However, the national legislature retains its legislative power in these areas, and may override provincial legislation in the event of a conflict.Exclusive provincial legislative competence is reserved for less important matters such as abattoirs and liquor licenses.During the period of English governance, a system of 'Native Administration' was established.
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South African law reflects this history of successive colonial governance.
The 'common law' of the country (in this context, 'common law' implies law of non-statutory origin) is based on the 'Roman-Dutch' law of the original Dutch settlers.
Today, many commentators regard the resulting legal system as a truly hybrid system, a mix of English common law and civilian Roman-Dutch legal principles.
While many legal doctrines and the arrangement of the law in general can be traced to a civilian heritage, court procedure owes much to the common law tradition, with adversarial trial, detailed case reports (which include dissenting judgments), and adherence to precedent.
The colonial state retained exclusive jurisdiction over matters such as serious crime.
Matters of customary law were heard by chiefs and headmen, with a right of appeal to the Native Appeal Court, staffed by magistrates.
As a result of such factors, the Roman-Dutch law of the Cape Colony was overlaid with a heavy English law influence.
The Cape legal system was, in turn, followed by the British colony in Natal, and also, in many respects, by the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the Transvaal) and the Oranjevrijstaat (the Orange Free State) - the Boer Republics established by Dutch trekkers in the mid-nineteenth century.
In terms of South African law, the 'citizens' of such states lost their South African citizenship.
Residents of the TBVC states, as well as those of other 'ethnic homelands' were not permitted to remain in 'white South Africa' without permission, unless they qualified to do so in terms of Act 67 of 1952 or other statutory exemptions (the 'pass laws').
This is civilian law - Roman law as interpreted by the Dutch writers of the 17 centuries.