G.W. Eybers.

Select constitutional documents illustrating South African history, 1795-1910 online

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RusSEL Clerk, . . . Her Majesty's Special Commissioner
for settling and adjusting the affairs of the Orange River
Territory, on the one part, and the under-mentioned
representatives, delegated by the inhabitants of the said
Territory :

For the District of Bloemfontein. — George Frederik

LiNDE, [and 3 others] ;
For the District of Smithfield. — JosiAS Philip Hoff-
man, [and 4 others] ;
For Sannah's Poort, — Gert Petrus Visser, Justice

of the Peace, [and 5 others] ;
For the District of Winburg, — Fredrik Peter

ScHNEHAGE, [and 5 others] ;
For the District of Harrismith. — Paul Michiel
Bester, Justice of the Peace, [and 5 others] ;
on the other part.

Article i. Her Majesty's Special Commissioner, in
entering into a Convention for finally transferring the
Government of the Orange River Temtory to the repre-
sentatives delegated by the inhabitants to receive it,
guarantees, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, the
future independence of that country and its Government ;
and that alter the necessary preliminary arrangements for
making over the same between Her Majesty's Special Com-
missioner and the said representatives shall have been com-
pleted, the inhabitants of the country shall then be free. And
that this independence shall, without unnecessary delay, be
confirmed ana ratified by an instrument, promulgated in
such form and substance as Her Majesty may approve, finally
freeing them from their allegiance to the British Crown, an&
declaring them, to all intents and purposes, a free and inde-
pendent people, and their Government to be treated and con-
sidered thenceforth a free and independent Government.

2. The British Government has no alliance whatever with
any native Chiefs or tribes to the northward of the Orange

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River, with the exception of the Griqua Chief, Captain Adam
Kok ; and Her Majesty's Government has no wish or intention
to enter hereafter into any treaties which may be injuri-
ous or prejudicial to the interests of the Orange River

3. With regard to the treaty existing between the British
Government and the Chief, Captain Adam Kok, some modifica-
tion of it is indispensable. Contrary to the provisions of that
treaty, the sale of lands in the Inalienable Territory has been of
frequent occurrence, and the principal object of the treaty
thus disregarded. Her Majesty's (5)vemment therefore in-
tends to remove all restrictions preventing Griquas from selling
their lands, and measures are m progress for the purpose of
affording every facility for such transactions, the Chief, Adam
Kok, having, for himself, concurred in and sanctioned the same.
And with regard to those further alterations arising out of the
proposed revision of relations with Captain Adam Kok, in
consequence of the aforesaid sales of lands having from time to
time been effected in the Inalienable Territory contrary to the
stipulations of the Maitland Treaty, it is the intention of Her
Majesty's Special Conmiissioner, personally, without any un-
necessary loss of time, to establish the affairs in Griqualand
on a footing suitable to the just expectations of all parties.

4. After the withdrawal of Her Majesty's Government from
the Orange River Territory the new Orange Biver Government
shall not permit any vexatious proceedings towards those of
Her Majesty's present subjects remaining within the Orange
River Territory who may heretofore have been acting under
the authority of Her Majesty's Government, for or on account
of any acts lawfully done by them, that is, under the law as
it existed during the occupation of the Orange River Territory
by the British Government. Such persons shall be considered
to be guaranteed in the possession of their estates by. the new
Orange River Government.

Also, with regard to those of Her Majesty's 'present stibjects
who may prefer to return under the dominion and authority
of Her Majesty to remaining where they nd^ are, as subjects
of the Orange River Government, such persons shall enjoy
full right and facility for the transfer of then: properties, should
they desire to leave the country under the Orange River
Government at any subsequent period within three years
from the date of this convention.

5. Her Majesty's Government and the Orange River
Government shall, within their respective territories, mutually
use every exertion for the suppression of crime, and keeping
the peace, by apprehending and delivering up all crimmab
who may haye escaped or fled from justice eitner way across

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the Orange River, and the courts, as well the British as those
of the Orange River Government, shall be mutually open and
available to the inhabitants of both territories for all lawful
processes. And all sununonses for witnesses directed either
way across the Orange River, shall be countersigned by the
magistrates of both Governments respectively, to compel the
attendance of such witnesses, when and where they may be
recjuired, thus affording to the conununity north of the Orange
River every assistance from the British courts, and giving, on
the other hand, assurance to such Colonial merchants and
traders as have naturally entered into credit transactions
in the Orange River Territory during its occupation by the
British Government, and to whom, in many cases, debts may be
owing, every facihty for the recovery of just claims in the
courts of the Orange River Government. And Her Majesty's
Special Commissioner will reconunend the adoption of the hke
reciprocal privileges by the Government of Natal in its relations
with the Orange River Government.

