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An appraisal of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa: 1652 to 2018. Part 6: Performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes for the period 1795 to 1872 (Cape Colony)

Gabriel P Louw

iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6190-8093

Research Associate, Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

Corresponding Author:

Prof. Dr. GP Louw; MA (UNISA), PhD (PU for CHE), DPhil (PU for CHE), PhD (NWU)

Email: profgplouw@gmail.com

Keywords: appraisal, black, executive, history, leaders, performance, political, profile, regime, white.

Ensovoort, volume 40 (2019), number 4: 1

1. Background

1.1 Introduction

At the end of 1794, France invaded Holland and in January 1795, they captured Amsterdam. As a result, the monarch, the Prince of Orange, fled to England. In Holland the Patriot Party came to an agreement with the French Republic in May 1795 and took over power to create the Batavian Republic, for all intents and purposes a vassal state of the French. The Prince of Orange, living in exile in England, requested the British government to protect the Cape Colony until he could recover the throne. He wanted to prevent the strategic halfway house falling into the hands of the French. For the British government, this was an excellent opportunity to safeguard their immediate interests in India and they decided to send a fleet of nine vessels. This fleet was under the command of Admiral Sir GK Elphinstone. He was accompanied by a military force sixteen hundred strong under the command of General Sir JH Craig. The fleet reached False Bay in June 1795, and after minimal resistance, the VOC’s force surrendered. Commissioner-General AJ Sluysken, the acting Governor of the Cape, signed the Treaty of Rustenburg on 6 September 1795, handing over the Cape Colony to the British to rule temporarily on behalf of the Prince of Orange. The VOC’s soldiers became prisoners of war, while Sluysken returned to the Netherlands. General Craig acted as governor until May 1797 when he was relieved by the Earl George Macartney.1,2

The total population within the borders of the Cape Colony was as follows at that stage1:37:

  •     White free burghers numbering 16 000, with more or less 11 000 living in the rural areas and 5 000 living in Cape Town.
  •     About 1 500 White officials and 1 200 troops.
  •     Non-White slaves numbering 17 000.
  •     A KhoiKhoi population of 4 000.

Regarding the European population at the Cape in 1797, the proportion was 50% Dutch, 27% German, 17% French, and other elements representing 6%, mostly Scandinavian.1

1.2 The presence of the civilized world in the form of the British Empire as temporary rulers of the Cape, 1795 to 1803

We already saw in Part 5 of the series that the Cape’s inhabitants were exposed to different commanders and governors of the VOC over the period 1652. In general they brought very little that was positive, but they all had one common feature: they were all Dutch and of the same culture and political orientation as most of the White inhabitants living at the Cape. The inhabitants could address their appeals about wrongdoings by the VOC government and the commander and governors, to organizations that were Dutch, although these appeals mostly went unanswered. As a direct result of the VOC’s mismanagement on many terrains, a culture of lawfulness had developed in the Cape Colony, and this had become entrenched among the White frontiersmen. This made them resistant to stricter governance and order and to the change to a more humane attitudes to the non-Whites. The arrival of the British as temporary rulers meant the end of the VOC. The British had often been at war with the Dutch before this and were directly responsible for the downfall of the VOC’s rule at the Cape with their shipping trade embargos.1-5

The free burghers certainly did not see the British as trustworthy comrades and true partners when they came to the Cape in 1795, especially not the unruly White frontiersmen. Most of all, they did not foresee the collapse of the VOC and its partnership with the Netherlands, opening the door for one of their greatest enemies to become their ruler without a shot being fired. The unpreparedness of the free burghers is reflected in the arrogance of the inhabitants of Graaff-Reinet and Swellendam when they declared themselves “independent” from the Cape, seemingly as part of the Batavian Republic.1-3

On the other hand, the British were interested in expanding their Empire and they had little respect and consideration for different from what they considered their “civilized” culture. Their domination of the globe was equally entrenched in their thinking, and they forced many groups around the world to march to a British tune. They came with an aggressive intent to shape and control the indigenous cultures and people under their control. Those who adopted the British culture were always ultimately still the underdogs. The Europeans of the 1800s, like the British at the Cape, were inclined to distinguish themselves from “other” human beings by taking and consuming a growing share of the world’s goods. They skillfully manipulated the environments in their territories. Roberts4 shows this very well in his research. Self-service, self-enrichment and self-empowerment formed the bases of their British thought and behaviour. They tapped other nations’ resources, potential and human energies by overpowering them. In this way, they created a self-perpetuating wealth, opening up and creating new resources and more wealth at the costs of the oppressed.4

Roberts writes4:761:

The profits of Congo rubber, Burmese teak or Persian oil would not for a long time be reinvested in those countries. The poor European and American benefited from the low prices of raw materials, and improving morality rates tell the story of an industrial civilization finding it possible to give its peoples a richer life. Even the European peasant could buy cheap manufactured clothes and tools while his contemporaries in Africa and India still lived in the Stone Age.

In the minds of the British, the inhabitants of the Cape Colony were uncivilized. A later reference after the British final occupation of the Cape Colony in the 1800s reveals that the felt obliged to make the people of the backwards Cape Colony acceptable and functional so that they could become part of the mighty British Empire.

Compared to what the British knew as civilized, the Cape Colony indeed did not hold to this standard Roberts writes4:761:

When they looked for it, they tended to see only heathen, backward, benighted people or a few striving to join the civilized. Such an attitude was an important part of the story of European success; what were taken to be demonstrations of the inherent superiority of European ideas and values nerved men to fresh assaults on the word and inspired fresh incomprehension of it. The progressive values of the eighteenth century provided new arguments for superiority to reinforce those originally stemming from religion. By 1800, Europeans had lost almost all of their former respect for other civilizations. Their own social practice seemed obviously superior to the unintelligible barbarities found elsewhere.

It was in this “uncivilized” Cape Colony that the British arrived in 1795. Up to 1872, they ruled the area without disturbance by means of a series of autocratic governors. The period 1795 to 1872 can be divided in four: the first British occupation as caretaker of the Cape Colony (1797–1803); the Cape as a colony of the Batavian Republic (1803–1806); the second British occupation of the Cape Colony by conquest (1806–1814); and the British occupation of the Cape Colony by treaty (1814–1872). A total of twenty-nine governors served between 1795 and 1872 (2 Dutch and 27 British).

1.3 Overview of this study

This article (Part 6) is part of the second project (Project 2) on the executive leadership and regimes of South Africa. The two projects cover the period 1652 to 2018. The first series (Project 1) of five articles (Part 1 to 5) have been published in Ensovoort. The first five articles evaluated and described the performance profiles of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa (previously the Cape Colony) for the period 1652 to 1795. These five articles, published under the main title: An appraisal of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa: 1652 to 2018, are titled as follows:

  •     Part 1: Leadership characteristics in perspective;
  •     Part 2: The entities in government and society that executive political leaders use to aid     their political behaviour;
  •     Part 3: Factors that influence the development of executive political leaders;
  •     Part 4: A basic checklist for the appraisal of executive political leaders and regimes;
  •     Part 5: The performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes for the period     1652 to 1795.

The reader is referred to this first project for the theoretical basis of this endeavour. The five articles that constitute Project 2 cover the remaining period of 1796 to 2018. In this project, the focus is on the performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes in five timeframes: 1796 to 1872 (Part 6), 1873 to 1909 (Part 7), 1910 to 1948 (Part 8), 1949 to 1994 (Part 9) and 1995 to 2018 (Part 10).

2. Method

The research was done by means of a literature review. This method has the aim of building a viewpoint from the available evidence as the research develops. This approach is used in modern historical research where there is not an established body of research, like with the functioning of executive political leaders and their regimes of governance for the period 1795 to 1909 in South Africa. The sources included articles for 2018, books for the period 1945 to 2018 and newspapers for the period 2016. These sources were consulted to evaluate the functioning of executive political leaders and to put thoughts, views and opinions on the South African political leadership for the period 1795 to 1909 in perspective.6-8

The research findings are presented in narrative format.

2.1 Problem statement

The research question asks whether the executive political leaders of South Africa (Cape Colony) during the period 1795 to 1872 made any extraordinary contributions to the country and its people and whether their behaviour as leaders and individuals was above reproach.

  •     People refers to all the South African groups – the various races, cultural groups, tribes, etc. It includes the minorities and the majorities – it does not refer to any sole grouping in terms of dominant political party, etc. In the above reference would it be more correct to refer to     “peoples”.
  •     Country refers to today’s greater South Africa as represented by the Republic of South Africa. It also refers to the Cape Settlement and Cape Colony, etc.

2.2 Research aims

  •     The first aim of the research is to determine if the South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1795 to 1872 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time of rule.
  •     The second aim of the research is to determine if the behaviours of the South African     executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 were above reproach.

In light of above, two research questions must be asked and answered to discover the truth about the South African executive political leaders. This then leads to two objectives, as well as two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses.

2.3 Research questions

The following two research questions focus the research intentions:

RQ1: Did the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 make any extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their times in office?

RQ2: Were the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as individuals above reproach?

2.4 Objectives of the study

The following two objectives guide the study:

RO1: To determine if the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made any extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office;

RO2: To determine if the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons were above reproach.

2.5 Hypotheses

The following two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses are tested:

H1: The South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office.

H1A: The South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 did not make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office.

H2: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons were above reproach.

H2A: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons were not above reproach.

3. Results

3.1 First British occupation as caretakers of the Cape Colony (1797–1803)

3.1.1 Autocratic governors

During the British government’s acting as care-taker of the Cape Colony on behalves of the Prince of Orange, the following four British governors’ served1,2,9:

1797–1798: George Macartney

1798–1799: Francis Dundas

1799–1801: Sir George Yonge

1801–1803: Francis Dundas

The British temporary military management under General Craig started well and he attracted positive input from many pro-colonists. The colonists were required to take an oath of allegiance to the British king for as long the Cape stays British property. The rights and property of the VOC were transferred to the new authority, but the laws, rights and customs of the colonists stayed the same. The Cape, Stellenbosch and Swellendam accepted the new regime, but Graaff-Reinet stayed aloof until November 1796 after the defeat of the Dutch fleet at Saldanha Bay. Many of the Cape inhabitants, even those took the oath of allegiance, remained hostile to the British.1-3,5

3.1.1.1 George Macartney (1797–1798)9        

On 5 May 1797 with the take-over by governor, Duke Macartney, political management suddenly changed to a strict form of Crown colony management. He introduced Imperial Authority immediately at the Cape and over the Colony, a system that remained valid until 1872. All civil and military powers were now vested in the hands of the Governor, he abolished the Political Council and soon after that the other bodies. He also created a strong official management, excluding the colonists. Any form of direct representation was absent and a further loss of political freedom followed. Strict action was taken against colonists who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the British king. A new High Court of Justice replaced the Council of Justice, while the Appeals Court consisted of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor (the commander of the military forces) with the right of higher appeal to the Privy Council in Britain. Most of the other administrative and judicial bodies of the VOC remained. The Roman-Dutch Law was retained.1-3,5

Improvements included the abolishment of corrupt monopolies, overdue land tax were written off, there was freedom of conscience and religious freedom, and torture and the barbaric execution of the death penalty on slaves were abolished. He also made the benefits of the two English Navigation Acts of 1651 and 1660 applicable on the Cape colonists.1,2,5

However, the British love for material gain emerged in the benefits and salaries paid to the British top executives and their officials, undoubtedly to detriment of the colonists. In this sense, the British were no improvement. British officials like Frans Bresler and John Barrow who were placed at Graaff-Reinet to oversee the eastern border of the colony were responsible for much of the hostility towards the British. Macartney favoured and promoted Anglo-orientated colonists, which damaged his relationship with the White inhabitants.1,2,5

The biggest challenge for Macartney was to solve of the conflict between the races, especially keeping the Xhosas within in the confines of their territories with promises and smart talk. More or less the same approach of “termination” was followed that the VOC took. The colonist-commandos received orders to keep them in their place and if needed, to drive them to the Kalahari. He tried to solve conflict by separating White and Black along the borders where the different groups started to come into contact more and more. The Macartney apartheid of 1798 failed in the end, as did the grand Apartheid of the NP a hundred and fifty years later.1,2,5

Although the temporary British government’s executive leader created a better administrative environment, Macartney failed to establish a balanced government to benefit all the inhabitants living in the Cape Colony. The British government, like the VOC government previously, was one of autocracy.

3.1.1.2 Francis Dundas (1799–1799, 1801–1803)9

The Lieutenant Governor of the Cape Colony’s forces, Francis Dundas, acted as the first governor (the office was run by Sir George Yonge’s from 1799 to 1801).

Craig’s arrest of the two Graaff-Reinet leaders, Adriaan van Jaarsveld and Marthinus Prinsloo, caused conflict between the early Afrikaners and the Britons that did not calm down before 1961. The result of these arrests was a group of colonists from Graaff-Reinet on the eastern border staged their first failed rebellion. At the same time the attitude of the KhoiKhoi, mostly those living along the Orange River on the undefined northern border, changed for worse and serious conflict broke out between the Whites and the KhoiKhoi. Some British officials sided with the KhoiKhoi, which caused a further deterioration of the relationship between the early Afrikaners and the British governor and the other officials appointed by the British government. Meanwhile, an alliance formed between the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas. The situation became very dangerous for the colonist farmers on the Eastern Frontier. The Xhosas attacked the southern part of Graaff-Reinet, committing atrocities and creating enormous chaos during the Third Xhosa War. No real action against the Xhosas and KhoiKhoi followed. The only consequence was new regulations, and the early Afrikaners felt that these regulations favoured the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas. The British authority compelled the colonists to behaviour well towards the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas. The British also limited the punitive action farmers could take against the KhoiKhoi and the Xhosas after an attack or livestock theft. The eastern border districts were reduced to chaos, with homesteads and farms being burned down. Racial hatred against the KhoiKhoi, Xhosas and KhoiSan deepened, especially after the Xhosas occupied large colonial areas in the east of the colony.1,2,5

Although Dundas did improve the Cape Colony in some ways, he could not solve the increasing conflict on the eastern border. The political strife between Blacks and Whites was far worse by 1803 than in 1795.

3.2 Batavian Republic (Dutch Colony) (1803–1806)9

During the Council for Asian Possessions’ rule of the Cape Colony on behalf of the Batavian Republic, the following two governors served9:

1803–1804: Jacob Abraham Uitenhage de Mist

1804–1806: Jan Willem Janssens

The Peace of Amiens between Britain and France gave the colonies back to the Netherlands. The VOC was closed down in 1798 and replaced in May 1800 by the Council for Asian Possessions, a body subject to the Dutch government. They were responsible for the further administration and management of the Cape Colony. The Cape was handed back to the Batavian Republic in February 1803 to be governed by a commissioner general. De Mist was appointed in the position, assisted by General JW Janssens as the governor in charge.1,2,5

De Mist quickly established a functioning system. Many of the VOC bodies were reinstated, like the Political Council and the Council of Justice. The Cape Colony’s juridical status changed to that of a province of the Netherlands and was managed directly from there.1,2,5

The non-Whites who had no human rights up to 1803 were now burghers and formed the majority of the population. By 1803 there were 22 000 Whites versus 25 000 slaves and 10 000 KhoiKhoi (making the population ratio 4:6), while in 1805 there were 25 757 Whites versus 29 545 slaves and 20 006 KhoiKhoi (ratio 3:6). Both De Mist and Janssens, as liberal thinkers, were worried about the oppression of the Blacks by the government itself and by the colonists, especially in the areas along the inland borders. This concern was justified, seeing that the non-Whites were the majority, and growing, left without any civil or human rights from 1652. The Dutch leaders improved on many of the regulations designed to limit the lawless actions of the White frontiersmen. They for instance compelled White employer to sign service contracts with their KhoiKhoi employees. This was a positive step that better work- and race relations. De Mist also wanted to gradually emancipate the slaves by freeing slave children at birth. However, his short period at the Cape and the rigid attitudes of the White farmers thwarted his humanitarian efforts. The White farmers wanted cheap labour and they kept importing of more slaves.1,2,5

Another positive contribution was De Mist’s establishment of a Board of Education to manage education and to rectify the neglect of education by the British caretakers. His intent to get education of an equal standard to the frontiersmen is especially noteworthy. He also focused on maintaining of free trade and made efforts to improve the local wool and wine industries. With respect to religion, he introduced measures to reorganise and recognise various religious dominations. This included help with gatherings of congregations to the payment of their ministers. However, he made it clear that the church in all its forms is subject to the state. He addressed the colour issue directly, opening religious practice to all.1,2,5 Van der Merwe writes5:147:

…public religious gatherings on Sundays could only take place on Sundays with open doors, so that no-one, Christian or heathen, White or Black, slave or free man, could be refused entry (Own translation).

For the first time since 1652, there was the flickering of hope that there would be a form of executive and political leadership that would serve all the populations of the Cape, gaining the respect, support and approval of all races. The hope was that this leadership would guide the future politicians in their duties and behaviours as leaders at the Cape.1,2,5

De Mist’s Memorie expounded a new civil and juridical code of governance that was unknown to the Cape Colony until that time. It covered every facet of live from health, education, religion, economics, farming, civil and political rights, defence to taxation. Although the De Mist Code did not suggest one-man-one-vote, his various governmental and civil bodies granted more representation to inhabitants in every sphere of life and clearly intended to end civil unrest in daily life. His code also limited power abuse by the executive leaders of the Colony and its inhabitants with respect to economic, civil, political and juridical rights. De Mist did wonders in his short time (1803–1804) at the Cape. Although his progress with rights for non-Whites was limited, he significantly improved the situation of the Whites.1,2,5

Regarding the Black–White issue, especially in the Graaff-Reinet and areas along the eastern border, he addressed possible future mistreatment of the slaves, KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and the Blacks by the colonists by the placing of a subdivision of soldiers there to oversee justice. However, his liberal policy of befriending the Xhosas failed, as evident from continuing attacks. De Mist’s one-sided view of the non-Whites as the only victims at the hand of the colonists changed over time. The Whites often saw reprimands for illegal Black behaviours as support for the Whites. Later in history, Whites often cited these incidents as proof of the evil intentions of the KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and the Xhosas in the 1800s. They rarely mention the transgressions of the Whites, like land grabbing, stock theft and the murder of these non-Whites as punishment actions (like the “hunting” of the KhoiSan).1,2,5

Historical writings rarely reflect both sides of the story. The events occurred in a less civilized world than today. The Whites saw the KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and the Xhosas as African barbarians, and the non-Whites saw the White frontiersmen as White barbarians. The impact of these early conflicts on later hostility and counter-hostility is often underestimated. The problems that started in 1652 and that went on to affect South African politics until 1994 and beyond, did not resolve under De Mist.1,2,5

In 1803 De Mist entered a political system where racial differences (and discrimination and domination) affected religion, culture, cognition, emotion, education, lifestyle and standard developments and functioning and where these differences were already deeply entrenched. The situation could not have changed with a single code. Continuing the separation that Macartney started in 1798 seemed the best solution, but it ultimately spelled disaster.1,2,5 Van der Merwe describes the doom lurking in De Mist’s policy5:153:

…the intention of the Batavian authorities was to create a better grounding for the relationship between the colonists and the Bantus along the eastern border. According to Alberti [captain of the military forces based at Fort Frederick on the Eastern border and later military magistrate at Uitenhage in charge of overseeing peace in the area], the policy had to be founded on two principles, namely dispelling all Bantus from the Suurveld and driving them across the colonial border, and ending all contact between colonists and Bantus, and between Bantus and Hottentots. This principle was also included in the first message of De Mist to the settled populations along the border districts and to the Xhosa captains. The Bantu had no concept of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’, and this was at the core of all the problems. Nobody was allowed to move across the border and back. Alberti felt that sixty soldiers would be enough to patrol the border. The policy therefore came down to inexorable separation to maintain peace between the eastwards migrating Whites and the southwards moving Bantu stream (Own translation).

The above description reveals the complete lack of understanding of the problems along the border. The Blacks and Whites were seen as two groups, there was no understanding that neither these categories consisted of a natural unity. At this point in history, not a single executive political leader, Dutch or British, had shown insight or had made decisions beyond their own short-term interests. The leaders came from European tradition of the separation of nations where each nation is financially independent and large enough to form a nation. This was not the case here. What is more, the right to land and the ownership of land played a significant role in the relationships. The South Africa of the 1800s was basically an agricultural economy, making the sole ownership of land a point of conflict. It was naïve of Alberti to think that they could stop the migration of the different groups. It was a complicated process, and the politicians of the 1800s were used to settling these kinds of problems with brute military force.1,4

De Mist’s hopes that his governance would inspire good leadership that would serve all the populations of the Cape and that he would be remembered as a leader who was respected, supported and approved by all the different races, failed to become a reality. He started well in 1802, but he undid all of his own good work. This begs the question: Would any future South African judiciary or political regime or executive leader be able to do better than De Mist? Time will tell.

De Mist and his assistant Janssens inherited a dysfunctional system. They had the genuine intention to better it and made honest attempts in their short rule of two years (1802–1804). However, it was already an unhealthy situation where each race was trapped in their little corner with their own fears. Van der Merwe5 writes as follows about De Mist and Janssens5:155:

However, their work at the Cape was not without fruit, although their limited time did not allow for it to be thoroughly tested. Their labour was fraught with extraordinary difficulty. All their actions and decisions were aimed at promoting the good of South Africa. In cases where measures were not received well by the citizens, this should not be attributed to ill will or a lack of diligence, but rather to the fact that the authorities were not informed of the intricacies, morals and habits of the communities to which these measures were made applicable. They regarded the communities as people with the same prejudices as all colonists, which was not true. This became clear from the colonist’s views of all beings who are not White, and their religious views in this regard. In essence the leaders were confronted here with a people who were no longer Dutch, but who showed the traits of a new, separate nation with an own language and views regarding all terrains of life, and they differed significantly from those of their Dutch, German and French contemporaries (Own translation).

Van der Merwe5 poignantly captures the problems created by the fact that the White inhabitants were developing a unique political identity. They actually needed their own state by the 1800s, run independently without outsider interference or intervention. He highlights the beginnings of the early Afrikanerdom, a people prepared to challenge anyone who dares to limit their identity and human rights. However, this imminent Afrikaner historian does fail to describe, like many of his contemporaries, the many changes and transformations the KhoiSan, KhoiKhoi and Xhosas also underwent, often by force, since the 1600. Nor does he acknowledge the role, good or bad, that the Whites (both inhabitants and authorities) at the Cape played in these many changes and transformations. This information sheds light on why the Cape Colony’s politicians and executive leaders failed to appoint good leaders and to establish a permanent regime up to the 1800s.1,2,5

Most historians and Afrikaner scholars fail to offer sound alternatives to the political debacle of the 1800s and to indicate how early Afrikaner nationalism and its hunger for territory and political power over the non-Whites could have been managed differently. It took an outsider, the historian JM Roberts4, to do this in the space of only a few pages in his History of the World. The De Mist Code was by far the best guideline for managing affairs at the Cape. It had the potential to change the attitudes of both non-White and White inhabitants and to unite them under a good leader. The potential of the code was immediately lost with the British imperial intervention of 1805. The British failed to understand the early Afrikaner, perhaps as result of their “civilized” British culture. De Mist and the Batavian rulers did have this understanding. Van der Merwe5 rightfully points out that there was too much of the Rousseau doctrine left in the British mindset and too little common sense.1,2,4,5

However, the British also failed as a result of how contaminated the system was by the political dogmas, doctrines and ideologies of the early Afrikaners and the non-Whites themselves. Neither the early Afrikaners nor the non-White tribes designed these dogmas, doctrines and ideologies. They were inherited from the various foreigner rulers of the Cape and exacerbated by poor leadership. The British were notorious for ruling with dogma.1,2,4,5

De Mist retired on 25 September 1804 and moved back to the Netherlands in February 1805, leaving the enormous task of being governor to Janssens. However, the plans for the new Cape Colony came to an absurd end with the military takeover on 18 January 1806. The Cape surrendered to the British forces under David Baird for a second and last time.1,2,5

3.3 Second British occupation of the Cape Colony (1806–1814)9

3.3.1 Autocratic governors

Up to 1814 the British held the Cape Colony by conquest and not by treaty rights. The legal position of the Cape Colony as a full British possession was only finalized with the Peace of Paris. The six governors for 1807 to 1814 were1,2,9:

1807–1808: David Baird

1808–1808: Henry George Grey

1808–1811: Du Pré Alexander, 2nd Earl of Caledon

1811–1811: Henry George Grey

1811–1814: John Francis Cradock

1813–1814: Robert Meade  (acting)

From day one it was clear that although the Cape Colony was held by conquest, which should technically have limited their rights to make large statutory and administrative changes, many changes and autocratic actions followed.1,2,5

The second British occupation resulted in comprehensive statutory changes and political conflict between the early Afrikaners and the British, as well as between the early Afrikaners and the various non-White ethnic groups. Although the British promised to maintain certain parts of the De Mist code, there was a dramatic change from a centralized governmental system to a autocratic one-man regime with the governor as head of the executive, legislative and juridical powers. There was no a consulting body to guard against the governor’s misuse of powers, he ruled by proclamation.10

The six governors were autocratic rulers who were only subject to the Secretary of State in London. Their submission was reflected in favouring the followers of the Prince of Orange in civil service appointments at the Cape. Although the Roman-Dutch Law was retained, the High Court was demoted to its lower level status of the pre-Batavian times, while the despised Office of the Fiscal with all its negative features was restored. The Burgher Senate was reinstated as a town council for Cape Town, while it also became an advisory body to the Cape government. Again, the Cape administration was overburdened by highly paid officials as during the first British occupation. The De Mist Code’s stipulations on churches and the improved Batavian administration of rural areas were retained, but the central governmental system was replaced by an autocratic one-man rule. At this time there was still no sign of democracy at the Cape.10

The White colonists were doing well financially as result of the growth in the shipping industry and better sales of produce to these visiting ships and a rise in exports. However, the Black–White conflict really reared its head. Racial conflict and governance problems were awaiting the colony.

