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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1923. Native Urban Areas Act No 21

This required local urb~ authorities to estab~is~ ~epa~ate r.esi~ence locations for 'Natives', and to excerCIse control over 'NatIve ImmIgratIon Into these areas. It also "empowered local authorities to grant trading licenses to African location residents" (Davenport 1987: 551). Moreover, it "forbade the further granting of freehold property rights to Africans on the grounds that they were not permanent urban residents and 'should only be permitted within municipal areas in so far and for so long as their presence is demanded by the wants of the white population'" (Worden 1994: 43). This act also made "provision of a system of local governments on segregated lines" (Davenport 1987: 551f).

These 'Native' urban locations became administered by a Superintendent together with an Advisory Board; the former were "men who had frequently served in the police or acquired administrative experience elsewhere" (Davenport 1987: 552), while the latter usually consisted of six whites. The Advisory Boards were eventually replaced with Bantu Councils (see the URBAN BANTU COUNCILS ACT of 1961), and later by Community Councils (see the COMMUNITY COUNCILS ACT of 1977). While Price (1991: 130) claims that the Advisory Boards were created in 1945, Davenport (1987: 551f) and Van Tonder (1993: 330) explicitly refer to them as creations of the NATIVES URBAN AREAS ACT of 1923.

At any rate, a "series of 'URBAN AREAS ACTS' were passed designed to control the influx of Africans into urban areas and to control their conduct there" (Dyzenhaus 1991: 37); thus this act was amended and expanded several times: 1930, 1937, 1944, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1964 and 1971. See also the NATIVES URBAN AREAS CONSOLIDATION ACT of 1945.

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.