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ing towards South Africa across the Indian Ocean. Most of this rain is precipitated along the South and East coast belt whence it is carried by swift streams into the Indian Ocean. Most of the rivers of South Africa flow into the Indian Ocean, and the rapidity of the streams and the little volume of water which they usually contain make them unfit for navigation, which must be accounted a serious drawback for the country. Yet this drawback may be off-set to a certain extent, by the probabilities in these streams for the development of power. Along this belt the precipitation is sufficient for grain-growing and fruit-farming; successful attempts at dry-farming are also carried on in the interior.
Cattle-raising and sheep-farming are the main industries on the two inland belts called the Little and the Great Karroo (including the Northern Karroo), where the rainfall is very scanty. These belts rise from the coast in a step-like way. The interior may be likened to one vast plateau which is at some places over 5,000 feet above sea-level; it is estimated that more than 40 per cent. of the country lies over 4,000 feet above sea-level; the Orange Free State resembles a big peneplain. The western part of South Africa is exceedingly arid, and besides the dry and sandy South-West African Protectorate, embraces the Kalahari Desert. Some parts of the Orange Free State are very well suited for wheat-growing. Sheep-farming is the main industry, while maize is extensively grown.
Natal, a very beautiful country, rises rapidly from the coast to the Drakensberg range. If this were not the case, if Natal were a low-lying stretch of country as is the country to the north of it, Natal might have suffered much from the Mozambique current coming from the north. The soil is fertile, and the sugar-cane, bananas, pine-apples, tea, and so forth, are grown. In the north-east of Natal the climate becomes distinctly sub-tropical.
The Transvaal shares some of the general characteristics of the Orange Free State and Natal. Some portions of the country are well suited for the tobacco, citrus, corn and cotton industries. Towards the north-east one approaches the malarial tract which continues right through Portuguese and British East Africa.
South Africa is not well wooded, the greater part of the country being overgrown by grass and shrubs, but the Government is encouraging plantations, and in March, 1918, the forest reserve areas amounted to 1,005,121 acres. (1).
1. Official Year Book, No. 3, p. 571, (Dutch).
There seems then no wonder after one considers the geographical conditions of the country and its fabulous mineral wealth why the country's main industries for so long have been of the extractive type, namely agriculture and mining: But there is another reason why agriculture has been the predominating industry next to mining for so long. Under the Dutch East India Company there were so many restrictions on trading that it seems that the people lost all interest in trading and kindred pursuits and trekked further into the unexplored country, built their houses, and tended to their flocks and farms. Then, the country was large and there was plenty of room. There was no need for following any other pursuit than that of farming.
When diamonds were discovered in 1867 and gold in 1884, hardly any manufactures had as yet been started in South Africa, and mining added much to further postpone the starting of manufactures. The mining population had to be fed, and the people had no objection to getting their manufactured articles from abroad in return for their raw products. It was only when South Africa was thrown upon her own resources during the recent World War that the country really started in earnest upon a manufacturing career with all that this signifies, namely clamours for state aid by means of bounties: and fervent cries for protection to infant industries. South Africa was virtually forced into industry.
b. Area and Population: The Union of South Africa (1) has an area of 473,096 square miles. The Cape Province has an area of 276,966 square miles, and this, together with the area of the Orange Free State, 50,399 square miles, comprises an area almost exactly equal to that of the thirteen original states of the United States of America; Natal, 35,291 square miles, is almost as large as Virginia ; Transvaal, 110,450 square miles, has about twice the area of Georgia. Besides these areas belonging to the Customs Union of South Africa, there are the other members of Basutoland, Bechuanaland Protectorate, Southern Rhodesia and Swaziland. The European population of the Union of South Africa, according to the census of 1918, was 1,421,781. The coloured population of the Union amounted to a little over 41 millions according to the census of 1911. The estimated white population of Southern Rhodesia for
1. The Union of South Africa includes besides the Transvaal, the Orange Free State, Natal and the Cape Province proper, also East Griqualand, Tembuland, Transkei, Pondoland, Zululand, Namaqualand and Bechuanaland, but not Bechuanaland Protectorate, Southern Rhodesia, Basutoland and Swaziland.
hovernment had to relocation and other for the count
1914 was 30,800, while the coloured population amounted to 755,800. One might take the whole population of the Union of South Africa to have a purchasing power of ordinary necessaries of about 2 million whites, or somewhat more. (1).
The effect of the sparsely settled state of the country, the difficulties of communication and other facts, was that the Government had to rely to a great extent on indirect taxation, and that in the form of customs duties. As the tariff was framed for so long a period with the sole purpose of obtaining revenue, it is no wonder that the people as a whole have not yet begun to take a lively interest in the tariff, now that it has been put to serve two new purposes, namely the protection of industries, and imperial preference. Customs duties have become a custom in South Africa.
