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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1974. Publications Act No 42

This act superseded the PUBLICATIONS & ENTERTAINMENTS ACT of 1963, which had established a Publications Control Board. This new act provided for the establishment of "a Government-appointed Directorate of Publications, headed by a Director of Publications ... [which] is responsible for the appointment of committees from a list of persons approved by the Government, : operating in various parts of the Republic, which are charged with the task of deciding whether publications (excluding newspapers), objects, films, and public entertainments referred to the committees by the Directorate are 'undesirable' " (Dugard 1978: 195). "In determining whether a publication is undesirable, the author's motive is irrelevant ... [and] a work may be found to be undesirable if 'any part of it' is undesirable" (Dugard 1978: 196).

Furthermore, the "production, distribution or, in some cases, possession of works declared undesirable is a criminal offence" (Dugard 1978: 196).

Appeals could be directed to a Publications Appeal Board, whose "task was to arrive at 'a general average of community thinking'" (Dugard 1978: 197).

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.