The South African war effort
General Smuts becomes a member of the six-man British War Cabinet and makes a great contribution to the war effort. Over 12 000 South Africans, including over 3 000 Africans and 700 coloureds, are killed in the various theatres of war. In 1917 the SS Mendi goes down in the English Channel after it is accidentally rammed by an allied ship. It sinks in 20 minutes and all on board are lost, including 802 African soldiers.
The gold mines continue operating throughout the war and the Bank of England takes over the entire output of the Witwatersrand.