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at Boksburg and at Brakpan, also on the East Rand, with a coal area of 2400 acres; at Vereeniging and Klerksdorp, near the Vaal; at Watervaal, 12 m. north of Pretoria; and in the Middelburg district, between Pretoria and Lourenço Marques. Like that of Natal the Transvaal coal burns with a clear flame and leaves little ash. The mines are free from gas and fire damp and none is more than 500 ft. deep. The output in 1893, the first year in which statistics are available, was 548,534 tons (of 2000 lb); in 1898 it was 1,907,808 tons, and for the year ending 30th of June 1909 was 3,312,413 tons, valued at £851,150.
Iron and copper are widely distributed. The Yzerberg near Marabastad in the Zoutpansberg consists of exceedingly rich iron ore, which has been smelted by the natives for many centuries. Silver is found in many districts, and mines near Pretoria have yielded in one year ore worth £30,000.
Salt is obtainable from the many pans in the plateaus, notably in the Zout(salt)pansberg, and was formerly manufactured in considerable quantities.
Agriculture. — Next to mining agriculture is the most important industry. At the census of 1904 over 500,000 persons (excluding young children), or 37% of the population, were returned as engaged in agriculture. Some 25% more women than men were so employed, this preponderance being due to the large number of Kaffir women and the few native men who work in the mealie fields. The chief occupation of the majority of the white farmers is stock-raising. The high veld is admirably adapted for the raising of stock, its grasses being of excellent quality and the climate good. Even better pasture is found in the low veld, but there stock suffers in summer from many endemic diseases, and in the more northerly regions is subject to the attack of the tsetse fly. The banken veld is also unsuited in summer for horses and sheep, though cattle thrive. Much of the stock is moved from the lower to the higher regions according to the season. Among the high veld farmers the breeding of merino sheep is very popular.
The amount of land under cultivation is very small in comparison with the area of the province. In 1904 only 951,802 acres, or 1.26% of the total acreage was under cultivation, and of the cultivated land nearly half was farmed by natives. The small proportion of land tilled is due to many causes, among which paucity of populations is not the least. Moreover while large areas on the high veld are suitable for the raising of crops of a very varied character, in other districts, including a great part of the low veld, arable farming is impossible or unprofitable. Many regions suffer permanently from deficient rainfall; in others, owing to the absence of irrigation works, the water supply is lost, while the burning of the grass at the end of summer, a practice adopted by many farmers, tends to impoverish the soil and render it arid. The country sulffers also from periods of excessive heat and general drought, while locusts occasionally sweep over the land, devouring every green thing. In some seasons the locusts, both red and brown, come in enormous swarms covering an area 5 m. broad and from 40 to 60 m. long. The chief method employed for their destruction is spraying the swarms with arsenic. The districts with the greatest area under cultivation are Heidelberg, Witwatersrand, Pretoria, Standerton and Krugersdorp. The chief crops grown for grain are wheat, maize (mealie) and kaffir corn, but the harvest is inadequate to meet local demands. Maize is the staple food of the Kaffirs. Since 1906 an important trade has also arisen in the raising of mealies for export by white farmers. Oats, barley and millet are largely grown for forage. Oats are cut shortly before reaching maturity, when they are known as oat-hay. The chief vegetables grown are potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, onions and tomatoes.
Fruit farming is a thriving industry, the slopes of the plateaus and the river valleys being specially adapted for this culture. At the census of 1904 over 3,032,000 fruit trees were enumerated. There were 163,000 orange trees and nearly 60,000 other citrus trees, 430,000 grape vines, 276,000 pine plants and 78,000 banana plants. Oranges are cultivated chiefly in the Rustenburg, Waterberg, Zoutpansberg and Pretoria districts, grapes in Potchefstroom, Pretoria and Marico, as well as in the Zoutpansberg and Waterberg to which northern regions the cultivation of the banana is confined. In the tropical district of the Limpopo valley there is some cultivation of the coffee-tree, and this region is also adapted for the growing of tea, sugar, cotton and rice. Tobacco is grown in every district, but chiefly in Rustenburg. Of the 3,032,000 lb of tobacco grown in 1904, Rustenburg produced 884,000 lb.
A department of agriculture was established in 1902, and through its efforts great improvements have been made in the methods of farming. To further assist agriculture a land bank was established by the government in 1907 and an agricultural college in 1910.
