Immorality Act, 1927

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Immorality Act, 1927  (1927) 
enacted by the Parliament of South Africa
The "Immorality Act, 1927" (Act No. 5 of 1927) was a South African Act of Parliament which prohibited sexual intercourse between white people and people of other races. When originally enacted in 1927 it prohibited only sex between "Europeans" (white people) and "natives" (black people). In 1950, in one of the first pieces of apartheid legislation passed after the rise to power of the National Party in 1948, the Immorality Amendment Act, 1950 extended it to prohibit all sex between "Europeans" and "non-Europeans", thus including in its ambit people of mixed origin and people of Asian origin. In 1957 the act was repealed and replaced by the Immorality Act, 1957, which contained essentially the same prohibition; the prohibition on inter-racial sex was finally lifted by the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, 1985.

This is the text as originally enacted and does not incorporate any amendments. A series of other versions incorporating amendments are also available on Wikisource; the version as amended up to 6 July 1955 is the text of the act as it was immediately before it was repealed.

Act

To prohibit illicit carnal intercourse between Europeans and natives and other acts in relation thereto.



(Assented to 26th March, 1927.)
(Signed by the Governor-General in Afrikaans.)


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:―


Penalty on men in case of illicit intercourse between Europeans and natives.

1. Any European male who has illicit carnal intercourse with a native female, and any native male who has illicit carnal intercourse with a European female, in circumstances which do not amount to rape, an attempt to commit rape, indecent assault, or a contravention of section two or four of the Girls’ and Mentally Defective Women’s Protection Act, 1916 (Act No. 3 of 1916) shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.


Penalty on women in case of illicit intercourse between Europeans and natives.

2. Any native female who permits any European male to have illicit carnal intercourse with her and any European female who permits any native male to have illicit carnal intercourse with her shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four years.


Procuring.

3. Any person who procures any native female for the purpose of her having illicit carnal intercourse with any European male or who procures any European female for the purpose of her having illicit carnal intercourse with any native male, or in any way assists in bringing about such intercourse shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.


Owner or occupier of premises permitting therein offences against this Act.

4. Any owner or occupier of any premises who knowingly permits the use of such premises for the purpose of any offence against any provision of this Act shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.


Onus of proving marriage.

5. Whenever in any proceedings under this Act the question is in issue whether any female was married to any male, the onus of proving such marriage shall be upon the accused and in the absence of such proof such female and male shall be deemed to be unmarried.


Contravention of this Act by persons not born in Union.

6. (1) If any person (not having been born in any part of South Africa which has been included in the Union) has been convicted of contravening section one or three or four the Minister of the Interior may by warrant under his hand cause him to be removed from the Union and pending removal to be detained in custody.

(2) Any person so removed shall be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant under the law relating to immigration.

Interpretation of terms.

7. In this Act the expression “illicit carnal intercourse” means carnal intercourse other than between husband and wife and the expression “native” means any member of any aboriginal race or tribe of Africa.


Short title and commencement.

8. This Act may be cited as the Immorality Act, 1927, and shall come into operation on the thirtieth day of September, 1927.

This work is in the public domain because it was created and first published in South Africa and it is an official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or an official translation of such a text.

According to the Copyright Act, 1978, § 12 (8) (a), "No copyright shall subsist in official texts of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or in official translations of such texts."