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Sol Plaatje,
Native Life in South Africa

Chapter 2

Contents page

Introduction etc. | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Appendices etc.

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Chapter II      The Grim Struggle between Right and Wrong,
                  and the Latter Carries the Day

  Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness
    which they have prescribed;
  To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the fruit
    from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey,
    and that they may rob the fatherless.

On February 18, 1913, General L. Lemmer, member for Marico, Transvaal,
asked the Minister of Lands: --  (a)  How many farms or portions of farms
in the Transvaal Province have during the last three years been registered
in the names of Natives; (b) what is the extent of the land so registered;
and (c) how much was paid for it?

The Minister of Lands replied:  (a) 78 farms; (b) 144,416 morgen;
and (c) 94,907 Pounds.

Some very disturbing elements suggest themselves in this question
and in its prompt answer.  A question of the kind should have taken
some time to reach Pretoria from the seat of Parliament; more time
to search for and compile the necessary information, and further time
to get the answer to the Table of the House of Assembly in Capetown.
For instance, on March 11 Mr. T. L. Schreiner called for an explanation
in connexion with the same return.  He had to ask again on April 1,
the answer in each instance being that the required "information
had been telegraphed for and would be laid on the table when it is available"
(vide Union Hansard, pp. 777 and 1,175).  It was only on May 13
-- two months and two days after -- that an answer to Mr. Schreiner's
question of March 11 could be furnished.

Again, on May 20 Mr. Schreiner called for a similar return,
embracing the four Provinces of the Union.*  If it were so easy
for General Lemmer to get a reply in regard to the Transvaal,
where most of the registration took place, it should have been
relatively more easy to add the information from the Cape and Natal,
since no registration could have taken place in the Orange "Free" State,
where Natives cannot buy land.  But strange to say, all that Mr. Schreiner
could get out of the Minister was a promise to furnish a reply
when it is available, and it does not appear to be on record
that it was ever furnished during that session.  Therefore, a Native
cannot be blamed for suspecting that when General Lemmer asked his question,
the return was "cut and dried" and available to be laid on the table
as soon as it was called for.

* It does not appear to have occurred to any one to call for a return
  showing transfers of land from blacks to whites.

Another significant point is that the questioner did not want to know
the extent of land bought by Natives, but of the land
"registered in their names" during the period; and Mr. Schreiner
was able to show later in the session by an analysis of the return
that it mainly comprised land awarded to Native tribes
by the Republican Government, some of it when they conquered the country.
They include farms bought or awarded to Natives as long ago
as the early 60's and 70's, but the owners were not able to obtain titles
as the late Republican Government did not allow Natives to register land
in their own names.  They had been held in trust for them
by European friends or missionaries, and it was only during
the last three years that the owners claimed direct titles,
which right was restored to them since the British occupation.

But the Lemmer Return did its fell work.  It scared every white man
in the country.  They got alarmed to hear that Natives had
during the past three (!) years "bought" land to the extent of 50,000 morgen
per annum.

Thanks to Mr. Schreiner's questions, however, the misleading features
of the statistical scarecrow were revealed -- but, unfortunately too late.

    Origin of the Trouble

On February 28, 1913, Mr. J. G. Keyter (a "Free" State member) moved:
That the Government be requested to submit to the House
DURING THE PRESENT SESSION a general Pass and Squatters Bill
to prohibit coloured people (1) from WANDERING ABOUT WITHOUT A PROPER PASS;

Mr. T. P. Brain,* another "Free" Stater, seconded the motion.

* This gentleman died during 1913.

Mr. P. G. W. Grobler,* a Transvaaler, moved (as an amendment)
to add at the end of the motion:  "and further TO TAKE EFFECTIVE MEASURES

* Mr. Grobler forfeited his seat when he was convicted of complicity
  in the recent rebellion.

Mr. Schreiner strongly protested against both the motion and the amendment.

The Minister for Native Affairs* spoke somewhat against Mr. Keyter's motion
but promised to comply with Mr. Grobler's amendment, which promise he redeemed
by introducing a Natives' Land Bill.

* Hon. J. W. Sauer, Minister of Native Affairs, died a month after the Bill
  became law.

Before the Bill was introduced, the Minister made the unprecedented
announcement that the Governor-General had given his assurance
that the Royal Assent would not be withheld from the Natives' Land Bill.
Section 65 of the South African Constitution provides that the King
may disallow an Act of Parliament within twelve months
after the Governor-General signed it.  And the abrogation of the Constitution,
as far as this Bill is concerned, literally gave licence
to the political libertines of South Africa; as, being thus freed
from all legislative restraint, they wasted no further time
listening to such trifles as reason and argument.

The following are extracts from the debates on the Natives' Land Bill
as reported in the Union Hansard of 1913.

The adjourned debate on the motion for the second reading
of the Natives Land Bill was resumed by

MR. J. X. MERRIMAN (Victoria West).  It was with very great reluctance
(the right hon. gentleman said) that he rose to speak on this measure.
It would have been more convenient to have given a silent vote,
but he felt, and he was afraid, that after many years of devoted attention
to this question of the native policy of South Africa, he would not
be doing his duty if he did not give this House -- for what it was worth --
the result of his experience through these years.

