1887

n South African Journal of Cultural History - The treason trials of the Natal Rebels during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)

USD

 

Abstract

During the Anglo-Boer War, the occupation of Northern Natal by Boer commandos led to the majority of the local white population committing treason. The Natal government wanted to deal with the suspected rebels swiftly and severely. The concern of the Colonial Office was that the judicial system used in Natal would not serve justice. Consequently the Natal government was pressurised into accepting a Special Commission, consisting of local and British judges, to try the suspected rebels. This culminated in the creation of a Special Court to try serious offences of treason, while lesser offences served before a Special Magistrate and the Magistrates Courts. For this the existing treason legislation and the specially created Special Court rules were to be applied. Meanwhile, under pressure to show its intent towards the rebels, the Natal government had eleven rebels tried before the Natal Supreme Court and the Zululand High Court. Following this, the Special Court started its proceedings. The suspected rebels were mostly Natal Afrikaners from across the economic and social spectrum. In defence the majority claimed to have been abandoned by their government which opened the way for the commandos to force them into service. These arguments were rejected by the Special Court. In the end the Special Court, the Special Magistrate and the Magistrates Court convicted 385 rebels of treason. The sentences passed included fines, imprisonment and disenfranchisement. Those rebels also found guilty of theft were sentenced to hard labour.


Tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog het die besetting van Noord-Natal deur die Boerekommando's tot gevolg gehad dat die meerderheid van die plaaslike blanke bevolking verraad gepleeg het. Die Natalse regering wou spoedig en streng teen die verdagte rebelle optree. Die bekommernis van die Koloniale Kantoor was dat die regstelsel in gebruik in Natal nie regverdigheid sou toelaat nie. Gevolglik is druk op die Natalse regering geplaas om I spesiale kommissie bestaande uit plaaslike en Britse regters vir die proses te aanvaar. Die gevolg was die instelling van I spesiale hof vir ernstige gevalle van verraad, terwyl minder ernstige oortredings voor I spesiale magistraat of die magistraatshowe sou dien. In hierdie sake sou die bestaande verraadwetgewing en die nuutgeskepte reëls vir die spesiale hof gebruik word. Onder druk om hulle doel met die rebelle te bewys, het die Natalse regering ondertussen elf verdagte rebelle deur die Natalse hooggeregshof en die Zululandse Hoër hof laat verhoor. Daarna het die spesiale hof met sy sittings begin. Die verdagtes was meestal Natalse Afrikaners oor die sosiale en ekonomiese spektrum heen. In die algemeen is die feit dat hulle versaak is deur hulle eie regering wat die weg vir die kommando's gebaan het om hulle tot diens te dwing, as verdediging aangevoer. Hierdie en soortgelyke argumente is deur die Spesiale Hof verwerp. Ten slotte het die spesiale hof, spesiale magistraat en die magistraatshowe 385 rebelle aan verraad skuldig bevind. Die vonnisse het boetes, tronkstraf en die verloor van stemreg ingesluit. Die rebelle wat ook aan diefstal skuldig bevind is, is tot harde arbeid gevonnis.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/culture/25/2/EJC30804
2011-11-01
2016-12-04
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error