Mineral Revolution in South AfricaThe Mineral Revolution is a term used by historians to refer to the rapid industrialisation and economic changes which occurred in South Africa from the 1870s onwards. The Mineral Revolution was largely driven by the need to create a permanent workforce to work in the mining industry, and saw South Africa transformed from a patchwork of agrarian states to a unified, industrial nation. In political terms, the Mineral Revolution had a significant impact on diplomacy and military affairs. Finally, the policies and events of the Mineral Revolution had an increasingly negative impact on race relations in South Africa, and formed the basis of the apartheid system, which dominated South African society for a century.
South Africa before the Mineral Revolution
By the mid nineteenth century, South Africa was not a unified state, but was divided between provinces of the British Empire, states formed by Afrikaner settlers, and various native African states. The British provinces, Cape Colony and Natal, were both fairly prosperous colonies, with the majority of black and white settlers living in rural areas and employed in sharecropping or the production of cash crops. To the north, the two Afrikaner states of Orange Free State and Transvaal were less densely populated and in a state of constant economic rivalry with the wealthier British provinces. Surrounding the British and Afrikaner states were a number of native African polities such as Zululand. These states were independent of white control and their populations were largely involved in animal husbandry. Some, such as Pediland, acted as buffer states between the Afrikaner and British polities.
The overall population of the South Africa region was predominantly employed in agricultural occupations, either tending cattle, or as in the British colonies, cultivating cash crops such as sugar and coffee. Urban areas were small in number and size, and provided only a small contribution to the Afrikaner and British economies, mainly via the production of consumer goods and wine. Regional economies differed - while the Afrikaner and native African states were concerned with developing and maintaining self-sufficiency, Cape Colony was more focused on Britain's colonial economy, fulfilling a role as a producer of raw agricultural produce and a few luxury goods such as wine, and as a consumer of manufactured goods from Britain.
The Mineral Revolution began with the discovery of diamonds at the town of Kimberley in 1867. The discovery of diamonds led to a rush of prospectors descending on the town, whose population skyrocketed as increasing numbers of prospectors arrived to seek their fortune. As more diggers arrived in Kimberley, diamond-mining increased in scale, focusing in open-pit mining of three main sites. As surface deposits of diamonds were excavated, deeper pits had to be dug, propelling the Mineral Revolution into a new phase.
In order to excavate deep deposits of diamonds, diggers needed machinery (particularly steam engines), credit, and a large labour force. These were unavailable to ordinary diggers, and the diamond mines were quickly taken over by the "mining capitalists" - large corporations with access to credit, machinery, and labour. The discovery of gold at the Witwatersrand orefields in 1886 triggered a gold rush which greatly escalated this continuing trend. The orefields, which overlapped British and Afrikaner territory, were quickly excavated of all surface deposits and a similar pattern to Kimberley emerged - small diggers were bought out by large corporations. At Kimberley, the diamond mines fell under the monopoly of De Beers, while at the Rand orefields, land was bought up by Wernher, Breit & Eckstein, Consolidated Gold Mines Inc., and a number of smaller companies.
The emergence of industrial-scale mining forced major demographic shifts in South Africa's population. During the early stages of mining, labour had been primarily provided by young men from the African states, primarily Pedi men. The young men would travel to the mines during the summer to provide temporary labour and earn enough wages to buy status symbols, such as cattle or guns, before returning home. This system, though, was too unreliable to provide a permanent labour force and was not acceptable to the mining corporations. Young men arriving at the mines were often exhausted from their journey and had to be given two weeks' rest, at company expense, before they were fit to work in the mines. Workers who were not paid on time or did not like their living conditions (which were often very harsh due to bad food and disease) tended to drift away, and workers were at risk of being recalled to their own countries, as happened in 1876 when the chief of Pediland recalled all Pedi men at the mines to fight in a war against the Transvaal. The need to create a fixed, permanent labour force at Kimberley and on the Rand became the primary objective of the mining corporations and the colonial government.
