South Africa Enemies Within

Law reform and vigilante rage

It is an innocent-looking document that resembles an ordinary passport, but for South Africa's 24 million blacks, the passbook is the most hated symbol of the apartheid system. It allows the government to enforce the pass laws, regulating where blacks can live, work and travel in the country. Last week, however, State President P.W. Botha told Parliament that effective April 23, he will suspend those laws and release all those jailed on pass offenses. About 100,000 blacks were arrested last year on pass-law violations.

Antiapartheid activists welcomed the announcement but warned that Botha's new proposals, which include identity books that all...

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