Jan Christiaan Smuts has been cast sitting on a rock at the Company Gardens in Cape Town. It’s a faithful rendition of the Boer War general, politician, world-famed statesman, soldier, naturalist, philosopher and former Prime Minister of South Africa.
During World War Two, inspired by the Native Representative Council, the African National Congress (ANC), the Transvaal Indian Council and other organisations, non-White races became increasingly dissatisfied with their political impotence and economic backwardness. To look into these grievances, Smuts established the Fagan Commission after the war in August 1946, to investigate laws relating to urban Blacks, pass laws, and the socio-economic circumstances of migrant workers.
Smuts, on behalf of the United Party, accepted the third suggested policy of the commission, namely that of acceptance of the fact that Whites and the other races existed side by side in South Africa and that legislation and administration would have to take into account the differences between them. This commission, and Smuts with them, in effect considered the policy of apartheid or total segregation altogether impractical. In Smuts’ own words:
“The idea that the Natives must all be removed and confined in their own kraals is in my opinion the greatest nonsense I have ever heard.”
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