About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.


The People's Republic of Angola is born.

SASO (South African Students' Organisation) and BPC (Black People's Convention) leaders accused of promoting 'anti white' feelings, of encouraging racial hostility and preparing for violent revolution were convicted, under the Terrorism Act.

The Black Women's Federation is formed, drawing heavily on the Women's Charter.

Lillian Ngoyi's banning order renewed for five years.

Ela Gandhi is banned.

Mamphela Ramphele founds Zanempilo Community Health Centre in Zinyoka, outside King William's Town.

Lindiwe Sisulu is detained. After her release she joins MK and works underground. she undergoes military training and specializes in Intelligence.

The Women's Committe at Crossroads plays a central role in resisting threats of eviction and pass raids.

1975 - 1976

Sisulu's son Zwelakhe joined Rand Daily Mail as cadet.

January - February 1975

A number of measures are taken at government, provincial and municipal level to liberalize the applications of apartheid rules. Attempts to organize sports on a multi-racial basis are, however, blocked by cabinet ministers.

5 January 1975

The British Foreign Minister, James Callaghan, arrives in Port Elizabeth for a three-hour meeting with Prime Minister Vorster. Talks focus on the Rhodesian situation and the possibilities for political settlement.

16 January 1975

Congressman Charles C. Diggs, Jr. disclosed that he had been refused a visa to visit South Africa.

22 January 1975

At a meeting between John Vorster and eight 'homelands' leaders, strong representations are made to the Prime Minister on the disabilities of Africans in urban areas. The meeting produces some concessions but falls short of African demands.

23 January 1975

At a meeting between the Prime Minister and a liaison committee of the Coloured Representative Council (CRC), important decisions include reaffirmation in principle of parity in salaries for Coloureds and Coloured representation on statutory bodies.

30 January 1975

Dr. Nicolaas Diederichs, Minister of Finance, is elected as the National Party's candidate to succeed .1.1. Fouché as State President at the end of his term of office on 9 April 1975.

31 January 1975

New Cabinet appointments are announced: Senator Owen P.F. Horwood - Finance; 1. Chris Heunis - Economic Affairs; Si. Marais Steyn Indian Affairs and Tourism. P.W. Botha, the Minister of Defence, becomes Leader of the Assembly.

February 1975

Differences over the role to be played by the Parliamentary Opposition lead to a spate of expulsions and defections from the United Party.

10 February 1975

It is confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Foreign Minister, Dr. H. Muller, visited Lusaka for talks with the foreign ministers of Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana and with leaders of the Rhodesian ANC.

11 February 1975

A Rhodesian government spokesman announces that elements of the South African police were withdrawing from certain forward positions on the Zambezi River, a move made after undertakings from the Zambian government about guerrilla infiltrations there.

A new Reform Party is founded.

A second report by the Commission of Inquiry, under the chairmanship of Justice Van Wyk de Vries, appointed in 1968 to investigate the activities of South Africa's white universities and the University of South Africa (UNISA) is submitted to Parliament. The report, completed in 1972, recommends that the Minister of Education be empowered to declare any inter-university or student organization undesirable, if it is engaged in political activities. NUSAS is particularly targeted.

11 February - 12 February 1975

Prime Minister Vorster visits Liberia for talks with President Tolbert. It is confirmed that the government's 'homelands' policy is explained and discussed.

17 February 1975

The Prime Minister confirms his visit to Liberia and describes the talks as long and fruitful.

18 February 1975

All activities of the South African Students' Organization (SASO) are suspended until further notice. The announcement is made at the University of the North at Turfloop, Transvaal.

21 February 1975

Dr Diederichs receives the unanimous vote of the Electoral College, consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament, to become State President

26 February 1975

South Africa:Signs trade agreement with Taiwan.

5 March 1975

A sharp indictment of apartheid is published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

8 March 1975

The Commission for the Programme against Racism of the World Council 8 of Churches (WCC) calls for actions to discourage tourism and visits by churchmen, political figures and sportsmen to South Africa and condemns Prime Minister Vorster's detente policy.

10 March 1975

All South African policemen in Rhodesia are being confined to camps. South Africa is slowly disengaging from the settlement situation in Rhodesia.

11 March 1975

The Liberian legislature expresses support for President Tolbert's policy of contact with South Africa.

