The Conference was formally opened in the City Hall, on Saturday, 8th. April, 1939, at 3.30 p.m. when addresses of welcome were delivered by Councillor Mrs. Z. Gool (President, National Liberation League ofS.A.), Mr. Ahmed Ismail (President, CapeIndian Congress), Mr. M. A. Gamiet (President, Cape Malay Association), Mr. M. Kotane, Mr. C. C. Palsania, Mr. J. Gomas, Mr. S. Kahn and the representatives of other organisations.
A reception and Dance in honour of the delegates was held in the evening.
The report of the Credentials Committee was received on Sunday and the Roll was then called, there being 125 delegates present, representing 83 organisations.
Mrs. Z. Gool presided.
REPORT ON SEGREGATION
Reporter Mr. S. Kahn"
Mr. Kahn pointed out the difficulty of his task, as he had no clear conception of the Government's segregation proposals, as none had been issued. The Government had not announced what the nature of the Bill would be because it still relied on a huge non-European vote but at the same time wanted to pacify certain whites. He could only get his information from Press reports and statements of the Ministers concerned.
Dealing with this Petition, Mr. Kahn pointed out that here were clearly indicated the demands of the Nationalists - complete segregation. In their Petition they ask for:
(1) Complete Residential Segregation;
(2) Making mixed marriages a criminal offence;
(3) Political Segregation;
(4) The introduction of a separate voters' roll.
Draft Ordinance of Comrade
In September 1937 the Provincial Council passed a resolution proposing to give the Town Councils the right to introduce segregation in transporation and the using of Town Halls. It gave the Administrator certain rights that were almost dictatorial - he had the right to add to or subtract from any Bill sent to him by the Town Councils.
Arbitration. Mr. Friend, a United Party member, introduced a resolution to provide for residential segregation between Coloureds and whites, and that trading areas be set aside for Coloured traders. This was a technical move on the part of the United Party not to lose its support. The Town Councils shelved their question and left it to the Administrator, and the Provincial Council left theirs in favour of Mr. Stuttafords'.
The S.A. Indian Congress had sent deputations in connection with the illegal occupation of the land in the Transvaal which had been proclaimed to be gold areas.
The Government appointed the Foetham Commission to investigate the case of the gold area. The Commission, in its finding, recommended that the areas occupied by Coloureds and Indians be set aside for them. Certain Ministers suggested that the Government should leave the whole matter in the melting pot of Segregation.
Servitude Scheme. In his scheme, Mr. Stuttaford proposes that the country set aside for occupation by non-whites be divided up into demarcated areas (outside scheduled Native areas), if the property owners want segregation, all they have to do is to register a 75% vote for it and the government will carry out its segregation scheme. Stuttaford also goes on to show that there is no intention of depriving the Coloureds of any existing rights they have at present. But Coloured people will not be allowed to sell their property to other Coloureds - the buyer must be white. The Minister further pointed out that this scheme would be a vertical colour bar and not a horizontal colour bar, so that Coloureds on the one side and whites on the other side would be able to aspire to the same heights.
The same old story of letting the non-whites develop along their own lines.
Since the foundation of the O.F.S. Republic, the law has stated that there shall be no equality between black and white; the Transvaal later adopted this law and has been fighting for it ever since. The Act of Union introduced a law to change Land Tenure Act. The Native Land Act, which was the beginning of the reserve, was introduced in 1913. It was then found that the reserves were inadequate and more land was set aside deemed fit for occupation by Africans. In 1923 the Cape Law was declared invalid and the Government introduced the Urban Areas Act. This Act was amended in 1937.
Africans were allowed to live in white areas, but only as servants. In the Free State, the Coloureds were treated on the same basis as the Africans. Once a Bill was passed, it would be the easiest thing for the Government to tighten its hold on the people and oppress them more than ever. He stressed the fact that owners would have the final say if the Servitude Scheme was introduced and the Coloureds of District 6 did not own 75% of the property there. If the Bill was handled by local authorities who, at least, knew something of the conditions of the people and might have a little appreciation of the position, it would be better, but the Government would not even do that.
Mr. Kahn moved the following resolutions on behalf of the Committee of Action:
1. "That this Conference having considered the various Segregation Proposals before the country, including the Government Servitude Scheme as outlined by General Hertzog and Mr. Stuttaford, is uncompromisingly opposed to Segregation in any form and is determined to resist the introduction of Segregation by all the means at its disposal."
