Pass Laws – British colony 1797

That is all what it is – an identity card.   This is or was not the same type of card from Home Affairs.   Today all businesses require a safer system in place and have an identity card system into place, even for visitors.    If you want to enter a mine or the parliament as visiter, you need the necessary documents.  If you travel overseas, you need a passport or visum.  If you do not have one and enter such a country, if they find you, you will be deported.   The first internal passports in southern Africa were introduced on 27 June 1797 by the Earl Macartney in an attempt to exclude all natives from the Cape Colony.

File:Map of the Dutch Cape Colony in 1795.jpg


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Most of the people issued with identity cards today – to work – even if you want to pay a visit to parliament and municipalties they will give you a ID and visitors’ card.

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The Cape Colony was merged with other states in the region to form the Union of South Africa in 1910, under Britain.

By this time, versions of pass laws existed elsewhere. A major boost for their utilization was the rise of the mining sector from the 1880’s: pass laws provided a convenient means of controlling workers’ mobility and enforcing contracts.

Outside the “homelands”, black South Africans (from the 1950s, including women) had to carry passbooks at all times in order to prove they were authorized to live or move in “White” South Africa.Template:Sfnp Pass laws, as an instrument of labour control, typically required proof of employment, and limited the amount of time in which employment could be sought.

The Pass Laws

Something to think about is why so many black South Africans actually supported the NP, something no one ever tells us either. The first pass laws in South Africa were introduced on 27 June 1797 by the Earl Macartney in an attempt to exclude all natives from the Cape Colony.

Introduced in South Africa in 1923, they were designed to regulate movement of black Africans in white urban areas. Outside designated “homelands”, black South Africans had to carry passbooks at all times, documentation proving they were authorised to live or move in “White” South Africa. The laws also affected other non-white races. Indian people, for example, were barred from the Orange Free State. These discriminatory regulations fuelled a growing discontentment from the black population and the ANC began the Defiance Campaign to oppose the pass laws. The Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act, 1952, commonly known as the Pass Laws Act, made it compulsory for all black South Africans over the age of 16 to carry a “pass book” at all times within white areas. The system of pass laws was not the work of the National Party, but something they inherited and could not merely overnight abolish and certainly not at the time, it would have led to a revolution that they would not have been able to contain. The system of pass laws was repealed by the National Party in South Africa in 1986.

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The Natives (Urban Areas) Act of 1923 deemed urban areas in South Africa as “white” and required all black African men in cities and towns to carry around permits called “passes” at all times. Anyone found without a pass would be arrested immediately and sent to a rural area. It was replaced in 1945 by the Natives (Urban Areas) Consolidation Act, 1945 which imposed essentially the same restrictions. This Act outlined requirements for African peoples’ “qualification” to reside legally in white metropolitan areas. To do so, they had to have Section 10 rights, based on whether

  • the person had been born there and resided there always since birth;
  • the person had laboured continuously for ten years in any agreed area for any employer, or lived continuously in any such area for less than ten years;
  • the person was the spouse, spinster or son under eighteen years of age of an African person, falling into the above two categories, usually lived with him and had originally entered the area legitimately; or
  • the person had been granted a permit to remain by a labour bureau.

The ironically named Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act of 1952, commonly known as the Pass Laws Act, made it compulsory for all black South Africans over the age of 16 to carry the “pass book” at all times within white areas. The law stipulated where, when, and for how long a person could remain.

The document was similar to an internal passport, containing details on the bearer such as their fingerprints, photograph, the name of his/her employer, his/her address, how long the bearer had been employed, as well as other identification information. Employers often entered a behavioural evaluation, on the conduct of the pass holder.

An employer was defined under the law and could be only a white person. The pass also documented permission requested and denied or granted to be in a certain region and the reason for seeking such permission. Under the terms of the law, any governmental employee could strike out such entries, basically canceling the permission to remain in the area.

A pass book without a valid entry then allowed officials to arrest and imprison the bearer of the pass. These passes often became the most despised symbols of apartheid. The resistance to the Pass Law led to many thousands of arrests and was the spark that ignited the Sharpeville Massacre on March 21, 1960, and led to the arrest of Robert Sobukwe that day.

Colloquially, passes were often called the dompas, literally meaning the “dumb pass.”