3.3.1.1 The Earl of Caledon (1808–1811)9

Caledon’s reign was autocratic, with him being in charge of the executive, legislative and judicial powers. There was no advisory body to temper his behaviour. He legislated by proclamation and was only accountable to the Minister of Colonies in London. He could do as he pleased, and in the case of urgent decisions, he did not always act with wisdom. The lag-time involved in communication meant that London could often not intervene.1,2,10

Some of Caledon’s more positive policies include the division of the territory’s six districts, namely the Cape, Stellenbosch, Tulbagh, Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage, into smaller districts. This resulted in better administration and offered Caledon more control over the countryside and the unruly White frontiersmen. It enabled him to gradually expand the British system of centralizing political, judicial and legislative power. He attained this goal by establishing a circuit high court at Caledon to support the magistrate’s court, lower the cost of high court cases.10

Caledon regarded human rights as important, especially the position of the KhoiKhoi in the Colony. Up to this point the KhoiKhoi were treated as an independent group managed by own chiefs, although under the care of the Cape government. However, they disintegrated into small travelling groups without work or sometimes in the service of the White farmers. In November 1809, Caledon made the KhoiKhoi inside the country’s borders citizens to whom all laws were applicable. In an effort to manage their movement, all KhoiKhoi had to have a permanent place of residence and needed a pass from their employers to move around. Caledon tried to instil a work ethics in the KhoiKhoi and to make them a future substitute for the slaves, who became a problem for London from 1809. He also wanted to stop White farmers from abusing the KhoiKhoi and being cruel by enforcing work contracts between farmers and workers. This decision elicited a reaction from the London Mission’s managers in South Africa, Read and Van der Kemp, who lived in Bethelsdorp. Dissatisfaction with Caledon’s racial policy spread to London where the philanthropist William Wilberforce was already creating awareness of slavery and the mistreatment of the KhoiKhoi by the Whites at the Cape. This issue quickly escalated after 1814.1,2,10

The Xhosa problem needed swift action from Caledon. They were still living in the Zuurveld and frequently entered the districts of Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage, causing chaos. However, it was clear to Caledon that driving them back would create conflict with London. He ultimately left an already failed border policy untouched. Black and White were in direct conflict over land, with various governments failing to offer a sound future strategy and a plan for a permanent working relationship between the two groups.1,2,10

3.3.1.2 John Francis Cradock (1811–1814)

The new governor ignored London’s request not to address the “Black problem” with military action and in the fourth Xhosa war, he drove the Xhosas back across the Fish River. In an effort to limit the fast northwards migration of White frontiersmen into Black territory, he also introduced a new system of land ownership in Cradock in 1813 where the Black-White conflict was prominent. He replaced the loan farm system with a system of hereditary possession, hoping to bind the farmers to their farms to stop them from migrating.10

Cradock’s actions against the Xhosas and the KhoiKhoi quickly got a reaction from the White missionaries at Bethelsdorp and other role players concerned about human rights. This led to the so-called “Swarte Ommegang” (Black Circuit) where several White farmers and their families were accused of theft and murdering KhoiKhoi. Although these accusations were found untrue by judges Strubberg and Cloete of the Circuit High Court, the White farmers lost trust in London as a ruler and in the foreign missionaries. From then onwards the mission stations were side-lined. The Blacks and Whites were now positioned as enemies.1,2,10

Strubberg and Cloete of the Circuit High Court gave a description of how chaotic Black-White relations became in 1814. The groups were played off against each other by foreign powers like Wilberforce in London and Read and Van der Kemp in South Africa. The two judges described the KhoiKhoi at Bethelsdorp as people living in a situation where10:162:

…the natural state of barbarism has seemingly taken the place of civility and social order…where laziness and idleness and the subsequent dirtiness and taintedness have grown to perfection (Own translation)

The two judges also commented on the feebleness of people like Wilberforce in London and Read and Van der Kemp in South Africa as they played off Blacks and Whites in 1814. Grundlingh quotes them as follows10:161:

If the lords Van der Kemp and Read went to the trouble of succinctly and impartially investigating the different stories they were told, they would have viewed many of these complaints that caused a racket inside and outside of the colony as purely fictional, and as a result neither the court nor the government would have been pestered (Own translation).

The Black Circuit was the first sign for the Cape Colony’s inhabitants, especially for the White frontiersmen, that the Peace of Paris of 1814 would change their lives forever and that the British had different plans for them.

Roberts writes as follows about the dramatic impact of the British political system from 1814 onwards4:740:

No European nation has so successfully seeded the globe with its own stock as the United Kingdom. By the end of the nineteenth century, it had created an Anglo-Saxon world which was an identifiable sub-unit within the ambit of European civilization, with an historical destiny diverging from that of the European continent. Its components included growing British communities in Canada, Australia and South Africa (the first and the last containing other important national elements, too).

The Dutch descendants in the colony had settled into a quasi-Dutch lifestyle and governmental dispensation. The change to an autocratic British system was dramatic and they struggled to adjust. To some extent, they never accepted it and sought to escape, like with the Great Trek later. The indigenous people who mostly lived outside the Cape’s statutory and political management and control experienced this change from a Dutch to a British system as less dramatic. This was also true for the slaves who had become separated from the ruling processes as a result of their loss of human rights.1,2,5,10

Looking back at the British rule of 1806 to 1814 critically, it was an immensely autocratic regime, for Blacks and Whites alike. It left the Whites confused. The situation was equally devastating for non-Whites, especially the slaves, the KhoiKhoi and the KhoiSan. Notwithstanding their new status as citizens awarded by Caledon, they were exposed to abuses by the White frontiersmen of Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage more than ever. On the other hand, the slaves, the KhoiKhoi and the KhoiSan were also often cruel and barbaric towards the Whites. Livestock was frequently stolen and they were lazy and undisciplined. No one-sided description of either of the groups at the Cape could do justice to history. These renditions of history should be considered critically. For example, one Afrikaner historian wrote as follows during the heyday of Grand Apartheid10:161:

Some of the complaints pertained to events in the remote past and a great number sprung from the fruitful and stimulated imagination of the Hottentots with their unbridled tongues and the malicious of unbalanced negro-loving zealots. It is true that there were cases where workers and servants had been abused in the pioneer community along the Cape borders, just like in America and even in a factory country like England, but one can assume that the Cape colonists did not act more callous than their White peers elsewhere and that the non-Whites in the Cape colony in general were better off than people elsewhere (Own translation).

Grundlingh10 words here are not quite true and are to a certain extent in line with the thinking of DF Malan, HF Verwoerd and BJ Vorster, leaders of the racist NP. He contradicts himself no less than six times in the above passage. By referring to the “remote past”, he acknowledges that the early Afrikaners did indeed commit wrongs towards the KhoiKhoi. With the reference to “unbalanced negro-loving zealots” he not only uses inappropriate language to create a false history for his Afrikaans readers, but also shows his subjectivity. This was so characteristic of the Afrikaner nationalist historians who wrote during Grand Apartheid. When he speaks of the “pioneer community along the Cape border”, he gives away his naiveté about who the Swellendam, Uitenhage and Graaff-Reneit border farmers really were. They unlawfully invaded Black territory, what we would call terrorism today. The claim that “the non-Whites at the Cape colony in general were better off than elsewhere” is a blatant lie. White farmers from Swellendam and environs went on official “hunting expeditions” to “terminate” KhoiSan and to take the KhoiSan womenfolk and children as “apprentices”, meaning forced slaves. This makes his claim far-fetched. These farmers constantly rebelled against the government, one reason being that their actions were no longer condoned.1,2,10

I would like to refer back to Geen’s1 words quoted in Part 5 about the calibre of the farmers who lived in the region of Swellendam, Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage around 1814. They became the Voortrekkers, some rising as prominent Voortrekker leaders and politicians in the later republics of Transvaal and the Free State. Geen said1:29:

…but the isolation and difficulties of frontier life also made them limited in their outlook, impatient of all forms of control and so intensely individualistic that it became difficult to unite them in effective cooperation. They lost most of their civilization on the way to the Promised Land. Some could write, still more could sign their names, many read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, into which they read a justification of themselves, their beliefs and all their works, but for the rest learning and the affairs of the great world were closed books to them.

This lawlessness among the White frontiersmen resulted in the Slaughter’s Nek Rebellion in 1815 under Frederick Bezuidenhout, which ended with the hanging of five of the ringleaders by Lord Charles Somerset. Geen writes1:57:

In 1815, there occurred the Slaughter’s Nek Rebellion, a typical incident of lawlessness on a distant and disturbed frontier. It was really nothing more than the resistance of a truculent type of frontiersmen to the new conceptions of law, order and justice that were gradually being made effective in the remoter districts.

These farmers lost their civility on their way to the Promised Land. They were cut off from the rest of the world, the Bible serving as their only literature. They read especially the Old Testament and used it justify their actions. This isolation self-righteousness made for naïve decisions on governance later in the republics2:120-121:

The new British authorities had to deal with many of these culturally poor and isolated early Afrikaners on the one hand, and pre-modern Xhosas, KhoiSan and KhoiKhoi with little understanding of simple political and governance matters on the other. They had been schooled to deal with the enemy the African way for centuries, namely war. The political refined British found it difficult to manage the situation.

The second British Cape Colony (1806–1814) with the British holding the colony by conquest, undoubtedly improved the economy of the Cape. Also, from an objective political-historical view away from the contaminated writings of Afrikaner nationalist writers and historians, the governmental administration, law-enforcement and law-making as well as the execution of leadership, progressed. Although serious issues like border and racial conflicts remained largely unchanged, they did have plans to address it. The British governors were backed by a much stronger system than were the Batavian governors.

The South African race issue became more and more laden with aggression, hate and murderous intentions from 1814 onwards.

3.4 Third British occupation of the Cape Colony (1814–1872) by treaty1,2,9

3.4.1 Autocratic governors

The Cape Colony became a rightful British possession with the Peace of Paris. The Netherlands was forced to hand it over to the British Empire permanently in August 1814. The seventeen governors who served from 1814 to 1872 were as follows1,2,9:

1814–1826: Charles Somerset

1820–1821: Rufane Shaw Donkin

1826–1828: Richard Bourke

1828–1833: Galbraith Lowry Cole

1833–1834: Thomas Francis Wade

1834–1838: Benjamin d’Urban

1838–1844: George Thomas Napier

1844–1847: Peregrine Maitland

1847–1847: Henry Pottinger

1847–1852: Sir Harry Smith

1852–1854: George Cathcart

1854–1854: Charles Henry Darling

1854–1861: George Grey

1859–1862: Robert Henry Wynyard

1862–1870: Philip Edmond Wodehouse

1870–1870: Charles Craufurd Hay

1870–1877: Sir Henry Barkly

The British authority lacked democracy. On the other hand, the Boers wanted excessive freedom. This dissatisfaction with authority and the limitations of borders limited their vision. They were intolerant of all forms of control and so intensely individualistic that it became difficult to unite them for effective cooperation. This became characteristic of many of the Boers during the Great Trek and later on in their “Promised Land”, the Boer-republics.1,2,4,10

Between 1806 and 1814 there were not large numbers of British citizens in South Africa, so the British that were present were only there to rule. After 1814 this changed dramatically when thousand of British settlers arrived. Although they were outnumbered by the Boers, they had the backing of the British government and thus the Cape authority. The introduction of British assumptions and laws and the large new English population, created a world that the Boers were not ready for. This ultimately led to negative outcomes. Roberts reports4:777:

This opened a period of whittling away of the privileges of the Boers, as the Dutch farmers were called. In particular, they were excited and irked by any limitation of their freedom to deal with the native African as they wished. Their special indignation was aroused when, as a result of the general abolition of slavery in British territory, some 35,000 of their blacks were freed with, it was said, inadequate compensation.

The Boers became increasingly annoyed, especially with their lack of influence. The Boers found the British regime unacceptable and below standard with respect to full political rights. Roberts says the following about the relationship between the Boers and British4:778:

It was the beginning of a long period during which Anglo-Saxon and Boer struggled to live sometimes apart, sometimes together, but always uncomfortably, their decisions as they did so dragging in their train others about the fate of black African.

3.4.1.1 Charles Somerset (1814–1826)

Somerset arrived at a time when the relationship between non-White and White and between British and Boer had been damaged. The autocratic Charles Somerset damaged these already sensitive relationships further with his management of the unrest at Slaughter’s Neck, causing the dislike for the British occupiers to increase as a result of his over-reach with his political and juridical powers.1,2,10

Somerset inherited the eastern border problem. The policy of segregation failed and led to further Xhosa attacks on the White areas. In this instable situation, two Xhosa leaders entered into conflict themselves. This caused the one leader, Ndlambe, to move into White territory. He reached as far as Grahamstown for an unsuccessful attack on 22 April 1819. Somerset ignored London’s liberal policy and started a clean–up operation by removing the Xhosas from the area between the Fish and Keiskamma Rivers, making the Keiskamma the new outer border. He created a neutral area between the Fish and Keiskamma Rivers as a buffer to keep the factions away from each other and reinstated the segregation policy.1,2,10

Somerset addressed slavery by issuing a proclamation in 1816 making it compulsory to register all slaves. In 1823 he determined the workdays and hours of slaves and prescribed the minimum standard of their food and clothing rations. Married slaves could no longer be sold separately, and the Christian religion had to be made available to them. The number of strokes for physical punishment, and their testimonies were allowed in the court in cases against their owners. In 1826, a slave protector was appointed in Cape Town and various assistant protectors in the rural areas to attend to the complaints of slaves.1,2,10

In the meantime, the British government acted to minimize the Dutch influence in the Cape. They Anglicized the churches, schools and the legal system.1,2,4,10

Although the autocratic and despotic one-man regime at the Cape was replaced by a governor and a Council of Advice that could make laws by way of ordinances, the early Afrikaners could give little input. The problems between the British and the Boers were largely attributable to failure on the side of the British to appoint an effective leader at the Cape who considered the interest of the Afrikaners. Roberts4 points out how this became a situation ready for conflict4:780:

When people then spoke of a ‘racial problem’ in South Africa, they meant the problem of relations between the British and Boers whose conciliation seemed the most urgent need. The defects of the settlement would take some time to appear. When they did it would be not only because the historical sense of the Afrikaner proved to be tougher than people had hoped, but also because of the transformation of South African society which had begun by the industrialization of the Rand could not be halted and would give irresistible momentum to the issue of black Africans.

These racial defects never disappeared – the foundation had been laid for Afrikaner nationalism and its rejection of anything British. The cracks that would lead to a deep divide among Afrikaners, the subsequent founding of the Republic of South Africa 1961, and Apartheid with its racial discrimination, had started to appear.1,2,4,10

The British government was caught off-guard by the British Settlers of 1820. The process started while Somerset was on leave in Britain (1820–1821), leaving the Cape in the hands of an acting governor, Donkin. The settlers, who were used to democracy, immediately got into conflict with the government. This brought a second force to the foreground against the Cape Colony’s way of ruling and their human rights practices. Although most of these immigrants had no voting rights in the UK (this only changed in 1832), they knew what discrimination was why they had to fight it. The settlers’ agitation and resistance on various terrains started slow political reform at the Cape.1,2,4,10

The arrival of the British settlers also affected the Boer–British relations. The settlers were placed in or near Black territories and close to the Xhosa conflict. They became the Eastern Province. They were more well-intended towards the Crown and were therefore considered a better defence. The Western Province was inhabited by a more political independent-minded population.1,11

The Cape colonists did not get into direct conflict with Somerset, they left that to the British Settlers. The settlers had success in 1828 when Bourke came to power.1,2,10

Grundlingh10 writes as follows about Somerset10:174:

The autocratic Somerset in his self-righteousness did not realize that the influence and power of the ruling “High Tories”, his congenial spirits and protectors, were decreasing in his mother land. The rise of the progressive “Young Tories” under the leadership of Canning, and especially the increasing power of the liberal Whi-opposition, heralded the beginning of the end of Somerset’s glory. The increasingly passionate criticism of Dr. John Philip and Exeter Hall contributed greatly to undermining the governor’s authority.

There is no doubt that Somerset made more enemies than friends and that his rule, besides the exaggerations of his Exeter Hall and settler enemies, had serious flaws like tyranny and corruption. The Governor was sharply criticized in the British parliament, and his actions came under the scrutiny of the Colebrook-Bigg commission, who visited the Cape from 1823–1826 for a thorough investigation into a number of government matters (Own translation).

The autocratic behaviours of the various governors at the Cape were being questioned. Human rights also began to make some progress, although it was still limited. The introduction of the first rudimentary rights for the Cape’s Black population was a prominent step in the right direction.11

3.4.1.2 Richard Bourke (1826–1828)

During Somerset’s second leave (1626–1628), the acting governor, Richard Bourke, suddenly had to face a flood of pro-Black sentiment from for instance John Philip. Bourke himself was pro-Black, and started a process to undo the limitations Somerset and earlier governors had imposed on the Black population. The Black-White conflict was steered by a liberal policy that the early Afrikaners saw as discriminatory. They felt that it affected their property, economic, social and political rights. The British started using KhoiKhoi to police Whites, and with Ordinance 49, all legislation that had forbidden Blacks to cross the border into the Colony was recalled. The punishment expeditions of White farmers to retrieve stolen livestock from across the borders were forbidden. Ordinance 50 recalled all legislation pertaining to the KhoiKhoi and lifted discriminatory laws against the free inhabitants of the Colony with respect to property rights, movement, living place, lifestyle or work and choice of work. The KhoiKhoi, Khoisan and free Coloureds received the right to own property. Legislation to fight slavery was also put in place, with laws to abolish it following. The political and social position of non-Whites in the bigger British society improved dramatically from 1928.1,2,11

This progress with Black emancipation was followed up with the rule of Galbraith Lowry Cole (1828–1833). He shortened the working hours of slaves and stipulated better accommodation. In August 1833 legislation was passed that slavery would be forbidden after the 1st of December 1836 in any of the British colonies.1,2,10

The reformations still did not bring democracy to the Cape. It was a first wave of human rights and freedom for the Xhosas, KhoiKhoi, KhoiSan and slaves.11

3.4.1.3 Benjamin D’Urban (1834–1838)

D’Urban inherited the immense task of emancipating 39 021 slaves. He had to calculate the value of the slaves. Compensation for slaves became a disputed topic in South African history books as parting with “Black gold” meant tremendous losses.1,2,10

Grundlingh writes10:179:

All this led to utter bewilderment at the Cape. Mortgages were foreclosed on; foreign agents and speculators exploited the confusion of the colonists by buying up their claims for ridiculously low sums. Many slave owners received one fifth or less of the capital value of their slaves. Wealthy families, especially the large patriarchal households in the Western Province, became so impoverished that many were unable to overcome the significant economic crisis. Stock farmers in the outlying districts also suffered. Although they had fewer slaves than the Boland farmers, some of them were quite considerable slave owners (Own translation).

The above Afrikaner sentiment that was mostly put on paper during NP rule, is misleading. Firstly, as with any apparatus or instrument used to generate money, there is always the unavoidable annual depreciation of the apparatus or instrument as a direct result of use and damage (with a slave this would take the form of aging, poor health, being constantly over-worked, poor accommodation, live conditions, and money already generated for his owner, etc.). It seems that the values were calculated on the sales value of the slaves (in other words a depreciated price) in 1836 and not on the initial purchase price minus the depreciation. Secondly, the many children born to slave parents became the sole property of the farm owners. Geen reflects as follows on the economic impact of the developments in the slave trade1:55:

It is true that the abolition of the slave trade proved to be a source of gain for a time, for the value of the slaves increased and, as their owners obtained considerable profit from the hire of their labour, greater care was bestowed on them.

Geen’s1 description below shows the subjectivity and arrogance of many of the White South African writers before 1990. They adhered to an undisputed right of ownership, even as late as the beginning of the 19th century. One human being may own another human as long as the owned person was Black1:55:

However, the numerous regulations made slave-ownership a burden, as the slaves were gradually removed from the control of their owners, though they continued to be private property. In contrast to the West Indies slavery at the Cape was largely domestic and the slaves on the whole were well treated, so that Lord Charles Somerset could write to the Colonial Secretary, ‘No portion of the community is better off or happier, perhaps, than the domestic slave in South Africa.

If the slaves were such a burden, why did the British government struggle so much to grant them freedom from 1816 onwards and why did the White slave owners at the Cape try everything to prolong slavery? Geen1 neglects to mention that it was only in the time of De Mist that the use of the pain bench and the barbarous torture of slaves were forbidden. The 1823, 1826 and the 1830 Ordinances had to end everything that was still happening to slaves. If the Whites were so “fond of their slaves”, seemingly as intimate family members, why did they want to keep them in chains? Somerset is the last person to make remarks on slaves. He had a track record of cruelty to any opposition, even other Englishmen, at the Cape.1,2 Did Geen1 forget the Slaughter Nek’s executions of five White farmers by Somerset or Somerset’s punishment of the Xhosas?

It later became fashionable for South African history books written by Whites to attack individuals such as William Wilberforce, his wife Hannah Gurney, Elizabeth Frey and Dr Philip and other Whites for their roles in the emancipation of not only of Black slaves, but also “free” Blacks from political oppression in their own country by foreign settlers. They were called “Black boeties” or “negrophiles”. These personal attacks lack any sound arguments and insight. These derogatory names were also used by the Afrikaner nationalists of the Verwoerdian republic to refer to Jan Smuts. “Liberal” people like Wilberforce were ahead of their times and they laid the foundation of today’s Code for Humanity. These “Black Boeties” should get more respect in the modern South African political history. They shone the rare light in a dusky world of abuse and suppression of non-Whites, helping to bring humanity to all.1,2,7,10,11,14-17

The importance of these early abolitionists, not only in South Africa but worldwide, is well described by Martinez12:235:

The abolitionists raised the political and moral consciousness of enough people to change the rules of their society. By redefining what was acceptable, they built a movement powerful enough to make the unthinkable inevitable. A similar task faces all those who value freedom today. The moral and political consciousness of society once again needs to be raised; a unifying, compelling, inspiring vision again needs to be articulated – and the ideal of freedom needs to be at its core.

The argument on the “value” of Black slaves is a further indication of how morally sick the White community at the Cape had become over time. Their value was calculated equally to that of cattle in the 1830s. Geen states1:56:

Besides some very old slaves, there were at the Cape 35,800 slaves valued at ₤3,041,290:6:0 – an average of just over ₤85 each…

and

The colonists did not object to the emancipation itself, …but they did resent the financial loss it involved and, still more, the fact that no vagrancy laws were passed to control the movements of the liberated slaves, who became ‘free persons of colour’ in terms of Ordinance 30.

South Africa had become a White country for the benefit of Whites only. “Free” non-Whites were walking around without work, homes and internal security by the 1830s because of the abuse of non-White labour and the orchestrated disorganization of their societal life, their political suppression, their dehumanization and the illegal occupation of their land by Whites. This resulted in immense poverty and political disorientation. The many similarities between the situation in the 1830s and the situation in South Africa from 1910 to 1994, are obvious. It shows us where the dispensation of 1910 to 1994 came from.1,2,10,14

The fact that farm activities came to a virtual halt without the presence of slaves after emancipation shows how selfishly slave owners previously profited from cheap labour. Why could the members of the large patriarchal families not do the work themselves given their numbers? Was it White laziness? The Council of Policy in 1717 described the Whites as “lazy and incompetent and more expensive than slave labour”,1:22 or was it because the White farmers were13:7-8:

…drunken, lazy, boorish oafs who went to stay at the Fort despite all threats and coercive measures, and set up boarding houses, attempted to exploit sailors and visitors, and further wasted their porch-sitting lives with endless drink and idleness, which is the root of all evil (Own translation).

or was it because,

…every common or ordinary European becomes a gentleman and prefers to be served than to serve…We have in addition the fact that the majority of the farmers in this Colony are not farmers in the real sense of the world, but owners of plantations, and that many of them consider it a shame to work with their own hands.1:25

Although the emancipation was meant to teach Cape Whites to find dignity in manual work, it failed to do so. The early Afrikaners’ alleged loss of about three million rand from the emancipation of the slaves in 1836, is nonsense.10:179 Why could the British settlers make a living on their farms at the Cape without slave labour?10

The poor remuneration to White farmers for their freed slaves is often cited as the main reason for the Great Trek. The poor payment was undoubtedly a secondary reason for the Great Trek, but later Afrikaner writers exaggerated its importance. The primary reason for the Great Trek was racism and the early Afrikaners blindly refusing to be equal to slaves and Black citizens.1,2,10

In this regard Geen writes1:67:

Perhaps, Mrs. Anna Steenkamp, a niece of Piet Retief, writing in 1876 has expressed as truly as anyone the most important cause of the Great Trek: ‘The shameful and unjust proceedings with reference to the freedom of our slaves; and yet it is not so much their freedom which drove us to such lengths, as their being placed on an equal footing with Christians, contrary to the laws of God, and the natural distinction of race and colour, so that it was intolerable for any decent Christian to bow down beneath such a yoke; wherefore we rather withdrew in order thus to preserve our doctrines in purity.

Geen gives an apt summary of the benefits of the emancipation1:56:

…in the words of the great English historian, Lackey, ‘The unweary, unostentatious and inglorious crusade of England against slavery may probably be regarded as among the three or four perfectly virtuous pages comprised in the history of nations’.

In the South Africa of 1830s emancipation did not bring one-man-one-vote, but at least it gave some dignity to non-Whites. However, they were low on the socio-economic ladder. The improvement came solely by order from London, not due to the morality or efficiency of the governors at the Cape.

