Rehoboth Baster Community
Constitution of Rehoboth 1872
Published by Aug 01, 2004
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The Constitution of the state of Rehoboth of 31 January 1872 providing for the Kaptein, the Kapteinsraad (Council), the Volksraad (Parliament), civil rights, resolutions and voting. Statutes of the Rehoboth Basters by Resolution of the Kaptein and his Councillors in the Year 1872
On this the thirty first day of January in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Two, the citizens of Rehoboth reached agreement on the form of government as provisionally established on the 15th of December 1868 at Warmbad, to be amended and established as follows:
1. As supreme Ruler of the citizens is chosen and appointed one from their midst as Kaptein, who shall then fulfil his office during his lifetime unless he is prevented from so doing by illness or other exigencies. 2. In the event of the death of the Kaptein, or if he is forced to resign from his offlce, the citizens shall immediately gather to elect and nominate another Kaptein.
3. In the interim period before the citizens have elected and nominated a new Kaptein, the elder of the two Councillors (and longest serving offlce bearer) who assists the Kaptein will take over the government as provisional Kaptein.
4. The Kaptein shall have a Council consisting of two citizens of unimpeachable character to assist him, and to be chosen by the Kaptein himself for as long a period as the Kaptein may deem fit. 5. In the election of the Kaptein every citizen who has full citizenship shall be enfranchised. 6. The Kapteinsraad or Council may be summoned at any time to assist with the government by the Kaptein, but in most urgent and essential matters a Councillor has the right to abandon his offlce for a period, provided that he shall inform the Kaptein beforehand, who may then nominate another in his stead for the period of his absence from the Council. 7. In order to allow the citizens to also participate in the government, they will elect and nominate from amongst them three citizens of unpeachable character as members of parliament or Volksraad.
8. The parliament is always elected for a period of one year. In the first forthnight of a new year, re-election of the Volksraad shall take place. 9. The Volksraad elects from its midst one member who shall be entitled to summon the members of the Volksraad to meet as often as he may deem necessary, 10. The spokesman or speaker also negotiates on behalf of the fellow members of the Volksraad to take care of the interests of the citizens who elected them. 11. It is the duty of the Volksraad to take care of the interests of the citizens who elected them. 12. The citizens shall make their wishes and desires known to the Volksraad, who shall inform the Kaptein and his Council so that the may inquire into these and, if practicable, deal with these in their legislation.
13. At the election of the Volksraad, one member of the Kapteinsraad (Council) shall always be present in order to ensure that no irregularities ensue for the Kaptein and the Domain. But the Council shall not be empowered to interfere in the voting provided there are no irregularities.
14. Every citizen who pays tax shall have the right to vote.
15. Every Baster, or anyone married to a Baster, shall become a citizen. All others will be given residence rights subject to conditions to be prescribed later.
16. Each person wishing to become a citizen, shall present himself to the Kaptein, who shall inform him regarding the laws. If he is prepared to comply with the laws and if he is well known, he will be adopted as citizen by the Kaptein, in the presence of the Council and the speaker of the Volksraad.
17. If the applicant for citizenship is a stranger, he shall then be subjected to a trial period of six months. The Kaptein then informs the speaker of the Volksraad accordingly, and he shall notify the citizens in order that anyone who has any objection against the applicant, may submit it. If during the period of six months, no objection is lodged against the applicant, he shall be accepted as citizen as set out above.
18. For their own part, the Kaptein, members of his Council and the Volksraad and citizens, will all be duty bound through the slapping of hands instead of the taking of an oath, to fulfil their offlce and profession without self-interest and to the benefit of the Domain.
19. Resolutions are taken by the Kaptein and his Council, likewise laws are formulated, and then sent to the speaker of the Volksraad in writing and he shall then immediately call a meeting of the Volksraad in order to consider the submitted resolutions or laws.
20. No resolution or law may be submitted to the Volksraad before the Kaptein and his Council have reached consensus on it.
21. Should there be a difference of opinion in the formulation of resolutions and laws, the Council shall vote on the matter.
22. If the Kaptein and one of the members of his Council have a difference of opinion which they are unable to resolve, the opinion of the Kaptein as Supreme Head shall be adopted. 23. On the other hand, should the two members of the Council concur, then the Kaptein shall submit to the Council.
24. Occurrences of differences of opinion between the Kaptein and his council shall be kept secret.
25. Any member of the Council who reveals such a secret may be relieved of his office and punished.
26. If the Volksraad adopts the submitted law or enactment, the speaker shall return same to the Kaptein who then has the power to determine that it shall serve as law in force, and to promulgate it. 27. On the other hand, should the Volksraad reject the submitted law, the speaker of the Volksraad shall inform the Kaptein accordingly, and he shall then determine a time and place for a joint meeting of the Kaptein and his Council together with the Volksraad in order to discuss the points of difference.
28. After each party had raised its reasons and objections, the matter shall be put to the vote.
29. If the entire Volksraad rejects a proposal of the Kaptein and his Council, all enfranchised citizens shall be summoned and informed of the difference, whereupon the entire meeting shall vote on the matter.
30. For the purpose of this vote, the Kaptein as Supreme Head shall be allocated one tenth of all the enfranchised citizens as his vote. His Council members each have two votes, the citizens and members of the Volksraad on the contrary, have only one vote each.
Given at Rehoboth on 31 January 1872.
Kaptein: H. Van Wyk Council: P. Diergaard J. Van Wyk Speaker of the Volksraad: Mechiel Diergaard