Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1986

South Africa is a multiracial society whose laws codify the
doctrine of apartheid, which prescribes the basic rights and
obligations of people according to their racial or ethnic
origin. The country's black majority (72 percent of its
population) continues to suffer from pervasive, legally
sanctioned discrimination based on race in political, economic,
and social aspects of life. The "colored" (mixed-race) and
Asian minorities also suffer from extensive racial
discrimination, although to a somewhat lesser degree than
South Africa's black population. Currently, the political
rights of the black majority are confined to participation in
tightly controlled urban councils in the country's black
residential areas ("townships") and through the 10 government-
designated tribal areas known as "homelands." Blacks have
been excluded from even the limited political changes that
have been made under South Africa's new Constitution,
implemented in 1984, which features a racially based
tricameral Parliament with a dominant white House of Assembly,
a colored House of Representatives, and an Asian House of
Delegates. The respective groups are represented in
Parliament on a racial ratio of 4/2/1 — white/colored/Asian.
Blacks do not have the right to vote in national elections and
have no representation in Parliament.
In 1986 there was a major deterioration of human rights in
South Africa. Throughout the year, political discontent and
violence persisted in the nation's black and colored townships.
Following the July 1985-March 1986 State of Emergency, the
Government imposed a new State of Emergency on June 12, 1986,
which remained in effect at the end of the year. Under both
States of Emergency, police and military exercised
extraordinary arrest and detention powers. Furthermore,
legislative amendments passed in 1986 gave the executive branch
broad emergency powers without the need for a declaration of a
State of Emergency.
The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) reported
Ohat 1,263 people had died as the result of political unrest
from January to November. Most of the deaths occurred in the
first half of the year, prior to the imposition of the second
State of Emergency. By the end of 1986, human rights groups
estimated more than 20,000 people had been detained under this
second State of Emergency. An estimated 10,000 remained in
detention at the end of the year. The Black Sash, an
antiapartheid organization, estimated up to 1,800 of those
detainees were under the age of 18, including many children
15 years of age or younger. Leaders of the opposition United
Democratic Front (UDF), a coalition of more than 600
antiapartheid groups, and various black trade unions were
special targets for detention under the latest State of
Emergency. Throughout the State of Emergency, there were
widespread reports of continuing officially sanctioned acts of
violence against dissidents, despite the State President's
public call in June for good behavior by security forces.
The banned African National Congress (ANC), most of whose
leadership is in exile, imprisoned, or operating underground
within South Africa, proclaimed 1986 as a year of intensified
armed struggle against the apartheid system. In 1986 the ANC
claimed responsibility for a number of acts of urban terrorism
and landmine explosions in rural areas, although it often
equivocated on its responsibility for incidents which involved
civilian deaths. The ANC also called on blacks to overthrow
the apartheid regime by concerted acts of violence, notably
against black police and township officials, to make the
townships ungovernable. ANC leader Nelson Mandela, imprisoned
after being convicted for sabotage in 1964, continued to serve
a life sentence, despite repeated domestic and international
calls for his release. In 1986 the Government reiterated its
earlier position that it would release Mandela only if he
renounced violence.
Other opponents of apartheid, such as young black activists in
the townships, also advocated and engaged in violent attacks
on black township officials and others suspected of
"collaborating" with the Government. Many blacks were
attacked by activists attempting to enforce protest activities
such as school or consumer boycotts.
The Government imposed progressively harsher curbs on the
media throughout the year to prevent the reporting of political
unrest and antigovernment activities. In December the
Government tightened existing emergency regulations to prohibit
reporting on a variety of politically related topics without
clearance by state censors.
In the first half of 1986, Parliament enacted some changes in
the apartheid system. These changes included abolition of
influx control or "pass" laws, which for years extensively
regulated the right of South African blacks to be present in
urban areas. Parliament passed legislation permitting some
blacks to regain the South African citizenship they had lost
involuntarily in previous years when some homelands were given
"independence." The Government also introduced a freehold
system of land ownership for blacks, permitting them to own
residences in urban areas designated for blacks under the
Group Areas Act. Notwithstanding the reforms, race still
remains the fundamental basis for the organization of South
African society. Discriminatory laws and practices remain
woven throughout the fabric of South African life.
In November the Indaba — a constitutional convention of leaders
of all races from the province of Natal and the homeland of
KwaZulu — issued a far-reaching proposal for a new unified
governmental structure for Natal/KwaZulu . The proposal
included a bill of rights with firm constitutional guarantees
of individual liberties and a universal franchise. The
Government had not commented on the proposal by the end of the
year, but the Indaba leaders planned to present it formally to
the Government for approval and hold a referendum among the
people of Natal and KwaZulu.
A serious economic downturn since 1984 has been a significant
factor in generating political unrest. Some economic
indicators in mid-1986 pointed to a modest improvement in the
country's growth rate. The Government has estimated that an
annual real growth rate of 5 to 6 percent is necessary for the
economy to absorb the approximately 250,000 black entrants to
the labor market each year. An even higher rate of growth
would be necessary to reduce present black unemployment, which
private observers estimate at 25 percent or more.
In May the South African Defense Force (SADF) launched
simultaneous air raids on alleged ANC training camps in
Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. In addition, attacks were
made against Lesotho and Swaziland which were widely believed
to have been launched by South African commandos. Several
people, including refugees under the protection of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) , were killed or
injured in these raids.
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
Freedom from:
a. Political Killing
Political violence in South Africa continued in 1986. The
SAIRR reported 1,263 unrest-related deaths from January to
November, an increase over the 1985 total of 879 deaths. Most
of the deaths occurred in the first half of 1986. There was a
marked decrease in the niamber of unrest-related deaths
following the imposition of the State of Emergency. In
December the SAIRR said that conflict within the black
community accounted for 45 percent of all political fatalities
in 1986; deaths at the hands of security forces, 33 percent;
deaths in unclear political circumstances, 12 percent;
insurgency-related deaths and casualties among security
forces, 10 percent.
Police often qiaelled demonstrations with excessive force,
utilizing tear gas, birdshot, whips, and rubber bullets, and,
at times, live ammunition. On March 26 police in
Bophuthatswana (one of four so-called "independent" homelands)
opened fire on a group of several thousand demonstrators in
Winterveldt, near Pretoria, killing at least 11 people.
While many unrest-related deaths occurred as a result of
police action, a sizable number of killings resulted from
internecine political strife within the black community. In
August the Government Bureau of Information said that there
were more than 300 deaths by burning alone as a result of
"black-on-black" violence from January through mid-June of
1986. Many of these deaths involved the notorious "necklace,"
in which a gasoline-soaked automobile tire is placed around
the victim's neck and then lighted. In April authorities in
the Lebowa homeland found the remains of more than 30 victims
of suspected black-on-black violence in shallow graves in
Sekhukuneland. It was not clear whether these killings were
politically motivated. As of the end of 1986, they were still
unsolved. Many were killed in clashes between supporters of
different political factions, such as Inkatha, the Azanian
Peoples' Organization (AZAPO) , and the UDF.