6. Certificates issued by the proper authorities, as well in
the Colonies and Possessions of Her Majesty as in the Orange
River Territory, shall be held valid and sufficient to entitle
heirs of lawful marriages, and legatees, to receive i)ortions and
legacies accruing to them respectively, either within the juris-
diction of the British or Orange River Government.

7. The Orange River Government shall, as hitherto, permit
no slavery, or trade in slaves, in their territory north of the
Orange River.

8. The Orange River Government shall have freedom to
purchase their supplies of ammimition in any British Colony
or Possession in South Africa, subject to the laws provided
for the regulation of the sale and transit of anunimition in
such Colonies and Possessions ; and Her Majesty's Special
Commissioner will recommend to the Colonial Government,
that privileges of a Uberal character, in connexion of import
duties generally, be granted to the Orange River Government,
as measures in regard to which it is entitled to be treated
with every indulgence, in consideration of its peculiar position
and distance from the seaports.

9. In order to promote mutual facilities and liberty to
traders and travellers, as well in the British Possessions as in
those of the Orange River Government and it being the earnest
wish of Her Majesty's Government that a friendly intercourse
between these territories should at all times subsist, and be
promoted by every possible arrangement, a consul or agent
of the British Government, whose especial attention shall be
directed to the promotion of these desirable objects, will be

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stationed within the Colony near to the frontier, to whom
access at all times may readily be had by the inhabitants on
both sides of the Orange River, for advice and information,
as circmnstances may require.

This done and signed at Bloemfontein, on the Twenty-
third day of February, One Thousand Eight himdred and

(Signed) Geo. Russel Clerk,

Her Majesty* s Special Commissioner.

JosiAS Philip



G. T.

Du ToiT, Field-cornet.

i>, 'J. Kramfort.

H. J. Weber. Justice of the Peace
and Field-commandant.

P. K Human.

J. P. Snyman, late Field-com-

G. P. VissER, Justice of the

J. Groenendaal.

L J. Rabis, Field-comet.

E. K. Snyman.

C P. Du ToiT.

L. Du ToiT.

F. P. Schnehage.

M. J. Wessels.

C. J. F. Du Plooy.

F. P. Sennekal, Field-comet.

P. L. Moolman, Field-comet.

J. I. J. FicK, Justice of the

P. M. BssTER, Justice of the

W. A. VAN Aardt. Field-

W. J. Pretorius.


A. H. Standee.

Pari. Papers, S. Africa, CO. (42), 1884, p. 94.



rrhe^ Orange Free State Constitution was adopted on the loth
April 1854, within three weeks after the country became independent
of Great Britain, Modifications were made in 1864 and 1865 ^^^ con-
firmed by a resolution of the Volksraad, dated 9th February 1866.
These were declared to take effect after two months. It is the Con-
stitution as it stood in 1866 that is given here. It was again revised
and published in 1868.

In the year 1892 a compilation of the Free State Laws was published
by authority of the Volksraad. The Grondwet appearing therein
differs from the one here published in only a few unimportant details,
though, of c6uxse, a number of laws were passed in the meantime,
which altered to some extent the manner of canying out the provisions
at the Constitution.

Those articles of the 1866 Grondwet which are identical with corre-
sponding articles published in 1892 are marked with an asterisk. The
instrument was formally repealed by Proclamation No. 3 of 1902 (A),
thouffh impliedly it became void by the Proclamation of 24th May 1900,
which annexed the country to the British Empire.]

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[10 Ap. 1854, 1866, enz.]


Art. I. De Burgers van den Oranjevrijstaat ztiUen bestaan :

1. uit alle blanke pexBonen in den Staat ^boren ;

2. uit alle blanke personen, die 66n jaar in den Staat hebben
gewoond en vast eigendon op hunnen naam geregistreerd hebben ter
waarde van minstens Rds. 20CX) ; *

r 3. uit alle blanke personen, die drie achtereenvolgende jaren in den
Staat hebben gewoond."

De personen in No. 2 en 3 genoemd, zullen echter niet als burgers
erkend worden, tenzij zij van net bestuur hunner laatste woonplaats
voor hunne aankomst in den Staat aan den Staatspresident een
schriftelijk bewijs van goed gedraR en eene schriftelijlra belofte van
trouw aan den Staat en gehoorzaanmeid aan de wetten inleveren, waar-
tegen hun door den Staatspresident een certificaat van burgerschap
zai worden uitgereikt.

