Labour Party (South Africa, 1969)

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The Labour Party (Afrikaans: Arbeidersparty) was a South African political party founded in 1969 and led for many years by Allan Hendrickse. Although avowedly opposed to apartheid, it participated in the Coloured Persons Representative Council.[1] It opposed the guerrilla struggle of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the call for international sanctions against South Africa.[2] The party later dominated the House of Representatives in the Tricameral Parliament from its foundation in 1984 until 1992, winning 76 of the 80 seats in the 1984 elections and 69 in those of 1989. When the National Party of F. W. de Klerk decided to admit non-White members, however, a substantial number of members of the House of Representatives who had been members of Labour crossed the floor to join the Nationalists. In 1992, a group of 36 such former Labour members led by Jac Rabie engineered a vote of no confidence in Hendrickse's Labour government.[2] Losing influence at the polls, Hendrickse concluded that the Labour Party had fulfilled its uses, and the party was disbanded in 1994, with Hendrickse and his followers joining the African National Congress.[3]

The name of the New Labour Party of Peter Marais was meant to evoke Hendrickse's Labour Party. It is not to be confused with the earlier Labour Party (South Africa), which had represented White industrial workers.


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