Some critics of the Government have claimed that much
black-on-black violence was instigated by covert government
agents. In some instances, most notably in fighting in May
and June in the "Crossroads" scruatter camps in Cape Town,
there was ample evidence to support this charge. Early in the
year, residents of the black township of Alexandra (near
Johannesburg) furnished affidavits in which they said that
known police officers had participated in fire bomb incidents
in the township. The Government supports vigilante groups
that ostensibly ensure neighborhood safety, and, in some cases
of unrest, the police have stood aside to let armed vigilante
groups subdue dissidents. In the KwaNdebele homeland, a late
member of the leadership allegedly led gangs who attacked
groups opposed to the acceptance of independence for that
homeland. In January there were reports that police observed
a violent incident in which UDF leader Ample Mayisa was
murdered in the Transvaal township of Leandra but did nothing
to prevent it. On December 1, unidentified gunmen in the
Pretoria township of Mamelodi assassinated Dr. Fabian Ribeiro
and his wife. Both were known for their opposition to the
Government. Circumstantial evidence pointed to the possible
involvement of elements of the government security
establishment in these killings, which remained unsolved at
the end of 1986.
As in prior years, 1986 saw a continuation of the serious
problem of suspicious deaths while in police custody. In
April Lucky Kutumela, a journalist and member of the AZAPO,
died in police custody of head injuries only hours after being
taken into detention. Also in April, Peter Nchabaleng, a
Transvaal provincial official of the UDF, died in the custody
of the Lebowa homeland police. Authorities claimed he
suffered a sudden heart attack, but family members said that
Nchabaleng, 59, was in good health at the time of his arrest
and had no history of heart difficulties. As of the end of
1986, the Government had not undertaken prosecutions in either
of these cases. Several other deaths of detainees occurred
during 1986, although not all involved political figures.
Simon Marule, a 20-year-old detainee, died while in custody in
December of what police described as an epileptic seizure, but
his family claimed that he had no history of epilepsy. Some
of the deaths of detainees were reported suicides. South
African human rights groups have pointed out that, of 89 known
deaths in detention since 1963, at least 29 have been
attributed to suicide.
The ANC, a revolutionary organization that openly advocates
the overthrow of the apartheid regime, encouraged violent
activity throughout the year but often equivocated or was
silent on the question of responsibility for individual
terrorist incidents. Following a car bomb blast in Durban in
mid-June that killed three, the ANC declined comment on what,
if any, responsibility it had for the incident. It equivocated
with regard to a number of other urban terrorist incidents and,
with regard to still others, denied involvement. As in
previous years, in 1986 the ANC primarily targeted offices and
installations involved with the administration of apartheid
(so-called "hard" targets), although it did hit some civilian
or "soft" targets.
In 1986 the ANC continued with its 1985 strategy of blurring
the distinction between hard and soft targets. While ANC
rhetoric from overseas broadcasts urged a spread of violence
to white areas, officials of the organization disavowed a
strategy of deliberately hitting civilian targets, but said
that the involvement of civilians as "crossfire" victims was
inevitable. In August the ANC acknowledged responsibility for
a landmine attack in the eastern Transvaal. The ANC takes the
position that white farmers in northern border areas of South
Africa constitute part of the Government's security
establishment. In April a court in Durban convicted Andrew
Zondo, an admitted ANC supporter, of five counts of murder in
connection with a December 1985 shopping center bomb blast in
Amanzimtoti, near Durban. Zondo received the death sentence.
After exhausting judicial appeals, he was executed in
September .
Many casualties in black township political violence were due
to attacks by radical blacks on township government officials,
black policemen, and other suspected "collaborators." These
attacks were probably at least partly inspired by the ANC,
which has called on blacks to render the townships ungovernable
and to attack so-called collaborators in the black community.
The Pan-Af ricanist Congress (PAC), another antiapartheid
organization in exile, also advocated violent opposition to
the South African Government. In addition, many blacks in
South Africa espoused or condoned violent opposition to
apartheid. In April Winnie Mandela, wife of jailed ANC leader
Nelson Mandela, said in a speech: "With our boxes of matches
and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country." Many
young black activists in the townships (so-called "comrades")
were responsible for numerous acts of violence and
intimidation. In several instances, they killed or seriously
injured blacks who they believed were not complying with such
protest activities as school or consumer boycotts. Frequently,
the distinction between politically motivated violence and
common crimes has been blurred where criminal elements in the
townships with no political motivation have posed as
"comrades . "
b. Disappearance
In recent years many people have disappeared, reportedly into
police custody, for long periods. Some, missing for very long
periods of time, are suspected by friends and associates to
have been killed by security forces. South African law does
not require notification of an individual's family, lawyer, or
any other person in the event of his detention or arrest. The
second Police Amendment Act of 1980 prohibits the unauthorized
publication of the name of any person detained where "the
prevention of or combating of terroristic activities" is the
reason for the detention.
In the weeks following the Government's June 12 State of
Emergency declaration, various human rights groups estimated
the number of "disappeared" persons at 12,000 or more.
Because the Government, for a period of more than 2 months,
would not release the names of detained persons, human rights
groups, families of missing persons, and lawyers were unable
to distinguish between "detained" and "disappeared" persons.
In August the Minister of Law and Order tabled a list of 8,553
State of Emergency detainees in Parliament. Several weeks
later, a supplemental list of 786 persons was added. These
lists only included detainees held for at least 30 days. As
of the end of 1986, this constituted the Government's only
official public accounting of emergency detainees. The
opposition Progressive Federal Party (PFP) and human rights
monitoring groups estimated that substantial ' .mbers of
detainees were not named by the Government in the August list,
claiming that by mid-August the Government had detained between
10,000 and 12,000 persons under the emergency. While
government spokesmen say that family members were routinely
informed of emergency detentions, in practice this did not
occur in numerous instances.
Following the June 12 emergency declaration, many black
activists reportedly left the country surreptitiously or went
into hiding to avoid detention. These circumstances further
complicated the task of accurately accounting for the many
persons who reportedly disappeared after June 12. Government
press curbs imposed in December prohibited news reporting on
detention cases and on unresolved litigation concerning
detentions without prior government clearance, which rendered
the task of accounting for missing persons still more
problematic .
c. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or
Security legislation, in particular the Internal Security Act,
allows police considerable latitude and generally unsupervised
discretion in the arrest and detention of suspects and in the
interrogation of detainees. The Act allows for lengthy periods
of detention during which authorities are not obliged by law to
present formal charges. Such detentions are a frequent
occurrence and offer considerable potential for police abuse
of detainees. State of Emergency regulations exempting law
enforcement officials from both criminal and civil liability
for "good faith" acts undertaken in enforcing both States of
Emergency were cited by many observers as giving police the
impression that they have a license to engage in abusive
conduct .
