Published July 26, 1899. Law no. 3.
WHEREAS, It has appeared desirable to amend and amplify certain provisions of the laws with reference to naturalization and the obtaining of the full franchise; and
WHEREAS, These amendments will not permit of delay by being published three months beforehand in terms of Article 12 of the Grondwet, and as they have already been accepted by the people in principle; it is hereby enacted that:
ARTICLE 1.--Each white male stranger, who has reached the age of sixteen years, and who settles or has settled in the South African Republic with the intention of residing there, shall in future be able to obtain letters of naturalization, provided that he fulfills the following provisions and enactments--
(a) The applicant shall produce a certificate from the Field-Cornet and the Landrost of his ward and district, countersigned by the Commandant of the district, to show that he was, during the time--required in his case--preceding the naturalization, continually registered on the Field-Cornet's list; was during this time domiciled in the South African Republic; and during this time obeyed the laws of the land and committed no crime against the independence of the South African Republic.
If the Field-Cornet and Landrost are not from their personal knowledge able to grant such certificate, they shall do so on the strength of affidavits of the applicant and two well known, fully enfranchised burghers of the ward and district, declaring that the applicant has, during the necessary period, been domiciled in the South African Republic, and has during that time obeyed the laws of the land, and has committed no crime against the independence of the South African Republic.
If the Field-Cornet and Landrost and Commandant refuse to grant such certificate or to sign it, the applicant may appeal to the Executive Council.
If the Field-Cornet's books are destroyed or lost the applicant shall prove to the satisfaction of the State Secretary and State Attorney, by means of affidavits, that he was registered.
(b) The applicant shall produce a sworn declaration made by himself to the effect that he has had no dishonouring sentence passed on him, and shall produce further proof of good behavior.
By dishonouring sentence shall be understood a sentence for the crimes of high treason, murder, rape, theft, fraud, perjury, or forgery.
(c) The applicant shall produce proof that he possesses unmortgaged fixed property to the value of £150, or pays rent to the amount of £50 per annum, or draws a fixed salary or wage of £100 per annum, or makes an independent living by farming or cattle-breeding.
(d) The person desiring to be naturalized shall, before the official granting of the letters of naturalization, take the following oath, by which he will be understood to renounce and give up all burgher rights enjoyed in and burgher duties and subjection to any State or ruler:
"I swear (or I solemnly declare that the taking of an oath is not permitted by my religion, and promise), faithfully in all righteousness, and in terms of Law No. , of 1899, with which I declare to be acquainted, that I shall be loyal to this State, shall honour and support its independence, shall subject myself to the Grondwet and the lawful authorities of the land, and shall in all respects conduct myself as it behooves a loyal burgher of this State. So truly help me God--or that I solemnly promise."
Before a person who has already been naturalized is admitted to the full franchise, he shall, when he makes application therefor, besides fulfilling the other requirements of this Law, again produce proof of fulfilment of the provisions and enactments of Sections a, b and c.
No person shall be entitled to or be allowed to obtain letters of naturalization or full franchise unless he has fulfilled the aforementioned provisions, with the exception of cases for which this or any other Law makes special provision.
ARTICLE 2.--Each person who comes or has come to the South African Republic to stay shall, after at least two years, and after fulfillment of the provisions of Article 1, be able to obtain letters of naturalization, and shall, at least five years after naturalization, be able to obtain the full franchise, provided that in both instances, six months before the expiration of the fixed period, he gives written notice of his intention to apply therefor to the State Secretary through the Field-Cornet and Landrost of his ward and district.
The Field-Cornet shall be bound, under pain of a fine of not more than £10 in each case of neglect, to send this notice to the State Secretary through the Landrost as soon as possible, and at the most within thirty days of the sending in thereof, for publication in the Staats Courant for general information, and the State Secretary shall without loss of time publish such notice three consecutive times in the Staats Courant.
ARTICLE 3.--Each person who comes or has come into the South African Republic to stay shall, at least seven years after sending in to the Field-Cornet a notice of his intention to be naturalized, in accordance with the form contained in Schedule A, be able to obtain letters of naturalization with the full franchise on fulfilling the provisions of Article 1.
Such notice shall be sent by the Field-Cornet to the State Secretary and be published by him, all under the same provision and punishment as set forth in the foregoing article.
If the person desires to obtain letters of naturalization with full franchise after seven years, he shall also, at least six months before the expiration of the period, give written notice to the State Secretary, the Field-Cornet and Landrost of his ward and district.
