- 29 years ago today, the Group Areas Act was repealed
- The move came as part of F.W. de Klerk's relaxation of several apartheid policies
- The repeal of the Act is generally considered a landmark policy move on the path to a democratic South Africa
On 19 April 1990, President F.W. de Klerk announced the repeal of the notorious Group Areas Act.
He made the announcement in parliament, where he also said it would be replaced by new non-discriminatory policies.
The announcement is widely heralded as being a major step toward the end of apartheid.
The Group Areas Act was the apartheid policy that legally segregated certain areas based on race. The Group Areas Act was considred by many to be one of the most noxious apartheid policies, along with the 1913 Land Act and the Population Registration Act.
The Act reserved most developed areas for whites, while Black, Coloured and Indian people were forced to developed in less developed, less urban regions.
De Klerk's announcement that the government would be repealing the Group Areas Act came with sweeping pledges to abolish several major apartheid policies. The announcement came 2 months after Nelson Mandela's release from prison.
1990 would be characterised by the apartheid state's relaxation of several of its policies. It would also unban rival parties like the ANC and the SACP.
Additionally, negotiations between the apartheid regime and various liberation parties would intensify, eventually culminating in the CODESA sessions and, ultimately, the adoption of a new South African Constitution and the country's first democratic elections.
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