D’Urban did make changes to the executive management of the Cape Colony to make it more liberal so that it could serve the people. He did this by the replacing the Council of Advisory by a Legislative Council and adding five to seven members to the Cape government. Although the governor’s autocratic power was not greatly affected by this change, this new legislative body’s approval was needed in future for the proclamation of ordinances. However, much of the government was still run from London.1,2,10

The Xhosa conflict did not disappear after the 1830s, notwithstanding the various ordinances to improve the citizenship of non-Whites. This hostile aggression of this situation was far more complex and the various Xhosa wars did not cease. In 1834 the Sixth Xhosa War broke out when 15 000 Xhosa soldiers unexpectedly entered the Colony. The outcome was devastating for the Whites (and for future Black-White relations): 22 White farmers were murdered, 456 homesteads burned down, 5 700 horses, 115 000 heads of cattle and 161 000 sheep were stolen by the Xhosas. D’Urban’s reaction was fierce and swift. He drove the Xhosas from the White farming areas and established the Province of Queen Adelaide between the Kei and Keiskamma rivers. London overruled this in 1836 and the area was handed back to the Xhosas with the reinstatement of the 1819 borders.1,2,10,14

By the end of D’Urban’s reign there had been no improvement in Black-White relations and the direct conflict between the two races raged on, especially the aggression from the Xhosas. In 1846 the new governor, Pedegrine Maitland (1844–1847), fought the War of the Axe. Again the Xhosa warriors penetrated the Colony in a war that lasted the terms of governor Henry Pottinger (1847–1847) and governor Harry Smith (1847–1852).1,2,10,14

3.4.1.4 Harry Smith (1847–1852)

Smith, like his predecessors, inherited the Cape Colony’s chaotic Black-White relations, border conflicts, growing Xhosa unlawfulness and a London government that lacked an understanding of the political and racial energies of Southern Africa. Some of Smith’s efforts to manage the border did partly correct some of the political failures of the past. In an effort to contain the ongoing war-like behaviour of the Xhosas, Smith declared the area previously known as the Province of Queen Adelaide a formal British area. The name changes to British Kaffraria, but it was not part of the Cape Colony. It became a separate Black reserve, managed by a Chief Commissioner that resorted with the British High Commissioner. However, peace still eluded the border areas. In 1850 military villages in British Kaffraria were destroyed by the Xhosas. Some of the inhabitants were murdered and the Colony was again entered again, which led to another series of murders of White farmers and the destruction of farms.1,2,10,14

What made the situation in 1850 worse, was the entrance of a non-White allied force against the British rulers of the Cape Colony. It no longer consisted of the Black inhabitants of British Kaffraria only, but of groups from Transkei and the Kat river KhoiKhoi. Smith indecisiveness on finding a workable solution to the growing Xhosa problem, led to his replacement by George Cathcart (1852–1854) who successfully reinstalled the British management of British Kaffraria. However, he did not really establish permanent Xhosa rule. This finding of a solution became the task of George Grey (1854-1861).1,2,10,14

By the 1860s it was clear that the autocratic Cape governors, guided by their unable imperial government in London, had been failing to serve all the inhabitants of the Cape, Black and White. The Cape Colony remained autocratic, while the racial situation became increasingly explosive. A permanent hostility had developed between the Whites, mostly the early Afrikaners, and the Xhosas. It seemed that the only resolution would be one of the groups being wiped out completely.1,2,10,14

3.4.1.5 George Cathcart (1852–1854)

By the 1850s the autocratic style of governance became untenable. A unity started developing among the White Afrikaans-speaking inhabitants and the English-speaking settlers and they started viewing the government as oppressive. This newfound unity was illustrated by their joint obstruction of the boat Neptune, which was set to unload bandits from Britain at the Cape in 1849. Harry Smith, the then governor, wrote as follows about this unity1:80: “This is the first occasion on which Dutch and English inhabitants coalesced in opposition to Government”. Prominent leaders against the penal colony for convicts (similar to Australia) were Porter, Solomon, Fairbairn, Molteno and Stockenström. This unity between the White groups goes deeper: they had an overwhelming belief that London was incapable of understanding the Cape inhabitants’ interests. They strove for self-government based on liberal, inclusive multi-racial politics.15,16

This unity changed the views in London, making the government more inclined to eventually granting some form of self-government for the Cape. The Attorney-General at the Cape sent a draft constitution to London, which was returned after revision by the Privy Council in London.1,2,10,14 This set into motion a process in 1830 where two petitions to London from the Albany District and Cape Town asked for representative government. It was without success. In 1841, the two districts re-petitioned London, on which the Colonial Secretary replied1:79:

The Colony was not ripe for such a measure’ and enlarged upon some of the difficulties in the way of introducing an elective assembly – the choice of a capital, the possible separation of the Eastern Province, the coloured franchise and the danger of the townsmen gaining control of the parliament.

In 1848, Harry Smith renewed the request for self-government at the Cape. This led to the preparation of another draft constitution in February 1850, but infighting delayed the outcome (infighting had behaviour become typical in South Africa and in the later Boer republics).1,2,10,14,16,18

During the office of Cathcart, the first signs of democracy appeared in the Cape Colony with the establishment of a Parliament in 1853 by her Majesty, the Queen. The constitution was finally approved in December 1852 by the Duke of Newcastle, the then Colonial Secretary. It was promulgated as the Constitution Act of 1854. In 1853, the Cape Colony became a British Crown colony. The Cape’s “independence” came through a gradual evolution and not a sudden revolution.1,15,16,18

Geen comments as follows on the work and powers of the first parliament (1854–1858)1:81-82:

The Governor had to convene Parliament at least once a year; he could dissolve both houses of the legislature or the House of Assembly alone; he could approve or veto the bills passed by Parliament or submit them to the Crown, which retained the power to disallow them within two years of their reaching England. The Executive Council was still composed of senior officials appointed by the Colonial Secretary and was responsible to the Governor and not to the Parliament, but it could not follow a policy opposed to the wishes of Parliament, which consisted of two houses. The upper house, called the Legislative Council, consisted of fifteen members elected for ten years, seven by the Eastern Province and eight by the Western Province. On the first occasion, the four members for each Province with the least number of votes had to retire after five years. Members had to be at least thirty years of age and possess ₤4,000 worth of general property or land to the value of ₤2,000. The Chief Justice was the President of the Council, but he had not the right of voting. The lower house, the House of Assembly, had a membership of 46, elected for five years by 22 constituencies, Cape Town alone being represented by four members. The Speaker…was elected by the members and he had a casting vote. The franchise was a liberal one and remained unchanged for almost forty years. The vote was given to all adult male British subjects, who earned at least ₤50 a year or had occupied for at least a year property with a minimum rental value of ₤25 per annum. Thus was Ordinance 50 carried to its logical conclusions and not on colour introduced by the new constitution.

The Constitution Act of 1854 was a relatively liberal document that prohibited any racial or class discrimination. It instituted a non-racial qualified franchise. The same qualifications for suffrage were applied equally to all males, regardless of race. It changed the Legislative Council to the Upper House of the new parliament, of which members were elected according to the Western Province and the Eastern Province that formed the Colony. A New Lower House, the Assembly, was also constituted.16,18

However, the Constitution of 1854 was a troublesome one: it instated a parliament without a parliamentary government. The executive power remained as before firmly with the office of the appointed governor from London. The parliamentary body led to serious conflicts between the representative legislative power and the appointed executive power until 1872. This was especially true during the political abuse and power play of governor Philip Edmond Wodehouse (1862–1870). This unstable governmental system and its ineffective constitution created enormous conflict between the Cape inhabitants and the British in London.11,16,19 Wiid writes as follows about this early effort to bring some form of democracy to the Cape19:324:

The constitution of 1853 carried the seed of self-destruction and provided sufficient proof of its uselessness. Repeated disagreements and deadlocks between the resprentative legislative authority and the elected executive authority, especially during the rule of the autocratic sir Philip Wodehouse, demonstrated that a parliament without parliamentary government under the British system was a constitutional evil (Own translation)

For the poor non-Whites, who formed the majority of the non-Whites and the total South African population, this legislation did not bode well, notwithstanding its non-racial clause. It had the potential to become a White man’s and a rich-man’s constitution to maintain White rule. Both the Dutch and English wanted to ensure that they could dominate politically. This became clearer after 1874. The only power available was in the hands of the executive governor and London.1-3,10

It took eighteen years to move to a more democratic system. Since 1853, a more realistic idea started to develop about effective rule in the Cape. Prominent was the growing political and financial responsibility assigned to the management of the Cape Colony. Internal struggles also obstructed effective governance from London. It was clear that an improvement to the self-management of the 1853 constitution at the Cape was urgently needed.10

The initially introduction of the representative constitution was delayed by the Eight Xhosa War. The First Cape Parliament (1854-1858) was at last opened by Governor Charles Henry Darling (1854–1854) on the 30th of June 1854. The governor that really implemented the constitution and its parliament was Sir George Grey (1854–1861).1,2,10,16,17

This First Cape Parliament (1854-1858) was, in terms of office, followed by the following three parliaments15,16,18:

  • Second Cape Parliament (1859–1863)
  • Third Cape Parliament (1864–1869) [Office was ended by dissolution of British Governor]
  • Fourth Cape Parliament (1870–1873)
 3.4.1.6 Henry Barkly (1870–1877)

The deadlocks and conflicts between the representative legislative power and the appointed executive power of the First Cape Parliament continued, hampering political decision-making. In 1862, Wodehouse got into trouble with the Cape Parliament, which refused to take over British Kaffraria from the imperial government or to impose additional taxation. British Kaffraria was annexed in 1865 by a bill that also increased the membership of the Legislative Council to 21 and the House of Assembly to 666 to include the representatives of British Kaffraria. After another conflict and a deadlock in the Parliament in 1869, the governor dissolved parliament. This internal conflict between the executive and legislative powers continued, and in May 1870 the parliament was prorogued. Democracy, even in its primitive form, was not handled effectively by the Cape Colony’s inhabitants, however much they dreamed and fought for democracy and their political rights since 1652.1,2,19

Ultimately, the Colonial Secretary ordered Henry Barkly (1870–1877) to introduce responsible government at the Cape. The colony and its ineffective leaders were becoming more of a burden than an asset. The British government felt that drastic action was needed, as Wiid17 states19:325:

The British government argued that, if the Cape colonists would not be ruled from above, they should be allowed to assume the responsibilities of self-government (Own translation).

This noble belief (and hope) of the Empire was easier said than done. Notwithstanding their internal fights and obstructions, Barkly steered the colonists. A Responsible Government Bill was passed to instate responsible government in 1870. It passed successfully through the House of Assembly, but was rejected by the Legislative Council owing opposition from the Eastern Province. The bill was finally passed in April 1872 by both houses, but opposition was still prominent.1,15,16

After unsuccessful appeals to eminent Capetonians, like Southey, Porter and Solomon, Barkly asked JC (John) Molteno (who also became the first Prime Minister) to put a government together, which he did with success. The 1872 Constitution of the Cape Colony, also known as the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872, had as its underlying principle full responsible government for the Cape Colony. It brought important changes to the political empowerment of the Colony’s inhabitants. This happened 220 years after the establishment of the Cape Refreshment Settlement. This development ended the autocratic reigns of governors, like Phillip Edmond Wodehouse (1862-1870), who became famous for their wrongdoings. Sir Henry Barkly’s efforts and initiative as well as that of the Colonial Secretary in London to bring full responsible government for the Cape Colony, are praiseworthy and shows that the British leadership in London was not always unsympathetic to the colonists’ interests. Also, the prominent role of Sir John Molteno, an English-speaking Capetonian, in getting Afrikaans- and English-speaking Whites into a political unity to embark on responsible government towards the Union’s foundation, needs special reference. Barkly and Molteno were the first good leaders at the Cape.1,2,15,16,18

The positive implications of the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872 were numerous, as Geen1 spells out1:84-85:

Responsible Government means government by a ministry which is responsible to Parliament and which continues in office only as long as it receives the support of the lower house of Parliament. Thus civil servants appointed by the Colonial Secretary and responsible to him through the Governor ceased to form the Executive Council, which from 1872 consisted of a Prime Minister without any other portfolio and four other ministers, all of whom were members either of the House of Assembly or the Legislative Council and belonged to the party in power in the former body. The Cape Government could no longer be ordered by the Imperial Government to do what it did not want to do, though it could have foreign policy of its own and was bound by many British treaties that affected the whole Empire and also by various admiralty and merchant shipping laws. However, the Governor had to act on the advice of the Cabinet in regards to local matters, though as High Commissioner he still had considerable powers in territories beyond the borders of the Cape Colony.

The new constitution held non-racialism as a core value, while the universal qualification for suffrage of ₤25 was seen as sufficiently low to ensure that most owners of any form of property or land could vote. An effort to raise it was successfully stop although it was agreed that rising in levels of wealth would eventually render it obsolete. Many new voters registered, specific the rural Xhosas of the frontier areas who were mostly communal landowners and therefore eligible for suffrage. This caused racial conflict. An important outcome was that the operating language of the Parliament was English, creating to a limitation of (and discrimination against) Dutch-speaking members because of their inability to speak English.15,16,19

The Fifth Parliament (1874–1878) was finally put in place. However, in the eighteen years from the promulgation of the Constitution Act of 1854 to the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872, little changed with regard to racial and cultural conflict, and it all transferred to the Union of South Africa.1,2,15,16

3. Discussion

The Third Marquess of Salisbury, Robert Arthur Gascoyne-Cecil, the British prime minister at the height of Britain’s imperial power, believed that to ensure the stability of the wonderful and joyous Empire of Queen Victoria, as little as possible must be done to maintain the utopia. Gascoyne-Cecil summarized this belief in a single sentence quoted by Barber20:1: “Whatever happens…will be for the worse, and therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible”.

Barber20 does points out that Salisbury was by no means the only political leader who aspired to do very little. Barber writes20:1:

William Evarts, secretary of state in the administration of US President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–81), admonished him once by saying, “You don’t sufficiently realise, Mr President, the great truth that almost any question will settle itself if you only let it alone long enough”.

Barber continues by describing the US president Calvin Coolidge (nick-named Silent Cal).20 His biographer, Amity Shlaes, wrote20:1: “Congress always says ‘Do’. Coolidge replied, ‘Do not do’, or at least, ‘Do less’”.

When looking to the political history at the Cape 1795 to 1872, the Salisbury, Evarts and Coolidge attitude became the curse of the inhabitants of the Cape Colony under British rule. As little as possible happened on the political field. The belief was human rights politics would cause chaos at the Cape. The belief was also that the race factor would settle itself.15,16,19

It seems that although the British governors were well-educated men and had talent in terms of thinking, planning and doing. However, they were driven by the imperial spirit to establish and to maintain their much loved Empire.

In the ‘civilized world’ of the British of 1872, it was clear that the Cape Colony’s inhabitants were lacking good British culture. The British, were obliged to make the people of the backwards Cape Colony acceptable and functional parts of their grand Mighty Empire. This “backwardness” is to a great extent the truth, as Wiid confirms19:324:

This colony was still conducting a politically restricted life and, as consequence, lost many of its strongest sons as emigrants. Before the seventies, Afrikaans speakers – who back then only comprised about three quarters of the white population in the Colony – only provided around one third of the members of parliament (Own translation).

But Wiid shows that this backwardness was also created and maintained by the British Empire with their suppression of human and political rights.

The non-Whites’ voting rights, based on the multi-racial Cape Qualified Franchise, using the universal qualification for suffrage of ₤25 as sufficiently low to ensure that most owners of any form of property or land could vote, was a mislead plan to keep them out of the Parliament. The majority of these non-Whites – from KhoiKhoi, KhoiSan, Coloureds to free slaves, as well as Blacks inside the borders of the Cape Colony – was absolutely poor. Most of them could not speak English, which disqualified them as voters. Even early Afrikaners – people who were better educated and economically more stable in the period 1795 to 1872 – could be excluded by the Constitution Act of 1854. Wiid writes19:331:

In these circumstances the Afrikaans-speaking, who at the time constituted about one third of the White population at the Cape, delivered about one third of the parliament before the seventies (Own translation).

There is an immense difference between professing multi-racial politics or race equality in theory, and practicing human tolerance. The White Cape inhabitants knew from early on that to rule the Colony and its people they must capture and hold on to two intertwined energies: money and politics: they who have the money rule the politics and they who have the politics rule the money. Chomsky21 explains this fact clearly21:55:

…concentration of wealth leads almost reflexively to concentration of political power, which in turn translates into legislation, naturally in the interests of those implementing it…

and21:82:

…concentrated wealth will, of course, try to use its wealth and power to take over the political system as much as possible, and to run it and do what it wants, etc.

The Whites did not want a non-White regime in power after their “own suffering” on the hands of the VOC and the British Empire. Engelbrecht22 remarks on politicians after he reviewed Ronnie Kasrils’s23 book on Jacob Zuma, when he says22:12-13:

Kasril’s book reveals a serpent’s nest that confirms one’s suspicions that most politicians – everywhere, not just in South Africa – are cunning and dangerous snakes. [Own translation].

As a regime the British Empire was cold-blooded towards non-British persons when its interests were endangered. It did not hesitate to use extreme force when needed, as later reflected in their war against the Boers and their families during the Second Anglo Boer War (1899–1902). The British autocratic management of the Cape Colony inspired hostility among Blacks and Whites.1,2,10,12,23

They laid the table for future hate and rebellion.1,2

These British Empire’s military actions towards and suppressions of indigenous Southern Africans from the early 1800s are, when comparing it with their own modern British guideline to describe a terrorist, precisely the same, namely24:9:

  • Violence against a person;
  • Serious damage to property;
  • Designed to influence a  government or an international organization or to intimidate the     public or a section of the public;
  • With the aim of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

This brings to the foreground Boon’s25:75 description of the characteristics of a political mobster:

Selfishness; delinquent inclinations all-over; strategies total stripped of all democratic principles, traditions, thinking, planning and doings; absolute intolerant; anti- order; minorities are quickly eradicated; coercion actions characterized by destruction, threat, killings and brutalities; aim the creation of a delinquent mob-reign; aim the exclusive of executive political mob-leaders to reign the country.

This contamination went much deeper: it also contaminated White inhabitants’ mindsets, as already reflected by the White frontiersmen along all the borders of the Colony.

The Cape’s inhabitants’ isolation from true democracy for over two hundred and twenty years made them political immature (and full of distrust for the Empire), as was reflected by their constant internal fighting and senseless tussling before the Constitution Ordinance Amendment Act of 1872 could finally be promulgated for self-management. This political immaturity was also internalized into the mindsets of the Voortrekkers as reflected by the problematic ruling of their Boer republics.

The period 1795 to 1872 was characterized by in-fighting between Afrikaans-speaking Whites and English-speaking Whites, the growth of the British Empire and British supremacy and the suppression of especially the non-Whites of Southern Africa. Murder was justified as a means to control Blacks. As much as the British showed justice to the slaves, they were cruel to those Blacks who were independent of their control and who resisted. The British leaders at the Cape, twenty-seven governors, failed. The “Spook of Godske” (Ghost of Godske), whose sole intention is to inspire racism and racial disharmony who started his night walks at the old Refreshment Station’s fort, it seems, had never come to rest, not even two hundred years later.1,12,19

The British Empire’s constant wavering and unpredictable policy on the personal and political rights of the Coloureds, KhoiKhoi, KhoiSan and Black tribes such as the Xhosas, a policy that ranged from a kind of “apartheid” to assimilation and to extreme suppression, undoubtedly laid the foundation of more than one political tragedy for South Africa waiting in the future.

The British Empire was a failed regime at the Cape Colony. The British never learned from the old Chinese proverb: Of all the stratagems, to know when to quit is best.

4. Conclusions

The two objectives of this study were to discover if the South African leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made contributions to the country and its people during their time, and to determine if the behaviours of the South African leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 were impeccable.

The conclusions that are drawn from this study are presented in accordance with the aims and hypotheses as postulated in 2.2 to 2.5:

H1: The South African leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people.

The findings of this study show that the leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 failed to make extraordinary positive contributions to the country and its people. # Hypothesis H1 must be rejected.

H2: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 were impeccable.

The findings of this study show that the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1795 to 1872 as leaders and as persons failed to be extraordinary and impeccable. # Hypothesis H2 must be rejected.

Looking at the racial discrepancies, discriminations, injustices and conflicts present by 1872 in South Africa, especially between its individual inhabitants, the Italian proverb: After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box, is misleading. After two centuries of gaming together, these groups could not fit into one box.

5. References

  1. Geen MS. The Making of the Union of South Africa. London: Longman and Green; 1945.
  2. Scholtz GD. Suid-Afrika en die Wéreldpolitiek: 1652-1952. Pretoria: Voortrekkerpers; 1964.
  3. Beyers C. Binnelandse Beroering en Ondergang van die Kompanjie, 1779-1795. In: AJH     Van Der Walt, JA Wiid, AL Geyer. Geskiedenis van Suid- Afrika. Cape Town: Nasou; Annon.).
  4. Roberts JM. The Penguin History of the World. London: Penguin; 1995.
  5. Van der Merwe JP. Die Kaap onder Britse en Betaafse Bestuur, 1795-1806. In: AJH Van Der Walt, JA Wiid, AL Geyer. Geskiedenis van Suid- Afrika. Cape Town: Nasou; Annon.).
  6. Bless C, Higson-Smith C. Fundamentals of Social Research Methods: An African Perspective. 2nd ed. Kenwyn: Juta; 1995.
  7. Louw GP. A guideline for the preparation, writing and assessment of article-format     dissertations and doctoral theses. 2nd ed. Mafikeng Campus: North-West University, South Africa; 2017.
  8. Maree K, Van der Westhuizen C. Head start in designing research proposals in social sciences. Cape Town: Juta; 2009.
  9. Governors of the Cape Colony. [Internet]. [Cited 2018 Apr.18]. Available from     https://www.geni.com/projects/Governors-of-the-Cape-Colony/12332
  10. Grundlingh MAS. Vyftig Jaar Britse Bestuur, 1806-1854. In: AJH Van Der Walt, JA Wiid, AL Geyer. Geskiedenis van Suid- Afrika. Cape Town: Nasou; Annon.).
  11. Cape Colony. [Internet]. [Cited 2018 Apr.18]. Available from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Colony
  12. Martinez R. Creating Freedom. Edinburgh: Canongate; 2016.
  13. Van den Heever CM. Generaal JBM Hertzog. Johannesburg: AP Boekhandel; 1944.
  14. Van Der Walt AJH, Wiid JA, Geyer AL. Geskiedenis van Suid- Afrika. Cape Town: NASOU; Annon.
  15. Immelman RFM. Men of Good Hope, 1804-1954. Cape Town: CTCC; 1955.
  16. Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope. [Internet]. [Cited 2018 Apr.18]. Available from     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_the_Cape_of_Good_Hope
  17. Morudu P. Wie dra die meeste skuld? Rapport (Weekliks). 2016 May 22; pp. 4-5.
  18. McCraken JL. The Cape Parliament.Oxford: Claredon; 1967.
  19. Wiid JA. Politieke Ontwikkeling in die Kaapkolonie, 1872-1896. In: AJH Van Der Walt, JA Wiid, AL Geyer. Geskiedenis van Suid- Afrika. Cape Town: Nasou; Annon.).
  20. Barber M. How to run a Government. London: Penguin; 2015.
  21. Chomsky N. Occupy. Parktown: Penguin; 2012.
  22. Engelbrecht T. ‘n Kroniek van ‘n kaalgatperske. Rapport (Weekliks). 2018 Jan. 21; pp. 12-13.
  23. Kasrils R. A simple Man. Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma. Pretoria: Jacana; 2018.
  24. Powell J. Talking to Terrorists. London: Penguin; 2014.
  25. Boon M. The African way: The power of interactive leadership. Sandton: ZebraPress; 1996.

PEER REVIEW

Not commissioned; External peer-reviewed.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The author declares that he has no competing interest.

FUNDING

The research was funded by the Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa.

UNSUITABLE TERMS AND INAPPROPRIATE WORDS

Please note that I, the author, is aware that the words Creole, Bantu, Kaffir, Native, Hottentot and Bushman are no longer suitable terms and are inappropriate (even criminal) for use in general speech and writing in South Africa (Even the words non-White and White are becoming controversial in the South African context). The terms do appear in dated documents and are used or translated as such in this article for the sake of historical accuracy. Their use is unavoidable within this context. It is important to retain their use in this article to reflect the racist thought, speech and writings of as recently as sixty years ago. These names form part of a collection of degrading names commonly used in historical writings during the heyday of apartheid and the British imperial time. In reflecting on the leaders and regimes of the past, it is important to foreground the racism, dehumanization and distancing involved by showing the language used to suppress and oppress. It also helps us to place leaders and their sentiments on a continuum of racism. These negative names do not represent my views and I distance myself from the use of such language for speaking and writing. In my other research on the South African populations and political history, I use Blacks, Whites, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaners, Coloureds, KhoiSan (Bushmen), KhoiKhoi (Hottentots) and Boers as applicable historically descriptive names.

An appraisal of the executive political leaders and regimes of the South African: 1652 to 2018. Part 5: Performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 1795

Gabriel P Louw

iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6190-8093

Research Associate, Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

Corresponding Author:

Prof. Dr. GP Louw

Email: profgplouw@gmail.com

Keywords: appraisal, black, executive, history, leaders, performance, political, profile, regime, white.

Ensovoort, volume 38 (2018), number 7:3

1 Background

1.1 Introduction

When does History begin?

This was a daring question that the eminent historian, JM Roberts, forced to the foreground in 1976 in his brilliant and comprehensive work: History of the World.

Roberts writes1:3:

It is tempting to reply ‘In the beginning’, but like many obvious answers, this soon turns out to be unhelpful. As a great Swiss historian once pointed out in another connexion, history is the one subject where you cannot begin at the beginning. We can trace the chain of human descent back to the appearance of vertebrates, or even to the photosynthetic cells and other basic structures which lie at the start of life itself. We can go back further still, to almost unimaginable upheavals which formed this planet, and even to the origins of the universe. Yet this is not ‘history’.

Common sense helps here: history is the story of mankind, of what it has done, suffered or enjoyed. Even when historians write about a natural process beyond human control, such as the ups and downs of climate, or the spread of disease, they do it only because it helps us to understand why men and women have lived (and died) in some ways rather than others.

