HC Deb 22 February 1938 vol 332 cc163-4
10. Mr. Ammon

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the number of arrests of African women in Salisbury on the ground that they have come to the township to do shopping without the permit required under the Natives Registration Act; whether he is satisfied that the location superintendents are able to cope with the requests of permits which are made to them without causing undue delay and difficulty to persons desiring for reasons of business to enter the township; and, as experience already shows the desirability of modifying the discriminatory provisions of this Act, what action he is taking to secure this?

Marquess of Hartington

The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative. My right hon. Friend will, however, consult the Southern Rhodesia Government on the points raised in the hon. Member's question.

11. Mr. Ammon

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is yet in a position to make a statement concerning the wrongful arrest of James Mfarsi, a civilised native in Southern Rhodesia, for not carrying a pass from which he was exempt; and is he aware that this man on being placed on the voters' roll was accorded a certificate to that effect, and that the chief native commissioner confirmed to the police that there was no need for the man to carry a pass?

Marquess of Hartington

The Governor of Southern Rhodesia has informed my right hon. Friend by telegraph that he is sending by mail the record of the court proceedings in this case. On receipt of this he will communicate further with the hon. Member. In the meantime, I understand that there is no ground for the suggestion that it was a case of wrongful arrest. I am informed that the native in question was convicted and fined 2s. 6d. in the magistrate's court for an offence under the Natives' Registration Act, 1936, from the operation of which he had never been exempted, and that no appeal from this decision to the High Court has been noted. My right hon. Friend is also informed that the Chief Native Commissioner did not as alleged inform the native in question that he was exempt from the relevant legislation as a voter.

Mr. Ammon

Is it not the case that the native commissioner withdrew the pass, which was not regarded as necessary because the man was on the voters' list?

Marquess of Hartington

My information is that that is not so.