Some time ago I read a forum on BBC News. It relates to the era when many African states were subjected to colonial rule. The case most mentioned was Kenya. Kenya became fully independent in December 1964 and a year later was declared a Republic. Recently 4 Kenyan citizens approached the British government to claim compensation for atrocities committed against them during the colonial era. The question is: When can a state, or citizens of that state still be reimbursed for alleged atrocities perpetrated against that state or persons. On the other hand: When does a law of the statute of limitations come into operation, as in this case. The alleged atrocities had supposedly taken place about 1960, 51 years ago.
The first occupation of the Cape by the British was in 1795 to 1803. Control was handed to the Batavian Republic and 3 years later the British regained the Cape and as such known as the 2nd British Occupation. All civil and military powers were in the hands of the governor. All laws and legislation had to be ratified by the crown before implementation.
In 1814 British rule of the Cape was confirmed in the Convention of London. Now the Cape governor had powers to introduce constitutional change. All legislation and executive authority was vested in him. The point here is that all the legislation and laws existing then and later were promulgated by the British.
In 1854 the Orange River Colony became a Republic at the Bloemfontein convention.In 1852 The South African Republic (Transvaal) came into being at the Sand river Convention. Both of the above republics drew up their own constitutions.
The Anglo-Boer war raged from 1899 to 1902.The two independent republics lost their hold on independence and control reverted to Britain again. Britain was trying to weld the entire Southern Africa into a single unit.Seen in context Britain was practically bankrupt due to their war in India and Southern Africa. While the gold mines were beckoning them.Three million pounds was made available, as a grant, for those who could not fend for themselves.
In 1910 all the provinces in Southern Africa were welded into a single unit; The Union of South Africa and under the auspices of the crown. For the purpose of this article this point should be clearly understood.
The British rule and presence in South Africa lasted until 1961 when it was declared a Republic. All this while the British authority had to ratify all legislation in south Africa. This does not refer to minor laws.
The only time the National party government made laws independently was between 1961 and 1994. A period of 33 years. Should any party seek compensation relating to the apartheid policy prior to 1961 then that claim should fall in the ambit of the British Government. Should it be after 1961 it would be futile because the National party no longer exists. (Wiki paedia) (21/11/2011) (Ref. 500yrs, A history of South Africa. Prof. CFJ Muller.) (Britannic Encyclopaedia)
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