Other movement controls applied to other groups. Indian people, for example, were barred from the Orange Free State.

On July 23, 1986, as part of a process of removing some apartheid laws, the South African government lifted the requirement to carry passbooks, although the pass law system itself was not yet repealed. The system of pass laws was formally repealed on November 13, 1986.

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There were no Verwoerd here:

British Empire history: Slaves and “Hottentots” : AD 1806-1835

The British, took control in the Cape colony again in 1806, encounter a society in which the use of slaves has long been part of the established system and in which the local tribespeople (the Khoikhoi, known at the time by the Afrikaans word Hottentot) are employed in conditions little better than slavery. This clash of cultures comes at a time when British public opinion is enthusiastic in its support of the campaign against slavery. This campaign achieves its first great success just after the return of the British to the Cape. Parliament enacts in 1807 the abolition of the slave trade, making it illegal for British ships to carry slaves or for British colonies to import them.

An early statute of the British in the Cape colony becomes known as the Hottentot Code (officially the Caledon Code, 1809).

It requires written contracts to be registered for the employment of tribal servants and it provides safeguards against their ill treatment. But it also enshrines one familiar condition of serfdom; servants may only leave a farm if a pass is signed by their employer. And today we just wonder why the British people implemented this? Did they experience also same kind of problems?

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British missionaries, led by John Philip, are soon protesting at this restriction. From 1826 Philip campaigns vigorously back in Britain and in 1828 the house of commons passes a resolution for the emancipation of the Cape tribes. In the same year the governor of the Cape colony guarantees complete liberty of movement to ‘free persons of colour’.

From the point of view of the Afrikaners, worse is to come. In 1833 the reformed parliament in London passes the Emancipation Act. All slaves in British colonies are to be freed after a period of ‘apprenticeship’, which in the Cape colony ends in 1838. The Afrikaners inevitably feel that alien ways are being imposed upon their long-established culture by a new colonial power, and their sense of isolation is increased by other changes. In 1820 British families, numbering about 5000 people, are shipped to the Cape and are given 100-acre plots of land. Under the new regime English becomes the language of the law courts. British teachers set up village schools where the lessons are in English. But above all it is British interference in the relationship between the races in South Africa which gives the most profound offence to the traditionally-minded Boers – and prompts the Great Trek.

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Again – apartheid was not created by the Afrikaners and Boers in South Africa.

 

This was the first of a series of pass laws initiated by the British authorities, and it aimed at helping the Afrikaner farmers by way of controlling the mobility of the labour force. It “decreed that every Hottentot (or Khoikhoi) was to have a fixed ‘place of abode’ and that if he wished to move he had to obtain a pass from his master or from a local official”.

Pass laws were nothing new, though. “From 1760 onward every slave ‘going from the town to the country or from the country to town’ had to carry a pass signed by his master which any passers-by might ask him to show. In 1797 the Swellendam Board of Landdrost and Heemraden ordained that all Hottentots moving about the country for any purpose should carry passes. The real novelty of Caledon’ s law lay in its elaborate detail, especially its detailed provisions for the protection of the Hottentot labourer, and in the fact that special steps were taken to carry it out”

https://omalley.nelsonmandela.org/omalley/index.php/site/q/03lv01538/04lv01646/05lv01649.htm

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The British, taking control in the Cape colony, encounter a society in which the use of slaves has long been part of the established system and in which the local tribespeople (the Khoikhoi, known at the time by the Afrikaans word Hottentot) are employed in conditions little better than slavery.

This clash of cultures comes at a time when British public opinion is enthusiastic in its support of the campaign against slavery. This campaign achieves its first great success just after the return of the British to the Cape. Parliament enacts in 1807 the abolition of the slave trade, making it illegal for British ships to carry slaves or for British colonies to import them.

An early statute of the British in the Cape colony becomes known as the Hottentot Code (officially the Caledon Code, 1809). It requires written contracts to be registered for the employment of tribal servants and it provides safeguards against their ill treatment. But it also enshrines one familiar condition of serfdom; servants may only leave a farm if a pass is signed by their employer.   And today we just wonder why the British people implemented this?  Did they experience also same kind of problems?

http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=oqz

‘Apartheid’ > 1854

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