Population Registration Act, 1950/1967-05-19
To make provision for the compilation of a Register of the Population of the Union; for the issue of Identity Cards to persons whose names are included in the Register; and for matters incidental thereto.
(Afrikaans Text signed by the Officer Administering the Government.)
(Assented to 22nd June, 1950.)
as amended by
Population Registration Amendment Act, No. 71 of 1956
Statistics Act, No. 73 of 1957
Population Registration Amendment Act, No. 30 of 1960
Population Registration Amendment Act, No. 61 of 1962
Bantu Laws Amendment Act, No. 42 of 1964
Population Registration Amendment Act, No. 64 of 1967
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—
“alien” means an alien as defined in section one of the Aliens Act, 1937 (Act No. 1 of 1937);
“Bantu” means a person who in fact is or is generally accepted as a member of any aboriginal race or tribe of Africa;
“board” means a board constituted in terms of section eleven;
“coloured person” means a person who is not a white person or a Bantu;
“ethnic or other group” means a group prescribed and defined by the Governor-General in terms of subsection (2) of section five;
“fixed date” means the date upon which the census is taken in the year 1951 in terms of section three of the Census Act, 1910 (Act No. 2 of 1910);
“identity card” means the identity card referred to in section thirteen but does not include an identity card which has lapsed in terms of any regulation;
“identity number” means the identity number assigned to a person in terms of section six;
“Minister” means the Minister of the Interior;
“prescribed” means prescribed by regulation;
“register” means the register referred to in section two;
“regulation” means a regulation made under section twenty;
“Secretary” means the Secretary for the Interior and includes any officer acting under a delegation from or under the control or direction of the Secretary for the Interior;
“this Act” includes the regulations;
“white person” means a person who—
but does not include any person who for the purposes of his classification under this Act, freely and voluntarily admits that he is by descent a Bantu or a coloured person unless it is proved that the admission is not based on fact.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (1) or any other law, but subject to the provisions of section 5 (5)—
(3) Where in any form or return referred to in section 3 or 9 the race of any person is described as “mixed” or “gemeng”, that description shall for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) of this section be deemed to be a reference to a coloured person unless such person proves that he is in fact not a coloured person.
2. There shall, as soon as practicable after the fixed date, be compiled by the Secretary and thereafter maintained by him, a register of the population of the Union.
3. The particulars required for the compilation of the register in respect of the population of the Union as at the fixed date shall be extracted by the Secretary from the forms and returns received by the Director of Census under the Census Act, 1910 (Act No. 2 of 1910), in connection with the census taken on the fixed date and from such other records as may be available to the Secretary.
4. There shall be included in the register, in three separate parts thereof, the names of—
5. (1) Every person whose name is included in the register shall be classified by the Secretary as a white person, a coloured person or a Bantu, as the case may be, and every coloured person and every Bantu whose name is so included shall be classified by the Secretary according to the ethnic or other group to which he belongs.
(2) The State President may by proclamation in the Gazette prescribe and define the ethnic or other groups into which coloured persons and Bantus shall be classified in terms of subsection (1), and may in like manner amend or withdraw any such proclamation or any proclamation purporting to have been issued in terms of this subsection.
(3) (a) The State President may in any proclamation referred to in subsection (2) whereby a previous proclamation, including a proclamation purporting to have been issued in terms of that subsection, is amended or substituted, state that anything done or purporting to have been done under the provisions of that previous proclamation, which could be done under that proclamation as so amended or under the new proclamation whereby that proclamation is so substituted, shall be deemed to have been done under the amended or new proclamation, as the case may be.
(b) A proclamation under subsection (2) may be issued with retrospective effect as from a date not earlier than the seventh day of July, 1950.
(4) If at any time it appears to the Secretary that the classification of a person in terms of subsection (1) (other than a classification in accordance with a decision of a board) is incorrect he may, after giving notice to that person and, if he is a minor, also to his guardian, specifying in which respect the classification is incorrect—
(5) In the application of this section—
6. The Secretary shall assign an identity number to every person whose name is included in the register.
7. (1) There shall, in respect of every person whose name is included in the register, other than a Bantu, be included in the register the following particulars and no other particulars whatsoever namely—
(2) There shall in respect of every Bantu whose name is included in the register, be included in the register the following particulars and no other particulars whatsoever, namely—
(3) Upon the death or permanent departure from the Union of a person whose name is included in the register, the date of his death or departure from the Union, as the case may be, shall be recorded in the register.
