Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 14. 1970
Hitler's Germany & Vorster's S.Africa
Hitler's Germany & Vorster's S.Africa
The Act of Athens described the Rule of Law as springing 'from the rights of the individual developed through history in the age-old struggle of mankind for freedom; which rights include freedom of speech, press, worship, assembly and association and the right to free elections to the end that laws are enacted by the duly elected representatives of the people and afford equal protection to all'."
(International Commission of Jurists, Athens, 1955)
"The rule of law is preferable to that of any individual... He who bids the law rule may be deemed to bid God and reason alone rule, but he who bids a man rule adds an element of the beast, for desire is as a wild beast and passion perverts the minds of rulers, even when they are the best of men. The law is reason unaffected by desire".
(Aristotle, Politics, III, 16)
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organising its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
(The Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776)
One of the functions of a lawyer in society is to be the effective and, if necessary, the vociferous guardian of the fundamental liberties of the subject. The lawyer who fails to carry out this duty fails in his public obligations to uphold the highest ideals of his profession. In the International Commission of Jurists booklet on "The Erosion of the Rule of Law in South Africa" published in 1968, the introduction states in regard to the independence of the judiciary in South Africa: "Statutes and cases cited (in the booklet) illustrate two things, the first a steady and increasing interference with the judiciary by the legislature: more and more frequently legislative enactments provide that the exercise of its powers over the lives of individuals and organisations by the executive shall not be challenged or questioned in a Court of law .... particularly so in the fields of African affairs and security legislation .... Secondly, the cases cited in which the judiciary is called on to interpret and apply a number of statutes which clearly violate basic principles of the Rule of Law indicate that it is not sufficient that Judges should remain formally independent and free from direct pressure or influence by the executive. It is essential too that they should maintain their spiritual independence; their devotion to the Rule of Law and the liberty of the subject should take precedence over their support for a political or social system Unfortunately, the decisions cited illustrate that this is no longer generally the case in South Africa, In spite of a number of courageous decisions at first instance, the overall impression is of a judiciary as 'establishment-minded as the executive, prepared to adopt an interpretation that will facilitate the executive's task rather than defend the liberty of the subject and uphold the Rule of Law."
In South Africa today, when so many inroads are being made into the fundamental liberties of the individual and the Rule of Law is being seriously eroded, we should bear in mind what happened a generation or two ago when lawyers failed to carry out their duties and when the security of the State was considered to be of paramount importance: when the interest of the State was considered to outweigh the importance of the individual and his fundamental liberties.
Lawyers must draw attention to the dire threat to the liberty of the subject whenever and wherever it exists, and in doing so, should refer to what happened in Germany from 1 933 until the end of the Third Reich.
Mr. Joel Carlson, is International Commission of Jurists (ICT) Observer in South Africa, and was also Observer for the International Press Institute During the Gandar Trial. A Friend and Colleague of Nelson Mandela During their Academic Careers. Mr. Carlson is an Acknowledged Expert on African Affairs.
On the 28th February, 1933, the new Chancellor of Germany. Adolf Hitler, induced President Hindenburg to sign an "Emergency Decree" of the "protection of the people and the State" (Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution). Adolf Hitler was anxious to act "lawfully and constitutionally" Indeed, he acted "lawfully and Constitutionally" throughout his stay in power by merely suspending the Weimar Constitution (the first democratic constitution Germany had known). He then acted by promulgating decrees under the Enabling Act.
The night before the Emergency Decree was introduced, was February 27th. 1933, when Hitler and his gangsters engineered the Reichstag fire. The following morning Hitler was at pains to convince President Hindenburg of the threat of a communist revolution. He maintained that the security of the State, (a phrase so familiar to South Africans today), was threatened by the communists who were subverting the authority of the State and the law Of course, as so often happens, these threat are more political trickery than truth.
