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The National Party's Colour Policy, 1948

Statement by the National Party of South Africa, March 29, 1948

There are two sections of thought in South Africa in regard to the policy affecting the non-European community. On the one hand there is the policy of equality, which advocates equal rights within the same political structure for all civilized and educated persons, irrespective of race or colour, and the gradual granting of the franchise to non-Europeans as they become qualified to make use of democratic rights.

On the other hand there is the policy of separation (apartheid) which has grown from the experience of established European population of the country, and which is based on the Christian principles of Justice and reasonableness.

Its aim is the maintenance and protection of the European population of the country as a pure White race, the maintenance and protection of the indigenous racial groups as separate communities, with prospects of developing into self-supporting communities within their own areas, and the stimulation of national pride, self-respect, and mutual respect among the various races of the country.

We can act in only, one of two directions. Either we must follow the course of equality-, which must eventually mean national suicide for the White race, or we must take the course of separation (apartheid) through which the character and the future of every race will be protected and safeguarded with full opportunities for development and self-maintenance in their own ideas, without the interests of one clashing with the interests of the other, and without one regarding the development of the other as undermining or a threat to himself.

The party therefore undertakes to protect the White race properly and effectively against any policy, doctrine or attack which might undermine or threaten its continued existence. At the same time the party rejects any policy of oppression and exploitation of the non-Europeans by the Europeans as being in conflict with the Christian basis of our national life and irreconcilable with our policy.

The party believes that a definite policy of separation (apartheid) between the White races and the 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 basis on which the character and future of each race can be protected and safeguarded and on which each race can be guided so as to develop his own national character, aptitude and calling.

All marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans will be prohibited.

In their areas the non-European racial groups will have full opportunities for development in every sphere and will be able to develop their own institutions and social services whereby the forces of the progressive non-Europeans can be harnessed for their own national development (volkeepbou). The policy of the country must be so planned that it will eventually promote the ideal of complete separation (algehele apartheid) in a national way.

A permanent advisory body of experts on non-European affairs will be established.

The State will exercise complete supervision over the moulding of the youth. The party will not tolerate interference from without or destructive propaganda from the outside world in regard to the racial problems of South Africa.

The party wishes all non-Europeans to be strongly encouraged to make the Christian religion the basis of their lives and will assist churches in this task in every possible way. Churches and societies which undermine the policy of apartheid and propagate doctrines foreign to the nation will be checked.

The Coloured community takes a middle position between the European and the Natives. A policy of separation (apartheid) between the Europeans and Coloureds and between Natives and Coloureds will be applied in the social, residential, industrial and political spheres. No marriage between Europeans and Coloureds will be permitted. The Coloureds will be protected against unfair competition from the Natives in so far as where they are already established.

The Coloured community will be represented in the Senate by a European representative to be appointed by the Government by reason of his knowledge of Coloured affairs.

The present unhealthy system which allows Coloureds in the Cape to be registered on the same voters' roll as Europeans and to vote for the same candidate as Europeans will be abolished and the Coloureds will be represcritcd in the House of Assembly by three European representatives.

These Coloured representatives will be elected by a Coloured representative council. They will not vote on:

(1) Votes on confidence in the Government.
(2) A declaration of war, and
(3) A change in the political rights of non-Europeans.

A State Department of Coloured Affairs will be established.

The Coloured community will be represented in the Cape Provincial Council by three Europeans elected by the Coloured representative council.

A Coloured representative council will be established in the Cape Province consisting of representatives elected by the Coloured community, divided into constituencies with the present franchise qualifications, the head of the Department of Coloured Affairs and representatives nominated by the Government. In their own areas the Coloured community will have their own councils with their own public services which will be managed by themselves within the framework of the existing councils with higher authority.

Attention will be given to the provision of social, medical and welfare services in which the efforts of the Coloured themselves can be harnessed, and in which they will be taught as far as possible to be self-supporting.


United Nations, General Assembly, Official Records: Eighth Session, Supplement No. 16 (A/2505 and A/2505/Add.1 "Report of the United Nations Commission on the Racial Situation in the Union of South Africa," Annex V (New York: 1952), pp. 139-140.

This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.

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© Paul Halsall, July 1998

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