Art. II. Alle burgers, zoodra zij den voUen ouderdom van 16 jaren
bereikt hebben en alle, die op lateren leeftijd het burgerregt verkrijgen,
zijn verplicht hunne namen te doen insoirijven bij den veldkomet,
onder wien zij hunne woonplaats hebben, en zijn tot den vollen ouder-
dom van 60 jaren ouderworpen aan burgerdienst.


[10 Ap. 1854, 1866, etc.]

Qualification of Electors.

Art. I. The Burghers of the Orange Free State shall be :

1. All white persons bom in the State ;

2. All white persons who have resided in the State for one
year and have immovable property registered in their names
to the value of at least 2000 Rds. ; ^

3. All white persons who have resided in the State for
three successive years.*

The persons mentioned in sections 2 and 3 shall, however,
not be acknowledged as burghers, unless they shall have
submitted to the State President written proof of good be-
haviour granted by the Government of their most recent
Elace of residence, and a written promise of fealty to the
tate and obedience to its laws ; whereupon a certificate of
burghership shall be issued to them by the State President.
Art. IL All burghers, as soon as they shall have reached
the age of 16 years, and all who at a more advanced age shall
obtain burgher-right, shall be obliged to have their names
enrolled by the Field-comet in whose ward they reside, and
shall be liable to render burgher service till they reach the
age of 60 years.

» The 1868 Constitution changed this sum to ;fi5o.

' The 1868 Constitution added this provision : '* Civil and judicial officials
who, before accepting their offices, have taken an oath of allegiance to the
State and its laws."

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Art. III.* Alle burgers, die den ouderdom van 18 jaren bereikt
hebben, zijn bevoegd tot het uitoefenen van het stemregt tot verkiezing
van VeldkomxQ^uadanten en Veldkometten.

Art. IV.* Bevoe^ tot het kiezen van Leden van den Volksraad
en van den Staatepresident zijn alle meerderjarige burgers :

a, die in den Staat geboren zijn ;

b, die vast eigendom te hunnen naam geregistreerd hebben tot eene
onbelastbare waarde van minstens £1 50 ;

c, die huurders zijn van vast eigendom, hetwelk eene jaarlijksche
huurwaarde heelt van minstens £$6 ;

d, die een vast jaarlijksch inkomen hebben van minstens ;£2oo ;

e, die eigenaren zijn van roerende goederen tot eene waarde van
minstens ;^300, en minstens 3 jaren in den Staat hebben gewoond.

Pligten, Magtbn, enz., van den Volksraad.
Art. v.* Het Hoogste Wetgevende Gezag berust bij den Volksraad.^
Art. VI.* Deze Raad zal bestaan uit een lid van elk veldkomet-
schap der onderscheidene districten en uit een lid van elke hoofdplaats
van een district. Deze Raad wordt gekozen bij meerderheid van
stemmen door de stemgeregtigde inwoners van elke wijk en van elke
hoofdplaats van een district.

Art. VII.' Die tot leden van den Vcdksraad verkiesbaar zijn^

Art. III.* All burghers who have reached the age of 18
years shall be entitled to exercise the franchise at elections for
Field-commandants and Field-comets.

Art. IV.* Entitled to vote for members of the Volksraad
and for a State President are all burghers who are of age, and
who :

a. Have been born in the State ;

&. Have fixed property registered in their own names,
unburdened to the value of at least £150 ;

c. Are hirers of fixed property which has a yearly rent of
at least £36 ;

d. Have a fixed yearly income of at least £200 ;

e. Are owners of movable property to the value of at least
£300, and have resided in the State for at least 3 years.

Duties, Powers, etc., of the Volksraad.

Art. v.* The highest legislative power rests with the

Art. VI.* The said Raad shall consist of one member for
each field-cornetcy of the several districts and one member for
each chief centre [town or village] of a district. This Raad
shall be chosen by majority of votes by the inhabitants possess-
ing the franchise in each ward and each chief centre of a

Art. VIL* In order to be eligible as members of the Volks-

^ A statute of 1885 gave the High Court the power to decide whether a law
was gainst the Constitution.

• The 1868 Constitution substituted this article : *' 7. As a member of the
Volksraad shall be eligible every burgher who has never been pronounced
guilty of crime by a jury, who has not been declared bankrupt or insolvent,

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moeten burgers zijn, geen lijfstrafiEelijk vonnis te hunnen laste hebben,
den ouderdom van ten minste 25 jaren bereikt hebben en onbdast
vast eigendom bezitten ten bedrage van ;^2oo.

Art. VIII.^ De Landdrosten moeten ambtshalve eene zitplaats
in den Volksraad hebben, en kunnen een deel nemen in de raadspleging,
echter zonder stem.

