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The Suppression of Communism Act, No. 44 of 1950
was legislation of the national government in South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...
, passed on June 26 of that year (and coming into effect on July 17), which formally banned the Communist Party of South Africa
South African Communist Party is a political party in South Africa. It was founded in 1921 as the Communist Party of South Africa by the joining together of the International Socialist League and others under the leadership of Willam H...
and proscribed the ideology of communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...
, defined by the government as any scheme that aimed "at bringing about any political, industrial, social, or economic change within the Union by the promotion of disturbance or disorder" or that encouraged "feelings of hostility between the European and the non-European races of the Union the consequences of which are calculated to further..." disorder. It allowed the government to label any person of the Minister of Justice's choice as a "Communist".
The definition of communism in the wording of the act was so broad that anyone seeking to change a law could be considered a communist, especially if it was a law enforcing racial segregation and apartheid. Communism was so broadly defined in the act that even judge Franz Rumpff stated during the trial of African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...
(ANC) president James Moroka
Doctor James Sebe Moroka was a medical doctor and a politician, who was the president of the African National Congress 1949–1952....
that "[the charge] has nothing to do with Communism as it is commonly known", and defendants were commonly convicted of "statutory communism. Most of the Act was repealed in 1982 by the Internal Security Act No 74 and in 1991, with the last provisions of it repealed in 1993.
The Suppression of Communism Act was in large part due to the involvement of communists in the anti-apartheid movement. The act facilitated the government take down of organizations such as the ANC and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania that advocated for black rights. 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
Umkhonto we Sizwe , translated "Spear of the Nation," was the armed wing of the African National Congress which fought against the South African apartheid government. MK launched its first guerrilla attacks against government installations on 16 December 1961...
, led by Nelson Mendela as a branch of the ANC, did seek support from the Communist party for financial aid.