Hitler successfully convinced President Hindenberg to sign the Emergency Decree. As a result all civil liberties were suspended. Thereafter the decree remained in force throughout the Nazi era, which lasted fifteen years Every four years, however, the Reichstag met and renewed his emergency powers by "the Enabling Act" It is interesting to note that the Reichstag when it met held no debates after February 28th. 1933. It met in session to hear Hitler's address, to applaud him and to give the usual "we thank the Minister" acclamations. (The communists had already been arrested or excluded from the Reichstag ) Hitler in fact never even bothered to call the cabinet together and no cabinet meeting was ever convened after February. 1933 and his success in March 5th election of 1933. Hitler. Hesse, Bormann. Goebbels, Goering, Himmler and the other Nazi gangsters ruled by "Promulgating Decrees" In South Africa the State President is given powers of legislation in African areas equal to those of Parliament and he may make, amend, alter or repeal the Common Law or any Statute Law a power to legislate by "Presidential Proclamation"
Using the authority bestowed on him. Hitler immediately set about destroying his opposition. Their organisations were infiltrated and then members were banned, detained, sent to concentration camps and executed. Furthermore. Hitler unified the State and regimented the country's institutions, its culture and its organisations All individual freedom was suppressed step by step. The law for Reconstruction of the Reich enabled Hitler to suppress or dissolve Trade Unions. Political parties 'voluntarily dissolved and on July 14th, 1933 only the Nazi Party remained lawful.
In South Africa leaders of unpopular Trade Unions have been banned, detailed and their organisations infiltrated. With the passing of the Improper Interference Bill 51. of 1968, the Liberal Party in South Africa voluntarily dissolved itself The A.N.C. the P.A.C. and the Communist Party had already been outlawed under the suppression of Communism Act.
At the same time Hitler was careful to keep boom condition going in indusrty and commerce and in re-arming Germany There was full employment and Hitler could boast of the amazing growth potential of German industry. Co-ordination (Gleichschaltung), the euphemism for Nazi seizures of control, had to be carried out without damaging the economy or endangering its efficiency. So too in South Africa Apartheid has to be enforced without disrupting the economy. Migratory labour is used to curtail integration, border industries are established and the Physical Planning Act co-ordinates the control of labour with the development of the economy.
Hans Franck, the Nazi legal light, repeatedly gave the world the German people's assurances that Hitler's actions were both necessary and constitutional Addressing lawyers in 1936, he said There is in Germany today only one authority, the authority of the Fuhrer."His assurances that the Emergency Deecree and the Enabling Acts promulgated by Hitler and his men were necessary, were received by lawyers without protest. Lawyers readily accepted the assurances given by the Minister and were content with the idea that the security of the State was an overriding consideration They then willingly bowed to the authority of the State, as did the lawyers throughout South Africa when they accepted without protest all the provisions of the Terrorism Act, 83 of 1967 (which is dealt with later) and other Acts.
In all this lawyers acquiesced. After all,. Hitler was the law Those lawyers whom he did not like and whom he thought were opposing him were suitably dealt with All Jews and those who "indicated that they were not fully prepared to intercede for the State" were dismissed from holding judicial office (Civil Service Law 7th April, 1933), Hans Franck, in interpreting this Law, said the maxim of interpretation was this. "If in doubt, ask yourself: 'What would the Fuhrer do?"' In South Africa under an amendment of the Suppression of Communism Act,. the Minister is able to prevent those persons whom he considers unsuitable from being members of the legal profession. (See below).
In Germany on March 21st. 1933 "Special Courts (Sondergerichtshof)" were established. These Courts took over from the ordinary Courts and tried cases of political crimes or as the "Law of March" said "Insidious attacks against the government", These "Special Courts" were presided over by three party Judges. However, the Prosecutor, in bringing a man before a Court, had a discretion and he could charge the man either before the ordinary Court or the "Special Court" More often than not, he chose the latter. In South Africa the Criminal Procedure Act of 1955, as amended, gave the Prosecutor a similar discretion. He could either bring the accused to Court at a summary trial, or follow the usual procedure and hold a preparatory examination. In political matters he usually chose a summary trial.
In Germany when some of the accused who were charged with the Reichstag fire were acquitted Hitler and Goering were so incensed at this type of justice that on April 24th, 1934 they restored what they considered to be a fair judicial equilibrium. The right to try treason cases was taken away from the Supreme Court and given to the "People's Court" (Volksgerichthof). These People's Courts were presided over by three Judges and five Assessors, being army or Nazi Party chiefs and furthermore, these Courts were not held in public they were held in camera.
In South Africa the Terrorism Act and other Acts removed from the Prosecutor his discretion concerning summary trials, and made them mandatory for offences under the Act, such as the Terrorism Act. In addition, these removed the right to bail and altered the laws of evidence to make the State's task easier. The guilt of the accused was assumed and the onus is on them to prove their innocence. The Prosecutor had greater latitude in joining different accused together and on bringing different charges against them at the same time and any Court is now given jurisdiction to try the accused anywhere in the Republic and not necessarily where the offence was committed, which was the normal rule. (See sections 2, 4 and 5 of the Terrorism Act, 83 of 1967 and Sections 327/8 of the Criminal Procedure Act and Section 12 of the Supression of Communism Act).
