Principles of the South African Liberal and Progressive Parties in the 1950s

The following are the brief statements of principles by the Liberal Party of South Africa in 1955 and the Progressive Party of South Africa in 1959 respectively. In the context...

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The following are the brief statements of principles by the Liberal Party of South Africa in 1955 and the Progressive Party of South Africa in 1959 respectively. In the context of the recent 2019 general election, it is worth reminding ourselves of the quest for limited constitutional government that played out during the history of the liberal movement in this country.

Liberal Party of South Africa, 1955

(The whole.)


(i) The essential dignity of every human being irrespective of race, colour or creed, and the maintenance of his fundamental rights.

(ii) The right of every human being to develop to the fullest extent of which he is capable consistent with the rights of others.

(iii) The maintenance of the rule of law.

(iv) That no person be debarred from participating in the Government and other democratic processes of the country by reason only of race, colour or creed.


(i) Equal political rights based on a common franchise roll.

(ii) Freedom of worship, expression, movement, assembly and association.

(iii) The right to acquire and use skills and to seek employment freely.

(iv) Access to an independent judiciary.

(v) The application equally to all sections of the population of the principle of compulsory, State-sponsored education.

(iv) The right to own and occupy immovable property.

(vii) The right to organise trade unions and other economic groups and associations.

The party will employ only democratic and constitutional means to achieve the foregoing objects, and is opposed to all forms of totalitarianism such as communism and fascism.

Progressive Party of South Africa, 1959

(Extracts of main themes.)

1. The maintenance and extension of the values of Western Civilisation, the protection of fundamental human rights and the safeguard of the dignity and worth of the human person, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

2. The assurance that no citizen of the Union of South Africa shall be debarred on grounds of race, religion, language or sex, from making the contribution to our national life of which he or she may be capable.

3. The recognition that in the Union of South Africa there is one nation which embraces various groups differing in race, religions, language and traditions; that each such group is entitled to the protection of these things and to participate in the government of the nation; and that understanding, tolerance and goodwill between the different groups must be fostered.

4. The maintenance inviolate of the Rule of Law.

5. The promotion of social progress and the improvement of living standards through the energetic development of a modern economy based on free enterprise, whereby the national resources of men and materials can be fully utilised.

6. The promotion of friendly relations with other nations, more particularly the members of the Commonwealth and those who share with us the heritage of Western Civilisation.


Disclaimer: The above text is assumed to be in the public domain, as it was freely issued by the Liberal and Progressive parties at the time. I made use of DW Kruger’s South African Parties and Policies 1910-1960: A select source book (1960), published by Human & Rousseau, for the text. If you own the copyright to this text, please notify the Rational Standard immediately and it will be removed.

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