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South African Constabulary

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangement the Colonial Office is making to provide for the passage home, and for the future employment, of the members of the South African Constabulary who resigned good positions and prospects in His Majesty's services, and otherwise, to assist the State in the Government force in question, and now find themselves stranded upon the reduction of the constabulary to a minimum by the new Transvaal Government in a country where, owing to the labour difficulty and the repatriation, of Chinese miners, the Englishman can find no opening.

Men who enlisted in the South African Constabulary before the 4th January, 1904, are entitled to free passage home on the completion of five years service, and, if they have served with a good character, to a gratuity of one month's pay for every year of service. These advantages will of course continue to be given to men who are entitled to them, but the Secretary of State fears it is out of his power to provide employment for ex-members of the rank and file constabulary. With regard to officers, it has been found necessary from time to time during several years past to dispense with the services of those who become supernumerary to the gradually decreasing establishment. Efforts have been made to find further employment for these officers wherever possible, and such efforts will continue to be made, but the opportunities are necessarily limited.

May I ask if any facilities are to be given to members of the South African Constabulary who are not officers and are now dismissed owing to the reduction of the force to return home; whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that a considerable number of them are likely to be stranded for want of means; and whether their names cannot be noted for employment in connection with Colonial forces in East Africa or elsewhere?

All that is a matter which requires very careful consideration. I should not like, in answer to a Question, to give a pledge which it would not be in the power of the Secretary of State to fulfil.