Apartheid: The NP's 1947 manifesto

The National Party's Race Relations Policy issued ahead of the May 1948 general election

Pamphlet issued by the National Party Head Office in late 1947 ahead of the May 1948 general election:



There are two distinct guiding principles determining the South African policy affecting the non-Whites. One line of thought favours a policy of integration, conferring equal rights - including the franchise as the non-whjtes progressively become used to democratic institutions - on all civilised and educated citizens within the same political structure.

Opposed to this is the policy of apartheid, a concept historically derived from the experience of the established White population of the country, and in harmony with such Christian principles as justice and equity. It is a policy which sets itself the task of preserving and safeguarding the racial identity of the White population of the country; of likewise preserving and safeguarding the identity of the indigenous peoples as separate racial groups, with opportunities to develop into self-governing national units; of fostering the inculcation of national consciousness, self-esteem and mutual regard among the various races of the country.

The choice before us is one of these two divergent courses: either that of integration, which would in the long run amount to national suicide on the part of the Whites: or that of apartheid. which professes to preserve the identity and safeguard the future of every race, with complete scope for everyone to develop within its own sphere while maintaining its distinctive national character, in such a way that there will be no encroachment on the rights of others, and without a sense of being frustrated by the existence and development of others.


It is the primary task and calling of the State to seek the welfare of South Africa, and to promote the happiness and well-being of it citizens, non-white as well as White. Realising that such a task can best be accomplished by preserving and safeguarding the white race, the National Party professes this as the fundamental guiding principle of its policy. Accordingly, the party undertakes to combat any policy, doctrine or attempt calculated to undermine or endanger the continued existence of the White race. Conversely, however, the party rejects any policy of oppression or exploitation of the non-Whites by the Whites as incompatible with the Christian character of our people and therefore unacceptable.

The party bolds that u positive application of apartheid between the white and non.-white racial groups and the application of the policy of separation also in the case of the non-White racial groups is the only sound basis on which the identity and the survival of each race can be assured and by means of which each race can be stimulated to develop in accordance with its own character. potentialities and calling. Hence inter marriage between the two groups will be prohibited.

Within their own areas the non-white communities will be afforded full opportunity to develop, implying the establishment of their own institutions and social services, which will enable progressive non-Whites to take an active part in the development of tbeir own peoples. The policy of our country should envisage total apartheid as the ultimate goal of a natural process of separate development.

A standing advisory body of experts on non-White affairs is to be instituted. Education and juvenile care should be State-controlled. In connection with its racial problems, South Africa should tolerate neither outside interference nor subversive propaganda sent abroad.


The National Party, anxious to stimulate active christianising enterprise among the non-Whites, will gladly support the efforts of mission churches. Churches and missions, however, which frustrate the policy of apartheid or which propagate foreign doctrines, will not be tolerated.


The position of the Coloureds

The CoIoureds occupy a position midway between White and non-White. In their case the policy of the party is to apply total apartheid that is, social, residential. industrial and political -between them and both the Bantu and the non-White communities. Intermarriage of Whites and Coloureds will be prohibited. The Coloureds will, in their established areas, be protected against unfair competition by the Bantu.

Political Representation

The Coloureds will be represented in the Senate by a while representative appointed by the Government by virtue of his special knowledge of the affairs of the Coloured community. The present undesirable system which  gives the Coloureds in the Cape Province the franchise on the same voter roll as the Whites, will be abolished, to be superseded by a system of representation which will grain them three members in Parliament. These will be elected by a Coloured Representative Council. They will not be entitled to vote on: (1) motions of confidence; (2) declarations of war; (3) amendment of the political rights of non-Whites. A State Department of Coloured Affairs will be instituted. In the Cape Province the Coloureds will be represented by three White representatives elected by the Coloured Representative Council. In the Cape Province a Coloured Representative Council will be instituted, consisting of representatives elected by the Coloureds with the existing franchise qualifications, the head of the Department f Coloured Affairs, and additional members appointed by the Government. In their own areas the Coloureds will elect their own boards to function within the framework of the body with higher authority.

Social and Welfare Services

Special attention will be given to the provision of social, health and welfare services which, by progressively enlisting the services of the Coloureds themselves, will eventually reach self-sufficiency in this respect. An educational system, congenial to the Coloured community, is being envisaged.


General Principle

In general terms our policy envisages segregating the most important ethnic groups and sub-groups in their own areas where every group will be enabled to develop into a self-sufficient unit.

Bantu Territory

We endorse the general principle of territorial segregation of the Bantu and the Whites. More ground for the Bantu in terms of the Act of 1936 will only be granted after judicious consideration, but determined efforts will be made to encourage soil improvement and conservation in which the Bantu themselves will be induced to co-operate. A board of experts will be appointed to advise in connection with soil conservation in the Bantu areas.

The Bantu Reserves

The reserves should be the national home of the Bantu. There their educational institutions should be situated and there social services should be provided instead of the present practice of providing them in urban locations. Life in the reserves should be held in high esteem, giving leading members the prestige which will enable them to act as spokesmen for the Bantu. Opportunities for industrial enterprise will be created in order progressively to stimulate production and ensure stability, for which purpose planning boards will be formed.

Bantu in the Urban Areas

Aware of the problems connected with the influx of Bantu into the urban areas the National Party pledges itself to safeguard the European character of the urban centres and to provide strong and effective measures to ensure personal safety and the protection of property in a peaceful way of life.

