Vrystate van Oranje-Transvaal
Free States of Orange-Transvaal
Flag of Orange-Transvaal
Coat of arms of Orange-Transvaal
Anthem: "Twee Riviere" (Afrikaans)
(Two Rivers)
Location of Orange Transvaal
Location in Southern Africa
Capital Vereeniging
Largest city Johannesburg
Official languages Afrikaans
Demonym Freestater(s)
Government Federal presidential republic
Rikus Jansen van Vuuren (R)
Johan Lourenz (C)
At van Schalkwyk
Legislature Volksraad
17 January 1852
17 February 1854
31 May 1902
• Union established
31 May 1910
11 December 1931
Currency Orange-Transvaal rand (OTR)
Time zone GMT+2
Date format yyyy-mm-dd
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .ot
Orange-Transvaal (officially the Free States of Orange-Transvaal, Afrikaans: Vrystate van Oranje-Transvaal) is a sovereign landlocked nation located in Southern Africa. It is bordered by the Cape Colony to the south, Mozambique and Zululand to the east, Zimbabwe to the north and Bechuanaland to the west. The country lies between the Orange River, to the south, which forms its border with the Cape Colony, and the Limpopo River, to the north, which forms the nation's border with Zimbabwe and a part of Bechuanaland.

Orange-Transvaal was formed in 1910 as the Union of Orange-Transvaal when the two formerly British Transvaal Colony and Orange River Colony were given dominion status, along with the Cape Colony. The Natal Colony remained a colony until the Kingdom of Zululand was given full independence in 1931. During 1910, the Orange-Transvaal Afrikaner government evacuated its entire native black population due to growing concerns that they might soon call for equal rights and representation. Most moved to Bechuanaland and Zimbabwe, while those who sought to continue a Western lifestyle went on to live in the Cape Colony, where whites and blacks had generally equal rights. The evacuation caused Orange-Transvaal to be the only country in the world which has an absolutely racially heterogeneous population - 100% made up of persons of European descent.

In 1911, the Union Volksraad passed a Constitution, giving it a federal presidential republican system of government. It established the State President as the head of state and head of government, the Volksraad (People's Council) as the bicameral legislature, and the Supreme Court as the highest court. It is heavily based on the Constitution and structure of government of the United States, and therefore also adopted American federalism. The two states - Orange and Transvaal - are autonomous and have their own governments administered from their own capitals. Vereeniging is the federal capital and does not form part of either state. The Republican Party is currently the majority party in the upper house Senate, and holds the presidency, while the Constitutional Party has control over the lower house Assembly. The Republicans and Constitutionals have shared power on and off since both their establishment in the early 1910s.

The Free States is generally considered to be one of the world's last blatantly and unapologetically racist states, and has a residency and citizenship ban on any non-white persons. Non-whites are allowed to travel to Orange-Transvaal for business and tourism however may under no circumstances remain in the country for longer than a 30 day period. While also patriarchal, the Free States has repealed most sexist law and has made major strides toward gender equality in non-religious matters in recent decades. Orange-Transvaal's human rights record is therefore rated as acceptable. It has a noninterventionist foreign policy stance and is generally friendly toward its neighboring states.


Government and politics

Main article: Politics of Orange-Transvaal

A federal constitutional presidential republic, Orange-Transvaal's government is divided into three independent branches, namely the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The State President (Afrikaans: Staatspresident) is the head of state and head of government, and is elected by means of a direct vote once every five years, once renewable. The Volksraad, which is Afrikaans for People's Council, is the country's bicameral legislature, and consists of the Senate (being the upper house) and the Assembly (being the lower house). Both states are represented equally in the Senate, with each state electing twenty senators every two years. The Assembly is elected by way of constituency-based direct elections, and consists of XX assemblymen. Finally, the Supreme Court (Afrikaans: Hooggeregshof) is the highest court in the country and consists of thirteen justices, including the Chief Justice, who are appointed through presidential nomination and legislative confirmation.

Orange-Transvaal is a federation of two states and one capital territory. The states, Transvaal and Orange, have much autonomy from the federal government. Each state has its own constitution, which may however not contradict the federal Constitution, its own government and own laws, in addition to federal law. Both Transvaal and Orange have a unicameral state legislature, a high court and a governor. The capital territory, Vereeniging (Afrikaans for Unity or Union) is administered independently of either state, and subject to only federal law and ordinances passed by its city council.

