Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1359

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1003

SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC.

Constitution and Government. .

The South African Republic, also kuowii as the Transvaal, was originally formed by part of the Boers, who left the Cape Colony in 1835 for Natal, but quitted that colony on its annexation to the British Crown. In 1852 the in- dependence of the Transvaal was recognised by the British Government, and the constitution of the State is based on the ' Thirty-Three Articles,' passed May 23, 1849, and the 'Grondwet,' or Fundamental law of February 13, 1858.

On April 12, 1877, the Transvaal was annexed by the British Govern- ment, against which in December 1880 the Boers took up arms, and a treaty of peace was signed March 21, 1881. According to the conven- tion ratified by the Volksraad, October 26, 1881, self-government was restored to the Transvaal so far as regards internal affairs, the control and management of external affairs being reserved to Her Majesty as suzerain. A British resident was appointed, with functions analogous to those of a Consul-General and Charge d'Affaires. Another convention with the Government of Great Britain was signed in London February 27, 1884, ratified by the Volksraad, August 8, by which the State is to be known as the South African Reiuiblic, and the British suzerainty restricted to control of foreign relations. Instead of a Resident the British Government is represented by a Diplomatic Agent.

The Constitution has been frequently amended down to January 1897. The supreme legislative authority is vested in a Parliament of two Chambers, each of 27 members, chosen by the districts. Bills passed by the second Chamber do not become law until accepted by the first. Members of both Chambers must be 30 years of age, possess fixed property, profess the Protestant religion, and never have been convicted of any criminal offence. The members of the first Chamber are elected from and by the first-class burghers, those of the second Chamber from and by the first and second-class burghers conjointly, each for 4 years. First-class burghers comprise all male whites resident in the Republic before May 29, 1876, or who took an active part in the war of independence in 1881, the Malaboch war in 1894, the Jameson Raid in 1895-6, the expedition 1;o Swaziland in 1894, and all the other tribal wars of the Republic, and the children of such persons from the age of 16. Second class burghers comprise the naturalized male alien po])ula- tion and their children from the age of 16. Naturalization may be obtained after two years' residence, and registration on the books of the Fieldcornet, oath of allegiance, and payment of 21. The Executive Council has also the right, in special instances, to invite persons to become naturalised on pay- ment of 21. Naturalized burghers may by special resolution of the first Chamber, become first-class burghers 12 years after naturalization. Sons of aliens, though born in the Republic, have no political rights, but, by registra- tion at the age of 16, may, at the age of 18, become naturalized Ijurghers, and may, by special resolution of the first Chamber, be made first-class burghers 10 years after they are eligilde for the second Chamber, or at the