HC Deb 02 July 1906 vol 159 cc1408-9
MR. MACKARNESS (Berkshire, Newbury)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to a statement, recently published in Johannesburg by the Transvaal Mines Labour Company, that an adequate supply of Native labour could be obtained so as to gradually rid the Colony of Chinese labour, that the company had a well-planned organisation, and had secured the services of men thoroughly familiar with recruiting work in South Africa, that it was prepared to supply at once, as a first instalment, 5,000 Kaffirs for the mines, and also to deposit £5,000 as security for the due performance of the contract; and whether, under these circumstances, His Majesty's Government will take all such measures as may be necessary under the terms of the modus vivendi between this Country and Portugal to remove the interdict which has been placed by the Portuguese authorities upon the recruiting of Native labour on the East Coast of Africa by any other persons than those employed by the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association.


I have seen a statement to this effect. I would refer my hon. friend to my Answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Chester on June 18th,† as well as to the speech of † See 4 Debates, clviii., 1363. Secretary of State made in another place on Friday last, wherein it has been made clear that His Majesty's Government are willing to permit and facilitate the recruiting of Kaffirs by other bodies besides the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association provided that their reputation and responsibility are established. Communications are even now proceeding in that intention both with Lord Selborne and with the Foreign Office.


Does the hon. Gentleman intend to exclude private recruiting? Is he acquainted with the character of the Transvaal Labour Mines Company?


Yes, Sir. I have a good deal of information about that. It is not the intention of the Government to re-institute open recruiting, but we are prepared to secure equal treatment for every responsible body.

* MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

May I ask if, in carrying out this policy, the Government will bear in mind the fact that recruiting in Tropical Central Africa is exceedingly fatal to the coolies who go to the Rand and of very little advantage to the mining industry?


I have every reason to believe that it will be discontinued.