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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1970

Prices begin to rise sharply, making it even more difficult for workers to survive on low wages. Spontaneous strikes resulted: workers walk out of the workplaces demanding wage increases.

The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act strips blacks of their South African Citizenship.

Fietas, Johannesburg: Lenasia is incorporated into the Johannesburg Municipal Area.

Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act (National States Citizenship Act) No 26:

Required all black persons to become citizens of a self-governing territorial authority. As Minister Connie Mulder stated: 'No black person will eventually qualify in terms of section 10 because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister,' i.e. black people are forced by residence in designated 'homelands' areas to be citizens of that homeland and denied South African nationality, the right to work in South Africa etc.

Assent gained: 26 March 1970; commencement date not found

Repealed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

Fatima Meer banned for planning mass rally with Steve Biko.

Winnie Mandela placed under house arrest.

1 January 1970

The Weights and Measures Bill providing for the metrification of weights and measures, thereby introducing the metric system, comes into effect.

9 January 1970

The first week after the announcement of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund the price of gold falls below $35 per oz.

30 January 1970

The Prime Minister announces that the government is watching the situation in Lesotho following the elections and that necessary measures have been taken to ensure the safety of South Africans there.

6 February 1970

The Prime Minister announces that all Coloured people will be removed from the common voters' roll.

11 February 1970

A delegation from Mauritius arrives in Cape Town to discuss ways of strengthening links between Mauritius and South Africa.

16 February 1970

Twenty-two Africans are acquitted of unlawful activities. Three are subsequently released, but the nineteen others are charged again under the Terrorism Act, and immediately taken into custody. They include Winnie Mandela.

18 February 1970

Minister of Defence Botha, appeals in the House of Assembly to the British government to uphold its honour in respect of the Simonstown Agreement, otherwise South Africa will have to explore other avenues to strengthen its maritime forces.

23 February 1970

The Bantu Laws Amendment Bill is passed.

26 February 1970

The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Bill is passed, whereby every African is issued with a certificate of citizenship of his respective 'homeland'.

6 March 1970

The National Party manifesto reaffirms its belief in separate development programmes for the white, black, Coloured and Indian population.

10 March 1970

South Africa's consular representation will not be withdrawn from Rhodesia and South Africa's relations with the Republic of Rhodesia will remain unchanged.

13 March 1970

A total of 407 candidates are nominated for the 166 seats in the House of Assembly. Eight parties and five independents will contest 155 of the constituencies.

18 March 1970

The Deputy Leader of the Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP), Jaap Marais, is committed for trial in the Pretoria Supreme Court on three charges under the Official Secrets Act.

23 March 1970

South Africa is banned from competing in the Davis Cup, as a result of South Africa's apartheid stand in sport.

26 March 1970

On this date all Africans become citizens of their ethnic 'homelands'. However, they will not become foreigners in the Republic of South Africa.

South Africa:Signs treaty with Portugal (for Mozambique), amending Article XXXII of the Mozambique Convention.

April 1970

The Leader of the United Party reiterates his party's proposal for a Federal Constitution.

The Herstigte Nasionaie Party publishes its manifesto describing its aim of a society dominated by Christian national concepts and Afrikaans as the only official language.

2 April 1970

South Africa:Signs agreement with Australia relating to air services.

13 April 1970

B.J. Vorster states that he is prepared to meet demands that mixed sports should be allowed.

14 April 1970

The United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid urges a boycott of all South African racist sporting organizations and supports an African proposal to exclude the Republic from both the Munich Olympics and the Olympic Movement itself.

22 April 1970

The general election results in the return to power of the National Party for the sixth time since 1948, but with a reduced majority. There is an overall swing of two and a half percent to the United Party, and of five and a half percent away from the National Party with three percent going to the Herstigte Nasionale Party. The NP wins 117 seats with 820,968 votes cast. The UP wins forty-seven seats with 561,647 votes cast. The Progressive Party wins one seat with 51,760 votes cast.

24 April 1970

It is confirmed in London that thirteen African countries have threatened to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, if the South African cricket tour of Britain goes on.

27 April 1970

The Prime Minister announces that his newly re-elected government is to continue its outward looking foreign policy as well as its policy of separate development.

11 May 1970

The Prime Minister announces a Cabinet reshuffle.

13 May 1970

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on certain dairy products.

