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Cason Mine Disturbances

Volume 180: debated on Tuesday 13 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give any information about the recent outbreak of Chinese coolies at the Cason mine and the reasons for its occurrence; how many Chinese have been repatriated up to this date owing to the expiry of their contracts; and how many will be due for repatriation up to the end of the present year.

The Secretary of State is informed by the Governor of the Transvaal that the outbreak at the Cason mine is under investigation. The ostensible cause would appear to be a desire on the part of the management to revise the terms of the existing piece-work agreement for drilling and to a misunderstanding as to the attitude of the coolies toward the proposal. The terms were published in advance and the management was led to believe by boss boys who said they represented the coolies that the terms would be generally acceptable. Opinion in the compound was, however, divided and a riot ensued. Two men were killed by the rioters, and two by shots fired by persons so far unknown. The murderers and the ringleaders have been arrested and the compound is quiet. As regards the second part of the Question, 573 labourers have been repatriated on the expiry of their contracts and the contracts of 15,890 expire up to the 31st December.