He should like to emphasize a brighter side of the question,
and that was to point out that the Natives, if they were well managed,
were an invaluable asset to the people of this country.  (Hear, hear.)
Let them take our trade figures and compare them with
the trade figures of the other large British Dominions.
Our figures were surprising when measured by the white population,
but if they took the richest Dominion that there was under the British Crown
outside South Africa, and took the trade value of those figures
per head of the white population, and multiply those figures
by our European population, then they might very well apply
any balance they had to our native population, and then they would see,
strangely enough, that upon that basis it worked out that
the actual trade of three Natives was worth about that of one white man.
That, of course, was a very imperfect way of looking at
the value of these people, because the trade value of some of these Natives
was far greater than the trade value of some of our white people.
He had merely indicated these trade figures to show what an enormous asset
we had in the Natives in that respect.  Let them think
what the industry of the Natives had done for us.  Who had built our railways,
who had dug our mines, and developed this country as far as it was developed?
Who had been the actual manual worker who had done that?  The Native:
the coloured races of this country.  We must never forget
that we owed them a debt in that respect -- a debt not often acknowledged
by what we did for them.  Proceeding, he said that they ought to think
what they owed to the docility of the Natives, and the wonderfully easy way
in which they had been governed when treated properly.  He also paid a tribute
to the honesty of the Natives.

What must strike any one was the fact that though this Bill was really,
to a certain extent, a beginning, or was thought to be in certain quarters,
of a revolution in their dealing with the native races,
it was not even mentioned in the speech of the Governor-General.
It fell upon them like a bolt from the blue.  He remembered the afternoon.
They had heard a very impassioned and very heated speech
from the hon. member for Ficksburg on the enormous danger of squatting
in the Free State, and that was the occasion for introducing
a general statement of the policy of the Government towards the Natives
and the introduction of this Bill.  He did not think that that was the way
they liked to see a thing of this magnitude approached.
They often heard demands for what was called a general declaration of policy
with regard to native affairs -- a policy which should be applied
to the highest civilized Native, the owner of a farm, and the naked barbarian.
They could not do it.  People who demanded a general declaration of that kind
had not had the experience which some of them had had.
The hon. member who spoke before him said that he was in favour
of the underlying principle of the Bill.  What was the underlying principle?
The underlying principle was what one read into the Bill.
One hon. member read into it that it was the separation of the two races.
That might have been done when the two races first came in contact
at the Fish River, but it could not be done now.  Since then
they had been developing the country with the labour of these people.
They had been advancing by our aid.  They had mixed themselves up
with these people in an inextricable fashion and then some said
"Haul your native policy out of the drawer and begin with
a policy of separation."  He was sure that the hon. member
who had brought in the Bill had no idea of that sort in his mind.
Another person had the idea that they were going to set up a sort of pale --
a sort of kraal in which they were going to drive these people.
Then another gentleman sneered at the policy hitherto adopted,
and he said that one side said that the policy towards the Natives
should be firm and just, while the other side said that it should be
just and firm.

It seemed to him that they had not got sufficient information.
Beyond the bald statistics which were given by the Minister
in the course of his interesting and moderate speech, they had nothing.
They were going into a thing that would stir South Africa from end to end,
and which affected hundreds of thousands of both races.
They had no information as to what were the ideas of the Natives.
It was unfortunate that, owing to this lack of information,
wrong ideas had got about with regard to this Bill.  It was difficult
to find out what the Native thought about these things; he doubted
whether anybody could say that he had got at the mind of the Native.
The only way, and he must say that he did not take it as a real indication,
was what they wrote in their newspapers.  He was alarmed, but not surprised,
at some of the articles in their newspapers, because they took their views
from the heated speeches and writings in party newspapers
all over the country, and they were very much alarmed.  He thought
that before a Bill of this sort was passed, there should be some attempt made
to get their views.  As far as one section was concerned,
the Bill was going to set up a sort of pale -- that there was going to be
a sort of kraal in which all the Natives were to be driven,
and they were to be left to develop on their own lines.  To allow them
to go on their own lines was merely to drive them back into barbarism;
their own lines meant barbarous lines; their own lines were cruel lines.
All along they had been bringing them away from their own lines.
It reminded him of what an English writer said about a similar policy
in Ireland, because when the English went to Ireland
they regarded the Native Irish in the way some extreme people here
regarded the Natives of South Africa.  They thought they would root them out.
They treated them as dogs, and thought that they were dogs.
They set up a pale.  They set the Irish within that pale,
to develop upon their own lines, but there were always Englishmen
living in that pale, just as in the same way they found Europeans
living among Natives.  Sir George Davis in describing this policy wrote
that it was the intention of the Government to set up a separation
between English and Irish, intending in time that the English should
root out the Irish.  If they changed the Irish for Natives they would see
how the illustration would apply.  A policy more foredoomed to failure
in South Africa could not be initiated.  It was a policy that
would keep South Africa back, perhaps for ever.  (Hear, hear.)
What would be the effect of driving these civilized Natives
back into reserves?  At the present time, every civilized man
-- if they treated him properly -- every civilized man
was becoming an owner of land outside native reserve, and therefore
he was an asset of strength to the country.  He was a loyalist.
He was not going to risk losing his property.  He was on
the side of the European.  If they drove these people back into reserve
they became our bitterest enemies.  Therefore, he viewed anything
that tended that way with the gravest suspicion.  Again, in this Bill
there was not sufficient distinction between those Natives
who tried to educate themselves and the ordinary raw barbarian.
They were all classed under the word "Native".