2. "This Conference calls for the extension of complete equality and full freedom to all races and their right to own, reside and occupy land where they please and demands the repeal of existing laws under which Africans, Indians and Coloureds are already segregated in reserves and locations."
3. "That Segregation is oppressive, humiliating, undemocratic and a source of racial antagonism and in the interests of both Non-Europeans and Europeans must be strenuously opposed on the grounds that
a) It bars the Non-Europeans from cultural progress and worsens their economic position.
b) It robs them from their civic and political rights and degrades them to a state of slavery.
c) It intensifies the problem of unemployment, slums, low wages, and poverty of European and Non-Europeans.
d) It is obstructing the task of achieving the unity and freedom of all races in South Africa."
Mr. W. Cookson (Chemical Workers' Union) moving the following resolution said that it was regrettableto draw the church into politics, but the attitude of the D.R.C. was not in accordance with the principles of Christianity and brotherhood.
3. e) "That Conference herewith resolves to organise a national wide boycott of the Dutch Reform Church on account of its Segregation policy and to request other Church Councils to make a statement of their policy."
Mr. B. Lakey (National Liberation League) in opposing the motion said that most of the schools were under the control of the D.R.C. That in 1936 there were 199 schools under their control, employing 269 male and 207 female teachers and there were 17,517 pupils. Should we boycott them, they in turn might boycott us, and in that case the teachers and school children might be the sufferers.
Mr. October (Stevedore Workers Union, C.T.). "We have supported the D.R.C. and the Congregational Church long enough. It is time that we ran our own schools and get support by raising funds from our own poor people to run the schools."
Mr. Buchner (A.P.O., Swellendam) opposed the motion to boycott the D.R.C. Mr. van Gelderen (4th. International) asked Conference to lay down a minimum programme. Unless something definite was offered to them, Africans would not be attracted. The fate of the Africans yesterday was the fate of the Coloured to-day and the fate of the white worker to-morrow. We must be on the offensive, not the defensive and must fight not only against the present threat but against all reactionary legislation.
Mr. J. B. Marks (United Front, Transvaal) said that in the Transvaal they were still tasting the bitter fruits of segregation. There the Africans had no vote, lived in reserves, carried passes and were a humiliated people. Talks that non-Europeans would develop along their own lines once they were segregated were dangerous illusions. The Malanites were not the main danger, but the Government itself. Conference should make it its duty that Africans were not used as an instrument to safeguard the interests of the Coloured people. He therefore supported the idea of a minimum programme. Conference should oppose the transference of Native Education to the Native Affairs Department.
Mr. Cupido (Porterville Welfare Association) opposed the boycott of the D.R.C. The Mother Church policy, he said, was segregation while the Mission Church was fighting against segregation. The Missions were built by our fathers and ourselves. We should not leave the D.R.C. and lose everything which we have invested in these churches but we should demand Coloured Ministers for Coloured Churches.
Mr. S. Hoho (Cape African Congress) said that Langa was an example of segregation.
Africans were governed by whites without any representation. It was backward Africans who said that we were better off segregated. The Coloureds fought side by side with the Africans in 1936, therefore the Africans were in duty bound in the present struggle agaisnt segregation to support the Coloureds.
Mr. J. Mtini (Railway & Harbour Workers Union - Non-European): Segregation began inside the churches. We built the churches but we did not control them - they were controlled by our enemies. We should establish our own National Church, a Church which we could run ourselves.
Mr. A'l'es38 (New Era Fellowship)39 moved as an additional clause to resolution 2.
"That this Conference calls for the drafting of a minimum programme and should make clear its minimum demands". He said that it was necessary that people should join the United Front but on the basis of its programme.
Miss Ahmed (Laundry Workers' Union): We should state what methods we were going to use and what our objectives were. The amendment of Mr. Kies supplied scope for that.
The Government knew that thousands of near whites were absorbed in European society and were more dangerous than the Europeans, regarding this segregation question.
Moved by the Hawston Welfare & Building Society:
5. "We the Coloured citizens of Hawston, and Union Nationals are strongly opposed to the Segregation Draft Ordinance and will vigorously combat against it to rid ourselves of same. We further pledge ourselves supporters of the leaders of each and every organisation which is fighting Segregation in all its forms."