The increasing scale of mining operations prompted the corporations to offer very low wages. Extracting diamonds from rocks, and processing the low-quality gold ore at the Rand, was very labour-intensive and required armies of workers. To offset the cost of employing so many workers, and to compensate for the high salaries offered to machine supervisors and administrators, the companies offered very low wages to ordinary labourers, resulting in falling living standards in urban areas.
The need to create a fixed labour force resulted in the colonial government, and the mining corporations, introducing a variety of schemes to keep workers on-site for lengthy periods of time. Corporate agents traveled African states, offering fixed contracts and pre-arranged wages, to attract young African men to the mines.
At the mine sites, corporations introduced various schemes to keep workers on-site. This was partially motivated in Kimberley by the corporation's fear that workers were stealing diamonds and selling them on the black market. To counteract this assumed threat, De Beers introduced strip searching, whereby workers leaving the mines at the end of a shift would be undressed and searched for diamonds. A more extreme measure was taken in the early 1880s by De Beers, when the company introduced corporate compounds. These enclosed compounds were built in the style of open-air prisons, where workers were required to live by the terms of their contract, in exchange for food, accommodation, and cheap beer provided by the company. In reality, workers had to pay for things out of their paltry wages, while the compounds themselves were notorious for disease, malnutrition, and death. In 1886 white workers at the De Beers compound in Kimberley elected a local Member of Parliament who successfully campaigned for white employees to live in the town, but black workers, who had no vote, were forced to remain on the compounds.
The growth of towns and cities across South Africa prompted changes in rural areas, as farms lost labourers to the mines and demand for food and agricultural produce increased. By the 1870s, "agrarian capitalism" had emerged, with large commercial farms buying up smallholdings and producing commercial goods for sale in the towns. This resulted in tens of thousands of black and white farmers losing their jobs, and being forced to work as wage-labourers on commercial farms or migrate to the cities in search of work. These changes greatly increased South Africa's agricultural output as commercial farms were more efficient and had greater access to farming machinery than small farms, and saw social changes in rural areas. The peasantry effectively disappeared, and a new class, the "rural gentry", emerged. These middle-class farmers, midway between the large commercial farms and smallholdings, were able to significantly increase their earnings by producing cash crops such as coffee, tobacco, sugar, and grapes, which were not labour-intensive and which fetched high prices at urban markets. Animal husbandry also increased, with increasingly large swathes of land being turned over to sheep and cattle farming.
Mass migration to towns, urban growth, and the increasing urban demand for rural produce prompted the development of South Africa's transport and communications infrastructure. Railways were greatly expanded to link towns to each other and to the countryside, and ports such as Durban and Cape Town were expanded to cope with increasing immigration and commercial activity.
The Mineral Revolution had a major impact on political developments in South Africa. Cape Colony required armies of workers for the mines and support industries, and in order to secure a regular flow of workers to the mines, the colonial government began a series of annexations of neighbouring African states, such as Basutoland, Bechuanaland, and Pediland. In the newly-annexed territories, the colonial government introduced laws such as the Hut Tax, which demanded that inhabitants pay an annual tax on their dwellings, paid in British cash. As the only way to earn British currency was via employment in the mines, this created a steady flow of workers as young men travelled to the mines to earn money, which they sent back to their families in order to pay the tax.
The 1879 Anglo-Zulu War also had roots in the Mineral Revolution, specifically as Cape Colony wished to neutralize any potential threats to the mines. In the aftermath of the war, thousands of young Zulu men migrated to the mines in search of work, driving down wages and exacerbating the already cramped conditions in the compounds.
The 1899-1902 Second Anglo-Boer War can be traced to the Mineral Revolution. Britain's desire to control the entire Rand region (which overlapped neighbouring Transvaal), remove potential threats to the mines, and encourage industrial expansion by replacing the slow and inexperienced Afrikaner bureaucracy with British laws and regulations led to increasing tension between the British colonies and the Afrikaner states, resulting in the outbreak of war in 1899. The Second Anglo-Boer War united South Africa as a single state (initially British, but granted independence in 1910) and marked the beginning of the British Empire's decline.