He came now to what was the main object of the Bill, and that was:
to do away with the squatting evil.  Why was there a squatting evil?
Was it the fault of the Native?  (An hon. member:  No.)
Was it the fault of the law?  (No.)  They had got the most stringent
laws concerning Natives of all the laws in the whole country,
in the Province of which his hon. friend (Mr. Keyter) was a member.
He did not think anything was more surprising than when they came to look
at the increases in the native population in the Orange Free State.
They had a huge native population in the Cape, and the increase
during the census periods from 1904 to 1911 -- he wanted hon. members
to pay some attention to this, because it showed the value of legislation --
the increase in the Cape Province during that period was 8.33 per cent.
In Natal, which had a huge -- in fact, an overwhelming -- native population,
curiously enough, the increase was the same, even to the actual
decimal figure, viz., 8.33 per cent.:  but some allowance must be made,
because a large number of Natives were out at work in the mines.
Now, in the Transvaal -- and in taking the Transvaal figures
these did not apply as regarded squatting, because the increase was mainly due
to the number of Natives employed in the mines.  In the Transvaal
the Natives increased by 30.1 per cent.  Now, when they came
to his friend's little State, where the most stringent laws were made
to keep out the Natives, how much did they suppose the Natives increased
in the Free State?  By no less than 44 per cent.  (Opposition cheers.)
Was that the fault of the Natives?  No, it was because
-- having the most stringent laws -- the people found it best
to evade those laws.  (Hear, hear.)  He hoped his hon. friend
would be a little tolerant.  Do let him pick the mote out of his own eye
before he tried to pick the beam out of other people's.  (Hear, hear.)
In the Free State these laws were very severe; for instance,
punishments -- amazing punishments -- were given, and yet the result
was the increase in five years by 44 per cent. of their native population.
This was something that they should take a warning by.  They were going
to do away with the squatter in appearance, but he would still survive
as a labour tenant.  They might do away with the labour tenant,
and he would still be surviving as a labour servant.  How was the Government
to distinguish between these?  They had in the Cape a law which stated
how many labour tenants a man should have upon his farm.

What they wanted in this country was administration and not more legislation,
and if they were to put the laws which they had into force in the Free State
at the present time he had no doubt that there would be a rebellion.
(Hear, hear.)  They would have platforms swarming with people
who would say that they could not grow one bag of mealies without the Natives.
But they had the laws to do it.  Now they went and tried in this Bill
to make a uniform law.  Turning towards the Minister, Mr. Merriman said:
"My poor friend! that after all the years we had laboured together
he of all people should be the author of a uniform law on native matters!
(Laughter.)  I say this more in sorrow than in anger -- (laughter) --
because the conditions were totally different in the four Provinces."

In the Free State, proceeded Mr. Merriman, the people had most excellent laws
from their point of view for keeping out the Natives --
stringent, Draconian, and violent laws, but they were not carried out,
and the Natives had flooded the country.  All they wanted to do
was to turn the Native from a tenant to a labour tenant, and then salvation
would be at hand.  He could not see very much difference between the two,
except that one was a contented advancing man and the other a discontented man
approaching very closely to the Russian serf -- he was a soul.
Shortly we should hear of a farm being up for sale with so many souls.

In the Transvaal the problem had been complicated by
the decisions of the Court and the curious way in which some ground
had been given out in the Zoutpansberg district, where, he was told,
farms had been given out on which the Natives had been living for years,
and these farms -- with the Natives on them -- had come into
the possession of companies and individuals, and now it was proposed
to turn the Natives off.  That would not be an agreeable thing,
but he would not offer an opinion now as to the justice of it.

