HC Deb 12 May 1908 vol 188 cc920-1

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is shown in the Reports of the Government Secretary of Basutoland, and of a resident commissioner, that there is need for the protection of the interests of Basutoland subjects in the Courts of the Orange River Colony; whether natives have to sue through agents with the result that the amount of deposit demanded in advance is found prohibitive of access to justice; whether Orange River Colony subjects obtain a ready hearing in the Basutoland Courts, while Basutoland Natives closely related to those across the border have frequently to forego just claims, for example, in matters of inheritance; if the attention of the Colonial Office has been directed to the correspondence between the authorities of Basutoland and of the Orange River Colony as to the liability of Basutoland Natives to pay poll tax in the Colony and to the cumbersome procedure of refund; and if the opportunity of coming negotiations in reference to changes in the system of government in South Africa can be taken to place such questions, as affecting Crown Colonies and Protectorates, upon a better footing.


The last Blue-book Report for Basutoland contains the statements quoted by my right hon. friend. I am glad to say that the Orange River Colony officials have so far shown a disposition to co-operate with the Basutoland Government. With regard to any general negotiations it is too early yet to speak. The High Commissioner is being asked for a Report on the subject.