In 1986 many persons who had been released after being detained
under State of Emergency and security legislation regulations
gave accounts of beatings and other abuses by police. They
reported that they had been held in solitary confinement during
their detention. Others gave accounts of torture by police,
including applications of electric shocks to hands, feet, and
genitals. Most of the latter cases allegedly occurred during
and immediately following arrest and often appear to be the
result of poor discipline on the part of police officials.
The chances of physical abuse taking place appear to diminish
once a detainee is processed and made part of the general
inmate population. Instances of abuse in prisons, while not
unheard of, appear to happen with much less frequency than is
the case at police stations. At the end of 1986, the Detainee
Parents' Support Committee (DPSC) released a report in which a
medical panel it sponsored had surveyed approximately 500
released detainees under both States of Emergency. The
survey's preliminary findings indicated that 83 percent showed
signs of some physical abuse.
In August the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference
brought an application in the Supreme Court alleging that its
Secretary General, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, had been
tortured by security forces while held in State of Emergency
detention. Available evidence suggested that Father
Mkhatshwa 's allegations of physical abuse were true. In
response to this application, the Government agreed that its
personnel would refrain from physical abuse of Father
Mkhatshwa, without admission of any such abuse. The Government
has permitted Supreme Court judges to visit State of Emergency
detainees in prisons and in police cells. Government press
regulations issued in December banned reporting on conditions
of detention without prior government clearance.
In a June 12 televised address on the State of Emergency, the
State President said that security forces "are the friends of
each peace-loving and law-abiding citizen of this country.
The Government expects them, at all times, to act in such a
way that there could be no doubt of this." For the most part,
the Government has undertaken no serious public effort to hold
erring police and other security force members accountable for
apparent abuse of detainees. In 1986 two policemen were
convicted of assault arising out of a 1985 attack on Natal
Indian Congress Official Billy Nair, which took place in
September 1985 while Nair was in detention. In March police
in the Lebowa homeland assaulted an American citizen, Beth Ann
Burr is, while breaking up a meeting at a church with whips and
tear gas. The available evidence indicated that Ms. Burris
was an innocent bystander who fell victim to random and brutal
police conduct. While she pursued criminal charges against
the police, Lebowa authorities obstructed this effort. In May
a court in the Eastern Cape convicted one black security police
officer of murder and another of assault in connection with
attacks on young blacks.
d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
The Internal Security Act authorizes the Minister of Law and
Order to order detention without trial for varying — in some
instances potentially unlimited — periods of time. In 1986
amendments to the Internal Security Act introduced a new form
of preventive detention of up to 180 days which could be used
in "unrest situations." The Minister of Law and Order himself
must personally issue "preventive detention" orders under
section 28 of the Act. Senior police officials have broad
powers to detain people for interrogation under Section 29 of
the Act when offenses such as terrorism, sabotage, or inciting
a revolution are suspected. Access to Internal Security Act
detainees is severely restricted. In May the Appellate
Division of the Supreme Court ordered the release of several
Internal Security Act detainees under Section 28 of the Act,
holding the terms of the detention orders to be insufficient
to make out a proper case of risk to the security of the state
under the Act. This and other court decisions, while holding
that the Government improperly detained numerous persons,
nonetheless implicitly sanctioned Internal Security Act
detentions when done in strict compliance with the Act.
Invoking the Public Safety Act of 1953, the Government imposed
a new State of Emergency June 12, 1986, which remained in
force at the end of the year. Many observers characterized
the latter State of Emergency as a more draconian version of
the July 1985 emergency declaration. Under the June 1986
emergency, in effect nationwide, SADF members and police
officers down to the rank of constable were empowered to
detain persons for a period of 14 days. At the expiration of
this period, the Minister of Law and Order could extend the
detention for an indefinite period of time, limited only by
the duration of the State of Emergency. Following the
emergency declaration, the Government made immediate and
widespread use of these powers, arresting thousands and
detaining them without criminal charges. Black trade union
officials and members of the UDF were particular targets.
At the end of 1986, the DPSC estimated total emergency
detentions since June 12 at approximately 20,000. The Black
Sash organization said up to 1,800 of the detainees were under
the age of 18, including many children 15 years of age or
younger. The Government admitted in December that 256 children
under the age of 16 were in detention, but did not say how
many detainees between the ages of 16 and 18 were being held.
In addition, more than 2,400 people were reportedly detained
under non-State of Emergency security legislation during the
first 9 months of 1986, 181 of whom were still in custody as
of the end of September. Amnesty International's 1986 Report
estimated that 2,000 of those detained in 1985 under the first
State of Emergency were under 16 years of age.
While no accurate statistics are available, it is believed
that a majority of detainees under the first State of Emergency
(an estimated total of more than 10,000 persons in 7 1/2
months) were not charged with criminal offenses. Similarly,
most persons detained under the June 12, 1986 State of
Emergency have not been criminally charged.
Many political figures, community activists, lawyers,
churchmen, trade union officials, journalists, and others were
detained under the June 12 State of Emergency. Prominent
figures among the emergency detainees were: Richard Ramodipa,
Executive Board member. Black Lawyers' Association; Saths
Cooper, President, AZAPO; Phiroshaw Camay, General Secretary,
Congress of Unions of South Africa; Zwelakhe Sisulu, Editor,
New Nation newspaper; Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Secretary
General of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference; and
Bishop Sigisbert Ndwandwe of the Anglican Church. Ramodipa,
Cooper, and Camay were freed at the end of August and Bishop
Ndwandwe in September without criminal charges being filed
against them. Sisulu was released in July but rearrested in
December. The Labor Monitoring Group (LMG), which gathered
statistics on State of Emergency detentions of unionists, said
in late August that 333 trade unionists remained in State of
Emergency detention, while a grand total of 2,775 union
members were detained at one time or another since June 12.
LMG figures indicated that 79 percent of labor detainees were
affiliated with the black membership of the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (COSATU).
Arbitrary arrests also occurred frequently in the so-called
"independent" homelands, which have security legislation
comparable to South Africa's, and whose law enforcement
officers cooperate closely with the South African police
establishment. In November Dean Simon Farisani of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church was detained in Venda . He remained
in custody without being charged as of the end of 1986. Police
held him incommunicado, despite requests for visits by his
family and legal representatives.
Foreign nationals enjoyed no immunity from arbitrary emergency
detention. For example, in June security police in Nylstroom,
Transvaal, detained Charles Zechman, an American citizen
missionary. Zechman was held in solitary confinement for 30
days, was refused visitors (except for two consular visits),
and was later released without being charged, but with the
condition that he depart promptly from South Africa.