4. "That Separate Residential Areas be rejected" was moved by Mr. Klaassen (A.P.O., Waenhuiskrantz branch), who hoped that Conference would support them in what they demanded.
Mr. M. M. Kotane (African National Congress, Western Province) thought the amendment of the New Era Fellowship was a good one, but opposed it as being out of place as the needs of the Africans were covered by other motions. He said that the Africans enjoyed the rights they had before the passing of the Native Laws Amendment Act of 1937. They had something to lose if the Coloured were to be segregated. There were different organisations in the United Front with different points of view and methods of struggle and it was desirable to seek a common ground for concerted action.
Mr. G. R. Baloyi (Transvaal United Front): The Agenda was quite in order. Because the D.R.C. had a few ministers who fought for us, it did not mean that we should praise it. The Non-Europeans should stand on their own feet. They should have their own Church without white men. The four suffering provinces should speak in one voice. If we were united we would stand like a rock and out of fear the Government could support us. Money makes the man, without it, nothing could be done.
Mr. J. J. Kruger (Non-European Vigilance Organisation - De Aar) spoke in Afrikaans to show that the D.R.C. had taught us even their language. Politics began in the Church. We should first instil in others the spirit of fighting for their rights, then we could discuss the question of boycott.
Mr. M. Kruger (N.L.L., Kensington). Instead of helping us, the D.R.C. has introduced Boer Houses. The parents paid for schooling and not the D.R.C. One of their Ministers had said that segregation was a good thing for us. The Ministers were there not in the interests of the people, but to enrich themselves.
Mr. C. J. Thomas (N.L.L., Ryland Estate) said there were all sorts of societies, but not to defend the rights of the Coloured. The United Front was the first Society which came forward to defend the rights of the Coloured people. He would not go to Church until he could be served by his own Coloured Minister. Rev. Forbes was the only Minister who<formed a Coloured Church.
Mr. Zilwane (Lange Vigilance Committee): The white churches oppressed non-Europeans and took their money, therefore the non-Europeans should build their own schools and churches, independent of the whites. £40,000,000. has been collected by the Government in the form of poll tax, but how many schools were there for us. We were restricted in our own country and could not move about as we pleased. It was imperative that all non-Europeans should unite against the common enemy. In Langa the people were fenced in and were not allowed to stay in town. They had no vote. We should build up ourselves and take an example from the Indians.
Mr. C. J. Baker (Hawston Welfare & Building Society). The chief thing among our people was disunity. Mr. Gamiet gave an example of how we were disagreed on methods of fighting against segregation or to fight the D.R.C. Why should we pick out one church only. There were other churches which were worse than the D.R.C. The United Front would lose thousands of followers if it boycotted the D.R.C. He suggested that the motion of boycott of the D.R.C. be withdrawn.
Mr. Hoosain (Northern Football Association) said that to build our own organisations we needed money. We should demand money from the Government to develop on our own lines. We should not condemn the Jewish firms but we should condemn the Government.
Mr. L. Stone (N.L.L., Kensington), spoke against the motion calling for a boycott of the D.R.C. The motion of boycott was too drastic and our leadership in the rural areas was not developed at all.
Mr. L. J. Alien (N.L.L., Claremont): We should not only condemn the D.R.C., but all Churches which supported segregation.
Mr. L. M. Turner (General Workers' Union): spoke in favour of the boycott. The policy of the Church was the policy of the ruling class and dominated the workers.
Mr. A. Ismail (Cape Indian Congress): Many Indians were Christians. The United Front was for the people in the towns and on the platteland. The Church declared "there shall be no equality between blacks and white in Church and State". It was the duty of the United Front which was the uncrowned Parliament of the non-Europeans in South Africa, to show the non-Europeans who their enemies were".
Dr. Adams (N.L.L., Tiger Valley). The D.R.C. collected £350,000 to provide for poor whites; the Government collected £20,000 for segregation.
Mr. P. Abrahams^ (N.L.L., Cape) thought it was not fair to take up a vindictive attitude towards the D.R.C. - all Churches should be discarded. Mr. Kies' amendment was more important. We should respect the religious feelings of the people who to a great extent comprised the United Front. The Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches were more cunning than the D.R.C.
