Most of the background material used for The Masterplan and other revues came from Sheena Duncan of the Black Sash.

Here follow some of her papers on Section 10 qualifications for residence and employment in

urban areas which give clear indication of the rigid and onerous controls placed on the movement of African people.



SECTION 10(1)(a).        People who have lived continuously in one town since they were born.  Only absences allowed are for schooling purposes, medical treatment and domestic reasons such as looking after aged grandparents for a short time. 

Proof required is a birth certificate and usually on house or lodger's permit and registered employment.  People who have had no permits need very good proofs to get 10(1)(a).

SECTION 10(1)(b).       People who have been in registered employment with one employer in one town for ten years - does not apply to those who have been registered on annual contracts OR people who have lived legally with permits in one town for 15 full years.  10(1)(b) is taken away from any person who is sentenced to more that 6 months in prison or to a fine of more than R500.  They have to start counting the 10 or 15 years again from the time they get registered after being discharged from prison.

SECTION 10(1)(c).       This is a right which the wives, unmarried daughters, sons under the age of 18 years of a man or woman who is 10(1)(a) or 10(1)(b) acquire after their names have been put on the house or lodger's permit with their husband or parent.

SECTION 10(1)(d).       This is not a legal right.  It is merely permission to work in an area.  Some people are given this permission fairly easily because they can prove they have been living and working there for many years.  Other people are only registered on one year contracts.  These people are not allowed to register in new jobs if they leave their work when the contract expires.  They are supposed to go back home and wait to be recruited again.

If they leave a job in the middle of a contract they may be allowed to register in new work for the period of the contract.   

                                                                        Sheena Duncan

(The Urban Areas Consolidation Act, Act No. 25 of 1945, established Section 10 regulations.

Section 10 reflects the intention from the very beginning of the establishment of towns to keep African people out of urban areas and confine them to rural areas.  This intent led eventually to the Homelands Policy (1970) and then to the Independent Homelands Policy (from1976 when Transkei became an Independent Homeland).  The establishment of Independent Homelands, limited African people to citizenship in the Homelands, denied them citizenship in the country of their birth and for a period of over twenty years declared them to be foreigners in South Africa.) 



This paper attempts to analyse what is actually happening in South Africa, to cut through the rhetoric about change and to look at actions which have been taken by Government since 1976 and 1egislation which has been introduced.  It will argue that, far from being intent on reform or change to the policy of Apartheid Government is in fact accelerating the rate of progress towards Apartheid's final consummation.

The policy remains, as it has always been, one of exclusion, exclusion of a1l b1ack[1] people from access to political power and the exclusion of all but those who are necessary to the development of the "white" economy from access to a share in the economic wealth of the white core. The majority are excluded from access to the land as well as from participation in industrial and commercial development.

1. The Urban Scene - exclusion in disguise:

Section 10(1)  -   "No Black shall remain for more than seventy-two hours in a prescribed area unless... "

The only 1ega1 rights of residence enjoyed by B1ack people in the urban areas (the group abhorrent1y referred to as "the urban black") are those contained in Section 10 of the Urban Areas Act.   This confers upon those who have lived continuously in one town since they were born (10 (1)(a) and those who have lived lawfully in one town for 15 years or who have worked continuously in one town for one employer for 10 years (10 (1)(b) rights to be in town. The wives and children of these qualified people acquire a right in terms of Section 10 (1) (c) to remain in town with their husbands and parents once they have taken up residence with them. All other black people may only remain in a town for more than 72 hours if they are given a permit to work.


The National Party Government has always maintained that Section 10 confers privileges and not legal rights but the Courts have taken a different view. There is along history of attempts by Government to limit Section 10 rights.

In 1964 the terms of 10 (1)(c) were tightened and the amendments made succeeded in excluding the wives and children of qualified people from coming to town legally to live in family conditions for 16 years until the Appeal Court handed down the Komani judgement in August 1980. This judgement means in effect that the wife, son under the age of 18 and the unmarried daughter of a person with 10 (1) (a) or (b) qualifications has a legal right to be with the husband or parent in town as long as they are residing together in a black township.

This judgement is current1y being frustrated by officials of the Administration Boards and of the Department of Co-Operation and Development who insist that the judgement applied to Mr and Mrs Komani only.  Other fami1ies are being denied the right to 1ive together and only when legal action is threatened in each individual case are their legal rights recognised.

2/ ...


In 1968 the Government promulgated Regulations for labour Bureaux in the bantustans which introduced the one year contract system for migrant workers. Prior to 1968 if a man came to town from a rural area to work and was registered in his job the registration remained valid until he left his job. If he stayed in the Job for 10 years he acquired 10 (1)(b) rights. This was the path by which many people became urbanised.

