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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1968

Attempts at opening the "Eastern Front" in Zimbabwe are made, after fierce encounters; ANC-ZAPU units are forced to withdraw to Zambian territory.

Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act No 50:

The Coloured Persons Representative Council was formed with forty elected members and twenty nominated members. It had legislative powers to make laws affecting coloureds on finance, local government, education, community welfare and pensions, rural settlements and agriculture. No bill could be introduced without the approval of the Minister of Coloured Relations, nor could a bill be passed without the approval of the white Cabinet (Dugard 1978: 98).

Assent gained: 27 March 1968; commencement date not found

Repealed by s 101(1) of the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act No 110 of 1983.

Prohibition of Political Interference Act No 51:

Prohibited non-racial political parties (ss 1 & 2) and foreign financing of political parties (s 3). The Act was later renamed the 'Prohibition of Foreign Financing of Political Parties Act' by the 1985 Constitutional Affairs Amendment Act.

Sections 1 and 2 relating to the ban on non-racial political parties repealed by the same Act (No 104) of 1985.

Section 3 repealed by Abolition of Restrictions on Free Political Activity Act No 206 of 1993.

Sarah Carneson goes into exile in the UK, works for Trade Union Movement.

Florence Matomela released from prison and banned.

Dorothy Nyembe arrested again, detained and tortured

3 January 1968

The State President-elect, Dr. Theophilus Ebenaeser Donges, dies after a long illness.

30 January 1968

South Africa:Signs a modification to the annexure of the air agreement of 19 October 1959 with Switzerland.

1 February 1968

J.J Fouché is nominated and unanimously elected President following the death of Dr. T.E. Donges.

2 February 1968

Accepts the accession of Poland to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Accepts the accession of Argentina to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

4 February 1968

The Prime Minister of Lesotho, Chief Jonathan, is reported to be prepared to co-operate with the South African government.

7 February - 8 February 1968

Mr. Fouchë, the newly elected President, resigns from the cabinet and institutes changes in the government. D.C.H. Uys becomes the newly designated Minister of Agriculture and of Water Affairs and M.C.G.J. van Rensburg takes over the Posts and Telegraphs portfolio.

9 February 1968

Mr. Justice Ludorf, presiding judge in the Pretoria terrorist trial, imposes sentences on the thirty accused of conspiring to overthrow the South West Africa administration. All are sentenced to imprisonment, nineteen to life, nine to twenty years, and two to five years.

15 February 1968

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) decides to re-admit South Africa to the Olympic Games. The government has made five relevant concessions and the country is expected to participate in the Mexico City Olympics late in 1968.

16 February 1968

The Commission, headed by S.L. Muller, appointed to study political interference and representation of population groups publishes its report. Its recommendations, which feature in subsequent legislation, are debated in the House of Assembly in late February and early March 1968.

22 February 1968

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Bill is adopted against the opposition of the United and Progressive Parties.

26 February 1968

The South African Indian Council Bill, dealing with the affairs of the Indian Population, is passed with the support of the Opposition. It establishes the Council as a statutory body with twenty-five nominated members. No Indian 'homeland' is to be established.

28 February 1968

Prime Minister Vorster announces that the new Coloured Persons Representative Council will be comprise forty elected and twenty nominated members. It will take over from the existing Council of Coloured Affairs and will have extended legislative and administrative powers.

The Ivory Coast Foreign Minister urges African nations to seek a dialogue with South Africa.

12 March 1968

P.W. Botha, the Minister of Defence, reports to the Senate on the progress of the Arms Industry and defines the main aims of South Africa's defence policy.

14 March 1968

The United Nations Security Council censures South Africa for its flagrant defiance of Council Resolution 245 (1968) calling for the freeing of the dependents in the South West Africa 'Terrorism' trial and demands that South Africa release and repatriate them.

21 March 1968

South Africa:Signs treaty with Malawi on air transport.

