A new and younger set of persons, impatient with old methods of compromise and collaboration, took over Indian political leadership in 1945. A deputation led by the president of the Natal Indian Congress, Dr. G. M. Naicker, waited upon the Prime Minister, J. C. Smuts, on 9 November 1945 and presented the following memorandum. Source: N.I.C. Agenda Book, 1947.
1. The Natal Indian Congress with a membership of 20,000 is the national organisation of the Indian people of Natal. The present committee was elected to office after a vigorous election campaign by the unanimous vote of 7,633 members assembled from all parts of the province. It enjoys at present a greater measure of confidence amongst Indians, as is reflected in its large and still increasing membership, than at any time in the past.
NATAL AND THE INDIAN QUESTION
2. Natal Indians constitute the bulk of the Indian population of South Africa. And settled in this country is one of the largest Indian colonies in the world. Any attempted solution of the South African Indian question that ignores Natal Indians is bound to fail. And while this question remains unsolved, the direct and keen interest of India in the welfare of her children abroad cannot but be granted as right and dutiful. The question then has its domestic as well as its international aspect.
WHAT WE WANT
3. We are grateful for this opportunity to place before you the requirements of our community. We had hoped that you would indicate to us what plans your Government was contemplating in relation to the Indian position as it is today. We still hope that soon you will find it convenient to do so. Meanwhile we urge you to consider favourably:
- (a) extending the adult franchise on the common roll to Natal Indians;
- (b)(i) repealing the Pegging Act unconditionally,