The 1974 South African general election, held on 24 April, was called one year earlier than scheduled by Prime Minister John Vorster on 4 February. The House of Assembly was increased from 166 to 171 members. The Progressive Party made a major advance. In addition to Helen Suzman, re-elected for Houghton, five other members won seats including the party leader Colin Eglin. A seventh member of the caucus was elected at a by-election soon after. The United Party won 41 seats. The election would also see Harry Schwarz, leader of the United Party in the Transvaal, enter Parliament, who would soon lead a break away from the United Party and would become one of the Apartheid's most prominent opponents in Parliament.
Nominations closed on 18 March. A total of 334 candidates were nominated for 171 seats: National Party 137, United Party 110, Herstigte Nasionale Party 46, Progressive Party 23, Democratic Party 7 and others 11. 46 seats were won unopposed, 32 for the National Party and 14 for the United Party.
The elections for the Senate were held on 30 May 1974 by an electoral college made up of members of the Assembly and various others. The National Party gained one seat at the expense of the United Party, winning 32 of the 44 seats (the United Party held 12 seats).