Defence Lawyers Banned
The next inroad was that defence lawyers appearing before these Courts had to be approved of by Nazi officials, and when defence lawyers showed too much enthusiasm, they, themselves, were barred from practice and prohibited from appearing in Courts Indeed, some were put in concentration camps or detained elsewhere. This happened, for instance, to the lawyers acting for the widow of Dr Klausener, the Catholic Action leader murdered in the blood purgue. In South Africa lawyers have been banned, restricted and intimidated as will appeal from the details given hereunder.
Security of the State
Further, arising out of the Emergency Decrees and the Promulgating Decress granting these legal rights to Hitler and Goering to protect the security of the State,. Hitler and Goering had the right at any time to Stop any Criminal proceedings, particularly criminal proceedings involving party officials and they exercised their right freely and were most efficient in protecting Nazi officers, Gestapo officials and other party members who were prosecuted with any crime causing any embarrassment and the excuse used time again was "that this was in the interest of the security of the State" In South Africa the Boss Bill has already been passed but is the subject of a judicial enquiry. Its all embracing powers could have far-reaching effects on the Courts and it gives the Minister the power to present a certificate and stop certain evidence being led "in the interest of the security of the State".
A further right given to the Nazi law-making gangst was that they had the right to banish or incarcerate in concentration camps, accused person whom they considered to have been too lightly treated by the Courts which they had set up They exercised this right readily. An instance is that of Pastor Niemoeller. As he was leaving the "Special Court" which acquitted him he was picked up by the Security Police, taken into detention and then sent to a concentration camp. In addition, the Nazis readily resorted to banishing and punishing persons who had already served their sentences. In South Africa under the Suppression of Communism Act, the Terrorism Act, etc., accused who have been acquitted at summary trials may be re-arrested immediately, re-charged, detained banned, banished, or placed under house arrest, and even detained in prison (as Sobukwe was) after completing the sentence of the Court.
In Germany the next step after the establishing of the "Special Court" was the granting by the authorities to the Security Police, the "Gestapo", of special powers which placed them beyond the ordinary powers of the law. They were entitled to privileges and rights, particularly in the carrying out of their duties, and given powers over and above those normally given to police in the execution of their duties (Law of February 10th, 1936).The powers so given to the Gestapo by Himmler and Heydrich prevented the Court from interfering in any way with the police. They could not interdict the police in the carrying out of their duties or question the police in the actions that they had taken, as this would be against the security of the State. In the interpretation of the exercise of their powers, Dr Weiner Best, Himmler's right-hand man, was quoted as saying: "As long as a policeman carries out the will of the leadership, his actions are legal". The Courts were powerless to interfere even if they wanted to.
In South Africa Habeus Corpus disappeared and the Court's jurisdiction was removed by, for instance, Section 6(5) of the Terrorism Act, which says simply: "No Court of Law shall pronounce upon the validity of any action taken under this Section or order the release of any detainee". The 90-day and 180-day detention clauses had similar provisions. In addition, the Terrorism Act is retroactive, passed on the 21st June, 1967, it was retrospective in effect to the 27th June, 1962. Numerous allegations have been made before our Courts concerning interrogations of detainees throughout the night and of the Security Police committing serious assaults against detainees detained under these detention powers.
Then came what was known as "protective custody" (Schutzhaft). It was introduced by the Law of February and it resulted in arbitrary arrest and detention without trial in the interest of State security As it was alleged that State security was involved, no one protested at the arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention without trial, and this was accepted without protest throughout Germany Victims of these laws were conveniently forgotten Immediately after and as a consequence there followed the introduction by people such as Theodor Eicke of death head units and the establishment of camps, such as Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Rawensbreuck (for women), Mauthausen, Auschwitz. Belsen and Treblinka.
On reading some of the concentration camp regulations, one of these drawn up by Theodor Eicke at Dachau, reads:
- Anyone who talks politics;
- Anyone who holds meetings or makes speeches, forms
- cliques loiters with others;
- Anyone who collects true or false information about
- concentration camps;
- Anyone who receives such information, talks about it
- smuggles it out of camp into the hands of foreign visitors etc.
