Suppression of Communism Act, 1950
To declare the Communist Party of South Africa to be an unlawful organization; to make provision for declaring other organizations promoting communistic activities to be unlawful and for prohibiting certain periodical or other publications; to prohibit certain communistic activities; and to make provision for other incidental matters.
(Afrikaans text signed by the Officer Administering the Government.)
(Assented to 26th June, 1950.)
Be it enacted by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, as follows:―
1. (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates—
(2) A strike or lock-out (as defined in section one of the Industrial Conciliation Act, 1937 (Act No. 36 of 1937)) which follows upon a labour dispute for the settlement of which the proceedings prescribed by the said Act have been taken, and which is not in contravention of the provisions of the said Act, or the promotion of or participation in such a strike or lock-out, shall not for the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition of “communism” be regarded as an unlawful act or omission or as the promotion of disturbance or disorder.
2. (1) The Communist Party of South Africa, including every branch, section or committee thereof and every local, regional or subsidiary body forming part thereof, is hereby declared to be an unlawful organization.
(2) If the Governor-General is satisfied—
he may without notice to the organization concerned by proclamation in the Gazette declare that organization to be an unlawful organization, and the Governor-General may in like manner withdraw any such proclamation.
(3) The provisions of paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of sub-section (2) shall not apply in relation to an employers’ organization or trade union registered under the Industrial Conciliation Act, 1937 (Act No. 36 of 1937), or to any employers’ organization or trade union whose registration under the said Act has been cancelled in terms of section fifteen of the said Act, until such organization or trade union or any office-bearer, officer or member thereof, has had a reasonable opportunity of exhausting, in respect of such cancellation, the remedies provided in sub-section (4) of section fifteen or section sixteen or seventy-seven of the said Act.
3. (1) As from the date upon which an organization becomes an unlawful organization in terms of sub-section (1) of section two or a proclamation under sub-section (2) of the said section—
(2) No proceedings shall after the expiration of a period of fourteen days from the date of a proclamation under sub-section (2) of section two be instituted in any court for an order declaring that proclamation invalid, and no court shall after the expiration of a period of twelve months from the date of any such proclamation have jurisdiction to pronounce upon the validity thereof.
(3) The liquidator shall be appointed on such conditions, and may be paid out of the assets of the unlawful organization such remuneration for his services, as the Minister may determine.
(4) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any instrument, rule or agreement governing the relations between the unlawful organization and its office-bearers, officers or members, any such office-bearer, officer or member may by resignation terminate his relationship with the unlawful organization as from the date of the resignation.
4. (1) The liquidator shall forthwith take possession of all the property vested in him under paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) of section three and satisfy himself as to the adequacy of the assets to pay the debts of the unlawful organization.
(2) If the assets are adequate to pay the debts, he shall after the expiration of a period of at least six months from the date upon which the organization became an unlawful organization take all steps (including the institution of legal proceedings) necessary to liquidate them and to pay out of the proceeds, the debts which have been proved to his satisfaction.
(3) Any balance remaining after the debts have been paid shall be distributed to one or more charitable or scientific organizations designated by the Minister.
(4) If the assets are not adequate to pay the debts of the unlawful organization the liquidator shall liquidate and distribute the assets as if he were a trustee or a liquidator, as the case may be, administering and distributing the assets of an insolvent estate or company.
(5) For the purpose of such liquidation and distribution, the date upon which the organization became an unlawful organization in terms of sub-section (1) of section two or a proclamation under sub-section (2) of the said section shall be regarded as the date of sequestration or winding-up as the case may be.
(6) Any matter relating to such liquidation and distribution upon which a creditor would have been entitled to vote, if the estate of the unlawful organization had been sequestrated or wound up, shall be determined by a majority of votes reckoned according to the number and value of claims proved to the satisfaction of the liquidator.
(7) The account of a liquidator liquidating and distributing assets under sub-section (4) shall be advertised by him and confirmed by the Master in like manner and with like effect as an account framed by a trustee or liquidator, as the case may be, in an insolvent estate is advertised and confirmed.
(8) Any property of the unlawful organization which is not liquidated under sub-section (1) or (4), shall be disposed of as the Minister may direct.
(9) The Minister may at any time by notice in the Gazette and subject to such modifications as he may deem fit, apply in relation to the distribution of the assets or the payment of the debts of the unlawful organization under this section, such provisions of the Companies Act, 1926 (Act No. 46 of 1926), or the Insolvency Act, 1936 (Act No. 24 of 1936), as are not inconsistent with this Act, as may be necessary in a particular case for the proper distribution of the assets or the payment of the debts of the unlawful organization, and may in like manner amend or withdraw any such notice.
