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Basutoland

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 23 November 1961

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Mr J Monau Mokitimi

2.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether J. Monau Mokitimi has been deported from Basutoland to the Union of South Africa; and whether he will make a statement.

J. Monau Mokitimi has not been deported from Basutoland. He is now serving six months' sentence for contravening Section 6 (1) of the Basutoland Entry and Residence Proclamation This sentence was upheld by the High Court on appeal.

With permission I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the full text of the High Commissioner's Press statement of 1st November on the disturbances in Maseru on 31st October which followed on the adjournment of the hearing of Mr. Mokitimi's appeal.

Can we be assured, then, that there is no question of deporting him? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this young man, though he was, in fact, born in South Africa, was born there only because his parents were migrant workers from Basutoland to South Africa, as many thousands of Basutos are, and that in every respect he is a Basuto and occupies and plays a prominent part in Basuto affairs?

I note what the right hon. Gentleman says, but Mr. Mokitimi has applied to the High Court for a stay of execution of a deportation order. The application has not yet been heard and is therefore sub judice.

Is there not an issue at stake here which is much more important than the individual case or the legal proceedings? May it not affect hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens of Basutoland whose parents have gone into South Africa temporarily to work and who happen to have been born there? Will the hon. Gentleman discuss the matter with the Government of the Republic in order to come to an understanding about the citizenship of such persons?

I will ask my right hon. Friend to consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Following is the statement:

Disorder broke out in Maseru at about 4.45 p.m. on 31st October at the adjournment of a case against a Mr. Mokitimi at the High Court where two unarmed African policemen performing normal court duties were seriously injured. A crowd then ran down the main street stoning two or three cars and breaking windows in the hospital, dispensary and nurses home and three windows in a bank. At the same time there was indiscriminate stoning of cars in the African village. In all, ten cars are known to have been damaged and three of the occupants, Europeans, were injured, none very seriously.
2. Later in the evening a mob attacked a police post near the airfield and was dispersed on the arrival of more police.
3. Police dispersed the crowds and brought the situation under control. No further incidents were reported after 11 p.m. and patrols continued throughout the night.
4. An unsuccessful attempt was made to set fire to the Roman Catholic cathedral and a thatched house belonging to the Government was found to be on fire.
5. Up to the morning of 1st November sixteen persons had been arrested in connection with these disorders.
6. The Maseru police have been reinforced. The District Commissioner Maseru has issued an order banning all gatherings in public places in Maseru for a week.