Title page for ETD etd-12092011-110235

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Muller, Cornelis Hermanus
Email cornelis.muller@up.ac.za
URN etd-12092011-110235
Document Title Coercive agrarian work in South Africa, 1948 - 1965 : 'farm labour scandals'?
Degree MHCS
Department Historical and Heritage Studies
Advisor Name Title
Prof K L Harris Co-Supervisor
Dr J E H Grobler Supervisor
  • herdenking
  • aartappelboikot
  • plaasarbeid
  • agrariese geskiedenis
  • commemoration
  • Michael Scott
  • Ruth First
  • Bethal
  • Gert Sibande
  • African National Congress
  • pass laws
  • potato boycott
  • apartheid
  • agrarian history
  • farm labour
Date 2011-09-08
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation puts into historical context allegations of farm labour abuse during the period 1948 to 1960 on the eastern Transvaal Highveld. It not only gives an exposition of these events, but importantly analyses these allegations of abuse in the context of the South African government’s intervention into farm labour for this period. The dissertation, however, first gives an overview of the government’s policies of regulating and providing farmers with black labour in the period 1910 to 1948. It deals specifically with the dubious measures introduced and coercive actions taken by the National Party government after 1948 to provide farmers with “cheap and plentiful labour”. The reactions to the accusations of abuse by the South African government, the farmers, the conservative, liberal and leftist press, and other independent bodies, such as the churches, Black Sash and the South African Institute of Race Relations, are also explored. The reaction of the African National Congress and the Potato Boycott launched in 1959 by this organisation in response to the mistreatment of farm labourers, also receives specific attention. It concludes with a discussion of how the farm labour scandals and the reaction during the 1950s and more specifically the Potato Boycott of 1959 are still relevant today by considering the contested nature of the commemoration of this event in 2009

AFRIKAANS : Hierdie verhandeling plaas bewerings van die misbruik van plaasarbeid gedurende die periode 1948 tot 1960 op die oostelike Transvaalse Hoëveld in historiese konteks. Dit bied nie net ‘n uiteensetting van hierdie gebeure nie, maar ontleed dié bewerings van mishandeling teen die agtergrond van die Suid-Afrikaanse regering se ingryping ten opsigte van plaasarbeid vir dié tydperk. Die verhandeling bied ten eerste ‘n oorsig van die regering se beleid van die regulering en voorsiening van swart arbeid aan boere gedurende die periode 1910 tot 1948. Dit handel spesifiek oor die twyfelagtige dwangmaatreëls wat deur die Nasionale Partyregering na 1948 geïmplementeer is om boere van “goedkoop en voldoende arbeid” te voorsien. Die reaksies op die bewerings van mishandeling deur die Suid-Afrikaanse regering, die boere, die konserwatiewe, liberale en linkse pers, as ook ander selfstandige instansies, soos die kerke, Black Sash en die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Rasseverhoudinge word ook ondersoek. Die reaksie van die African National Congress en die aartappelboikot wat deur die organisasie in 1959 van stapel gestuur is in reaksie op die mishandeling van plaaswerkers, work ook ontleed. Die studie sluit af met ‘n bespreking van hoe die plaasarbeidskandale, die reaksie in die 1950s en meer spesifiek die aartappelboikot van 1959, steeds vandag relevant is teen die agtergrond van die omstrede herdenking van die gebeurtenis in 2009.

© 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Muller, CH 2011, Coercive agrarian work in South Africa, 1948 - 1965 : 'farm labour scandals'?, MHCS dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-12092011-110235/ >


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