HC Deb 19 November 1906 vol 165 cc389-91
Sir J. JARDINE (Roxburghshire)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, as stated by the chairman of the Swaziland Corporation, Limited, at the annual meeting on the 29th October last, the corporation has been conceded the ownership and possession of considerably over one million acres, and also of mineral rights of enormous value over an area of 450 square miles; and, if so, whether he can state when and by whom these concessions were made and for what consideration and if they are in perpetuity; and whether these lands were inhabited, and if now any spaces have been left for the natives to dwell in.


The concessions under which these rights are claimed were granted by Umbandine, formerly King of the Swazis. The consideration for which they were made was, I understand, for the Unallotted Lands Concession, under which the corporation claim an enormous amount of land, £50 a year rent. For the Horo Concession, 22,833 shares of the nominal value of £1 appear to have been paid and the rental was £40 per annum. I cannot give fuller details within the limits of an oral Answer. The hon. Member will observe that the chairman at the meeting stated that the land rights are not in perpetuity, nor the mineral rights, excepting the Horo Concession, which, he says, represents the main part of their mineral rights. The concessions confirmed by the Concessions Court of 1890 are recognised, subject to the provisions of the Proclamation of 1st October, 1904, but I am not prepared to commit myself to figures as to the exact extent of those rights. The Secretary of State is informed by Lord Selborne that the general survey of concessions must be completed before the corporation is in a position to prove its claim to land. The lands are occupied by natives to a greater or less extent, and the grants from the king commonly reserved native rights. The continued use and occupation by the natives of land used in their possession are reserved by Section 20 of Lord Milner's Proclamation of 1st October, 1904. The manner in which the natives may most satisfactorily be protected and permanently safeguarded in their rights by setting apart portions of the land for their sole and exclusive use and occupation is under consideration.

MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)

What is the date of this concession?


Considerably anterior to 1894.

MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

Did not Umbandine grant concessions of a similar character in 1899 to speculators who sold them to the late President Kruger for £50,000?


Notice must be given of that.

MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

Will the Government consider the desirability of making it illegal for chiefs to deal with land belonging to the tribes?

[No Answer was returned.]


I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if the Colonial Office is aware of the statements made on 29th October last, at the annual meeting of shareholders of the Swaziland Corporation, Limited, to the effect that the corporation owns the monopolies of publishing newspapers, establishing pounds and other things, and has the sole right of banking; and whether he can state the origin of these monopolies; and what is included in the phrase "other things"; and if the Government is negotiating to buy back these monopolies; and, if so, at what price.


I have seen the statement referred to by the hon. Member. These monopolies were granted by Umbandine, formerly King of the Swazis. Besides the monopolies mentioned, the Swaziland Corporation is interested in a gas concession, a concession for treatment of tailings, concessions for the importation and the manufacture of liquor, a diamond drill concession, an importation of tobacco concession, a concession for the manufacture of iron. Under Section 12 of the Proclamation of 1st October, 1904, monopoly concessions are the subjects of expropriation at an amount not exceeding their value prior to the commencement of the war. A settlement has been proposed for consideration, under which the monopolies would be surrendered on terms which are awaiting discussion.


Have the Government possession of the documents in this case?


I will inquire.