HC Deb 10 July 1905 vol 149 cc62-3
Mr. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether a system exists of hiring out for various terms of servitude persons convicted of offences in Cape Colony to the De Beers Diamond Company at the rate of 2d. per diem; and, if so, by what authority and under what regulations does the system exist, and does the Colonial Office accept any responsibility in the matter.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Lyttelton.) The Ministers of the Capo Colony have stated that convict labour is hired out to various public bodies and private employers in the Cape Colony, and that, in accordance with this practice, an agreement was entered into in 1889 between the Government and the De Beers Consolidated Mines, Limited, for the establishment of a convict station on the company's premises at Kimberley, and for the supply of native convicts for employment in the diamond mines. The company pays the entire cost of the buildings and staff, and provides for the clothing, rationing, and medical attendance of the convicts; and in addition to this pays the Government a small sum per man for the convicts supplied. The system has legislative sanction under Section 52 of the Colonial Act, No. 23, of 1888. The matter is one entirely within the control of the responsible Government and Legislature of the Cape Colony.