HC Deb 15 February 1927 vol 202 cc755-6

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that, under the Children's Employment Act, in Southern Rhodesia children who object to accepting indentures may be flogged for such refusal without any trial before a judicial officer; and whether he is prepared to consider an alteration in the law being made?

79. Mr. W. BAKER

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will call for a Report as to the conditions under which children in Southern Rhodesia are compelled to accept indenture; and whether he will particularly inquire as to the liability of such children to he flogged?


In regard to the Southern Rhodesia Native Juveniles Employment Act, 1926, generally, I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Snell).

The position under the Act is that Native Commissioners have the power to order male juveniles to receive a summary whipping with a light cane, not exceeding 10 strokes, either for disobeying an order given by the Native Commissioner, in pursuance of the provisions of the Act, or after hearing and determining a charge or complaint brought by an employer against the juvenile arising from any breach of duty due to an act or omission on the part of the juvenile. In either case, the Native Commissioner must at once send to the Attorney-General a report setting out fully the facts and circumstances.

There can be no doubt that the Native Commissioners will exercise their powers under this Act in the same admirable manner as they exercise the wide functions, judicial and administrative, which they discharge in relation to native affairs generally, and I do not propose to ask the Government of Southern Rhodesia to consider an alteration in the Act as suggested.