Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32. No. 25. October 9, 1969
[Black White: Filling In The Gaps]
Myths and lies may be perpetrated in various ways. One way is to deliberately mislead your listener by consciously telling him "facts" which are untrue. Another way is to omit facts which prove the incorrectness of your own argument. A third, and possibly more frequent way, is to talk about something other than the subject matter you say you will talk about.
On the 30th June of this year. Salient published the text of an Address given by the South African Consul-General for New Zealand. Mr. Peter Philip, to a university audience at V.U.W. The following articles take some of the factual statements made by Mr. Philip and show that they are false. The articles also illustrate that there is another side—the non white side—to the argument Mr. Philip attempted to sustain.
An important initial proposition stated by Mr. Philip in his Address was that "The problem of race relations is one of the most complex issues of the modern world. It is of vital importance that some solution be found as soon as possible. . . . Our (the South African) solution is Apartheid". Mr. Philip then went on to say that: "What happens when integration is rejected by all sectors of the population—by white and by black—as is the case in South Africa?"
The inaccuracy here takes the form of a lack of evidence concerning the possibility that integration has been rejected by all sectors of the population. Mr. Philip nowhere demonstrates that any sectors of the population have rejected "integration". Certainly, he does bring evidence to show that Kaiser Mantanzima. chief minister of the Transkei. supports the idea of "separate development", but this, quite clearly, is insufficient evidence on which to conclude that "integration is rejected by all sectors of the population".
More importantly. Mr. Philip gives no evidence that while and black opinion do reject the idea of racial integration. There is, In fact, circumstantial evidence to the contrary and there is also evidence that, because of lack of representation in the South African Parliament, blacks have never had any opportunity to slate whether or not they endorse the apartheid policies of the white minority. For instance, members of the Transkci Legislative Assembly have criticised apartheid in strong and severe terms—Dr. H. P. Bala (an independent member) has called apartheid "a gigantic fraud" and he has described the Transkci as "a Bastille, the symbol of oppression"; 1 during a "no confidence" motion in the Transkci Legislative Assembly, in May 1968 an opposition member accused Prime Minister Mantanzima of following the policies of the whites, who were: "Oppressing millions of black people in this country;" an African leader. E. Mandela. (at present imprisoned on Robben Island) has publically stated that integration of all races is desirable for South Africa. 2The utterances of Albert Lithuli, awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1960 and President of the African National Congress, clearly indicates his rejection of the so-called "solution" of the white minority in South Africa.
More recently, a New Zealand press statement reported that: "The Labour Party, a staunch opponent of the Government's apartheid policy, gained a clear victory today in South Africa's first nation wide coloured election". 3
Mr. Philip argued that, during the 19th century, the British Government did not colonialise Bantu territories, but that "... the situation in 1910, when the Union of South Africa was established, was as follows. The country was divided between white areas and black areas in almost exactly equal proportions— 51% to 49% to be precise".
However, his precision forgets to tell us that today the distribution of land between the whites and the non-whites is something quite different. Today. 87% of the land in South Africa is owned by the whites and 13% of the land is owned by the non-whites. 4
Colin and Margaret Legum have this to say about the dominant economic position of the English-speaking community: "The English-speaking community controls 99% of mining capital. 94% of industrial capital. 88% of finance capital, and 75% of commercial capital. This economic power is highly concentrated. Seven finance houses control between them over 1000 of the largest companies, with combined resources exceeding £1.000 million sterling. The financial power of English speaking South Africa is further entrenched by its association with international finance, with a stake of about £1,800 million sterling in the Republic". 5
Mr. Philip makes some claims about the distribution of political power in South Africa which are patently absurd: At one point in his Address he said: "We, the white South Africans, claimed the right to be governed by our own people, and it seems logical and fair to us that the Africans should have the same right. And that, in short, is precisely what the policy of Separate Development means— the right of all nations in South Africa to be governed by their own people".
Unfortunately for Mr. Philip, the policy of "separate development" has not turned out like this: neither are his hopes sustained by the facts of contemporary South African life. When we look at the composition of the South African Parliament we find that it has always had an all-white membership. 6
The fact of the matter is, that all the laws (including the decision to establish Bantustans and the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949) regulating the lives of non-whites have been, and still are being, passed by a Parliament which is exclusively white in racial composition. In other words, the 3 million whites have decided, and are still deciding, the fate of the 14 million non-whites.
