As far back as 1923, the ANC adopted a resolution on a Bill of Rights, including equality before the law, property rights and voting rights. In December 1942, a committee was appointed to study the Atlantic Charter and draft a Bill of Rights. The draft was called ‘African Claims in South Africa’, and spelled out a path to racial equality in South Africa.
The ANC’s Annual Conference unanimously adopted it on 16 December 1943. ANC president Dr. Xuma requested an interview with Prime Minister Jan Smuts to discuss it, but received a reply that Smuts was “not prepared to discuss proposals which are wildly impracticable”.