16 March 1975

Brain Fischer is released from prison, following widespread appeals on his behalf, on health grounds, by the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr Kurt Waldheim, by the British Labour Party and by liberal Members of Parliament, as well as by many prominent South Africans.

17 March - 18 March 1975

Meetings are held in Cape Town between Prime Ministers Vorster and Ian Smith, with discussions focussing on the détente policy and the future of Rhodesia.

18 March 1975

Herbert Chitepo, 52, ZANU leader, killed in Lusaka when his car blew up in an explosion.

19 March 1975

The second elections to the Coloured Persons' Representative Council result in thirty-one of the Council's forty elective seats being won by the anti-apartheid Labour Party, which now has an absolute majority in the Council. Its leader, Sonny Leon, states that his party's minimum demand is full equality with whites - complete economic and political freedom.

On the day of the elections the Minister of Coloured Relations gives notice of a Bill enabling him to exercise the powers and functions of the Council in certain circumstances.

19 March - 21 March 1975

The first elections of twenty members of the Legislative Assembly take place in Qwaqwa.

25 March 1975

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty for the modification and further extension of the Wheat Trade Convention.

26 March 1975

Senator Owen Horwood announces a 36% rise in proposed defence expenditure, the defence budget being raised to R948, 122,000. The White Paper following the Budget announces plans for an expansion and reorganization of the Defence Forces.

27 March 1975

The government's final proposals for the consolidation of the 'homelands' are announced. The total number of separate homeland areas will be reduced from 113 to thirty-six.

Minister of Defence P.W. Botha, presents a White Paper outlining defence policy and justifying the increased expenditure which now accounts for one-fifth of the country's revenue budget.

7 April 1975

The Prime Minister announces that a pilot plant for the manufacture of enriched uranium has gone into production. The overall production cost is expected to be between 25% and 35% lower than that of enrichment methods in other countries.

8 April 1975

The government registers a strong protest after a South African Airways plane is hit by bullets as it lands in Luanda, Angola. Until an investigation is completed, SAA will not use Luanda as a stopover.

9 April 1975

President Fouché ends his seven-year term of office.

10 April 1975

Chief Kaiser Matanzima announces that the government has agreed to assist the Transkei in setting up its own army. Training of recruits will begin within a few months.

12 April 1975

Atlas Corporation completes deliveries to the South African Air Force (SAAF) of a first series of Impala MK-2 jet fighters.

14 April 1975

Despite opposition, the Coloured Persons' Representative Council Amendment Bill is approved.

19 April 1975

Dr. Nicholaas Diederichs, former Finance Minister, is inaugurated as South Africa's third State President.

20 April 1975

The names of the nominated members of the Coloured Persons Representative Council are announced. They include four Labour Party members, giving that party a total of thirty-five of the Council's sixty seats. It is accepted that Sonny Leon will be Chairman of the Council's Executive Committee.

24 April 1975

Under an amendment to the Defence Act the definition of superior officer is changed with the effect that white and black members of the Defence Force will have equal status.

25 April 1975

The Foreign Minister announces that South Africa will begin recruiting blacks for its diplomatic service in the near future.

29 April 1975

Proclamation No 86:

Provided that the Legislative Assembly could, by petition, request the State President to remove a minister from office and order the appointment of another.

Commenced: 29 April 1975

30 April 1975

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) decides at its seventh Congress in Geneva to suspend South Africa from membership until it renounces racial discrimination.

1 May 1975

The Minister of Bantu Administration and Development announces that the government has decided on far-reaching concessions for urban Africans involving home ownership and trading rights.

6 May 1975

The government announces that its aim is to provide all black children with free and compulsory education as soon as possible.

7 May 1975

Prime Minister Vorster emphasizes the need for continuing his policy of increasing détente in Southern Africa.

8 May 1975

Former advocate Bram Fischer, sentenced to life imprisonment for communist activities, dies in Bloemfontein.

14 May 1975

Prime Minister Vorster gives the first official confirmation of his two-day meeting with President Houphouet-Boigny in the Ivory Coast on 22-23 September 1974. Discussions focussed on the improvement of relations between African states.

18 May 1975

It is disclosed that John Vorster has invited the Presidents of the Ivory Coast and Liberia to visit South Africa.

20 May 1975

The Foreign Minister, Dr. Muller, confirms that the government will continue to co-operate with Rhodesia, whatever solution is found to the political problems there and that South Africa will not apply economic sanctions.