He would like to revert to the state of things which had grown up
under the Draconian laws of the Free State.  According to
a very interesting Blue-book containing reports of magistrates,
one magistrate had reported that "the pernicious system of squatting
was detrimental to the working farmer, the Native reaping
the whole of the benefit."  The man who worked generally reaped
the whole benefit in the long run.  In the Harrismith district
there were some 40,000 Natives against some 8,000 Europeans.
How did they get there?  Having been a Free State burgher
he knew that the Natives had not forced their way in.
These Natives ploughed on the half-shares, and he would like to know
whether they were labour tenants or squatters.  If they were squatters
it would require very little dexterous management to convert them
into labour tenants.  The Magistrate of Hoopstad, went on Mr. Merriman,
had referred to the pernicious system of native squatters.
But why did not the Free State magistrates do something and put the law
in force?  That was the principal reason why the House was forced
to pass that Bill without information, and without giving
any opportunity to people who had the deepest interest in this matter
to have their views heard, or to let them know what the House was going to do
because the magistrates in the Free State would not enforce the law.
He did think that was rather hard.  In conclusion Mr. Merriman said:
I dare say I may have said a great many things which may be distasteful
to my hon. friends, but I do claim their attention because at a time
when they were not in such a dominant position as they are now,
I pleaded for right and justice for them.  Therefore, they should not
take it amiss from me, because now they are in a dominant position,
I plead also for justice, toleration, moderation, and delay in this matter.

MR. H. MENTZ (Zoutpansberg) said the right hon. gentleman
had earned their gratitude for the high tone in which he had carried
the debate.  The speech which he had delivered was a most instructive one,
and although the speaker was not in entire agreement with him on all points,
he was in agreement on the point that the matter was one to be handled
with prudence, but it was to be regretted that under the Bill
a Commission was to be appointed.  The Minister should not listen
to the request for a postponement of the question, by referring it
to a Select Committee.  If they were to refer the Bill to a Select Committee,
it would never be passed this year.

MR. G. L. STEYTLER (Rouxville) expressed his thanks to the Government
for bringing forward the Bill.  He said he felt that it was not
a complete solution of the whole question, but it was certainly
a step in the right direction.

MR. A. FAWCUS (Umlazi) said that as the representative of 70,000 Natives
in Natal, not one of whom so far as he knew had a vote, he should like,
on their behalf, to thank the right hon. member for Victoria West
for the manner in which he had handled this question.
In the course of his speech the right hon. gentleman asked,
what did the Natives think about this Bill before the House?
His (Mr. Fawcus') opinion was that the Natives did not think anything at all
about it.  He should not think there was one Native in a thousand
in South Africa who was aware that this matter, so vitally affecting
their future, was at present at issue.  The hon. member for Middelburg
had referred to the Natives as "schepsels".*  He believed
the day was rapidly passing away when we should refer to Natives
as "schepsels".  They were an easy-going folk, and they thought little
about title deeds and land laws.  So great was the Native's attachment
to the land on which he lived, in many instances, that they could not
rackrent him off it.  These were the people that the Bill wished
to dispossess and drive off the land.  The figures placed before them
HELD PER HEAD BY THE NATIVES.  Surely there was no need at the present time
for legislation which would prevent Natives getting a little more land
than they now had.  He did not think it could be put down
to the fault of the Native if he was willing to buy and live on land
rather than pay rent.  The figures given in this connexion
and about one-third of an acre in the Free State.  He thought this Bill
was perhaps coming on a little before there was any necessity for it.

* Creatures.

MR. C. G. FICHARDT (Ladybrand) said he felt very much
that the Bill that was before the House did not carry out
all that should be carried out, and that was equality of justice.
OR AT LEAST A HALF.  How were they going to do that?  As he said
in the earlier part of his remarks, he was prepared to accept the Bill
as something to go on with, but he hoped that in the future
it would not constitute a stumbling-block.  He would much rather have seen
that the matter had been gone into more fully, and that some scheme
had been laid before them so that they might have more readily been able
to judge how the Bill would work.  It was because of all these difficulties
that he felt that they could only accept the Bill if it laid down
that there was no intention of taking the country from the white people
and handing it over to the blacks.

MR. J. G. KEYTER (Ficksburg) said he wished to openly denounce, and most
emphatically so, that the people or the Government of the Orange Free State
had treated the coloured people unreasonably or unjustly,
or in any way oppressively.  On the contrary, the O.F.S. had always treated
the coloured people with the greatest consideration and the utmost justice.
The O.F.S. had made what Mr. Merriman called stringent laws.
He (Mr. Keyter) called them just laws.  They TOLD THE COLOURED PEOPLE PLAINLY
and that they were not going to tolerate an equality of whites and blacks;
and he said that they were not going to tolerate that in the future,
and if an attempt were made to force that on them, they would resist it
at any cost to the last,* for if they did tolerate it,
they would very soon find that they would be a bastard nation.
His experience was that the Native should be treated firmly,
kept in his place and treated honestly.  They should not give him
a gun one day and fight him for it the next day.  They should tell him,
as the Free State told him, that IT WAS A WHITE MAN'S COUNTRY,

* By passing the Bill, the Government conceded all the extravagant demands
  of the "Free" Staters; yet, a year later they took up arms
  against the Government.