Similarly, in June Pretoria police detained Annica van
Gylswyck, a Swedish citizen with permanent residence in South
Africa and a prominent figure in the Black Sash antiapartheid
organization. Following 5 weeks in solitary confinement,
police presented Mrs. van Gylswyck with an ultimatum to depart
the country or face 180 days in detention to be followed by
unspecified criminal charges. Both Mr. Zechman and Mrs. van
Gylswyck departed South Africa following their respective
The Internal Security Act also authorizes the Minister of Law
and Order to issue "banning" orders. Under such orders, any
person judged by the Minister to be endangering law and order,
threatening state security, or promoting the aims of communism
or an unlawful organization can be (1) made to resign as an
officer or member of any organization; (2) restricted to or
excluded from certain areas; (3) prohibited from meeting with
more than one person at a time; (4) ordered to report regularly
to a police station; and (5) prohibited from being quoted or
published. Courts cannot challenge the Minister's power to
issue banning orders, although they may inquire into the
technical validity of banning orders. According to the SAIRR,
over 1,400 South Africans have been banned at some time since
1950. Prominent among "banned" persons at the inception of
1986 was Winnie Mandela, wife of jailed ANC leader Nelson
Mandela. By July the Government conceded that no restriction
order of any kind was in effect with regard to her. In March
the Government banned two Eastern Cape political activists,
Henry Fazzie and Mkhuseli Jack. They remained under house
arrest-style restrictions for some 10 days, until a court
invalidated the banning orders. In 1986 the Government lifted
longstanding banning orders against Rowley Arenstein, a Durban
lawyer, and against Mathatha Tsedu, a black journalist and
trade unionist. As of the end of 1986, local human rights
groups said that there were no persons technically "banned"
under the Internal Security Act. However, numerous State of
Emergency detainees, while not technically "banned" under
security legislation, were released from detention subject to
restrictions on their movements and on their involvement in
political matters. Still others were not detained but were
placed under State of Emergency "restriction orders" which
seriously curtailed their antigovernment activities.
Forced labor is not used in South Africa as a means of
political coercion or education nor as a sanction against
political or ideological opinions. A 1984 International Labor
Organization (ILO) report noted, however, that under the
Prisons Act of 1959, the Commissioner of Prisons can "contract
with any authority or public body or with a person or body of
persons for the hiring and employment of prisoners under
sentence." The report further noted that a large portion of
the prisoners designated for such work were blacks convicted
of pass law offenses, and that the agricultural sector made
the greatest use of this convict labor. In 1986 the Government
announced there were no more pass offenders in its prisons, a
fact that human rights monitoring groups confirmed. In June
1986, the Government announced that all convict labor would be
phased out by September 30.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The power of the South African judiciary at all levels is
circumscribed by stringent security legislation and by the
jurisprudential principle of parliamentary sovereignty, under
which judges possess no authority to alter, strike down, or
refuse to enforce properly enacted Acts of Parliament. All
judges of South Africa's Supreme Courts are white, as are the
vast majority of its magistrates.
South Africa has an adversarial system of criminal justice
drawn from a mixed heritage of Roman-Dutch and British
jurisprudence. Trials of lesser offenses are heard by
magistrates, who are career employees of the civil service in
the executive branch. More serious offenses, including
capital crimes, are tried in the Supreme Courts.
Determinations of guilt or innocence are made by the presiding
judge or magistrate. There are no juries. Judges in capital
and other serious cases are empowered to appoint two
"assessors," who serve as factfinders and who have the power
to veto the presiding judge on the final verdict. Persons
charged with common crimes are presumed innocent until proven
guilty, although Parliament has modified this general
presumption of innocence for many security offenses. The
Internal Security Act effectively places the burden of proof
of innocence on an accused for a number of offenses enumerated
in the Act. Both security-related and common crimes cases are
tried in civilian courts.
While South Africa's Supreme Courts are generally viewed as
politically independent, critics of the system regard
magistrates (who are often former government prosecutors) as
strongly progovernment in their orientation. Judges of the
Supreme Court are appointed to the bench by the State
President. Their service is until age 70, and they cannot be
removed from office except by impeachment by Parliament. By
tradition. Supreme Court judges are appointed to the bench
from the ranks of the elite corps of South African Supreme
Court practitioners ("advocates"). While Supreme Court judges
are believed to demonstrate considerably more intellectual and
political independence than do magistrates, critics have
charged that some Supreme Court judges tend to side with the
Government in politically sensitive cases and are specifically
selected by the Government to preside over these cases. The
weeks following the State of Emergency declaration in June saw
a spate of legal challenges to both the State of Emergency and
to the legality of the detention of persons under State of
Emergency regulations. In September the South African Supreme
Court, Appellate Division (the nation's highest court), ruled
that provisions of regulations promulgated by the executive
under the State of Emergency complied with the relevant
enabling statute, the Public Safety Act of 1953. There were
numerous technical challenges throughout the country to various
State of Emergency detentions during the second half of 1986,
some of which succeeded.
Defendants in criminal cases have the right to counsel. If a
person cannot pay for his or her defense, limited funds for
legal assistance are available through the government-supported
legal aid fund and through various private organizations.
These sources, however, are insufficient to meet the needs of
all indigene defendants. Courts usually appoint counsel in
capital cases where the defendant cannot afford his or her own
lawyer. Security trials are often held in remote locations,
far from metropolitan areas. Because of case backlogs,
postponements, and the practice of hearing cases concurrently,
criminal trials can sometimes take months, even years, to
complete. This is particularly true in security cases.
In January the Government began its prosecution of what many
termed the most significant security/political trial of a
generation, involving high treason, murder, and other security
charges against 22 defendants, members of the UDF, AZAPO, and
various black civic organizations. In November the Supreme
Court, Transvaal Provincial Division, dismissed all charges
against three defendants for the State's failure to make out
prima facie cases against them. At that time, the Court also
granted bail to 6 of the remaining 19 defendants. At the end
of 1986, 13 defendants remained in custody, many of them having
been imprisoned since late 1984. As of November, the State
had rested its case, and the defense had begun its
presentation. Defendants were represented by an extremely able
team of legal counsel.
f . Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or
The system of apartheid necessarily involves the Government in
extensive regulation of social, personal, and family life. A
person's identification as a member of an ethnic group or race
is based on definitions and decisions of the Government under
the Population Registration Act. Under this law, every child
born in South Africa must be registered and classified
according to race. In borderline cases, racial classification
is determined administratively by a racial classification
board, empowered to weigh "evidence" and to issue a verdict on
an individual's race when the parents' racial classification
is not known. Under apartheid, association in many social
settings is not a matter of free choice. The Separate
Amenities Act allows public premises to be reserved for the
exclusive use of persons of a particular race. In recent
years, the Government has expanded the scope of administrative
exceptions to apartheid laws, and has allowed most restaurants
hotels, theaters, cinemas, drive-in theaters, private
hospitals, parks, libraries, and other public facilities to
admit persons of all races upon application. Many but by no
means all private establishments have opted for "multiracial"
status .