28 May 1975

In its report submitted to Parliament, the Le Grange (formerly Schlebusch) Commission, declares that certain activities of the Christian Institute of Southern Africa are a danger to the State. The Commissions findings are rejected by the Institute, by other South African churchmen and by the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

30 May 1975

The Minister of Justice announces that the Christian Institute has been declared an affected organization under the Affected Organization's Act of 1974.

June - September 1975

People arrested include lecturers at the Universities of Cape Town and Natal, leaders of NUSAS, an assistant to Dr. Beyers Naudé and the Afrikaans author Breyten Breytenbach. Most are detained under the Terrorism Act.

2 June 1975

Under an amendment to the Suppression of Communism Act, approved without objection, it ceases to be automatically an offence to quote banned persons after their restriction order has been withdrawn, or has lapsed.

5 June 1975

The Cape Supreme Court, sitting in Port Elizabeth, sets aside the 1973 election of Lennox Sebe and three other members of the Ciskei Legislative Assembly on the grounds of irregularities at the capital, Zwelitsha. Lennox Sebe is accordingly ineligible for the office of Chief Minister.

6 June 1975

A proclamation is published in the Government Gazette providing for the detention of offenders for up to three years in rehabilitation centres to be set up in the homelands'. The regulations are strongly attacked in the English press and controversy continues into July 1975.

9 June 1975

The final report of the Le Grange Commission, dealing with the University Christian Movement (UCM), defunct since 1972, is submitted to Parliament. The Commission finds that the UCM, as a multi-racial body, has engaged in dangerous activities aimed at propagating violent resolution

12 June 1975

The Minister of Indian Affairs announces that South African Indians will be free to move from one province to another without prior permission, with the exception of the Orange Free State.

13 June 1975

Robert Sobukwe, former leader of the banned Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), although still under a banning order, is admitted to practice as an attorney in Kimberley.

16 June 1975

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, James Callaghan, announces in the House of Commons that the Simonstown Agreement with South Africa has been terminated. There will be no further joint exercises between the Royal and South African navies. The facilities will remain available to countries of the free world wishing to co-operate in the defence of the Cape Sea Route.

The Minister of Economic Affairs. J.C. Heunis, announces that the government has agreed to increase the education and industrial training of Africans in white areas.

17 June 1975

The British Minister of State for Defence says that the ending of the Simonstown Agreements means an end to all the military co-operation between Britain and South Africa associated with them. In South Africa P.W. Botha sees the ending of the agreements as a challenge and the government will continue to improve and develop Simonstown's facilities.

19 June 1975

Lennox Sebe is appointed general and economic adviser to the Ciskei Cabinet.

Signs multilateral treaty on the civil liability for oil pollution damage.

25 June 1975

Mozambican Independence is obtained under the leadership of Frelimo.

6 July 1975

It is reported that Israel and South Africa are increasing their cooperation and contacts in the military sphere, and negotiating joint economic ventures, including the construction of a major new railway in Israel, and the building of a desalination plant in South Africa.

23 July 1975

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) warns the government that unless the country's racial policies are reversed it will not be possible to achieve peace.

Signs multilateral treaty with GATT on the extension of the provisional accession of Colombia.

25 July 1975

Congresses of both the Progressive and the Reform parties, held simultaneously in Johannesburg, unanimously approve the merger of the two parties under the name of South African Progressive Reform Party (PRP). The new party's leader is Cohn Eghin. It has eleven seats in the 171-member House of Assembly.

1 August 1975

An order has been issued withdrawing the remaining South African Police from Rhodesia.

6 August 1975

In a by-election in Caledon, Cape Province, the National Party makes substantial gains at the expense of the United Party.

8 August 1975

Signs single treaty on narcotic drugs, 1961, as amended by the Protocol of 25 March 1972.

9 August 1975

Moses Kotane is awarded the Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe.

9 August 1975

French government has decided to supply no further continental (ground or air) armaments to South Africa. This political decision does not affect naval armaments or existing contracts.

11 August 1975

Decisions on the future~ constitution of the Transkei are agreed upon at a meeting of a Cabinet committee of the South African and Transkei governments, presided over by John Vorster in Pretoria.

12 August 1975

A statement issued simultaneously is Lusaka and Salisbury, gives details of proposals agreed to after two days of talks between John Vorster and Ian Smith, which could lead to a settlement of the Rhodesian constitutional problem.

13 August - 18 August 1975

During a visit to Paraguay by the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, four agreements on South African aid to Paraguay are signed in Asuncion.