Mining operations at the Rand and at Kimberley caused severe environmental damage. Open-pit mining was not only dangerous for the workers, but created deep pits which grew wider during rainfall. Urban growth placed increasing strains on water supplies and led to increasing pollution of rivers. In rural areas, commercial farming led to a steady degradation in soil quality, while increasing animal husbandry led to severe soil erosion in many places, as cattle drank scarce water supplies and pulled up the grass holding the soil together. Mechanised farming and over-grazing led by 1910 to the appearance of immense dongas in the countryside, which carried away soil and scarred the landscape, and contributed to dustbowls across South Africa in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Racial relations were transformed by the Mineral Revolution. Prior to 1870, racial relations in South Africa had been relaxed, and racial boundaries were fluid. Slavery had been abolished in the British provinces in 1838, and although race relations between Afrikaners and Africans were more strained, relations between whites and blacks as a whole were generally relaxed, and social status was determined by personal wealth, occupation, or religion, rather than race.The advent of industrial mining changed race relations. As South Africa's population was predominantly black, the unskilled workers being contracted to the mines were overwhelmingly black. The mining corporations' desire to create a fixed labour force resulted in the creation of a large pool of predominantly black workers, as white labourers could use their political power to avoid having to live in the same conditions as their black colleagues. Increasing white immigration from Europe resulted in skilled jobs being granted to white immigrant workers, while black workers were increasingly left in unskilled jobs. In the towns, black businesses were increasingly forced out of the market by immigrating white businesses. By 1900, a distinct pattern had developed in the industrial cities, in which white workers and inhabitants held positions of authority and power, while their black neighbours languished in unskilled, badly-paid menial jobs.
In rural areas, race relations worsened with the advent of commercial farming. As farmland was bought up by large commercial enterprises, black farmers were increasingly forced to seek employment in the mines. As they could not take their families with them, a pattern developed in which black men were forced to leave their families and find work in the mines, while their families were forced to move onto government reserves, which quickly became overcrowded. On the mining compounds, the companies increasingly separated workers from their families on the reserves by abolishing vacation time and restricting mail contact. Additionally, black workers found themselves forced to send their wages home to support their families, making the men reliant on company-issued food and accommodation. The government's desire to free up farmland resulted in the passing of various acts, such as the Glen Grey Act of 1893, the Natal Land Act of 1903, and ultimately the Natives' Land Act of 1913, which legally forbade black citizens from owning land. These combined policies, and increasing white hostility to black South Africans, formed the basis of the apartheid system of twentieth century South Africa.
Telkom SA. Telkom SA Ltd. is a wireline and wireless telecommunications provider in South Africa. Telkom is a semi-privatised, 39% state-owned company.
|Founded||Johannesburg, South Africa, 1991|
|Headquarters||Pretoria, South Africa|
|Key people||Reuben J September, CEO|
|Revenue||2004: R43 billion ZAR (6.5%) |
($7 billion USD) 
2005: R43.1 billion ZAR ($6.9 billion USD)
Telkom Market Position and Ownership
Telkom currently has a monopoly on both handling international connections to and from South Africa on the SAT3 & SAFE backbone lines, which account for the majority of international bandwidth in the Republic, and fixed-line communications. However, with the introduction in the form of Neotel, the second national operator of South Africa (which has been providing public services from June 2007) the company is expected to face new challenges.
Telkom was managed by US-based SBC Communications (now AT&T) from 1997 to 2004. SBC has since sold its interest in the company, after reducing operational expenditure (reducing staff resources, etc) and increasing revenue by increased product prices, hereby increasing the share-price for greater ROI.
