Chapter Twenty-two
British and Native Authorities

FROM the days when Great Britain first assumed the Protectorate, there has grown up an almost complete, though modest, system of colonial administration, similar to those of the British dependencies in East and West Africa. With growing solicitude for the non-self-governing countries, the increasing complication, in a shrinking world, of external relations, the generosity of the British people in furnishing money for development, the continuous demand on the part of the population for the expansion of social services, and the necessity, in order to provide those services, to broaden the country's economy, the volume of business extends the system to the full.

The Protectorate is administered by a Resident Commissioner, assisted by a Government Secretary and a small Secretariat, and a number of departments, each with its head. The Resident Commissioner is subordinate to the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in South Africa, who is also High Commissioner for Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland. The High Commissioner is the legislating authority, though certain powers in this respect are delegated to the Resident Commissioner.

The headquarters of the Protectorate remain at Mafeking, which is sixteen miles from the Protectorate's southern boundary at Ramathlabama spruit on the main road through the Protectorate to Bulawayo. The Protectorate therefore enjoys the distinction of being the only country, if not in the world, at least in the British Empire, whose seat of government is outside its own boundaries. A move into the Protectorate has more than once been mooted. It has been pointed out that revenue is lost to the Protectorate in that officials at head­quarters spend money in Mafeking which would otherwise be spent in the Territory. 1 Furthermore, the capital, if it were in the Protectorate, would attract banks and other businesses, and would of course, be more accessible to residents. But in spite of these arguments it seems unlikely that there will be any change.

Headquarter offices and some officials' houses are on the so-called Imperial Reserve, a piece of land some 640 acres in area situated about one mile south of Mafeking on the road to Vryburg, which was retained by the Protectorate Government when British Bechuanaland became part of the Cape Colony. Other officials, including the Resident

____________________
1
Their income tax is however paid to the Protectorate Government.

-210-

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