Parliament approved a major reformist bill to abolish a 37-year-old law racially segregating trains, buses, toilets, libraries, swimming pools and other public places.
The Discriminatory Legislation Regarding Public Amenities Repeal Bill, proposed in November by President F.W. de Klerk, scraps all laws dealing with separate facilities for blacks and whites. It is scheduled to take effect Oct. 15.While welcoming Tuesday's action, African National Congress spokesman Ahmed Kathrada called it a small step. "The government has much left to do," he said.
ANC leader Nelson Mandela, too, has said the issue of separate amenities is not very important, given the broad range of race reform the ANC seeks. But he has repeatedly said de Klerk is a man of "integrity" regarding race-reform efforts.
The ANC notes that laws remain that segregate suburbs, reserve the majority of land for whites and classify people by race. Also, the South African Parliament permits no black representation.
The major effect of Tuesday's action is to give substance to de Klerk's pledges to abolish racial discrimination throughout the country and to carry forward the reform package he started in February, analysts said.
The bill passed 105-38 with one abstention. Only the Conservative Party opposed the measure.