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Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can state the approximate increase in the native-owned cattle population of Swaziland in the last 15 years, and the decrease in the European-owned cattle population for the same period?

In 1921 there were 211,281 cattle in Swaziland, of which 146,542 were owned by natives and 64,739 by Europeans. The latest available figures show that at the end of 1935 the total number of cattle in the Territory had increased to 406,227, of which 351,366 were native owned, and 54,861 European owned.

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs on what occasion the matter of the embargo placed by the Union Government upon cattle imported from Swaziland unless of a certain weight and of veterinary charges higher than those on cattle producers in the Transvaal was the subject of conversations between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Union Government; and whether he proposes to renew representations in regard to this matter?

The question of the embargo on the import of cattle weighing less than 800 lbs. has been discussed with the Union authorities on several occasions since it was imposed in 1924, the latest general discussion being in 1935 when the question of veterinary restrictions and charges was also raised. The High Commissioner for Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland was then informed that the Union Government could not see their way to remove or reduce the weight restriction and it is not thought that the matter can usefully be re-opened with the Union Government at present.

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether in view of the fact that land titles in Swaziland are not easily accepted by banks or insurance houses, and that cheap money is unknown in the protectorate, he will make an announcement of a definite long-term programme of development including increased financial facilities?

I understand that land titles in Swaziland are now accepted by banks in respect of agricultural land regarded as providing adequate security for loans. Facilities for productive agricultural improvements are also provided by the Land and Agricultural Loan Fund which is financed by advances from the United Kingdom Exchequer. The rate of interest on new loans made to settlers from this fund was reduced from 5½ per cent. to 4 per cent. as from the 1st April, 1936, and legislation has recently been issued to provide for an extension of the period of repayment of future loans. In general it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to assist the development of Swaziland on the lines recommended in the report of the Pim Commission which was published in 1932 as Command Paper 4114. Many of the recommendations of the Commission have been met by financial assistance from the Colonial Development Fund and other schemes are at present under consideration. The total assistance from the Colonial Development Fund so far given or approved amounts to £91,859; in addition the loan grants in aid of the administration of the territory which have been provided since 1928 amounted at the 31st March last to £250,900, and the outstanding advances to the Land and Agricultural Loan Fund to a sum of approximately£22,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether, in view of the fact that cheap money is not available on first mortgage on land in Swaziland, he will give an assurance that His Majesty's Government have no intention of expropriating European-owned land without compensation, and that there will be no repetition of the action of the Concessions Commission of 1907 when certain land titles were cancelled or abridged?

I can certainly give my hon. Friend the assurance for which he asks that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have no intention of expropriating European-owned land in Swaziland without compensation. As a result of the settlement of the concessions question effected by the Swaziland Concessions Partition Proclamation of 1907, title to property in Swaziland is now clear and there is no reason to suppose that security of title in land will be impaired in the case of Swaziland any more than has been the case in other territories under His Majesty's protection.