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(page 4)
Resistance and Repression
In the early years of apartheid resistance was widespread, but it was not united.

By its nature apartheid was a divisive force. The effects of apartheid were being felt very differently across the city's communities. For Africans, influx control was the most difficult aspect, whereas for coloureds the Group Areas Act was breaking up community life. Whites were privileged, and few would risk taking part in protest action that might lead to arrest. Opposition groups were thus divided and became critical of one another (more..)

The government's reaction to protest was to outlaw opposition. The Criminal Law Amendment Act made it a particular offence to break a law 'to protest, or in support of any campaign against the law'. Hence if one stood in the wrong queue by mistake one may get away with a reprimand, but if this was judged to be 'out of protest' then one could be liable to a large fine or five years in prison.

The Public Safety Act was soon added, thus enabling the government to declare a State of Emergency whereby it could act without restraint in the name of curbing protest. The Suppression of Communism Act (1950) had already given the government power to ban meetings and organisations.

Another law made it illegal for African workers to strike, and while they were allowed to join trade unions their employers were no longer obliged to negotiate with them.

Although draconian legislation suppressed and controlled opposition organisations, alliances between organisations emerged under the ANC-led Congress Alliance and united opposition began to emerge for the first time in the mid-50s (more..)

The battery of security laws enabled the National Party to repress the ANC's Defiance Campaign and in 1953 they secured a larger majority in the national election. With a firmer platform, they went on to implement further segregation and successfully deterred opposition.

In the late 1950s a radical breakaway party emerged called the PAC, and their activities led to confrontation with the police, strikes and riots in Cape Town. A state of emergency was declared, opposition groups banned and a crackdown on security that lead to what has become known as the 'silent sixties'.
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In this period of Cape History:



Petty Apartheid



The Silent Years

Influx Controls

1976 Uprising

Post '76 Reform


Turning Tide

Mass Action

Bibliography & Contacts


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