Suppression of Communism Act, 1950
|Suppression of Communism Act, 1950|
|Act to declare the Communist Party of South Africa to be an unlawful organization; to make provision for declaring other organizations promoting communistic activities to be unlawful and for prohibiting certain periodical or other publications; to prohibit certain communistic activities; and to make provision for other incidental matters.|
|Citation||Act No. 44 of 1950|
|Enacted by||Parliament of South Africa|
|Royal assent||26 June 1950|
|Commenced||17 July 1950|
|Repealed||2 July 1982|
|Administered by||Minister of Justice|
|Internal Security Act, 1982|
The Suppression of Communism Act 44 of 1950 (renamed the Internal Security Act in 1976) was legislation of the national government in apartheid South Africa which formally banned the Communist Party of South Africa and proscribed any party or group subscribing to communism, according to a uniquely broad definition of the term. It was also used as the basis to place individuals under banning orders, and its practical effect was to isolate and silence voices of dissent.
The Act, which came into effect on 17 July 1950, defined communism as any scheme aimed at achieving change--whether economic, social, political, or industrial--"by the promotion of disturbance or disorder" or any act encouraging "feelings of hostility between the European and the non-European races...calculated to further [disorder]". The government could deem any person to be a communist if it found that person's aims to be aligned with these aims. After a nominal two-week appeal period, the person's status as a communist became an unreviewable matter of fact, and subjected the person to being barred from public participation, restricted in movement, or imprisoned.
The government justified passage of the Act by noting the involvement of members of the South African Communist Party in the anti-apartheid movement.
The Act was frequently used to silence critics of racial segregation and apartheid. Justice Frans Rumpff, presiding in the 1952 trial of African National Congress leaders, observed such "statutory communism" might have "nothing to do with communism as it is commonly known."
The Act facilitated the government suppression of organisations such as the ANC and others which advocated for black equal rights. The Suppression of Communism Act forced these groups to go underground with their activism. Because of this Act, groups such as uMkhonto we Sizwe, led by Nelson Mandela as a branch of the ANC, did seek financial support from the Communist Party.
- General South African History Timelines South African History Online
- Separate and Unequal South Africa: A Country Study, Library of Congress.
- "Justice Takes Its Course". Time. 28 July 1952. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
- Byrnes, Rita M. (1996). "Legislative Implementation of Apartheid". South Africa: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress.
- "Death the Leveler". Time. 15 December 1952. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
- "The legal veneer". South African History Online. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
...from the book A Crime Against Humanity - Analysing the Repression of the Apartheid State edited by Max Coleman, (Cape Town)
- Benson, Mary. Nelson Mandela: The Man and the Movement, 2nd Edition. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-31281-2
- Byrnes, Rita M. (ed.). South Africa a Country Study (Area Handbook Series). Claitor's Law Books and Publishing Division. ISBN 978-1-57980-355-1
- The full text of Suppression of Communism Act, 1950 at Wikisource
- Suppression of Communism Act, 1950 - PDF
- Statement Condemning the First Banning Orders Under the Suppression of Communism Act, 22 May 1952
- South African Communist Party timeline 1870-1996
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