The Republic of South Africa and the High Commission Territories

The Republic of South Africa and the High Commission Territories

The Republic of South Africa and the High Commission Territories

The Republic of South Africa and the High Commission Territories

Excerpt

It has been convenient to retain as the title of this work the term High Commission Territories, in order to denote the three British dependencies Bechuanaland, Basutoland, and Swaziland. In the Republic of South Africa the term 'Protectorates' is that normally employed in both parliamentary and journalistic usage; it is also frequently used in the British Parliament, though it is incorrect in so far as Basutoland has the full status of a British territory. These three dependencies, as will be shown in the following pages, were brought under the control of the High Commissioner in South Africa by virtue of the original enactments which established British jurisdiction over them.

The office of High Commissioner was in the first instance attached to that of the Governor of Cape Colony, and after 1909 to that of the Governor-General of South Africa. When, however, a constitutional practice was adopted in 1931, as the result of which the Governor-General was appointed on the advice of Ministers in the Union of South Africa, 'to represent the King's Grace and not the British Government', the office of High Commissioner was separated from that of the Governor- General. The High Commissioner to the Union thereafter occupied a position similar to that of the High Commissioners to other Dominions as the representatives of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. In addition to the normal functions of that position, however, he remained responsible for the administration of Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and Swaziland, and in the legislation applicable to them he was expressly so designated. When in 1961 the Union became the Republic of South Africa and the High Commissioner became the British Ambassador to the Republic, he continued to be responsible for the administration of the three Territories.

There is no evidence that the exercise of dual functions . . .

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