Horror of the 1930s
The fate of the inmates of these camps is now so well-known, so horrifying(that one need not here detail the tortures and suffering of the victims When the laws of the country are subjugated to the wishes of those in power and they are the sole judges of what is in the interest of the security of the State, and what is in the interest of all the citizens of the State, the horror of what was Germany in the 1930's is inevitable. Those who grant these supreme powers cannot after wards is plead their innocence. They cannot say it was not intended, and they must be held responsible for the natural consequences of their acts.page break
Brief reference has been made above to the similarities between Hitler's Germany and South Africa. A more detailed examination follows:
Whilst the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act No. 32 of 1961 provides in Section 59 that Parliament shall be the sovereign legislative authority in and over the Republic, it shall have the full power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Republic. The legislature in South Africa is supreme and its acts cannot be challenged in any Court of law as unconstitutional. However, in respect of Africans the State President is himself the Supreme Legislative authority and has the power of Parliament itself. The State President is given powers of legislation, in African areas, equal to those of Parliament, and it is competent for him to repeal the Common Law or any Statute Law (Section 25(1) of the Bantu Administration Act No. 38 of 1927, as amended).
Courts May not Interfere
In terms of Section 5(1) of this Act, the State President may remove-any person or part of a tribe or tribe without notice from any one place in South Africa to any other place. The Court has no right to interfere. Under Act 64 of 1956 the Court cannot interdict, stay or suspend any such removal order.
- The right to be, remain, reside or be employed in certain areas.
- To acquire any right to any land.
- To determine the attendance by any Bantu at any Church or other religious service or Church function.
- To govern the conducting of any school, hospital, club or similar institution attended by Bantu.
- The attendance by any Bantu at any school, hospital, club or similar institution is regulated.
- The attendance by any Bantu at any place of entertainment is regulated.
- The holding of any meetings, assembly or gathering, including any social gathering, attended by Bantu is regulated, and the Minister is given powers to prevent the holding of meetings.
- No Bantu may remain in any urban area for more than 72 hours without receiving permission from the authorities, and redundant Bantu may be ordered and escorted out of the area as well as idle or undesirable Bantu;
and these restrictions are regularly and daily enforced. 1,700 Africans are arrested daily throughout the country and over 1,000,000 Africans are involved annually in prosecutions under the pass laws.
The Suppression of Communism Act, Ho. 44 of 1950, was amended in 1951, 1954. 1962. 1963, 1964, 1965, twice in 1966 and again in 1967. Under the Act, Communism is widely defined and includes, for instance, any doctrine which aims at bringing about any political, industrial, socialor economic change within the Republic in accordance with the direction or under the guidance of or in co-operation with any foreign government or international institution. As Gerald Gardner (now Lord Chancellor), observer as he then was at one of the South African treason trials said the definition of Communism is so wide that "if you were a Communist 40 years ago, you are a Communist today, and, whether, you are a Communist or not, you are a Communist if the State says so".
The act gives the Minister or the State President important discretionary powers, the exercise of which cannot be challenged in a Court of law and the Courts have admitted that the discretionary powers given to the Minister are "of a wide and drastic kind and one which in its exercise must necessarily make a serious inroad upon the ordinary liberty of the subject. . . .Parliament may make any encroachment it chooses on the life, liberty or property of any individual subject to its sway, and it is the function of the Courts to enforce its will". (1934 A.D. at page 36)
The ordinary Common Law imposed limitations of all kinds on individual liberty, both in the interests of other individuals and in the public interest. There is ample scope for the police authorities ordinarily to prosecute for criminal incitement, conspiracy, treason, seditious libel and so Forth. What the Common Law does not authorise is arbitrary invasion of personal liberty for the expression of opinions unpalatable to party politicians, such as the opinion of the Nationalist Party who govern at the moment or the Verliqtes or the Verkramptes. In times of emergency it has been argued that emergency statutory powers giving unfettered discretion to the executive are necessary.
Dunkirk and the Terrorists
If the basis of society is just and sound, democratic and secure there is less need in the society for panic and emergency decrees Our government and particularly our judiciary could take courage from the situation in England in 1941. At that stage the Nazis had captured France and were victorious in Europe arid on the shores of the Channel opposite England. The Luftwaffe was raining destruction on English cities and towns. Dunkirk was branded in every man's mind, and England was faced with a real threat of defeat. In this emergency a British Court (the House of Lords) was then called upon to interpret legislation affecting personal liberty. This is what Lord Atkin said in the case of Liversage v Anderson (1941 3 All. E.R. at p. 361:)
"In England amidst the clash of arms the laws are not silent. They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace It has always been one of the pillars of freedom, one of the principles of liberty for which, on recent authority, we arc now fighting, that the judges are no respecters of persons, and stand between the subject and any attempted encroachment on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified in law."
