Influx control was the name given to measures used to regulate the inflow of black Africans into South Africa's urban areas during the pre-Apartheid and Apartheid eras. First introduced by the Smuts' government, the Native (Black) Urban Areas Act No 21 of 1923 imposed a system of segregation which allowed black Africans access to towns only to serve white labor needs. Domestic workers were allowed to live in town, the rest would be restricted to finding housing in townships on the outskirts. Legislation in 1937 restricted black African males a window of 14 days in which to find employment or return to the reserves.
Pass laws and related legislation were the main methods of control. But despite rigorous application of Apartheid law, the number of black Africans living in urban areas increased. Families were broken up, and the system resulted in a unwieldy and corrupt bureaucracy.
The Pass Laws which ultimately characterized influx control were abolished by the PW Botha government in 1986.