Stoep Stories No 18
Sunday, 18th May 2014
RULE BY REGULATION
STOEP STORIES - TALES FROM THE KAROO
Published by the Graaff-Reinet Heritage Society
During 1845 local government in Graaff – Reinet was put into the hands of a Board of Commissioners. They started well but degenerated into a pathetic situation of gross incompetence petty bickering and strife. They subjected citizens to Rules and Regulations some of which were silly and lacking in common sense. Section 66 (as a protection against thatched roofs catching fire) prohibited smoking a lighted pipe in the streets but section 67 made it legal to smoke a cigar. Small boys were not allowed to fly kites and could not play cricket in the streets. But the Regulations were mainly concerned with water sluices and water distribution. There were fines galore. A fine of five pounds was levied by Regulation 16 for failure to keep clean the common water furrow. Regulation 23 provided for a fine of three pounds for “stealing water” (that is drawing water from the common furrow in excess of established water rights) an offence of which many Graaff – Reinetters were guilty until the scarcity of water put the furrows into discuse!