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The Women's Enfranchisement Act, 1930, was an act of the Parliament of South Africa which granted white women aged 21 and older the right to vote and to run for office. It also had the effect of diluting the limited voting power of non-white people (in the Cape Province) by effectively doubling the number of white voters. It was enacted by the National Party government of Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog.

Women's Enfranchisement Act, 1930
Coat of arms of South Africa (1932–2000).svg
Act to provide for the registration of women as voters and for their voting in the election of members of the House of Assembly and Provincial Councils, and for their capacity to be nominated, elected and to sit and vote as Senators, Members of the House of Assembly or of Provincial Councils.
CitationAct No. 18 of 1930
Enacted byParliament of South Africa
Royal assent20 May 1930
Commenced21 May 1930
Repealed1 May 1946
Legislative history
BillWomen's Enfranchisement Bill
Bill citationA.B. 30—'30
Bill published on6 March 1930
Introduced byPrime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog
Repealed by
Electoral Consolidation Act, 1946
Extended the vote to white women over the age of 21.
women's suffrage
Status: Repealed

The first general election at which women could vote was the election of 17 May 1933. At that election Leila Reitz (wife of Deneys Reitz) was elected as the first female MP, representing Parktown for the South African Party.

The act enfranchised all white women, while certain property qualifications still applied to men. In June 1931 the Franchise Laws Amendment Act, 1931 enfranchised all white men while retaining the property qualifications for non-white voters, thus further diluting the non-white vote. The delimitation of electoral divisions was still based on the white male population until April 1937, when the Electoral Quota Act, 1937 altered it to be based on the whole white population.

The Women's Enfranchisement Act was repealed in 1946 when the franchise laws were consolidated into the Electoral Consolidation Act, 1946.

See alsoEdit


  • Scully, Pamela (2000). "White maternity and black infancy: The rhetoric of race in the South African women's suffrage movement, 1895–1930". In Fletcher, Ian Christopher; Mayhall, Laura E. Nym; Levine, Philippa (eds.). Women's Suffrage in the British Empire: Citizenship, nation and race. London: Routledge. pp. 68–84. ISBN 041520805X.
  • "The women's suffrage movement". South African History Online. Retrieved 21 April 2012.