In South Africa, both the government and the Courts were quick to surrender our 'pillars of freedom" and "principles of liberty" when faced with the threat of not even 1,000 terrorists probably ill-trained but some armed who crossed our borders into South West Africa and who also infiltrated into Rhodesia. Is this the calibre of our courage? When sentencing the South West African terrorists (charged under the Terrorism Act) the Judge in passing sentence said: Their actions were feeble and without the slightest hope of success Furthermore, the Judge treated the offences as Common Law offences and in fact the accused could easily have been charged with the Common Law offence of treason. It is obvious that our faith in the strength of the basic foundations of our society is insecure and ridden with fear.
The Minister Decides
"We consider it to be in the public interest that decisions as to the fitness to practice the legal profession should be left to the Courts, and not the unchallengeable decision of the Minister or any other person however bona fide they may be. We believe that the effect of the Bill may be to inhibit the proper performance by members of the legal profession of their duty fearlessly to present the the interest of their client no matter how unpopular their clients cause and no matter how powerful or influential the opposition may be."
(House of Assembly, Vol. 15 June 12th, 1965
The effect in South Africa is that persons who were member, or active supporter, of the Communist Party, the A.N.C.. the P.A.C the Congress of Democrats, the Defence and Aid Fund and any other organization that may be decleared unlawfull at any time in the future, may in the discreation of the Minister be barred from practice and the Court has no right to interfere and no discretion at all.
Lawyers in South Africa are inhibited. They are reluctant to show too much enthusiasm in acting for clients whose causes are, unpopular. In South Africa we have not resorted to the procedure in Nazi Germany of appointing lawyers approved of by party officials only. Nevertheless, the inroads here are serious. Lawyers have been banned without charge, compelled to leave the country, or compelled to leave their profession. Some Lawyer, have had their passports removed and have had restriction, placed on them. These page break intimidatory measures have been successful and fear has been installed in the minds of professional men who have now been inhibited from pursuing unpopular causes on behalf of their clients. They certainly have been affected by the powers of the opposition which they face.
Evidence and the Boss Bill
In South Africa the recent passage in Parliament of the "Boss" Bill, particularly Section 29 thereof authorises the Prime Minister or his representative or any Minister to issue a certificate and thereby prevent the evidence being given or information being furnished in any Court of Law or statutory body as to any fact, matter or thing or as to any communication made to or by such person and no document may be produced in such proceedings. The effect of this is that any such authorised person can effectively prevent any evidence from being led before the Court in any such proceedings. It is worth noting that even at this late stage resolutions have been placed by certain Attorneys before their Law Societies asking the Law Societies to condemn Section 29 and alleging that "seen in its broadest context Section 29 affects the very basis of our Constitutional Law and more particularly has a far-reaching effect in as far as it affects the relationship between State and citizen." In 1966, the Natal Supreme Court said; 'This Court must act as a buttress between the citizen and the government be it national, provincial or local to ensure that citizens' rights .... are maintained". Bar Councils and even Judges and professors of law at different universities have recently protested against the "Boss" Bill and at present a judicial commission of enquiry before a Judge of the Appellate Division has been instituted.
Under Section 17 of the General Law Amendment Act, 37 of 1963, the notorious 90 day detention clause was introduced. Persons were detained by the police without warrant. They were detained specifically for the purpose of interrogation. They were detained until the Commissioner of Police was satisfied that they had satisfactorily replied to questions put to them. But the detention was limited to 90 days. The Court held that it had no jurisdiction. Even in the matter of giving the detainee limited rights such as the provision of reading material, daily exercise and other minor privileges, the Appellate Division overruled a lower Court which allowed a detainee such rights saying: "When due regard is had to the purpose of Section 17 that is to induce the detainee to speak-in order to achieve that object of the legislature .... I find myself unable to support the order made by the lower Court", which allowed certain privileges to the detainee. The detainee could not enjoy his pre-detention rights, said the Court, as it was impossible to draw the line. "In the present case, we are concerned only with reading matter and writing material but is the detainee who in happier days habitually enjoyed champagne and cigars entitled as of right to continue to enjoy them." Whilst the Court said that the example was extreme, the Court had difficulties in interpreting where the line could be drawn in allowing a detainee any privileges. The Court said that; 'The purpose of detention .... is intended to induce a detainee to speak and any interference with that intention which may negate the inducement to speak will defeat the purpose of the legislature". (See 1964 (2) S.A.L.R. 551).