One outcome from ‘history’ reflecting the uniqueness of the human species, is not its possession of certain faculties or physical characteristics, but what it has done with it: the human species’ achievements as protraited in its remarkably intense level of activity and creativity, its cumulative capacity to create change. The human culture alone is progressive and was in the past and is presently built up by increasingly conscious choices and selection within it, as well as by accident and natural pressure, supported by the accumulation of a capital of experiences and knowledge, which humans have and have exploited.1:4

Roberts adds that1:4:

Human history began when the inheritance of genetics and the behaviour, which had until then provided the only way of dominating the environment, was first broken through by conscious choice. Of course, human beings have always only been able to make their history within limits. These limits are now vey wide indeed, but they were once so narrow that it is impossible to identify the first step which took human evolution away from the determination of nature. We have, for a long time, only a blurred story, obscure both because the evidence is fragmentary and because we cannot be sure exactly what we are looking for.

Looking to the South African ‘history’ it was and is to date a blurred story, obscure both because the evidence is fragmentary and because we cannot be sure exactly what we are looking for: an exclusive White “history” or an exclusive Black “history”, both saturated with falsities, subjectivities and emotionality, misused over the years until 1994 by the Afrikaners and from 1994 by the ANC regime in their opposing policies of political correctness.

Of a “pure”, true and honestly written South African history was there in the past and will there be in the future not one. History is and was always written by the winner and ruler: objectivity is out of the mindset in South Africa’s political schizophrenia: not the best psychiatric drug can bring about mental clearness and mindset reality. At most, we can talk about a South African political history, inundated by racial conflicts, discrimination and manifold social, psychological, economic and political wrongdoings. In the appraisal of the executive political leaders for the period 1652 to 1795, we must take note of this unavoidable factor of contamination of our history, spreading like cancer into its leaders’ thinking, planning and actions over time.

Before we go into a journey of our past, is it important to note how our official political history (commencing in 1652) compares in age with countries of the greater world and what was the human-political thinking in the middle 1600s when Commander Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape of Storms, renamed the Cape of Good Hope (which seems a more and more faulty name-change), as the first White to be officially mandated to start up a refreshment post, manned initially exclusively by Whites, solely for White interests.

Is South Africa’s political history really impressive in age and a grey-headed “elder” among the world’s countries, as our history books sometimes try to propagate? Roberts1 offers us a time-clock to understand our age when he states1:5:

The roots of history lie in the prehuman past and it is hard to grasp just how long ago that was. If we think of a century on our calendar as a minute on some great clock recording the passage of time, then white Europeans began to settle in the Americas only about five minutes ago. Slightly less than fifteen minutes before that, Christianity appeared. Rather more than an hour ago a people settled in southern Mesopotamia who were soon to evolve the oldest civilization known to us. Thus it is already well beyond the furthest margin of written record. According to our clock, people began writing down the past much less than an hour ago, too. Some six or seven hours further back on our scale and much more remotely, we can discern the first recognizable human being of a modern physiological type already established in western Europe. Behind them, anything from a fortnight to three weeks earlier, appear the first traces of creatures with some manlike characteristics whose contribution to the evolution which followed is still in debate.

The South African political history, coming from the 1600s, is a suckling baby, still totally dependent on outside care to survive. But the positivity to this is that this baby has the youth on its side to be able to grow into a wonderful adult with time, if he/she receives the right parental care and guidance. Indeed, what went wrong so far in the country’s past can be rectified with ease by its people, depending on the ability, integrity and vision of the regimes they are going to allow to reign over them.

But to understand the above reference: first White to be officially mandated to start up a refreshment post, manned initially exclusively by Whites solely for White interests, and thus the bringing about and the anchoring of an extremely problematic political history for South Africa, it is important to reflect on those first Whites’ arrival in 1652 at the Cape. These establishers of an exclusive European culture at the Cape, and their political thinking, planning and actions, were strongly vested in the 1600-1700s’ rigid European negative dogma, doctrine and ideology on non-European races.

In this respect the historian and writer Niall Ferguson2 mentioned that race had been a powerful and violent preoccupation already in early times; it is not exclusive to modern times only. This predisposition brings to the foreground the question why this long-coming race inclination? He writes2:li:

An answer that suggests itself – also, as it happens, from the literature on evolutionary biology – is that racism, in the sense of a strongly articulated sense of racial differentiation, is one of those ‘memes’ characterized by Richard Dawkins as behaving in the realm of ideas the way genes behave in the natural world. The idea of biologically distinct races, ironically, has been able to reproduce itself and retain its integrity far more successfully than the races it claims to identity.

In this context Ferguson elaborates that2: li-lii:

As is well known, the first ostensibly scientific attempt to subdivide the human species into biologically distinct races was by the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnnaeus (Carl von Linné). In his Systema Naturae (1758), he identified four races: Homo sapiens americanus, Homo sapiens asiaticus, Homo sapiens after and Homo sapiens europaeus. Linnaeus, like all his many imitations, ranked the various races according to their appearance, temperament and intelligence, putting European man at the top of the evolutionaty tree, followed (in Linnaeus’s case) by American man (‘ill-tempered…obstinate, contented, free’), Asian man (‘severe, haughty, desirous’) and – invariably at the bottom – African man (‘crafty, slow, foolish’). Whereas European man was ‘ruled by customs’, Linnaeus argued that African man was ruled by ‘caprice’.

Ferguson2 writes that when the American Revolution arrived, the above “Linnaeus thinking” was immensely wide-spread in the greater European communities. All that was outstanding was whether racial differences reflected gradual divergence from common origin or the lack of such a common origin, as propagated by the polygenists. Racial theorists had with time devised more elaborate methods of categorizing race differentiation, like the skull size and its shape, etc, but the basic ranking system never changed. In his book, Hereditary Genius, published in 1869, the polymath Francois Galton devised a sixteen-point scale of racial intelligence, which scaled the Australian Aborigines at the bottom versus Ancient Athenians on top.2

This was, with the above already discriminatory cognitions, internalized into their mindsets for generations when the first Cape settlers arrived. It must be noted that during the period 1652 to 1671, when there was an immense shortage of European womenfolk, but many Black slave womenfolk available, the basic human sexual needs of the White men overcame, to a certain extent, these racial taboos, which led thereto that three out of four children born to slave mothers had White fathers. It was only after 1671 with the Godske Instruction and the Netherlands Authority’s direct intervention at the Cape on race relations and racism, that the Linnaeus dogma of White superiority won again and the “first apartheid law of South Africa was promulgated”. From there onward the South African history became a White political history: steered, driven and written by Whites. In particular, it became an Afrikaner history representing “Afrikanerdom” glorification, thinking and promotion. It is in this unfortunate context of the South African history and its executive political leaders, that their leaderships and regimes of governance will be appraised for the period 1652 to 1795.3-9

To understand the context of my above remark, read what Afrikaner historians write about this 1652 to 1795 exclusively Afrikaner-created history, with the Afrikaner as a European the single focus as the creator and saviour of Southern Africa, ignoring the non-European contribution totally. In his autobiography General JBM Hertzog, published in 1944, the well-known Afrikaner writer and Afrikaner novelist CM van den Heever, writes10:9-10:

The Dutch national group lost their ties to their motherland as a result of isolation and as one generation gave way to the next. The French Hugenots and the Germans were soon absorbed into this group, and their language disappeared and became a new one, leaving behind only a trace here and there of the original Seventeenth Centuary Dutch language (Own translation).

The new citizen did not let his ties to the motherland go on his own. He left behind the crux of the new culture as he went further into the interior as he followed a northerly path. This helped to prepare the new, wild world for the Afrikaans culture, which has its roots in farming life (Own translation).

At the beginning of the Eighteenth Centuary, clear indications of a feeling of separation from Holland became apparent, a realization that the “Afrikaner” was forming an “apartheid”. This tendency, with increasing self-determination and external pressure, would become greater. The Afrikaans type, including physique, language and outlook on life, was formed. For this Afrikaner, far from Western European cultural sources and trapped in the isolation of the loneliness of the veld, the Bible remained the only source of culture, and life was aimed at the Hereafter (Own translation).

With regard to racial relations in 1944, Van den Heever10 writes about the same degrading view of Blacks as persons and as a group of “danger”, a viewpoint that had been raised thirty-six years earlier in 1908 at the Cape Convention, by some of the most prominent Afrikaner leaders in their discussion of all the races in the to be formed Union of South Africa. Prominent were verbatim remarks then by polically famous delegates, like11:18-19: “…Perhaps at bottom I do not believe in politics for them at all as a means for the attainment of the highest ends, but certainly so far as the Natives are concerned, politics will to my mind only have an unsetting influence”; and: “I do not like the Natives at all and I wish we had no Black man in South Africa”.

In this context of strong racism, Van den Heever also writes10:9-10:

This requires that all kinds of relationships must be captured, most importantly those regarding natives. Jan van Riebeeck was still groping around in this respect, particularly with the consept of a heathen being allowed to marry a white person. Life habits, born out of land circumstances, helped to build an attitude in which the white culture’s future would be protected. By the end of the Eighteenth Centuary, the attitude of the Afrikaner towards the coloured people was alreasdy crystalised, and the Great Trek would sharpen it further. It had become clear to them that very strict handling of the dividing line between White and non-White people was necessary, if they did not want to sink into the barbarism around them (Own translation).

The historian and writer MS Geen12 writes in 1945 in his book: The Making of the Union of South Africa, in the same one-sided way on the history of the country as an exclusive White one, wherein the color Black is seemingly an unknown role-player (also carefully examine his reference hereunder)12:216:

There must also be the fullest appreciation of the contributions that all have made to the making of the Union of South Africa. Alongside the tributes we should proudly pay to the tenacity of the early Dutch settlers, to the courage of the Cape frontiersmen and to the self-sacrifice of the Voortrekkers and their descendants, there must be admiration for those of British stock who have played a notable part in the building of South Africa—administrators and soldiers on the Cape eastern frontier, missionaries, early settlers in the Albany District and in Natal, Lord Milner’s “Kindergarten”, and engineers and financiers, whose knowledge, enterprise and capital built up the great diamond and gold industries with the aid of European and Bantu labour.

The only reference by Geen12 to Blacks was the contribution of cheap labour by Bantus for Blacks (but also similar to the abusive names of natives, kaffirs and barbarians used in Geen’s book) in the diamond industries; in this context to bring at the lowest pay, fortunes to the British mine owners. His praises were exclusively for the engineers’ and financiers’ knowledge, enterprise and capital, which he saw as the persons who solely built up the great diamond and gold industries. With regard to a place in history, taking the lead and making valuable contributions to it, it seems that the Blacks, in terms of Geen’s12 report, were not contributers in the country’s history or even able to make such contributions.12

This notion of non-existence in the 1652 to 1795 period in South African history by Blacks, as reflected by Van der Heever10 and Geen12 is also present in many other South African written histories. Where references come to the surface, it is mostly in a negative context.

* Please note that the author is aware of the fact that the words Bantu, Kaffir, Native, Hottentot and Bushman are no longer suitable terms and are inappropriate (some are criminal) to use in general speaking and writing in modern-day South Africa. The terms do appear in dated documents and are so translated for the sake of historical accuracy and it is thus unavoidable not to reflect them in their original naming here. It is also pertinent used in this article to reflect on some South Africans’ extreme racism thinking, speaking and writing of sixty years and less ago. These names are part of a collection of degrading names which especial Afrikaner historians commonly used in their books and references of pre-1994 in the heydays of Apartheid. In the reflecting on the profiles of executive leaders and their regimes, these degrading names need to be reoffered here to bring racism, dehumanizing, distancing and the suppression of Blacks prominent to the fore-ground. It is important here to can make a classing in terms of the bad-versus-good-classification of executive political leaders and regimes. These negative names do not represent the author’s view-point and he distances him totally from it as commonly speaking and writing language. In his research and writings on the South African populations and political-history he uses names as Blacks, Whites, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaners, Coloreds, KhoiSan (Bushman), KhoiKhoi (Hottentot) and Boers, etc., as applicable descriptive names.

1.2 South African literature on executive political leaders from 1652 to 1795

South Africa lacks in-depth literature on the quality of executive political leadership as practiced by its various executive political leaders and their regimes from 1652 to 1795. It is in fact totally absent. Limited references are found on the behavioural and political practices, driven and promoted by the executive political leaders and their regimes.

Biographies on South African executive political leaders, as well as autobiographies by these leaders themselves, are very lacking in information and descriptions on the precise kind of leadership associated with them as the country’s executive political leaders. Most of this South African leadership data reflected in historical and political books, as well as autobiographies and biographies, offers postulations, opinions, viewpoints and “facts” which are mostly subjective and influenced by party- and self-conceit, intentions to promote political gains and frequently the personal glorification of sub-standard and corrupt political leaders and their governments. It is overwhelmingly used to divert attention, especially from the failure of the leaders. Even on failed and low levels of political leadership, some of these political leaders became icons, some even with worldwide status, with very little criticism lodged against them about criminality, psychological malfunction and other behavioural deviations. It is only more recently that our newspapers, sometimes near-defamatory in their reporting, describe the behaviour of our political leaders. In this context we already see some efforts to limit informative reporting in terms of the hate speech legislation.

To make an evaluation on the quality of leadership of South African executive political leaders and governments for the period 1652 to 1795, the descriptions by various political and historical writers on political leaders and governments, as well as the writings of business and management experts on business executive leaders, were consulted.13-26

The aim of this article is to evaluate and to describe the performance profiles of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa for the period 1652 to 1795.

2. Method

The research was done by means of a literature review. This method has the aim of building a viewpoint from the available evidence as the research develops. This approach is used in modern day historical research where there is a lack of an established body of research, like the functioning of executive political leaders and their regimes of governance for the period 1652 to 1795 in South Africa. The sources included articles from 2017 to 2018, books for the period 1961 to 2018 and newspapers for the period 2016 to 2018. These sources were consulted to evaluate the functioning of executive political leaders and to put thoughts, views and opinions on the South African political leadership for the period 1652 to 1795 in perspective.27-29

The research findings are presented in narrative format.

2.1 Problem statement

The research problem is: Did the executive political leaders of South Africa during the period 1652 to 1795 make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people; and was their behaviour as leaders and as people extraordinary and impeccable?

* ”People” refers to all the South African groups – the various races, cultural groups and tribes, etc. It includes the minorities as well as the majorities – it excludes any sole grouping in terms of dominant political party, etc.

* ”Country” refers to today’s greater South Africa as represented by the Republic of South Africa, while it also refers back into the history of the Cape Settlement and the Cape Colony, etc.

2.2 Research aims

  • The first aim of the research is to determine whether the South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 1795,  during their time in office, made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people.
  • The     second aim of the research is to determine whether the behaviour of     the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to     1795 as leaders and as people was extraordinary and impeccable.

In light of the above two research aims, questions must be asked and answered reflecting this argument of truth on the South African executive political leaders. In line herewith are two objectives, as well as two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses, formulated in terms of the research aims, also to be asked, tested and answered.

2.3 Research questions of the study

The following two research questions focus the research intentions:

RQ1: Did the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office?

RQ2: Was the behaviour of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 extraordinary and impeccable as leaders and as people?

2.4 Objectives of the study

The following two objectives guide the study:

RO1: To determine whether the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 during their time in office made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people.

RO2: To determine whether the behaviour of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 was extraordinary and impeccable as leaders and as people.

2.5 Hypotheses

The following two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses are assumed:

H1: The South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office.

H1A: The South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 did not make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office.

H2: To determine whether the behaviour of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 was extraordinary and impeccable as leaders and as people.

H2A: The behaviour of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 was not extraordinary and impeccable as leaders and as people.

3. Results

3.1 The Dutch East India Company

When looking back into the history of South Africa, the Twentieth Century person thinks in terms of an established country with borders, developments, infrastructure, health and educational services, a police force and other security services to safeguard its citizens, etc., mostly missing out on how the fairest Cape looked in 1652: a barren area without buildings, shelters, land under agriculture and just possibly the occasional sighting of a KhoiSan (Bushman) or a KhoiKhoi (Hottentot). It was a total contradiction to what the modern day citizen of Cape Town is used to today. This new beginning in the foreign land was led by Jan van Riebeeck and his group of 80 volunteers on behalf of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which began the first European ownership of the Cape. (Its legal entity name was the Generale Vereenighde Nederlantsche G’octroyeerde Oostindische Compagnie; in short referred to as the VOC). The VOC, founded in 1602 when the four Netherlands trading companies of Amsterdam, Zeeland, de Maas and the North Quarter almalgamated, fast became a prominent European chartered company. In six years it had broken the Portuguese monopoly of Eastern trade and seized the Moluccas, Java, Amboyna and a large part of Timor. Within thirteen years the VOC owned eight hundred vessels and paid excellent dividends. After that it expanded to China, Japan and Siam and it occupied Mauritius, St Helena and Ceylon and became the founder of the Dutch Empire in the island world of the Far East.4,11,12,30-32

In name the VOC was a private company, but in reality it was a national concern with the Dutch Government as the main shareholder and only Dutch subjects could hold shares, preferably in large amounts. Its titular chairman was the Stadtholder, while the States-General gave the VOC its charter. Its management, like that of the United Provinces of Netherlands, was federal in constitution with the Council of Seventeen in charge, consisting of representatives of the chambers of the four original companies. The ultimate trading operations were controlled by this Council of Seventeen [also called the HERE XVll: the 17-Members: 8: Amsterdam; 4: Zeeland; 2: de Maas (Rotterdam and Delft); 2: the North Quarter ((West Friesland) while the 17th member was elected in consultation by Zeeland, de Maas and the North Quarter]. The Council of Seventeen governing its colonial possessions, maintaining its army and taking responsibility for treaties with foreign powers. The government of the Cape of Good Hope was subordinate to the Governor-General and Council of India which controlled all the Eastern possessions of the VOC from its headquarters at Batavia.12

It was in this context that Commander Jan van Riebeeck on the 6th April 1652 (with the rank “als koopman en opperhoofd’) anchored with three small ships, the Goede Hoop, the Drommedaris and the Reiger, in Table Bay, to start up a refreshment station for the VOC. More importantly, this start up was also the introduction to South Africa its first official executive political leader. Moreover, it signaled the beginning of the country’s political history, based exclusively on White supremacy which drove all thinking, planning and action until 1994. Initially, central to this contaminating outcome, were the Netherlanders as founding fathers of South Africa, and as this political history will soon reflect, also became the only dominant and discriminative role-player until 1795 at the Cape.4,11,12,30-33

It is in this context that this article intends to evaluate and to describe whether the South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 1795 during their time in office made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people. The intent is also to determine whether the behaviour of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 was extraordinary and impeccable.

In light of the domino effect, starting up a chain reaction of governmental oversight in 1652, which ran unbroken for 150 years under various executive political leaders of the VOC, is it thought wise to reflect first at this stage on a chronological list of these various officials’ names and times of office.33 This gives insight into what immense processes are involved in the ruling of a country and how easily the political tides can turn against its inhabitants by the delinquent actions of hostile, delinquent rulers and authorities, as well as the resistance and counter-actions that can follow against such poor rulers and regimes. This list furthermore gives us insight as to why there is reference in this article to a White political history for the period 1652 to 1795 — of Black faces or names there are no significant signs in this list of 72! It seems that only Simon and Adriaan Willem van der Stel were Coloreds, reflecting only a 2.8% representation of non-Whites in the top leadership over a period of more or less 150 years!12,33-36

In addition, the fact that, of this enormously long list of executive political leaders, some were too briefly in office to leave an impact as rulers, provides insight as to why this article on leadership and governance (which is absolutely limited by length, time and costs) can not extract comprehensive data for the total executive political leader population for 1652-1795 (μ=30).33

In 3.2 List of Commanders and Governors for the period 1652 to 1795, the leaders’ names and their times in office, is reflected.33

3.2 List of Commanders and Governors for the period 1652 to 179533

3.2.1 Dutch Cape Colony (1652-1795)
3.2.1.1 Commanders3
3.2.1.2 Governors (The rank of Commander was changed in 1691 to Governor)12

3.3 First Dutch Authorities

3.3.1 First Executive leader: Commander Jan van Riebeeck of the Cape Refreshment post (1652-1662)
3.3.1.1 Establishment of the Council of Policy

When Commander Jan van Riebeeck arrived on the 6th April 1652 at the Cape of Good Hope to found a refreshment station for the VOC, he also introduced the first administrative and juridical body to manage the affairs of Whites at a South African outpost. Indeed, he got the first Whites rooted in South Africa. The executive body of the VOC, the Council of Seventeen, already identified in the 1630s the need for a halfway station between Amsterdam and Batavia to provide fresh water and food for the crews of VOC ships. The beheading of Charles I of England by Cromwell on 30 January 1649 and the new British ruler’s hostility to the interests of the Netherlands worldwide, had made the Cape of absolute strategic importance as a location to defend the interests of the VOC and the Netherlands Government.4,11,12,30

Van Riebeeck, besides his instructions on how to get the refreshment station going, also received South Africa’s first instructions on how to rule. He was to control as Commander a Council of Policy. As Commander he took the oath of obedience to the Governor-General at Batavia (an outcome that, regarding fast and effective administration concerns, did not always work properly because control over the Cape was slowed down by the distance and a lack of fast communication). Comparing the year 1652 with the year 1795, the whole governing system at the Cape changed very lttle during its possession by the VOC.12

As officer in charge of the station, Van Riebeeck was also the chair of a temporary management board, consisting of designated officials. The first meeting of this body already took place on board the ship Drommedaris, Van Riebeeck’s quarter during the travel from the Netherlands, and for a time his abode while waiting for the construction of the first dwellings at the Cape. When there were no visiting ships in harbor the chief-officer, the secunde, the sergeant in charge of the soldiers and the bookkeeper formed a kind of executive managerial body [later called the Council of Policy (Politieke Raad)]. The secretary, whose main duty it was to keep record of the council’s meetings and its resolutions, did not have any voting rights. The executive managerial power of this start up management body was with time extended by the Administrators of the Board of Amsterdam (Council of Seventeen) to give visiting admirals of home-bound fleets of the VOC from the East the right to act as Commissioners at the station. These Commissioners’ orders had to be implemented by the Cape Commander and his management board. On the other hand, these Commissioners could not act independently without first consulting the Commander and the executive members of the temporary board. Furthermore, the admirals were obliged to report fully to the Council of Seventeen on their orders to Van Riebeeck and the situation at the Cape when they arrived back in the Netherlands.12,31

It is clear that this early Council of Policy intended to assure good administration, but left very little scope for broad political input by all the officials, incoming free burgher farmers and other free burghers. Overbearing leadership was central to management, although it seems as though Van Riebeeck’s treatment in this context of the officials and free burghers showed no signs of under par leadership in terms of administration. The limitation on the authority of Van Riebeeck as chief executive officer – and the exclusion of the incoming free burgher farmers from any say in their occupation and political rights – was reflected when Commissioner Rijckloff van Ghoens, during his visit at the Cape from the 17th March to the 19th April 1657, overrode certain of Van Riebeeck’s contracts with the incoming free burgher farmers. Although Van Ghoens gave the free burghers permission to trade live stock directly with the KhoiKhoi on the condition that all trading material had been bought from the VOC and they did not pay more than the VOC, this privilege was withdrawn by Van Riebeeck himself in May 1658. Furthermore, Van Ghoens changed the three year tax-free period from three to twelve years for incoming free burgher farmers, but he autocratically forbade them to plant tobacco and instructed them to concentrate only on the cultivation of wheat. He also scaled down their unlimited plough land to only 13.5 morgen in size. But most autocratic of all was his decision that the prices to be paid by the VOC for the free burgher farmers’ produce would be decided alone by the Council of Seventeen of Amsterdam. This autocratic price-fixing was immediately a problem because a year later, the VOC still had not publically fixed the prices, although they were already well known to Van Riebeeck on the 16th April 1657. This problem was at last solved (although temporailry) in 1659 by Van Riebeeck himself with a request to the Council of Seventeen of Amsterdam. Other autocratic behaviour experienced in Van Riebeeck’s reign by the free burghers was the restriction on many of their business rights, such as the selling of their produce only at fixed prices to the VOC, not being allowed to trade with the KhoiKhoi and that they could only sell their produce to ships after three days of their arrival at the Harbor (only up to 25 ships per annum visited then).12,31

3.3.1.2 Executive leadership practiced by Commander Jan van Riebeeck

In retrospect considering the leadership of Commander Jan van Riebeeck at the Cape, three clear impacts must be taken into account: firstly, the refreshment station was initially seen only as a temporary workplace and business enterprise outside the Netherlands borders. As such the various persons working at the station were initially treated as employees of a business (which the VOC really was) and not as members of a specific juridical entity rooted permanently with its own governing rules and governing body at the Cape. This kind of entity only started to manifest after the Council of Seventeen of Amsterdam gave permission on the 30 October 1655 (some sources indicate 1657) for the officials of the VOC to become independent entrepreneurs as free burghers, if they agreed to stay for a further ten years (some sources put it at 20 years) at the Cape in this capacity. This exercise started up with nine married men that were released from the service of the VOC. But even in these circumstances, the VOC was clearly still not in favour of colonization and saw the so called free farmers officially as mere purveyors of corn and wine to supplement the VOC’s own produce at the Cape. Accompanying this emerging judicial entity of “statehood” was the allocation of farms which were unlimited in size to cultivate wheat to the free burghers by Van Riebeeck. Although Van Ghoens later limited this property ownership to only 13.5 morgen, the right to stay and make a living at the Cape under the guardianship of the Council of Seventeen of Amsterdam and the VOC, with Van Riebeeck as their executive overseer at the Cape, confirms the possible birth of statehood via a permanent place of living at the Cape. Furthermore, these free burghers were taxed (but their land was free from land tax), as was done in most juridical entities worldwide. Van Riebeeck clearly activated the start-up process for the founding of a permanent colony at the Cape during his tenure, although he did it with some hesitation.12,31