At a 2002 estimate, there are close to five million fixed lines currently in use in South Africa, all of which are currently owned and operated by Telkom. According to the World Factbook, it is the "best developed and most modern in Africa". It consists of local copper loops, microwave and fiber optic loops, and wireless connections.
The first use of telecommunication in the Republic of South Africa was a single line telegraph connecting Cape Town and Simonstown. After Bell Labs' development of the telephone, the first undersea links were introduced, first connecting Durban and Europe, and soon after, the rest of the world. The network continued to develop through internal financing in a heavily regulated market as international technology developed. At this point, telephone services were operated by the South African Postal Service.
In the 1960s, South Africa was connected to 72 nations and total outgoing annual international calls numbered over 28,800.
The routing and billing system were almost completely digital by the mid 1980s, which made way for the currently used systems of ATM, SONET, ISDN and others. Telkom SA, Ltd. was founded on 1 October 1991.
Telkom provides ADSL over POTS primarily in inner-city and suburban areas such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. Telkom is currently the largest provider of fixed-line broadband in the country, with over 120,000 subscribers at last count in 2005. As of 2007 this figure stands at approximately 250,000.
Telkom ADSL is billed as an add-on service to a POTS voice line. A PPPoE account, which can be provided by most Internet Service Providers (ISPs), must be purchased separately to the ADSL connection for internet access. ISPs are divided into two categories, those who purchase IPConnect from Telkom and those who resell PPPoE accounts from IPConnect ISPs or Telkom themselves. IPConnect is a Telkom product allowing ISPs to route internet bandwidth from their ADSL subscribers over their own bandwidth.
Three connection rates are offered (associated with different connection fees) which are 384/128, 512/256, 4096/384 kb per second of bandwidth for downstream/upstream respectively.
Most ISPs (including Telkom) providing ADSL accounts limit data usage per calendar month, with the limit depending on the package purchased. Telkom's default ISP package limits the user to three gigabytes in a calendar month, with port prioritization and bandwidth shaping. Packages offering thirty gigabytes as well as "uncapped" (unlimited data usage) packages are available from other ISPs.
Recent legislation passed by the South African government have lowered many restrictions on companies wishing to provide telecommunication access in the Republic. Competitors to the land-line monopoly have flourished, with special note given to providers of wireless broadband, who provide greater geographical penetration, by means of the technology used, than Telkom. Examples of these providers include Sentech, an extension of the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation, and WBS Co., a black owned enterprise. On the 31st August 2006, Neotel (Second Network Operator) announced the launch of its services as the second national operator, initially offering wholesale international services, with plans to expand to business & residential customers within months. Neotel plans to initially use CDMA-2000 wireless technology for the last mile infrastructure due to the government and ICASA's (the regulator) inability and unwillingness to unbundle the local-loop, leading some to suggest that it's not much more than a cellular operator instead of the much needed competitor to Telkom.
The three mobile telephone networks in South Africa, listed in terms of numbers of subscribers, are Vodacom (who both Telkom and the United Kingdom's Vodafone own large stakes in), MTN and Cell C. There are several service providers, such as Virgin Mobile and Nashua Mobile, which subscribers can use to access the networks. There are approximately six times as many cellphone subscribers than land line subscribers in South Africa (30 million versus 5 million), and since these networks route their calls over their own network, GSM providers have taken a large chunk of Telkom's business.
Another promising technology is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which may decrease the amount of calls made over the PSTN in the near future. Telkom's international calling rates are already far undercut by VoIP providers: A Telkom call to the United States will cost R1.40 a minute ($0.19 currency conversion); a call of the same duration made through Skype will cost only one tenth of that - R0.14. ($0.02 currency conversion)
Competition in broadband and telephony is diminished immensely because Telkom owns the international links to the rest of the world - the vast majority of bandwidth and telephone calls are routed through them. Finally, although the Government are taking steps to liberalise the market, laws regarding telecommunications are still quite restrictive relative to the United States and other developed nations.
