pieter botha

Immorality Act

The Immorality Act (1950-1985) was one of the first Apartheid laws in South Africa. It attempted to forbid all sexual relations between whites and non-whites. In 1949, interracial marriages had been banned by the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act.


On the grounds of the Immorality Act, the police tracked down racially mixed couples suspected of being in relationships. Homes were invaded, and mixed couples caught in bed were arrested. Underwear was used as forensic evidence in court.

Most couples found guilty were sent to jail. Blacks were often given harsher sentences than whites.

One of the first people convicted of the immorality act was a Cape Dutch Reformed minister, who was caught having sex with a domestic worker in his garage. He was given a suspended sentence, and the parishioners bulldozed the garage to the ground.


In 1985, the Immorality Act and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act were both repealed by Pieter Botha.


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