The 1968 Regulations mean that a worker from a rural area may only attest a contract with his employer for one year at a time. At the end of the year the employer is compelled to discharge the worker and to return him to his home area.  If he is to come back to the same job a new contract must be attested for another year. These Regulations were designed to prevent further urbanisation and to deny people the chance of qualifying as 10 (1)(b). The bureaucracy maintains that even when a person remains in the same job for 10 years and more the employment is not continuous because it is broken and has to be renewed each year. Likewise a person is said not to be continuously resident in a town for 15 years if he has returned annually to his place of origin to attest another contract as he is obliged to do by law.

Some people have recently succeeded in getting their10 (1)(b) rights by claiming that, although certain administrative procedures have had to be complied with annually, the agreement between them and their employers, has never been interrupted.  However, this recognition of legal rights is acknowledged only when an individual threatens legal action. As with10 (1)(c) rights the bureaucrats are succeeding in severely restricting the number of people who acquire these rights.

In 1969/70 the Government attempted to remove Section 10 altogether in the draft Bill which introduced the Administration Board. There was an outcry from employers who have regarded the provisions of Section 10 as a means of ensuring the stability of the skilled labour force. As a result of the protest Section 10 remained intact.

In 1978 Section 12 of the Urban Areas Act was amended. This amendment which is dealt with in the Citizenship section below means that Section 10 rights will eventually wither away altogether if the Government succeeds in persuading all the Bantustans to take independence.

In 1980 Dr. Koornhof published the Black Community Development Bill which aga1n attempted to remove Section 10 rights and was withdrawn following protests. Had this Bill become law only those black people who had been able to buy a house in an urban area or who were the registered tenants of a rented house would eventually have had any semblance of security whatsoever.

It remains to be seen what the final form of this legislation will be but whatever the next attempt at removing "hurtful discrimination" turns out to be it is only question of time before all black people in South Africa become "prohibited immigrants" or "alien guest workers" in terms of existing legislation. Dr. Koornhof's proposals would only have speeded up the process.

At the same time as Section 10 rights continue to be whittled away the events of 1976 and the years since have made it necessary for Government to respond to the threat of urban instability. Hence all the talk about



improving the "quality of life" for black people in white areas. To this end they have been accorded certain privileges such as the chance to buy a house under the 99 year leasehold scheme (See below under citizenship) if they can afford 'it. Only people who have Section 10 (1)(a) or (b) rights are eligible to buy or rent a house but there is no legal right to demand housing. The opportunity to be housed is dependent upon the will of the Government to make land and housing available and the Government is not responsible to the needs and desires of the voteless black majority.

In Johannesburg we are told that no land is available for black housing. There is an officially acknowledged waiting list of over 34 000 families in Soweto, a list that goes back to 1969 and represents only those who qualify for acceptance on the waiting list. It does not reflect the real need for accommodation. People who now apply to buy a house are told that there are no houses for sale. In 1980 not one single house was built in Soweto by the West Rand Administration Board.

Another privilege being accorded to Section 10 people is the preferential allocation of jobs. In June 1980 amendments to the Black labour Regulations were published. These allow Section 10 qualified people to work without being registered in their employment provided that the job lies within the Administration Board area in which they hold the qualification. Qualified people may also move to another Administration Board area provided that they have a job and accommodation to go to. This follows on a recommendation of the Riekert Commission and serves to draw impenetrable boundaries between urban and rural people. Those who are not already legally established in town increasingly find it impossible to obtain work. Employers must draw on the pool of urban "qualified" labour before they will be allowed to recruit workers from rural areas.

Already in the Black Sash Johannesburg Advice Office we have been faced with people who want "my qualification" because they say employers are demanding a Section 10 qualification, even for those who are legally registered to seek work, and that they will only offer jobs to qualified people. It is obviously much easier for an employer to take on a worker who does not 'have to go through the whole administrative hassle involved in registration.

The Star last year carried a story about a new computer system which is to be installed which will link all Administration Boards. Once this system is in operation it will be easy for employers to identify workers with Section 10 qualifications in small towns and all the indications are that Labour Bureaux will insist on offers of jobs being given to those workers on a preferential basis before recruitment from the bantustans will be allowed. Such people are already in the so-called "white" areas and their enhanced mobility will not increase the overall number of black people who are permitted to be in the "white" areas.

This follows the pattern we have seen before; job reservation gave white workers preferential access to work opportunities; in Coloured labour preference areas so-called coloured workers are given preference over black workers; the recent trend outlined above gives preference to urban- people to the exclusion of the rural poor.



