About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

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1980

1980 is declared the Year of the Charter, marking the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom charter in 1955.

SACTU declares the year as the year of the Worker

Massive national school boycotts rocks the townships.

Fietas, Johannesburg: The Pageview Residents Association (PRA) enters into negotiations with the Department of Community Development in an attempt to keep residence.

1980 - 1983

Between 1980 and 1983 important amendments were made to the 1979 Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act, but by 1983 the following major changes had been made:

Ø     The term 'employee' was redefined to include all persons working for an employer.

Ø     Racially mixed unions were allowed.

Ø     Ministerial approval was no longer required for the registration of mixed unions.

Ø     Job reservation was repealed (Bendix 1989: 305).

Republic of South African Constitution Fifth Amendment Act No 101:

Abolished the Senate, which was replaced with a multiracial President's Council, consisting of sixty white, coloured and Indian nominated members. The council was charged with creating a new constitution that would give expression to coloured and Indian political ambitions. The recommendations of this body would lay the basis for the constitution of a tricameral Parliament.

Commenced: 1 August 1983

Repealed by the Constitution of Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993

Gazankulu: Divorce Act No 7:

Commenced: 1 April 1981

QwaQwa: Police Act No 7:

Commenced: 27 February 1981

1980 - 1981

Commission of Inquiry on the Constitution

Mandate: To inquire into and report on the introduction of a new Constitution for the Republic of South Africa

Date of Report: Interim Report: 6 May 1980

Final Report: 4 February 1981

Chair: SCHLEBUSCH, A. L.

Ref: Interim Report: RP 68/1980

Final Report: RP 23/1981

Commission of Inquiry into Reporting of Security Matters regarding the South African Defence Force and the South African Police Force

Mandate: To inquire into and make recommendations on -

a)the delimitation of, on the one hand, the interests of the news media and the public's right to be informed on affairs of the state and, on the other hand, the interests of the state and of its citizens as entrenched by section 118 and other provisions of the Defence Act of 1957 and the Police Act of 1958, which require that newsworthy information should sometimes not be made known;

b)ways of reconciling these interests and any changes that might be needed to the Defence Act of 1957 and the Police Act of 1958.

Date of Report: 1980

Chair: STEYN, M.T.

Ref: RP 52-80

The Senate was abolished in 1980 and was replaced by a President's Council consisting of 60 members of the Chinese, Coloured, Indian and white communities.

The Taxation of Blacks Amendment made further provision to put 'African taxpayers on the same footing as those of other races.'

16 707 were convicted on politically-related charges.

768 people were detained up until November 1980.

Attendance at African schools increased by 89% since 1965.

Boycotts of schools and universities started at secondary schools in Cape Town and spread to primary schools and spread finally to schools country-wide.

The boycott of red meat was called for by the Western Province General Workers Unions. A boycott of Colgate was also called for by the Chemical Workers Industrial union.

Cape school boycotts begin.

The De Lange Commission is instituted to conduct an in-depth investigation into education and to make recommendations for an education policy for South Africa.

The number of economically active women in South Africa is at 31.5%.

Fatima Meer builds schools in Umlazi, Port Shepstone, Inanda, establishes Tembalihle Tutorial College and a Crafts' Centre in Phoenix.

Zubeida Jaffer,journalist, is detained for two months after exposing police killings.

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi goes into exile, she joins ANC in Zimbabwe and works in political structures under the late Joe Gqabi.She later becomes a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe and receives training in Angola.Geraldine receives Officer Training at Military Institute of USSR and specialized training in Cuba.

The formation of the United Women's Organization in the Western Cape. This became instrumental in the formation of the United Democratic Front.

January 1980

The Schlebush Commission holds hearings in Cape Town on the country's constitutional future. Among the organizations submitting memoranda, or alternative proposals, are the PEP, the NRP, the South African Indian Council and Inkatha.

In January three guerrillas were shot dead in a siege at the Volkskas bank in Pretoria. Two hostages were killed and 9 hostages and two policeman were seriously injured.

3 January 1980

A police station at Soekmekaar, Northern Transvaal, is attacked.

6 January 1980

South Africa:Signs loan agreement with Malawi.

10 January 1980

Security Police in Port Elizabeth, detain three black civil rights leaders after the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (PEBCO) decide to implement a city-wide strike and demonstrations against the planned removal of residents from Walmer. Banning orders are placed on all three on their release from detention on 27 February 1980.

