Apartheid South Africa

Group Areas Act # 41 0f 1950

The act was designed to restrict the black or colored race group to its own residential and trading area; To control the purchase or occupation of land or dwellings in a specified area under the Act. Indians and coloreds were uprooted from homes at enormous cost to the families. The machinery of the Group Areas Act had its origins in the Asiatic Land Tenure Act. The advisory board that created the Act became the Group Areas Act Board. The task of the new board was to completely restructure residential settlement and trading areas.

The government introduced the law by claiming that it had received petitions from 'whites' objecting to the presence of coloreds and Indians in the so called white areas. They claimed that this led to the devaluation of property in white areas, and that colored and Indian businesses were unfairly competing with them.

The first to feel the impact of the law were the Indians. The limited representation they had under the Indian Representation Act of 1946 was now scrapped.  White municipalities instructed them to move business and homes out of town.

Black Africans was living under these conditions for almost 30 years. In Durban sporadic violence erupted between the Zulu's and the Indians for many years. In 1949 bloody clashes erupted between the two groups and 142 people were left dead. Blacks blamed it on Indian "black marketeering' and opposition to black economic expansion.

The Indians however blamed it on the Group Areas Act which forced Indians out of business and to live in shocking conditions in around Durban (Kwazulu Natal). One of Indian newspapers commented that blacks were forced to live in compounds where there were no social and or civic responsibilities, and no future for their children.

Whites living in "mixed" suburbs were criticized by the  government and those that shared the apartheid ideology. The Nationalist government justified the Act ''as the price we have to pay'' to achieve a great future for the Afrikaner people.
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