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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 7. 11th April 1973

Civil and Social Death

Civil and Social Death

The bans imposed on Miss Ensor and her seven colleagues, as well as on eight leaders of the South African Students' Organisation, the black consciousness movement, has served to focus public attention again on the Government's banning powers.

These 16 young people are only the latest in the long list of people who have been banned over the past 22 years. According to the latest available figures, there were 237 banned persons in South Africa on April 30 last year. Of these 28 were whites.

A banning order, it has been said, sentences a person to "civil and social death".

He need have committed no crime to be banned.

All the Minister of Justice has to do is to say that he is satisfied that the person concerned is engaging in activities which are furthering or are calculated to further achievement of any of the objects of communism.

The banned person need not be a communist. He can be anti-communist.

But if the Minister believes that, even unwittingly, he is assisting communism, he can be banned forthwith.

A banned person can be subjected to a variety of restrictions, but generally banning orders follow the same pattern.

They prohibit attendance at gatherings for one thing, including "any gathering at which the persons present also have social intercourse with one another".

This is probably the most crippling restriction in the whole armoury. This is "social death".