The privileges which are now being granted to urban people do not give them political rights. They are totally excluded from participation in Government on a national level and the legitimacy of the demand for universal adult franchise is, undermined by the Citizenship 1egislation as outlined below.

The introduction of 1ocal government powers through Community Councils, Town or Village Councils, or whatever the new name is to be, serves to entrench the exclusion of black residents from political participation at municipal level. When Soweto was administered by the Johannesburg City Council, black people had no representation on the Council but there was a degree of economic sharing in that money generated in the City Centre was used for the development of Soweto, however inequitable the distribution of revenue may have been.

The introduction of the Administration Boards in 1971 did away with even this limited degree of participation. Now as local government powers are granted to black townships so they completely forfeit their claim to a just share in the total revenue from the metropolitan area in spite of the fact that a large percentage of this revenue comes as a result of the high rate of black consumer spending in the central business districts.

Far from moving any kind of power sharing the legislation is all directed towards the permanent exclusion of black people.  It cannot be stressed too strongly that these laws are not a hang over from the past which is hampering the present government in its desire for change. Everything which has been done in the last five years is entirely consistent with all that has gone before.

2. The Citizenship Policy - exclusion  from political participation

In 1970 the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act was promulgated.  This Act says that every Black person in South Africa is a citizen of one homeland or another.  It makes no difference if a person has no knowledge of his imputed homeland and no connection whatsoever with any region now set aside as bantustan.

A person is a citizen of a particular homeland if he was born there or is domiciled there or if he speaks the language of a part of the population of that homeland or if he is culturally or otherwise identified with any person who is part of the population of that homeland. The terms of the Act are all embracing and there is no escape.

The Act made little practical difference in the years between 1970 and 1976 because people's rights as South African citizens were not affected by the provisions. All that happened was that birth certificates were issued with the citizenship of the child shown as "Kwa Zulu", or "Qwa Qwa", "Gazankulu", etc.

But in 1976 when Transkei became independent the Status of Transkei Act, contained a clause which meant that all those people who were citizens of Transkei in terms of any other law ceased to be South African citizens on the day of independence.



In 1977 and 1979 when Bophuthatswana and Venda respectively became independent the Status Acts contained the same provision.

The three Status Acts have deprived all Tswana-speaking, all Venda-speaking, and all Xhosa-speaking people who cannot prove that they belong to Ciskei rather than Transkei, of their South African citizenship.  6,75 million people were turned into foreigners in just over three years and at the end of this year another 1,25 mi11ion people will probably lose their citizenship when Ciskei becomes independent.

The newly created foreigners retain their Section 10 rights, if they have them, and influx control and the pass laws apply to them in exactly the same way as they do to other b1ack people.  They are no 1onger issued with Reference Books but must apply to their own governments for a travel document which is used in exactly the same way as a Reference Book and remains a dompas.  The only difference is that instead of an endorsement out stamp reading, "ordered to leave the prescribed area of  ... within 72 hours" it reads "ordered to report to the Magistrate at .... for residence before ...."  Some of these new foreigners get two years instead of one year contracts to work in the so-called white area.

Section 10 rights do not, of course, override a deportation order made by the Minister of the Interior.  People who are foreign can always be declared "prohibited immigrants" or "undesirable aliens" and be deported to their "country of origin" - even if they have never been there in their lives. This could obviously be a very effective control over political activists or trade union leaders who were considered to be becoming too effective and popular.

However, for most urban people life goes on as before and the effects of being foreign are only realised when a teenager goes to apply for an identity document and is issued with a foreign travel document or when a person wishes to travel outside South Africa's borders and is refused a South African passport.  This has caused some embarrassment to the South African government because several important Black spokesmen who have been invited to Europe or America have refused to acknowledge their foreign status by applying for a passport from their Bantustan Government and have therefore been unable to travel.  There is also the problem that the Independent homelands are not internationally recognised.  In response there is now an arrangement whereby a person will be issued with a South African passport for international travel if his own government agrees.  It seems likely that all the talk about differentiating between "citizenship" and "nationality" for citizens of the Ciskei will prove to be nothing more meaningful than this arrangement.

The 1978 amendment in Section 12 - Section 12 is the section in the Urban Areas Act which deals with foreigners.  It excludes the provisions of Section 10 and no foreigner may acquire Section 10 rights however long he may have lived lawfully in one place.  This section used to say that no black person who was not born in South Africa could enter, be or remain in any prescribed area without written permission of the Secretary. 

This permission can be withdrawn at any time without reason being given. In 1978 the words "not born in" were changed to "who is not a South African citizen, or who is not a former South African citizen who is a citizen of a state the territory or part of the territory of which formerly formed part of the Republic". This complicated wording