MR. J. A. P. VAN DER MERWE (Vredefort) deprecated sending the Bill
to a Select Committee, arguing that the House itself should decide it.
He referred to the difficulties experienced by farmers in the Free State.
If a farmer refused to allow a Native to farm on the share system
he simply refused to work.  There were thousands of Natives on the farms there
who hired ground and did little work.  The farmers had to keep their children
at home to do the work.  Some of the Natives hired ground, did some sowing,
then went to work in Johannesburg, and paid the owner of the farm
half what he reaped from the harvest.  That was not satisfactory.
He was pleased to see the provisions the Minister proposed to make
in this regard, and expressed the hope that the Native
would only be tolerated among the whites as a labourer.  The Bill would meet
what he considered a great want, and, as it was an urgent matter,
he hoped the proposal for a Select Committee would not be agreed to.

    Third Reading Debate.

SIR LIONEL PHILLIPS (Yeoville):  But why should a Bill of this sort
be brought before them now?  The Government in the past had not been bashful
in the appointing of Commissions, and one question he would ask was why,
in this important matter, the Government had not appointed a Commission
to take all the evidence and then come to the House with a measure which
the House would have to approve of.  Instead of that, they were cancelling
the rights the Natives had in South Africa, and creating a very awkward hiatus
between the time the Commission would be appointed and the time the Commission
could define the areas which would be regarded as white areas and the areas
which would be regarded as native areas.  That was the one serious blot
upon this measure.

He could see no justification, except that the hon. Minister,
yielding to pressure from a certain section on that side of the House,
had hastily brought on this measure.  He thought from the speeches
made in the House it was the consensus of opinion that Natives
should not have farms in areas that were essentially white,
just as it was desirable that white men should not be found in areas
essentially native.  And especially when they told the native population
that they were taking away from them a right they had to-day,
and they were going to substitute that right by appointing a Commission,
they were giving them very little justification for being satisfied
with this measure.  He did not think they were going to gain anything
by putting the cart before the horse.  He did not know
if Mr. Schreiner was accurate, but he told them that, roughly,
in the Transvaal, where the matter was most acute, the Native population
had bought something like 12,000 or 15,000 morgen of land in twelve years.
That, he thought, showed there was no extreme urgency for the measure.
To that extent he agreed entirely with the hon. member, and he believed
the Minister would be well advised to send the Bill to a Select Committee,
so that many of the details, which were extremely complicated and difficult,
might be thrashed out in that atmosphere, rather than on
the floor of the House.  (Opposition cheers.)

MR. E. N. GROBLER (Edenburg) said:  The present was one of the best measures
that the Government had so far brought forward, and it appeared clear
that they had a Government which truly represented the wishes of the public.
It was impossible to delay the solution of the Native problem,
and legislation on the subject had for a long time past been asked for.*
At the same time, he did not entirely agree with the methods,
proposed to be applied, and he did not like the system of allocating reserves
for Natives.  When once those reserves had been allocated, would it not result
in injury to agriculture and cattle breeding?  The farmers would suffer
from lack of labour, and that deficiency would be a growing one.
Neither could he agree to the principle of expropriation of land
belonging to whites in order to increase the size of the native reserves.
He considered the Bill was a complicated one.  The matter should be settled
by way of taxation, in the following way.  All Natives who
were in the service of whites should be exempted from taxation,
and treated as well as possible, and other Natives should be encouraged
to take similar service.  There were enormous reserves where the Natives
could go and live,** and if they refused to go there they should be required
to pay a stiff tax.  Then they would go and work for white people.
The hon. member for Tembuland had offered many objections to the Bill.
They should make that hon. member king of Tembuland.
In a country of the blind a man with one eye would be king.

* By a "solution of the Native problem", "Free" State farmers generally mean
  the re-establishment of slavery.
** It will be observed that these and similar mythological disquisitions
   subsequently formed General Botha's assurances to Mr. Harcourt.
   See Chapter XVI.  But some light is thrown on the subject
   of these visionary Native Reserves by Mr. Fawcus' speech
   based on official statistics (page 36 [above -- last Fawcus quote]).

MR. P. DUNCAN (Fordsburg) said he hoped the Minister would not take
the view of the last speaker.  Under the Bill it would be possible
for farmers to accumulate on their land as many Natives as they could get,
so long as they could use them as servants.  (Labour cheers.)
So far as he could see, even if it were carried out to the extent
that it was proposed to go, it would not very much reduce the social contact
which at present existed between whites and natives.

