Blacks (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act No 67 of 1952

Road Sign -- 1956 © Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Road Sign -- 1956. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Definition:

The Blacks (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act No 67 of 1952 (commenced 11 July) repealed early laws, which differed from province to province, relating to the carrying of passes by Black male workers (e.g. the Native Labour Regulation Act of 1911) and instead required all black persons over the age of 16 in all provinces to carry a 'reference book' at all times. They were required by law to produce the book when requested by any member of the police or by an administrative official.

The 'pass' included a photograph, carried details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police.

A special court system was devised to enforce the pass law – people appearing at such 'commissioners' courts were considered guilty until they had proven their innocence. During the 60's, 70's and 80's around 500,000 Blacks were arrested each year, their cases tried (mainly uncontested), and in the 60's fined or sentenced to a short prison term. From the early 70's the convicted were' deported' to Bantustans instead (under the Admission of Persons to the Republic regulation Act No 59 of 1972).

By the mid 80's, by which time almost 20 million people had been arrested (and tried, fined, imprisoned, or deported), the pass law had become increasingly difficult to enforce and it was abandoned.

Repealed by the Identification Act No 72 of 1986.

Also Known As: Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act No 67 of 1952