Secondly, Jan van Riebeeck’s position as an executive (and the “government” of the Cape of Good Hope) was subordinated to the Council of Seventeen of Amsterdam, the VOC and the Governor-General and Council of India, controlling all the Eastern possessions of the VOC from its headquarters at Batavia. Also to be taken into account were the overseeing powers of management by admirals of the VOC when visiting the Cape. This broad management system of inputs by various persons in service of the VOC clearly hampered the activation of a true regime of good leadership. An identifiable regime of leadership to serve as a permanent guideline for future leaders (commanders) failed to emerge. The sole powers of the Executive Commander of the Cape and his Council of Policy, the VOC’s initial business intentions and the constant challenging social and economic circumstances to deal with everyday matters, without sufficient empowerment to execute effective solutions by Van Riebeeck himself on his own initiative and thinking, brought to the foreground a clear differentiation between a temporary leader inside a system, which was nothing other than an autocracy defined from outside by governing bodies thousands of kilometers away. A system of a permanent regime of leadership, as found in a true democracy where all the inhabitants could make decisions on consensus, was absent here. This autocratic system, although improved over time with small “rights” to the free burghers, became internalized in the Capetonians’ mindset and formed the political thinking, planning and action at the Cape by the executive leaders as appropriate and correct (and was accepted by many of its inhabitants as “normal and correct”) for centuries to come.12,31

Thirdly, on the other hand, there were also the first signs of extreme handling of punishment for transgression of the Cape “Government’s” and the refreshment station’s rules, if needed, as imposed from the Netherlands authorities on subordinates outside the motherland. Again, here is a clearly identifiable sign of autocratic management, which undoubtedly became a permanent disposition in the first settlers’ mindsets and which was also transferred into the mindsets of the later proto-Afrikaners. For instance, Van Riebeeck as commander was empowered with a high level of juridical powers, such as being able to jail the inhabitants of the Cape for transgressing the legal guidelines prescribed by the Council of Seventeen of Amsterdam, the VOC and the Governor-General and Council of India, which were all formulated on the rules of the State-General of the Netherlands. Van Riebeeck was even empowered to hand down the death penalty.12,31

He was instructed and empowered to militarily defend the Cape station against any hostile attacks, internal as well as external, without pre-permission from abroad. This independent empowerment shows the gradual rising of a unique juridical entity at the Cape, which was undoubtedly vested in the powers of an executive political leader to be able to handle certain tasks at his own discretion. Indeed, this was the beginning of a kind of a regime of leadership, although it should not necessarily be associated with good leadership.12,31

With regard to the reference to autocratic leadership executed by Van Riebeeck and instituted by the VOC, is it clear that Van Riebeeck, similar to South Africa’s present president, as well as the country’s previous presidents and prime ministers, was never democratically voted in as the first executive chief officer of the Cape (South Africa) by the population of the early Cape refreshment station. He was exclusively selected, appointed and paid by the VOC to act only on their behalf and interests. Though there seems to be a general satisfaction with Van Riebeeck’s direct behaviour as a leader to the employees of the VOC and free burghers – he, for instance, never enacted the strict legislation of the late 1600s or handed down the death penalty. He set free many persons from jail who showed good rehabilitation. It is clear that during Van Riebeeck’s time (1652 to 1662) at the Cape, there was no introduction of a regime of good leadership to the burghers or of the true reform of the Council of Policy to become a democratic law-making body from day one. Both the executive and legislative empowerments were centered in the hands of officials, with the free burghers in a nominal role. This absence of a true democracy awarded to every inhabitant of South Africa from 1652 onward, is a fact too long ignored by subjective Afrikaner political-historical writers, seemingly afraid to pinpoint a possible defective cognition, internalized through bad experiences and bad examples of delinquent leaders, or a congenital defect transferred to the Cape’s earlier European settlers by their European forefathers, and then to the later Afrikaners. What was needed, not so much to be enacted by Van Riebeeck alone, but mostly by the VOC and its associated foreign rulers of the Cape, was the enactment of a clear and definable regime of good leadership and governance that could form a system of permanence to be followed by Van Riebeeck’s successors through to today, to serve everybody, notwithstanding class, race, creed, or from Africa or Europe.12,31,40

In support of why Van Riebeeck did not immediately activate a sound governmental system, it must be mentioned that, when he landed at the Cape, he had with him precise instructions from the Council of Seventeen that were undoubtedly not so much the founding of a “governmental system” – that was a “secondary” outcome – but to adhere to his primary aim,namely the establishment of a refreshment station to supply produce for the VOC ships and to secure the Cape of Good Hope as a military stronghold against Britain, France and the Portuguese. The whole venture was treated “clinically” as a business enterprise, with a sole owner in charge, whose main intention was to oversee that his employees did their work for which they were compensated; nothing more. Moreover, it must be noted again that the station was not seen initially as a permanent settlement, and as such, it did not need a well rooted political and governmental system, as was practiced in the Netherlands or in the East Indies, already a VOC possession. “Governmental” referred at most to the maintenance of order and the Netherlands law amongst the more or less eighty soldiers who were installed to safeguard the station against internal (indigenous people) and foreign attacks. This secondary focus on a balanced “governmental system” by the VOC, is confirmed by the fact that the initial “Van Riebeeck government” setup changed very little during the VOC’s ownership up to 1795. There were, as indicated, improvements to the organization of the “political system” to exclusively benefit the VOC at the Cape, but these had little impact on the individual’s political rights.12,31

Economics, to be activated by the inhabitants, and not their practice of politics, was central in the late 1600s. But the two factors are inter-locked and it was foolish for the VOC as well as Van Riebeeck not to realize that, as the station became a settlement. Politics was going to claim its justified part, specially when the role of capitalism and private ownership and enterprise became dominant.37-40 Indeed, the table was laid by Van Riebeeck, unknowingly and possibly unwillingly, for South Africa’s tragical political history to be written, as the historian Professor Eric Walker writes12:13: “All the economic and social problems which exercise South Africa today had begun to take shape before Van Riebeeck’s eyes. For, in South Africa at least, there is nothing whereof it may be said, ’See, this is new’.’’

Van Riebeeck’s immediate point of focus was the building of a fort for protection of the inhabitants and the safeguarding of the freshwater source, to make a garden for fresh produce for the VOC ships, to establish good relations with the indigenous people and the instituting of a cattle trade with them. But this initiative was not a success from the beginning.12,31,40 Geen writes12:12: “… for four or five years the little settlement hovered on the brink of ruin in its capacity as a refreshment station for the victualling of Dutch ships going to and coming from the East Indies.”

Looking back to Van Riebeeck’s impact on the later racial disharmony of South Africa, there are clear contradictions in his “governmental” style on race relations. He never put a prohibition on race miscegenation between the European burghers, the Negro and Asiatic slaves and the KhoiKhoi. [The sad reliving of the racism of Carolus Linnnaeus (Carl von Linné) and his Systema Naturae came later in 1671 under the Commander IJsbrand Godske’s ruling with his Instruction, which officially began racism and discrimination in South Africa, undisturbed until 1994].4 But at the same time he practiced and allowed racial discrimination in the most extreme form with the introduction in 1658 of non-European (note: not European) slaves to the Cape: 170 slaves came from a captured Portuguese slave ship, while another 200 came from the Guinea Coast. Most of these first batch of slaves became the property of the VOC, although some where sold to free burgher farmers (for between ₤4 and ₤8 each!!). After Van Riebeeck’s departure the custom of the import of slaves was sped up in numbers. The slaves’ womanfolk became the central role players in miscegenation, so that before the end of the 1600s most of the slave children were “half-castes”, as Geen12 degradingly named them. This not only led to the creation of South Africa’s own Creole people, today’s so called Coloreds or Brown-Afrikaners (who number more than the White-Afrikaners), but also to the “infusing” of so called “Black” blood into the South African Whites’ “pure” bloodline; so much so that 75% of today’s Afrikaners may be “contaminated” by “Black” blood.4, 12,30,31,41

Van Riebeeck’s further siding against non-Whites at the Cape, in line with his views of non-Whites to be owned as slaves by the VOC, as well as the free burghers – and to buy and sell these slaves as “human livestock” – was his contribution to punitive actions against delinquent KhoiKhoi groups. The KhoiKhoi War (1658-1660) spells the first driving out of non-Whites, the KhoiKhoi, from their traditional lands in the Liesbeeck Valley. This was undoubtedly the first commision of White-terrorism to non-Whites in South Africa and land grabbing by Whites, as guided by the British definition on modern day terrorism, which reads42:9:

1) Violence against a person;

2) Serious damage to property;

3) Designed to influence a government or an international organization or to intimidate the public or a section of the public;

4) With the aim of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

This pinpoints again the possibility of the internalization of a delinquent cognition into the mindsets of the early Europeans at the Cape (which formed the nucleus of the proto-Afrikaners and later Afrikaners) to do with the ease of infringing of human rights of non-Whites, as the Voortrekkers later did with their illegal occupation of the Transvaal and the Free State areas with terrorist actions a century later. Indeed, the so called White frontiersmen or Border Boers showed this terrorist behaviour on a large scale in the early 1700s, in the areas inside and outside the colony’s borders.4 This seemingly “normal” behaviour of aggressiveness and delinquency which Van Riebeeck allowed to be perpetrated on the KhoiKhoi, reflects back to what Boon15:75describes as political mobocracy, and brings about the question on the determinants and drivers behind the later Afrikaner-Nationalists’ Apartheid, as well as the place and the time of the learning of Apartheid’s wrongdoings.4,12 Professor Eric Walker’s postulation,, namely that all South Africa’s economic and social problems of today can be laid before Van Riebeeck’s “office door”, is not far fetched.12:13

3.3.1.3 Van Riebeeck, the first White “honest” cheater and state capturer

When studying the literature published by Afrikaner historical writers on the Afrikaners’ assumed heredity as a “nation”, starting with Jan van Riebeeck as their progenitor, it seems to be a very troubled one from the beginning. It declares possibly the beginning of the Afrikaners’ many deviating behaviours, the most well known to be Apartheid and the racial discrimination and domination of non-Whites.12.31

Undoubtedly Van Riebeeck was the first White official, in terms of his VOC instructions, to activate discrimination and the domination of non-Whites with his treatment at the Cape of the KhoiKhoi as well as the slaves. This troubling behaviour goes much deeper than merely rasism: it also seems to be the beginning and embedding of planned corruption, “boereverneukery” or “cheating of the farmers” and state capturing in the mindset of an executive leader at the Cape.12,31

Afrikaner historians treated Van Riebeek very gently on his delinquent behaviour, undoubtedly with great respect for his position as “Father of the Afrikaner Nation”, by offering all kinds of excuses and arguments with reference to his wrongdoings, basically to activate sympathy and to nullify said wrongdoing. Arguments to minimize the seriousness of his actions are: that he was “not the only official to commit transgressions and that others in higher positions did the same”, or that he, as many of the other officials guilty of delinquent and inappropriate behavior, “were forced to resort to these types of incomes” because of their underpayment by the VOC, and thus that he and others had to rely on delinquent behavior to make a living. The violation of the principle of honesty in this early behavior is in reality not very different from the allegations now laid at the door of Jacob Zuma and his cronies (and which have already led to Zuma’s recal and even possible prosecution and jailing). To argue that the comprehensiveness and intensity of the alleged mal-behaviour of Zuma are much more serious than that of Van Riebeeck, is inapplicable. Dishonesty is dishonesty, theft is theft, corruption is corruption, and nothing else. Top leaders must be treated the same as the lowest rank of citizen.4,12,13,18,31

Van Riebeeck’s delinquent actions already began before his appointment as commander at the Cape (Zuma’s alleged delinquent behaviour also started before his appointment as president). Van Riebeeck’s actions in generating a private income outside his position as commander at the Cape, undoubtedly reflect a clear line of the continuation of behaviour which can be associated with corruption and embezzlement until the end of his stay at the Cape (it is also alleged that Zuma committed the same inappropriate acts in his presidential capacity via state-capture).4,12,13,18,31

At this stage of the research in the evaluation of South Africa’s types of political leaders and its regime of leadership, from 1652 to 1795 in this study, four prominent questions are manifested:

  • If Van Riebeeck himself failed the test of honesty as the highest ranking official at the Cape, to what extent had he allowed his subordinates and cronies to commit inappropriate actions without reprimand and prosecution?
  • Did a culture of crooked political leaders and under par leadership become rooted in 1652 at the Cape, which had overflows into today’s South Africa?
  • Can any honest Afrikaner historian object to the postulation that the seed for today’s Nklandas, Zuptaism, corruption, nepotism, cronies and state-capture, which are rife at present in the politics of South Africa, was sown seemingly by the first executive leader in the capacity of Van Riebeeck’s personal opinion and practice of stretch values on what is morally and criminal correct and what is not correct?
  • Are there really differences in the personalities and modus operandi of Jan van Riebeeck and Jacob Zuma as leaders? Are there any fundamental differences in their executive ruling and governing of subordinates and the management of the purse of a country?

But, back to the behaviour of Jan van Riebeeck as a person, separate from his executive leadership as commander.

It seems as though Van Riebeeck presented himself as an honest and hard worker in the service of the VOC, especially in the last period of his stay in Tonkin, the city which had belonged to the Chinese and where the VOC opened a business entity in 1637. After the death of the under merchant and the departure of the paramount chief of the entity, Van Riebeeck was appointed in December 1645 as acting paramount chief of the station. This appointment was renewed in July in 1647, with Van Riebeeck promoted to the rank of merchant and secunde, and in status became the second person in the Council of Policy of Tonkin. Then, after applying to be appointed permanently in the position of paramount chief at Tonkin, the red light suddenly started to flicker for Van Riebeeck when it was referred to in his application evaluation that he can not be trusted seeing that he was involved in unauthorized “particular trade” (the precise meaning of “particular” is unclear, but it seems to be corruption and self-conceit by the generating of an illegal income via trade besides his salary and in competition with the VOC). He was basically fired from his appointment as merchant in Tonkin in 1647. As punishment he also lost his salary for two months and seven days and was sent back to the Netherlands. On his way back to the Netherlands, his ship the DE Coningh van Polen, stopped for eighteen days at the undeveloped Cape, giving him an idea of the Cape and its surroundings (and this possibly caused his application five years later for the post of commander at the Cape). Back in the Netherlands his various appeals to the Council of Seventeen to nullify his sentence were unsuccessful, while no further new appointment was offered. This shows the seriousness of his delinquent behaviour. In December of 1651, four years after his sacking, he was appointed again by the VOC as commander to establish the refreshment station at the Cape. This position, it seems, offered less opportunities for temptation to practice “particular” activities or other dishonesty and was clearly of a lower rank as that of paramount chief of Tonkin.12,31

It has been confirmed that Van Riebeeck showed a love for “particular trade” by the fact that he also allocated a farm to himself and farmed as a second income to his salary as commander (as one Afrikaner historian mentioned: “because this was the only way an official could supplement his small income at the Cape because the opportunity for particular trade was totally absent”). This is a very crooked view, well in line with the ANC’s top-brass saying they are forced to theft, corruption, nepotism and self-conceit in the New South Africa, because Apartheid disqualified them from making money before 1994!). But Van Riebeeck’s self-enrichment goes deeper – he undoubtedly made a profit in competition with the free burgher farmers whose interests he had to promote at all times. (He became the judge and prosecutor for sentencing and punishment of the free burghers; a punishment, which he seemed to be free from in his farming actions). His farming endeavours surely meant further loss of direct income for the VOC. Without doubt these farming activities of VOC officials at the Cape were frowned upon, seeing that the VOC prohibited it in 1668. Regarding the size of Van Riebeek’s farm the following data is reflected from the records of 1659: 84 morgen were cultivated of which Jan Reijniers and Hendrik Boom owned respectively 11 and 10 morgen, while the VOC owned 46 morgen and Van Riebeeck himself kept 101 morgen. Commissioner Rijkloff van Ghoens, during his visit from the 17th March to the 19th April 1657 at the Cape, also seems to have awarded Van Riebeeck some land to plant fruit trees. This property was situated behind Lion’s Head, and he exchanged it for property southeast of the Windberg (Wind Mountain), calling it Bosheuvel. Here he planted 1,200 plants including grapes which he obtained from the VOC’s garden and started to produce his first wine from 1659. Van Riebeeck also imported a variety of fruit trees and other plants for his farming on Bosheuvel from the Netherlands, East and West India, Japan, Madagascar, Mauritius and St Helena, which seems to be an expensive exercise for a poor official. He had undoubtedly become a well established farmer in his ten years at the Cape, seemingly generating a sideline income which made up for his lack of opportunity to practice “particular trade’’, as he apparently did easily and without remorse at Tonkin, as well as at the Cape!12,31,40

That Van Riebeeck handled his “Cape particular activities” with great discretion without annoying or estranged the inhabitants, is clearly evident from the fact that the first petition (one of many to follow about farming conditions, including later dissatisfaction with the Van der Stels) in December 1658 by the most influential farmers of the Cape to the VOC, never accused him of self-conceit, corruption or nepotism.12,31

Looking back in retrospect to Van Riebeeck’s various forms of practicing “particular” trade, either in Tonkin, China or at the Cape, the temptation is great to not say that Van Riebeeck introduced South Africa to its first Nklanda and state capture. What prevented Van Riebeeck from not overstepping his authority and getting more active in any form of “corruption” was possibly the small population of officials and free burghers at the Cape. (In 1659 the total White population was 144). His choice of a circle of intimate friends and cronies within the more or less 144 inhabitants was undoubtedly limited, making the opportunity for serious craft small in fear of a backlash by outsiders for overstretching his powers by self-conceit and dishonesty.4,12,31

Van Riebeeck was always assumed to be an executive leader with “clean hands” at the early Cape, notwithstanding a tendency to continuously practice “particular trade”. This is a worrying phenomenon and one which laid the bad example that wrongdoing works and is a payable venture, and already jeopardizes the establishment in the 1660s of an acceptable regime of leadership. The well planned and well executed “particular actions” of the two Van der Stels, the father Simon and the son Willem Adriaan, governors from 1662 to 1707 at the Cape, will be an eye-opener for the most consciousness Nationalist Afrikaner about their proud “clean and honest” Afrikaner heritage. These early happenings also make the present day Zuma debacle around poor leaders and a regime of under par leadership, to a certain extent, explicable and understandable.12,13,18,31

3.3.2 Leaderships and regimes of the Agricultural Colony of the Cape (1662-1679)

To better understand the Van Riebeeck regime and the autocratic “governmental system” practiced at the Cape from 1652 (which gradually became an accepted way to be ruled and to rule at the Cape), as well as the beginning of racism, it is also important to note that already in the time of Van Riebeeck the differences between Whites and non-Whites at the Cape became more and more prominent. This negative situation flowed into the leadership of his followers, starting with Zacharias Wagener (Wagenaar) to Hendrik Crudorp and to be addressed by Simon van der Stel when he accepted the Cape’s leadership in 1679. This outcome required not only special abilities and skills, but also special behaviour and actions by Van Riebeeck and the later commanders/governors. Particularly troubling was the behaviour of the KhoiKhoi as non-members of the Cape refreshment station, as well as the influx of more and more slaves. These were points of focus. Both non-White groups were, similar to the Whites, without direct voting rights, but also without the official status and rights which the White officials and burghers enjoyed. Where the Whites enjoyed property rights and could present petitions to the authorities in the Netherlands about their problems, these two groups were discriminated against outright from day one: the slaves became property of the VOC and burghers, and were deprived of basic human rights, while the KhoiKhoi, living as independent persons outside the borders of the station, were used as labourers in terms of the wishes and labour practices of the Whites. Clear or defined work or burgher rights were totally absent for non-Whites, and there were no powers of speech or petition. “Apartheid” in its basic form was introduced and undoubtedly became a new inherent part of the permanent regime of the young and under par leadership at the Cape (and spread into the later South Africa).4,12,40

Two other developments which are prominent around the judicial status of the refreshment station – and its immediate regime of leadership – were respectively the extention of the empowerment of the Council of Policy and the legal change in the status of the station from a temporary enterprise (rooted in foreign soil outside the Netherlands and managed by the VOC) to a legal permanent foreign colony. This shift in the juridical status from a station to a colony is well illustrated by the fact that new migrants to the Cape had to take the Oath of Allegiance of the State-General, the Prince of Orange and the VOC. This happening is historically of enormous significance and can be seen as the first juridical founding of South Africa, a legal thread spreading into the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 2018. In 1691 the status of the commander was uplifted to that of governor, with much more executive political empowerment than a commander. The first person to be appointed in this capacity was Simon van der Stel, who was already appointed in 1679 as a commander. Many see this as the conferring of the unofficial status of the “first president” of the Republic of South Africa on Simon van der Stel and not on Jan van Riebeeck.12,40

With regard to the Council of Policy, this body also became more officially organized and statutorily applicable to the norms associated with a “government” when, from 1685 it consisted of the commander, the secunde, the fiscal who was a law official with duties similar to a public prosecutor, three senior merchants of the VOC (the chief salesman, the bookkeeper and the treasurer) and two military officers. The powers of the council were the executive and the legislative. It could decide on all the issues of governance and its resolutions (as proclamations or placaaten) which became Cape laws as long they were in line with the Roman-Dutch Law and the Statutes of the Council of India. A High Court was introduced, consisting of seven members of the council, together with three representatives of the free burghers nominated by the governor for a year. This body was empowered to hear cases and to do sentencing, but was subjected to the right of appeal to the Council of India. The Court’s other duties were attending to the roads, to advise on problems around the burghers, to fix the selling prices of the burghers’ produce to the VOC, etc. Another three legal bodies created in 1682 were the Court of Commissioners to try petty cases at Cape Town, in 1676 the Matrimonial Court and in 1764 the Orphan Chamber. In 1689 an independent fiscal was appointed, independent of the powers of the governor, with responsibility to only the Council of Seventeen in the Netherlands. His task was to track and find VOC officials engaged in illegal private trading. This appointment was seen by many inhabitants as one of activating corruption and nepotism without really solving the illegal trade of officials. He also activated a power play with the governor which led many times to direct conflict with the governor, while the free burghers saw him as a part of the corrupt VOC.12,40

The reason for the change of the Cape refreshment station to the Agricultural Colony of the Cape was the outbreak of war between the Netherlands and England and the possibility of an attack by England and France on the Cape. This new world political situation seriously endangered the East-Indian ocean lane of the VOC. This new strategy position of the Cape transferred it without any counter argument into a permanent juridical entity to defend the Cape. To overcome the costs of a much needed garrison of soldiers for defense, the Council of Policy believed that a settled civil population could do service as part-time soldiers in times of conflict, and minimize the cost of a large garrison at the Cape. This end result could be obtained through more migrants and a permanent colony, making the positions of the commanders/governors at the Cape comprehensive in leadership and governance responsibilities. The fact that the refreshment station overcome a multitude of obstacles in five years’ time and was successful in producing fruit, vegetables and meat, surely reflects good leadership. But in perspective, so far this leadership was already autocratic in its political power recognition and steering, and extremely racially oriented to exclusively benefit the VOC and to a great extent also only the White population. A regime of good leadership, to be in-corporated in a permanent leadership and governance set up for all the people of the Cape (and to lay the foundation for a non-racial and democratic South Africa of the future), was again absent.12,31,40

The fact of an incoming permanent, unchallengeable Whiteness at the Cape already in the mid-1600s, is well illustrated by the building of the Castle to defend the station against the French and the British. The first stones were laid on the 2nd of January 1665 by Zacharias Wagener. The stalwart Afrikaner historian, Dr GD Scholtz, describes in 1953, during the rising of DF Malan and his doctrine of the Afrikaners, the “historical Afrikaner landmark” of the building of the Castle in 1665, confirming the proto-Afrikaner’s uniqueness and supremacy as a European in Africa, as follows43:33: “In how many intimate ways the common lot of the Cape was connected to that of the White outer world is illustrated by a poem which was especially written about this occasion” (Own translation):

Soo worden voort en voort de rijcken uijt gespreit,

Soo worden al de swart en geluwen (geel) gespreijt,

Soo dat men uijtter aerd eene steene wal opbrechten,

Daer ’t donderend metael seer wijnigh van ophechten,

Voor Hottentoosen waren ‘t altijts eerde wallen,

Nu komt men hier met steen voor anderen ook brallen,

Dus maekt men dan een schrick soowel d’European,

Als voor den Aes, Amer! En wilden Africaen.

3.3.2.1 The Godske instruction of 1671

The role of LJsbrand Godske (1672-1676) in bringing down the curse of racism, and the dividing of the people of South Africa into peoples (Black and White), needs to be highlighted. It is clear that there is very little difference between him and the later DF Malan and his Apartheid.4

The Dutch settlement of Van Riebeeck was marked by intimate social association and miscegenation between the different races, including the slaves (Indian-Malaysians and Blacks from Madagascar). In 1658 slaves started to arrive from Malaysia and other places, and indigenous people such as the KhoiKhoi and sometimes the KhoiSan entered slavery as well. The system of free burghers at the Cape in 1657 changed the society and workforce from strictly controlled VOC officials and employees and the practice of conservative European lifestyles, to that of private entrepreneurs, characterized by a much less rigid behavioural code from the VOC’s moral restrictions, such as the prohibitions on social association and intermixing with other races. The shortage of female citizens stimulated social interaction and miscegenation between White free burghers and other racial groups. Racial mingling progressed so fast that 75% of all the children born to slave women between 1650 and 1670, had White fathers.4,6,9,10,30

The narrow minded Calvinistic autocratic local ruler of the Cape, the VOC, quickly restricted this social interaction and miscegenation between White free burghers and other racial groups. An official instruction in 1671 from the commissioner (who also acted as commander from 1672-1676) Isbrand Godske, prohibited sexual intercourse between Whites and slaves, while the Council of Policy also forbade extramarital sexual intercourse between White men and young slave women in 1678. This was followed by a prohibition on marriages and extramarital sexual relations between Whites and freed slaves in 1685. The focus of racial discrimination was initially on foreign peoples (slaves of Indian-Malaysian origin and Blacks from Madagascar) and other indigenous people like the KhoiKhoi. It seems as though indigenous Blacks, like the Xhosas, were not initially included in the South African racial discrimination that started in 1671. Indigenous Black assimilation only started around 1730 with the first contact between the proto-Afrikaners and the Xhosas on the borders of the Cape Colony.4,6,9,10,30

Louw writes that4:62:

The racial discrimination described above, exclusively based on skin colour and officially recorded in 1671 with the Godske instruction, can be regarded as the first apartheid law of South Africa. Godske was the first White proponent of organized racial discrimination, eventually against all people of colour. However, this discrimination seemed to adhere to a view where ethnicity is seen in terms of class, meaning that the poor, and therefore to a certain extent the underdeveloped non-Whites at the Cape, were regarded as having a lower socio-economical standing and as “untouchables.” The slaves especially were stripped of their human rights and dignity and their financial and personal independence. They were impoverished. Also, the initial problems with the behaviour of the first slaves in 1658 and the Hottentots in terms of work and social habits and aggressiveness already manifested from 1652. This contributed further to levels of social differentiation and discrimination between certain sectors of the White community and other racial groups in general (specifically guided and practiced officially by the Cape authority). It is in this context that the VOC implemented a strict policy of separation between Whites and the other races such as the slaves, Hottentots and Blacks from 1671. Later the Xhosas, with whom the Whites started to make contact in 1730, were included. This was extended to all Blacks and to all other races in South Africa from the 1850s onwards, especially in the republics of the Transvaal and the Free State. The year 1671 can therefore be considered the beginning of socio-controlled racial manipulation and engineering in South Africa, specifically with the aim of Whites limiting and managing the personal and group rights of all other racial groups in some way.

