When he annexed the South African Republic in April 1877 Sir Theophilus Shepstone gave the assurance that existing legislation would remain in force until it could be amended by a competent legislative authority. This meant that, until such a legislative authority was provided the new Transvaal administration was compelled to continue governing the Blacks according to the laws which had existed before 1877.
To provide for the administration of Blacks H.C. Shepstone was appointed in July 1877 as Secretary for Native Affairs at the head of a department of Native Affairs. Although this appointment creates the impression that the British were responsible for instituting a department of Native Affairs, this was not the case, since provision had already been made in March 1877 for such a separate department with a Secretary for Native Affairs in charge. Because of the vastness of the Transvaal territory it was decided to appoint a number of special commissioners as the highest officials in charge of certain districts and to exercise authority over the Native Commissioners or Administrators of Native Law in these districts.
In May 1877 the Blacks were informed that a hut tax of 10/- per year would be payable but in January 1878 the collection of this tax was suspended. In June 1877 the tax on passes was likewise suspended since the Transvaal government was of the opinion that the pass system of the South African Republic had not met its purpose. In August 1879, however, Sir Owen Lanyon, who had succeeded Shepstone as acting administrator of Transvaal in March 1879, reinstated the payment on passes.
Meanwhile the administration of Blacks had virtually ground to a halt as a result of the war against the Pedi. Consequently it was decided to postpone all steps in connection with Blacks and the appointment of officials to administer them, until after the war. The defeat of the Pedi in November 1879 and the meeting of a Legislative Council in March 1880 for the first time since the annexation of April 1877 placed the Transvaal government in a position to pay attention to these matters. A Native Commissioner was therefore appointed for each of the Transvaal districts with a large Native population. A number of laws were passed to make provision for a uniform hut tax, the institution of pass measures and better governing and administration of justice for Blacks. Provision was made for the statutory recognition of Native law and for the regulation of labour relations between employer and employee.
In spite of the urgency of land question little was done to solve it. In October 1880, however, the land dispute between the Whites and the Ndzundza in the Lydenburg district gave rise to the appointment of the Mapoch Commission to investigate it. Unlike the authorities of the South African Republic, the Transvaal government allowed the Blacks to purchase land which was to be registered in the name of the Secretary for Native Affairs as trustee.
After the Transvaal had been handed back to the Boers in August 1881 the legislation which had been placed on the statute book by the Interim government, was partly retained by the South African Republic or was used as a basis for further legislation.
The dissertation can be accessed at: http://upetd.up.ac.za/ETD-db/ETD-browse/browse?first_letter=S
Die tydperk in die Transvaalse geskiedenis wat met hierdie werkstuk bestryk word, het al heelwat aandag van sowel tydgenootlike skrywers as latere historici ontvang. Uit die aard van die saak het die aandag in die eerste instansie op die meer dramatiese geval – die Boere se stryd teen Britse oorheersing en hulle pogings om hulle onafhanklikheid terug te kry, wat ten einde laaste op die Eerste Vryheidsoorlog van 1880-1881 uitgeloop het.
‘n Verdere faset waaraan reeds aandag bestee is, is die wyse waarop die Engelse Transvaal in hierdie jare regeer het.(1) Waarskynlik omdat dit as ‘n aparte tema beskou is, het die skrywer van hierdie werk egter geen aandag aan die Britte se administrasie van die Swartes bestee nie.
Dié aspek van die Britse tydperk in Transvaal het tot dusver weinig aandag ontvang. Weliswaar is sekere aspekte daarvan reeds aangesny, maar met enkele uitsonderings was dit nog nie die onderwerp van wetenskaplike ondersoek waarin die tema in al sy fasette nagevors is nie. In sy The History of Native Policy in South Africa from 1830 to the Present Day (1927), gee E.H. Brookes as ‘n onderdeel van ‘n breër onderwerp kortliks aandag aan die Britte se administrasie van die Transvaalse Swartes. In sy werk Grensbakens tussen Blank en Swart in Suid-Afrika (1947) raak ook P. van Biljon ‘n aspek van hierdie tema aan, hoewel sy behandeling daarvan in meer as in een opsig bevraagteken moet word. Hierna het ook die skrywer hiervan ‘n beskrywing gegee van die Tussen-regering se beleid met betrekking tot die verkryging van eiendomsreg op grond deur die Swartes.(2) Origens het die tema braak gelê.
Met hierdie werkstuk word gevolglik gepoog om ‘n beskrywing van die Britte se beleid teenoor en administrasie van die Transvaalse Swartes gedurende 1877-1881 te gee. Die studie berus feitlik geheel en al op primêre bronne wat hoofsaaklik in die Transvaalse argiefbewaarplek te vinde is, hoewel ook met groot vrug van materiaal in ander bewaarplekke gebruik gemaak is.
1. J.A. Vorster, Die Engelse Administrasie van Transvaal gedurende die Eerste Anneksasietydperk, 1877-1881 (1951).
2. W.A. Stals, Die Kwessie van Naturelle-eiendomsreg op grond in Transvaal, 1838-1884 (1972).