Apartheid During the 1980s - Tricameral Government

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History Research Essay

Apartheid is defined as the system of racial segregation amongst people in which in South Africa, was a formal law passed by the National Party governments in 1948. This system had always been under pressure and criticism from liberation movements and groups such as the ANC and Black Consciousness Movement. However in the 1980s the Apartheid government came under a notably increased international and internal pressure. This can be attributed to the creation of the Tri-Cameral Parliament.

Pieter Willem Botha (P.W Botha) was the first State President in South Africa and beforehand was the Prime Minister. In the 1980s people and governments launched an international campaign to essentially boycott South Africa if they pursued an Apartheid policy. Some countries banned the import of South African products and citizens of many countries pressured major companies to leave South Africa. Many international sporting ties were also cut with South Africa. These actions had a major effect on the South African economy. In response, as Prime Minister, P.W proposed a way to try and amend the South African constitution and restructure the Parliament.

In September 1983 the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act was adopted. This differed from the constitution which had gone in three main aspects:

The first being that a Tri-Cameral Parliament [1] was formed which introduced significant supposed reforms. For the first time since Apartheid started Coloured and Indian people now had a greater but powerless level of representation in the South African political system. Members of the different ethnic groups would elect the representatives of their respective chambers. These being – the House of Assembly (representing Whites) the House of Representatives (Coloured) and the House of Delegates (Indian).

This in itself was a reform as Coloured and Indian people could now account for their individual undertakings as the Houses now had jurisdiction over of their “own affairs”, of which the other chambers could not interfere with. These related to matters of foreign affairs, justice, education, social welfare and housing to name a few. In certainty it was a proposal set to combat criticism and to share power amongst White, Coloured and Indian people.

Despite the reform however at the core, control was still maintained by the majority of which was by White People. They held the largest number of seats (of which was 178 to the Coloureds and Indians 85 and 45 seats respectively). 1 – Tri-cameral Parliament meaning a three chambered government. 2 – To have executive powers is to have the authority to carry out orders. 1 – Tri-cameral Parliament meaning a three chambered government. 2 – To have executive powers is to have the authority to carry out orders. First State President of South Africa. - Pieter Willem Botha First State President of South Africa. - Pieter Willem Botha

The second aspect is that the positions of Prime Minister and State President were combined to form a State President; at the time was P.W. Botha. This leader was voted on by the electoral college of which consisted of 50 whites, 25 coloureds and 13 Indians. The State President would have executive [2] powers and would be elected every five years. He therefore became the Head of Government and Head of State and was chairman of the Presidents Council. The third and final difference in the constitution is that a Presidents Council was formed used to advise the State President and resolve disagreements between chambers. It consisted of 60 members – 20 members appointed by the House of Assembly, 10 by the House of Representatives, 5 by the House of Delegates and 25 directly by the State President. On the 2nd of November 1983 a Referendum was proposed of which 70% of the White voters favoured the new constitution. Elections for the Houses of Representatives were to be held on the 22nd of August and the 2nd of September the following year....
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