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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1932. Native Service Contract Act

Simons & Simons (1969: 423) refer to this act as "proposed", while Davenport (1987: 295) clearly refers to it as an "act", as does Worden (1994: 60).

It "was an abominable measure that legalized the whipping of African lads under eighteen for offences against the MASTER AND SERVANT LAWS, authorized African guardians to bind minor children to labour, and aimed at turning share croppers into labour tenants, working from ninety to 180 days a year for the farmer on the days of his choice" (Simons & Simons 1969: 452t). It also "enabled farmers to call on the labour of their workers' families as well as the workers themselves, to evict them summarily for non-performance of labour obligations even if there were no written contract of service" (Davenport 1987: 295).

Furthermore, it "forced all tenants on white-owned farms either to work between three and six months per year for the landowner or to pay a heavy £5 tax, and it also prevented them from leaving the farm without written permission" (Worden 1994: 60).

Incidentally, while the churches protested heavily against it, the ANC objected only to not having been consulted (Simons & Simons 1969: 453).

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.