HC Deb 13 July 1909 vol 7 cc1843-4

asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether the Portuguese native labourers recruited for the Transvaal mines are confined in compounds?


also asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government, before authorising the Governor of the Transvaal to sign the Convention with the Governor of the Portuguese province of Mozambique, satisfied themselves that the conditions which led the Transvaal Ordinance, 1904, to be described as partaking of slavery would not become operative in the case of the Portuguese native labourers recruited under this Convention?

The UNDER-SECRETARY for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)

The Portuguese native will, when on the mines, live like other natives in a compound, and will require, like other natives, a pass when he wishes to leave the mine. He will not, however, be like the Chinaman, imported under special legislation and subjected to special restrictions, which place him, if he gets outside the Witwatersrand district, practically in the position of an outlaw. Before authorising Lord Selborne to sign the Convention His Majesty's Government satisfied themselves by telegraphic communication with him that no such objection existed.


How long will these natives be kept in compounds, except when they go out on special passes?

Colonel SEELY

There is no difficulty about their going out whenever they want to. Their presence is not in the least unwelcome in the district in which they are situated, and there is therefore no diffi- culty. The point in the other case, of course, was that there was objection to their going outside, and there had to be a special police cordon to keep them in.