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S. Africa race policy dealt second blow

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South Africa's policy of racial segregation has been dealt its second blow in two days. A key government council yesterday recommended that the nation's influx control laws be abolished. These laws regulate where blacks may live, work, and travel and also require that all blacks over age 16 must carry a special passbook.

Abolition of those laws, and the return of South African citizenship to some blacks that had been deprived of it, a change announced Wednesday, foreshadow the collapse of some key aspects of apartheid, analysts say. But it is not yet clear what will replace it.

President Pieter W. Botha is likely to take the council's recommendation seriously. The 60-member council, which advises the President on matters of general interest, is an integral part of South Africa's political order and an institution with considerable influence.

The proposed changes cannot take effect without approval from Parliament, which probably will not debate the issue until it reconvenes in early 1986, according to council chairman Piet Koornhof.

The actual recommendation for abolition came from the constitututional affairs committee of the council, which concluded that the influx control is inherently ``degrading of human dignity.''

Noting that between 200,000 and 300,000 blacks are arrested each year under the laws, the committee said, ``Influx control measures as applied at present are discriminatory and in conflict with basic human rights.'' The laws, declared ``enemy No. 1'' by black nationalists as far back as 1919, have inspired numerous abolition campaigns.

``It is neither possible nor feasible to retain influx control and remove only its discriminatory elements. . . . in that it applies only to black and not to other population groups,'' the committee said.

This comment demolishes the hope of various government reformers to ``remove the discriminatory or hurtful aspects of discrimination'' while somehow retaining influx control.


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