Despite many reforms in recent years in the area of so-called
"petty apartheid," a substantial degree of social segregation
still exists in South Africa, legally permitted — in some case;
mandated — by numerous statutes, provincial ordinances, and
provincial bylaws. Social apartheid is now being enforced
with less rigidity than in the past, however, and is evolving
slowly toward a "local option" system. Some local author itie:
have made use of the limited discretion they have to
desegregate facilities under their control, while others have
not. In 1986 some big city governments desegregated central
business districts under an amendment to the Group Areas Act
permitting such action in commercial areas. Despite its
having led in recent years with a reform policy in this area,
the ruling National Party, during 1986, reiterated earlier
government policy on the questions of segregated housing area
and schools for the races, stating that racial segregation in
these two critical areas will continue under the rubric of
"group rights . "
The Group Areas Act remains one of the cornerstones of
apartheid. Under its provisions, the Government mandates tha
the different races must reside in separate areas. In some
cases, when one spouse is prohibited from living with the
other because of the Group Areas Act, the benefits of the
repeal of the miscegenation laws in 1985 have been vitiated.
For blacks, even the right to reside in a segregated urban
township is not available if one is deemed a "citizen" of one
of the so-called "independent" homelands. Such persons are
regarded as aliens in so-called "white" South Africa, and,
notwithstanding their birth in South Africa, are subject to
the same restrictions as any foreigner. Most blacks who live
in urban township houses rent them from the Government, which
owns and subsidizes them. In 1986 Parliament passed a law
allowing freehold land ownership in appropriate group areas
for blacks, who had hitherto only been able to lease land for
99 years. Many urban townships are still seriously lacking i
some or all modern amenities, such as electricity, running
water, indoor plumbing, public sewage, paved roads, and
recreational facilities. Some declared townships are little
more than permanent shanty towns with "houses" constructed of
fibreboard and corrugated iron. Townships are often located
at long commuting distances from cities, where most employment
opportunities for South Africa's blacks are found.
Notwithstanding the Group Areas Act, a growing number of
so-called "grey areas" exist in some major cities, where
blacks, coloreds, and Asians reside in technically white
areas, often without government interference. Occasionally,
there are criminal prosecutions for such violations of the
Group Areas Act. In July a white Cape Town man was convicted
of a criminal violation of the Group Areas Act for cohabiting
with his colored common-law wife. Some private schools in
white-designated areas engage in technical violations of the
Group Areas Act, without government interference, by admitting
black, colored, and Asian students.
The 1960 's "grand apartheid" policy of extending "independence"
to South Africa's tribally based homelands has involved the
Government in long-term, institutionalized disruptions of black
families. Blacks who are designated as "citizens" of the
homelands may obtain work permits allowing them to reside in
urban areas of so-called white South Africa, but they may not
be accompanied by their spouses and children. Tens of
thousands of such persons are forced by housing shortages to
reside away from their families, often in overcrowded
single-sex dormitories in urban areas.
Because the blueprint of group areas called for by apartheid
legislation has not always corresponded to the actual locations
of the various racial groups, the Government has over the years
forcibly relocated many people. The South African Council of
Churches has estimated that since 1961, the Government has
forcibly resettled approximately 3.5 million blacks, coloreds,
and Asians. Government figures issued in 1984 asserted that 2
million blacks had been resettled since 1960. In early 1985,
the Government announced a suspension of forced removals in
favor of a policy of negotiating with affected communities on
relocation issues. In several instances, however, the
Government has refused to negotiate with recognized black
community leaders. In other instances, it has engaged in
effectively coercive removals, refusing to furnish fundamental
infrastructure such as sewage facilities, electricity, and
running water in black communities it seeks to remove to other
areas. The Government has also adopted the approach of
refusing to assign new housing to persons in existing black
communities where it seeks removals. In 1986 the Government
adopted these tactics in an effort to remove the 15,000
residents of the 60-year-old black community of Oukasie, near
the town of Brits, to a site near the Bophuthatswana border.
As of the end of 1986, the Government had "deproclaimed" the
community as a black residential area, while some 10,000
residents remained there in the hope that the Government would
reverse this decision. Many of these people opposed removal
on the suspicion that the community where they would be
resettled would eventually be incorporated into the so-called
"independent" homeland of Bophuthatswana, a move that would
have adverse consequences for their South African citizenship.
Resettlement areas, particularly when located in the homelands,
often have inadequate infrastructure and insufficient land and
water for profitable agriculture.
The Black Urban Areas Consolidation Act allows police to enter
homes without a warrant if any black is suspected of residing
or working in the area illegally. The Criminal Procedures Act
of 1977 authorizes a judge or magistrate to issue a search
warrant if there is some reason to believe that "the internal
security of the republic or the maintenance of law and order
is likely to be endangered by or in consequence of a 'meeting'
being held in a given place." Under this same Act, a police
officer may enter, search, and question without a warrant, if
the officer has reason to believe a warrant would be issued
but the delay caused by first obtaining the warrant would
defeat the purpose of the search.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
Throughout 1986 South Africa's largely white-owned press
continued, when possible, to engage in vigorous criticism of
the Government and its policies. Freedom of speech and press
are seriously circumscribed by several acts of Parliament,
including the Defense Act, the Police Act, the Prisons Act,
the Internal Security Act, the Protection and Information Act,
and especially the Public Safety Act which is the legal basis
for the regulations and restrictions under both States of
Emergency. The latter restrictions impair freedom of
expression and press by making "subversive statements" a
criminal offense (e.g. encouraging strikes, boycotts, the
promotion of disinvestment) and include bans on television
coverage, still photography, sketching, and radio recording
from areas covered by the State of Emergency. Penalties for
infractions include fines of up to $8,000 and/or imprisonment
for up to 10 years. In December the Government issued an even
tighter set of press restrictions which makes it a criminal
offense to publish material on political unrest, detention
cases, the treatment of detainees, and various types of
political activity without prior government clearance. These
restrictions greatly reduced media coverage in 1986, in
particular through television, of political unrest, but also
at the end of the year through government delays in clearing
press articles.
The Government took direct action against the press in a
number of specific cases. In June shortly after the emergency
declaration, the Government summarily confiscated an entire
edition of one independent newspaper, the Weekly Mail, on
grounds that it contained items that violated the emergency
regulations. On two occasions, it also seized copies of the
Sowetan, the nation's leading black daily. In July the
Government expelled Newsweek Bureau Chief Richard Manning, an
American citizen, as an "undesirable alien." It also expelled
several other foreign journalists in the weeks following the
emergency declaration. In November the Government ordered Los
Angeles Times correspondent Michael Parks to leave South
Africa by the end of December, but later extended the deadline
to the end of January to allow Parks and his employer to
appeal the order. The Government also impeded the flow of
information from South Africa by refusing visa requests by
foreign journalists or by subjecting them to inordinate
delays. In August two U.S. broadcasting companies, ABC and
CBS, stated that certain of their news tape cassettes,
transported via international delivery services from South
Africa to the United States, were tampered with or stolen in
In this atmosphere, self-censorship is rife, and many newspapei
editors said that they have had to surrender ultimate editing
responsibility to their lawyers. While there were no known
convictions of journalists under the various laws or
regulations, some were detained (see section l.d.). In late
1985, the Government brought Internal Security Act charges
against Cape Times Editor Anthony Heard and against South
African Associated Newspapers (SAAN), the owner of the Times,
after the newspaper published Mr. Heard's interview with ANC
leader Oliver Tambo . In August the Government dropped the
charges against Mr. Heard, while SAAN pleaded guilty to
violations of the Act.