Mr. M. A. Gamiet (Cape Malay Association): The object of the Conference was to fight against segregation, not to discuss the D.R.C. There was no Christian country where colour prejudice was not found. Colourd people should have their own Coloured Ministers.
Mr. S. Kahn (Cape Hairdressers' Association) replying to the discussion said that the D.R.C. should be boycotted. If we issued an appeal to the people to boycott the D.R.C. it would be supported, and the eyes of the people would be opened to the menace.
The demands of the United Front should come under Methods of Struggle. The Non-Europeans were suffering because their education was not up to the standard of the Europeans. When one section of the non-Europeans was oppressed, others would suffer with it.
On the MOTION being put to the vote. Resolutions 1, 2 and 3 were unanimously carried. The amendment of Mr. Kies was defeated by 35 to 12 votes.
3 (e) was referred back to the National Committee "for their consideration".
4 and 5 were unanimously carried.
ECONOMIC and INDUSTRIAL REPORT.
Reporter Mr. J. COMAS
Mr. Gomas said that the economic and Industrial aspects of segregation were of vital importance to the non-Europeans, who were almost excluded from skilled occupations in the country by law. To-day Africans were merely hewers of wood and drawers of water, and were given no opportunities for development. Unless the Coloureds fought for the maintenance of their position in industry, they would sink to the level of the Africans. Trade Unionists were making a grave mistake by saying that they want no politics in their unions. There were only four coloured apprentices in the electrical trade in the whole country. Coloureds have lost whatever skilled trades they held. Non-Europeans in the Trades and Labour Council and the Cape Federation did not do their duty towards their race. These trade union bodies refused to send Coloured delegate to Geneva to represent the workers. Non-Europeans therefore should put their demands before the Government. Unless this is done, we may drop to a level where we will psychologically accept the idea that we are inferior to the whites.
Private firms should be approached with the idea of opposing the white labour policy, failing which they should be boycotted. Such measures if tactfully carried out, will be very helpful. The Nationalists were conscious and outspoken reactionaries. Dr. Malan reminded White South Africa that the Second Blood River was still to be fought - the segregation question.
Improvements in our economic conditions would mean an improvement in our psychological outlook and would lead to a better understanding of all workers in this country. Organised workers get better wages than unorganised and workers should therefore organise into trade unions.
Mr. Gomas moved the following resolutions:
8. "That in view of the inadequacy and impoverishment of existing native lands, which leads to overcrowding and unemployment in the towns, that Africans be given sufficient additional land to meet their requirements adequately."
9. "That the Master and Servants' Act be repealed and that Non-Europeans be given full rights and equal opportunities to organise in trade unions and to engage in skilled occupations."
11. "That the white (civilised) labour policy be abandoned and that no restrictions,
whether legal, administrative or practical be placed in the way of Non-Europeans practising professions or of obtaining employment as civil servants, clerks, typists, railway men, etc."
12. "That Africans, Indians and Coloured be granted the right to trade and to obtain licences on an equal basis with Europeans."
13. "That the Wage Board be empowered to determine minimum wages to be paid to all workers, whether agricultural, mining, government and local authorities, such wages to e a minimum of £2.8.0. per week."
Mr. H. W. Cookson (Chemical Workers Union): It was not true to say that the Non-European trade unionists were not pulling their weight. It was the work of the Government to stop the importation of artisans into South Africa when local artisans were available. Trade Unions should organise and fight these issues.
Mr. Everson (General Workers' Union): said that the unskilled workers on relief work were in a very bad position, as they did not know how long they would work.
Mr. Zilwane: The wages of Africans were very low and hardly enough to live on.
African miners did the most important work in the country and in return got very low wages. Workers should be paid on their merits.
Mr. Cloete (Namaqua Mission Church): Motion 8 dealing with the needs of the Africans only should be withdrawn, because it gave the impression that we wanted nothing but land.
Mr. Dunjwa (Laundry Workers' Union): We should support any tendency to improve the conditions of the workers. Laundry workers got an average wage of 18/-per week. We should demand a minimum wage of 48/- per week.
Mrs. I. Fortune (N.L.L., Capetown): Boys spent years at College with the intention
of being apprenticed to one of the various trades but because of their colour had no
chance. Coloureds were ousted from factories by whites. We should unite and fight
against this sort of thing.
Mr. J. B. Marks: The African question was the land question. The fight of the African vs the fight against being removed from one area to another and to be given the right to live where he wished.
