Full text: Forced labour in Africa

To the Editor, The South African Outlook. 
Sir,—The article “ Forced Labour in Africa,” which 
appeared in the April number of the Outlook, was of 
great interest to the Johannesburg Joint Council of Euro- 
peans and Natives, especially as the Council itself has 
been engaged in a study of the Report of the International 
Labour Conference on Forced Labour, and the applica- 
tion to conditions in South Africa of the principles 
enunciated in that Report. The very able survey of this 
subject embodied in the article referred to is highly 
appreciated, and the conclusions reached are very similar 
to those arrived at by this Council. 
The trend of legislation in the Union renders the whole 
question of Forced Labour a matter of the greatest im- 
portance. This is especially true of indirect compulsion. 
In view of the principles laid down in the Report of the 
International Labour Conference for 1929 the Joint 
Council desires to call attention to the following addi- 
tional points. 
A. Direct Compulsion. 
The practical effects of the South West Africa Vagrancy 
Proclamation of 1920 should be examined in view 
of its distinct likeness to early 19th century Cape enact- 
In this regard the Report states (p. 65) that there is no 
system of forced labour for public works, porterage, 
emergencies or compulsory cultivation ; but 
“ Proclamation 25 of 1920 provides, in Section 
14, that upon a first conviction of wvagrancy or of 
being an idle or disorderly person, the court shall 
sentence the prisoner to a term of service on the 
public works of the territory or to employment under 
a municipality or a private person, and shall fix a 
reasonable wage therefor. If no such service or

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