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 Regering wrote to the governor of the Cape of Good Hope that the ships sailing home via Ceylon had in Batavia been insufficiently supplied with pork, and asked for the shortfall to be made good. However, the necessary supplies were not on hand in the Cape ware- houses and thus it was decided to take a large number of barrels of pork from the ships arriving from the Republic. In 1709 the homeward fleet was again insufficiently stocked. The Hoge Regering had decided to send a victualling ship to follow the homeward bound fleet. But by early April, when the fleet was ready to sail, this ship had still not arrived. It was then decided to take the entire stock of meat and pork from the ship MEERVLIET (2035), the only ship on the way out that happened to be at the Cape at the time. This meant that it was now the MEERVLIET's turn to wait for supplies.29
The VOC kept the provisioning of ships tightly in its own hands. Vegetables and fruit were grown in Company gardens. At first livestock was purchased from the native Khoik- hoi tribes, who between 1652 and 1699 supplied the Company with 16,000 cattle and nearly 37,000 sheep. But the European settlers were also breeding more livestock and in the eighteenth century the supply to the Company of meat as well as drink was leased annually. The contract was awarded to those who offered the most favourable terms, and also gave the leaseholders the monopoly in trade with private individuals and thus with ships of other nations as well. Several times the free-burghers made requests for private trading to be left free, but these requests were always turned down. This left contraband trade as the only way out, which was carried out on a large scale and was condoned by the authorities. When the commissarissen-generaal Nederburgh and Frijkenius in 1792 noticed that masters, following accepted practice, quite openly landed goods for barter against Cape produce or for cash sale, they realized that severe punishment of those involved was out of the question. By widening trading opportunities somewhat for the free-burghers they tried to stimulate the Cape economy. They also ordered that contracts for the supply to the Company of vegetables, butter, fish and dried fruit were to be awarded to private citizens, while the Company gardens were being done away with.3 0
Replenishment of the water supply was at least as important as restocking the ships with food. It proved difficult to devise a system for the sailors to fill the waterbarrels easily and without too much time being lost. The stone gutter, installed in 1670and extending to the previously constructed jetty, was not a success because this water supply could not be used at low tide, and at high tide could not be utilized without problems either, because of the surf. In the eighteenth century the facilities were improved: water was then taken via lead pipes to the jetty, where several barrels could be filled simulta- neously.31
Table Bay offered no facilities for really major ship repairs. There was provision for carrying out minor repairs: quite soon a yard and tradesmen's quarter were established, where ship's stores were kept and where a large number of shipwrights and sailors worked under the direction of the equipagemeester. Ships appearing at the Cape in poor condition were inspected by the equipagemeester together with the masters and shipwrights present, and a report was drawn up. Sometimes it had to be decided that the ship concerned could not continue its voyage and then the ship had to be unloaded and measures taken to get the cargo to its destination. If a ship could still be repaired then this might mean, if it was
29 Böeseken (ed.), Resolusies van die Politieke Raad IV, 51, 94, 97.
30 On provisioning and the role of the free-burghers, see De Wet, Die Vryliede, 7-8,27-45; Böeseken,
Die Nederlandse kommissarisse, 20-23, 177-178;
31 Valentijn, Beschryvinge van de Kaap I, 100-110; Mentzel, Description, I, 118.

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