Immorality Act, 1927

The Immorality Act, 1927 (Act No. 5 of 1927) was an act of the Parliament of South Africa that prohibited extramarital sex between white people and people of other races. In its original form it only prohibited sex between a white person and a black person, but in 1950 it was amended to apply to sex between a white person and any non-white person.

Immorality Act, 1927
Coat of arms of South Africa (1930-1932).png
Parliament of South Africa
CitationAct No. 5 of 1927
Enacted byParliament of South Africa
Royal assent26 March 1927
Commenced30 September 1927
Repealed12 April 1958
Amended by
Immorality Amendment Act, 1950
Repealed by
Immorality Act, 1957
Status: Repealed

The act forbade any "illicit carnal intercourse" (which meant sex outside of marriage) between a "European" (i.e. white) male and a "native" (i.e. black) female, or vice versa. It imposed a penalty of up to five years in prison for the man and four years for the woman. It also prohibited "procuring" women for the purpose of interracial sex, and knowingly allowing premises to be used for interracial sex; both offences carried a penalty of up to five years imprisonment.

In 1950, the Nationalist government of DF Malan, in one of the first legislative acts of apartheid, introduced the Immorality Amendment Act, 1950 (Act No. 21 of 1950) to extend the prohibition to sex between "Europeans" and all "non-Europeans". This therefore included in the scope of the act people of mixed descent and people of Asian descent. The 1950 amendment came one year after the passage of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, which forbade marriages between white and non-white people.

The act was repealed by the Immorality Act, 1957, section 16 of which contained a similar prohibition of sex between whites and non-whites. The prohibition was finally lifted by the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, 1985.

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