Land Settlement. — The land board is a government department charged with the control of Crown lands leased to settlers on easy terms for agricultural purposes. Between 1902 and 1907 about 550 families were placed on the land, their holdings aggregating over 500,000 acres. The Crown lands cover in all about 21,500,000 acres. Large areas of these lands, especially in the northern districts, are used as native reserves.
Other Industries. — There are few manufacturing undertakings other than those connected with mining, agriculture and the development of Johannesburg. There is a large factory for the supply of dynamite to the gold mines. The building and construction trade is an important industry on the Rand, where there are also brick-works, iron and brass foundries, breweries and distilleries. There are a number of flour mills and jam factories in various centres. A promising home industry, started under English auspices after the war of 1899–1902, is the weaving by women of rugs, carpets, blankets, &c., from native wool.
Export and Import Trade. — Before the discovery of gold the trade of the Transvaal was of insignificant proportions. This may be illustrated by the duties paid on imports, which in 1880 amounted to £20,306 In 1887 when the gold-mining industry was in its infancy the duty on imports had risen to £190,792, and in 1897, when the industry was fully developed, to £1,289,039. The Anglo-Boer War completely disorganized trade, but the close of the contest was marked by feverish activity and the customs receipts in 1902–1903 rose to £2,176,658. A period of depression followed, the average annual receipts for the next three years being £1,683,159. In 1908–1909 they were £1,588,960.
The chief exports are gold and diamonds. Of the total exports in 1908, valued at £33,323,000, gold was worth £29,643,000 and diamonds £1,977,000. Next in value came wool (£226,000), horses and mules (£110,000), skins, hides and horns (£106,000), tobacco (£89,000), tin, coal, copper and lead. The gold and diamonds are sent to England via Cape Town; the other exports go chiefly to Delagoa Bay. The imports, valued at £16,196,000 in 1908, include goods of every kind. Machinery, provisions, largely in the form of tinned and otherwise preserved food, and liquors, clothing, textiles and hardware, chemicals and dynamite, iron and steel work and timber, and jewelry are the chief items in the imports. Of the imports about 50% comes from Great Britain and about 20% from British colonies (including other South African states). Half the imports reach the Transvaal through the Portuguese port of Lourenço Marques, Durban taking 25% and the Cape ports the remainder. There is free trade between the Transvaal and the other British possessions in South Africa, and for external trade they all adhere to a Customs Union which, as fixed in 1906, imposes a general ad valorem duty of 15% on most goods save machinery, on which the duty is 3%. A rebate of 3% is granted on imports from Great Britain.
Constitution. — The existing constitution dates from 1910. The province is represented in the Union Parliament by eight senators and thirty-six members of the House of Assembly. For parliamentary purposes the province is divided into single-member constituencies. Every adult white male British subject is entitled to the franchise, subject to a six months’ residential qualification. There is no property qualification. All electors are eligible to the assembly. Voters are registered biennially, and every five years there is an automatic redistribution of seats on a voters’ basis.
Central Government. — At the head of the executive is a provincial administrator, appointed by the Union ministry, who holds office for live years and is assisted by an executive committee of four members elected by the provincial council. The provincial council consists of 36 members elected for the same constituencies and by the same electorate as are the members of the House of Assembly. The provincial council, which has strictly local powers, sits for a statutory period of three years. The control of elementary education was guaranteed to the provincial council for a period of five years from the establishment of the Union.
In May 1903 an inter-colonial council was established to deal with the administration of the railways in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony (known as the Central South African railways), the South African constabulary and other matters common to the Orange River and Transvaal colonies. This council was presided over by the governor of the Transvaal and formed an important part of the administrative machinery. By agreement between the two colonies the council was dissolved in 1908. In 1910 the control of the railways passed to the harbours and railway board of the Union of South Africa.Local Government. — The unit of administration is the field cornetcy. The semi-military organization of these divisions, which existed under the South African republic, has been abolished, and field-cornets, who are nominated by the provincial government, are purely civil officials charged with the registration of voters, births and deaths, the maintenance of public roads, &c. The chief local authorities are the municipal bodies, many “municipalities” being rural areas centred round a small town. The municipal boards possess very
- The number of electors at the first registration (1907) was 105,368.