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Segregated neighborhoods abolished

Published Oct. 13, 2005

Parliament on Wednesday abolished major apartheid laws that had banned blacks from owning land in most of South Africa and segregated all neighborhoods by race since 1950. The new bill, the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures, ends the legal segregation of neighborhoods and replaces laws that reserved 87 percent of South African territory for the white minority.

Despite the new law, the majority of the country's 30-million blacks lack the resources to move from impoverished townships to white residential areas.

President Frederik de Klerk pledged in February to scrap all discriminatory land laws as part of his plan to end the apartheid system of racial segregation.

De Klerk's National Party says that all major apartheid laws will be removed from the books during the current session of Parliament in Cape Town.

The government is trying to clear the way for talks with the African National Congress and other opposition groups on a new constitution that would extend political rights to blacks.

Meanwhile, in a rare open gesture to de Klerk's reformist government, black African leaders meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, acknowledged there had been positive developments in South Africa, and said they would review their support for economic sanctions against Pretoria if it adopted measures "which lead to positive, profound and irreversible change toward the abolition of apartheid."