Separate residential areas will be allotted to the Bantu and congestion and slums will be prevented. The Bantu in the urban areas should be regarded as migratory citizens not entitled to political or social rights equal to those of the Whites.

The process of detribalisation should be arrested. The entire migration of Bautu into and from the cities should be controlled by the State which will enlist the co-operation of municipal bodies. Migration into and from the reserves should likewise be strictly controlled. Redundant Bantu in the urban centres should be returned to their original habitat in the country areas or the reserves. Bantu from the country areas or the reserves should be admitted to the European cities or towns only as temporary employees, obliged to return to their homes after the expiry of their employment. For this purpose a convenient identification control system will have to be devised.

The White Workers

The interests and employment prospects of the White workers in white areas will be protected. As far as is practicable apartheid will be observed in the factories, trades and industrial localities. Being opposed to the organisation of trade unions for the Bantu the party envisages a system of State guardianship in order to protect their interests.

Bantu Employment

A national system of employment control with a central employment bureau to administer the entire network, will be established with a view to achieving as flexible as possible a system of demand and supply of labour with a minimum of waste. This would imply thorough stocktaking of both the requirements and the labour potential in order effectively to divert the available labour into the various channels of farming, industry, mining and urban employment. All aspects of employment including that of migratory Iabour, should be thoroughly investigated.

Bantu Education

Education should be essentially Christian national in character adapted to the needs and the development level of the vast body of Bantu people. It should have a strong moral purpose and should inculcate national consciousness. It should be State-controlled, administered by a special department of the Department of Native Affairs. Financing Bantu education should be conducted in accordance with the cultural level and the economic capacity and requirements of the Bantu people, and should be more in proportion to their contribution to the national income than is the case at present. The Bantu are progressively to assume responsibility for financing and controlling their own education, under white supervision.

Social and Welfare Services

The Bantu are to be encouraged to develop social, health and welfare services, organised and conducted by themselves.

Political Representation

In addition to the three white senators appointed by the Government in accordance with the constitution and by virtue of their knowledge or Bantu affairs. we suggest additional representation in the Senate by four White representatives elected by the various Bantu Councils, these seven Senators forming a standing committee for Bantu affairs. These Bantu representatives shall not vote on: (1) motions of confidence in the Government; (2) declarations of war; (3) amendment of the political rights of the non-Whites The present Bantu representation in Parliament and the Provincial Council will be abolished. The Native Affairs Commission will be replaced by a commission comprised of members with special knowledge of Bantu Affairs. An efficient ethnological institute is also envisaged.

Bantu Self-Government

The party is in favour of a system of local government for the Bantu, more or less along the lines of the Bunga, which will uphold the authority of the tribal chiefs and enlist the services or educated Bantu. Such local councils are to be established in all the reserves with the prospect of developing into separate central councils for the different ethnic groups or sub-groups. Initially supervised by White officials, these councils will progressively be granted a measure of legislative and administrative self government, in accordance with their growing ability to manage their own affairs, but compatible with the guardianship of the State.

The Native Representative Council is to be abolished. Boards to be established in urban locations, however, shall have no prospect of developing into self-governing bodies. The system thus envisaged will eventually satisfy Bantu political aspirations more gratifyingly than the political rights in White areas as advocated by the United Party.


Reorganisation of the Department of Native Affairs is imperative in order to enable it to cope with its dual educational and administrative task. All Bantu interests and affairs should be administered by the Department of Native Affairs, with subordinate administrative branches.


The Party regards the Indians as a foreign clement which cannot be assimilated in the South African set-up. Not being native to this country, they cannot expect more preferential treatment than an immigrant community.

We accordingly have in mind the repatriation of as many Indians as possible, a first step towards which will be a thorough investigation of the feasibility of large-scale repatriation, enlisting the co-operation of India and(or other countries, This matter is of such urgency that South Africa should be prepared for a substantial sacrifice in order to finance such an undertaking.

No Indian immigrants are henceforth to be admitted to the country. With the Indians still in our midst a definite policy of apartheid should be enforced between them and the Whites, and likewise as far as feasible between them and the indigenous non-White sections. The 1946 Act on Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Franchise will immediately be amended to the effect that:

(a) no representation in the legislative assemblies of the country will be granted to the Indians;

(b) separate residential areas will be allotted to the Indians, who will not be allowed to reside or possess property in white areas;

(c) Whites will not be allowed to reside. trade or possess property in Indian areas;

(d) as far as is feasible apartheid will be enforced between the Indians and the indigenous races;

(e) adequate compensation will be paid for properties confiscated in White or in Indian areas.

Trading facilities for Indians outside their own areas will be drastically curtailed. Eventually Indian traders in Bantu areas and locations will disappear, trade in such areas being the prerogative of the Bantu themselves. Migration of Indians from province to province will be put under restraint. The province of the Orange Free State should retain its ban on Indian immigration. The Cape Province should be effectively protected against Indian encroachment in trade and in the acquisition of property. Family welfare aid for Indians should be abolished. Our party will not tolerate subversive propaganda among the non-Whites against the Whites.

Transcribed from PDF. As such there may be errors in the text.

Source: D W Krüger (ed), South African Parties and Policies 1910-1960, (London: Bowes & Bowes, 1960)

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