Finally, by Act 83 of 1967 the Terrorism Act quite emphatically and simply said in Section 6(5) that the Court had no right to pronounce upon the validity of any action taken under the Section or order the release of any detainee. Section 6 of that Act deprives the detainee of any right of access to any lawyer, Minister of Religion, member of his family and he may be detained indefinitely, incommunicado, and until such time as he has satisfactorily replied to all questions put to him by his interrogators. He is specifically detained for the purpose of interrogation. Sub-section (7) of Section 6 reduces the privilege earlier given to detainees by permitting visits by a Magistrate only once a fortnight and only "if circumstances so permit".
It would therefore seem that the powers of the legislature and the enforcement of the laws passed by it strongly resemble those that existed in Germany from 1933 onwards. However, the differences between the German and the South African situation must be stressed.
Germany's population in 1933 was some 65,000,000. Some 43,000,000 people voted in the March 5th, 1933 general election and the Nazis and their partners obtained some 52 per cent of the votes cast. Hitler gained a bare majority and obtained control of 340 seats in the House of Deputies' 647 seats. On August 19th, 1934 a plebiscite confirmed Hitler's appointment as Fuhrer and Reichskanzler by 43,500,000 votes cast or 88.2 per cent of the electorate.
The total amount of voters is only 10 per cent of the population.
Whereas in Nazi Germany the majority of the voters voted in favour of accepting the philosophies of the Nazis and their party, the position in South Africa is that the majority of South Africans have never been permitted to express their acceptance or rejection of the policies of any government in power in South Africa simply because the vast majority of the people have no vote and do not elect representatives to Parliament.
Of the minority who vote in South Africa although it is clear that many of them have Nazi tendencies and have expressed them vociferously on occasions, it is contended that they are in a minority. Whilst the White voters often place faith in German philosophies and draw strength from fascist or other totalitarian regimes and show marked tendencies towards following the practices of these regimes, the majority of the Whites in South Africa continually seek to justify their attitude and perpetually and loudly proclaim their good faith towards all and their belief that they are honestly acting in the best interests of all in South Africa. In my mind, there is no doubt that the Whites in South Africa and the government is sensitive to criticism and sensitive to pressures and is affected by world opinion despite the fervent denials (in fact, the strength of the denials make me believe that 'he protests too much') — (see how sensitive Vorster is to Hertzog's criticism) The South African community is a conglomeration of custom, cultures and languages of its various and varied peoples. They are not one people. There is the unrecognised but powerful influence of African cultures and customs, the powerful influence of the world-wide English language, its people and its culture; it is inescapable and permeates every strata of the society. There is the powerful influence of the Afrikaner/Huguenot culture and the traditions and history of the Afrikaner people showing a reaction against authority particularly in the last century, and the individualism and independence of Afrikaners.
Again there is the strength and the richness of the South African economy and the forces of integration inevitably linking and communicating with all sections of the community; the increased influence of the communication of ideas from all over the world and news of world events (even without television) help to bring about progress and the outlawing of apartheid, tribalism and feudalism. There is in the South African society an increased respect by all the people for the accomplishment of South Africans in every field of endeavour.
In addition, one cannot underestimate the importance of the fight of the press for the retention of its freedom to criticise and so far this fight has not been unsuccessful: there is the fight of some of the lawyers for the upholding of the Rule of Law and the criticism of the erosion of the Rule of Law in South Africa: There is the courageous opposition of the student bodies against the forces of authoritarianism in which NUSAS has played an important part: there is the outspoken criticism of the authorities by many churchmen and the protests by civilised and progressive organisations such as the Black Sash there is the Institute of Race Relations, an organisation dedicated to finding the truth about conditions in South Africa and to publishing it and there is the Progressive Party which has a solitary vote in Parliament but is a force for protest in opposing the government and the White supremacists.
All these factors are of importance and significance and will help to bring about the inevitable changes that will come in South Africa. They have no parallel in Germany after the 1934 plebiscite by which time All opposition and difference of opinion had been smashed.
We must learn the lesson and we must, above all not abandon hope. It is necessary that every one of us every day realises that something can be done, a protest made, an action taken and even though we may be unaware of its effect and the result may not be seen or known, we may obtain satisfaction and retain our self-respect in doing what we consider just and necessary. We must have faith that change will come about. Meaningful contact must be maintained between all the people of our country. Our duty to keep well-informed on South African matters particularly on racial affairs and to keep well-informed on matters overseas is clear and important.
We must be courageous and continue to do what we believe in. A new society is not around the corner but each one of us can help to bring it about by acting in accordance with the principles we cherish.