One conclusion we may draw from this fact is that the claim by Mr. Philip that is logical and fair" that the African's have the right to govern themselves, may indeed constitute a value to which Mr. Philip and others subscribe, but it is not being borne out in practice in South Africa at the present moment.
The concept of "separate development" has been explained by a Minister of Bantus Administration in the following terms
"The principle behind the policy of separate or autogenous development is that page 13the less-developed Bantu should be guided by their European guardians towards self-realisation and self-government within their own communities and within their own areas . . . The policy therefore aims at providing the Bantu with his own insitutions, and offering him ample scope in the service of his community. There he can develop as fast as his inherent powers can drive him. In time to come the political, economic and social structure will be centred in their own national homelands ... a time limit cannot be put upon the Spiritual emancipation of backward people . . . The object of the apartheid policy is to imbue the Bantu with a spirit of independence and self-help so they can do things for themselves ... As the Bantu learns to govern himself, the European will gradually withdraw himself from his position as guardian Meanwhile the Government will be represented by Commissioners-General in the Bantu homelands whose main task will be to give guidance and advice . . . Politically and territorially the various Bantu national units and the established European unit will move in the direction of a South African commonwealth roughly on the British pattern." 7
This, at any rate, is the intention of those who wish to create so-called "separate development". A look at some of the outcomes shows a great disparity between the intentions and the results—a disparity which is matched only by the human misery and frustration this policy has caused, and is still causing, the African people who are the objects of this policy.
At the political level, the following facts are illustrative of this frustration and misery. Apart from the Transkei. the elective principle is entirely excluded from the selection procedures of members of the African governments concerned. Throughout these reserves the Minister of Bantu Administration and his officials have the right to veto the appointment of any councillor. There is no suggestion that the elective principle will be introduced. Consequently, positions of authority within these Bantustans are, and will continue to be. strictly controlled by the central white Government.
When we turn to the Transkei—the "showpiece" of "separate development"—we find that while the Transkei has some of the institutions of a Western state (e.g.. a Parliament, and a civil service) the white central Government of South Africa retains control over foreign affairs, communications, internal and external security, currency and banking, immigration, and control over amendments to the constitution of the Transkei. 8
Mr. Philip is correct when he tells us that of the 109 Members of the Transkei Parliament, 64 of them are non-elected, hereditary chiefs. He is also correct when he tells us that: "The ruling Transkeian National Independence Party, led by Paramount Chief Mantanzima, supports Separate Development." What he forgot to tell his university audience was that it is common knowledge in the Transkei that Premier Mantanzima was chosen head of the Transkei Government by an Assembly stacked with 64 government-appointed chiefs and despite the fact that candidates on the Mantanzima ticket won a minority of the elected scats. 9
Equally pertinent is the fact that of the 45 elected members in 1968. 38 are known to be strong opponents of the white Nationalist regime. Moreover, the 1963 elections in the Transkei took place under a "State of Emergency" which imposed a ban on all meetings of more than 10 people and which laid down severe penalties for "statements disrespectful to chiefs." and permitted the indefinite detention, without warrant or trial, of political opponents. 10
Neither did Mr. Philip remember to tell his audience of some recent events in the Transkei Parliament, about which he must surely be aware. Events which tell something of a different story to the one he told, and which indicate opposition to "separate development" within the Transkei Parliament itself. For instance, during a motion calling for the Africanisation of Fort Hare University College. Mr. O. P. O. Mpondo. of the opposition Democratic Party, attacked the late Dr. Verwoerd as the architect of "the ungodly policy of apartheid . . . and kaffir education." 11 Later in the same month the Leader of the Transkei Peoples Freedom Party is reported as having said: "We cannot call the Transkei Legislative Assembly a Parliament. It is a dummy institution." 12
Earlier in the year, and during a "no confidence" motion in the Transkei Legislative Assembly, an opposition member accused Mantanzima of following the policy of the whites, who were: ". . . oppressing millions of black people in this country." He went on to say that: "Our brothers and sisters in the African states have been allowed the taste of the forbidden fruit of freedom and I can assure you that we. the Africans in this country, want the tree of freedom planted not in the cramped, corroded and decaying native reserves where the Afrikaner Nationalists suggest it may blossom and bear fruit, but in the Republican cities." 13
The establishment in South Africa of "Bantustans" is based upon the apartheid supposition that certain areas of the land belong to the whites and that other parts of the land— known as the "reserve"—belong to the Africans, with neither people able to enjoy rights belonging to the other.
