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from customs duty we have “all live animals belonging to people who migrated with these for settlement in the Republic”; cattle raised in and other products of the Orange Free State and the Province of Mozambique; used furniture and tools, waggons and vehicles belonging to persons who established themselves in the Republic; seed used for agricultural purposes, and so on. Fencing wire and poles, and all machinery and parts of machinery were subjected to a duty of 11 per cent. ad valorem. (1).
This tariff was then divided into four main classes:
1. A general import duty of 74 per cent. ad valorem was levied on all goods imported and not specially exempted from customs duty.
2. Goods allowed duty-free importation, of which some examples were given above.
3. Articles paying an ad valorem import duty of 14 per cent.
4. Under this class come goods on which were levied specific duties over and above the 71 per cent. general duty mentioned under class 1. . These specific duties were very moderate. So was the whole tariff. The duty on biscuits, for example, which in 1888 was 2 pounds 10 shillings per 100 pounds weight, was reduced to 1 pound 5 shillings; butter which used to pay 10s. per 100 pounds weight was reduced to 5s. The duty on dynamite was raised to 9d. per pound, but this was not outrageous if one takes into consideration all the factors, for example, the fact that sulphuric acid only paid 1d. per pound. Distilled liqueurs of the neighbouring states and colonies were subjected (as in 1888) to a duty of 6s. per gallon; jams and confectionery paid 25s. per 100 pounds weight; where it was double that amount formerly. Another of the characteristics of this tariff was that it gave preferential treatment to South African products. South African spirits paid 6s. per gallon, while the foreign article paid 10s. ; South African tobacco paid 6d. per pound, while the foreign tobacco paid 30d. per pound.
It may thus be definitely stated that the high tariff of the Transvaal prior to 1894 did not originate in a policy of protection for her native industries, but that it was caused by the financial difficulties of the Republic, which had to depend almost entirely upon indirect taxation for its revenue. The protection which might have been afforded by her high tariff to the native industries was given incidentally to a great extent. It seems to have been the policy (1)
1. Under "machinery” was included all mining and agricultural machinery.
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of the Government at this time to announce by proclamation, after due investigation, which industry it was going to protect. Thus on December 17, 1898, a proclamation was published by the Acting Secretary of State, Mr. T. J. Krogh, to the effect that: “in accordance with the request of the Quisisana Mineral Springs, Limited,... concerning the levying of a protective duty per dozen bottles on mineral waters, notice is hereby given for the general information of the public, that the Volksraad has determined on December 5, 1898, by Article 1917 of its minutes, that the amount of the duty on imported mineral waters will be 3s. per dozen bottles from January 1, 1899.”
Meanwhile the Boer War had been fought, the Republics had been conquered, and by the Customs Tariff Amendment Ordinance No. 22 of 1902, (which provided for the entry of the Transvaal into a South African Customs Union) the tariff of 1894 was amended. (2). This amended tariff is important because, despite the fact that much noise was made about the tariff of 1894 (3), not much change was made in its provisions. (4). All articles which by virtue of Section 2 of the law No. 4 of 1894 were subject to a duty of 14 per cent. on the value thereof, were admitted free of duty, and some more articles were added to that list, for example, agricultural implements. The special duties on articles like bottles (empty), cement, mineral waters, pianos, sulphuric acid, and some more, were repealed. The duty was lowered on jams, confectionery, fruits, and some other articles, while the duty on spirits was raised.
Speaking of the fact that the Transvaal remained outside of the Customs Union of 1898, Mr. J. W. Root says: (5) “This was entirely on political and not on fiscal grounds, nor were the inhabitants handicapped thereby, because on the whole the fiscal policy of the Transvaal was more liberal than that of
1. Locale Wetten for 1898, p. 380. This is the only example of its kind I could find, and one is hardly justified in speaking of “policy” here. Maybe if the war had not intervened this practice would have been continued, because it was better for the Transvaal to follow this practice under all circumstances, than to adopt a general protective tariff.
2. Transvaal Ordinances for 1902, pp. 61 — 64; those for 1903, pp. 263 — 291.
3. Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce Report for the Period 1 March, 1889 to 28 February, 1902, pp. 22 and 23.
