visa to visit another city, even today.)
The concept of racial segregation was therefore firmly entrenched in South Africa after the Second World War when the National Party defeated the Pro-British United Party of General Smuts at the polls to become the new government.
Afrikaner nationalism was skilfully mobilised by leaders in the theological, political, cultural, economic, agricultural and industrial sectors as well as in government service. A strategy of massive economic development was introduced to make South Africa less dependent on Britain and to create thousands of job opportunities. It was at that time when Britain offered autonomy to the contiguous colonies, namely Lesotho, situated in the heart of South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana. They gratefully accepted the offer and all three were newly independent by the time Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd came to power.
He realized that the political situation that evolved over the previous century under British rule in South Africa had become untenable. This led Dr. Verwoerd to extend the same offer of autonomy to South Africa's own black tribes, who in most cases were economically and numerically more viable than the three fledgling ex-protectorates Britain gave independence to. Botswana for instance had a population of only 292,755 according to the 1948 census. "…There is little opportunity for wage earning within the protectorate and most of the people live the life of peasant farmers." (P 354 Encyclopaedia Britannica 1963)
The story of Lesotho is not much different, even though the population at the time was double that of Botswana. At any one time about a quarter of Lesotho's population would be finding employment in adjacent white South Africa in the mines or on commercial farms. Lesotho's annual budget in 1960 was only ₤2 million, much less than the annual budget of a medium sized South African municipality like Germiston. Land in the protectorates was communal property and administered in trust by the local chiefs, similar to all Britain's other colonies in Africa at the time. The same land ownership philosophy applied to the black homelands in South Africa.
Dr. Verwoerd's policy of 'separate development' was implemented and is regrettably commonly confused with Gen. Smuts' apartheid. Separate Development sought to pre-empt the need for large scale migration of people to the towns and cities, by developing the economies of the homelands instead.
Verwoerd argued that a policy of economic decentralization would make for a peaceful multicultural society, with each community exercising its right of political self-determination, the political catch phrase after World War 2. Industrialists were encouraged with all sorts of tax incentives and labour benefits to establish industries on the homeland borders, resulting in a symbionic relationship between labour and capital within a common economic system. During the sixty's and seventy's, the country experienced an unprecedented economic growth. Unemployment was at its lowest in history. Each homeland had its own Development Corporation. Large communal estates were established, which provided jobs for thousands of peasant workers and which injected millions of dollars into the communal coffers. Tea estates, coffee plantations, citrus and dissiduous fruit estates with their own canning and processing faclities earned valuable foreign exchange for homelands and the region as a whole. Universities and Technikons were established for each language group, decentralised in line with the overall policy and turning out thousands or literate black professionals.
New capital cities were built, each with its own parliament and administration complexes. South Africa' taxpayers gladly paid for "...these excesses of apartheid..." as they are being called nowadays. Mother tongue education was the philosophy for primary, as well as high schools where practicable. Ironically, these intitutions became the training ground for South Africa's black rulers of the New South Africa.
The problem of international recognition for these black homelands cut much deeper than economic or political issues only. The matter of the indivisibility of sovereignty of nation states seemed to have prevented the international community from accepting Verwoerd's policy of separate development. While Britain could give independence to protectorates and colonies with historically defined borders, the same principle could not apply to a country trying to carve itself up for the same political ends. The international community determined that South Africa should remain a unitary state and retain its colonial borders as defined in the 1880's. The policy was therefore inherently flawed from an international law point of view. The same principle that provides for self-determination to nation states, also witholds that right from nations within multicultural states on the basis of the integrity of national borders.
Seen also against the Cold War that existed during the seventy's and eighty's, Africa's role in that conflict, as well as the United States' problems with its own emancipated black community, it is easy to understand why the policy of separate development, which maliciously was intertwined with racial segregation at socal level, could not be supported by the international community. In short, it was never understood that social apartheid was a distorted product of the country's colonial history, whereas separate development is the application of the modern concept of self-determination for ethnic groups to preserve their identities and to foster peaceful co-existence with others without competing for the same resources.
There is no comparison between the economic development of the South African black homelands and the development of the independent neighbouring black states outside our borders. Tragically, those 'apartheid' training grounds that served today's black leaders so well, have become relics of an apartheid past. The development corporations have been disbanded. The estates have been allowed to go to ruin. Millions of jobless and roofless people are flocking to the cities and towns and live in abject poverty conditions in tin shacks, posing serious health and security problems in breeding grounds for crime.
Is that not perhaps too high a price to be paid for a simplistic democratic system, now recognized by those familiar with the situation as a majoritarian tyranny? Is the untennable social engineering process of nation building sustainable in a country with its deep historical ethnic fault lines? I have often wondered how one could convince the authorities to stop believing their own lies about the appropriateness of the liberal dream of a unified nation perpetually served by the same political clique and to recognize the crucial role Afrikaners could play in the development this country and the African continent. All they ask for is to be accepted and respected as white Africans with their own peculiar cultural needs, which they want to transfer to their children without interference and be allowed to participate freely in the economy.