The "Bantustans" consist of 260 small and separate areas scattered throughout South Africa and they constitute approximately 13 per cent of the total land mass of that country. A glance at a map shows that the majority of these isolated areas cannot he incorporated into larger units. The Tomlinson Commission, which investigated Bantustan planning and reported in 1956. concluded that, save for a few-blocks of land such as the Transkei and Vendaland, the Bantu areas were too scattered to form any foundation for community growth. 14
From the point of view of the day-to-day life of the African who lives in a "homeland" or "Bantustan", the prospects are not particularly rewarding in economic terms: and they are negligible when compared with the economic opportunities afforded by the 87 percent of the land the white population has given itself. The Bantu "homelands" have been described as "South African backwaters, primitive rural slums, soil-eroded and underdeveloped, lacking power resources and without developed communication systems. They have no cities, no industry, and few sources of employment. They are areas drained of their men-folk, for their chief export is labour. The "homelands" are mere reserves of labour, with a population not even self-sustaining." 15
A Handbook of African Affairs says this of Bantustans: "Bantustans comprise 13.7 per cent of the Republic. All are presently rural in character, dependent on a low level of subsistence agriculture and a considerable amount of imported food, and lacking in known resources." 16
By contrast, the white portion of the Republic (87 per cent of the total land mass) contains all the large cities, the seaports, the harbours, the airfields, the areas served well by railways, main roads, powerlincs and major irrigation schemes. It contains the enormously rich gold mines, the diamond mines and the coal mines. It is the centre of finance and commerce. It includes all the main industries and it contains the best and most fertile farmlands. 17
With regard to the "Bantustans", Mr Philip failed to mention to his audience one important fact which, for some, provides the key to African misery and frustration in South Africa. This is that the white South African Government possess the political power which enables them to rule the lives of the Africans. This fact is clearly shown in two debates which took place in the South African Parliament last year. In the first debate, Premier Vorster said in the House of Assembly:
"Surely the fact that you work for a man docs not give you the right to run his affairs? Surely no such political principle exists anywhere in the world? It is true that there are Blacks working for us. They will continue to work for us for generations, in spite of the ideal we have to separate them completely. Surely, we all know that? . . . The fact of the matter is this: We need them, because they work for us, but, after all, we pay them for their work. What would have become of them if one had not created those employment opportunities for them? Surely, they could not have survived? But the fact that they work for us can never —if one accepts this as one's criterion one will be signing one's death sentence now—entitle them to claim political rights. Not now, nor in the future. It makes no difference if they are here with any degree of permanency or not. The principle one applies—and this is the principle we apply—should be that if they want political rights, they should seek those rights in their homelands. But under no circumstances can we grant them those political rights in our own territory, neither now nor ever." 18
Less than two months later the following exchange took place in the Senate:
The Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:
". . . Can the Transkei eventually advance to complete independence? The answer is yes, definitely yes.
Senator du Toit:
"Are they going to get it within two years?"
The Deputy Minister:
"Of course not. The, Hon. Senator is talking nonsense, absolute nonsense."
Senator du Toit:
"They are asking for that now"
The Deputy Minister:
"Now who said they were going to get it when they asked for it? It is a process of gradual emancipation, and this Parliament will decide when they are to receive their independence, and no one clse." 19page 14
"Like one in every four African children, this child died (of malnutrition) before his first birthday." House of Bondage.
"We take modest pride in the fact that our record in regard to the Bantu health is second to none." Mr Philip, Salient 24.
This last dialogue entirely contradicts the claim made by Mr. Philip in the Salient article that: "In 1963 the Transkei was given self-government."
Two points clearly emerge from these statements by members of the white South African Parliament—points which do not emerge from the address given by Mr. Philip, the white South African Government's representative in New Zealand.
Firstly, the debate in the Senate makes it abundantly clear that it is the white South African, and the white South African alone, who will decide when the African will be given independence: i.e., even though an African wants self-government he must ask permission from the white minority beforehand and, as in the past, he may be refused.
Secondly, when Premier Vorster says, ". . . if they want political rights they should seek those rights in their homelands." He is saying this in the context of African independence being granted by a white minority. More importantly, the implication that if the Africans want political rights all they have to do is to "seek those rights in their homelands" is entirely unwarranted, for they will be given these rights only when the white minority thinks fit as in the past.
Mr. Philip told his university audience and Salient readers: "We take modest pride in the fact that our record in regard to Bantu housing, wages, education and health is second to none." All one can say about this type of modesty is that if the Bantu had been consulted, perhaps the claim would never have been made. Perhaps it might be added that the "pride" to which Mr. Philips refers stands in good need of being modest because the achievements about which he boasts are so sparse.