Racial discrimination, based on skin colour, was thus legally established in South Africa in 1671 by the VOC. It was managed from the Netherlands, and not initially by the White incumbents. Notwithstanding this early legal discrimination, illegal clandestine relationships and illegitimate relations between the different races still continued in South Africa, right up to 1994, when the Immorality Act, which legally prohibited sexual relations and miscegenation between Whites and non-Whites, was struck off the law books.

As already reflected in the early learning and internalization of “bad” behaviour into the mindsets of the proto-Afrikaners and later the Afrikaners, the majority of the early Cape Whites were not only introduced to statutory racial discrimination and domination by the authorities from 1652 onwards, but also became acclimatized to racial discrimination due to the formal human and political wrongdoings of the authorities towards other races. On this impact and its outcome, Louw writes 4:63:

Formal discrimination became internalized in the thinking of the proto-Afrikaners as “normal and correct” and this was strengthened by the many benefits that the system brought them. The immediate result was that they started to practice discrimination themselves on a continuous and extreme basis.4,17,18

Besides Godske’s negative impact on racism, Van Riebeeck’s seven immediate successors’ impacts on the Cape’s executive leadership with regard to good governance and the establishment of a regime of democracy, were minimal (their sojourns in the post of commander were on average two years in duration).33

These commanders were33:

3.3.3 Simon van der Stel (1679-1699)

After the fast succession of various commanders, and their failing to build constructively on Van Riebeeck’s leadership’s initiative and the creation of a much needed regime of leadership, Simon van der Stel was appointed on the 12th of October 1679 as commander. Van der Stel fast became one of the most prominent executive leaders of the Cape Colony during the Dutch reign. His more liberal policies initially towards the White inhabitants were extraordinary, bringing about an improvement of their financial circumstances and some political benefits for the White free burghers. He also activated some “self-management” for the new countryside of the Stellenbosch region by the establishment in 1682 of a Court of Heemraden, consisting of four members. Although this body’s duties and powers were initially vague, it seems as though it was meant to solve small differences and conflicts between the burghers of Stellenbosch. With time it was allocated more managerial empowerment until it was replaced by the Court of Magistrates and Heemraden to manage the countryside more effectively. During his appointment of 20 years (1679-1699) colonization was speeded up, as well as the enlargement of the colony’s borders into the countryside. Notable for his time in power was that the price of wheat rose and the labour problem was to a great extent solved by the import of more slaves (a decision which worsened the already existing division between Whites and non-Whites in terms of justified human, social and economic rights, further sinking the hopes for a balanced interracial and non-racial regime of good leadership for the new colony). Although there was still not a full democratic government, selected by the burghers for the Cape Colony, and there was serious discrimination against non-Whites, making a regime of good leadership null and void, Van der Stel’s overall behaviour and outputs as chief executive for the VOC, is described as a that of a dynamic leader inside the VOC’s autocratic ruling of the Cape Colony. But the basis for this praise is the profits and “goodness” which he brought about for the VOC, and not necessarily to the free burghers or the non-Whites. These appraisals by the VOC are well reflected by the fact that he was promoted by the Council of Policy in 1691 to the rank of governor and was in 1692 also awarded the high rank of Extraordinary Counsel to the Council of India (Extraordinaris Raad van Indië).12,40

During the visit of Commissioner Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede in 1685, an official only answerable to the Council of Seventeen and whose instruction was to rehabilitate the ailing VOC, he, to a great extent, agreed with Van der Stel’s actions and ruling. Certain improvements of the “government” of the colony were introduced by Van Rheede: the enlargement of the Council of Policy to eight officials; two additional seats for free burghers selected for one year were created on the High Court of Justice; a permanent landdrost was pointed at Stellenbosch to watch over the VOC interests and to act as chairman of the Court of Heemraden. The form of local government inaugurated by Van der Stel seems to have been a great success and remained part of the Cape Government for a century and a half.12,40

Van Rheede brought about improvements for the nearly 300 slaves at the Cape. The punishment of slaves was restricted to be authorised by the government; half-breed slaves could obtain their freedom on reaching the age of twenty-five for men and twenty-one for women; negroes born in the Cape could also ask for freedom on attaining the age of forty years of age and the payment of nearly ₤9 on the condition of good character, having a knowledge of Dutch and professing Christanity. In addition, marriages between Whites and Blacks were forbidden, but it was allowed for a White to marry a half-caste. In addition, slave children, many of mixed breed, were to be taught reading and writing in terms of Christian education. Van Rheede’s request that officials be allowed to farm was refused, although Van der Stel himself was allowed to keep his farm, Constantia. During Van der Stel’s time the first batch of Protestant Huguenots (1688-1689) arrived and were placed at Drakenstein, Frans Hoek and Paarl. The French people fast became a “problem” for Van der Stel, primarily because of their open resistance against his autocratic government.12,40

It is clear that although there seemed to be an improvement in “government” processes during Van der Stel’s reign, a democratic foundation was still, as with Van Riebeeck’s reign, absent. Although the slaves’ situation improved, these unfortunate people were still slaves without real human rights and dignity, and in general they were still commodities to be sold like livestock.12

The finance and economics of the Cape Colony did not always fare well under Van der Stel, as a result of poor prices for produce, many trading restrictions and the presence of corruption and nepotism. The illicit and lucrative cattle trade with the KhoiKhoi by the free burgher farmers fast established the Trekboers (Travelling Boers) and their trekking beyond the colonial frontier (named the frontiersmen). People its seem can not always be controlled by the law and traditional conventions. Prominent were their racism and their love for the cheap slaves’ labour to help run their farms. Many of these Boers and their descendants eventually became the Voortrekkers, who numbering between 10, 000 and 14, 000, later made the Great Trek away from the British rule.12

It seems that Simon van der Stel from the start as governor played the prominent role of a good man of integrity who cared intensely for the VOC and the inhabitants of the Cape Colony. General historical reviews by Afrikaner writers of van der Stel referred to him as a man of great importance in South Africa’s history, in that he stands symbolicly head and shoulders above all of his predecessors, that he was very able and competent, hard-working and very trustworthy. But was he really that trustworthy and good in terms of integrity? Literature by some Afrikaner historians, similar to much other emotion laden research on the Afrikaners in general, finds that they contradicted themselves many times on these “good”, “honest” and “trustworthy” characteristics. Critically analyzing data shows that the basis to his character’s malfunction seems to be anchored in corruption, state-capture, nepotism and outright dishonesty, no matter how much historians try to mask it behind his so called good administration capacities.12,40

What was the root of Simon van der Stel’s crookedness? Simply put: the liking and love of and the desire for immense earthly material belongings. The ownership of immense (and beautiful) material belongings seems to have totally possessed his mind at the end, overshadowing his so-called sound cognitive thinking, alleged wisdom and integrity as an executive leader. This contamination also spread to be a bad example of excellence, and, similar to Van Riebeeck’s self-conceit in 1652 to 1662, a failing to cement a foundation for the establishment of a regime of good leadership between the years 1679 and 1699.12,40

This process of Simon van der Stel’s possession by self-conceit and a down-spiraling into corruption began in 1685 with three clear events. In 1685, Commissioner HA Rheede, as compensation for Van der Stel’s service of excellence to the VOC (an action of giving against the guidelines of the VOC which was already forbidden in 1668), presented him with a large farm, called Constantia. In 1691 his rank was promoted from commander to governor and in 1692 he was elevated to the high rank of Extraordinary Counsel of India. These glorified actions from the side of the VOC made him very important, basically untouchable by the inhabitants at the Cape. It set him more and more on a road where he could willingly ignore the opinions of the inhabitants and do just what he pleased, right or wrong. But more seriously, it seems as though this position of “high-standing in the VOC regime” psychologically triggered a dormant disposition in Simon van der Stel’s mindset, activating dishonesty and grandiose thinking and behaviour.12,40

Although South African historians constantly tried over the years to argue that his farming activities did not interfere with his task as governor, or that his farming activities did not handicap the farming activities and profits of the farmers, it shows that Van der Stel lost more and more interest in the Cape Colony’s administration and that he spent increasing time on Constantia. To say further that his farming did not interfere with that of the farmers because they “still had a market for their produce”, is historically misleading: he competed with his great harvests directly with the farmers at the markets, influencing prices in terms of supply and counter-supply in times of over-supply. To further argue historically that Simon van der Stel’s only mishap was that he was a bad example of leadership for his son Willem, who followed him as governor, is absurd and untrue. Of course he was a bad example, not only for Willem, but for all the inhabitants of the colony.12,40

Van der Stel, a strong Netherlands-Nationalist, also reflects ethnic discrimination in addition to racial discrimination. The focus of his discrimination was the French Huguenots who arrived between 1688 and 1700 at the Cape, a group he clearly was not fond of and openly distrusted as citizens, disliking their language and culture. This delinquent ethnic action of his is well illustrated by refusing them the founding of their own church congregation and council at Drakenstein and issuing a strict warning to them to behave at the Cape. The denationalization of the Huguenots and the phasing out of French as a church and school language, are strongly associated with Simon van der Stel. An appeal to the Council of Seventeen in 1690 by the Huguenots to found their own church at Drakenstein, was successful, although certain pre-requirements were put forth by the Council of Seventeen. This outcome for the first time turned the situation against Van der Stel’s completely autocratic behaviour to many of the Cape inhabitants, and slowly started to set the stage for his departure as governor and the end of his corrupt leadership. This was denied by Nationalist-Afrikaner historians for many years. His resignation as governor in 1699 was by free will, but the odds were against him and it was possibly a well timed decision before the tide could turn against him, even by his cronies and cadres in the VOC.12,40

Van der Stel Senior’s corruption and nepotism lived forth, not only in a failed regime of under par leadership left behind, but in his ability to activate the selection process of his son Willem as his successor as governor, who unfortunately was even more corrupt than he was. The evil of men live after them – in Simon van der Stel’s case, William Shakespeare was so very correct!12,40

The racial intentions reflected by Van der Stel, especially those against the KhoiKhoi, which rest on outright distrust, also caused the further deteriation between Black and White and social isolation. It undermined any hope for the establishment of a regime of leadership where racial inferiority, separation, discrimination and domination are absent and where all the segments of the population are happy with the leadership and accept it.12,40

It is clear that Simon van der Stel’s corruption, nepotism and self-enrichment were well masked. This vicious circle of good masking can be seen in the fact that his networking of intimate friends, cronies and officials was possibly much greater and better organized than that of Van Riebeeck. In addition, the Cape’s population was much larger in the 1680s (in 1688 it was 573 persons), with more widespread interests of their own and less involvement with the executive leader of the VOC as in the time of Van Riebeek. Van der Stel’s self-enrichment, which can seldom be dismantled from corruption and nepotism, no matter how well it was covered up, seems to be reflected in line with the present day alleged schemes of self-enrichment and criminal cover ups of Zuma.13,16,18,40

3.3.4 Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the capable Zuptoid (1699-1707)

Simon van der Stel was followed in 1699 as governor by his son Willem. Willem is praised in that during his appointment, he brought about significant change and improvement to the farming sector, extened the borders of the colony and offered farms to the growing migrants. But regarding his direct and openly benefitting the officials of the Cape Colony’s Administration (who called themselves the “wedlock children” of the VOC and the colonists the “illegitimate children” of the VOC) – would today be described as nepotism and cronies-capturing – criminal behaviour. The colonists were increasingly wronged by him on various levels: his constant and growing self-enrichment, today better know as corruption, fraud and state-capture. He fast demonstrated under par leadership characteristics, blocking any hope of improving on Simon van der Stel’s and Jan van Riebeeck’s input to obtain some level or kind of a regime of good leadership and good governance. This unsatisfactory executive leadership reflected by Willem van der Stel goes much deeper and is evidence of an in-depth lack of integrity of character, the shameless promotion of corruption, nepotism, theft and mal-government by Whites at the Cape.12,40

Geen describes his few “good” and many “bad” qualities as an executive political leader, as follows12:18:

Willem Adriaan van der Stel, whose governship was to prove the stormiest in the rule of the Dutch East India Campany at the Cape, owed his appointment in the first instance to the directors’ approval of the work his father had done in the colony. He had been born in Batavia and, after many years in the service of the Company in its eastern possessions, had been made a magistrate at Amsterdam. He was a man of some ability and enterprise, who in the few years he was at the Cape settled the Land of Waveren, sent an expedition to Natal in search of timber, imported better breeds of sheep and tried, though without success, to start a silk industry. But the good that he did has been overshadowed naturally enough by his quarrel with the colonists, which came to a head in 1706 and was due in no small measure to certain defects of character that van der Stel had developed in the Company’s service in the East, where corruption was rife.; and

In view of the stir that the agitation against the governor created in the little colony, it is as well to consider the causes of the dispute, which show that corruption was as prevalent at the Cape as elsewhere in the Company’s empire, though naturally on a smaller scale.

Willem van der Stel is frequently praised in the South African history books as the person who activated successful stock breeding and farming as an industry, who influenced the colony’s economy positively and began the enlargment of the borders of the Cape Colony to include regions like Tulbagh. But within this capturing of improvement, Willem was, as his corrupt father Simon before him, also fast gobbled up by his psychological disposition of large scale corruption, nepotism, autocracic ruling, and the cover-up of his tracks of criminality, self-enrichment and outright fraud. It seems that he fast built up an intimate group of even more corrupt officials and burghers than himself to effectively promote his interests and safeguard his back for backlashes from the inhabitants as well as the VOC, that could topple him. In reality, Jan van Riebeeck and Simon van der Stel were dwarfs in comparison to the wrongdoing of the giant of crooked activity, Willem van der Stel.12,40

As in most crimes, criminality cannot be maintained indefinitely and the culprit is brought to order in the end and called to be accountable (although accountability is sometimes super-physical and time consuming, as is demonstrated by the ten years of going scot-free of Jacob Zuma). In Willem van der Stel’s case accountability was fast brought to reality. (Is it from Willem’s case that Julius Malema of the EFF coined his striking phrase: It is time to pay back). Only eight years into his reign (1699-1707), Van der Stel was successfully stopped in his tracks from serious further wrongdoing.12,40

Soon after his appointment, Willem van der Stel started to do mega-farming, notwithstanding that the Council of Seventeen had in 1688 forbidden it, as well as decreeing in 1699 that officials could not own farms and farm on a great scale. (It seems that he had successfully hidden his farm and farming activities from the eyes of the VOC for years). But nepotism and corruption, in the case of Van der Stel, already ran deep by the illegal donation of a farm of 400 morgen in Hottentots-Holland to him by Commissioner Wouter Valkenier. To keep other officials happy, possibly also Willem’s intimate friends, various other officials received farms. Secunde Sameul Elsevier, the bailiff Johan Blesius and the reverend Petrus Kalden, all received large farms, while officials of lesser status, like the magistrates Starrenburg, De Wet en Ten Damme, received sixty morgen. These officials received in total more than half so much as all the colonists put together. This subdivision of property, allocated to cronies in his office, was well-planned to divert the attention from Willem as a transgressor of the 1688 and 1699 prohibitions. A direct outcome was that Willem as well as others stayed away from their offices for long periods, as did his co-farming officials.12,40

In 1703 Van der Stel continued his nepotism, corruption and stealing from the VOC by the donation of 117 morgen to his crony, Jan Hartog, and then bought it back as his property to enlarge his original farm. He fast developed the farm, today knows as Vergelegen, by building a beautiful homestead and extensive outbuildings, while the farm was intensively cultivated. In a short time he cultivated 61.5 morgen under grapes, counting more than 500,000 stocks with the potential to deliver six hundred leaguer of wine per annum. These 500,000 stocks represented a quarter of the total stocks of the colony. His wheat harvest represented 1,100 muids (bags) of the total 4,331 muids harvested in 1705 to 1706 at the Cape. He also began to intensively farm with livestock, which included hundreds of cattle and thousands of sheep, especially in the present day Caledon, where no other farmer was allowed to farm.12,40

To farm his land and carry out other labour he bought more than 200 slaves, a workforce allegedly supported by more than 100 VOC slaves and more or less sixty White menial servants paid by the VOC. Furthermore, he obtained building material from the VOC stores seemingly without paying for it. He also forced the colonists to transport these materials to his farm without any compensation. The farming of Willem and his officials soon started to endanger the farming incomes of the colonist farmers. These farming officials also started to manipulate the markets, creating monopolies and assured sole benefits to them in the selling and pricing of their produce. Van der Stel Junior even began to manipulate the awarding of the wine leases in 1705, by awarding them to a listed criminal friend of his, a man named Phijffer. The farmers objected fiercely and prepared a petition to be sent to the Council of Seventeen in the Netherlands, describing the corruption of Van der Stel and his cronies, reporting about the bribes they had to pay to him for normal services as well as other wrongdoings. (This was the second petition: in 1705 a petition was sent to the Higher Government in India, but all that happened was that the body asked on 1706 that Van der Stel must answer to the allegations).

In blocking any effort to unmask him, Willem van der Stel showed his corrupt mindset.12,40 First he activated a petition himself which portrayed him as an honest, hard-working and religious man, as well as a good executive leader working exclusively for the benefits of the colonists. To obtain signatures for his petition he invited and treated all Capetonians to the Castle. Here he dropped his discrimination inclination to a certain extent by inviting the lower social and worker classes, such as labourers, slaves, and traders such as fishermen! Moreover, he sent the magistrate Starrenburg into the country to obtain further signatures to favour him, but with very little success. In the end he obtained 240 signatures to back up his case, seemingly from lower class farmers, slaves and even exiles, while the chances were also good that some signatures were forgeries.40

Secondly, Willem van der Stel did the same flip-flop as is done by most autocrats and crooks when time starts to run out for them. Van der Merwe40 compiled the following on his autocratic behaviour40:81-82:

He arrested the leader of the petitioners, Adam Tas, and from his documents Van der Stel became aware of the full contents of the second petition, especially the accusations against him, as well as the names of the inner circle of the petitioners;

He arrested some of the 63 petitioners on charges of sedition and rebellion and decided to send five to Amsterdam to defend themselves there on these charges, which Van der Stel believed the HERE XVII would hold against them;

Then he appointed a commission from the Council of Justice to prosecute the leaders of the movement against him. His intention was to persuade through these kind of threats to stop further actions against him. To cover up his wrongdoing and to steer an outcome in his favour, he appointed all the officials accused in the petition to serve on the commission while a colonist loyal to him was to represent the colonists;

The magistrate Starrenburg was appointed as prosecutor, and not as required the fiscal whose work it was to act as public prosecutor;

Van der Stel hid his direct involvement in the proceedings well by not taking a seat on the bench. Indeed, he was still manipulating the proceedings and the outcome of the prosecution by sitting in a room next to the court and where he was constantly consulting Starrenburg;

The hearings of the accused were separated and they were brought one by one before the bank. First they were asked to change their minds in favour of Van der Stel. If they failed to offer a testimony in favour of Van der Stel, they were taken back to the cells. If a prisoner after a certain time still refused to recall his views on the governor, he was threatened with being locked up in the “Donker Gat” (Dark Hole) in the Castle, an underground space without any light or fresh air which was well known for its fast and devastating effect on the health. Threats were further used such as the withholding of food (only water and bread), to use the pain rack or to be banned to Mauritius. (Indeed, some accused were held for weeks in unhealthy cells before confessing, three were sent to the “Donker Gat”, while two of the accused were already on a ship to Mauritius before confessing);

Van der Stel rewote these confessions of the accused and styled them to favour his honesty, before the HERE XVII saw them, and sent them to the Netherlands with his own defence as well as a declaration on the delinquent behaviour of the accused.

3.3.4.1 Pay-up time, Mister Willem van der Stel!

But the writing was on the wall for Willem Adriaan van der Stel. Unbeknownst to him was the second petition of the colonists, sent in secret with one of the ships of the same fleet to the Netherlands. It was one of the ships that carried Van der Stel’s own petition and other evidence against the colonists, as well as the five leaders of the “rebellion”.12,40

So assured of the cover-up of his “good case” was Van der Stel, that he merely continued his prosecution of “delinquent” colonists, under the guidance of magistrate Starrenburg. But public resistance became strong, with many colonists ignoring requests of assistance for food delivery or to appear before the court.12,40

At Amsterdam in the Netherlands things went badly wrong for Van der Stel, and a situation manifested that he did not expect and for which he was totally unprepared. But this was not a sudden insight in the mindsets of the directors of the Council of Seventeen of Amsterdam – indeed they were well informed by various other petitions bemoaning the growing criminality in the mindset and actions of Willem van der Stel and his cronies. All that they were waiting for was the return fleet from the East to bring documentation with more clear information. The Council of Seventeen stepped in fast and offered judgment in favour of the colonists. The end result was that Governor Willem van der Stel, Secunde Samuel Elsevier, Reverend Petrus Kalden and Magistrate Starrenburg were fired and recalled to the Netherlands, while the banned colonists were brought back to the Cape at the cost of the VOC. In addition, all colonists in prison at the Cape were set free and all the charges against the colonists laid by Willem Van der Stel and his official cronies, were recalled. The material possessions of Willem Van der Stel, which he obtained by crooked means, were confiscated from him – his farm was divided into four sections and it, with its buildings, sold publically. Van der Stel’s monopolies of the wine and meat trade were nullified.12,40

Willem Van der Stel failed outright, not only as executive leader in 1707, but he was one of the greatest failures as a leader so far in the South African history. But this failure goes deeper: it completely devastated any remnants left by Jan van Riebeeck and Simon van der Stel of a kind of a regime of leadership and an example of governance to guide future leaders in the then South African history still to be made. If there was until that time some kind of a regime of leadership, even at the lowest levels, it was totally erased from the mindsets of the upcoming politicians of the 1700s, officials of status as well as that of most of its colonists at the Cape.12,40

3.3.5 Period 1707 to 1795 under the VOC

Subsequent to the departure of Willem van der Stel, basically nothing changed in the way of ruling at the Cape Colony. The population was growing, although at a slow pace. In 1700 the number was 458 adult colonists, while a decade later there were 656. Indeed, from 1707 the VOC, guided by the Council of Seventeen, reverted to their original policy of not supporting immigration, which led thereto that in the 18th Century immigration became a small stream. Stock farming also started to accelerate, forcing the necessity for more land. A nomadic kind of stock farming began, away from the Cape, in the countryside. Indeed the area bought in the 1800s under VOC control was large in relation to its small population of colonists.9,44 This land expanded into the interior, and was assisted by the VOC. The Border and Travelling Boers (White frontiersmen) were left free to indulge in cattle trade, provided they did not impinge on the VOC’s rights. Geen writes12:21:

Thus was the dispersal of the colonists into the interior of Southern Africa begun. In the years after 1707 it was neither the citizens of the presentable little city of Cape Town nor the agricultural farmers of the surrounding districts that were to play the foremost part in the history of the colony, but the pastoral farmers on the ever-changing frontier.

The eighteen governors that followed after Willem van der Stel showed no controversial behaviour. Basically the style of government, enforced by the VOC, and the lack of true democracy since 1652, prevailed. Only five governors stayed six years and longer and need reference in terms of the establishment of a bad versus good model of leadership and governance. The eighteen governors for the period 1707 to 1795 were33:

3.3.5.1 Maurits Pasques de Chavonnes (1714-1724)

De Chavonnes, a person described as “a man of some ability”, tried to overcome the old economic problems of the colony, namely its unprofitability, by raising the production of farms to yield more produce at lower running costs. In 1717 the Council of Policy thought it could address this problem by the import of more slaves, because they saw White labourers coming from Europe as “lazy and incompetent and as being more expensive than slave labour”.12:22 The fact is that Black slave labour was cheap and easy to manipulate and subordinate, whereas White labourers would not allow this kind of treatment.

The plea in 1717 of Captain Dominique de Chavonnes (brother of the governor and the commander of the Cape garrison) against slave labour and the wisdom around it, was totally ignored by the already racial predisposition of White farmers on cheap Black slave labour and the dehumanizing that the slave population already underwent at the Cape. The Biblical “baas-kneg” was central here, with the Blacks as acceptable subordinates, already stripped of their human dignity, while the White labourer seems not to be part of the lower social hierarchy whereto to slaves had belonged since the social stratification of races introduced by Godske in 1671. The rigidity of the Whites’ mindsets already captured by racism led thereto that they missed out on Dominique de Chavonnes’ wisdom when he said12:22:

“…white artisans were better workers than coloured slaves” and pointed out that “because they earned more they also spent more”. This would create a larger home market, making the colony more defensible and that the absence of slaves would encourage the development of habits of industry and lead to smaller farms that could be worked properly.