4. See Cd. 1552, p. 89.
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the Union. The excessive cost of living in Johannesburg, of which so much was heard before the war, but has been increased rather than diminished since, certainly did not arise from any extortion on the necessaries of life imposed by the Boer Government.” Continuing, Mr Root says: “More generous treatment than that shown by the former Boer Republic can consequently hardly be expected under existing conditions by the new British Colonies... The normal rates on almost everything were so moderate that on this score at any rate there was very little legitimate ground for complaint.” (1).
It has now become clear how divergent was the development of the different South African tariff systems. To all thoughtful observers of the situation it became apparent that the commercial division of the country was an artificial one, and that it was not working for the good of the country as a whole. There was an urgent need of unity in tariff policy. The way in which unity was brought about ultimately will be: considered next. .
1. J. W. Root: Trade Relations of the British Empire, p. 149.
Note: The scanty material at my disposal prevented me from attempting to outline the tariff policy of the Orange Free State prior to 1889.
STEPS TOWARDS UNIFORMITY.
We have seen in the last chapter that there were factors in the South African tariff situation which made uniformity in tariff legislation an indispensable matter. To summarise, there were:
1. The fiscal differences: The Cape was an agricultural community, and had a high tariff, while Natal was in favour of a low tariff. This is usually explained by the fact that indirect taxation was unpopular in Natal because it was a commercial community, and that it depended for revenue chiefly on direct taxation. (1). Here there seems difference of opinion. Sir C. W. Dilke says: “Dislike of direct taxation is universal in Natal, but there is a general indifference with regard to the extent of the customs duties. The unpopularity of the recent [in the late eighties) proposal of the Government to increase them, with a view of coming into the Customs Union with the Cape, was not caused by the dislike of the increase so much as by jealousy of the Cape, which is almost as strong a feeling in Natal as jealousy of Victoria in New South Wales, but as I have said, in order to keep the Transvaal trade the Natal customs duties have since been diminished.” (2). This seems to be a fair explanation of the situation. Sir John Robinson, the first premier of Natal after Responsible Government was granted to the Colony, himself tells us, that the policy and efforts of Natal's Government, of its legislature, and its merchants, were directed to the retention of their share of the rapidly-increasing trade with the Rand. The Cape Colony, he says, wanted the lion's share of that trade; but it was difficult for the Cape Colony to compete with Natal in this respect, for the revenual requirements of the Cape Colony and its political exigencies, made a much higher tariff necessary in its case than was called for in Natal. (3). Moreover, Johannesburg was much nearer to
1. See for example J. H. Hofmeyr: The Life of J. H. Hofmeyr, p. 323.
2. Sir C. W. Dilke: Problems of Greater Britain, p. 311. 3. Sir John Robinson: A Life Time in South Africa, Chapter 8.
Durban than to Cape Town. (1). . This situation led to a great deal of unpleasantness as will become clear later.
2. A second factor which called for settlement was the question of giving to the Republics their share of the customs duties collected on goods passing through Cape and Natal ports en route to the Republics.
3. A third factor which made the gap in friendly cooperation between the colonies and states grow wider and wider was that of special interests. The Cape Government wanted a high tariff; the Durban Chamber of Commerce wanted a low tariff; the mining population of the Rand and the mining interests generally wanted a low tariff likewise ; the farmers wanted protection, and so on. These factors called for a compromise.
4. The most important factor of all was the political factor. A country where there were no natural divisions, inhabited by the people of the same race and traditions, was gradually becoming divided into four different and antagonistic sub-divisions. Just as the Zollverein was “the substantial expression and effect of a general desire among a great nation, split into many small states, but still of common origin, similar manners, speaking the same language, educated in the same spirit, to communicate, to trade, to travel, without the annoyance and impediments which separate fiscal regulations of every one of their governments threw into the way,” (2), so were the attempts at closer commercial union in South Africa — and later of political union; and just as the Zollverein originated in the “tendency of the different States of Germany to amalgamate their interests and to establish, instead of many tariffs, one single system,” (3), for example the union of Bavaria, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Hohenzol·lern- Hechingen and Würtemberg, so the customs union of South Africa originated in the union between the Cape Colony and the Orange Free State in 1889. Mr. Bowring says (4): “The general feeling in Germany towards the Zollverein is, that it is the first step towards what is called the Germanization of the people. It has broken down some of the strongest holds of alienation and hostility. By a community of interests on commercial and trading questions it has
1. Johannesburg was only 483 miles distant from Durban Cape Town over 1,000 miles.
2. Bowring's Report of the Zollverein in Rand's Economic History Since 1763, p. 172.
3. Bowring's Report, p. 175 (Rand).