For instance, if we take the field of employment and wages we find that a Bureau of Statistics survey of family incomes and expenditures for November 1967 (published by the South African Government) showed that the average white family in the ten main urban areas of South Africa earned R.4.637 per annum and spent R.4,536 per annum. Against this, the average income of an African family living in Soweto was estimated at R.556 per annum—roughly one-tenth of that enjoyed by while families living in Johannesburg.
Income figures tell only part of the story, of course: income maintenance schemes are also important. In this respect, the survey indicated that most white South Africans are shielded against hardships and misfortunes by personal insurance, pension schemes and sick benefits and the survey pointed out that these are benefits which relatively few Africans can enjoy. 20 In 1968 "the average cash wage, for mine workers of the white is 17 times greater than that of the African." 21 (Africans comprised 90 per cent of the labour force in the mining industry in 1968.) In the manufacturing industry, where most workers are covered by industrial council agreements or wage determinations. Africans get a better deal than in mining, but their average wage is little more than one-fifth that of whites. 22
Reports in the Rand Daily Mail and in the Financial Mail show that in the ten-year period 1957-1967 the difference between average white wages and average African wages actually increased from R.120 per month to R.194 per month. They also showed (which might be expected given these figures) that, during the period 1962-1967, the percentage wage increases have actually been smaller for Africans than for whiles. 23
A comparison of the wages of two workers in South Africa—an African and a white labourer reveals a side of the story Mr. Philip found it expedient to omit. In 1946 the average earnings of an African worker employed by the manufacturing industry amounted to £159.1 (Sterling) per annum, as against £734.28 per annum for a white employee in the same industry. The white employee, therefore, received 4.6 times as much as an African. In 1961 the corresponding figures were £176.7 for the African and £991.28 for the white worker. The ratio becoming 5.6:1. 24
A similar finding occurs for the gold mining industry. A recent survey conducted by Dr. F. Wilson, of the Department of Economics at the University of Capetown, reported that the white-black average annual cash earnings gap widened from a ratio of 11.7 to 1 in 1911 to a ratio of 17.6 to 1 in 1966. This widening of the gap in favour of the whites in the gold mining industry may be contrasted with the fairly constant average annual cash earnings gap of approximately 5:1 in favour of the whites for the last thirty years in secondary industry. 25
The South African economy is dependent upon forced-labour. That this is so is indicated by the following facts. The Natives (Settlement of Disputes) Act makes strikes by Africans illegal; the Mines and Works Act confines Africans to unskilled employment in mining and manufacturing industries; the Native Land Act confines the non-European to 13 per cent of the land mass of South Africa and the Pass Laws regulate the movement of Africans into and out of urban areas, employment opportunities and family life.
Sixteen years ago the International Labour Organisation made a statement on forced labour in South Africa which they have not yet found it necessary to rescind: "a system of forced labour of significance to the economy appears to exist in the Union of South Africa". More recently, a United Nations Working Group concluded in its report submitted on February 2, 1968:
"The international standards relating to trade union freedoms are being seriously and persistently violated by South African legislation and by administration and penal measures. These violations result in racial discrimination between African workers and trade unionists on the one hand, and non-African workers and trade unionists on the other. They are a manifestation of the policy of apartheid, which, in its efforts to separate the races, undeniably discriminates between the different groups of workers and trade union-ists." 26
It is in ways such as this that the whites in South Africa have been able to vindicate the Constitution of the Boer Republic of the Transvaal prior to its annexation by Britain. This constitution contained the following provision: "The people will permit no equality between white and coloured inhabitants, either in Church or State".
In the field of housing, Mr. Philip made the following remarks: "The slums I am happy to say, have nearly all gone. Quite soon we shall be able to boast that we have no slums." Since the notion of a 'slum' (as with the notion of 'poverty') is a relative term (i.e., a slum for one person may be a mansion for another person), and since Mr. Philip nowhere tells us what he means when he uses the word 'slum', his remarks on this matter are difficult to verify.