(10) If directed by the Minister to do so, the liquidator shall compile a list of persons who are or have been office-bearers, officers, members or active supporters of the organization which has been declared an unlawful organization: Provided that the name of a person shall not be included in any such list or in any category mentioned in such list, unless he has been afforded a reasonable opportunity of showing that his name should not be included therein.
(11) The liquidator shall have authority to receive and retain any communication addressed to the unlawful organization or to any office-bearer or officer thereof as such, and the Postmaster-General shall, if requested to do so by the liquidator, cause all postal articles so addressed, to be delivered to the liquidator.
(12) The provisions of sub-sections (3) and (4) of section seven shall mutatis mutandis apply in respect of any investigation by the liquidator, which he may consider necessary in connection with the performance of his functions under sub-section (1), (4) or (10): Provided that in its application under this sub-section, paragraph (d) of sub-section (3) of the said section shall be read as referring also to any document which, in the opinion of the liquidator, may afford evidence in regard to any right in or the whereabouts of any property or the existence or amount of any debt.
5. (1) The Minister may by notice in writing require any person whose name appears on any list in the custody of the officer referred to in section eight, or who has been convicted of an offence under section eleven or is a communist—
(2) The Minister may at any time in like manner withdraw or vary any notice under sub-section (1).
(3) The Minister shall not exercise the powers conferred upon him by paragraph (a) or (b) of sub-section (1) in relation to a person who is an office-bearer, officer or member of an employers’ organization or trade union registered under the Industrial Conciliation Act, 1937 (Act No. 36 of 1937), nor require any person in terms of paragraph (c) of the said sub-section not to become an office-bearer, officer or member and not to take part in the activities of such an employers’ organization or trade union, except after consultation with the Minister of Labour.
(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in any instrument, rule or agreement governing the relations between any organization and any office-bearer, officer or member thereof who has under sub-section (1) been required to resign, such office-bearer, officer or member may by resignation terminate his relationship with such organization as from the date of the resignation.
6. If the Governor-General is satisfied that any periodical or other publication—
he may, without notice to any person concerned, by proclamation in the Gazette prohibit the printing, publication or dissemination of such periodical publication or the dissemination of such other publication; and the Governor-General may in like manner withdraw any such proclamation.
7. (1) If the Minister has reason to suspect—
he may in writing under his hand designate any person as an authorized officer to investigate the purposes or activities of the organization or the manner in which it is controlled, or the circumstances connected with that periodical or other publication, as the case may be.
(2) If directed by the Minister to do so in any case referred to in paragraph (a) of sub-section (1), an authorized officer shall compile a list of persons who are or have been office-bearers, officers, members or active supporters of the organization concerned: Provided that the name of a person shall not be included in any such list or in any category mentioned in such list unless he has been afforded a reasonable opportunity of showing that his name should not be included therein.
(3) An authorized officer may, for the purposes of exercising his functions under sub-section (1) or (2)—
(4) Every occupier of any premises entered under sub-section (3) shall at all times furnish such facilities as are required by an authorized officer for the purpose of exercising his powers under the said sub-section.
(5) Any person who is questioned under paragraph (f) or (g) of sub-section (3) shall be entitled to all the privileges to which a person giving evidence before a provincial division of the Supreme Court is entitled.
8. (1) Every list compiled under sub-section (10) of section four shall, and every list compiled under sub-section (2) of section seven shall if the organization concerned is under sub-section (2) of section two declared to be an unlawful organization, be kept in the custody of an officer designated from time to time by the Minister, until the relevant proclamation under sub-section (2) of section two has been withdrawn.
(2) If any person whose name appears on any such list proves that his name should not appear on it or is incorrectly included in any category mentioned in the list, or if any office-bearer, officer, member or active supporter of any organization which has been declared an unlawful organization proves that he neither knew nor could reasonably have been expected to know that the purpose or any of the purposes of the organization were of such a nature or that it was engaging in such activities as might render it liable to be declared an unlawful organization in terms of sub-section (2) of section two, the said officer shall remove his name or correct the list accordingly.
9. Whenever in the opinion of the Minister there is reason to believe that the achievement of any of the objects of communism would be furthered—
the Minister may, in the manner provided in sub-section (1) of section one of the Riotous Assemblies and Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1914 (Act No. 27 of 1914), prohibit the assembly of that gathering in any place within the Union, or he may by notice under his hand addressed and delivered or tendered to that particular person, prohibit him from attending any gathering in any place within an area and during a period specified in such notice.
