Who were wealthy white farmers in Transvaal post Anglo-Boer War?
*Following the Anglo-Boer War, demands for the implementation of anti-squatter laws increased as the price of land soared and as the labour needs of wealthy white farmers rose with their transition from stock to arable farming. These farmers were opposed to the existence of government reserves which provided Africans with valuable farm land and which pushed up the cost of farm labour by providing Africans with an independent means of existence. At best, government and private reserves were viewed by white farmers as labour pools for mining capitalists.
*But the British administration in the Transvaal, in its support for mining capital, extended the reserves and made little attempt to evict ‘squatters’ who paid taxes and rents and who sold a considerable amount of both food and labour to the mines. By 1906 in the Spelonken alone there were over 40, 000 Africans living on land that was owned but not occupied by whites.
*In 1908 the first post-war Responsible Government, which represented wealthy farming interests, moved a year after its election to force African peasants into relationships of labour tenancy on white-occupied farms. A bill was tabled in the legislative assembly with the express purpose of removing up to 300,000 squatters throughout the Transvaal. According to the founder of the Swiss mission in the Spelonken this was ‘the most tyrannical law that has ever existed in a Republican [sic ] country, a law that would dismember tribes and clans and disperse thousands of families’.
The wealthy white farmer in the Transvaal after the Anglo-Boer War, were those wealthy families who bought large tracts of land after the discovery of gold, to secure our mineral rights.
As per the pervious blog;
*Absentee landlords, often mining companies prospecting for minerals, were only too willing to encourage the settlement on their lands of Africans who would undertake bush clearance and pay them rent and grazing fees. Many Africans preferred to live on land owned by the state or absentee landlords, where taxes were lower than in the reserves where, if they paid rent, it was in cash rather than labour and where existing forms of social control and production could be maintained.
Where black farmers were successful, they were welcome to farm on white land, provided they paid their 50% crop share, those who were not farming commercially, were deemed to be squatters, and the 300 000 removed from the land owned by the wealthy whites.
And this was prior to the 1913 Native Land Act.