However, he could have told his audience— but he chose not to—facts which are freely available to any person who has the patience to search relevant literature such as South African newspapers and House of Assembly Debates. From the former source we find that in South Western Territory (Soweto) 600,000 people lived in 70,000 houses. That is, according to the official Government figure, nine people per three-roomed house. 27
He could have told us also—but he did not —that 33,000 coloured people have been evicted from their homes in the Cape Peninsula and that 15,000 people in the Cape Peninsula are waiting for homcs. 28
Two years ago, in answer to a question in the House of Assembly, the Minister of Health admitted that bad housing caused an outbreak of typhoid among Africans. "It was found that, as a result of the influx of large numbers of Bantu into this industrial area (Hammarsdale, between Durban and Pieter-maritzburg) squatters' camps sprang up before provision could be made for the necessary housing, water supplies, sanitation and refuse disposal. The resulting unhygienic conditions were apparently the cause of the outbreak of typhoid." 29
Mr. Philip is certainly correct when he says that money has been spent by the white South African Government in rehousing non-whites. But, after all, a large proportion of the money for this housing was given by the non-whites, by way of taxation levied by the white South African Government. And we still have before us the plain fact that the South African Government "re-located" people who have never been given the opportunity to say they wished to be "re-located". It was, after all, a completely white South African Parliament which conceived, and is still unsuccessfully trying to implement, the Bantustan policy.
That forced "re-location" of the non-white population has occured and is still occuring is seen in the fact that the Group Areas Act restricts rights of residence, within group areas, to members of the population group for which the group area has been proclaimed. Europeans, Asians and "Coloured Persons" are only able to live within their own group areas. They may not reside (and will be punished if they do) in African residential areas established under the Bantu (Urban Areas) Consolidation Act. 1945. Nor may they, without permission granted under Section 24 of the Bantu Trust and Land Act, 1936, reside in an African reserve on land owned by the Bantu Trust or by an African. 30.
By Proclamation 259 (23/8/1959) no African not lawfully resident in the reserves on that date may take up residence in the reserves except on land in individual African ownership, without the written approval of the Bantu Affairs Commissioner. The South African Institute of Race Relations states that in effect this provision means that: "Africans require permission to live anywhere at all." 31
The restrictions preventing Africans from permanent residence in urban areas (which are the most industrialised part of South Africa and therefore places of job opportunities), are contained in the Bantu Laws Amendment Act. 1964. Likewise, Europeans are forbidden to live in the areas reserved for Africans. (The Bantu Trust and Land Act, 1936. fixed the areas to be reserved for the African population at 13% of the total territory of South Africa and it imposes restrictions on the occupation by non-Africans of land within the reserves. 32
But, this is not the quid pro quo it may appear to be. This is because while the African is forced, by economic circumstances, to go to the white urban areas for employment, the white men (who passed the legislation restricting the movement of Africans within South Africa) are not under such a compulsion and. in fact, find it most lucrative to live in the 87% of South Africa they gave themselves in 1936.
The Immorality Amendment Act, 1950, following the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, embodies legislation which, according to John Gunther, is "unparalleled in the world except by the Nuremburg laws of Nazi Germany." 33 The Mixed Marriages Act forbids marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans. On the other hand, according to Gunther. "Africans. Indians, and Coloureds may have mixed relations at will. The object of the law is to keep the white community free from 'contamination'." 34
This explanation of the prohibition on mixed marriages stands in clear contrast to that offered by Mr. Philip to his university audience. According to Mr. Philip one of the reasons for this legislation was "Zulu resentment at the fact that Indian men were consorting with Zulu women", and that this led to a situation in which "The Zulus suddenly went berserk and started slaughtering every Indian in sight, men, women and children." "Is it really surprising," asks Mr. Philip, that "in these circumstances we should have clamped down on mixed marriages and interracial intercourse and eliminated this highly dangerous source of racial friction?"
Mr. Philip fails to explain, however, how it is that a law designed to make void all marriages between a European and a non-European will prevent friction between two groups of non-Europeans. He also fails to tell us how, by making it an offence, punishable with five years' imprisonment in the case of a male and four years' in the case of a female, for a European and a non-European to have sexual-intercourse, the South African Government hopes to prevent 'racial explosions' between non-Europeans such as occured in Durban just after the last war."
I have tried to explain that the Consul-General of South Africa in New Zealand, Mr. Peter Philip, did the students of this university a disservice when he spoke to them about apartheid in South Africa. The sin of omission pervaded the text of his address. Of course, one cannot say everything one wants to say about apartheid in fifty minutes, but one can at least set the record straight about the subject matter one docs choose to speak on.
In an interview shortly after he arrived in this country in March of this year, Mr. Philip said: "We are aware and understand that New Zealand is under a certain misapprehension about us." 35 I am certain that people in New Zealand will remain under this misapprehension just so long as the information they have about apartheid in South Africa is derived from listening to and reading reports of speeches by Mr. Philip.