8. (1) There shall be maintained at the office of the magistrate of every district or at such other office within a district as the Minister may approve, a copy of the register containing the names and other particulars recorded in the register in respect of all persons registered as residing within that district.
(2) A list made from the copy of the register maintained in terms of sub-section (1) and containing in respect of every person whose name is included therein the undermentioned particulars and no other particulars whatsoever, shall be open for inspection by the public at the office of the magistrate of the district to which the list relates and at such other places within the district as the Secretary may determine at all reasonable times during office hours—
(3) As soon as a list made from the copy of the register referred to in sub-section (1) becomes available for inspection by the public in terms of sub-section (2) at the office of the magistrate of any district, the Secretary shall cause to be published in the Gazette and in at least one Afrikaans and one English newspaper circulating in that district, a notice to the effect that such list shall, with effect from a date specified in the notice, be so available for inspection by the public at the office of the magistrate of that district and at such other places within that district as the Secretary may specify.
9. (1) If the name of any person whose name is by this Act required to be included in the register, does not appear on the register, that person or, if that person has not attained the age of sixteen years, his guardian, shall furnish the Secretary in the prescribed form with such particulars in regard to himself or, as the case may be, his ward under the age of sixteen years, as may be necessary for the inclusion in the register of his or his ward’s name.
(2) In the application of subsection (1) the furnishing of particulars for the registration of a birth in the form prescribed in terms of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act, 1963 (Act No. 81 of 1963), or deemed in terms of the said Act to be so prescribed, shall in the case of a person born in the Republic after the fixed date, be deemed to be also the furnishing of particulars for the purposes of that subsection in the form referred to therein.
10. (1) Every person (other than a Bantu) whose name is included in the register and the guardian of any such person who has not attained the age of sixteen years, shall within fourteen days or, in a particular case, such longer period as the Secretary may allow, after any permanent change in the ordinary place of residence of that person or of his ward under the age of sixteen years, as the case may be, notify the Secretary in the prescribed manner of that change of residence.
(2) Any permanent change in the ordinary place of residence of a Bantu from one district to another shall be notified to the Secretary by such person and in such manner as may be prescribed.
11. (1) Any person who considers himself aggrieved by his classification or the classification of a minor of whom he is the guardian, by the Secretary in terms of section 5 (other than the classification of a minor in accordance with the provisions of subsection (5) of that section), may within thirty days, or such longer period not exceeding one year as the Minister may allow, after the said classification became known to him, but in no circumstances later, object in writing to the Secretary against that classification.
(2) A minor who is not required to be classified in accordance with the provisions of section 5 (5) may himself object in terms of subsection (1) of this section against his classification.
(3) Every such objection shall be lodged in the form of an affidavit setting forth fully the grounds upon which the objection is made and stating the date on which the classification in question became known to the objector.
(4) Every objection received by the Secretary in terms of subsection (3) within the period referred to in subsection (1), shall be referred by him for decision to a board of not less than three persons, including the chairman, constituted for the purpose or for the purposes of section 5 (4) by the Minister, and presided over by a person appointed by the Minister, who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa, or a magistrate.
(5) (a) The provisions of the Commissions Act, 1947 (Act No. 8 of 1947), except section 1 thereof, shall apply mutatis mutandis with reference to any board constituted under subsection (4) of this section: Provided that the Secretary and every objector and every person whose classification has in terms of the provisions of section 5 (4) been referred by the Secretary for decision to a board, and, if that person is a minor, also his guardian, shall be entitled to appear before the board concerned either in person or by counsel or attorney on his behalf, to cross-examine witnesses and to adduce such evidence as may be relevant to the matter before the board: Provided further that all sittings of a board shall be held in public or in camera as the person whose classification is in issue or, if he is a minor and his guardian is present at the sittings in question. such guardian may elect.
(b) In any proceedings before a board any relevant form and return referred to in section 3 or 9, any relevant report referred to in section 12, and any relevant application for an identity card shall be admitted as evidence.