As should be clear, the structure of Orange-Transvaal's state is based heavily on the Constitution of the United States of America. The erstwhile Orange Free State, the Boer Republic predecessor to the Orange River Colony, also had such a constitution. It was through their delegates that the National Convention was convinced to adopt the American structure of government for the then new Union of Orange-Transvaal.

Law and justice

Main article: Law of Orange-Transvaal

Orange-Transvaal follows a system of Roman-Dutch law, which it inherited mainly from the Dutch during their period in the Cape and it subsequently accompanying the Voortrekkers on their inland journey. The British common law experienced by the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies substantially modified the Dutch common law and essentially made Orange-Transvaal a bijuridical system. On the federal level, the Volksraad creates and passes legislation, while the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the entire Free States. The federal-level law enforcement agency is the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) (Misdaadondersoektak, MOT) of the Ministry of Justice.

Being a federation, the states of Orange-Transvaal have their own state legislatures which create state law. The states also have their own judiciaries which interpret and adjudicate the law, bound only by the decisions of the federal Supreme Court. State legislation and precedent currently forms the bulk of Orange-Transvaal's law. The states further have jurisdiction over how their law enforcement is to be organized and managed. Both states have top-level police organizations and other organizations which operate at the district level. The Transvaal Constabulary (Transvaalse Konstabelmag) is the state police in the Transvaal, and the Orange State Police (Oranje Staatspolisie), in Orange.

Administrative divisions

At the federal level, the Free States is divided into two states of equal standing - the State of Transvaal, and the State of Orange. Because of Orange-Transvaal's system of federalism, the states are free to decide their own administrative divisions, however it has been customary for, among other things, administrative divisions to be uniform. Both states are therefore divided into several districts, which are either rural or urban districts.


Main article: Orange-Transvaal Defense Force

Both the Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic had strong democratic military traditions. Indeed, rural district governments were set up along military lines, many of which were under the leadership of a council of war with a commandant-general (kommandantgeneraal). The remainder of the council consisted of field cornets (veldkornet), who were elected by the male citizens in each ward. Cornets and field commandants (veldkommandant) would also serve certain judicial roles, either in their own capacities or in service of the courts.

This structure of government proved invaluable during both Boer Wars against the British, the first of which was won by the republics.

In the Orange Free State, the Constitution created a kind of legislative ward known as field cornetcy (veldkornetskap) which sent representatives to the national Volksraad. A field cornet was elected by the male citizens of that ward, and a field commandant was elected by the male citizens of the greater district. The cornets and commandants would together elect a commandant-general when war was declared. The State President - elected by national popular vote - then had the authority to give instructions to the Commandant-General. The cornets and commandants could dismiss the Commandant-General with the consent of the State President.

In the South African Republic, on the other hand, the Commandant-General was elected through a national popular vote by male citizens, much like the State President. He served a term of ten years. Field cornets (as well as assistant field cornets) and field commandants were elected in wards and districts, like in the Orange Free State.

The Orange-Transvaal Defense Force (OTDF) (Oranje-Transvaal Verdedigingsmag, OTVM), which was established by the Defense Force Act of 1911, replaced the national militias of the former republics in favor of a more professional military organization. Legislators did, however, seek to retain much of the tradition. Quite unlike the United States, the states of Orange-Transvaal do not have their own national guard or state guard forces, as defense is a role specifically reserved for the federal government. The ground force is known as the Kommandokorps (Commando Corps), based on the old Boer republican military system where each district had its own self defense militia known as a "commando". It is led by the Field Commandant. The small Air Force is led by the Air Commandant. The State President is ordinarily ex officio the Commandant-General but may delegate that capacity to a designated military officer. Being a landlocked nation, Orange-Transvaal has no naval force. The top-level divisional command of the Kommandokorps is the "brigade" for conventional forces, and the "command" for administrative and leadership organs. The Air Force is divided into "wings" for operational formations, and has a single "command" for its administration and leadership.

Field cornets still exist, but today have a more ceremonial role. Each legislative ward elects a field cornet who sits on the Field Cornetcy Council. The cornets also have limited judicial functions attached to the local landdroshof (magistrate's court), such as the service of court documents such as subpoenas or summonses. The Council acts as a liaison between the people of the Orange-Transvaal and the OTDF. The Chairman of the Council has an office at the Defense Force headquarters and may tender resolutions and complaints adopted by the Council to military leadership. These, however, are not binding, and can be ignored by the OTDF.

Foreign relations



See also