12 January 1980

A British Sports Council team begins a three-week fact-finding tour of South Africa to investigate racial discrimination in sport and to report on its findings.

21 January 1980

It is revealed in Switzerland that the International University Exchange Fund's Deputy Director, Craig Williamson, has been working as an agent for the South African Security Police. This is confirmed by the Minister of Police, Louis le Grange, on 24 January 1980.

25 January 1980

A bank and twenty-five hostages are seized at Silverton, Pretoria. Two of the hostages die; several are injured; all three ANC guerrillas are killed.

31 January 1980

The Swiss government send an official protest to the South African government over the illegal activities of South African agents operating in Switzerland and liaising with Anti-Apartheid organizations. The International University Exchange Fund (IUEF) Director, Lieutenant-General Erikssen, resigns with effect from July 1980, his health having deteriorated after the exposure of Craig Williamson. Financial irregularities are also alleged.

6 February 1980

The Prime Minister explains that the administrative rationalization is to be implemented in four states, and announces that the Department of National Security (DONS) is to become the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI). Mr. Botha further rejects calls made by Helen Suzman, (PFP) for a Parliamentary investigation into allegations that DONS has intercepted mail and tapped telephones to build up dossiers on NP opponents.

The Minister of Cooperation and Development, Dr. Piet Koornhof, announces that the '72-hour curfew' will be lifted on a trial basis in Pretoria and Bloemfontein, as part of a movement to remove restrictions.

7 February 1980

Transkei announces it is re-establishing diplomatic relations with South Africa because South Africa is now willing to negotiate over disputed land.

12 February 1980

The Quail Commission, examining, at the request of the government of the Ciskei, the question of the feasibility of independence of the Ciskei releases its report. It finds that ninety per cent of all Ciskeians favour a one-man one-vote system within South Africa and advises against independence as a first option.

15 February 1980

Prime Minister P.W. Botha decides to invite leaders of the black 'homelands' to join in a discussion on a 'statement of intent', by all South Africans.

18 February 1980

In a joint statement the leaders of seven black 'homelands' set out the basis of a possible consensus solution for South Africa's constitutional future.

19 February 1980

The South African Defence Force has taken over from the police the security of Northern Natal since the area is becoming a third front in Security Force action against guerrilla infiltration.

21 February 1980

South Africa warns Mozambique it will not hesitate to strike back if Mozambique continues to shelter guerrillas conducting murderous operations and acts of sabotage against South Africa.

22 February 1980

The South African Coloured Persons' Council Bill is introduced into Parliament. A government memorandum released on the same day gives obstruction by the Labour Party as the reason for the abolition of the previous Coloured Persons' Representative Council. The Bill is opposed by the PEP and the NRP.

28 February 1980

An Angolan priest, the Reverend David Russell, is sentenced to a year's imprisonment for defying his banning order and attending a church synod meeting. He is released on 18 December 1980 after the Supreme Court has, on 5 December 1980, ruled an appeal that his sentence should be suspended except for fourteen days.

29 February 1980

Justice Petrus Cillié submits to Parliament his report on the violent racial disturbances beginning in Soweto in June 1976, and covering the period to February 1977. The report concludes that the immediate cause of the riots was the government's decision to introduce the use of Afrikaans on an equal basis with English as the official teaching medium in black schools. Underlying dissatisfaction had been exploited by activists.

March 1980

the Sunday Post launches a nationwide "Release Mandela" campaign, about 15 million sign the petition.

A campaign is launched for the release of Nelson Mandela. Organizations supporting the campaign include the Soweto 'Committee of, Inkatha, AZAPO, the Labour Party, the Natal Indian Congress and the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

Following the Rhodesian elections, the Sunday Post, Johannesburg, launched a campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela; it received wide support in the country.

Following the Rhodesian elections, the Sunday Post, Johannesburg, launched a campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela; it received wide support in the country.

3 March 1980

A large cache of arms is discovered in a township near Springs, East of Johannesburg. Together with the buried arms are bundles of ANC leatlets.

9 March 1980

Prime Minister P.W. Botha announces that all South Africa's races will take part in a constitutional conference, but he emphasizes that he rejects one-man, one-vote and systems based on consensus and federalism.

11 March 1980

After a Cabinet meeting, both P.W. Botha and Dr. Treurnicht issue statements calling for party unity.

South Africa:Signs agreement with Taiwan for the reciprocal exemption from taxes on income.