The President (Mrs. Z. Gool): The Government's promise to release more land for Africans has not been carried out. After the passing of the Native Land and Trust Act, all the Government's promises were forgotten. Land which was bought for occupation by Africans was sold at about twice its value.
Mr. Kruger: The Government might misinterpret motion 8. Africans should enjoy civic privileges on an equal basis with Europeans.
Mr. Allan: We should get as many non-Europeans as possible in skilled trades. We should build ourselves and would get self-respect in every sphere of life.
Mr. B. M. Kies: Moved as an amendment to motion 8:
That in view of the inadequacy and impoverishment of the land now occupied by the Africans, Coloureds, Indians and white peasantry, resulting in over-crowding and unemployment in the towns, the Government should provide loans for the acquisition and development of the land on the same basis as it provides to the white farmers.
Mr. Cupido: Unskilled labourers get from 15/- to 207- a month on farms. Skilled workers get from 5/- to 10/- per day. Let us demand a minimum wage for unskilled labourers, but not as much as 48/- per week, which was an unreasonable demand for farm labourers.
Mr. Kotane: We do not take the needs of the people into consideration. We ask for things, which, from a revolutionary point of view may seem correct, but which in fact did not reflect the real needs of the masses. We should demand what our people themselves demanded. The Government had promised to release 7 1/4 million morgen for occupation by Africans in 1936, but up to now nothing has been done.
Mr. Turner: Unless we were able to back up our demands by mass action, it would be useless for us to speak. We should act.
Mr. Buchner: There were Coloured farmers on the platteland who were able to supply our needs. We should boycott white farmers and support coloured farmers. Give us a chance to do business with you.
Mr. du Preez: Some people in the country districts were paid in kind and others a low wage. The 48/- a week demanded by the Conference would not be acceptable to the farmers. Coloured farm labourers who demanded it would be told to go.
Mr. Comas in replying to discussion, supported Mr. Kotane and opposed Mr. Kies in saying that the European peasants should be included in the motion dealing with the land question. He said that substantial increases should be made in the wages of non-European workers in all spheres of employment. This shold be our main object.
Motions 9, 11 and 12 were unanimously carried. No. 8 was defeated by 26 to 15 votes and the amendment of Mr. Kies was carried. The amendment to motion 13 was unanimously agreed to, the motion now reading:
13. "That the Wage Board be empowered to determine minimum wages to be paid to all workers, whether agricultural, domestic, government and local authorities."
ELECTION OF OFFICIALS
After some discussion it was decided to reduce the number of members on the National
Committee from 40 to 30, in order to avoid a lot of absentees at committee meetings.
The following were elected:
President: Mrs. Z. GOOL.
Senior Vice-President: Mr.R. G. Baloyi.
Junior " " Mr. H. W. COOKSON.
Secretary: Mr. M. M. KOTANE.
Assistant Secretary: Mr. B. LAKEY.
Treasurer: Mr. W. H. ANDREWS.
Trustees: Mr. H. W. OCTOBER, Mrs. N. ABDURAHMAN,
and Mr. J. GOMAS.
Messrs. J. J. KRUGER (De Aar); J. B. MARKS (Johannesburg);
H. B. DU PREEZ (Mossel Bay); J. CUPIDO (Porterville);
J. W. LA VITA (Kimberley); THOMAS (The Strand);
A. I. BUCHNER (Swellendam); D. R. PIETERSE (De Aar);
C. J. BAKER (Hawston); M. Y. DADOO (Johannesburg);
H. A. NAIDOO (Durban); A. KLAASEN (Waenhuiskrantz);
and C. [FRINKIE] (Mossel Bay).
Mr. Buchner said that some country delegates regretted the fact that domestic troubles have been uppermost at this Conference. He asked delegates to put domestic troubles aside and to support the President who has done and was still doing the people a great service. Country people could not demonstrate because of the hostility of the white farmers towards non-Europeans' meetings. Whenever he addressed meetings, the "Asvoel Club" broke them up. Leaders should support each other. His organisation donated £1.1. towards the United Front Fighting Fund.
Mr. Hoho asked the Conference to allow Mr. S. Oliphant to deputise for him. This was agreed to.