SIR W. B. BERRY (Queenstown) said he would like to know why the Minister
had run away from the Bill that had passed the second reading,
and now tabled another Bill in the shape of many amendments.
One would naturally complain that, seeing that they had in that House
a Native Affairs Committee, a non-party committee, specially chosen
to consider all matters relating to native affairs, that Bill,
which was a most important matter and dealt with native affairs from A to Z,
should have been referred to that committee.  The same thing
happened last session in reference to a Bill the Minister of Native Affairs
kept on the paper until nearly the end of the session, and the House
had to take the very unusual step almost on the last day of moving
that committee proceedings on that Bill be taken that day six months.
He (Sir W. B. Berry) proposed to move a similar amendment
to the motion now before the House.  In the remarks he addressed
when the Bill came up for second reading he had ventured to say
that there was no call for a bill of that nature at all;
there was no need for a Bill revolutionizing the attitude of the Union
with respect to the natives generally.  The only clue they could get
to the reason why the Bill was introduced was that a few die-hards
on the other side of the House had given the Minister to understand that
unless he brought in a Bill of that kind, or of a similarly drastic nature,
the position of the Government was in danger.  He hoped
some of these die-hards would come forward that evening
and tell them plainly and bluntly why they wanted that Bill,
why they were going to thrust it on the country without any notice,
and why they were calling on the House to revolutionize
the whole tenour and the whole order of things in regard to land matters
as far as the Natives were concerned.  Proceeding, the hon. member said
the only justification that had been offered for this Bill was that
a large amount of land had been transferred from Europeans to Natives.
An analysis of the return, however, showed that only sixteen farms
in the Transvaal had been so transferred during the last three years.
Surely that was not any justification why the European people of the Union
should get into a panic and why the administration of the day
were seeking to place on the Statute Book this most drastic legislation.
Another reason why he objected to this Bill was that it purported to appoint
a Commission to investigate to what extent and in what parts and in what time
land should be selected by the Commission for the purpose of being reserved
as additional native areas within the Union.  They were not given
any guarantee that the Commission was going to be appointed
nor any guarantee that it would ever report, but at the same time
whilst these indefinite assurances were attempted to be given to the House
there was no getting over this fact, that there was no time limit in the Bill
by which the real enacting clause in the Bill was to have any cessation.
When he spoke on this Bill before he supported it only on the understanding
that a time limit was to be put in, or that it should be an annual Bill.
He said unhesitatingly that the whole tendency of the Bill,
as it stood at the second reading, and more especially as it stood
with the amendments by the Minister on the notice paper,
was to drive the Native peasant off the land.  The only refuge
that that Native had was the town.

The country had not been prepared in any way for a Bill of this kind.
A cry had been heard throughout the land against the iniquities
proposed in the Bill.  If it had been found absolutely necessary
that legislation of this kind should be introduced, the least
that could be expected was that ample time should be given to the Natives
to thoroughly acquire a knowledge of the contents of the measure.
That opportunity had not been given them, and in this respect
there was a very serious grievance.  For the good order and peace of the Union
there was a very great danger ahead.  He had understood from those
well versed in native affairs that one of the greatest dangers
that could threaten us was to give the Natives anything
in the shape of a common grievance.  Divide and rule had been
a wise precaution in the government of the Natives.  When a common grievance
was found by four or five million people one could understand how great
that grievance must be.  One amendment the Minister had put on the paper
must give serious pause.  The late Minister of Native Affairs
issued to members last session a Squatters Bill.  The greatest objection
to that measure, and one which he thought led to its withdrawal,
was that it proposed to remove thousands upon thousands of natives
from land which they had been in the occupation of for scores of years.
It was in consequence of the disturbance which that Bill caused
throughout the Union that it was withdrawn.  In one of the amendments
on the paper the present Minister of Native Affairs brought back
in a somewhat clandestine manner the most objectionable feature of the Bill
that was withdrawn.

Mr. Speaker:  The amendment is not yet before the House.

SIR W. B. BERRY:  What Bill is it then that is to go into Committee?
(Hear, hear.)  Is it the Bill which was read a second time
or the Bill comprised in the Minister's amendments?  He moved that the House
go into committee on the Bill this day six months.

MR. T. L. SCHREINER (Tembuland), in seconding the amendment,
said that sufficient notice had not been given of the provisions of the Bill,
although the Natives, thanks to the time which had elapsed
since the second reading, were better acquainted with the measure
than they were a little while ago.

Mr. Schreiner proceeded to quote opinions from native newspapers on the Bill.
The `Tsala ea Batho', of Kimberley, said:  "We are standing on the brink
of the precipice.  We appealed to certain members of Parliament against
the suspension clause in Mr. Sauer's Land Bill, and the result of our appeal
has been an agreement between Sir Thomas Smartt and the Minister
to the effect that the first part of the Bill only be proceeded with.
The effect of this agreement is infinitely worse than the whole Bill.
In its entirety, there were certain saving clauses, one of them
practically excluding the Cape Province from the operation of the Bill.
Under the present agreement, all these clauses are dropped,
and section 1 of the Bill, which prohibits the sale of land
between Europeans and Natives (pending the report of a future Commission)
is applicable to all parts of the Union, including the Cape Province.
Now, then, if this suspension clause becomes law, what is going to happen?
It is simply this:  That the whole land policy of the Union of South Africa
is the land policy of the Orange Free State, and it will be as difficult
to abrogate that suspension as it is difficult to recall a bullet,
once fired through some one's head, and resuscitate the victim.
Our object then should be to prevent the pistol being fired off,
as prevention is infinitely better than cure."  One paper
that he was quoting from was (Mr. Schreiner went on to say) pleased,
because it believed that this Bill was going to Select Committee.
There was another native paper, published in Natal, which acknowledged
the efforts which the missionaries had made on behalf of the Natives
in regard to this Bill.  There was a native paper, published at Dundee,
which said that, if the Bill were in the interests of the Natives,
and the Government were actuated by a sincere regard for them,
they would not have hesitated to publish it broadcast, instead of being
in such haste to push the matter through the House.*

* All efforts to induce the South African Government to circulate
  translations of the Natives' Land Act among the Natives of the Union
  have proved fruitless.  -- Author.