The end outcome was the importation of more slaves to the Cape for the exclusive benefits of the Whites and more perpetration of inhumanity on non-Whites. It is important to note that the slave laws had with time become more barbarous and punishments consequently more severe, making the “management” of slave labour and their behaviour much better and easier than that of free White labourers.12

The above quotation was specifically placed here with the focus on the later, further misuse of cheap Black labour and work reservation to exclusively benefit Whites during Apartheid. The further remark of Baron Gustaf Willem van Imhoff, who stayed (during the appointment of Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel: 1739-1750) for some time in 1743 at the Cape, must be read in the same context of the rooting of Apartheid’s later benefits for Whites, coming from this earlier time. Van Imhoff also reported, as Dominique de Chavonnes had done more than twenty-five years back, on the evils of slavery, by identifying an interesting cognition, already then seemingly in existence, to be reflected later by many of the forthcoming Afrikaner- Nationalists, in their use and misuse of cheap non-White labour inside the “baas-kneg” setup, which was strictly practiced until 1994. Van Imhoff’s view of the White farmer of the 1740s of the Cape was far from flattering when he said12:25:

I believe it would have been for the better, had we, when the colony was founded, commenced with Europeans and brought them hither in such numbers that hunger and want would have forced them to work….But having imported slaves every common or ordinary European becomes a gentleman and prefers to be served than to serve…We have in addition the fact that the majority of the farmers in this colony are not farmers in the real sense of the world, but owners of plantations, and that many of them consider it a shame to work with their own hands.

In 1662, Commander Zaharias Wagener also referred to some of the free burgher farmers who ceased to farm in a much more derogatory tone to that of Van Imhoff’s remark nearly a century later, when he said10:7-8:

“versopene, luije, lompe vlegels”, that despite all threats and measures of duress went to live at the Fort, where they ran boarding houses, in order to try and exploit sailors and visitors, and proceeded to sit idly on their porches, endlessly drinking and being idle, which allows for the Devil’s work”. (Own translation)

It seems as though the choices of the VOC of their “settlers” to the Cape were not always the best to form a nation in the end. The fact that the VOC’s executive leaders at the Cape also failed the tests of “goodness” in many cases, strengthen this view. It is thus important to briefly look further into the profiles of some of the governors after de Chavonnes (1714-1724).

3.3.5.2 Hendrik Swellengrebel (1739-1750)

During Swellengrebel’s appointment, the Khoi-Khoi, KhoiSan and Xhosa problems were prominent. These problems were especially prevalent between 1737 and 1739, and serious racial disharmony and bloodshed ensued. In this period the KhoiSan, and less often the KhoiKhoi who were over time driven out from their original living areas around the Cape, started in reprisal to raid the White frontiersmen’s farms.8,9,12,,22,40

The KhoiKhoi were eventually no longer a problem, and seemed to submit to their subordinate position under the Whites. The bulk of the KhoiKhoi stayed within the the borders of the colony, becoming part of the farming environment as labourers, where they were absorbed into the growing Colored group. Some smaller groups withdrew from the incoming White frontiersmen, forming communities on their own, such as Adam Kok’s group, who moved from Piketberg to Kamiesberg, allowing his group to absorb half-breed KhoiKhoi to form the Griqua tribe.8,9,12,22,40

It seems to be the KhoiSan who refused to be part of this subordinate plan of the VOC Government. The White frontiersmen illegally occupied their traditional hunting areas and so they started an organized resistance in the form of attacks, in an effort to drive the Whites out. They where initially in some cases very successful, but their primitive weaponry in the form of bows and poisoned arrows and their restriction of moving by foot, made them easy targets for the White frontiersmen, moving fast on horses in large groups with guns. Most of the onslaughts by the KhoiSan, starting from 1715, were a kind of guerilla attack, spreading out over the vast borderline of the colony. The counter measures of the Boer frontiersmen were to organize commandos to subdue the KhoiSan. These punitive actions of the Boers were mostly extremely uncontrolled. In many of these KhoiSan hunting parties the VOC Government gave formal permission to the White frontiersmen to undertake these killings, leading thereto that hundreds of Bushmen were “terminated” in punishment actions which had been authorized.8,9,12,22,40

These uncontrolled killings of especially the KhoiSan were also prevalent during the time in office of Ryk Tulbagh (1751-1771), Swellengrebel’s successor, and that of Baron Joachim van Plettenberg (1773-1785), and continued until the end of VOC rule at the Cape. It also spread out against the Xhosas, whose land the White frontiersmen also illegally penetrated and occupied (although many Afrikaner historians ignore this reality in their books).8,9,12,22,40

The period from the early- to late 1700s was characterized by Whites and non-Whites coming face-to-face about illegal land occupation due to the failure of the VOC government at the Cape to handle the White frontiersmen’s increasingly delinquent behaviour to indigenous South Africans and their unrelenting illegal grabbing of the KhoiSan and Xhosas’ land. This set the stage for immense conflict, bloodshed and the creation of permanent hatred between Whites and Blacks. The fact that land grabbing by the Whites was the main reason for all these conflicts, leading to attacks and counter attacks and mass bloodshed, was ignored outright by the VOC. There was no effective border policy and strict ruling of their White subjects, whose ancestors they had brought to South Africa to settle initially only around Cape Town. IJsbrand Godske theoretically started up successful “apartheid” in South Africa in 1671, but the racism and racial disharmony which has been the country’s main problem up until today, was created directly by the White governors of the VOC, especially starting with Swellengrebel, and continuing undisturbed until the end of VOC rule with Sluysken as executive political leader in 1795. It is important to provide some insight into these early happenings, specifically the prominent roles of the White, KhoiSan and Xhosa frontiersmen in this later political mess.8,9,12,22,40

3.3.5.2.1 White frontiersmen

We have already noted Geen’s12 reference to the disorderly and law-evading actions of the travelling and border Boers, or so-called White frontiersmen, who became in their own right sheriffs, cowboys, outlaws and crooks in a completely unorganized border area. Geen writes12:23-24:

In fact, since that it had appeared as though the central government was leaving the defence of the borders to the frontiersmen, so that in time they came to look upon themselves not only as their own defence but as a law unto themselves. In this same year (1739) one Etienne Barbier, a runaway soldier, who had attempted to raise a revolt among dissatisfied burghers at the Paarl, was captured and executed and thereafter yet another ineffective edict was published against intercourse with the native tribes.

These White frontiersmen’s delinquent behaviour was not only mostly ignored by the Cape Authority, but indeed assisted with their tacit allowing of the White frontiersmen to enlarge the colony’s area constantly by their shifting of the one official border to the following border; deeper and deeper inland, and the taking over of non-Whites’ traditional land and thus the creation of a more disorderly government. What is most important, is that these Boers and their children, who were frequently not law abididng, with strong views on race differentiation and the belief of the baas-kneg-system, which characterized the later Grand Apartheid of the National Party (NP), formed the greatest bulk of the early 1800s Voortrekkers. They undoubtedly transferred complex negative cognitions, customs, traditions, beliefs and views into the later two Boer-republics.4,12,22

Their reasons to “trek” were undoubtedly the easily availability of farms, but also the “free roaming” of an uncontrolled lifestyle, away from the Cape Authority which the White frontiersmen saw more and more as useless and uneconomic, and more of a burden than a support in their daily life.9,12,22,31

The abundance of soil and favourable conditions of the interior for stock farming, as well as little resistance from the KhoiKhoi and KhoiSan, contributed fast to a self-sufficient lifestyle. This isolation, although mostly free from the nuisance of the VOC Government, claimed a price. Within two generations, negative outcomes followed as a result of their cultural isolation and lack of good law and order, seriously affecting their traditional “Cape and European culture”. Their pastoral and nomadic way of living, where cattle bartering with the KhoiKhoi, hunting of an overabundance of game and management of the grazing of their stock were their day-to-day existence, and were undoubtedly both attractions and benefits. But their isolation, lack of educational facilities, lack of cultural and life-enriching influences and lack of sound policing of their behaviour, brought about a down-scale in their European standards of living – a serious shortcoming which was carried with them as they moved further north, west and east as the first frontiersmen. Their culturally deprived children and grandchildren carried this “cultural poverty” with them as they moved beyond the Vaal River and further north.9,12,31

Geen writes about this frontier culture of theirs as follows12:29:

…but the isolation and difficulties of frontier life also made them limited in their outlook, impatient with all forms of control and so intensely individualistic that it became difficult to unite them in effective co-operation. They lost most of their civilization on the way to the Promised Land. Some could write, still more could sign their names, many read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, into which they read a justification of themselves, their beliefs and all their works, but for the rest, learning and the affairs of the great world were closed books to them.

These frontiersmen, spreading out to the north to form with other proto-Afrikaners the Transvaal and Free State Republics, were seen in the pre-1836 period as part of a group of people, who the post-1836 British Government at the Cape had viewed as people from a backwards colony (to use the historian CW Kiewiet’s words)12. These were the people who the British were forced to make “acceptable and fitable” into the new British Empire. To fulfill this British “uplifting” ideal, it cost, in less than a half century, from the British Empire two Boer wars, millions of British pounds and the loss of thousand of lives. This leaves a great doubt as to whether the comprehensive neglect by the long rule of the VOC of the proto-Afrikaners, namely the frontiersmen and Voortrekkers, was not transferred into the mindsets of their descendants, the Transvaal and Free State burghers, and after 1910 into the Afrikaners of the Union, and whether this was ever erased.4,12

3.3.5.2.2 The official termination of the KhoiSan frontiersmen

The KhoiSan did not cultivate land or own any livestock, but lived from nature’s produce such as game and edible plants. Although the KhoiSan were hunters and not farmers, land and territory was very important to them. Certain areas of South Africa, notwithstanding a lack of inhabitants or a population, were claimed over many years by the KhoiSan as their exclusive hunting grounds and property, from which they had even driven out the incoming Blacks. These traditions and customs of the KhoiSan were principles that were not well respected by many of the unruly White frontiersmen, who started to occupy the best grazing land of the KhoiSan. For the KhoiSan this “White barbarism” of continuous land-grabbing was a serious threat to their future existence and a reason for justified war. They organized four “wars”, more like guerilla onslaughts, in 1715, 1731, 1738 and 1754 against the White frontiersmen and successfully drove them from their newly occupied farms. It was especially in times of drought that the KhoiSan started to intensively attack and to rob the White farmers.9,15

In their attacks aimed at driving the White frontiersmen southwards back out of their traditional territory, the Khoisan resorted to much cruelty – methods similar to those which are seen today in much terrorism and guerilla fighting.

Van der Walt writes about these cruelties, which meted out as much pain as possible and damage on the enemy, which characterized the KhoiSan’s warfare, as follows9:101:

This explains the frequent apparently senseless cruelty of the Bushmen. They did not just murder cattle watchmen, but tortured them with incredible cruelty. Stolen cattle were mistreated and frequently maimed as they fled. The cattle watchmen were sometimes murdered and their sheep or cattle were stabbed to death, without any thought being given to using them for food. (Own translation).

After the 1770s, the conflicts between White frontiersmen and the KhoiSan worsened, leading thereto that during the period of the early 1770s to the late 1780s, the White frontiersmen were successfully driven out of areas like the Nuweveld, bringing about serious loss of lives, livestock and damage to property. With regard to the immense losses for the period 1786 to 1788 of the White frontiersmen at the hand of these various KhoiSan guerilla attacks, Van der Walt reports9:102:

According to the calculations of Magistrate Woeke, in the Graaf-Reinet district, in the two and a half years between 1 July 1786 and 31 December 1788, 107 cattle watchmen were murdered, and 99 horses, 6,299 cattle and 17970 sheep were stolen or killed. During the last thirty years of the centuary, a bloody guerilla war full of hatred and bitterness developed. The Bushmen did not lose any chance to steal or destroy, to burn down farm houses and to murder farmers or cattle watchmen. The farmers shot all the Bushmen that they could get in their sights, and commandos were destroyed as often as possible. In 1777 the government approved a war of extermination (Own translation).

About the tragic outcomes for the KhoiSan brought on them by one of these official wars of extermination of the KhoiSan, to which Van der Walt above refers, Geen reports as follows12:28:

The relations between the frontier farmers and the Bushmen were far less satisfactory. In the ten years after 1754 there where frequent Bushmen raids on the farms each followed by a punishment commando that killed many of the raiders and made apprenctices of the captured women and children. In 1774 the Council of Policy organized a large commando under Godlieb Opperman, which ranged over three hundred miles of the borderland and, for the loss of one burgher, took over two hundred prisoners, most of whom were apprenticed to members of the commando, and killed over five hundred Bushmen. It was a sorry business and by no means the end of the matter, as for years to come, these raids and counter commandos continued.

The question must be asked as to whether the constant and senseless killing of the KhoiSan, driven from their original living space by the White frontiersmen since 1652, differs from crimes against humanity and whether it was not genocide? Was this not a well-planned scheme to wipe the KhoiSan from the face of South Africa, as the Nazis tried to do with the Jews and other minorities in the Second World War? Geen’s12 undermentioned description of who the KhoiSan were and how they were treated in the 1600s to 1700s (and possibly are still treated today) may offer us some insight into the dehumanizing and distancing as human beings which the KhoiSan underwent since the Cape Settlement started up in 1652. This process of dehumanizing was executed by the Whites, but activated and allowed unobstructed by the VOC’s executive political leaders at the Cape; persons who were supposed to be responsible for the rights and life of every South African. It also gives some insight as to how South Africans’ respect for the lives and the happiness of other people already went wrong in the 1700s. Most of all, it gives an in-depth insight as to how some of our executive political leaders between 1652 and 1795 failed all South Africans, including the KhoiSan. To issue the approval for the cold-blooded mass termination of other humans – people who were here in South Africa long before the Europeans, and basically to steal their land for self-enrichment – is unforgiveable. Any person or group wiping out a tribe, not only by their direct killing, but also by robbing them of their economics and livelihood and erasing them from society, is/are real Frankenstein Monsters. On the tragic reaching of the end of the road for the KhoiSan frontiersmen and their families as a significant tribe or group, Geen offers us a short historical reflection12:9-10:

The Bushmen, little yellow-skinned people barely five feet in height, were the least advanced of the three races [Blacks, Hottentots and Bushmen] occupying Southern Africa at the time of the arrival of the Europeans. An examination of instruments and mounds suggest that they were, perhaps, the first inhabitants of South Africa, probably having been compelled to migrate from central Southern Asia, either by scarcity of food and space, or by a stronger race. According to one theory, one section going south-east occupied the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines and Australia, another section travelling west entered Spain, while a third found its way into Africa, where they were gradually pushed south by the stronger Hamites occupying the Nile region. In succession other races entered Africa from the east and by the Sixteenth Century there were probably no Bushmen north of the Zambesi River. Being nomadic hunters, they lived largely on game and roots. Their family and tribal ties were weak, their ideas of religion rudimentary and their vocabulary limited, but they had considerable artistic talent as we know from their drawings and paintings to be found in rock shelters all over South Africa. These are in many ways similar, and in some respects superior, to those extant on the walls of caves in southern Spain. However, their neighbours, both the Hottentots and Bantu, doubted whether they were quite human and so it is not surprising that the Europeans also proved enemies, and today Bushmen remain only in very small numbers in the Kalahari Desert and South-West Africa.

This “animalizing” of the KhoiSan is worse than dehumanizing can ever be, and is further well illustrated by the fact that during the Difaqane (the period 1810 to 1840 of Black-on-Black violence inland in Northern South Africa) they fell victim to cannibalism and were hunted as game by various Black tribes like the Bafokeng, in the mountain areas where they took shelter.4,12,15 As also described by Geen12 their presence as “a people” and their status as humans in Southern Africa, seen from the White frontiersmens’ view of the 1700s, was as “only a nuisance”, undoubtedly equal to the nuisance of a predator. The KhoiSan was “just a Bushman”.

Of the KhoiSan tribe’s early empowerment, strong enough initially to successfully fight the White and Black frontiersmen from 1652, there was, by the beginning of the early 1800s, basically nothing left. They could also not be spoken of as a tribe anymore. Sadly in the 1800s there was not yet an International Criminal Court (ICC) to prevent the termination of the Bushmen.

The demography of the indigenous people of South Africa, having evolved over hundreds, if not thousands of years, was irreversibly changed in one hundred and fifty years of European progress. Infantile geo-politics arrived in the 1800s for South Africa.

3.3.5.2.3 Black frontiersmen

Unil the early 1700s, the White frontiersmen’s immediate indigenous enemies were the KhoiKhoi and KhoiSan, who they forced to move north-, east- and westwards with ease, further away from the Cape Authority and further over the official borders of the Cape Colony. This constant extension of the colony’s authority, from the Breede River to the Fish River, forced Baron van Plettenberg to extend the frontier “officially” to the Fish River in July 1775. In September 1778, during a visit of Van Plettenberg to the Fish River border, he found two opposition groups living suddenly in close proximity to each other: the Xhosa frontiersmen, moving south, and the White frontiersmen, moving north. The first real battle line between Black and White about land ownership in South Africa was clearly and precisely drawn.8,912,22,40

But what was important of this first clash, was that the Xhosas were not to be a pushover for the White frontiersmen, as the KhoiKhoi or KhoiSan had been. The Boers found their match after more than hundred years of uncontrolled subjugation of the KhoiKhoi, KhoiSan and Cape slaves. These first clashes in the Fish River region formed the beginning of the future infighting between Blacks and Whites, running continuously over more than two centuries, until 2018.8,912,22,40

Geen12 describes the needs and reasoning of Blacks as well as Whites of that time (which do not differ very much from their needs and reasoning in 2018, and which also form the arguments of the leader of the EFF, Julius Malema, which he is constantly hot-bloodedly voicing in Parliament in favour of his land-capture). Geen writes12:28:

The clash with the Bantu in the region of the Fish opened a new chapter in South African history, which was to prove both long and stormy, for both the Bantu and the Boers were pastoralists whose wealth lay in their herds of cattle and sheep and whose chief object in life was the search for new water and pastures. What made the clash all the more severe was the fact that the new eastern frontier lay in an area of uncertain rainfall and drought. Moreover, to intensify the struggle, the area of unreliable rainfall lay behind the Boers and that of the more plentiful rainfall behind the Bantu.

But the concept of land and the fighting about it goes much deeper than just grazing and a livelihood through farming, as many White historians, like Geen12 (also quoting Professor WM Macmillan in this respect) interpret by saying12:30:

‘The little understood Kaffir Wars are properly to be regarded as the struggle between two streams of colonizers for the possession of valuable land’. This struggle was complicated by the fact that the European and Bantu ideas on the holding of land differed fundamentally, the former being based on ownership, while according to Bantu customary law, a chief could neither sell nor cede land, but could merely grant the right of using it in a particular way. For a long time this difference of conception was a stumbling block to peace in South Eastern Africa.

This view of Geen’s12 is far from the full truth: the truth was that the constant northern, western and eastern moving White frontiermen were not interested in leasing or buying land. They “stole” land which had become over a long period, mostly by fighting and then occupation, the exclusive property of the Black frontiersmen (it did not matter if it was under a chief’s customary holding). (Mostly it seems that the chiefs were not willing to relinquish their land anyway). It was unlawful land grabbing, mostly by force, by the White frontiersmen. When these Black frontiersmen reacted by raids into their lost land, these actions led to “justified” reprisals by the Whites in the form of the various Xhosa wars (or, as Geen12 called them, the Kaffir Wars).

Although the Blacks were the majority in these first clashes, they made their own pre-modern weaponry and were thus unequal in fighting ability, when compared with the White frontiersmen, who were well equiped with weapons and horse mobility. They became the losers in the long term political history of South Africa. But this victory for the Whites did not come with ease, and never really eased up, not even in 2018.

Geen writes about the inequality between the White and Black frontiersmen battling for empowerment and the good outcomes for the White frontiersmen from their better military striking power, as follows12:28:

In the struggle that followed it was the [White] frontiersman that had the advantage, for his horse gave him greater mobility, his gun gave him irresistible fire power and his tented wagon enabled him to turn conquest into settlement by bringing up his family and household goods, as they were.

This inequality in military empowerment against the Whites stayed with the Blacks (as with the other non-Whites, like the Coloreds and Indians) for centuries, and could not even be cracked by the ANC’s MKs’ best tries. But in these conflicts, originating in the late 1700s, the Blacks also lost out immensely on politics, economics and social life: the winner takes all; all ways. The same which had happened with the Whites’ political, emotional, cognitive and economical deprivation at the Cape Colony under the VOC regime of nearly two centuries, had unfortunately also happened to all non-Whites in South Africa, due to their suppression from 1652 onward. The same process to make people from a backwards country acceptable and fit for a modern country — as was tried by the British Empire with the Whites in the Cape Colony after their years of ordeal at the hands of the VOC – had also been followed since 1994 in South Africa. Unfortunately not all South Africans have so far been successful in overcoming their immense deprivation, coming from as far back as1652.4,12

3.3.5.4 Joachim van Plettenberg (1773-1785)

After the Willem van der Stel debacle, the relations between the Cape Authority and the colonists were stable, although there was no real change to a democratic government and open society. The political power was still solely vested in the governor and his Council of Policy and the VOC owners of the Cape Colony. For the Cape Government, which was the sole representative of the VOC, the business interests of the VOC were essential, while the colonists’ interests were secondary. But it seems that gradually extortion, self-conceit, corruption and nepotism inside the VOC by its officials began to emerge once again, especially among the higher ranking officials. Prominent was the top-heavy number of officials working for the VOC (with a ratio of one official for every five burghers!) and their under-payment, making them corrupt and nepotistic in order for them to be able to make a living. The influence of the successful revolt of the American English colonies against the trading restrictions forced upon them by the British Empire began to take a hold in the mindsets of the burghers. In this regard it must be mentioned that the free burghers still had no direct share in the government of the day, while there were numerous trading restrictions imposed on them which smothered the development of trade and the beginning of any industry. At the same time the VOC was in the process of declining, making the burghers a target for a greater income generating source for the VOC and the Cape Colony’s administration.8,9,12,22,40

There was also a new misuse of juridical power inside the undemocratic VOC management against the colonists. It was highlighted with the appointment of the Independent Fiscal, Willem Cornelis Boers, who was only responsible for his behaviour to the Council of Seventeen to judicially oversee cases without any say by the governor. He also discriminated against the status of the colonists (White, but of local birth) and the inhabitants of the Netherlands. This inclination led further to an “uplifted” view of the VOC officials’ status with the colonists “stripped” of their “status”, resulting in more and more objections by the colonists against the governor, the Council of Policy and specifically WC Boers.8,9,12,22,40

A petition to the Council of Seventeen gave a better view of the unsatisfactory Cape situation to the council, although little negative was mentioned of Van Plettenberg himself as governor, notwithstanding his extreme policy against any opposition, which had already led to his deportation of eighteen burghers. As previously mentioned, prominently in focus during that time were WC Boers and his crony officials. The burghers put forward certain demands, like the codification of the laws; demanding that seven burghers should be members of the Council of Policy when matters concerning the colonists were under discussion; that two of these burghers should retire annually and that their places should only be replaced by the nominees of the burgher councillors; they asked for equal representation with the officials on the High Court of Justice and for the right of appeal to the Council of India. Regarding the immediate improvement of their economics, they demanded the abolition of private trading by the officials, the grant of free trade with foreign ships and the VOC, and a reduction in farm rents.8,9,12,22,40,43

Van Plettenberg, in reaction to the Council of Seventeen’s enquiry, argued that the petitioners were in the minority (only four hundred out of three thousand burghers signed it). The outcome was that only the demand about the same number of representatives as that of the officials on the High Court was granted, but having representatives on the Council of Policy was refused.8,9,12,22,40

After this negative outcome the burghers sent a deputation to the State-General in the Netherlands in 1785, bringing some, but limited improvement in 1876 to the Cape’s governance, such as the introduction of a committee of the High Court consisting of three officials and three burghers, chosen by the Council of Policy to fix prices, but only to make suggestions on new forms of taxation. Included in their duties were also the control of public works and acting as a municipal council for Cape Town. The political rights of the burghers were still non-existant.8,9,12,22,40,44

The successors of WC Boers – Jan Jacob Serrurier and Van Lyden van Blittersrijk – showed the same judicial arrogance. New reactions by the burghers began to take place. Central to these actions were various unnamed writings, which started to circulate in the Cape Colony. The central sentiments in these writings were the right to live in a democracy and to have political rights and freedom, something so far unknown at the Cape. Uncontrolled wrongdoing by the VOC officials and governor, against the colonists, also became prominent subjects. More and more requests for resistance by the White frontiersmen were put on paper. Anti-VOC secret meetings were being held. This battle for freedom, lead by 444 colonists, ended in a comprehensive Burgher petition (a political and juridical document of very high standard) which they wanted to send to the Netherlands, but this was refused by the governor and the Council of Policy. In the end it was sent in 1779 in secret to the Netherlands, where it was presented to the Council of Seventeen by four colonists as representatives of the Cape burghers. Although many of these 1779 requests of the colonists were refused, some were accepted.12,22,44

A later petition in 1782, the Nadere Memorie, was mostly also unsuccessful. Most of all, the beginning of democracy was blocked, as Beyers explains43:118: “The principle of free election in all burger-like matters, which were pleaded for in art 7 of the Nadere Memorie and in art 9 and 13 of the Burgerpetisie, were not approved by the HERE XVII (Own translation).