REPORT ON POLITICAL SITUATION
Reporter Mr. B. Lakey
If all non-Europeans had the vote on the same basis as the Europeans, there would not have been this strife for unity. With the fight for industrial and economic equality, should go the fight against all other discriminatory laws. The non-Europeans should have the right to elect Non-Europeans to represent them in Parliament. Since Union, the policy of the North has prevailed over the liberal policy of the Cape. The introduction of the Women's Enfranchisement Act of 1931 made the vote of the non-Europeans lose its value. The Africans were removed from the Common Voters' Roll and put on a separate voters roll. They were given 4 members in the senate and 3 in the House of Assembly. This meant that 6 1/2 million Africans were representd by 7 men in Parliament as against 190 representing 2 million Europeans.
Mr. Lakey then formally moved the undermentioned motions:
6. "That the franchise laws be amended so as to grant to all Non-Europeans the right
Mr. Fester (Coloured Welfare Assn., Elsie's River): We should demand that Non-European women should have the vote on the same basis as Europeans.
Mrs. Goal: We should demand the right to represent ourselves and have a say in the ruling of our people. We should break all colour bars which have been erected against us. The Non-European Women's Enfranchisment League had only suspended its activities in order to take part in the Anti-Segregation Campaign.
Mr. Allan: The Government was getting Europeans from overseas to come and settle in South Africa in order to outnumber the Non-Europeans and avoid the possibility of the Non-Europeans ever becoming the ruling majority in future.
Mr. Cookson: The Africans paid 11 a month for a pass and were liable to imprisonment for failure to produce it when required. This pass system affected trade unions a great deal, as pass bearing Africans were not allowed to form trade unions,
Mr. Stone: It was the task of the teachers to educate the people in the backveld who were still backward politically, but instead, some teachers were teaching the people to abide by the laws of the country.
Mr. Welcome (Bantu Dockworkers' Union): We should not only blame the local Government, but also the Imperial Government which was mainly behind these oppressive laws.
Mr. Baloyi: Africans were treated worse than dogs. In the Transvaal the police did not even bother to establish a charge before arresting Africans. The police simply put African into "Pick-up-Vans" and then asked them to produce tax receipts, passes and specials. When all these were produced, a charge of "drunk and noisy" was preferred against them.
Mr. Kruger: People who had no work were forced to pay taxes. How were they able to do it? In replying to the discussion, Mr. Lakey said that the Minister for Justice had the right to refuse the holding of meetings. We should fight for the rights we have lost.
Resolutions 6, 7 (a), (b), (c), 18 and 14 were put to the vote and were unanimously carried.
It was agreed that Mrs. Z. Gool, Messrs. R. G. Baloyi, M. A. Gamiet, A. Ismail and M. M. Kotane be sent to the A.P.O. Conference.
REPORT ON SOCIAL CONDITIONS Reporter Mr. M. M. Kotane: Under the present system of colour bar, when non-EuroÂpean boys and girls left school they found all avenues of employment, especially in the skilled occupations, closed to them. This state of forced idlessness led to crime. Laws were made purposely to stop the progress of the non-European people. The future of the non-Europeans was very dark and unless we fought for the maintenance of our rights, these would be taken away one by one. The education of the non-Europeans suffered because it was not adequately subsidised. All our demands for a subsidy on the per head basis have been ignored. We should demand equal subsidy on the same basis as that for European children. We should strongly oppose the transfer of "Native" Education to the Department of Native Affairs. We should demand equal treatment in social services. The declared policy of "White South Africa" was that there should be no equality in Church and State between white and black. This meant that non-EuroÂpeans were to be people of an inferior status politically, socially and otherwise. And this in turn has corrupted the administration of justice in this country. We non-Europeans were required to contribute to the economic well-being of the state, without getting any help when in need. The United Front should fight for equal treatment in all social services.
Mr. B. M. Kies: A White child got £15. per head. Coloured £5, and African child £2. per head in subsidy.
Mr. Kies then moved the following resolution:
10. "That this Conference condemns and opposes the proposals of the Minister of Labour to place African trade unions under the control of the Native Affairs Department. It calls the amendment of the Industrial Conciliation Act so that the definition of the term 'employee' shall include the African worker".
Mr. S. Kahn: Under the Pensions laws Europeans were to receive £3.10. a month and Coloured £1.15. Detailed examination showed that Coloured pensioners in the country districts were not getting more than 10/-. a month. We should demand that the Coloured should also get £3.10. per month. This should also cover the Africans.