Mr. Schreiner (continuing) referred to the resolution passed
by the Natal Missionary Conference, and the views expressed
by the Chairman of the Transvaal Missionary Conference in opposition
to the Bill.  He mentioned that it had been decided in Johannesburg
to call a meeting of missionary societies throughout the Union,
to determine what action could be taken in case clause 1 was proceeded with.
He had also received a telegram from the Witwatersrand Church Council,
stating that a telegram had been sent to the Minister strongly protesting
against section 1 being enacted before the proposed Commission
had thoroughly investigated the whole question of alternative areas.
Mr. Schreiner urged that, if they proceeded with this Bill,
and passed clause 1 of the old Bill, and appointed a Commission,
these restrictions with regard to purchase and sale, which the Natives
had feared, and which the missionaries, on behalf of the Natives,
feared and protested against, would become a fact.  For that reason,
he said they should rather put off the Bill.

Every one was feeling the pressure of their legislative duties.  Was this
the time, therefore, for passing a measure of such a far-reaching character,
and where every clause demanded the most careful consideration and scrutiny?
Was it the right thing because he had a majority at his back
for the Minister to say that they must get this Bill through this session?
He held that this was not right.  It was not fair to those who had
the solution of the question at heart.  (Cheers.)

SIR E. H. WALTON (Port Elizabeth, Central) said he entirely supported
the amendment of the hon. member for Queen's Town.  He had a telegram
from a mass meeting of Natives held in Port Elizabeth, in which they hoped
that the House would postpone decision on this question until the Commission
had sat and reported.  That seemed to him an entirely reasonable request,
and it seemed all the more necessary that this should be done
on account of the very large alterations that it had been found necessary
to make in the Bill.

They had native protests from all parts of South Africa against this measure,
and when one saw what was proposed in this Act, they could not wonder
at these protests.  (Hear, hear.)  Therefore he put it that these protests
should receive fair consideration from members on all sides of the House.
Legislation of this kind was unfortunate from the point of view
of the Natives.  The more intelligent of the Natives in this country
were asking for time.  They said:  "You are putting this thing upon us,
give us time to consider it.  Allow this Commission to get to work,
allow this Commission to put before us the provisions you are going to make
for us, and when this is done we will submit to anything that is fair."
No man, and the Native was just a man like the rest of us,
liked the old arrangements to be disturbed, because it upset him,
and the Native might oppose it, because he was frightened.
They must admit that they had not given the native leaders and chiefs
an opportunity to come down to Cape Town and give their views.
It was unfortunate that this measure had been more or less rushed.
There was no mention of it in the Governor-General's speech, and therefore
the Natives were not prepared for the consideration of the question.

MR. M. ALEXANDER (Cape Town, Castle) said he was still of opinion
that a very dangerous principle was introduced in the Bill,
especially so far as the Cape was concerned.  In the speech
delivered by the Governor-General at the opening of the session
there was not the slightest reference to the present measure,
which apparently had been brought in as an afterthought, and something
must have occurred after the Governor-General's speech was delivered,
otherwise one could not conceive of such an important Bill being omitted
from the speech.  As it was the Bill would simply hang things up
until the Commission reported, and now the House would be legislating
in the dark.  The vast majority of Natives had declared themselves
to be against the Bill.  He had had no desire whatever that party capital
should be made out of the measure -- (hear, hear) -- but he desired
to see a measure which would bear the mark of statesmanship,
and not of panic and hurry.  Their Commission could report
before next session, and then in the early stages of the session
a Bill could be introduced and be adopted on its merits.
In the interests of South Africa, in the interests of the Natives,
and in the interests of just legislation let the Government withdraw the Bill,
and appoint a Commission, and then justice and not injustice would be done.
(Hear, hear.)

DR. A. H. WATKINS (Barkly) said that there was a tacit understanding
that the Minister would refer this Bill, if he were not prepared
to accept a purely temporary measure, to a Select Committee.
During the three years of the Union Parliament every matter
practically dealing with Natives had been brought before
the Select Committee on Native Affairs and their opinion had been asked.
For some reason, which it was difficult for him to understand,
the Minister had not seen fit to carry out that course.
Sixteen days had elapsed since the second reading of this Bill was taken
on which the Select Committee could have sat morning after morning
and dealt with the Bill.

The necessity of passing only a temporary measure instead of appearing
to pass a measure which would permanently deal with this question,
was more evident to-night than when they took the second reading.