(6) The decision of a board shall be final and binding upon all persons: Provided that any person who considers himself aggrieved by a decision of a board in regard to his own classification or the classification of his ward, or the Secretary, if he considers it necessary for the performance of his duties in terms of this Act, may within thirty days after the decision of the board has been given, appeal against that decision by way of application on notice of motion to the provincial or local division of the Supreme Court of South Africa having jurisdiction in the area within which the person to whose classification the decision relates, is ordinarily resident.
(7) The division of the said Supreme Court to which appeal is made may confirm, vary or set aside the decision of the board, or give such other decision as in its opinion the board ought to have given, and may make such order as to costs as it may deem fit.
(8) Any judgment given or order made by a provincial or local division of the said Supreme Court in terms of subsection (7), shall be subject to appeal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa in the same manner and on the same conditions as a judgment given or order made in a civil proceeding in that provincial or local division.
(9) A decision by the court in terms of subsection (7) or (8) relating to the classification of any person shall, for the purpose of this Act, be deemed to be the decision of a board.
(10) A member of the board who is not a member of the public service may be paid such remuneration for his services as a member of the board as the Minister may, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, determine.
12. The Secretary may—
13. (1) The Secretary shall, as soon as practicable after the inclusion in the register of the name of any person who has attained the age of sixteen years or after any person whose name has been so included, attains the age of sixteen years, and subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, issue an identity card to that person.
(2) If the person referred to in sub-section (1) is a white person or a coloured person and is not an alien or a person referred to in sub-section (4), the identity card issued to that person shall contain the following particulars and no other particulars in relation to that person whatsoever, namely—
(3) If the person is an alien and was born in any part of South Africa included in the Union or admitted to the Union for permanent residence therein, the identity card issued to that person shall contain, in addition to the particulars mentioned in sub-section (2), the following particulars and no other particulars in relation to that person whatsoever, namely—
(4) If the person is not a South African citizen and has been admitted to the Union for a temporary purpose the identity card issued to that person shall contain all the particulars prescribed in respect of an alien by sub-section (3) except a photograph of that person.
(5) If the person is a Bantu, the identity card issued to him shall contain the following particulars and no other particulars in relation to him whatsoever, namely—
14. (1) After a date to be fixed by the Governor-General by proclamation in the Gazette, which date shall be not less than three months from the date of the proclamation—
if that person’s name is by this Act required to be included in the register and he has attained the age of sixteen years, to produce to such peace officer or, as the case may be, to such authorized person, his identity card.
(2) Every person who is in terms of sub-section (1) requested by a peace officer or a person authorized thereto by the Secretary to produce to him his identity card shall, within seven days of the date of such request, produce his identity card to that peace officer or to that authorized person or at a police station indicated by him and recorded by the peace officer or the authorized person, as the case may be.
(3) If any person fails or refuses to indicate a police station in terms of sub-section (2) the peace officer or the authorized person concerned shall for the purposes of that sub-section indicate and record the police station which he considers nearest to the ordinary place of residence of the said person.
15. (1) Any person to whom an identity card has been issued which contains any particulars which are incorrect or which by reason of any change of circumstances or by reason of the alteration by the Secretary in terms of section 5 (4) or by a board in terms of section 11 of the classification in terms of section 5 of the person to whom it relates, have become incorrect, or on which the photograph of the person to whom the identity card relates has ceased to be a recognizable image of that person, shall, on the written request of the Secretary, surrender the identity card in question to the Secretary who shall thereupon issue, free of charge, but subject to the provisions of section 16, a fresh identity card to that person.
(2) Whenever it comes to the notice of a Bantu Affairs Commissioner that any person is in possession of an identity card on which such person’s race is reflected as native or Bantu, and also an identity card on which such person’s race is not reflected as native or Bantu, such Bantu Affairs Commissioner shall forthwith seize the identity card on which the race of the person in question is not reflected as native or Bantu, and transmit such identity card together with the relevant particulars to the Secretary, and thereupon the provisions of section 5 (4) shall apply in the same manner in which they apply if it appears to the Secretary that any person’s classification is incorrect.
16. (1) Every person whose name is included in the register, except a person who has not yet attained the age of sixteen years, shall, at his own expense and as often as it is or becomes necessary to issue an identity card to him, furnish the Secretary with two copies of a recent photograph of himself.
(2) One copy of the photograph referred to in sub-section (1) shall be attached to the identity card issued to the person concerned and the other copy shall be filed in the register.