15 May 1970

The International Olympic Committee expels South Africa from the International Olympic Movement as a result of South Africans apartheid stand in sport.

18 May 1970

Following the results obtained in the general election held in April, a new cabinet is sworn in.

19 May - 21 May 1970

John Vorster visits Malawi and stresses the desire for continued contact and co-operation between South Africa and Malawi, despite existing differences in outlook.

21 May - 22 May 1970

Private talks are held between John Vorster and Rhodesian Prime Minister lan Smith.

22 May 1970

The English Cricket Council bows to British government pressure and calls off the all-white South African cricket tour.

29 May 1970

Minister of Justice, P.C. Pelser, announces that the Attorney-General of the Transvaal is to prosecute thirty of the 357 people arrested in Johannesburg after an illegal march in protest against the continued detention of the twenty-two Africans held under the Terrorism Act.

3 June - 7 June 1970

The Prime Minister, accompanied by Dr. Muller, visits Portugal, and holds several meetings with the Portuguese Prime Minister and senior ministers. The friendly talks cover a wide field and include the Cahora Bassa scheme.

9 June - 10 June 1970

The Prime Minister visits Spain and holds discussions with senior officials. A meeting is held with General Franco.

10 June 1970

John Vorster hold talks in Paris with the French Prime minister covering French investments in South Africa.

12 June 1970

The seventh 'homeland' is inaugurated with the installation of Chief Gatsha Buthelezi as Chief Executive Officer of the Zululand Territorial Authority (ZTA).

13 June 1970

P.W. Botha announces that South Africa is establishing a new submarine base at Simonstown at a cost of $7.7m.

14 June - 17 June 1970

Prime Minister Vorster and Dr. Muller arrive in Geneva. A meeting is held with twelve South African ambassadors to European countries, and with the head of the South African mission to the United Nations in Geneva, concerned with means of improving South Africa's image in Europe.

24 June 1970

Exchange of notes with Portugal on the issue of copyright in maps.

July 1970

The first General Students' Council of SASO (South African Students' Organisation) was convened, and the organisation took on a bolder stance as opposed to the previously somewhat apologetic stance. The organisation encouraged contact between SASO and other multi-racial organisations such as the United Christian Movement (UCM) and the Institute of Race Relations, but recognition of NUSAS (National Union of South African Students) as a "true" national union of students was withdrawn. By this time SASO had become identified with a well-articulated ideology of Black Consciousness.

Steve Biko felt confident enough to launch a series of attacks on white liberal thinking, saying: "The integration they (liberals) talk about…is artificial…a one-way course, with the whites doing all the talking and the blacks the listening", he claimed in an article in the August edition of the SASO (South African Students' Organisation )"Newsletter". And he also had some harsh words for Africans who had been drawn into the "come-around-to-tea circuit: 'one sees a perfect example of what oppression has done to the blacks. They have been made to feel inferior for so long that for them it is comforting to drink tea, wine or beer with whites that seem to treat them as equals. This serves to boost their egos to the extent of making them feel slightly superior to those blacks who do not get similar treatment from whites. These are the sorts of blacks who are a danger to the community." Also to Biko a true liberal was a white person who directed all his energies into educating other whites and preparing them to accept a future system of majority rule. He argued that until this came about, blacks had to go it alone.

1 July 1970

The question of the resumption of arms supplies by Britain to South Africa is discussed by the Foreign Minister, Dr. H. Muller and the new British Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, in London, in the context of the Simonstown Agreement.

6 July 1970

The British Conservative government's intention to resume arms supplies is announced in the House of Commons. Other Commonwealth governments are formally informed of this intention on 10-11 July 1970. Hostile reactions follow.

11 July 1970

The United States Secretary of State reiterates America's adherence to the policy of not supplying arms and military equipment to South Africa.

20 July 1970

The Prime Minister announces in the House of Assembly that South African scientists have succeeded in developing a new process for uranium enrichment, and are building a pilot plant for this process.

The British Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, makes a statement in the House of Commons on the question of arms for South Africa. Emphasizing the vital importance of the sea routes around South Africa.

23 July 1970

The United Nations Security Council condemns all violations of its embargo against South Africa. After five meetings on this question Resolution 281 (1970) is subsequently passed calling on all states to strengthen the arms embargo. It is adopted by twelve votes to none against, France, Great Britain and the United States abstaining.