South Africa:Signs agreement with Taiwan for the reciprocal treatment of navigation.

South Africa:Signs agreement with Taiwan for scientific and technological cooperation.

South Africa:Signs air service agreement with Taiwan.

12 March 1980

The Nederduitse Gereformerde Kerk (NGK) together with its sister church for blacks (the NGK in Afrika), Coloureds (the NG Sendingkerk) and Indians (the Reformed Church in Africa) issue a statement stating that the Churches bring no objection in principle if the authorities judge that circumstances justify reconsideration of the Immorality Act and the Mixed Marriages Act.

A court in Pretoria sentences nine blacks to terms of imprisonment from five to seven years on charges of training as guerrillas outside South Africa or recruiting others to undergo training.

13 March 1980

Lilian Ngoyi, a leading member of the Executive of the ANC dies.

13 March 1980

The former Prime Minister and President, John Vorster, re-emerges into public life with a speech in Bloemfontein in which he questions P.W. Botha's policy initiatives and backs the hard-line taken by Dr. Treurnicht. Separate development, he says, is the salvation of South Africa.

13 March 1980

Lillian Ngoyi dies

15 March 1980

The Prime Minister states that those who disagree with the government's 12-point strategy, accepted by all four National Party Provincial Congresses in 1979, and unanimously endorsed by the Cabinet, do not belong within the National Party.

16 March 1980

Dr. Connie Mulder, leader of the recently-formed Nasionale Konservatiewe Party (NKP), foresees a new political alliance bringing to power a conservative government.

21 March 1980

The Prime Minister dismisses allegations that the Cabinet is divided, and denies that there are differences in principle between Dr. Treurnicht and himself.

21 March - 23 February 1980

A weekend of events commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings on 21 March 1960. Speakers attack the policy of apartheid.

26 March 1980

The 1980 Defence Budget amounts to R2,074 million or fifteen percent of the total Budget

April - July 1980

Serious unrest among the Coloured population leads to a school boycott, joined by students and teachers and accompanied by widespread demonstrations ending in violence. Over thirty people are killed in rioting,while several hundred are detained by police.

In student protests all over the country, more than a thousand students as well as several lecturers and public leaders - were detained. Many students were killed or injured.

April 1980

In April the Coloured Representative Council was dissolved.

In April the Black Consciousness Movement of South Africa changed its name to the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania.

In April, the African United Automobile Workers Union split and the Motor Assemblies and Components Workers Unions of South Africa was formed (MACWUSA).

1 April 1980

The South African Coloured Persons' Council BILL comes into force. It abolishes the Coloured Persons' Representative Council (CRC) and provides for the creation of a Coloured Persons' Council (CPC) to consist of not more than thirty members nominated by the State President, with an Executive comprising an Administrator of Coloured Affairs and four other members, also appointed by the State President.

A summit meeting of nine southern African countries in Lusaka decided to form the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) to promote regional development and lessen dependence on South Africa.

A summit meeting of nine southern African countries in Lusaka decided to form the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) to promote regional development and lessen dependence on South Africa.

2 April 1980

Among those giving the Constellation' plan warm, but qualified support, is Harry Oppenheimer. Opening the Constellation of Southern African States' exhibit he says that this excellent idea can only succeed if racial discrimination is eliminated and a settlement is reached over Narntbm.

4 April 1980

ANC insurgents launch a rifle, rocket and grenade attack on Booysens Police Station, Johannesburg. Pamphlets are scattered demanding the release from Robben Island of Walter Sisulu.

11 April 1980

The Minister of Manpower Utilization announces the removal of the ban on the employment of skilled black construction workers in white areas.

The Prime Minister states that the government has no intention of releasing Nelson Mandela.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution condemning South Africa for continued, intensified and unprovoked acts against Zambia. South Africa blames terrorist attacks launched from Zambia for border instability.

12 April - 13 April 1980

Chief Buthelezi urges his supporters to use the official community councils in black urban areas as part of the democratic struggle against the apartheid system.

14 April 1980

The Steyn Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate relations between the Security Forces - both Military and Police - and the press proposes that new restrictions should be introduced on the publication of details of acts of political violence and the manufacture of arms. The system of accreditation of journalists should be more strictly applied and foreign correspondents should be subject to a more vigorous registration procedure.

15 April 1980

The (Coloured) Labour Party National Executive Committee resolves to expel from the party anyone accepting nomination from the government to the Coloured Persons' Council (CPC).