Art. IX.* De leden van den Volksraad worden voor vier achtereen-
volgende jaren gekozen, en zijn bij hunne aftreding weder verkiesbaar.
De nelft zal om de twee jaren arareden, en de eerste helft bij het lot
geregeld worden.

Art. X.* De Volksraad kiest in zijne jaarlijksche vergaderingen
eenen voorzitter uit zijne eigene leden.

Art. XI.* De Voorzitter van den Volksraad zal, bij staking van
stemmen, beslissen.

Art. XII.* Twaalf Leden zullen een quorum uitmaken.

Art. XIII.* De Volksraad maakt de wetten, regdt het bestuur en
de fbiantien des Lands, en zal te dien einde 66nma[al 's jaars (te weten op
den eersten Maandag van Mei) te Bloemf ontein vergaderen.

Art. XIV.* De voorzitter zal, naar bevind van zaken, den Raad
extra kunnen bijeenroepen.

Art. XV.* De wetten, door den Volksraad gemaakt, zuUen twee

raad, burghers must not have had any criminal sentence
passed on them, must have reached the age of at least 25 years,
and must possess unburdened fixed property to the value of

Art. VIII.^ The Landdrosts shall ex officio have seats in
the Volksraad, may take part in the deliberations, but shall
not have a vote.

Art. IX.* Members of the Volksraad shall be chosen for
four successive years and shall be re-eligible on vacating their
seats. Half the members shall vacate their seats every two
years, and the first half shall be regulated by lot.

Art. X.* The Volksraad shall annually choose a Chairman
from among its own members.

Art. XL* The Chairman of the Volksraad shall decide in
case of an equality of votes.

Art. XII.* Twelve members shall form a quorum.

Art. XIII.* The Volksraad shall make the laws, regulate
the government and finances of the country, and shall assemble
for that purpose at Bloemfontein once a year (viz. on the
first Monday in May).

Art. XIV.* The Chairman shall be able to summon the
Raad for a special session if circumstances arise to make this

Art. XV.* The laws made by the Volksraad shall have

who has his fixed abode within the State, who has reached the age of at least
twenty-five years, and who possesses unencumbered fixed property to the
value of at least five hundred pounds sterling."
» Deleted from the 1868 Constitution.

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maanden na de afkondiging kracht van Wet hebben, en door den
voorzitter of door den Staatspresident geteekend worden ; behoudens
het regt van den Raad om in bijzondere omstandigheden eene kortere
of lan^ere tijdsbepaling vast te stellen ; zullende de Raad^eden elk
voor zich zoo veel mogelijk de gemaakte wetten aan hun eigen publiek
bekend en duidelijk maken.

Art. XVI.* In zaken van insolventie, of indien eenig lijfstraffelijk
vonnis tegen den Staatspresident uitgesproken wordt, zaf de Volksraad
hem daddijk kunnen afzetten.

Art. XVII.* a. De Volksraad zal het recht hebben om den Staats-
president en andere publieke ambtenaren te oordeelen over lands-
verraad, omkooperij en andere hooge misdaden ;

b. De Staatspresident zal niet veroordeeld worden zonder de toe-
stemming van dne tegen een van de tegenwoordige leden ;

c. Hij zal niet veroordeeld worden zonder dat de voile Raad tegen-
woordig is, of ten minsten zonder dat behoorlijke bekendmaking gegeven
worde, om al de leden in de gelegenheid te stellen tegenwoordig te

d. Indien een quorum bijeengeroepen en eenpari^lijk van opinio
is dat de Staatspresident aan een van bovengemelde misdaden schuldig
staat, zullen zij de magt bezitten om hem dadelijk te suspenderen, en
provisioned schikkingen te maken om de pligten van zijn ambt voort
te zetten. Maar in dit geval zullen zij verpligt zijn, zoo spoedig
mogeUjk, den geheelen Raad bijeen te roepen om hem te oord^en ;

force of law two months after their promulgation, and shall
be si^ed by the Chairman or by the President, saving always
the right of the Raad to fix a shorter or longer limit in special
circumstances ; and the members of the Raad shall each, as
much as possible, make known and explain to their own public,
the laws passed.

