The Volksraad (English: "People's Council") was the parliament of the former South African Republic (ZAR), which existed from 1857 to 1902 in part of what is now South Africa. The body ceased to exist after the British victory in the Second Anglo-Boer War. The Volksraad sat in session in Ou Raadsaal in Church Square, Pretoria. It was a unicameral body with 24 members.

The Volksraad was divided into two chambers in 1890 in order to keep Boer control over state matters while still giving Uitlanders (foreigners) — many of whom were temporarily employed in the mining industry—a say in local affairs.[1] This was done in order to fend off British complaints. This bicameral legislature consisted of a "Second Volksraad", with suffrage for all white males above 16 years, as well as a "First Volksraad" (which was the highest authority in charge of state policy), with suffrage limited to persons above 30 with permanent property and a longer history of settlement, or burghers above 16.

Volksraad was also the Afrikaans name for the House of Assembly, the principal or sole chamber of the Parliament of South Africa from 1910 to 1994.[2]


  1. ^ The Afrikaners: Biography of a People, Hermann Giliomee, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2003, page 238
  2. ^ World Legislatures, John Paxton, Springer, 1974, page 112