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Administrative Capital

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 15 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now able to make a statement on the moving of the administrative capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate.

Yes. As the House was informed on 29th June, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government that the capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate—now at Mafeking in the Republic of South Africa—should be moved into the Protectorate as soon as circumstances permit. Since then the Legislative Council of the Protectorate has passed by an overwhelming majority a motion that Gaberones should be the site of the new capital. This Motion is supported by the High Commissioner.Her Majesty's Government recognise that this proposal could contribute substantially to the political, social and economic development of the Bechuanaland Protectorate and to the welfare of all its people and have now decided that planning should proceed and estimates of cost be prepared on the assumption that Gaberones should be the site of the new capital. Final approval for the transfer must however wait until full and detailed information on the exact source of the water supply is available. This is at present under examination and results may be expected shortly.I take this opportunity of expressing our gratitude to the people of Mafeking for their hospitality in accommodating the Headquarters for so many years. It will be the intention of the administration in planning for the move so to phase matters as to reduce to the minimum any adverse impact on the inhabitants of that town. I do not believe that this need involve any delay in the actual move.