Art. XVI.* In case of insolvency, or if some sentence
involving punishment to the person of the State President is
passed, the Volksraad shall be empowered to dismiss him

Art. XVII. ♦ a. The Volksraad shall have the right to
pass judgment on the State President and other public officers
for treason, bribery, and other high misdemeanours ;

b. The State President shall not be condemned without
the consent of three to one of the members present ;

c. He shall not be condemned without the full Raad being
present, or at least without due notice being given, so as to
give fidl the members a chance to be present ;

d. If a quorum has been summoned and is unanimously of
opinion that the State President is guilty of any of the above-
mentioned crimes, they shall have the power to suspend him
immediately and to make provisional arrangements to continue
the duties of his office. But in that case they shall be obliged
to call together the whole Raad as soon as possible to pass
sentence on him ;


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e. De leden van den Volksraad znllen hunnen eed afleggen bij den
aanvang van gemelde onderzoekingen ;

/. In het geval dat de Staatspresident zou komen te sterven, of
dat hij zijnen post zou bedanken, of daarvan ontslagen worden, of ter
verrigting van zijn ambt onbekwaam wordt, zal de Volksraad
gemagtigd zijn om een' of meer personen aan te stellen om in zijne
plaats te ageren, totdat zulke onbekwaamheden niet meer bestaan.
of een ander Staatspresident gekozen worde ;

F. Het vonnis van den Volksraad in zulke gevallen zal zich niet
verder uitstxekken, dan tot af zetting van hun ambt, en tot onbekwaam
verklanng om eenigen post onder het Gouvemement ooit weder te
bekleeden. Maar de personen, zoo gevonnisd, zuUen niettemin
blootstaan om volgens de wet geoordeeld te worden.

Art. XVIII.* De Volksraad behoudt het regt om de kieslijsten
van Leden voor den Volksraad zelf te onderzoeken, en te verklaren,
of de Leden behoorlijk en wettiglijk gekozen zijn geworden of niet.

Art. XIX.* De Volksraad zal ^eregelde Notulen zijner verrigtingen
doen houden, en van tijd tot tijd dezelve pubUceren, uitgenomen
zoodanige artikelen, die naar hun oordeel moesten teruggehouden

Art. XX.* De toestemming en afkeuring der onderscheidene
Leden over eenige kwestie stemmende, moeten op verlangen van een
vijfde deel der tegenwoordige Leden in de Notulen opgeteekend worden.

Art. XXI.* Het publiek zal toegelaten worden de raadplegingen

e. The members of the Volksraad shall take their oath at
the commencement of the said examination ;

/. In case the State President should come to die, or should
resign his office, or should be dismissed from it, or should
become unfit to fulfil the duties of his office, the Volksraad
shall be empowered to appoint one or more persons to act in
his place, tul such unfitness ceases or another State President
is chosen ;

g. The sentence of the Volksraad in such cases shall not
extend any further than to the discharge from office and
the declaration of unfitness ever again to fill a post under the
Government. But the persons so sentenced diall none the
less be liable to be judged according to law.

Art. XVIIL* The Volksraad reserves to itself the right to
examine the election lists for members of the Volksraad, and
to declare whether the members have been properly and law-
fully chosen or not.

Art. XIX.* The Volksraad shall cause regular minutes of
its transactions to be kept and to be published from time to
time, such articles excepted as ought in their opinion to be
kept back.

Art. XX.* The agreement or disapproval of the various
nibmbers voting on any question shall oe noted down in the
minutes on the request of one-fifth of the members present.^

Art. XXI.* The public shall be allowed to attend the

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van den Volksraad bij te wonen, en Notulen der verrigtingen te nemen,
uitgenomen in bijzondere gevallen, waarbij het geheim nc^zakelijk is.

Art. XXII.* De Volksraad zal geene wetten maken, het regt van
de inwoners belettende om zich vredig te vergaderen, en om het
Gouvemement te memoraliseren, om eene verhelping vanbezwarenissen
of eenige verandering in eenige wetten te verkrijgen.

Art. XXIII.* De bevorderinf van Godsdienst en Onderwijs
is een onderwerp van zorg voor den Volksraad.

Art. XXIV. De Nederlandsch Hervormde Kerk^ zal door den
Volksraad bevorderd en ondersteund worden.

Art. XXV.* De Volksraad zal de magt hebben ter bescherming
en veiligheid van dit land, om een Burger — of Kommandowet te

Art. XXVI.* Nadat deze Constitutie finaal zal zijn vastgesteld,
zal er geene verandering in dezelve kunnen gemaakt worden buiten
de toestemming van dne vierden van den Volksraad ; en voor dat
eene zoodanige verandering zal kunnen gemaakt worden, zal er eene
meerderheid van drie vierden der stemmen v66r dezelve in twee
achtereenvolgende jaarlijksche zittingen moeten plaats hebben.

Art. XXVII.* De Volksraad zal de magt hebben om belastingen

Online LibraryG.W. EybersSelect constitutional documents illustrating South African history, 1795-1910 → online text (page 38 of 70)