HC Deb 20 February 1908 vol 184 cc993-4
SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

To ask the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the publication in the Natal Government Gazette of 21st January, by the Office of the Colonial Secretary of Natal, of a Report signed by the Under-Secretary for Native Affairs, and dealing with the unanimous findings of the Native Affairs Commission; whether the Report of the Under-Secretary advises Natal legislation pointing to South African federation, and shows that the Governor of Natal legislation pointing to South African federation, and shows that the Governor of Natal does not possess in Zululand the powers vested in the supreme chief by the code of Native Law for Natal proper, unless indeed His Excellency possesses legislative authority in Zululand; whether Sir Charles Saunders, K.C.M.G., Commissioner for Native Affairs in Zululand, in his evidence republished in the Natal newspapers on the same day, shows that over and over again there have been continuous breaches of faith with the Zulus in regard to their land; and whether, in view of the legal difficulties surrounding the situation in Zululand, His Majesty's Government will request the Governor of Natal to report at once upon the subject of the proposed future administration of that province.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The Report referred to has been received and contains expressions of opinion such as are stated in the Question. It is not, however, clear what is meant by the reference to the legislative authority of the Governor in Zululand, as Zululand having been annexed to Natal, in whose legislature members from Zululand sit, power to legislate for Zululand would appear to be necessarily restricted to the Parliament of the Colony. The Natal newspaper containing the remarks by Sir Charles Saunders referred to have not yet been received, but I have seen his remarks at page 136 of the volume evidence given before the Native Affairs Commission. The Secretary of State, as at present advised, does not consider that the legal difficulties are such as call for the Report suggested, but a copy of my right hon. friend's Question shall be sent to the Governor for his observations. Sir M. Nathan has been in communication with Ministers on various matters arising out of the Report of the Native Affairs Commission, and will, no doubt, be in a position to deal more confidently with the whole subject after the visit he is now paying to Zululand.