(Joint statement by Dr. Dadoo, President of Transvaal Passive Resistance Council, and Dr. G. M. Naicker, President of Natal Passive Resistance Council, issued after a meeting of the Joint Passive Resistance Council in December 1947)
The Joint Passive Resistance Council of the Natal and Transvaal Indian Congresses, having given careful consideration to the present political situation affecting the Indian people of South Africa is of the view that a restatement of the position Is necessary in the light of recent developments.
Since the advent of the Indians in this country the first positive struggle to stem the tide of unjust and anti-Indian racial laws was the Passive Resistance Campaign of the 1906-1914 period under Mahatma Gandhi.
The intervening period of 32 years has been characterised as a futile policy of hat-in-hand negotiations in defence of the fast-dwindling rights of the Indian people; a policy which has enabled the Union Government to introduce measure after measure of racially discriminative legislation culminating in the nationally ruinous "Ghetto Act" now strangulating Indian economic life, social progress and political aspirations.
Last year saw the beginning of the second Passive Resistance struggle.
For the last 17 months the Indian people of South Africa have waged with success a historic and heroic campaign. At the Gale Street plot they demonstrated their unalterable opposition to the Ghetto Act. The Union Government gaoled nearly 2,000 men and women. Hooliganism, wholesale arrests, harsh terms of imprisonment and organised boycott of Indian traders failed to crush the spirit and will of the Indian people. The policy of repression has not availed the Government. In its dilemma the Government has now resorted to non-arrest tactics. At Gale Street, Passive Resistance has won a victory.
The intransigent attitude of the South African Government has compelled India to sever diplomatic relations, to apply economic sanctions and to indict South Africa before the United Nations.
Last year the United Nations condemned South Africa`s racial policies. She was asked to report to the 1947 session the steps taken to obviate the complaint. South Africa did not implement the decision.
United Nations decision inviolate
That decision remains inviolate until upset by another two-thirds majority. This year the Assembly's decision, as expressed in the Indian resolution, though carried by a 31 votes to 19 majority, lacks the force of a binding decision, owing to a procedural technicality; it nevertheless constitutes a majority opinion of the United Nations. It called upon South Africa to convene a Round Table Conference between itself and the Governments of India and Pakistan. The Union Government must, therefore, note :
(a) That world opinion has not changed. As in the 1946 session, the 1947 session of the United Nations General Assembly has exposed it to universal condemnation. Not one delegate was found who could defend racial persecution in South Africa.
(b) That the most practical method by which measures may be inaugurated that could lead to a solution of the conflict remains a Round Table Conference between the Governments of India, Pakistan and South Africa.
(c) That the responsibility for convening such a conference now rests upon South Africa. Failure to discharge this responsibility may not only lead to more emphatic action by the next Assembly of the United Nations but possibly invite measures even earlier by the 31 nations who voted for the resolution, and more particularly by the Asian peoples.
On the international plane and within South Africa, the struggle has made tremendous advances.
The Non-European peoples of South Africa have seen demonstrated the significance of non-violent resistance against the power and influence of a State based on white supremacy. But the Ghetto Act remains on the statute books of South Africa. Final victory has yet to be won.
There can be no rest for the Indian people. Our faith and confidence in the courage and determination of the people remains as strong as ever. We shall occupy the Gale Street.
We shall occupy other areas. We shall adopt other methods of struggle. We shall continue to resist till our goal is reached.
5 From: Passive Resister, Johannesburg, December ll, 1947