R Geyer


The Marabastad riot of 28 December 1942 is a fairly unknown topic in the South African history and this article is an attempt to shed more light on it. On the eve of 28 December 1942 a riot broke out among the black municipal workers, living in the Pretoria City Council's compound in Marabastad. The causes of the riot were mainly economical, but political and social motives also played a part in this disturbance. The Department of Labour fixed a minimum wage for unskilled black workers in the Union of South Africa. The Pretoria City Council attempted to evade the Wage Determination and this lead to the riot. The aid of the Union Defence Force was called in on 28 December 1942 to quell the riot. The author discusses the causes of the riot as well as the action of the Union Defence Force. A Commission of Enquiry was appointed to look into the incident and to report on the factors which contributed to the disturbance and the events following it. The findings and recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry are contained in the article.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5787/26-1-241


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ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

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