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South Africa.

THE LABOUR QUESTION. CHINESE VICE. HORRIBLE STATE OF THINGS. BREAKING UP MONOPOLIES. An ex-Invcrcargiliite, in the course of a letter to a local resident, writes : The excitement of the elections is over, and the popular government is in by a majority of 28 over the Progressive party. The Nationalists (7) and Labour (8) have gone over to the Het Volk party. The elections were fought with much bitterness on both sides, more especially by the Progressive or mining party, that is, the capitalists. Racialism was a great cry of theirs, although they denied it. One often heard the remark —“Vote British every time. However, the working man is just about tired of the capitalist regime, and one can now see to what lengths the Progressives have carried things. General Botha has, of course, been chosen Premier, and will, I think, endeavour to bring forward just laws and thus ensure peace and prosperity for the future. The labour question is a vexed one, and can only be settled by an impartial commission and witnesses. I know from personal experience that there is plenty of native labour to be obtained if they would only go the right way about it. I was speaking to a gentleman from Masutoland, and he said there were 20,000 natives waiting to come up to the Transvaal, but their friends who

have been working on the mines have told them they're not wanted, ami that it is useless to come. One of the remedies that will probably be adopted is a Government recruiting agency, doing' away with the Witwatersand Xative Labour Association. This, along with several other concerns, is one of the monopolies which are a curse to South Africa, hinder its prosperity, and only serve so fill the pockets of the capitalists who run them. There is no doubt as to ' the repatriation of the Chinese. Of course it will take a lot of trouble and investigation, but it is bound to come. Chinese vice is rampant amongst the hordes who are out here without their womankind ; and wore the Buckmill report to be published, the world would be amazed to think that such things could be tolerated in a European country. I have asked policemen on duty at these compounds if the allegations are true, and they say that they undoubtedly are. Endeavours are being made to stamp out the evil by wholesale repatriation, but one might as well try to stop a running river as to stop Chinese vice. Xot only do vice and crime exist among the Chinese, but it prevails to an alarming extent amongst the white population of our mining community. Crime is rampant in our cities, and one has only to read the daily papers to see how great is the calendar of criminality It is not only the men, but the youth, and even the children, that are contaminated. Only the other day a child of 11 was arrested for twice having attempted to burn down a building. We h a ve no reformatories in this country, and young people

of 16 and 17 are sent to herd with the vilest and lowest criminals on the face of the earth. I have seen children carried away in our “leper” carriages suffering from vile diseases, the outcome of vice. Only the other day five boys about fifteen years of age were so dealt with—cause, contact with a child of twelve, who was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for contravention of our morality laws. One shudders to think of the fate of that poor little creature. The establishment of reformatories will probably be taken in hand by the new Government. At present first offenders have to live with the hardened criminals, and in South Africa once down always down. God help the man who falls here. He is kept down by the criminal class who get to know him and expose him every time he gets a chance of honest work. The police are shaking these gentry up, and under the Crimes Prevention Act a good many have been sent out of the country. You will perhaps think that the Transvaal is a good place to live out of. But not so. Were there only a little more of our own (New Zealand) legislation in the country, it would be prosperous, and it rests with the present Ministry to make it so. Laws will have to be passed to do away with monopolies of all kinds —including the “Dynamite Concession” and others, whi»h simply put money into the pockets of a favoured few. However, I believe steps will be taken to make the big companies sell explosives at a cheaper rate, and this will enable a number of small mines to be worked, this, in turn, giving a lot more work to miners and to the railways. Land options will have to be broken up, and the country opened for individual prospecting, instead of letting mining magnates hold it to the exclusion of men who would exploit the areas for the general good,. When these changes have been brought about, there will be a renewal of prosperity in the country*.

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South Africa., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 8, 25 May 1907

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South Africa. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 8, 25 May 1907

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