1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Transvaal

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Transvaal (see 27.186), since 1910 a province of the Union of South Africa. At the 1911 census the inhabitants numbered 1,686,212, compared with 1,269,951 in 1904, an increase of 32.78%. Whites numbered 420,562 (as against 297,277 in 1904), coloured 1,265,650. Women outnumbered men, the proportion being for all races 89.71 males to 100 females. Of the whites 92.55% and of the coloured 24.30% were returned as Christians. Asiatics numbered 11,072 (9,018 males); of these 10,048 were British Indians, 3,065 having been born in the Transvaal.

In 1918 the whites numbered 499,347, of whom 303,050 lived in urban areas. At the 1921 census the total white pop. was 543,481 (males 284,952, females 258,529). Thus between 1904 and 1921 the whites had almost doubled in number, the increase being principally due to the development of the gold and coal mines. The growth of the white population gave the Transvaal at the 1920 election 13 more seats in the Union Parliament than the province had in 1910.

The chief towns are Johannesburg (total pop. 1911, 237,104, whites only, 1918, 137,166) and Pretoria (total pop. 1911, 57,674, whites only, 1918, 41,690). Besides Johannesburg there were on the Witwatersrand the municipalities of Krugersdorp, Germiston, Boksburg, Benoni, Roodepoort and Brakpan (the last named the centre of the Far East Rand, being created a municpality in 1919), approximately half the inhabitants of the province being concentrated on the Rand.

The chief executive officer is styled administrator, and provincial government is in the hands of a provincial council, the system being the same for all the provinces of the Union (for particulars see Cape Province). In the five years 1913–4 to 1917–8 the revenue collected for provincial purposes rose from £602,000 to £815,000, native pass fees providing half or more of the receipts. The Union subsidy in the same period rose from £620,000 to £695,000. The two main heads of expenditure were education and roads, bridges, works. The sum spent on education was £665,000 in 1913–4 and £1,143,000 in 1917–8. In 1920 there were 1,040 State schools with 109,700 scholars. There were also 389 State-aided native schools with 26,900 scholars. There was keen controversy over the language question in the schools for white children. By an ordinance of 1911, which came into operation on Jan. 1 1912, instruction up to standard IV. was to be in and through the “home language of the child”; a second medium might then be used if the parents so desired. This arrangement ended an attempt to enforce bi-lingualism and worked very fairly. In other respects the Transvaal was noted for its many educational experiments.

Gold mining retained its position as the chief industry, the Transvaal producing nearly half the world’s output. There was a notable increase in the output of coal, and with the provision of railway communication to the Messina mines (situated in the extreme N. by the Limpopo) the production of copper ore rapidly increased. The output of tin from the Bushveld was also noteworthy. Manufacturing industries were developed on the Rand. The province retained its importance as a stock-raising country, and there was a marked increase in the cultivation of maize and tobacco (for statistics see South Africa).

Politics and parties in South Africa cut across provincial boundaries, and the history of the Transvaal since 1910 is part of that of the Union. The province presented in its social life many extremes, the conservatism of the back-veld Boer contrasting strongly with the progressive and democratic spirit of the dwellers on the Rand. But both these elements had their counterparts in other provinces. Party feeling was, however, more strongly expressed in the Transvaal than elsewhere, and this led to the introduction of politics into the provincial council, in which, at the election of 1914, the Labour party gained a majority of one. This election followed a great industrial upheaval on the Rand, leading to serious riots and bloodshed. The white workmen on the Rand formed the main strength of the Labour party, though it had also a considerable following in Durban and Cape Town.

A considerable number of Boers in the western Transvaal took part in the rebellion of 1914, but the influence of Generals Botha and Smuts kept many Boers loyal to the British connexion, as was shown at subsequent general elections. At the 1920 election the Nationalists, or Separatist party, gained 13, and at the 1921 election 15 out of the 49 Transvaal seats — how evenly the Dutch vote was divided was shown by the narrow majorities obtained in 1921 in the rural areas, while in two constituencies the voting resulted in a tie. The 1920 election had been notable for the success of Labour candidates on the Rand; the election of 1921 saw the Labour representation of the province reduced from 12 to 5 members. Labour organizations were not confined to the whites, but extended to the natives, who showed unexpected powers of combination and arranged strikes on customary European lines. But neither this industrial movement among the natives, nor their demands for political rights, was confined to the Transvaal.

The first administrator was Mr. Johann F. B. Rissik (Minister of Lands and of Native Affairs in the Transvaal as a self-governing colony). He was reappointed for a second term but resigned in 1917 to become a member of the Railways and Harbour Board of the Union, being succeeded as administrator by Mr. A. G. Robertson, who had represented Wakkerstroom in the provincial council.

(F. R. C.)