South Africa pp 425-458 | Cite as

Modification and Backfire, 1964–78

  • T. R. H. Davenport
  • Christopher Saunders


The credibility of the Nationalist Government among its honest ideological supporters depended on its ability to find a workable solution to its demographic problem which would enable whites to survive as a distinct community, and at the same time permit other communities to live in a manner acceptable to themselves. The publication of Tomlinson’s long-term plan was a source of confidence to it, though Verwoerd was not enthusiastic about the Tomlinson Commission, which had been appointed by his predecessor, Jansen. The Commission’s chairman knew this well; but by the time the Commission had completed its work in 1955, it was able to make recommendations confirming the broad direction of government policy, while dissenting from it in key details. The main objections of the Government to the Report were set out in a White Paper in 1956. With regard to land policy, it rejected Tomlinson’s proposal to allow individual tenure in tribal areas, or give preference to it in the released areas, or to allow the purchase of more than one lot by an individual, because it was not anxious to encourage commercial farming by individual Africans at the cost of ‘the proper settlement of many’. It also held its hand over the immediate development of mining enterprise, and over the immediate setting up of a development corporation for the Reserves, but saw these as long-term projects. It strongly supported the principle of labour-intensive industries outside the borders of the Reserves, but rejected absolutely the idea of allowing white-owned capital into the Reserves, thus siding with Young and Prinsloo, two of the commissioners, against the majority.


Prime Minister National Party Coloured People Social Engineer Black Consciousness 
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Bibliographical Notes

16.1 Living with the Tomlinson Report: industrial licensing and rural resettlement

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Copyright information

© T. R. H. Davenport and Christopher Saunders 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. R. H. Davenport
    • 1
  • Christopher Saunders
    • 2
  1. 1.Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of Cape TownSouth Africa

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