HC Deb 23 June 1890 vol 345 cc1626-7

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can inform the House what is the estimated extent in square miles of the territory placed by Royal Charter under the control of the South African Company, and the estimated population of the native tribes inhabiting it; whether Mr. Cecil Rhodes, the Chairman of the Company, is under an obligation to report to the High Commissioner of South Africa, or is independent of him; and whether he can say what is the number of soldiers or police in the employ of the company, and what is the name of the officer in command of them, and from whom he receives his commission?


No territory is placed under the control of the British South African Company by the Royal Charter. The effect of that Charter is to enable the company to exercise as a corporation any concessions and any powers of control granted by local rulers. Mr. Rhodes is not chairman of the company. As one of the officers of the company (managing director in South Africa), he is bound under Section 18 of the Charter to communicate freely with the High Commissioner, and to pay due regard to any requirements, suggestions, or requests which the High Commissioner may make to him. The number of police in the company's employment is believed to be 500. There is also a body of 150 miners and settlers, called pioneers. The officer temporarily in command of the police is Colonel Pennefather. He, of course, receives from the company any commission which he may hold for the purpose of his police command.


Is he obliged to report to the High Commissioner?


Any action the Company may take they are bound to report to the High Commissioner.

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