The Bantu Authorities System: Removals in Mthunzini District during Apartheid

Veronica Ehrenreich-Risner, PhD


In Mthunzini district, KwaZulu, the apartheid system of Bantu Authorities (BA), created by the Bantu Authorities Act No. 68 of 1951 and enhanced by the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act No. 46 of 1959, played a decisive role in forced removals. Each removal involved Commissioners and traditional rulers in this collaborative system responsible for the implementation of separate development. It is generally accepted that the system of Bantu Authorities was the mechanism that gave apartheid control in the rural areas, and, with the required listing of homeland citizenship on reference books, indirect control in the urban areas. Except for the studies of Ivan Evans and Robert McIntosh, which engage with the bureaucracy of the Department of Bantu Administration and Development, scant literature exists on the administrative aspects of the system of Bantu Authorities, although there have been studies of the system's effect on the supply of labour. To fill this gap, this article seeks to explore the system of Bantu Authorities through its role in removals in Mthunzini district, KwaZulu, during the period 1959-1976. In so doing, the study examines the department charged with administering control in the "Native" reserves, and the Bantu Authorities system it established. Additionally, the article responds to the call by the 1983 Surplus People Project Report for additional research into the rationale behind the location and timing of individual forced removals.


November 28, 2017

Journal Article

Journal of Southern African Studies