When the two mining centres, Kimberley and Johannesburg, sprang up, and attracted thousands of people almost overnight, Natal tried to capture the trade with these places, as both of them were much nearer to Durban than to Cape Town. This “overberg” policy of Natal had a profound influence on her tariff, and from 1867 Natal tried to make her customs duties much lower than those of Cape Colony. By adhering to this policy after the formation of the customs union of 1889 between the Cape Colony and the Orange Free State, Natal fairly over-reached herself, and she was almost compelled to join the union in 1898. The mining and agricultural interests of the Transvaal were also at the bottom of the later factional disputes which brought about the withdrawal of the Transvaal from the customs union in 1908. The Transvaal wanted mainly cheap food for its mining population and a reduction of the high cost of living on the Rand. It was held that a protective tariff was just for the benefit of the maritime colonies, while the agricultural interests disliked the policy of free trade between the four Colonies which opened the Rand markets to colonial farmers. They held that the Transvaal derived no benefit from such a policy.
C. Agriculture and mining: These were the two main industries of South Africa up to the time of the late war. “It is customary to regard British self-governing Dominions and colonies as being of greater importance economically for their
1. Mr. P. J. du Toit, the Under Secretary for Agriculture says in his book, "The Farmer in South Africa,” about the natives: ..."Their demand for manufactures rises with civilization, and, therefore, in the industrial development of the country both as consumers and as producers, they are a valuable asset.” See also his estimation of their purchasing power, pp. 12 and 13.
agricultural products than for their production of manufactured goods. The most striking exception of course has always been South Africa, where the mining industry is the life-blood of the country. It will therefore cause some surprise that the results of the census of manufactures for 1915 — 1916... place the gross value of goods manufactured in the Union of South Africa above the value of agricultural productions (subject to some qualifications), and not very much below that of the output of the mines... In any case the official figures contain striking evidence of the rapid development of manufactures.” (1).
But agriculture has also been making rapid strides. (2). In 1918 the exports of wool amounted to 115,634,498 pounds; mohair 19,645,684 pounds; hides and skins were exported to the value of 2,300,479 pounds sterling; wattle-bark to the value of 287,220 pounds sterling. In 1918 796,610 pounds of seed cotton were produced. Many farmers now undertake the growing of cotton because it better resists droughts than either tobacco or maize. The areas under cotton now amount to about 5,200 acres. There are also large areas in Zululand, the Transkei, the Orange Free State and in Pondoland beside the areas in Natal and in the Transvaal; so also in Swaziland. The yield per acre is entirely satisfactory, and is greater than in America. (3).
Tea is extensively cultivated. About 15,000 acres of land are suitable for the industry — mainly in Natal. In 1917 — 1918 5,107,400 pounds were produced. The dairy industry has also increased considerably. In 1918 the production of butter amounted to 20,098,329 pounds, and cheese to 6,024,473 pounds. The total estimated production of tobacco for 1918 amounted to 8,300,000 pounds of which 5,000,000 pounds were from the Transvaal. The production of wheat has increased six-fold between 1904 and 1918. The maize production, which has trebled since 1904, was estimated at 11,561,000 bags for 1919. The sugar crop for the same year was estimated at 180,000 tons.
As regards the destination of South African exports — excluding raw gold — it might be briefly stated that foreign countries, notably the United States of America, are now im
1. Board of Trade Journal, May 23, 1918, p. 631.
2. For an interesting account of the agricultural development of the country see the Board of Trade Journal for June 19, 1919, p. 772.
3. See Board of Trade Journal, April 3, 1919 — under Zululand Cotton-ginning Plant."
porting a large quantity of South African produce formerly destined for the United Kingdom. Exports to the United States during 1918 were valued at 5,988,380 pounds sterling as compared with a value of 536,217 pounds sterling for 1913. The principal new destinations for South African wool now are the United States and Japan. (1).
South Africa is the largest per capita producer of minerals of all the mining countries. The value of the per capita production of minerals for the different countries of the world stands roughly as follows: – South Africa
$31.00 United States
$29.20 Australia ...
$22.70 Canada ...
$17.80 United Kingdom
$9(?) France, ...
$0.97 Portugal ...
$0.40 (2) In order to get an idea of the enormous mineral wealth of the country, let us take a few of the most important minerals produced in it and their total values from the earliest dates of existing records to December 31, 1917, however unsatisfactory this might seem : —
In 1905 the Transvaal had already gained its predominant position as a gold-producing country. (4). The total gold-out
1. Board of Trade Journal for October 9, 1919, and O.Y.B. No. 3, p. 731, (Dutch). Gold is excluded in these export values.
2. I am indebted for these figures to the eminent American statist, Prof. W. F. Willcox, of Cornell University. £1= $4.86.
3. Gold calculated at 4.24773 pounds sterling per fine ounce.
4. See De Launay: The World's Gold, pp. 102 et seq, and especially p. 111.