The leader of the PFP states that the PFP as a party has not taken a decision regarding the campaign to have Nelson Mandela released, but he, personally, has urged his release providing he renounces violence.

18 April 1980

Zimbabwe gains its independence.

20 April 1980

Mounting protests by Coloured students against the educational and political system escalate further. Representatives of more than sixty Coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape resolve to continue their boycott of classes. The boycott begins on 21 April 1980 and is widely observed by approximately 100,000 students from seventy schools for three weeks.

21 April 1980

The Coloured schools boycott is joined by pupils at a number of Indian schools in Pretoria and Natal. Support is also pledged by Black Consciousness groups.

29 April 1980

Hundreds of Coloured school children are arrested in Johannesburg during a student-police confrontation during the school boycott in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act. The Prime Minister warns in Parliament that such actions would meet with the full might of the state.

6 May 1980

The Advocate-General's report confirms that the Herstigte Nasionale Party's office telephones have been illegally tapped and calls intercepted. He recommends stricter controls over the State Security Services' monitoring of mail and telephone conversations.

Black PEBCO activist Thozamile Botha breaks his banning order and escapes to Lesotho.

7 May 1980

The interim majority report of the Schlebusch Commission is tabled. A minority report by the PFP members of the Commission opposes the proposal to create a President's Council which would not include black representatives.

8 May 1980

Prime Minister P.W. Botha announces that his government accepts the recommendations of the Schlebusch Commission including the replacement of the Senate by a President's Council comprised of sixty Whites, Coloureds, Indians and Chinese. Also proposed is the nomination of twenty additional Members of Parliament to be appointed on a proportional basis by the leaders of the political parties.

In the Fauresmith by-election the National Party retains its seat against a double right-wing challenge from the Herstigte Nasionale Party and the recently formed National Conservative Party.

12 May 1980

The British Sports Council urges the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and all other international sporting governing bodies to bring South Africa back into international competition.

20 May 1980

Signs multilateral Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

22 May 1980

In a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament it is unanimously agreed to re-entrench the language rights in the constitution in anticipation of the abolition of the Senate.

26 May 1980

Fifty-three churchmen are arrested at a demonstration in central Johannesburg against the detention of a fellow clergyman who had supported the schools boycott by Coloured students, They are released on bail the following day, after being charged under the Riotous Assemblies Act, and warned to appear in court on 1 July 1980.

27 May 1980

The schools boycott spreads to universities and to rural areas and the' homelands following warnings against political protests, widespread detentions are reported.

28 May 1980

The schools boycott spreads to the black townships and riot police are in action in Durban and Port Elizabeth. At Elsies River, near Cape Town, police fire on Coloured children, killing two and wounding three.

29 May 1980

The Republic of South Africa Constitution Fifth Amendment Bill, establishing a framework for deliberations on the country's future constitutional, economic and social development is introduced into Parliament. The Bill is based closely on the majority recommendations of the Schlebusch Commission.

30 May 1980

National Security Intelligence and National Security Council Act No 4:

Enacted mechanisms for state security.

Commenced: 30 May 1980

June - July 1980

A further series of strikes in the motor industry, affecting especially the Volkswagen works at Uitenhage, ends on 14 July with an agreement including a twenty-five percent increase in minimum wages for blacks in the industry.

1 June 1980

Umkhonto weSizwe strike at the Sasol Complex, causing damage estimated at R66 million.

1 June 1980

The SASOL I fuel plant complex at Sasolburg, fifty miles south of Johannesburg, is attacked. On the same night SASOL II at Secunda suffers an unsuccessful limpet mine explosion which fails to set off fires. Oliver Tambo, President of the ANC, claims that both attacks were made by ANC guerrilla units.

6 June 1980

Dr. Renfrew Christie, an academic and former student leader from the University of Cape Town, is sentenced to ten years imprisonment, with four other sentences of five years each to run concurrently, after being found guilty on five charges under the Terrorism Act. He is said to have supplied information to the ANC concerning South Africa's nuclear programme, and to have exposed vital installations to the danger of sabotage.

6 June 1980

Public Security Further Amendment Act No 20:

Made further amendments regarding the declaration of states of emergency.

Commenced: 6 June 1980

7 June - 8 June 1980

The South African Black Alliance (SABA) condemns the proposed composition of the President's Council and the nomination of its members.

