According to this policy, indigenous people could rule themselves according to indigenous law in certain matters, for example rules of marriage and succession.

The colonial state retained exclusive jurisdiction over matters such as serious crime.

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Amanda is currently preparing for a Ph D in intellectual property. In the mid-seventeenth century, Dutch settlers began to occupy the part of South Africa now known as the Western Cape.

Since 1994, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa has been the supreme law.

Matters of customary law were heard by chiefs and headmen, with a right of appeal to the Native Appeal Court, staffed by magistrates.

Today, South Africa retains a plural legal system, with customary law remaining a legal system for those who wish to be subject to it.

Residents of the TBVC states, as well as those of other ‘ethnic homelands’ were not permitted to remain in ‘white South Africa’ without permission, unless they qualified to do so in terms of Act 67 of 1952 or other statutory exemptions (the ‘pass laws’).

As resistance to the apartheid regime intensified from the 1950’s onwards, the South African government implemented legislation giving the state wide powers to detain, arrest, imprison and ban its opponents.

has been the Law Librarian at the University of Cape Town Law Library since January 2001. (Hons.) degree in History from the University of Cape Town, and LL. is a senior reference librarian at the University of Cape Town Law Library. In 1806, English forces defeated the Dutch settlers and took the Cape of Good Hope as a British possession.

She has 12 years experience as a reference librarian, and previously headed the University’s African Studies Library. South African law reflects this history of successive colonial governance.

The Cape legal system was, in turn, followed by the British colony in Natal, and also, in many respects, by the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the Transvaal) and the Oranjevrijstaat (the Orange Free State) – the Boer Republics established by Dutch trekkers in the mid-nineteenth century.

After the South African Anglo-Boer War (1899 –1902), Britain took control of all parts of South Africa, and in 1910, a Union of South Africa was established with four provinces: the Cape, Natal, the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal.

However, ‘apartheid’ became the official South African government policy following the electoral victory of the National Party in 1948.