MR. H. M. MEYLER (Weenen) said that he would support
the motion of Sir Bisset Berry.  He thought it would be
a great injustice to the Natives, and especially the Natives of Natal,
who really knew nothing of this measure, to force it through now.
Since the second reading, his attention had been drawn to certain provisions
in this Bill, which made it more dangerous still to hurry legislation,
because he found that, although there was an exemption in the Bill as regarded
agreements lawfully entered into, the vast majority of the agreements
at present in force amongst the Natives of Natal were not strictly lawful,
according to their Statute law.  As they had no less than 380,000 Natives
squatting on private lands in Natal, according to the Minister's own figures,
it would be a fatal mistake to do anything to upset these people,
until they had something ready to provide for them instead.
The difficulty was that under the Natal law no oral contract was binding
for more than twelve months, and many of those squatters
had not got oral contracts, but were more or less on sufferance on the farms.
It would be a great danger to pass legislation which would lead to
the moving of a large portion of these people before they got an inch of land
provided for their use.  He objected to legislation being brought forward
too hurriedly, and when they had got 4 1/2 millions of Natives, only an
infinitesimal portion of whom could possibly know the nature of the Bill,
and seeing that it affected them as well as the white population,
they had a perfect right to have it explained to them
by the Government officials and let their members of Parliament
for the divisions in which they lived give their opinions on the question.
That would take months, and it was impossible to get a proper
opinion of the Natives until hon. members had been away from the House
for some time.  The Right Hon. the Prime Minister admitted
they should stand as the guardians of the Natives, and admitted
that they should go slowly, and he hoped the hon. Minister would be willing
to reconsider the Bill and allow it to be put off, and let them have
an interim report, at any rate, from the Commission, before they were asked
to pass legislation in that matter.

The Bill was contested at every stage and numerous divisions were challenged.
In each instance, the Speaker would put the Question, and the "steam-roller"
would go to work with the inevitable result.  The division lists ranged
from 17 against 71 to 32 against 60, the majority in each case
being in favour of repression.  It would be just as well
to give at least one of these division lists.  The English names
in the majority are those of some Natal members (Ministerialists)
or representatives of purely Dutch constituencies: --


Dr. A. H. Watkins (Barkly) called for a division, which was taken
with the following result.

    AYES -- 32.

Andrews, William Henry
Baxter, William Duncan
Berry, William Bisset
Blaine, George
Boydell, Thomas
Brown, Daniel Maclaren
Creswell, Frederic Hugh Page
Duncan, Patrick
Fawcus, Alfred
Fitzpatrick, James Percy
Henderson, James
Henwood, Charlie
Hunter, David
Jagger, John William
King, John Gavin
Long, Basil Kellett
Macaulay, Donald
Madeley, Walter Bayley
Meyler, Hugh Mowbray
Nathan, Emile
Oliver, Henry Alfred
Quinn, John William
Rockey, Willie
Runciman, William
Sampson, Henry William
Schreiner, Theophilus Lyndall
Searle, James
Smartt, Thomas William
Walton, Edgar Harris
Watkins, Arnold Hirst

Morris Alexander and J. Hewat tellers.

    NOES -- 57.

Alberts, Johannes Joachim
Becker, Heinrich Christian
Bosman, Hendrik Johannes
Botha, Louis
Brain, Thomas Phillip
Burton, Henry
Clayton, Walter Frederick
Cronje, Frederik Reinhardt
Currey, Henry Latham
De Beer, Michiel Johannes
De Jager, Andries Lourens
De Waal, Hendrik
Du Toit, Gert Johan Wilhelm
Geldenhuys, Lourens
Graaff, David Pieter de Villiers
Griffin, William Henry
Grobler, Evert Nicolaas
Grobler, Pieter Gert Wessel
Joubert, Christiaan Johannes Jacobus
Joubert, Jozua Adriaan
Keyter, Jan Garhard
Kuhn, Pieter Gysbert
Lemmer, Lodewyk Arnoldus Slabbert
Maasdorp, Gysbert Henry
Malan, Francois Stephanus
Marais, Johannes Henoch
Marais, Pieter Gerhardus
Merriman, John Xavier
Meyer, Izaak Johannes
Myburgh, Marthinus Wilhelmus
Neethling, Andrew Murray
Neser, Johannes Adriaan
Nicholson, Richard Granville
Oothuisen, Ockert Almero
Orr, Thomas
Rademeyer, Jacobus Michael
Sauer, Jacobus Wilhelmus
Serfontein, Hendrik Philippus
Smuts, Jan Christiaan
Smuts, Tobias
Steyl, Johannes Petrus Gerhardus
Steytler, George Louis
Theron, Hendrik Schalk
Theron, Petrus Jacobus George
Van der Merwe, Johannes Adolph P.
Van der Walt, Jacobus
Van Eeden, Jacobus Willem
Van Heerden, Hercules Christian
Venter, Jan Abraham
Vermaas, Hendrik Cornelius Wilhelmus
Vintcent, Alwyn Ignatius
Vosloo, Johannes Arnoldus
Watt, Thomas
Wilcocks, Carl Theodorus Muller
Wiltshire, Henry

H. Mentz and G. A. Louw, tellers.

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