In July and August, several publishers launched a challenge to
State of Emergency press curbs in the Supreme Court for Natal
province. The court ruled in favor of the newspapers, holding
that the emergency provisions against publication of
"subversive statements" which allowed for police seizure of
certain "subversive" publications were overly vague. This
decision did not have nationwide effect, however, as the
court's jurisdiction did not extend beyond Natal province.
In addition to censorship and self-censorship, an
institutionalized system of self-regulation exists in the
newspaper industry. The Media Council, formed in 1983, has
been given the power by its convenors to impose penalties on
errant members of the newspaper press union and other media
that submit to the council's jurisdiction.
Under the Publications Act (applicable to most periodicals,
with the exception of newspapers), the importation, possession,
and publication of politically or morally "undesirable" works
is prohibited. Materials subject to censorship include those
found to be "indecent or obscene," "blasphemous," or
"prejudicial to the safety of the State." Committee decisions
are subject to review by a Publications Appeal Board. The
Board's decisions are not subject to judicial review, except
in rare instances.
The Government exercises a near monopoly on television and
radio broadcasting through the state-owned South African
Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). With some exceptions, SABC
largely reflects progovernment viewpoints both in its news
reporting and editorial policy. While the Government professes
that SABC is politically independent, a wide range of the
political spectrum, from the liberal PFP to the right-wing
Conservative Party, characterizes the corporation as an
editorial arm of the ruling National Party.
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The Internal Security Act seriously obstructs freedom of
assembly as it gives magistrates the power to ban or impose
conditions on the holding of public meetings and to close off
areas to the public to prevent prohibited gatherings. In
response to widespread unrest in 1976, the Minister of Law and
Order banned all outdoor gatherings except sports events or
specially authorized meetings. The Government has renewed
this ban on an annual basis since 1976 and did so again in
1986. At the end of 1985, the Government imposed a 6-month
ban on indoor meetings of some 74 antigovernment organizations,
including the UDF, AZAPO, the Release Mandela Committee, and
the DPSC. This ban was in effect in 30 magisterial districts
throughout the country. Throughout the 1986 emergency, there
was widespread banning of meetings of political, civic, and
youth organizations throughout the country. Police frecjuently
arrested persons in townships on charges of participating in
illegal gatherings. The Government also maintained a ban on a
number of important political organizations, premier among
these the PAC, the ANC, and the Congress of South African
Students (COSAS) .
During 1986 government policy appeared aimed at hindering the
UDF by detaining key leaders. Founded in August 1983, the UDF
is a loosely organized national movement of over 600 community
groups, church and civic organizations, and labor unions.
Although the movement contains elements that adhere to the
more revolutionary values of the ANC, most of its member
organizations describe themselves as advocates of nonviolent
political and social change. In October the Government
declared the UDF an "affected organization," meaning it could
no longer receive funds from abroad, a move which was
interpreted by many observers as an effort to hamper the
organization's effectiveness.
The South African Labor Relations Act recognizes the right of
employees to form and to join trade unions. Amendments to the
Labor Relations Act passed between 1979 and 1981 for the first
time granted South African blacks full status as employees and
removed impediments to the legal operation of black trade
unions. Trade union members, approximately 50 percent of whom
are black, constitute about 17 percent of the total labor
force of nearly 12 million. In 1979 fewer than 100,000 blacks
were trade union members. At the beginning of 1986, black
trade union membership stood at nearly 1 million, according to
government estimates.
The Labor Relations Act does not cover farm workers and
domestic servants, who together comprise approximately
2 million workers (about one-sixth of the total labor force).
Workers in these two categories, nearly all of whom are black,
enjoy few protections under the law. With the qualified
exception of KwaZulu, none of the homelands has labor
legislation to match the post-1979 reforms passed by the South
African Parliament. Ciskei and Transkei have banned a major
trade union active in the Eastern Cape (the South African
Allied Workers Union), and Bophuthatswana has prohibited
unions headquartered elsewhere from operating in its territory.
The right to strike exists under the Labor Relations Act but
is qualified by a mandatory prestrike conciliation process
that can take as long as 2 months to complete. Nearly all
strikes occurring in recent years have been staged by emerging
black unions, and most of them have been technically illegal.
In addition, the right to strike is seriously modified by the
common law right of an employer to fire any striker (whether
the strike is legal or illegal) on grounds of breach of the
person's employment contract. A 1985 opinion of the
Industrial Court, however, has significantly improved the
position of legal strikers. The increase in the number of
strikes, which reached record levels in 1985 and the first
half of 1986, reflects the success of black trade unions in
mobilizing workers and in articulating grievances. However,
massive detentions of trade union officials and members under
the State of Emergency regulations served to reduce the
political activism of black unions in the second half of 1986.
South African trade unions are independent of the Government,
and most of them have no links with any political party or
movement. Some exceptions are: the all-white South African
Confederation of Labor, with about 100,000 members, which is
widely believed to have ties to the right-wing Herstigte
Nasionale Party; COSATU, which emerged in 1986 as a de facto
ally of the UDF; and the United Workers Union of South Africa,
which is associated with Inkatha,
South Africa has not been a member of the ILO since the early
1960's. The Government monitors but does not prohibit trade
union relations with the international labor movement.
Government passport and visa policy, however, sometimes
impedes these relations. As of the end of 1986, no South
African labor organization had official links with the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
c. Freedom of Religion
South Africa's multiracial society has a wide variety of
religious denominations, and the Government generally respects
freedom of worship. Religious organizations are allowed to
hold meetings and other activities without interference as
long as they do not seriously challenge government policies.
As with other aspects of South African life, churches are
often divided along racial lines, but many churches (including
a growing number of white churches) challenge apartheid on
moral grounds. The Defense Act provides alternative service
options for religious objectors to national military service.
Conscientious objectors on nonreligious grounds continue to be
subject to a maximum 6-year sentence for refusing to serve.
The Government is often at odds with a number of the country's
church leaders, some of whom are outspoken critics of the
apartheid system. These include Anglican Archbishop of Cape
Town Desmond Tutu; Rev. Allan Boesak, President of the World
Alliance of Reformed Churches; and Archbishop Denis Hurley,
Head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Durban. In November the
Government dropped subversion charges against Rev. Boesak,
which had been pending since August 1985. These charges
stemmed from an effort by Rev. Boesak to stage a march on
Poolsmoor prison near Cape Town, where ANC leader Nelson
Mandela is imprisoned. Some church leaders, most notably
Archbishop Tutu, have openly advocated economic sanctions by
the international community against South Africa. While
Archbishop Tutu's remarks on this and other issues have drawn
heavy criticism from some government officials, as of the end
of the year the Government had taken no action to restrict him.