19 August - 29 August 1975

A number of new arrests are made under the Terrorism Act.

22 August 1975

Prime Minister Vorster officially opens the Orange-Fish River Tunnel, believed to be the world's longest continuous tunnel (c.50 mhes), constructed at a cost of 76,400,000 Pounds Sterling.

Signs treaty with Swaziland on the establishment of an office for the Swaziland government labour representative in South Africa.

25 August 1975

Meeting of Prime Minister Vorster and President Kaunda at Victoria Falls.

11 September - 20 September 1975

At the invitation of Dr. Connie Mulder, the Ivory Coast's Minister of Information, M.L. Dona-Fologo, visits South Africa on a fact finding tour. It is described as the first visit to South Africa by a West African minister.

12 September 1975

The Coloured Persons Representative Council (CRC) adjourns without passing its budget and urges the government to meet its demands for Parliamentary representation and full rights as citizens.

Signs commercial agreement with Greece on air services.

16 September 1975

South Africa fails to return for the 30th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Its relations with the United Nations are said to be under review.

19 September 1975

While officially opening the Biennial Congress of the Coordinating Council of South African Trade Unions in Pretoria, the Minister of Labour announces government plans to establish black industrial committees which will have direct bargaining powers with employers.

26 September 1975

The Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) condemns the South African government's plan for black works councils.

30 September 1975

Winnie Mandela is released from her banning order and house arrest.

2 October 1975

Chief Kaiser Matanzima announces in Umtata that the Transkei will become fully independent on 26 October 1976.

5 October 1975

Winnie Mandela ends thirteen years of enforced silence with a strong attack on the country's Terrorism Act.

20 October 1975

The Prime Minister holds discussions on constitutional developments with the chairman and other members of the Coloured Persons' Representative Council, and makes various proposals. These are rejected and an immediate referendum among white voters on the issue of full citizen rights for Coloured people is called for.

27 October 1975

South Africa:Signs an amendment to a customs union agreement of 11 September 1969 with Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

4 November 1975

Lennox Sebe again becomes Chief Minister of the Ciskei, having won a by-election on 24 October 1975.

11 November 1975

State President, Dr. N. Diederichs, summarily dismisses Sonny Leon as Executive Chairman of the Coloured people's Representative Council (CPRC), following his refusal to sign a government-approved budget for the Coloured community and his total rejection of apartheid and its laws.

12 November 1975

Four other members of the Coloured Persons' Representative Council resign. This is seen as the first step in the destruction of the CPRC.

18 November 1975

Signs multilateral treaty on the extension of the International Sugar Agreement, 1973.

18 November 1975

General Assembly adopted resolution 3411 C (XXX) proclaiming "that the United Nations and the international community have a special responsibility towards the oppressed people of South Africa and their liberation movements, and towards those imprisoned, restricted or exiled for their struggle against apartheid."

19 November 1975

Chief Lucas Mangope of the Bophuthatswana homeland, receives a mandate from his Democratic Party to begin negotiations for the independence of that territory.

20 November 1975

The Bophuthatswana Legislative Assembly concludes a two-day Special Session during which it formally votes to open negotiations with South Africa for independence.

23 November 1975

A newly formed extreme right-wing organization, the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, is being investigated by the authorities.

26 November 1975

The Afrikaans writer Breyten Breytenbach is sentenced in the Pretoria Supreme Court to nine years imprisonment for offences under the Terrorism Act. He has pleaded guilty to entering South Africa to start an organization, Atlas or Okhela, intended to be the white wing of the ANC.

27 November 1975

At a meeting in Durban, between S. Leon and several Indian and African leaders, a call is made for the formation of an alliance of black and brown people. It receives some support but is opposed by the Federal Party.

5 December 1975

KwaZulu: Public Services Act No 7:

Commenced: 5 December 1975

12 December 1975

The Christian Institute appeals to the Prime Minister, John Vorster, asking him to reconsider the withdrawal or confiscation of the passport of six of their leaders, including that of Dr. Beyers Naude.

15 December 1975

South Africa:Signs a visa agreement with Uruguay.

16 December 1975

The United Nations General Assembly approves a series of resolutions demanding sanctions against South Africa.

18 December 1975

South Africa:Signs multilateral customs agreement on the temporary importation of pedagogic material.

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on customs - the ATA Carnet for the temporary admission of goods with annex.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.