Fagan Commission

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The Native Laws Commission, commonly known as the Fagan Commission, was appointed by the government of South Africa in 1946 to investigate changes to the system of segregation.

The main recommendation of the commission's report was that influx control of African people to urban areas should be relaxed. This in turn would increase the flow of labour and prevent the problem of migrant labour living in distant rural areas. The Fagan report called for the creation of a stabilised population of African workers within urban areas to create a reliable work force for business as well as an increased consumer base for retailers.

The report was published at a time when Jan Smuts's popularity was low and his detractors had more support. In response the National Party created their own commission called the Sauer Commission. Its report suggested the exact opposite of the Fagan Commission, i.e. segregation should continue and be implemented across all social and economic areas of life. The rise of postwar Apartheid can be attributed to the Sauer commission.

The members of the Fagan Commission were: Henry Allan Fagan, A.S. Welsh, A.L. Barrett, E.E. von Maltitz and S.J. Parsons.


  • A digest of the Fagan report. The Native Laws (Fagan) Commission. Prepared by Helen Suzman. Johannesburg, South African Institute of Race Relations, 1948.
  • 'n Samevatting van die verslag van die (Fagan-)Kommissie van ondersoek na die naturelle-wette. Opgestel deur Helen Suzman. Johannesburg, Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut vir Rasse-Verhoudings, [1948].