Churchmen have been frequent targets of detention, both by
South African authorities and by police in the so-called
"independent" homelands. Dean Simon Farisani of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church was detained in Venda in late
November and remained in custody at the end of the year. In
November police in the Transkei detained Larry Hill, an
American citizen missionary, for 2 weeks without criminal
charge. On December 17 Transkei authorities detained Father
James Paulsen, also an American citizen, without criminal
charge. He remained in custody at the end of the year.
Numerous other clergymen have also been detained under
security laws, nearly always without criminal charge.
d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
Since the inception of the Government's homelands policy in
the 1960 's, an estimated 8 million South African blacks have
been rendered aliens in the Republic of South Africa by virtue
of what the Government characterizes as their "citizenship" in
one of the so-called "independent" homelands (Transkei,
Ciskei, Bophuthatswana, and Venda). They are subject to the
same travel and residence restrictions in "white" South Africa
as any alien.
Until 1986 the right of black South African citizens to reside
in urban areas was severely restricted by a complex set of
statutes and regulations known as "influx control" or "pass"
laws. In April Parliament repealed these laws in favor of one
requiring all South Africans to carry a uniform identity
document. Since the passage of this law, black South African
citizens are no longer required to carry government-issued
"passes" in order to prove to law enforcement officers their
right to be present in an urban area. Some critics of the
pass law system hailed this reform but expressed the fear that
urban housing shortages, antisquatting laws, and sanctions
against employees who hire "illegal aliens" from the four
so-called "independent" homelands would amount to a de facto
system of influx control. Since the repeal of the pass laws,
the Government has reiterated that putative citizens of the
homelands will continue to be treated as aliens and will be
subject to the same laws. In 1986 Parliament also passed the
Restoration of Citizenship Act, providing for "restoration" of
South African citizenship to a limited class of blacks who
were denationalized as a result of homeland "independence"
grants — those with "permanent residence" rights in South
Africa. The Minister of Home Affairs has said that this
reform will apply only to an estimated 1.75 million blacks,
rather than to the estimated 6 million persons many observers
hoped it would benefit.
South Africans must possess valid travel documents in order to
travel abroad or to emigrate legally. Except for banned
persons, these documents generally are not difficult for whites
to obtain. Blacks assigned to an "independent" homeland
usually experience difficulty in obtaining South African
passports as the Government takes the position that they are
not citizens of South Africa. In some instances, this has the
effect of deterring international travel as some blacks refuse
to travel on a homeland passport, insisting that the Government
recognize them as citizens of South Africa. In 1982 the South
1982 the South African Supreme Court ruled that a citizen's
access to a South African passport is a privilege and not a
right and that the Minister of Home Affairs has the absolute
discretion to revoke a passport without giving any reasons for
his action. The Government often refuses passports to black
trade union officials and other persons whom it regards as
radically critical of the status quo. In October it refused
permission to Winnie Mandela, wife of ANC leader Nelson
Mandela, and to Albertina Sisulu, co-President of the UDF, to
travel to Mozambique for the funeral of President Samora
Machel. In December it refused permission to human rights
activist Helen Joseph to travel to the United States to
receive a human rights award.
Until 1986 legal restrictions existed for Asians who wished to
reside in or visit the Orange Free State and certain parts of
Natal province. Parliament repealed these restrictions during
its 1986 session.
Although South Africa is not a signatory to international
conventions on refugees, the Government provides informal
sanctuary to as many as 200,000 Mozambicans displaced by civil
strife in their country. Relief assistance is provided by
South African private and voluntary organizations, as well as
by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and
the Government permits access by international observers to
areas where these refugees are found. The number of South
Africans who are officially registered as refugees in
neighboring countries has not grown significantly since 1985
and remains approximately 22,000. The South African Council
of Churches estimates the total number of South African exiles
to be 250,000 or more.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens
to Change Their Government
The extent to which South African citizens have the right to
change their government democratically depends on race. Until
1984 South Africa's national political institutions were
reserved for whites only. Under the country's 1983
Constitution, implemented in late 1984, the right of political
participation at the national level was extended on a limited
basis to South Africa's colored and Asian citizens but
continued to be denied to the black majority, who comprise
72 percent of the population. The new Constitution created a
tricameral Parliament with separate chambers for whites,
coloreds, and Asians. Officially registered political parties
may operate as freely as the ruling National Party. The
respective groups are represented in Parliament on a racial
ratio of 4/2/1 — white/colored/Asian. Members for each house
are elected from separate, racially based voter rolls. Each
house has primary responsibility for "own affairs" matters,
i.e., legislation affecting its own racial constituency. The
State President is empowered to decide arbitrarily v;hich issues
of general concern are to be treated by all three chambers. If
efforts at consensus on general affairs matters fail, they are
referred to the President's Council, a body composed of whites,
coloreds, and Asians, for an advisory opinion. The ruling
white National Party controls the President's Council. In
June the colored and Asian houses of Parliament attempted to
block security legislation passed by the white House of
Assembly. This effort was vetoed by the President's Council,
and the disputed security legislation became law.
The lines between "own affairs" and "general affairs" are not
always precise. Matters that are usually considered general
affairs include foreign policy, defense, national security,
and black affairs. Education is normally dealt with as an
"own affair" but is subject to general laws prescribing norms
and standards for salaries, curriculum, and examinations.
The terms of the new Constitution and the existence of a white
majority in Parliament work to ensure control by the white
House of Assembly over key general affairs. While there is a
vigorous, outspoken opposition in the House of Assembly, the
ruling National Party, which has controlled South African
political affairs since its first parliamentary victory in
1948, dominates legislative affairs by sheer force of numbers.
Within the National Party, viewpoints toward reform of the
apartheid system range from moderate to reactionary. Internal
differences are, in theory, resolved in party caucuses, but in
practice the State President, who is also the National Party
leader, resolves all disputes.
Political participation for blacks, who have no representation
in Parliament, remains limited to a franchise in 1 of the 10
homelands to which all blacks are assigned through ethnic or
linguistic identification, or in the case of urban blacks, to
a franchise enabling one to vote for black local government
officials. Assignments of blacks to homelands take place
irrespective of the wishes of those assigned and without regard
to the fact that they may not have been born, nor ever lived
in, nor even visited, their putative homeland. When a homeland
"requests" and is then granted "independence" by the South
African Government, blacks assigned to that homeland lose
their South African citizenship and receive the "citizenship"
of the homeland. An estimated 8 million blacks have lost
South African citizenship under this policy by South African
legislation granting "independence" to four homelands:
Transkei (1976); Bophuthatswana (1977); Venda (1979); and
Ciskei (1981). The South African Government stated in 1986
that it had no intention of abolishing the homelands system.