11 June 1980

The Wiehahn Commission publishes its recommendations on the training of black workers, including government- supported training in industrial relations.

12 June 1980

The government publishes details of proposed legislation under which the Minister of Defence could designate any place, area or installation as a national key point for which adequate security measures would have to be taken.

The Republic of South Africa Constitution Bill receives its third reading. Among its provisions are the abolition of the Senate and the creation of a sixty-member President's Council comprising Whites, Coloured, Indian and Chinese representatives nominated by the State President for a five-year term. A new office, that of Vice State President, will be created: he will act as chairman of the President's Council. It is opposed by the PFP principally on the grounds of the exclusion of blacks.

13 June 1980

Following a meeting 4-13 June 1980, held at the request of the African group, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution strongly condemning South Africa for its massive repression and for its defiance of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. Inter alia it calls for the release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela.

John Wiley, the leader of the South African Party (SAP), announces that his party is to disband. SAP representatives will retain their seats and join the National Party, thus increasing the NP strength in the House to 136.

13 June 1980

Security Council adopted resolution 473 (1980), following police violence against a series of demonstrations by students and other groups in South Africa, strongly condemning the South African regime for further aggravating the situation. It called on that regime to end violence against the African people, and take a series of measures to eliminate apartheid and grant equal rights to all South Africans. It urgently called for "the release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela and all other black leaders with whom the regime must deal in any meaningful discussion of the future of the country."

16 June 1980

The ANC issues a call for the intensification of the liberation struggle on all fronts, but demonstrations on the anniversary of Sharpeville are generally low key.

18 June - 19 June 1980

Renewed rioting occurs in the Cape. Criminal elements in the Coloured community are blamed. Official figures give twenty-nine dead and 141 injured. Damage to shops and businesses runs into millions of rands.

18 June 1980

The Netherlands Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of an oil embargo on South Africa.

23 June 1980

The Prime Minister warns the country that confrontation awaits it if his proposed President's Council fails. Pretoria is prepared to create consultative bodies for Coloured. Indian and Black leaders, but not to accept majority rule as the ultimate end.

25 June 1980

Helen Joseph, the seventy-five year old political campaigner, is served with a two-year banning order. She is already a 'listed person', has had several restrictions previously imposed upon her, as well as being detained and sentenced to imprisonment. She regards her banning order -her fourth - as a - certificate of merit'.

26 June 1980

ANC award Isithwalandwe to Govan Mbeki and Bishop Ambrose Reeves.

26 June 1980

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe, announces that he will cut diplomatic ties with South Africa.

July 1980

Boycotts continue at a number of black high schools and higher primary schools, particularly in the Eastern Cape, with violent disturbances recurring.

10 000 Johannesburg municipal workers went on strike.

1 July 1980

The Chamber of Mines of South Africa announces wage increases of fifteen percent and twenty-eight percent respectively, for black face and surface workers in the gold and coal mining industries.

1 July 1980

Gazankulu: Police Act No 5:

Commenced: 1 July 1981

8 July 1980

Foreign Minister 'Pik' Botha announces that all senior members of the South African diplomatic mission in Salisbury have been withdrawn.

16 July 1980

The 'Committee of 81', representing all Coloured schools and colleges in the Western Cape. decide to end class boycotts.

17 July 1980

The United States expresses deep concern to the South African Ambassador, Donald Sole, over government and police response to strikes and demonstrations. Mentioned particularly are the pervasive ban on peaceful assembly, widespread detentions without charge or trial, and bannings of moderate leaders of all racial groups.

18 July 1980

The Nigerian President of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) states that Britain and other countries maintaining sporting ties with South Africa are toying with the unity of the Commonwealth, African and Caribbean countries, particularly object to the British Lions Rugby Union tour of South Africa that ended on 14 July 1980.

19 July - 20 July 1980

'Homeland' leaders do not necessarily reject the concept of the President's Council, provided it is revised to include black representation. A similar stance is taken by the Urban Council's Association of South Africa, speaking for leaders of the officially-recognized community councils in black urban areas.

23 July 1980

The Prime Minister announces that the government is establishing formal machinery to promote its concept of a 'constellation of Southern African states'. Dr. Gerhard de Kock, the Finance Ministers Chief Economic Adviser, is appointed co-ordinator of Constellation Affairs to chair a Constellation Committee to examine, inter alia. proposals for a multilateral development bank, industrial decentralization and financial arrangements between participants.

