chapter  10
42 Pages

State reaction

The transition from the relative quiet of the 1960s to the industrial and political turmoil of the 1970s put the South African state under mounting pressure. The nature of the period that was opening up was made clear to many observers by the Durban strikes. During the parliamentary session of 1973 an uneasy awareness was revealed on both sides of the House. The Minister of Transport agreed with an Opposition speaker that the 'facts of reality' were 'compelling people to take up standpoints which were unthinkable a year ago'. The Leader of the Opposition reacted to the Durban strikes as follows (lIE, 1974, p.1l7):

Now, as the Honourable ... Prime Minister knows, these strikes were virtually all illegal, yet so far as I know no steps were taken to prosecute either the strikers or those who organised the strikes. I think we all realise that a new era in industrial relations in South Africa has been rung in as a result of what has happened.