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Fagan Commission and Report


Judge Henry Allen Fagan was appointed chairman of the Native Laws Commission, more commonly known as the Fagan Commission, at the end of the South African parliamentary session in 1946 by Jan Smuts' United Party (UP) government. The commission presented its findings in February 1948, just three months before the national election.

The commission was charged with investigating the rapid increase in black African migration into urban areas during World War II, and the more liberal application of influx control.

The commission concluded that migration of black Africans into urban areas was irreversible and that it should, in fact, be facilitated to ensure a ready supply of labor for industry. It also suggested that existing 'pass laws' should be applied more leniently and that black African women should be allowed to join their spouses in urban settlements or townships.

Encouraged by the opposition Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP ? Reunited National Party) campaign (based on the report of the Sauer Commission), South Africa's white voters reacted negatively to the report. Fear over of the loss of cheep labor from agriculture to higher paid industry jobs, an increase in competition for jobs, and the 'flooding' (oorstroming) of urban areas by blacks resulted in a defeat of the UP by the HNP in the 26 May 1948 election.

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