The act was designed to restrict the
black or colored race group to its own residential and trading area; To
control the purchase or occupation of land or dwellings in a specified
area under the Act. Indians and coloreds
were uprooted from homes at enormous cost to the families. The machinery of the Group Areas Act had its origins
in the Asiatic Land Tenure Act. The advisory board that created the Act
became the Group Areas Act Board. The task of the new board was to
completely restructure residential settlement and trading areas.
The government introduced the law by claiming that it
had received petitions from 'whites' objecting to the presence of
coloreds and Indians in the so called white areas. They claimed that
this led to the devaluation of property in white areas, and that colored
and Indian businesses were unfairly competing with them.
The first to feel the impact of the law were the
Indians. The limited representation they had under the Indian
Representation Act of 1946 was now scrapped. White municipalities
instructed them to move business and homes out of town.
Black Africans was living under these conditions for
almost 30 years. In Durban sporadic violence erupted between the Zulu's
and the Indians for many years. In 1949 bloody clashes erupted between
the two groups and 142 people were left dead. Blacks blamed it on Indian
"black marketeering' and opposition to black economic expansion.
The Indians however blamed it on
the Group Areas Act which forced Indians out of business and to live in
shocking conditions in around Durban (Kwazulu Natal). One of Indian
newspapers commented that blacks were forced to live in compounds where
there were no social and or civic responsibilities, and no future for their