n Historia - Die South African Constabulary in die Oranjerivierkolonie, 1900-1908

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The South African Constabulary IS.A.C.) acted as an occupation force and a colonial police force in the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal Colony during and after the Anglo Boer War 11899-1902). It was dissolved in 1908 after its loss of credibility in the eyes of the Boer people. It was labelled as incompetent for a number of reasons: As an occupation force during the war it safeguarded the evacuated districts against further penetration by the Boer forces - after the war it had to protect those same Boers and their families, and its obligations as an occupation force made it impossible for the S.A.C. to fulfil its duties as a police force while at the same time trying to maintain law and order in the towns; then too, the S.A.C. was too large, making it expensive to maintain. The whole situation was aggravated by the ignorance of its predominantly English-speaking members (who had been recruited abroad) of the Dutch language and of race relations in South Africa.
By virtue of its policy of conciliation, the British government tried to foster acceptance of the colonial government by the Boers: to cut costs it reduced the number of S.A.C. members and with the exception of cattle theft which was still rife, crime was successfully combatted. The many other tasks which it fulfilled, such as assistance to a number of government departments, meant that the S.A.C. was unable to carry out its function as a police force effectively. This often exposed it to unfair criticism. Taking these factors into consideration, the S.A.C. acquitted itself satisfactorily as custodian of the law.

Die South African Constabulary (S.A.C.) het tydens en na die Anglo-Boereoorlog (1899-1902) as besettingsmag en koloniale polisiemag in die Oranjerivier- en Transvaa!kolonie opgetree. Dié mag is in 1908 ontbind nadat dit sedert sy ontstaan in Oktober 1900 om die volgende redes deur die Boerebevolking gewantrou en as onbekwaam bestempel is: dit het as besettingsmag gedurende die oorlog die ontruimde distrikte teen verdere indringing van die Boeremagte gevrywaar, maar na die oorlog moes dit dieselfde Boere en hulle gesinne beskerm; sy verpligtinge as besettingsmag het dit vir horn onmoontlik gemaak om as polisiemag wet en orde in die dorpe te handhaaf; die buitengewoon groat aantal lede en gevolglike hoe onderhoudskoste van die mag; die onkunde van sy hoofsaaklik Engelssprekende lede wat in die buiteland gewerf is, met die Hollandse taal en Suid-Afrikaanse rasseverhoudinge.

Die Britse regering het horn, ingevolge sy konsiliasiebeleid die aanvaarding van die koloniale regering deur die Boerebevolking ten doe! gestel: om regeringsuitgawes te besnoei is die ledetal van die S.A.C. jaarliks verminder; met die uitsondering van veediefstal is misdaad suksesvol bekamp. Die talle ander funksies buite sy terrein as regshandhawer 5005 die volskaalse hulpverlening aan verskeie regeringsdepartemente, het die S.A.C. verhoed om sy polisiewerk behoorlik uit te voer. Dit het horn dikwels aan ongeregverdigde kritiek blootgeste!. Di~ omstandighede in ag genome, het die S.A.C. horn goed van sy taak as handhawer van wet en orde gekwyt.

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