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n South African Journal of Cultural History - The trials by military court of Natal Afrikaners during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-0745
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Abstract

After the invasion of Natal by the Boer commandos, in October 1899, Martial Law was declared in the Colony. This gave the British Army the power to use extreme measures to maintain safety and security. During the Boer occupation of the northern parts of Natal, Martial Law was used to try Natal Afrikaner looters and collaborators. After the commandos were driven from Natal in July 1900 it became the legal responsibility of the Natal Government to deal with legal matters and maintaining order and to try suspected rebels by means of a Special Court. The British Army and Martial Law were relegated to the judicial background and were only used when dealing with the odd minor cases involving Natal Afrikaners. However, as criticism of this Special Court mounted, and the British Army proved an unreliable ally in securing evidence against suspected rebels, the Natal Government altered its position. The British Army was requested to try Natal rebels arrested outside of the Colony by means of Military Courts. The Military Courts proved effective in dealing with these rebels as the trials proceeded speedily and the sentences imposed were harsh. In so doing the Military Courts efficiently served the agenda of the Natal Government because they dealt with the Natal Afrikaner rebels outside of their judicial reach.


Nadat die Boeremagte Natal in Oktober 1899 ingeval het, is krygswet in die Kolonie afgekondig. Krygswet het die Britse Leër die mag gegee om buitengewone maatreëls te tref om wet en orde te handhaaf. Tydens die kommando's se besetting van die noordelike dele van Natal, is krygswet gebruik om Natalse Afrikaners te vonnis wat met die Boere geheul het, of hulle aan diefstal skuldig gemaak het. Nadat die kommando's in Julie 1900 uit Natal verdryf is, het die handhawing van wet en orde en die vervolging van Natalse rebelle by wyse van 'n Spesiale Hof, die verantwoordelikheid van die Natalse regering geword. Die Britse Leër en krygswet is op die agtergrond geskuif en het slegs met mindere sake gehandel waarby Natalse Afrikaners betrokke was. Soos kritiek op die Spesiale Hof toegeneem het en die Britse Leër hom as onbetroubaar bewys het in terme van die insameling van bewyse teen verdagte Natalse rebelle, het die Natalse regering sy posisie verander. Die Britse Leër is versoek om Natalse rebelle wat buite die kolonie gearresteer is, deur middel van Militêre Howe te verhoor. Die Militêre Howe het heel effektief met die rebelle gehandel, die hofverrigtinge is vinnig afgehandel en die strawwe was swaar. Sodoende het die Militêre Howe die agenda van die Natalse regering goed gedien deur die rebelle te vonnis wat buite hulle jurisdiksie geval het.

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/content/culture/28/1/EJC156807
2014-06-01
2016-12-10

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