Mr. Foster: The National Bond sent a deputation to the Government about the treatment of Coloured convicts, but nothing came of that deputation. Coloured children were often brought before the Courts and convicted because of lack of proper defence. These children were sent to work on the farms under slave conditions.
Mr. P. Abrahams (N.L.L. Capetown): We should force the Government to remove the obstacles in the way of the non-European children. In the Transvaal, Africans holding standard 6. certificates were allowed to teach. This did not make for sound education. The United Front should see to it that African schools were staffed with qualified teachers. Prisons were schools of crime. For small ofences juveniles were sent to prison and came out hardened criminals. The prisons should try to reform character instead they worsened and degraded character. Non-Europeans went bare-footed and received rotten food.
Mr. van Gelderen: Industrial organisation like the I.C.U. was what was needed. We should fight as wage slaves because the main fight was the class fight. We should use strike as our weapon in getting our grievances redressed. We should force the trade unions to carry out the resolutions passed by the Federation of Trades. If the Africans were properly organised our victory would be certain.
Mr. Cookson: The strike weapon was most effective. Active trade unionists should force the Federation to carry out their resolutions. We should stop buying from Stuttaford and then he would withdraw his Segregation Bill.
Miss Ahmed moved:
That we demand the right to bear arms and to form a defence unit to fight against police brutality and against Imperialism."
"The Boycott" she said, "cut both ways. It sounded revolutionary, but it was not. We would be supporting Imperialism if we boycotted local commodities. Our struggle was an anti-Imperialist struggle.
Mr. H. Snitcher: The instigators of violence caused racial hatred. We should enlist the support of as many European workers as possible in order to prevent racial strife in this country. The Trades and Labour Council was predominantly white. We should have more black in it. We should encourage the organisation of parallel trade unions where the white workers were not ready to accept non-European workers into their unions. We should try to put our resolutions into action.
Mr. Cupido: In deciding on our methods of struggle, we should bear in mind that politically certain organisations had no say, they were doing social work. In other centres and organisations where non-Europeans found themselves in the minority and whites in the majority, it was sometimes impossible to carry out radical political work.
Mr. Turner: Equality could only be achieved by force. The Government had everything and we had nothing but our labour power. I have organised unskilled workers who had no saving bank and sick fund, but were politically conscious. The tot system should be done away with. Economics and politics were closely interwoven and could not be dealt with separately.
Mr. P. Abrahams. We should try and raise a nation-wide fund. We needed money badly. Country people should fight with the most effective methods at their disposal. They need not endanger themselves unnecessarily. A tour of the country was desirable. Good speakers should go and spread the gospel throughout South Africa.
Mr. Kies: Mr. Snitcher's remarks on constitutional fight were correct. The GovernÂment had legal and constitutional methods of stopping us from striking, so our methods as proposed in our resolutions were unconstitutional, as far as the Government was concerned. Our struggle should be a broad minded struggle with the aim of educating our people to the importance of the strike weapon and of fighting imperialism. We should organise all Pass-bearing Africans against carrying passes.
Mr. Richfield. The Butchers would be the first to be attacked. Something should be done to protect any organisation against attack. We should see to it that trade unions join the Non-European United Front.
Mr. J. B. Marks: We should not lose sight of fact that economy of South Africa is based chiefly on Native labour. Our organisational work should include mines, agriÂculture, railways and harbours. Any action which we might take would be considered unconstitutional by the Government. We should have our own newspapers to carry out our agitational and propaganda work in a fashion that would reflect our aims and struggles. This was purely a non-European affair and whites should remain in the back-ground. We should take care, however, not to antagonise any forces, because that would harm our cause. We should have a conscious leadership at the head of affairs, which would not lay down hard and fast rules.
Mr. A. Ismail: The I.C.U. was a powerful organisation, so much so that the leaders of European labour movement became jealous of its organisational strength. Personally he had no antagonism towards trade unions as such, but European trade union leaders had done more harm to the cause of non-Europeans than the capitalists.
Mr. Gomas: We should increase the membership of our organisations and not merely talk but act. We should demand smaller things while we were organising for complete equality.
