What are the three smaller flags on the old South African flag?
The old South African flag of which you are speaking was created in 1928 and replaced in 1994. Its orange, white and blue horizontal stripes were derived from the Dutch — the first Europeans to settle in South Africa.
The three small flags that appeared in the middle represented the four provinces that constituted South Africa at the time. The former British colonies of Cape of Good Hope and Natal are represented by the Union Jack flag, followed by the flags of the former Afrikaner republics of (Boer) Orange Free State and (Transvaal) the South African Republic.
—The Fact Monster