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Apartheid Era Laws: Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967



The Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967 (commenced 27 June) allowed the detention of an individual by a policeman of rank lieutenant-colonel or greater. Terrorism was very broadly defined in the Act and included most common criminal behaviour. People could be held indefinitely since the act allowed detention until all questions were satisfactorily answered or until no further useful purpose would be achieved by keeping the person in detention. Those held under the act were only permitted to be visited by a magistrate one every two weeks. No one else was allowed access (except the police and security services, of course).

Unlike the previous 90-day (General Law Amendment Act No 37 of 1963) and 180-day (Criminal Procedure Amendment Act No 96 of 1965) detention laws the public was not entitled to information about people held, including their identity – this meant that people could effectively 'disappear' for official legal reasons.

In order to cover those arrested for the Rivonia trial and for anti-Apartheid acts in both South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) the Act was applied retroactively to 27 June 1962.

Repealed by the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act 138 of 1991.

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