Full text: Forced labour in Africa

pp. 49-50) as a considered opinion of a widely represents 
ative gathering of leaders of both races. 
Supply of Native Convict Labour to Private Employers, 
The recent undertaking that Native convict labour 
should be made available for farms in the Bethal District 
is not without precedent. Not only are gangs of such 
labourers used on Government work such as road-making 
(e.g. on the Pretoria-Johannesburg road) but they are 
also employed on certain mines on the Witwatersrand, 
by the De Beers Company in Kimberley, and are avail- 
able for hire by private employers for garden work, etc. 
Under the arrangements with the De Beers Company 
the working convicts are accommodated at night in 
suitable barracks, are under adequate supervision, and 
receive the necessary medical attention. It is doubtful 
if such conditions can be obtained on farms. The 
gangs will be small, and if proper accommodation is 
stipulated for, the Government will have to provide it, 
together with food and other supplies. The class of 
warder available will probably be of a less reliable type, 
and constant supervision will be necessary to prevent 
abuses. In fact, it seems probable that in the case of small 
detachments in isolated districts even serious abuses 
might continue for a long period without being discovered. 
The Joint Council takes a serious view of the sugges- 
tion to make more general the use of this type of labous, 
and holds strongly the opinion that it should not be made 
available for use by private employers. Furthermore, 
the low rate which is paid for convict labour, in contrast 
with rates paid to ordinary employees, renders such 
labour undesirable from an economic point of view. 
With these additions the Johannesburg Joint Council 
desires to endorse the views expressed in the article 
referred fo at the beginning of this letter. 
Yours faithfully, 
Hon. Secretary, 
Johannesburg Joint Council of 
Europeans and Natives. 

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