§ 30. Mr. T. JOHNSTON
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether there has been submitted to him the Native Pass Consolidation Bill from Southern Rhodesia; whether he is aware that, inter alia, this Bill provides for a system of licensed concubinage; and whether he proposes to recommend the withholding of the Royal Assent to this provision in the Bill?
Mr. M. MacDONALD
The Natives' Registration Act makes no express provision of the nature to which the right hon. Member refers. But I presume he is referring to Section 14 (3) of the Act which exempts natives in native locations situated within the boundaries of a township from the requirement to be in possession of certificates or passes if they are in possession of a current written permit signed by the superintendent or assistant superintendent of the native location permitting them to stay there. I understand from a statement made by the Minister of Native Affairs during the debate on the Bill that while it is intended under the legislation to get rid of prostitutes in the locations, this provision was inserted to deal with an existing situation in which certain women who do not belong to that class have been accustomed to live with natives although there has been no actual form of marriage contracted. I am in communication with the Government of Southern Rhodesia concerning the administration of this section. As stated in my reply to the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) on 30th June, I am not prepared to advise His Majesty to disallow this Act.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether this practice which is now being legalised in Rhodesia is not a direct outcome of the compound system, and whether it is not the case that in the Belgian copper mines the compound system has been abolished altogether and a settlement system instituted in its place, and will he not therefore see that steps are taken to abolish this infamous compound system, with its inevitable celibacy and the consequences which follow from it?
That is another question altogether, into which I could not go in detail, at any rate without notice. With regard to this particular point, I am in communication with the Southern Rhodesian Government.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.
§ 31. Mr. PALING
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs how many proclaimed areas exist in Southern Rhodesia; and what is the normal extent of such areas?
I assume that the hon. Member refers to proclaimed townships as this term is defined in the Natives Registrati Act. The Act is, however, not yet in operation, and accordingly no townships have been proclaimed.
§ Mr. PALING
Do I understand that the Minister agrees with this policy of virtual segregation of the natives which is indicated by these proclaimed areas?
That has nothing to do with the question, if I may say so. The proclaimed townships are townships where these hostels are going to be built, and that does not raise the whole question.
§ Mr. PALING
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the native cannot go into the proclaimed townships unless he has a series of passes, and that the Prime Minister himself said that the position of the native was that he should stay outside?
§ 32. Mr. PALING
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether the regulation in the Southern Rhodesia Natives Registration Bill, requiring natives to have visiting passes, has been in any previous Act and, if so, what Act; and whether, as the registering of contracts of service with Europeans by the native with a penalty of 210 or a month's imprisonment for case of failure was previously the duty of the employer, he will say what is the reason of the change?
Under the Southern Rhodesia Natives' Registration Ordinance, 1901, natives visiting townships were required to have visiting passes. As regards registration of contracts for service no material change has been made and the penalties referred to fall, as before, on the employer who fails to procure the registration of the contract, not on the native.