An example of restrictive legislation is the Draft Convergence Bill, which attempts to control the development of such commerce. Telkom is currently under much fire from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), who accused it of excessive ADSL line charges.
High cost of internet access is a major point of consumer frustration in South Africa. Telkom's monopoly, backed by ANC Government investment, over fixed line provision and international access is often pointed out as the primary reason for the high costs of telecommunications. In light of the high cost of entry many broadband users have settled for cellular alternatives instead. At R2 (USD 30c) per MB (or less when buying data bundles) GPRS, EDGE, 3G, and HSDPA services have become increasingly popular for email and light browsing. Buying data bundles of up to 2 GB is now more affordable than Telkom's entry level packages. Virgin Mobile currently charges data at 50c (USD 7c) per MB without offering data bundles plus reportedly under charges and offer V Rewards for higher usage customers.
The continuing monopoly of Telkom in South Africa's communications industry, and governments large stake in the company have been perceived as not being in the publics best interests. Call costs are high, and the South African telecommunications regulator ICASA is overburdened and restricted in it's capabilities as handed down by the Department of Communications. The elderly minister of communications has a penchant for falling asleep during meetings and by her own admission "only hears about rate changes when her friends tell her". Telkom has a monopoly of all international calls originating within South Africa excluding VoIP, and of traffic over the SAT3 fibre that provides most of South Africa's international bandwidth. The indecision over the second network operator, to Telkom's advantage, is also not considered to be in the public interest.Telkom has also attracted attention for improperly conducting itself in contract dispute with Telcordia resulting in a decision from the Supreme Court of Appeal against its favor in which the Judge described Telkoms legal team as conducting "verbal manipulation". On the 19th January 2007, a full page advertisement was taken out in The Mail and Guardian, a national South African newspaper. Money for the ad was donated by dissatisfied South African individuals and businesses. The page is used as a public outcry, detailing some of the things Telkom has done in hopes of bringing more attention to the current situation in South Africa's telecoms industry. The effort was organised by the Telecoms Action Group, TAG.Perhaps one of the biggest criticisms of Telkom was its introduction of a monthly traffic limit or "cap". According to Telkom, this was a measure instituted in order for the South African network not to become "congested" with an overflow of information. However, the general feeling in the South African ADSL community is that monthly traffic limits were strategically put in place by Telkom in order to obtain the maximum amount of money from ADSL users. This is mainly because Telkom offers extra bandwidth to users for a price. If the limit is exceeded during the course of the month, the ADSL connection is cut off until the end of the month. The user can purchase extra GBs after he/she is capped however. The average monthly traffic limit in South Africa is 3GB, an amount which can be used up in less than a day, even on a low-speed line.Another major criticism of Telkom was its institution of port prioritization or "shaping." This, also was a measure introduced by Telkom in order for networks throughout South Africa not to become congested with too much information. However, port prioritization was an idea conceived mainly to benefit businesses in which employees all shared the same internet connection. Employees who used "bandwidth hogging" applications such as Peer to Peer applications and graphically intense online games often slowed down the network dramatically preventing users who wished to browse web pages or check their mail to do so in a short space of time. Port prioritization solves this problem as it prioritizes certain ports to for certain applications. It works according to a protocol which includes all ports and applications generally used in conjunction with them. These ports are sorted into a list of sorts. At the top of the list appear web browsing and email. These ports and the applications which use them receive the most bandwidth from the network. At the very bottom of the list are Peer to Peer applications, online games and virtual private networking (VPN). These receive very little if not no bandwidth from the network. Being unable to establish international VPN connections on the standard package has a detrimental effect on international freelancers who must pay for the much more expensive 'unshaped' service. Although it is the ideal solution for large companies there is no choice in the shaping matter. Personal connections to the internet also get shaped. This has caused an uproar in the South African P2P and online gaming community as one has to pay over exorbitant prices (roughly two times more) to get their connections "unshaped."