Courtesy Reuters

Hard Choices in South Africa

THE events of the last few months in South Africa have justified the prediction that the most effective opposition to apartheid would come from the non-Europeans themselves. The South African crisis developed during 1951 over legal and constitutional issues dividing the two European political groups. In March 1952 the Appellate Division of the South African Supreme Court decided these issues against the present Government. The crisis then entered its second phase, with the Government seeking a solution by political action which for a time seemed to bring the Union within measurable distance of civil war. That possibility has now receded. But the launching of a well-organized and disciplined passive resistance campaign by non-Europeans, under joint Indian and African leadership, has brought to the surface the question of white-colored relations which underlies all South Africa's politics and was the basic cause even of the constitutional crisis.

The moral and material issues raised by the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign will in fact dominate the 1953 election, despite the present efforts of the political parties to evade their implications. To understand the actual form in which these issues will be put to the almost entirely white electorate, it is necessary to recapitulate briefly the story of the last two years. When Dr. D. F. Malan's Nationalist Party, allied with Mr. N. C. Havenga's Afrikaner Party, won the 1948 election, the two parties (which have since been amalgamated) had a majority of only seven out of a total of 153 seats in the Assembly. One of the new Government's first acts was to curtail severely Smuts' program which had brought 80,000 European immigrants into the country in the previous three years. Secondly, it extended from two to five years the period required for British and Commonwealth immigrants to qualify for South African citizenship and the vote. The first measure was justified by the need for selective immigration, and the second by the desirability of ensuring a single loyalty; many Afrikaners still regard with suspicion English-speaking South Africans who have several

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