A South African government commission has recommended that blacks should no longer be jailed for offenses under the pass laws that result in about 500,000 prosecutions yearly.

Instead of jail sentences, the report presented to Parliament Wednesday recommends 'administrative and regulatory controls." They were undefined but could mean that pass-law violators would be sent to their tribal homelands.

No black is allowed to remain in "white" areas of South Africa for more than 72 hours unless he has lived there since birth, worked there for 10 years or lived there legally for 15 years.

The commission, appointed in 1974 to study the penal system, found that convictions under the pass laws were the main cause of overpopulation in the prisons.

Sociologist Michael Savage, in reaction to the recommendation, said, "At last South Africa is moving into the 20th century." But other liberals called for abolition of the pass laws instead.

In Vereeniging, a white South African farmer was jailed for five years by a court after admitting that he had paid a black woman with eggs and pig fat to have intercourse with him. Willem Wolmarans, 57, was found guilty of contravening the Immorality Act, which forbids interracial sex.

The Foreign Ministry in Pretoria declared that the Johannesburg restaurant that refused to serve black U.S. diplomat Joseph Segars Wednesday was mistaken. "An American diplomat - any diplomat - may go anywhere he likes in South Africa," the spokesman said.

Police in Cape Town said they broke down a church door to arrest 17 blacks suspected of arson attacks on black schools. The group at the United Congregational Church in the Langa ghetto refused to unlock the door, police said.