HC Deb 07 March 1910 vol 14 cc1276-8W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury whether the last of the Chinamen imported into South Africa have now been sent back to their own country; whether he can give figures showing separately the numbers of white men and of natives employed in the mines in the year preceding the importation of the Chinese coolies and in each succeeding year, and the numbers of Chinamen leaving South Africa and remaining there in the period during which their repatriation has been going on; and whether he can give figures showing the output from the mines where the Chinese coolies were at work, beginning from two years before the Boer War down to the present time?


The following are the numbers of white and native labourers employed in January, 1904 (which was before the Chinese arrived), and in the same month in the following years:—

Whites. Natives.
January, 1904 12,814 75,027
January, 1905 15,536 89,895
January, 1906 18,582 93,933
January, 1907 17,874 102,477
January, 1908 17,522 133,515
January, 1909 19,801 169,537
*December, 1909 23,077 168,665
* Being the last month for which official figures are available.

The Chinese repatriated:—

in 1904–5 were 1,317
1905–6 were 3,008
1906–7 were 5,158
1907–8 were 29,210
1908–9 were 13,731

The last figure is to March, 1909, since when there do not appear to be any official figures. The Chinese employed in January, 1907, when the number was greatest, were 53,856; in January, 1908, 33,849; in January, 1909, 11,534; and in January, 1910, 1,908.

I cannot give figures for the output of the mines where the Chinese were employed, but the following are the figures for the whole gold output since 1897:—

1897 £11,653,725
1898 16,240,630
1899 15,452,025
1900 1,481,442
1901 1,096,051
1902 7,301,501
1903 12,628,057
1904 16,028,883
1905 (6 months to June) 10,075,682
1905–6 22,087,937
1906–7 26,640,490
1907–8 28,508,368
1908–9 30,985,966


asked whether the experiment of working the Rand gold mines in South Africa by indentured Chinese labour has now come to an end; whether the number of white labourers there employed has largely increased; whether the miners now employed, whether black or white, are free from the servile conditions under which the Chinese were engaged; and whether he has any official information showing that the effect of the change has been beneficial or disastrous to the mining industry?


The last indentured labourers from the Rand are now at Durban awaiting shipment to China. In January, 1907, when the maximum number of Chinese were employed, the number of white labourers on the Rand mines was 17,198. In December last the number had increased to 23,077. The comparative figures for other classes of labour for the same months are:—

January 1907 Natives 94,221 Chinese 53,856
December 1909 Natives 168,665 Chinese 2,038

The Chinese were engaged on special conditions which do not apply to any other form of labour, and have come to an end. In connection with the last part of my hon. Friend's question, it will be sufficient to quote the following figures from the reports of the Transvaal Government Mining Engineer:—

Output of Gold 1906–7 £26,640,000
Output of Gold 1907–8 28,508,000
Output of Gold 1908–0 30,986,000

Number of tons milled per year for each coloured labourer employed:—

1906–7 110 tons.
1907–8 113 tons.
1908–9 123 tons.

Working cost per ton:—

s. d.
1907–8 19 7
1908–9 17 4