This notice shall also be sent to the State Secretary by the Field-Cornet, and the latter shall publish it in the Staats Courant, all under the same provision and punishment as set forth in Article 2.
The applicant shall then, on application for the letters of naturalization with full franchise, further give proof that he has sent in the notice, in accordance with the form of Schedule A, mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, for proof of which it will be sufficient to produce a copy of the Staats Courant in which the notice was published.
ARTICLE 4.--Each person who has come to the South African Republic to stay before the coming into force of this Law shall, on fulfilment of the provisions of Article 1, be able to obtain letters of naturalization at least seven years after his coming into the country.
In case the applicant is not entitled to the full franchise six months after the coming into force of this Law, he shall give proof that he, within six months after the coming into force of the Law sent to the Field-Cornet of his ward a written notice of his intention to become naturalized.
If he neglect to send in this notice, in accordance with the form contained in Schedule A, or if he does not produce the certificate mentioned in Article 1, Section a, the applicant shall not be entitled to the full franchise in terms of this Article, but only in terms of Articles 2 and 3.
Such notice shall be sent by the Field-Cornet to the State Secretary, and the latter shall publish the same in the Staats Courant, all under the same provisions and punishment as set forth in Article 2.
If he is naturalized after this Law comes into force, he may obtain the full franchise after five years from the date of his naturalization, and, if he chooses, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article.
ARTICLE 5.--Nothing provided in this Law shall prevent the Executive Council from granting letters of naturalization with or without the full franchise to persons who take a position in the service of the country, or have rendered services to the country, or who have in any other respect rendered themselves of service to the country, although in their case they have not fulfilled the provisions of the Law provided that they take the oath in accordance with Article 1.
ARTICLE 6.--Youths not born in the State, and whose fathers have obtained letters of naturalization or full franchise before they (the youth) had reached the age of sixteen years, have the same franchise as their father.
Youths born in this State, whose fathers were neither naturalized nor had the full franchise, may be naturalized at their sixteenth year by taking the oath mentioned in Article 1, and may, five years after that, obtain the full franchise by fulfilling the provisions mentioned in Article 1, Sections a and b. They shall also, on their sixteenth year, by giving notice as contained in Schedule A, be able to obtain the full franchise five years thereafter, on fulfillment of the provisions contained in Article 1, Sections a, b and d.
ARTICLE 7.--The application for naturalization and the full franchise must be sent with the necessary proofs to the State Secretary by the Field-Cornet, through the Landrost, and the latter shall refer these to the State Attorney, who shall send them back to the State Secretary with his advice. If the State Secretary and State Attorney have no legal objection to the granting of the letter of naturalization or full franchise, then this shall be granted. If there is any objection, the Executive Council shall decide.
The letters of naturalization and full franchise shall be signed by the State Secretary and State Attorney. The State Secretary shall cause the letters of naturalization and full franchise to be granted by an official appointed for that purpose, and cause the necessary oath of naturalization to be taken before this official.
The letters of naturalization shall bear a stamp of £2 sterling; the granting of the full franchise to persons who are already naturalized shall be free of cost.
ARTICLE 8.--No person who is not considered as a white inhabitant of the South African Republic shall obtain the franchise, in accordance with Article 9 of the Grondwet.
ARTICLE 9.--All laws and provisions, in so far as they are in conflict with this Law, are hereby repealed.
ARTICLE 10.--This Law comes into force immediately after publication in the Staats Courant.
S.J.P. KRUGER, State President. F.W. REITZ, State Secretary.
GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS, PRETORIA, July 26, 1899.
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I at present resident at in the South African Republic, formerly residing at in whose occupation is desiring to reside for good in the South African Republic, hereby give notice that I, years from date, will make application for letters of naturalization with the full franchise, and declare that I am acquainted with the duties imposed on me by Law No. , 1899, to obey the laws and commit no crime against the independence of the South African Republic.
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PROPOSAL OF GREAT BRITAIN FOR A JOINT INQUIRY.
British Agent to South African Republic, August 2, 1899.
Her Majesty's Government authorize me to invite President of South African Republic to appoint delegates to discuss with delegates to be appointed by me on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, whether Uitlander population will be given immediate and substantial representation by franchise law recently passed by Volksraad, together with other measures connected with it, such as increase of seats, and, if not, what additions or alterations may be necessary to secure that result. In this discussion it should be understood that the delegates of Her Majesty's Government would be free to make any suggestions calculated to improve measures in question and secure their attaining the end desired. Personally I wish to add the expression of my earnest hope that Government of South African Republic may accept this proposal, and that we may proceed to discuss the composition of the proposed Commission, method of procedure, and place of meeting, at once. Government of South African Republic will, I feel sure, agree with me that, if proposal of Her Majesty's Government is accepted, the inquiry should be held as soon as possible.
ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC.
F.W. Reitz to British Agent.
Sir, With reference to your proposal for a joint enquiry in your dispatches of the 2nd and 3rd August, Government of South African Republic have the honour to suggest the following alternative proposal for consideration of Her Majesty's Government, which this Government trusts may lead to a final settlement: (1) The Government are willing to recommend to the Volksraad and the people a 5 years' retrospective franchise, as proposed by His Excellency the High Commissioner on the 1st June, 1899. (2) The Government are further willing to recommend to the Volksraad that 8 new seats in the First Volksraad, and, if necessary, also in the Second Volksraad, be given to the population of the Witwatersrand, thus with the 2 sitting members for the Goldfields, giving to the population thereof 10 representatives in a Raad of 36, and in future the representation of the Goldfields of this Republic shall not fall below the proportion of one-fourth of the total. (3) The new burghers shall equally with the old burghers be entitled to vote at the election for State President and Commandant-General. (4) This Government will always be prepared to take into consideration such friendly suggestions regarding the details of the Franchise Law as Her Majesty's Government, through the British Agent, may wish to convey to it. (5) In putting forward the above proposals Government of South African Republic assumes: (a) That Her Majesty's Government will agree that the present intervention shall not form a precedent for future similar action and that in the future no interference in the internal affairs of the Republic will take place. (b) That Her Majesty's Government will not further insist on the assertion of the suzerainty, the controversy on the subject being allowed tacitly to drop. (c) That arbitration (from which foreign element other than Orange Free State is to be excluded) will be conceded as soon as the franchise scheme has become law. (6) Immediately on Her Majesty's Government accepting this proposal for a settlement, the Government will ask the Volksraad to adjourn for the purpose of consulting the people about it, and the whole scheme might become law say within a few weeks. (7) In the meantime the form and scope of the proposed Tribunal are also to be discussed and provisionally agreed upon, while the franchise scheme is being referred to the people, so that no time may be lost in putting an end to the present state of affairs. The Government trust that Her Majesty's Government will clearly understand that in the opinion of this Government the existing franchise law of this Republic is both fair and liberal to the new population, and that the consideration that induces them to go further, as they do in the above proposals, is their strong desire to get the controversies between the two Governments settled, and further to put an end to present strained relations between the two Governments and the incalculable harm and loss it has already occasioned in South Africa, and to prevent a racial war from the effects of which South Africa may not recover for many generations, perhaps never at all, and therefore this Government, having regard to all these circumstances would highly appreciate it if Her Majesty's Government, seeing the necessity of preventing the present crisis from developing still further and the urgency of an early termination of the present state of affairs, would expedite the acceptance or refusal of the settlement here offered.
Sir, In continuation of my dispatch of the 19th instant, and with reference to the communication to you of the State Attorney this morning, I wish to forward to you the following in explanation thereof, with the request that the same may be telegraphed to His Excellency the High Commissioner for South Africa, as forming part of the proposals of this Government embodied in the above-named dispatch: (1) The proposals of this Government regarding question of franchise and representation contained in that dispatch must be regarded as expressly conditional on Her Majesty's Government consenting to the points set forth in paragraph 5 of the dispatch, viz.: (a) In future not to interfere in internal affairs of the South African Republic. (b) Not to insist further on its assertion of existence of suzerainty. (c) To agree to arbitration. (2) Referring to paragraph 6 of the dispatch, this Government trusts that it is clear to Her Majesty's Government that this Government has not consulted the Volksraad as to this question and will only do so when an affirmative reply to its proposals has been received from Her Majesty's Government.
In reply to the above proposals of the South African Republic, the Secretary of State for the Colonies declared Great Britain "unable to appreciate the objections entertained by the Government of the South African Republic to a Joint Commission of Inquiry," and refused to enter into a consideration of the alternative proposals of the South African Republic.
As a consequence of this refusal, the South African Republic communicated to Great Britain that the "proposal for a five years' franchise and extension of representation of the Witwatersrand with the conditions attached thereto" had lapsed, whereby also lapsed the necessity of laying it before the representatives of the people for ratification.
During the month of September following, the negotiations failed to produce any agreement, and matters remained in this unsatisfactory state until, on October 9, 1899, the ultimatum of President Kruger brought affairs to an actual crisis.