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Suppression of Communism Act, 1950

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Title: Suppression of Communism Act, 1950  
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Language: English
Subject: Internal Security Act, Nat Nakasa Award for Media Integrity, Hut tax, Apartheid legislation in South Africa, Nat Nakasa
Collection: 1950 in South African Law, Anti-Communism, Apartheid Laws in South Africa, Communism in South Africa
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Suppression of Communism Act, 1950

Suppression of Communism Act, 1950
Act to declare the Communist Party of South Africa to be an unlawful organization; to make provision for declaring other organizations promoting communistic activities to be unlawful and for prohibiting certain periodical or other publications; to prohibit certain communistic activities; and to make provision for other incidental matters.
Citation Act No. 44 of 1950
Enacted by Parliament of South Africa
Date of Royal Assent 26 June 1950
Date commenced 17 July 1950
Date repealed 2 July 1982
Administered by Minister of Justice
Repealing legislation
Internal Security Act, 1982
Status: Repealed

The Suppression of Communism Act 44 of 1950 (renamed the Internal Security Act in 1976) was legislation of the national government in South Africa, passed on 26 June 1950 (and coming into effect on 17 July)[1] which formally banned the Communist Party of South Africa and proscribed any party or group subscribing to communism.

The Act defined communism as any scheme aimed at achieving change--whether economic, social, political, or industrial--"by the promotion of disturbance or disorder" or any act encouraging "feelings of hostility between the European and the non-European races...calculated to further [disorder]". The government could deem any person to be a communist if it found that person's aims to be aligned with these aims. After a nominal two-week appeal period, the person's status as a communist became an unreviewable matter of fact, and subjected the person to being barred from public participation, restricted in movement, or imprisoned.[2] [3] The Act was frequently used to silence critics of racial segregation and apartheid. Justice Frans Rumpff, presiding in the 1952 trial of African National Congress leaders, observed such "statutory communism" might have "nothing to do with communism as it is commonly known."[4]

Passage of the Act was facilitated by the involvement of communists in the anti-apartheid movement. The Act facilitated the government suppression of organizations such as the ANC and PAC that advocated for black equal rights.[5] The Suppression of Communism Act forced these groups to go underground with their activism. Ironically, because of this act, groups such as Umkhonto we Sizwe, led by Nelson Mandela as a branch of the ANC, did seek financial support from the Communist Party. Most of the Act was repealed in 1982 by the Internal Security Act No 74[6] and the remainder in 1991.


  1. ^ General South African History Timelines South African History Online
  2. ^ Separate and Unequal South Africa: A Country Study, Library of Congress.
  3. ^ "Justice Takes Its Course". Time. 28 July 1952. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "Death the Leveler". Time. 15 December 1952. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  5. ^ Byrnes, Rita M. (1996). "Legislative Implementation of Apartheid". South Africa: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. 
  6. ^ Riotous Assemblies and Suppression of Communism Amendment Act No 15 of 1954 About.Com: African History

Further reading

  • Benson, Mary. Nelson Mandela: The Man and the Movement, 2nd Edition. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-31281-2
  • Byrnes, Rita M. (ed.). South Africa a Country Study (Area Handbook Series). Claitor's Law Books and Publishing Division. ISBN 978-1-57980-355-1

External links

  • The full text of Suppression of Communism Act, 1950 at Wikisource
  • Statement Condemning the First Banning Orders Under the Suppression of Communism Act, 22 May 1952
  • South African Communist Party chronology
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