A fifth homeland — KwaNdebele — had been slated for
"independence" in December 1986. In August the KwaNdebele
legislative assembly, reacting to several months of political
violence in the homeland and an evident groundswell of anti-
independence sentiment among the homeland's inhabitants,
rejected an earlier decision by the homeland's Chief Minister
to accept independence. While the Minister of Constitutional
Development and Planning publicly said that the Government
would honor the wishes of the people of KwaNdebele, it was
still not clear at the end of 1986 whether the South African
Government would follow through with the grant of independence
to KwaNdebele. On December 31, 1985, the Government formally
proclaimed the excision of an area of the Lebowa homeland — the
Moutse district — and its incorporation into KwaNdebele,
despite opposition by the inhabitants of Moutse, who now
constitute an ethnic minority in KwaNdebele.
An estimated 10 million blacks live in townships near white
urban areas. The only voting rights they are able to exercise
are those granted under the Community Councils Act of 1977 and
the Black Local Authorities Act of 1982. The Black Local
Authorities Act of 1982 elevated the status of black municipal
authorities to that enjoyed by white municipal governments.
It did nothing, however, about the critical problems of
inadequate financial resources and the lack of political
credibility faced by black local government. Much of the
violence that took place in black townships in 1986 was
directed at black town councils and councillors, who were
viewed by many blacks as collaborators with the South African
Government. In many areas, there were wholesale abdications
of town councils due to community opposition, which often took
the form of political violence.
In 1985 Parliament passed legislation to replace all-white
provincial (state) councils with multiracial Regional Services
Councils (RSC's), to include representatives of black, Asian,
and colored local governments. The Government has experienced
difficulty in drawing authentic black leaders into the RSC's.
While characterized by the Government as a "devolution" of
power to local bodies, the RSC's are widely regarded as not
representing a meaningful shift towards greater democracy in
local government.
In Natal province, the Indaba — a convention representing all
racial groups and a wide range of social and political
organizations — met for several months in 1986 to formulate a
proposal for a new constitution for the province. The
proposal, which was unveiled in late November, provided (among
other provisions) for a bill of rights with firm constitutional
guarantees of individual liberties. It also proposed a
universal franchise and a bicameral legislature in which the
larger chamber would be elected on a one-person, one-vote
basis and the smaller chamber would represent specified ethnic
groups with veto rights over certain affairs affecting them.
The leader of the ruling National Party for Natal province
publicly rejected the terms of the Indaba proposal, but the
responsible cabinet minister had not formally commented on the
proposal by the end of the year. The Indaba leaders were
planning to present it formally to the Government for approval
and hold a referendum among the people of Natal and the
homeland of KwaZulu on the proposals.
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations
of Human Rights
The South African Government extends little or no cooperation
to various United Nations bodies or private organizations
attempting to investigate the Government's human rights
record. In October reacting to a vote of an International Red
Cross conference in Geneva to expel a South African delegation,
the Government announced the expulsion of 16 Swiss delegates
of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In
November, however, the Government reversed this decision and
stated that ICRC representatives could remain in South Africa.
The Government has permitted th^- ICRC access to convicted
security offenders.
During 1986 the Government permitted an American Bar
Association representative entry into the country to observe
proceedings in the treason trial pending against 22 UDF and
other black political organization leaders. The Government
refused numerous requests by foreigners to interview Nelson
Mandela but did allow members of the Commonwealth "Eminent
Person's Group" to meet with Mandela on two occasions.
Many South African organizations observe, report, and contest
human rights violations in the country. In addition to black
political organizations, the Lawyers for Human Rights, the
Black Sash, the Legal Resources Center, the South African
Council of Churches, the DPSC, the End Conscription Campaign
(ECC), the Center for Applied Legal Studies and other groups
are actively involved in a wide range of human rights issues,
and assist persons who are aggrieved by the apartheid and
security laws. The annual report of the South African
Institute of Race Relations is a key source on human rights
questions in South Africa. In December 1986, the Government
entered restriction orders against a number of Black Sash,
DPSC, and ECC leaders, prohibiting them from engaging in
certain types of political activity.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion,
Language, or Social Status
As stressed throughout this report. South Africa's black
majority and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the colored and
Asian communities, suffer from pervasive, legally sanctioned
discrimination based on race in political, economic, and
social aspects of life. For example, government expenditures
on education per student in the financial year 1983/84 were:
whites, $744; Asians, $489; coloreds, $256; and blacks
(exclusive of Transkei, Ciskei, Bophuthatswana and Venda),
$105. In 1981 black pupil enrollment was just over 5 million
in regular primary though high school grades. Only slightly
more than 1 percent of enrollment was in the last grade of
high school, illustrative of the high drop-out rate. Black
enrollment at "white" universities has been growing slowly.
Political unrest which has swept many of the country's black
and colored townships since late 1984 has taken the form of
school boycotts in many areas. In some parts of the country,
the Government has closed black schools. While black activist
groups, in particular the National Education Crisis Committee,
have sought to reconcile differences between black students
and government educational authorities, political problems
have exacerbated an already poor educational system for blacks.
Women of all races in South Africa suffer varying degrees of
legal, cultural, and economic discrimination, most of which is
based on tradition rather than codified in law. Women
traditionally earn lower wages than men and are generally
underrepresented in the country's political and business
establishment. No women presently serve as ministers in the
Government. Two women serve as members of the State
President's Council. Three of the 178 seats in the
Parliament's white House of Assembly are held by women. The
colored House of Representatives has two women members, and
the Asian House of Delegates has one. Generally speaking,
women have achieved more success in electoral politics at the
local than at the national level.
Black women suffer not only from extensive legal handicaps and
acts of discrimination that stem from South Africa's system of
apartheid, but also from other legal disabilities based on
sex. They are regarded by South African law as perpetual
minors. Maternity benefits are not guaranteed under South
African law, and a pregnant woman can be legally dismissed
from her job. Against a backdrop of traditional sex and race
discrimination, a fledgling women's rights movement has taken
hold in South Africa. Women's organizations, often
multiracial, have been at the forefront of the struggle
against both race and sex discrimination.
Governnient figures show an increase in unemployment in 1986.
Black unemployment is not measured directly, but private
estimates of total black unemployment (including the
homelands) are in the 25 to 30 percent range. In some areas,
especially in the eastern Cape, black unemployment rates are
dramatically higher, reaching over 50 percent.
The Labor Relations Act of 1956 provides a mechanism for
negotiation between labor and management to set industry-by-
industry minimum wage standards. At present, some 101
industries come under the provisions of the Act. There is no
universal minimum wage in South Africa. The Occupational and
Safety Act prohibits the employment of minors under the age of
16 in certain industries. On basic conditions of employment,
the Act sets forth certain minimum standards for employment,
including provisions for a standard workweek of 46 hours in
most industries, as well as mandatory provisions for vacation
and sick leave. The Machinery and Occupational Safety Act
mandates minimum standards for the design and use of certain
types of industrial machinery.