On the other hand, positive political outcomes followed, some slow but some fast, such as the resignation of some of the prominent corrupt and underperforming high officials, namely the Independent Fiscal WC Boers, the Equipage Master Damien Staring and the Head of the Cape Militia, Van Prehn. But most of all at last sound political thinking and planning on the side of the burghers did prevail. The colonists started to ignore the Council of Seventeen and the VOC and turned for help to the State-General of the Netherlands in their quest for democracy. The organization of the colonists into a political unity led to the founding in 1784 of a political party, the Patriotte. In 1784 this party addressed the State-General three times with requests that the Cape Colony’s statutory position should be changed to a “Volkstaat subordinate to the State-General” for political governance. These three addresses in 1785 were without real success. As a last resort, they again sent a delegation in 1795 to the Netherlands, and again addressed the State-General, but again without success.12,22,43

Geen12 summarized the immense failure of Van Plettenberg as a governor very well with the following inscription12:33: “The record of van Plettenberg’s governorship make for dismal reading…”. However, the reading of the records of the other commanders and governors before him, from as far back as 1652, also make for dismal reading.8,9,12,22,31,40,43

3.3.5.5 Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff (1785-1791)

In 1786, during the office of Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff (1785-1791), another petition was sent to the State-General in the Netherlands, but again it failed the test.

But the Cape Patriotte had a taste now for freedom and democracy. Basically the driving force was that they believed in their right to be able to select their own political representatives and the right to rule themselves. This was now the main thinking of and planning by the burghers. In the meantime, the VOC started to lose authority and to fall into financial dispair as a business entity. The need for independence was fast activated at Graaff-Reinett and Swellendam. The burghers of Graaff-Reinet, which was declared a separate District in December 1785 by the Cape Authority, started, especially as a result of their poor economic conditions and the continuing attacks by the Xhosas, for which they received no help, to take the first steps towards “independence”.

The founding of Graaff-Reinet as a separate district by the VOC sounds more glorious than it was. It was mainly constructive in improving the governmental order of the VOC between the Gamtoos and Fish Rivers, and changing the White frontiersmen’s delinquent and disorderly behaviour. The Graaff-Reinet district, most of which fell between the two rivers, fast became a headache for the VOC. The VOC’s various edicts, recalling all burghers to the colonial side of the Fish River, and their forbidding of the burghers to go into the Xhosa territory to trade, was, as the many previous VOC proclamations, null and void, basically because there was no VOC police force to enforce the edicts on the many Boers who trespassed constantly. (It is doubted whether the VOC Government was ever actually intent on stopping border crossings and trade). This ongoing expansion of the Cape Colony and White territory by the uncontrolled and more and more independent White frontiersmen, activated direct conflict between the burghers and the Xhosas, leading to the Second Xhosa war (1789-1793) and the Xhosa’s focused driving out of the burghers from the Zuurveld by their chief Ndhlambi. The stage was set for future and more White frontiersmen’s conflicts with the Black frontiersmen and the intensification of the growing “Black-White problem” of South Africa. Central here was the legal land ownership of established Xhosa areas (although without card and transport), ongoing confiscation by the White frontiersmen and the VOC Government themselves. Vague international legislation was available but for the Xhosas, as for the KhoiSan, it seems to have not been available in the South African 1800s of “cracked” European justice.9,12,40

3.3.5.6 Abraham Josias Sluysken (1793-1795)

On the 1st February 1793 the newly established French Republic declared war on Great Britain and Holland, leaving Sluysken as governor in charge of the VOC’s Cape Colony with a very insecure position. He upheld the interim situation of the failing frontier policy of the VOC by basically doing nothing. As a result, the situation became more and more restless, mostly due to the disorderly activities of the White frontiersmen. The end outcome was that the frontiersmen started to ignore the Cape Government, which they saw as not having protected them and, in terms of the liberal Maynier policy, having forbidden them to protect themselves against the KhoiSan and the Xhosas. This political instability of the VOC Government and sudden political opportunity for a break-away, gave birth to the long dreamed of ideal of the free burghers own republic spirit.

Geen writes12:35:

… on the 27th Augustus 1795, the seething dissatisfaction came to a head, when Adriaan van Jaarsveld and JC Trigardt, in command of forty burghers, drove Maynier from his drostdy at Graaff-Reinet and appointed a provincial landdrost and heemraden. Subsequently they proclaimed a republic with a National Assembly of its own of which van Jaarsveld was president. On the 16th July 1795 the Swellendam ‘Nationals’ followed suit and chose H Steyn as president.12, 43

These two declarations as “republics” must in addition be seen as declarations of “independence from the VOC”, rather than a total break-away from the Cape Colony. Although there was some unclearness with the burghers of Graaff-Reinet and Swellendam on their political and judicial positions in the Cape Colony, it seems as though they saw themselves as part of the free Republic of the Netherlands, either as republics or as colonies. The most important outcome of these happenings was that they saw themselves to be “unchained from the slavery of the VOC”. It seems that Stellenbosch and Cape Town also considered “independence”, but their plans were fast blocked by the arrival of a British military force at the Cape in June 1795. For the burghers of Graaf-Reinett and Swellendam, a British occupation of the Cape Colony was less favourable in terms of their existing lack of respect for law and order, than it was for the politically finessed and law-ordered Stellenbosch and Cape Town. Graaf-Reinett and Swellendam saw the coming of a possible British rule over them as endangering their “delinquent” freedom and uncontrolled activities which they had been allowed by the VOC. Notwithstanding some military resistance, the Cape Colony was handed over to the British Forces on the 16th September 1795. With this transfer, the VOC disappeared forever from the Cape Colony. In 1796 Graaff-Reinett accept British rule. The same happened with Swellendam. The dream of political freedom of the White colonist farmers and White frontiersmen, coming from as far back as 1652, ended absurdly a hundred and fifty years later in 1796. Notwithstanding this disappointment, the foundation was laid for a new political struggle for freedom.12,22,43

3.3.5.7 The beginning of Xhosa and KhoiSan racism

The above-mentioned overview of the executive political leaders of the Cape Colony shows a new, clear separation between Whites and non-Whites in the colony, additional to the earlier separation at the Cape Settlement since 1652. This racial separation was now based on the economic, social and cultural factors. It laid the foundation in the mindsets of non-Whites, such as the Blacks and the Khoisan, that the Whites did not respect their culture and habits, customs and traditions, as well as their “property rights and laws”, despite how undefined and “pre-modern and uncivilized” these “rights and laws” were in terms of the “standards” seen from European stereotypes. For the non-Whites, the Whites were undoubtedly seen as “European barbarians” who did not deserve a place in the African context. For many of the non-Whites, modelled into their pre-modern psyche, the killing of the enemy was the natural way (and the only way) to assure their continuation as a group and reinstitute their previous rights and properties. (This behaviour is still apparent today in the USA’s activities in the Middle East against the indigenous Afghans, Iraqis and Syrians who dare to oppose their will or endanger their interests). In this context the non-Whites were fast classified by Whites to be a “dangerous species”; one without a justified place in the modern society, and with very good reason because of their constant murderous behavior. Their killings on sight were justified and constantly practiced, while the “extermination” for instance of the KhoiSan, was a legal and natural process. Inhumanity began to be internalized into the mindset of the Whites, while racial discrimination in the form of White supremacy, was undoubtedly activated to lay the foundation for later phenomena such as Apartheid.4,9,12,22

From the above it is clear that the executive political leaders of the White farmers, as well as the executive leaders of the government, in their actions to solely safeguard the lives and property of the White farmers (notwithstanding the illegal possession thereof from the indigenous non-Whites) by the “formal extermination” for instance of the KhoiSan, were undoubtedly seen as “good”, or even “great” leaders from the White side. This policy of “extermination” was further undoubtedly transferred with time into the mindsets and ruling culture of the Cape regime’s executive leadership, to be followed in time by future White executive political leaders, to uphold peace and security seen from a White perspective, and only to benefit the White inhabitants. In the end it became the only “correct, justified and applicable way” of dealing with South Africa’s masses of non-Whites.9,12

The non-White South Africans, such as the Xhosa and the KhoiSan, had however, clearly developed totally different views to those of the Whites on the concepts of good leaders and good regimes of leadership. The non-Whites’ disapproving and opposing views are reflected in their “formal extermination” of White farmers (and even their non-White servants) in the 1700s to the 1800s in their war against the White occupiers. This means undoubtedly that they viewed their own leaders, enacting these murders, as “good” leaders, acting in line with their established pre-modern regime of leadership, which had prescribed for a long time, from generation to generation, the murdering and outright killing of their enemies.9,12,22 But to say that there was not the same quality of leader, or the same type of regime of leadership with the Xhosas or KhoiSan, as had been maintained by the Whites at the Cape since 1652, is totally untrue. Just study once again the inhumanity of installing non-Whites as slaves and their cruel treatment at the Cape, the grabbing of the Xhosas’ and KhoiSan’s land, together for instance with the hunting of the “animal’, the Bushman. This makes the quality of the indigenous non-Whites and that of the “European” Whites, equal, notwithstanding the poor quality of this behaviour.4,9,12,22

For the South African non-Whites, namely the Xhosa and KhoiSan, the only clear cognition reflected for them in the constant killing spree against them by the 1700s-1800s Cape Whites, was that they were losers against the dominant White winners, missing out on their own pre-modern murderous and cruel behavior against the Whites which made them targets. Although the Khoisan was basically in terms of group empowerment and numbers wiped out from public life through the Cape Government’s and the colonists’ policy of “termination”, hate for the proto-Afrikaner and the Whites lived on in the mindsets of their small group of descendants, and also their descendants who mixed with other non-Whites whose forefathers had suffered the same unfortunate lot at the hands of the Whites. This hatred was also apparent among the mass of Xhosas against the Whites.9

3.3.5.8 The end of the VOC and its Cape Colony ruling in 1802

The golden age of the VOC started to come to an end when the Cape refreshment station was founded in 1652, slowly moving into decline in the 18th Century. A direct reason for this decline was the two English Navigation Acts of 1651 and 1660, aimed at the Dutch carrying trade. Both the acts were followed up by indecisive naval wars between England and Holland (1652-1654 and 1664-1667). In the meantime, Holland was also involved in four wars with the French. After the death in 1702 of William of Orange (who was also King of England as William lll), Holland was ruled under an oligarchic form of republican government until 1747. These outcomes, as well as Holland’s involvement in the Austrian Succession War between 1740 to 1748, and the American War of Independence from 1780 to 1783, brought huge financial and other loses, as well as the loss of much of her shipping activities and movements. The restart of war between the French Revolution Republic and the restored House of Orange led to the flight of the Stadtholder to England and the establishment of the Batavian Republic in the Netherlands. The eventual downfall of the Netherlands as a great naval and a commercial power, also spelled disaster for the VOC in the end. The costs of the VOC and the mismanagement of the Council of Seventeen, together with immense corruption, forced the VOC to declare its last dividend in 1782, and twelve year later it was declared bankrupt.8,9,12

After the Prince of Orange fled to England, the Patriot Party of the Netherlands came to terms with the French, forming the Netherlands into the Batavian Republic as a vassal state of the French Republic. In this context the Prince of Orange asked the British Government to protect the Cape against a French occupation. With the treaty of Rustenburg, signed on the 6th September 1795, the Cape Colony surrendered to Great Britain, ending the rule of the VOC at the Cape after 143 years forever. Furthermore, with the establishment of the Batavian Republic, the VOC lost its governing powers and was legally dissolved after a chequered career of almost two hundred years.12

4. Discussion

For this study, taking the period of 1652 to 1795 into consideration, to be able to make an evaluation on the quality of leadership of South African executive political leaders and governments, the descriptions by various political and historical writers on political leaders and governments, as well as the writings of business and management experts on business executive leaders, were consultated.13-26

The period reviewed was over one hundred and forty-three years, covering twenty-nine commanders and governors as the chief executive officers of the VOC Government at the Cape. It became obvious from day one of the study that the South Africa political history is an exclusively White one, wherein the South African non-Whites played a minimal role. Where there are references to Black leaders such as Tshaka, Ndhlambi, Gaika, Adam Kok, Moroko, and Mosheh, to mention a few, it was within a negative context, reflecting them to be aggressive, murdering and anti-White orientated. Their constructive contributions to the history of South Africa from 1652 to 1795 seem not to exist, besides their so called “constant path of bloodshed”. 8,9,12

The profile of the executive political leaders and their regimes, appraised over this period of one hundred and forty-three years in totality, undoubtedly reflects some good points, such as the instalation in 1652 of a fast, workable farming unit by Jan van Riebeeck, which activated in a few years a basic farming and sheltering environment wherein the first inhabitants could successfully survive. Here the successful instalation of a kind of administrative management to run the refreshment station by him as a leader, was prominent.8,9,12,31

What is notable is that future planning and strategic thinking with regard to the long term future of the settlement and its inhabitants was lacking from day one. This shortcoming, aside from the simple daily function of existence, was created by the fact that the VOC, although a semi-governmental institution of the Netherlands Government, failed to be a truly statutory institution, driven by the political, social, personal and economical needs, thinking, planning and activities of its inhabitants from the beginning. Profit making for the VOC was central to all activities, leading to an exclusive business mentality of thinking and management wherein the employer was the sole decision maker. This business culture stayed with the VOC at the Cape until it went bankrupt, and led to an autocratic governmental system until 1795, with the end of the VOC, leaving a legacy of many of the later Cape burghers having a cultural, economic and politically backwards setup.8,9,12

On leadership per se, the subordination of the commanders and governors to the various higher empowered bodies overseeing them, like the Council of Seventeen and the Council of India, was an enormous impediment to institute in the long term any improvement to the legal ruling of the settlement and later the colony. The Council of Policy at the Cape was always an autocratic body, serving as a power base for the Council of Seventeen, as well as for the executive leaders to enforce their foolish political views and beliefs. Herewith went the opportunity which this autocratic system offered to the executive leaders to allow corruption and nepotism by their cronies and to enrich themselves by crooked activities. With regard to allegations of crooked activities, state capture and misused power, which are being laid at the door of Jacob Zuma at the moment, persons like Jan van Riebeeck and Simon and Willem van der Stel were masters at these delinquencies. Indeed, the modern day South Africa was started up by a crook in 1652 and corruption and dishonesty have been rife among its officials from day one. It was not only Australia which was started up by criminal forefathers: South Africa, looking back on our political and historical tracts from 1652, leaves us with the question in 2018: can we ever be rehabilitated?8,9,12

One point of light in the constant political rhetoric around Jacob Zuma’s innocence or not, is that if he has stolen, it was a BEE action, fingering the Whites as the only “colonist thieves” with Jan van Riebeeck in the lead. This pin-points in our political history two contradictions which makes Whites, Coloreds and Blacks equal: Blacks, Coloreds and Whites are all colonists and it is not only Zuma to be accused of crookery, but also Van Riebeeck as a White and Willem van der Stel as a Colored! This makes us triple-blood-brothers of crooks! South African Blacks, Coloreds and Whites seemingly are all the same when it comes to delinquency!31,33-36,40

Looking critically at the appraisal checklist of the executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795, they failed to solve short and long term economic and political problems, especially the racial issue. They undoubtedly did good for the inhabitants in many ways, but when asking who these “inhabitants” were, they are overwhelmingly the Whites. The South African non-Whites have zero status on all terrains of life in this 1652 to 1795 environment. This inclination goes much deeper: the KhoiSans were killed by the authorities as though they were animals, while the White frontiersmen also had a free hand in these atrocities. The introduction of slaves under the auspices of the Cape’s executive leaders, starting with the White Jan van Riebeeck in the lead, laid the foundation for crimes against humanity, Apartheid and discrimination. To argue that slavery must be seen as an acceptable custom in the 1600s to 1700s timeframe and in line with Biblical traditions, is without any logical foundation. Allowing slavery into the Cape’s system was a massive moral mistake, demonstrated by the actions of Cape leaders and VOC overseers like Captain Dominique de Chavonnes in 1717 and Baron Gustaf Willem in 1743. Slavery at the Cape was for one purpose only: the self-enrichment of the Cape White farmers of today’s Western Cape. The Cape’s leaders were not only guilty of crimes against humanity by allowing it, they practiced it themselves in the buying of slaves for the service of the VOC, as well as that of their own farming. Van Riebeeck as well as the two Van der Stels were prominent slave owners in this context. Also the capturing as apprecntices of KhoiSan womenfolk and the children of the KhoiSan men, who the White frontiersmen had killed in their punitive expeditions (apprecntices being forced slaves), confirm these crimes against humanity which saturated the South African mindset over time. But slavery goes deeper: it had at its base a view of non-Whites such as the Blacks, Malaysians, Indians and KhoiSan as “dehumanized” beings in the mindsets of many Whites. Non-Whites had become objects which could become property of Whites, without free choice, as though the slave was a wagon or sheep, etc. The prominent question about the period 1652 to 1795 is: Why did the English not go into Scotland, Ireland and Spain, or the Netherlanders into Spain, to catch some of those Whites and to sell them as slaves at the Cape? Why the differentiation between White slaves versus Black slaves? Does this unanswered question not give us some insight into the racially contaminated mindsets of some of the Whites settled at the Cape refreshment station and later the Cape Colony?8,9,12,22,31,40

It seems as though most of the executive leaders at the Cape came from “good” family stock and had also received above average training and education. (Only one governor was born here, namely Hendrik Swellengrebel). Many, as previously mentioned used these personal qualities to benefit the colony, but, as happens in most political outcomes, became persons contaminated with self-enrichment and self-empowerment for themselves and the autocratic VOC Government, erasing the “good” which they could do for the inhabitants. Where improvement was brought into the Cape Government, it was requested by the inhabitants, and this improvement was also limited and not focused on empowering the inhabitants politically. Never in the various records of the Cape’s executive leaders is strong resistance reflected by them against the VOC’s many wrongdoings to the inhabitants, such as the VOC’s policies or the actions of senior VOC officials, commanders and governors. The VOC’s interests always came first; and then of course their own interests as commander or governor.8,9,12,22,31,40

Some historians use the description of “goodness” of Ryk Tulbagh (1751-1771) as an example of the “excellence” of Cape executive leaders. However, this is totally misleading, as the following example tries to show12:25-26:

“His [He] indeed was a fine character and his kindness, courtesy and generosity made him the best loved of all the Dutch governors at the Cape. The new governor was nothing if not honest and did everything possible to check the corruption of his subordinates and to counteract any official tendency to introduce into the Cape the luxurious way of life in the East by the imposition of sumptuary laws”.

This “curbing” by Ryk Tulbagh of officials’ lifestyles was clearly to generate extra money to fill the coffers of the VOC (which was moving into bankcrupcy). Moreover, how on earth could he be best loved by the KhoiSan whom he had allowed to be slaughtered without limitation by the White frontiersmen [See 3.3.5.2.2: The official termination of the KhoiSan frontiersmen. The uncontrolled killings (terminations) of KhoiSan were extremely reflected during the offices of Ryk Tulbagh (1751-1771), Swellengrebel’s successor, and that of Baron Joachim van Plettenberg (1773-1785)].

Of characteristics as leaders who were fanatically driven and infected with an incurable need to produce sustained results for the Cape and its people, to make the colony great, to take on opportunities, to study in-depth its various problems, to nourish and to propagate a lifestyle among the inhabitants and a “nation-culture” of high ethics, and to collect an excellent team of democratic confidants around them to make their leadership of top-quality, there were no real signs in the study of the profiles of the various executive leaders of the period 1652 to 1795. More precisely: not a single one of these leaders reached the status of a world-statesman after leaving the Cape, neither did they even reach the status of a good executive leader in terms of the appraisal checklist.8,9,12,22,31,40

Most of all, these early executive political leaders missed out on South Africa’s indigenous realities: of different races with different cultures, religions, customs, traditions, beliefs and development stages they seem to have had very little understanding. Furthermore, they missed out on how to think outside their color cognition of Whiteness as the only good “color” of a human being, ignoring and missing out on the immense energy locked within Black-empowerment, that was waiting to overrun the White frontiersmen’s dreams, arrogance and sense of reality (although Black empowerment was only enacted in South Africa in 1994, it was clearly visible in 1795). The respect of the personal and human rights of non-Whites and the international law on territories (in terms of which many European Wars had already been fought in the 1600s) were totally absent in the South African context of an exclusive European thinking, planning and doing in the period 1652 to 1795, with regard to lawful land-ownership. Land-ownership from 1652 onward formed the basis for racial tension and hate. Instead of addressing it with wisdom, insight, justice and a balanced objectivity, the issue was addressed by killing, subordination and dehumanizing of the non-Whites and the conquering of their land. Knowing very well that the persons who control the economics of a country also rule its politics, and they who are in charge of the politics of a country own the economics, these early Cape executive leaders kept the non-Whites completely out of the political scenario (most of the Cape’s White inhabitants experienced this too). There were not the slightest signs in the mindsets of the early Cape executive political leaders of honest development of all the Cape’s people. These political inclinations of autocracy and intolerance against subordinates, mostly of course against non-Whites, were transferred and internalized into the mindsets of the Cape’s White inhabitants by their own bad experiences at the hands of the Cape’s corrupt officials, as well as the bad examples set by the corruption practiced not only by the officials, but also by the commanders and governors. The contamination of the mindsets of the Cape’s inhabitants by serious delinquency such as murder is evident by the growing uncontrollable and unruly behaviour in the early 1700s of the White frontiersmen, and their practice of a misplaced Christian religion which was contaminated by extreme racial politics. (With regard to the Black frontiersmen’s behavior there is also evidence of growing uncontrollable and unruly behaviour in the early 1700s, not more tolerant or less murderous as that of the White Frontiersmen’s actions).8,9,12,22,31,40

The fate of the missionaries of the Moravian Brethren, during the sojourn (1737-1747) of the missionary George Schmidt at Genadendal, confirms the contaminated extreme racial politics on all levels of the White society. Geen reports as follows on this inclination12:24:

Prior to Swellengrebel’s appointment, the Moravian Brethren, a Protestant sect with a considerable following in Bohemia and parts of Germany, sent George Schmidt to the Cape as a missionary to work among the Hottentots. He founded a flourishing mission at Baviaan’s Kloof, to be known later as Genadendal, where he laboured from 1737 to 1747 to teach the Hottentots the Christian faith and to raise their standards of living and work. However, when he wished to baptize some converts, he roused the enmity not only of the ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church, but also of the colonists, who did not look upon missionary endeavour with much favour. There was no religious toleration in the colony and so George Schmidt, who was a Lutheran, was forced to abandon his work and return to Europe. It was not until almost half a century later that the Moravians returned to South Africa and took up their work at Genadendal again.

This political outcome of 1747, contaminating the mindset of many of the early Cape Whites, is what Louw4 refers to in the Afrikaners’ lifestyle as a White Christianity versus a Black Christianity and a White Jesus versus a Black Jesus.

The executive political leaders at the Cape for the period 1652 to 1795 undoubtedly created a trend by setting an example of bad leadership. The first leaders were persons who lacked integrity and morality, creating a vicious cycle of flawed political, social, religious and political thinking and behaviour among many of the Cape Whites. Sadly, this mindset that obscured sound thinking, reasoning and behaviour, also developed in the non-Whites, creating manifold problems such as racial hatred, intolerance and most devastatingly, ideas of revenge against Whites for the treatment they received during the country’s political history of 1652 to 1795.

The checklist makes it easy to classify a plethora of political behaviours by political leaders and regimes from 1652 to 1795 as bad when measured against its criteria.

From this article it is clear that there is an urgent need to evaluate also the executive political leaders and regimes from 1796 to 2018 (μ=53). The intention is to do this as a separate project with time (Project Two). At the moment some political scientists are not yet convinced of the value of statistical political science with respect to responsible political analysis and sound governmental planning, which means that funding for such research as Project Two is limited. At present many political scientists still rely on intellectual analysis and opinion for political comments and predictions. The subjectivity and superficiality of such commentary make it dubious, even dangerous.

In light of the above appraisal of political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 1795 (μ=30), it is important to mention that the Democratic Alliance (DA) successfully uses a similar approach to judge the performances the ANC-regime’s leaders and their standard of governance over the last ten years according to a basic 10-point scale. However, it seems as if the ANC’s elite have never taken on any of the lessons that come out of such appraisals. The DA itself has failed to measure their own performances as a party and that of their leaders with the same diligence.

The checklist (see Part 4: A basic checklist for the appraisal of executive political leaders and regimes) presented in this research, aims to evaluate retrospective the performances of executive political leaders and regimes, in this instance specifically for the period 1652 to 1795. Its contribution will be much greater if it can be standardized with reliability and validity as a checklist not only for retrospective and present-day perspective evaluations of the performances of executive political leaders and regimes, but also specifically for sifting and selecting South African politicians for top public posts, such as president and vice-president. The Canadian government’s selection of its top managers through an approach known as the Career Assignment Programme (CAP) is a good example.44 Gregory’s44 writing gives a good guideline of how we can get rid of political crooks long before they reach the gates of the political world and at the same time cultivate leaders of excellence.

It is doubtful if the South African government or political parties would ever subscribe to a selection programme such as the CAP or a checklist such as this one. It would mean that political crooks would be locked out of state capture and political abuse. Their primary argument will be that such a process would be undemocratic (it violates citizens’ rights and invades the politician’s privacy). In practice (as we have seen from this research) the opposite is true: such an appraisal checklist is democratic as it forces undemocratic persons out of the democratic government.

5. Conclusions

The two objectives of this study were to discover whether the South African executive political leaders and their regimes of the period 1652 to 1795 (μ=30) had, during their time in office, made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people; and to determine whether the behaviour of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 as leaders and as persons were extraordinary and impeccable.

The conclusions that are drawn from this study are presented in accordance with the aims and hypotheses as postulated in 2.2 to 2.5:

H1: The South African executive political leaders and their regimes of the period 1652 to 1795 had during their time in office made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people.

The findings of this study show that the South African executive political leaders and their regimes of the period 1652 to 1795 had during their time in office failed to make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people. # Hypothesis H1 must be rejected.

H2: To determine whether the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 as leaders and as persons were extraordinary and impeccable.

The findings of this study show that the behaviors of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 1795 as leaders and as persons failed to be extraordinary and impeccable. # Hypothesis H2 must be rejected.

South Africa is a beautiful country, with beautiful people and many, many other beautiful things, but it missed one essential component in its being for the period 1652 to 1795, as the following African Proverb tells us: If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. This character seems to have missed out most of the executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 1795.

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PEER REVIEW

Not commissioned; Externally peer-reviewed.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The author declares that he has no competing interest.

FUNDING

The research was funded by the Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa.