HC Deb 18 July 1905 vol 149 cc1057-9
MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)

On behalf of the junior Member for Halifax, I bag to ask the Secretary of Sate for the Colonies if he is aware that at the first meeting, in Heidelberg, of creditors in the insolvent estate of Mr. Van Rensburg, who recently resigned his seat as a nominated member of the Inter-Colonial Council, debts to the amount of £51,000 were proved, and included in the list was a Sum of £20,000 due to the Colonial Treasurer of the Transvaal; and can he say for what purpose this loan was made.


On behalf of the junior Member for Halifax, I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can say on what date the Colonial Treasurer of the Transvaal made the loan of £20,000 to Mr. Van Rensburg; for what consideration the loan was made; whether there is any probability of the money being recovered; and also will he inquire if this is the same Mr. Van Rensburg whose telegram was quoted by the Government in debate in this House on February 17th, 1904, as evidence that the Boers were in favour of Chine e labour.


The information I have now received is that a loan of £10,000 was made by the South African Republic to Mr. Van Rensburg upon first mortgage bond in 1898. A further loan of £5,000 was made by the present Government in 1903 upon another first mortgage bond; both fully secured on farms in Heidelberg district. Later on the original loan was increased to £15,000 to enable Mr. Van Rensburg to redeem the first bond referred to with arrears of interest on same amounting to £3,000, and to repair damage done during the war. The total of his present capital indebtedness, viz., £20,000, is less than 50 per cent, of the valuation of the farms hypothecated. The Government are therefore fully secured. It is the same Mr. Van Rensburg whose telegram is printed at page 24 of Cd. 1941.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say what was the occasion of the grant of this loan, made by the public authorities to a private individual?


; I have no information as to what the ground of the loan by the Boer authorities was. The loan by the Government was for the purpose I have just stated.


But there was another loan of £5,000— an intermediate loan. And, besides that, can the right hon Gentleman explain why the public authorities of the Transvaal should interfere between this man and his debts?


I have no further information than that which I have given, hut if the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Question I will endeavour to get him an Answer.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

asked whether this was the same Mr. Rensburg whose authority was quoted by the right hon. Gentleman as "a representative and influential Boer."


He was quoted as a member of the Dutch community there, and the fact that he has been a mortgagee does not, I think, incapacitate him from being called in evidence.

MR. HERBERT SAMUEL (Yorkshire, Cleveland)

asked whether it was the practice of the Transvaal Government to lend public money to private in dividuals in this way.


The hon. Gentleman had better put down a Question.