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Cape Colony

Port Nolloth on the west coast to the O'okiep copper mines (92 m.). It has a gauge of 2 ft. 6 in.

The railways going north have to cross, within a comparatively short distance of the coast, the mountains which lead to the Karroo. The steepest gradient is on the western main line. Having entered the hilly district at Tulbagh Road, where the railway ascends 500 ft. in 9 m., the Hex River Pass is reached soon after leaving Worcester, 794 ft. above the sea. In the next 36 m. the line rises 2400 ft., over 20 m. of that distance being at gradients of 1 in 40 to 1 in 45. The eastern line is the most continuously steep in the colony. In the first 18 m. from East London the railway rises 1000 ft.; at Kei Road, 46 m. from its starting-point, it has reached an altitude of 2332 ft., at Cathcart (109 m.) it is 3906 ft. above the sea, and at Cyphergat, where it pierces the Stormberg, 204 m. from East London, the rails are 5450 ft. above the sea. From Sterkstroom to Cyphergat, 15 m., the line rises 1044 ft. The highest railway station in the colony is Krom Hooghte, 5 543 ft., in the Zuurberg, on the branch line connecting the Eastern and Western systems. The capital expended on government railways to the end of 1905 was £29,973,024, showing a cost per mile of £10,034. The gross earnings in 1905 were £4,047,065 (as compared with £3,390,093 in 1895); the expenses £3,076,920 (as compared with £1,596,013 in 1895). Passengers conveyed in 1905 numbered 20,611,384, and the tonnage of goods 1,836,946 (of 2000 lb).

Posts and Telegraphs.—Direct telegraphic communication between London and Cape Town was established on Christmas day 1879. Cables connect the colony with Europe (1) via Loanda and Bathurst, (2) via St Helena, Ascension and St Vincent; with Europe and Asia (3) via Natal, Zanzibar and Aden, and with Australia (4) via Natal, Mauritius and Cocos.

An overland telegraph wire connects Cape Town and Ujiji, on Lake Tanganyika, via Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Other lines connect Cape Town with all other South African states, while within the colony there is a complete system of telegraphic communication, over 8000 m. of lines being open in 1906. The telephone service is largely developed in the chief towns. The telegraph lines are owned and have been almost entirely built, at a cost up to 1906 of £865,670, by the government, which in 1873 took over the then existing lines (781 m.).

The postal service is well organized, and to places beyond the reach of the railway there is a service of mail carts, and in parts of Gordonia (Bechuanaland) camels are used to carry the mails. Since 1890 a yearly average of over 50,000,000 has passed through the post. Of these about four-fifths are letters.

Constitution and Government.—Under the constitution established in 1872 Cape Colony enjoyed self-government. The legislature consisted of two chambers, a Legislative Council and a House of Assembly. Members of the Legislative Council or Upper House represented the provinces into which the colony was divided and were elected for seven years; members of the House of Assembly, a much more numerous body, elected for five years, represented the towns and divisions of the provinces. At the head of the executive was a governor appointed by the crown. By the South Africa Act 1909 this constitution was abolished as from the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910. Cape Colony entered the Union as an original province, being represented in the Union parliament by eight members in the Senate and fifty-one in the House of Assembly. The qualifications of voters for the election of members of the House of Assembly are the same as those existing in Cape Colony at the establishment of the Union, and are as follows:—Voters must be born or naturalized British subjects residing in the Cape province at least twelve months, must be males aged 21 (no distinction being made as to race or colour), must be in possession of property worth £75, or in receipt of salary or wages of not less than £50 a year. No one not an elector in 1892 can be registered as a voter unless he can sign his name and write his address and occupation. A share in tribal occupancy does not qualify for a vote. A voter of non-European descent is not qualified for election to parliament (see further South Africa). The number of registered electors in 1907 was 152,135, of whom over 20,000 were non-Europeans.

For provincial purposes there is a provincial council consisting of the same number of members as are elected by the province to the House of Assembly. The qualifications of voters for the council are the same as for the House of Assembly. All voters, European and non-European, are eligible for seats on the council, but any councillor who becomes a member of parliament thereupon ceases to be a member of the provincial council. The council passes ordinances dealing with direct taxation within the province for purely local purposes, and generally controls all matters of a merely local or private nature in the province. The council was also given, for five years following the establishment of the Union, control of elementary education. All ordinances passed by the council must have the sanction of the Union government before coming into force. The council is elected for three years and is not subject to dissolution save by effluxion of time. The chief executive officer is an official appointed by the Union government and styled administrator of the province. The administrator holds his post for a period of five years. He is assisted by an executive committee consisting of four persons elected by the provincial council but not necessarily members of that body.

To the provincial council is entrusted the oversight of the divisional and municipal councils of the province, but the powers of such subordinate bodies can also be varied or withdrawn by the Union parliament acting directly. Divisional councils, which are elected triennially, were established in 1855. In 1908 they numbered eighty-one. The councils are presided over by a civil commissioner who is also usually resident magistrate. They have to maintain all roads in the division; can nominate field cornets (magistrates), may borrow money on the security of the rates for public works; and return three members yearly to the district licensing court. Their receipts in 1908 were £269,OOO; their expenditure in the same period was £283,000. The electors to the divisional councils are the owners or occupiers of immovable property. Members of the councils must be registered voters and owners of immovable property in the division valued at not less than £500.

Municipalities at the Cape date from 1836, and are now, for the most part, subject to the provisions of the General Municipal Act of 1882. Certain municipalities have, however, obtained special acts for their governance. In 1907 there were 119 municipalities in the province. Under the act of 1882 the municipalities were given power to levy annually an owner's rate assessed upon the capital value of rateable property, and a tenant's rate assessed upon the annual value of such property. No rate may exceed 2d. in the £ on the capital value or 8d. in the £ on the annual value. The receipts of the municipalities in 1907 amounted to £1,430,000. During the same period the expenditure amounted to £1,539,000.

Law and Justice.—The basis of the judicial system is the Roman-Dutch law, which has been, however, modified by legislation of the Cape parliament. In each division of the province there is a resident magistrate with primary jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. The South Africa Act 1909 created a Supreme Court of South Africa, the supreme court of the Cape of Good Hope, which sits at Cape Town, becoming a provincial division of the new supreme court, presided over by a judge-president. The two other superior courts of Cape Colony, namely the eastern districts court which sits at Graham's Town, and the high court of Griqualand which sits at Kimberley, became local divisions of the Supreme Court of South Africa. Each of these courts consists of a judge-president and two puisne judges. The provincial and local courts, besides their original powers, have jurisdiction in all matters in which the government of the Union is a party and in all matters in which the validity of any provincial ordinance shall come into question. From the decisions of these courts appeals may be made to the appellate division of the Supreme Court. The judges of the divisional courts go on circuit twice a year. In addition, since 1888 a special court has been held at