26 March 1968

Three Bills dealing with the future of the Coloured population are introduced: the Prohibition of Improper Interference Bill; the Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Bill, and the Representative Council Amendment Bill. All are adopted during 1968.

26 March 1968

South African Indian Council Act No 31:

Established the Council consisting of twenty-five members appointed by the Minister of Indian Affairs. The number was increased to thirty members, of which fifteen were appointed by the Minister and fifteen indirectly through electoral colleges in the provinces (Dugard 1978: 100). Unlike the Coloured Persons Representative Council, the South African Indian Council was not granted legislative powers.

Commenced: 26 March 1968

Repealed by s 23 of the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act No 110 of 1983.

27 March 1968

South Africa:Signs agreement with France with regard to the launching of the eole balloons.

27 March 1968

Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act No 21:

Invalidated any marriage entered into outside South Africa between a male citizen and a woman of another racial group (Dugard 1978: 69).

Commenced: 27 March 1968

Repealed by the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act No 72 of 1985.

28 March 1968

Raymond Hoffenberg leaves South Africa on an exit permit, without possibility of return, to take up a research and consultant's post in London founded for him by the British Medical Council. Later, on 23 April 1968, Prime Minister Vorster reiterates that he fully agrees with the restrictions placed upon him in South Africa.

3 April 1968

The Prime Minister announces that the five 'non-White' University Colleges - those of Fort Hare, Zululand and the North, of the Western Cape and of Durban-Westville - will be released from their association with the University of South Africa, will be called universities and will, subject to certain conditions, be free to provide for their own teaching and conduct of examinations.

5 April 1968

The Minister of Defence, P.W. Botha, tells the House of Assembly that countries aiding and inciting terrorism and guerrilla warfare against South Africa could provoke retaliation against them. This is interpreted as a warning to Zambia that 'terrorist' bases there could be attacked by South Africa.

The United Nations Council for South West Africa leaves New York for London on its way to SWA, in an attempt to discharge the functions and responsibilities entrusted to it by the Assembly.

8 April 1968

The Minister of Finance states that South Africa is not bound to any particular market and will therefore sell its gold wherever it was to its best long-term interest.

10 April 1968

J.J Fouché is inducted as President in Cape Town.

18 April 1968

The United Nations Council for South West Africa decides to return to New York from Dar-es-Salaam following problems over the chartering of aircraft and the denial of landing clearance in South West Africa.

22 April - 13 May 1968

The International Conference on Human Rights is held in Teheran. A resolution is adopted condemning the South African government for its apartheid policy.

30 April 1968

The bill establishing five universities for blacks, releasing their association with the University of South Africa, comes into force.

May 1968

South Africa appoints a military attaché to the South African Legation in Malawi.

4 May 1968

In terms of the Armaments Development and Production Bill, the Armaments Development and Production Corporation of South Africa (ARMSCOR) will take over and expand the undertakings of the Armaments Board, establish new undertakings, and assist other companies in the production of armaments. The Bill provides for a share capital of R100 in., or more.

8 May 1968

The South African government decides to finance the first phase of the construction of a new railway line between Southern Malawi and Mozambique. The contract for the construction is awarded to a South African consortium.

20 May 1968

South Africa:Signs agreement with France relating to the certificates of airworthiness for imported aircraft.

21 May 1968

The Coloured Persons-Representative Council Amendment Bill is adopted after is final reading in the Senate, with the support of the Opposition. It provides for the enlargement of the existing Council, to one of forty elected and twenty nominated members, for giving it a limited measure of jurisdiction over Coloured affairs (education, pensions and local government) and for a Budget of about R50,000,000 per annum.

The Prohibition of Improper Interference Bill passes it final stages in Parliament, against the votes of the Opposition. It prohibits multiracial membership of political parties, participation in the affairs of political parties belonging to one racial group by members of another group or acceptance by political parties of funds from abroad

The Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Bill is passed, which extends the term of office of white representatives of Coloureds until 1971 and provides that such representation will then end.