24 July 1980

Strike of 10,000 Johannesburg municipal workers.

30 July 1980

Following decisions by the 'Committee of 81' on 16 July and 30 July 1980 Coloured students suspend their boycott of schools in the Western Cape.

1 August 1980

A strike by black municipal workers in Johannesburg, ends when police supervise the removal of over 1,000 dismissed men. The Chairman of the unofficial Black Municipal Workers' Union (BMWU), Joseph Mavi, is arrested and subsequently charged under the Sabotage Act, together with the BMWU Secretary.

1 August 1980

Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act No 95:

Commenced: 1 August 1980

Repealed by the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995.

1 August 1980

Public Security Amendment Act No 6:

Made further amendments to state security legislation, allowing for greater control by state security mechanisms.

Commenced: 1 August 1980

5 August 1980

It is reported that the Netherlands government, co-sponsors of the International University Exchange Fund (IUEF) along with the governments of Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, has withdrawn its financial support for the Fund and that Denmark and Norway have also ended their contributions.

The trial begins in Pretoria of nine men accused of having planned the siege of a suburban bank in Pretoria in January, in which five people died, of belonging to the banned ANC and of having undergone military training in Angola.

7 August 1980

A delegation of the South African Council of Churches meets the Prime Minister and other government leaders, following calls by churchmen for urgent discussions on the causes of unrest in the country. The government undertakes to end all compulsory mass removals.

8 August 1980

The government abandons the proposal to create a separate black advisory council.

11 August 1980

After a meeting between P.W. Botha and the leader of the (Coloured) Labour Party and the Freedom Party, the government reportedly abandons its proposals to create a nominated Coloured Persons' Council (CPC).

15 August 1980

The offices of a member of the Prime Ministers' team, responsible for drawing up plans for a Southern African 'constellation of states', Professor Jan Lombard, are destroyed at the University of Pretoria. A rightwing group, the Wit Commando later claims responsibility for the bomb attack.

15 August 1980

Preservation of Good Morals Act No 14:

Dictated segregation similar to that required by South African apartheid laws.

Commenced: 15 August 1980

20 August 1980

The Prime Minister meets Lesotho's Chief Leabua Jonathan in an attempt to improve relations between the two countries.

22 August 1980

Leaders of Port Elizabeth's black secondary school children, decide to end a four-month boycott of classes. Negotiations have taken place between the local parents' committee and the Port Elizabeth Students Council (PESCO).

26 August 1980

Prime Minister P.W. Botha, announces a reorganization of his government, with effect from 7 October, including the appointment of seven new ministers.

27 August 1980

The government decides to lift the ban on political meetings affecting the main metropolitan areas. Announcing this, Minister of Justice Alwyn Schlebusch, says he will not hesitate to reintroduce the ban if it is necessary to maintain public peace.

1 September 1980

Dr. Andries P. Treurnicht, Minister of Public Works, Statistics and Tourism, is unanimously re-elected as the National Party's leader in the Transvaal. As the chief spokesman for the conservative wing he re-affirms that the party will continue to work for independent national groups on a geographical basis.

2 September 1980

Zimbabwe announces it has severed diplomatic relations with South Africa, but will maintain a trade mission in Johannesburg.

3 September 1980

African Defence Force (SADF) and Lieutenant-General Jan Geldenhuys as Chief of the Army, with effect from October 1980.

John Wiley, former leader of the South African Party, is elected as National Party member for Simonstown, defeating the PFP candidate by 1,182 votes in an eighty-two per cent poll.

4 September 1980

At a congress in Bloemfontein, the Prime Minister says that the National Party has to draw together as many people as possible, allowing them to maintain their separate identities, but uniting them in a common front against Marxism.

14 September 1980

The Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA) was formed, comprising 9 affiliates.

19 September 1980

The town of Mafeking is officially surrendered by the Republic of South Africa to the Republic of Bophuthatswana, and upon its transfer changes its name to the African form 'Mafikeng'.

22 September 1980

Signs treaty with Zimbabwe for the reciprocal appointment of trade representatives

24 September 1980

Closure of more than seventy black schools, mainly in the Cape Province. is ordered by the government following five months of boycotts by pupils. Talks with community leaders have failed and incidents of violence continue.

29 September 1980

The former Secretary for Information, Dr. Eschel Rhoodie, is acquitted by the Bloemfontein Appeal Court of five charges of fraud. His conviction and sentence are set aside.