10. (1) Whenever the Minister is satisfied that any person is in any area advocating, advising, defending or encouraging the achievement of any of the objects of communism or any act or omission which is calculated to further the achievement of any such object, or is likely in any area to advocate, advise, defend or encourage the achievement of any such object or any such act or omission, he may by notice under his hand, addressed and delivered or tendered to such person, prohibit him, after a period stated in such notice being not less than seven days from the date of such delivery or tender, and during a period likewise stated therein, from being within any area defined in such notice: Provided that the Minister may at any time withdraw or modify any such notice or grant such person permission in writing to visit temporarily any place where he is not permitted to be in terms of such notice.
(2) Whenever any person who has received a notice in terms of sub-section (1) is necessarily put to any expense in order to comply with such notice, the Minister may in his discretion cause such expense, or any part thereof, to be defrayed out of moneys appropriated by Parliament for the purpose and may further in his discretion, cause to be paid out of such moneys to such person a reasonable subsistence allowance during any period whilst such notice applies to him.
(3) Subject to the proviso to sub-section (1) any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any notice delivered or tendered to him in terms of sub-section (1) may at any time after the expiration of the period of not less than seven days stated in such notice, in addition to any penalty that may be imposed upon him, be removed by any member of the police force duly authorized thereto in writing by any commissioned police officer from any area wherein he is prohibited to be in terms of such notice.
11. Any person who—
shall be guilty of an offence, and liable—
12. (1) If in any prosecution under this Act, or in any civil proceedings arising from the application of the provisions of this Act, in which it is alleged that any person is or was a member or active supporter of any organization, it is proved that he attended any meeting of that organization, or has publicly advocated, advised, defended or encouraged the promotion of its purposes, or has distributed any periodical or other publication or document issued by, on behalf or at the instance of that organization, he shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be or to have been a member or active supporter, as the case may be, of that organization.
(2) A person shall in any prosecution for an offence under paragraph (g) of section eleven be deemed to have convened a gathering in any place if he—
(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under paragraph (g) of section eleven if he satisfies the court that he had no knowledge of the prohibition of the gathering concerned.
13. (1) The court convicting any person of an offence under paragraph (e) of section eleven, may declare the property in respect of which the offence was committed, or the rights of the convicted person to such property, to be forfeited to the State: Provided that such declaration shall not affect any rights which any person other than the convicted person may have to such property, if it is proved that he did not know that it was being or would be used in contravention of the said paragraph.
(2) Sub-sections (4) and (5) of section three hundred and sixty-six of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, 1917 (Act No. 31 of 1917), shall mutatis mutandis apply in respect of any such forfeiture.
14. Any person who is not a South African citizen and who is deemed by the Governor-General, or in the case of an inhabitant of the Territory of South-West Africa, by the Administrator of the said territory, to be an undesirable inhabitant of the Union or of the said territory, as the case may be, because he is a communist or has been convicted of any offence under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g), (h) or (i) of section eleven, may be removed from the Union or from the said territory, and pending removal, may be detained in custody in the manner provided for the detention, pending removal from the Union or from the said territory, of persons who are prohibited immigrants within the meaning of the relevant law relating to the regulation of immigration; and thereafter such person shall, for the purposes of such law, be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant.
15. Whenever any action has been taken under section two, five, six, nine, ten or fourteen, the Minister shall report the circumstances to both Houses of Parliament within fourteen days if Parliament be then in session or, if Parliament be not then in session, within fourteen days after the commencement of its next ensuing session.
16. Sections two, three, four and five of the Riotous Assemblies and Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1914 (Act No. 27 of 1914) and sections two, three, four and five of the Riotous Assemblies and Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 1930 (Ordinance No. 9 of 1930) of the Territory of South-West Africa shall mutatis mutandis apply in relation to any gathering which has under section nine of this Act been prohibited respectively in the Union or the said Territory.
17. The powers conferred by this Act upon the Governor-General or the Administrator of the Territory of South-West Africa, and the powers conferred upon the Minister by sub-section (1) of section ten of this Act, except the power to withdraw any proclamation or notice issued under this Act, shall not be exercised in relation to any person, organization or publication unless the Minister or, in the case of the powers conferred upon the Administrator of the said territory, the said Administrator has considered a factual report in relation to that person, organization or publication made by a committee consisting of three persons appointed by the Minister of whom one shall be a magistrate of a rank not lower than the rank of senior magistrate.
18. This Act shall apply also in the Territory of South-West Africa.
19. This Act shall be called the Suppression of Communism Act, 1950.