1 June 1968

The government announces, in a White Paper, plans to reorganize the administration of South West Africa which will give Pretoria considerably more authority over the affairs of the Territory. The White Paper stresses the complete legality of the proposed new arrangement.

5 June 1968

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on wheat trade.

17 June 1968

The United Nations General Assembly proclaims that South West Africa shall henceforth be known as 'Namibia' and condemns South Africa for its refusal to withdraw from the territory.

26 June 1968

Following official meetings held in Sweden (15-19 June) and later in Britain, the United Nations Special Committee on the Policies of Apartheid appeals for factual and statistical information to be given about countries still supplying arms to South Africa, and proposes that freedom fighters in South Africa be recognized as prisoners-of-war under the Geneva Convention.

28 June 1968

South Africa:Signs an amendment to the air transport agreement of 23 May 1947 with the United States.

July 1968

At the Annual NUSAS (National Union of South African Students) Congress, Biko and some of his fellow medical students began to draw black students into a candid discussion on their second-class role within the union.

Steve Biko began to actively promote the idea of an all-black university movement later, at a University Christian Movement meeting in Stutterheim.

1 July 1968

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

3 July 1968

Dangerous Weapons Act No 71:

Prohibited the possession of weapons which could cause bodily injury if used in an assault. The Minister of Justice could prohibit the possession or manufacture or supply of such objects.

Commenced: 3 July 1968

IN FORCE (as amended by the Dangerous Weapons Amendment Act No 156 of 1993): ARMS AND AMMUNITION.

4 July - 19 July 1968

At a meeting of the World Council of Churches in Sweden, the Rt Rev A.H. Zulu, Bishop of Zululand and Swaziland, Church of the Province of South Africa (Anglican) is elected as one of the presidents.

9 July - 15 July 1968

University Christian Movement (UCM) Second Annual Conference held at Stutterheim, attended by 150 students (majority non-white), faculty, chaplains.

11 July 1968

Ratifies a treaty with Switzerland on the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on income.

17 July 1968

The Minister of Health, Dr. A. Hertzog, says there can be no exception to the government's policy of differential salaries for the various race groups.

18 July 1968

The Minister of Finance attacks the United States and other former 'gold pool' countries for attempting to reduce the monetary role of gold.

23 July 1968

The new French ambassador to South Africa, Baron Philippe de Luze, presents his credentials to President Fouché.

9 August 1968

Prime Minister Vorster reorganizes his cabinet in order to strengthen the 'verligte' enlightened elements in the government. Four new cabinet ministers are appointed: Community Development and Public Works, Biaar Coetzee; Interior and Police, S.L. Muller; Water Affairs and Forestry. S.P. Botha, information. Social Welfare, Pensions and Immigration, C.P. Mulder.

12 August 1968

Over 5,000 soldiers supported by tanks, armoured cars and air force units begin manoeuvres in an exercise code named Operation Subasa designed to test the ability of South African defence forces to deal with terrorist activities.

14 August 1968

Widespread student protests are held against the banning by the government of the appointment of an African lecturer, A. Mafeje, to a post in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. Prime Minister, Vorster subsequently threatens to take action against student protests if the University authorities do not do so in reasonable time.

16 August 1968

Prime Minister Vorster says that the number of diplomats from African and Asian countries can be expected to increase as South Africa's policies become better understood. His task is to ensure that Southern Africa remains free from the threat of communism.

20 August 1968

A special conference of National Party office-bearers in Pretoria endorses Prime Minister Vorster's policies concerning the admission of black diplomats, cooperation between English and Afrikaans speaking South Africans and sport, in which racial segregation will be maintained.

September 1968

The Minister of National Education, Senator Jan de Klerk, announces the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into Universities in the Republic, under the chairmanship of Justice J. van Wyk de Vries, with the mission of investigating all aspects of university life.

4 September 1968

South Africa:Signs an extradition agreement with Swaziland.

9 September 1968

A new nationalist party in Dar-es-Salaam, the National Liberation Front of South Africa (NALFSA), formed to direct the freedom struggle inside South Africa, applies for recognition of the OAU's African Liberation Committee.