17. (1) No person employed for the purposes of this Act shall, subject to the provisions of section eight and sub-section (2) of this section, publish or communicate to any other person, otherwise than in the course of such employment and for the purposes of this Act, any information acquired by him in the course of his employment, and no person who has come into possession of any such information which to his knowledge has been communicated to him in contravention of the provisions of this section, shall publish or communicate that information to any other person.
(2) The Secretary may, notwithstanding the provisions of sub-section (1)—
(3) The Secretary shall not furnish any particulars to any person under paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) unless the purnoses for which the information is required, are set out fully in the written application referred to in that paragraph.
18. Any person who—
shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction—
19. (1) A person who in appearance obviously is a member of an aboriginal race or tribe of Africa shall for the purposes of this Act be presumed to be a Bantu unless it is proved that he is not in fact and is not generally accepted as such a member.
(2) It shall be no defence to a charge under section 18 (f) for failing to comply with the provisions of section 14 (2), that the name of the accused has not been included in the register or that an identity card has not been issued to him, unless he proves that it was not due to any failure or neglect on his part.
(3) If in any prosecution under section 18 (c) it is proved that any identity card was imitated, altered, defaced, destroyed or mutilated, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that such identity card was imitated, altered, defaced, destroyed or mutilated with intent to deceive.
20. (1) The Governor-General may make regulations as to—
and generally, as to all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed or which he considers it necessary or expedient to prescribe in order that the purposes of this Act may be achieved.
(2) Any regulations made under sub-section (1) may prescribe penalties for any contravention thereof or failure to comply therewith not exceeding a fine of fifty pounds or imprisonment for a period of six months.
(3) Any regulations made under sub-section (1) shall be laid on the Tables of both Houses of Parliament within fourteen days after promulgation thereof if Parliament is then in ordinary session, or if Parliament is not then in ordinary session, within fourteen days after the commencement of its next ensuing ordinary session, and shall remain on the said Tables for at least twenty-eight consecutive days, and if Parliament is prorogued before the necessary twenty-eight days have elapsed, such regulations shall again be laid on the said Tables as aforesaid within fourteen days after the commencement of its next ensuing ordinary session.
(4) If both Houses of Parliament by resolution passed in the same session (being a session during which such regulations have been laid on the Tables of both Houses of Parliament in terms of sub-section (3)) disapprove of any such regulations or of any provision thereof, such regulations or such provision thereof shall thereafter cease to be of force and effect to the extent to which they are so disapproved, but without prejudice to the validity of anything done in terms of such regulations or of such provision thereof up to the date upon which they so ceased to be of force and effect, or to any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred as at the said date under and by virtue of such regulations or such provision thereof.
21. (1) The Governor-General may by proclamation in the Gazette exclude, for a specified or unspecified period, from the provisions of this Act or exempt, for a specified or unspecified period and either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as may be prescribed in the proclamation, from any specified provisions thereof—
and may in like manner amend or withdraw any such proclamation.
(2) Paragraph (d) of sub-section (1) shall not be construed as authorizing the Governor-General to exclude from the provisions of this Act persons whose names were at any time after the fixed date required under this Act to be included in the register, or to exempt from any of the provisions of this Act any persons who were at any time after the date fixed in terms of section fourteen subject to those provisions.
(3) An immigration officer may, subject to the directions of the Minister and for such period of not exceeding six months as he may deem fit, exempt from those provisions of this Act which relate to the production of identity cards, any person who enters the Union for a temporary purpose.
(4) The Secretary may extend any period for which an exemption has been granted under sub-section (3) by such further period or periods as he may deem fit.
(5) An immigration officer shall forthwith advise the Secretary of every exemption granted by him in terms of sub-section (3) and every such exemption and every extension of such exemption under sub-section (4) shall be noted by the immigration officer or the Secretary, as the case may be, on the passport of the person concerned.
(6) The provisions of this Act relating to the issue of identity cards shall not, during the period of an exemption granted under sub-section (3) or during an extension of such period under sub-section (4), apply in respect of the person to whom the exemption relates.
22. The Governor-General may, after consultation with the Executive Committee of the territory of South-West Africa, by proclamation in the Gazette and subject to such conditions, modifications and exceptions as may be prescribed in the proclamation, apply the provisions of this Act to the said territory.
24. This Act shall be called the Population Registration Act, 1950.