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Prior to the 1940s, some aspects of apartheid had already emerged in the form of minority rule by white South Africans and the socially enforced separation of black South Africans from other races, which later extended to pass laws and land apportionment.
In addition, Jan Smuts, as a strong advocate of the United Nations, lost domestic support when South Africa was criticised for its colour bar and continued mandate of South West Africa by other UN member states.
In 1910 the Union of South Africa was created as a self-governing dominion, which continued the legislative programme: the South Africa Act (1910) enfranchised whites, giving them complete political control over all other racial groups while removing the right of blacks to sit in parliament, the Urban Areas Act (1923) introduced residential segregation and provided cheap labour for industry led by white people, the Colour Bar Act (1926) prevented black mine workers from practising skilled trades, the Native Administration Act (1927) made the British Crown, rather than paramount chiefs, the supreme head over all African affairs, the Native Land and Trust Act (1936) complemented the 1913 Native Land Act and, in the same year, the Representation of Natives Act removed previous black voters from the Cape voters' roll and allowed them to elect three whites to Parliament.
Amid fears integration would eventually lead to racial assimilation, the legislature established the Sauer Commission to investigate the effects of the United Party's policies.
In the days of slavery, slaves required passes to travel away from their masters.
In 1797 the Landdrost and Heemraden of Swellendam and Graaff-Reinet extended pass laws beyond slaves and ordained that all Khoikhoi (designated as Hottentots) moving about the country for any purpose should carry passes.