17 September 1968

Prime Minister Vorster criticizes the decision to include a coloured cricketer, Basil d'Oliveira, in the British MCC team to tour South Africa in 1968. South African sports policy does not permit this, and the MCC is asked to cancel the tour.

22 September 1968

A Commission of the South African Council of Churches publishes a report condemning apartheid as a false faith hostile to Christian belief.

24 September 1968

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on the authentic trilingual text of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

25 September 1968

The appeal of the thirty-one members of SWAPO against their conviction for acts of terrorism is to be heard by the full bench of the eleven judges of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein. International concern is based on the argument that South Africa lacks jurisdiction over Namibia following the United Nations decision in 1966 to revoke its mandate over the territory.

8 October 1968

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on the principles governing the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space.

9 October 1968

Defence Minister Botha announces that a missile base for experimental tests and launchings is to be established on the Zululand coast about 150 miles north of Durban. This site will be of great strategic importance for the defence of the sub-continent.

12 October 1968

The Secretary-General of the Supreme African Sports Council, J.-G. Ganga, says he will admit white South Africans to the African Games provided that competitions in South Africa are held without racial discrimination.

21 October 1968

An open letter is released by twelve leading clergymen from the Church of the Province of South Africa and other Protestant churches indicating that it is impossible for all political utterances from the pulpit to cease.

South Africa:Signs an agreement with Japan on the double taxation on income derived from the exploitation of ships or aircraft in international traffic.

22 October 1968

South Africa:Signs treaty with Greece concerning the graves of members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth in Greek territory.

23 October 1968

Following his victory at the general elections in which his party, the Transkei National Independent Party (TNIP) won twenty-eight of the forty-five seats, Chief Kaiser Matanzima reorganizes the Transkei cabinet.

27 October 1968

The Minister of Police, S.L. Muller, speaking at a National Party meeting, warns that several hundred South African born black 'terrorists' will try to infiltrate the country, and that at least 2,000 have been trained by liberation movements. Guerrilla activity is still taking place in the Caprivi Strip and forty-six Africans in the area have been detained.

14 November 1968

The Ciskei 'homeland' is established.

21 November 1968

South Africa:Signs treaty with Canada on the Canadian Pension Plan.

26 November 1968

South Africa:Signs amendments to the multilateral treaty on safety of life at sea, 1960.

December 1968

during the Christmas recess, a meeting took place at Marianhill, and was attended by about thirty members of black university Students' Representative Councils. From analysing the NUSAS (National Union of South African Students) experience from this group, Biko found an encouraging receptiveness to his idea of an all-black organisation. A number of students from Turfloop were present who had formerly been pro-PAC and ASUSA (African Students' Union of South Africa) in their loyalties; their antipathies to NUSAS (National Union of South African Students) had always been strong, and they needed little persuasion to accept the idea of an exclusively black organisation. The name South African Students' Organisation (SASO) was chosen and plans were laid for a formal inaugural conference.

2 December 1968

The twenty-third Assembly of the United Nations passes a resolution condemning the apartheid policies of the South African government on virtually identical terms to that adopted at the twenty-second session.

2 December 1968

The General Assembly requested all States and organisations "to suspend cultural, educational, sporting and other exchanges with the racist regime and with organisations or institutions in South Africa which practice apartheid.

12 December 1968

The Tswana Territorial Authority is established.

South Africa:Signs the International Sugar Agreement.

14 December 1968

A move to expel South Africa from UNCTAD (The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) is defeated in the United Nations General Assembly.

17 December 1968

The first rocket to he wholly developed and manufactured in South Africa is successfully launched from the new rocket launching range at St. Lucia Bay on the east coast. The Minister of Defence asserts that the rockets are defensive not offensive weapons.

21 December 1968

A three-month campaign to register coloured voters ends with only approximately half of the total of 700,000 qualified voters registering.

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.