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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1883. Public Health Act No 4

A pandemic of bubonic plague "began in South China in the second half of the nineteenth century ... It reached South Africa in 1900 during the Anglo-Boer War. There the seaports of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban lay open to infection, burdened by wartime commerce, swollen with refugees from the interior and large numbers of migrant African labourers" (Swanson 1977: 29). Thus "the Plague Administration sought no less than the mass removal of Cape Town's African population, even though the number of I Africans contracting the plague was less than either whites or coloureds" (Swanson 1977: 30). Consequently, "[o]ne of the first actions of the Cape government... was to rush a native location into being under the PUBLIC HEALTH ACT at the sewage farm called Uitvlugt, several miles from town on the the Cape Flats" (Swanson 1977: 30).

The law was amended in 1897.

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.