HC Deb 26 May 1960 vol 624 cc659-60
17. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he is aware that Nathaniel Ramotala, a British-protected person from Basutoland, now living in South Africa, has been arrested by the South African police; and whether he will take steps through the High Commissioner, to secure his immediate release.

Mr. Alport

One N. Ramotala has been detained in the Union of South Africa under the Emergency Regulations. The High Commissioner is making inquiries as to his citizenship status.

Mrs. Castle

I thank the Minister for that reply. Is be aware that, according to a very reputable source of information in South Africa, which I am not at liberty to disclose to him for fear of victimisation, this man has never been involved in African politics and that at the time of his arrest he was ill with a heart attack at his home in Johannesburg? Is the Minister aware that his detention has spread fear among other British protected persons in the Protectorates? Will he, therefore, get some general agreement through the High Commissioner with the South African Government that British protected persons shall not be detained in this way as a by-product of South African policy?

Mr. Alport

The hon. Lady will remember that I have said on a previous occasion that it is important to establish the status of the individual concerned. I am not aware of the details which the hon. Lady has now given but, as soon as it is established that the man in question is either a United Kingdom citizen or a British protected person, I can assure her and the House that a representative of the High Commissioner will visit him as soon as possible.

Mr. Marquand

May I ask haw many British protected persons are still under arrest and how many have been released since I last asked about these people?

Mr. Alport

I should be obliged if the right hon. Gentleman would put down a Question so that I may give him the latest and up-to-date information. I do not think we have any information that there has been any substantial increase in the numbers which I gave previously.