Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #124) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #124)
Transcript: campaign a central political issue and political parties defined their positions. According to the Nationalist Party, the resistance movement was instigated by communist agitators and the Party fully backed the government's threat to use force to crush it. Swart, the Minister of Justice, even went further and announced that he would in due course pass suitable legislation to deal with the defiance, a threat which he promptly implemented during the 1953 parliamentary session. The first Act passed during that session was the Public Safety Act which empowered the government to declare martial law and to detain people without trial.
Strauss, the leader of the United Party opposition, had indirectly appealed to us to call off the campaign when he called on South Africans to sink their differences on the occasion of the Van Riebeeck celebrations on April 6th 1952. When we did not heed this advice he attacked us in terms similar to those of the Nationalist Party. Later when the campaign was at its height, and with an eye on the coming 1953 General election, the United Party sent two of its members of parliament with instructions to urge us to stop the campaign. It believed that the abandonment of civil disobedience in response to a call that would be made by Strauss would considerably increase the prospects of a UP victory. This particular meeting was brief and we rejected the proposal out of hand.
Thereafter lengthy suggestions followed when the UP promised to repeal on coming to power all unjust laws we had highlighted with the exception of the pass system on the mines. This proposal created a deadlock because the pass laws on the mines affected no less than 400,000 Africans.
Extent and Medium: 1 page