October 1980

In October the Media Workers Association of South Africa called for a boycott of all commercial newspapers. MWASA was previously known as the Writers Association of South Africa.

2 October 1980

The Prime Minister appoints fifty-six members to the President's Council, comprising forty-one Whites, seven Coloureds, seven Indians, and one Chinese.

3 October 1980

The leader of the New Republic Party, Vause Raw, states that his party is prepared to give the President's Council a chance as a start on the road to a negotiated future.

5 October 1980

Chief Lennox Sebe, Chief Minister of the Ciskei, accepts independence in principle, and wins endorsement for his stand at a rally in Zwelitsha, near East London. He pledges to hold a referendum on the issue.

6 October 1980

Parliament meets in special session to elect the National Party candidate, Alwyn Schlebusch, as the nation's first Vice-President. In this role, he will be Chairman of the President's Council, from 1 January 1981.

17 October 1980

The Prime Minister, P.W. Botha, concludes a five-day state visit to Taiwan, during which he and his twenty-member delegation meet Taiwan's Premier and other officials and discuss substantial cooperation in economic and technical projects.

23 October 1980

In the by-elections at East London North, the seat is won by the conservative NRP, defeating the PFP's candidate D. John Malcomess who had previously held the seat.

Amendments to loan agreement with Malawi.

28 October 1980

KwaZulu: Labour Amendment Act No 9:

Commenced: 28 November 1980

KwaZulu: Divorce Act No 10:

Commenced: 28 November 1980

31 October 1980

The draft laws are gazetted providing some benefits for black people. These include greatly increased mobility and security of tenure for blacks qualified to be in white areas. Piet Koornhof claims the proposed Bills are the beginning of a process of normalizing race relations.

3 November 1980

A nationwide strike is launched by black journalists for increased pay and for recognition of their union, the Media Workers' Association of South Africa (MWASA).

5 November 1980

Disturbances break out in the black townships of Port Elizabeth and police open fire on rioting crowds. Tensions rise in the areas.

10 November 1980

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty extending the declaration on the provisional accession of Colombia to GAIT.

12 November 1980

The Minister of (black) Education and Training announces that compulsory education for black children will be introduced in stages, with a first programme beginnning near Pretoria.

13 November 1980

South Africa's Medical Association agrees to ask its ethical committee to conduct a public investigation into issues raised by the death of Steve Biko in police custody in November 1977.

26 November 1980

At the end of the Soekmekaar and Silverton trial in Pretoria, three young black men are found guilty of high treason, as well as of attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances and are sentenced to death. Six others are given prison sentences. The ANC calls on the world community to intervene to save the men.

28 November 1980

Mandela receives the Jawaharlal Nehru Award.

28 November 1980

At a ceremony at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, the ANC President, Oliver Tambo, declared the adherence of the organisation to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol 1 of 1977 on the humanitarian conduct of war.

29 November 1980

At a National Party rally in Ladysmith (Natal), the Prime Minister restates his policies. The government is not thinking in terms of a union or a federal form of government for all population groups, nor of one man, one vote, but proposes to establish a constellation of states.

10 December 1980

A new Coloured political movement, the Congress of the People (COPE) is launched in Cape Towns Bellville district.

12 December 1980

A white extremist group, the 'Wit Kommando' claims responsibility for the bombing of the offices of Professor F.A. Maritz at the University of South Africa.

During the thirty-fifth Regular Session, the United Nations General Assembly adopts two resolutions concerning South Africa's nuclear capacity, requesting the Security Council to prohibit all forms of co-operation with South Africa in the nuclear field and demanding that South Africa submit all its nuclear installations to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

16 December 1980

The United Nations General Assembly adopts a total of eighteen resolutions on the situation in South Africa and problems created by the application of the governments apartheid policy.

17 December 1980

The results of the referendum on the issue of independence for Ciskei, held on 4 December 1981, are announced. They show a decided majority in favour of independence.

23 December 1980

Four black newspapers, Post Transvaal, Saturday Post, Sunday Post and the Sowetan, are banned on a technicality on the same day that the eight week strike of black journalists ends.

29 December 1980

Justice Coetzee in the Rand Supreme Court refuses to lift an order barring resumption of publication of four black newspapers. Security police serve three-year banning orders on the President and Vice-President of the black journalists' trade union, Media Workers of South Africa. A storm of protest erupts, even from the strongly pro-government Afrikaans press.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.