The Minister of Defence tells Parliament that South Africa in fact spends less than 3 percent of her national income on defence.

23 July 1970

Security Council adopted resolution 282 (1970) calling on States to take a series of measures to strengthen the arms embargo against South Africa. The vote was 12 in favour and 3 abstentions (France, UK, USA).

27 July 1970

An Uranium Enrichment Bill is announced, establishing the Uranium Enrichment Corporation of South Africa.

29 July 1970

The International Court of Justice in the Hague unanimously condemns the continuing presence of South Africa in Namibia and defines the legal consequences.

3 August 1970

South Africa:Signs amendments with Portugal (for Mozainbique) an the Mozambique Convention.

15 August 1970

Several pamphlet bombs, scattering ANC pamphlets, explode in a number of cities.

19 August 1970

The Chinese community is granted official white' status for the first time. but only for sport and leisure. Subsequently the leader of the HNP, Dr. Hertzog, accuses the government of betraying South Africa's traditional principles of racial segregation.

24 August 1970

A second trial of the nineteen Africans, acquitted in February begins after they have been in detention for seventeen months. They are all acquitted and released on 14 September 1970 only to be served subsequently with orders by the Minister of Justice placing them under restriction.

September 1970

South Africa:Signs visa agreement with Spain.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Prime Minister Vorster said that South Africa was prepared to enter into a non-aggression pact with neighbouring States.

28 September 1970

The Minister of Justice announces in the House of Assembly that as of 1 January 1970 there were 809 persons serving prison sentences imposed under security laws.

28 September 1970

The provincial elections continue to demonstrate the slight swing away from the National Party, with the United Party making a net gain of six seats. The result: National Party 118 seats, the United Party fifty-nine seats, others nil.

30 September 1970

B.S. Ramotse is sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment by Justice G. Viljoen in the Pretoria Supreme Court. He is found guilty of taking part in terrorist activities and plotting the violent overthrow of the state.

5 October 1970

South Africa:Signs multilateral Convention on the Conflict of Laws Relating to the Form of Testamentary Dispositions.

24 October 1970

In a Declaration on the 25th anniversary of the United Nations, the General Assembly described apartheid as "a crime against the conscience and dignity of mankind". (Resolution 2627 (XXV))

4 November 1970

President Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast announces he is planning an African Summit Conference to urge a dialogue with South Africa. This initiative meets with very various reactions throughout the continent, but is welcomed in South Africa.

9 November 1970

South Africa:Signs agreement with Netherlands modifying existing agreement on air services

13 November - 1 December 1970

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey, visits South Africa on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Anglican Church in South Africa. He repeatedly expresses his views on political and social problems arising from the government's apartheid policy.

13 November 1970

After a challenge of the credentials of the South African delegation by many Member States, the General Assembly approved the report of the Credentials Committee "except with regard to the credentials of the representatives of the Government of South Africa". [(Resolution 2636 (XXV))]

15 November 1970

At the twenty-fourth General Assembly of the United Nations, South Africa joined all the leading maritime powers in opposing a section of the Resolutions on Peaceful Uses of the Sea-Bed.

19 November 1970

John Vorster appoints Theo Gerdener as Minister of the Interior in succession to Marais Viljoen. The latter retains the Labour portfolio and takes over Posts and Telegraphs in addition. The South African Broadcasting Corporation will come under the direct control of the Ministry of National Education.

20 November 1970

The South African Foreign Minister signs an economic agreement with the Malagasy Republic, which provides for a financial loan from South Africa to help the Malagasy tourist industry.

21 November 1970

Six prominent members of the HNP resign, having lost all confidence in the leadership of the party. Resignations include that of Dr. Willie Lubbe, editor of the party's newspaper 'Die Afrikaner'.

5 December 1970

The government's policy for the coloured people is restated by a Cabinet Minister. Any policy, or lack thereof, which can lead to integration on whatever basis between whites and coloureds is rejected; the idea of a specific homeland for the coloured people is impracticable; extended and consistent liaison between the coloureds and the white authorities is promised. The government remains firmly committed to the principle of parallel development.

11 December 1970

South Africa signs a customs agreement with Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

16 December 1970

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on the suppression of unlawful seizure of aircraft.

24 December 1970

The Minister of Bantu Administration and Development leaves Malawi after a four-day visit during which cooperation between nations of Southern Africa is endorsed.

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.