Mr. S. Kahn: The United Front was the vanguard of the non-European peoples and its first task was to organise the people and explain to them the meaning of segregation and how it would affect them as a people. We needed financial and moral support of the people to ensure victory in our struggle.
Mr. Kruger: Country and town should stand together and fight hand in hand for freedom.
Mr. Hoosain: We should not fight for King and Country, but against segregation.
Mrs. Gool: We should first organise before we could do anything. The biggest obstacle so far as we were concerned was lack of organisation. People should be urged to join organisations and then link up with the United Front. This should be our first and primary concern. Therefore before we speak of a national strike we should see to it that we were solidly organised. When we do strike we should strike hard and the fighting morale of the people should be raised to a higher political level.
Mr. Cookson: Trade union delegates should be advised to urge their trade unions to join the United Front. Factory meetings should be held to explain the aims and objects of the Non-European United Front. Mr. Cookson then moved:
23. "That Conference herewith resolves to organise action of all workers with a view to bringing pressure on the Government to withdraw its segregation and Colour bar laws "
Mr. Kotane: We could not decide on any definite action at the moment. The most important thing at this stage was organisation and our energies should be concentrated in that direction. All resolutions passed by this Conference should be placed before the proper authorities. We should take up the daily needs of the people. These were little things which went a long way.
Mr. Kirby (Die Sione Helpmekaar Genootskap): I wanted to leave this Conference, not as a delegate of a Welfare Association, but as a political man to fight for the rights of our people. Those who were better speakers should go out and explain and help us to organise our people.
Mr. Everson: Coloured areas should be policed by Coloureds.
Mr. Kruger: Some teachers could not impart knowledge; we should demand higher education for our people. Teachers desiring to further their education should be given financial assistance by the State.
Mrs. Abdurahman (N.L.L. Capetown). The pension of a coloured pensioner is withdrawn when child of pensioner reaches the age of 14, as it is assumed that he would be able to support the parent. This was very unjust and hard on the people, as work was not always available and the wages paid to minors too little to support a family. The Non-European United Front should ask that Coloured inspectors should attend to Coloured requirements. This would provide work for Coloured educated youth.
Mr. Fester: We should know the various laws relating to children.
The undermentioned motions were put to a vote and,, were unanimously carried:
15. "Free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 16, and the abolition of the present discrimination in educational subsidies paid per head to European, Coloured, Indian and African children be demanded."
16. "That the transfer of African education from the Department of Education to the Native Affairs Department be opposed."
17. That the discrimination existing against Non-Europeans in educational, social, medical and clinical services be done away with and that Non-Europeans be granted equal facilities and equal Old-age Pensions, Blind Pensions, Mothers' Allowances, Workmen's Compensation.
19. "That the Minister of Justice be requested to appoint Coloured Prison Inspectors, also in cases where juveniles appear before a Magistrate undefended, that the Magistrate be informed that the local Welfare Society will watch the proceedings on behalf of such a child."
20. (a) "That the conditions of Non-Europeans in prison be improved and that Non-European convicts be given similar treatment to that of the Europeans.
(b) "That the system of indenturing Non-European juvenile delinquents to farmers and employers be abolished and that industrial training schools be provided instead."
22. The Conference protests against the shooting by the police of a Coloured school-boy aged 12 years."
21. "That this Conference strongly protests against the use of armed police with rifles and bayonets on orderly procession after the Segregation protest meeting on the 27th. March, 1939. It views with grave concern the police brutalities against innocent and unoffending citizens and demands a judicial enquiry into the many charges of hooliganism on the part of the police and calls for the immediate disarmament of all police in non-European areas."
23. (referred to on page 12).
24. "That this Conference of the Non-European United Front strongly protests against the brutal attack by the Italians on Albania and places on record condemnation of this unwarranted attack on a peacefully disposed country."
25. "That Conference protests most emphatically against the action of the Govenrment in cancelling the Labour delegation to Geneva merely because one of the two delegates elected is a non-European."
26. (a) "That the control, management and government of the Non-European United Front of South Africa, be vested in the National Committee consisting of 30 members, 20 of which shall reside within the Western Province. The Headquarters of the National Committee shall be in Cape Town. The National Committee shall be elected by the Conference and shall include a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Assistant-Secretary, three Trustees (all of whom shall reside within the Western Province).
(b) "That the National Committee be empowered to draft a Constitution for the N.E.U.F. ofS.A., a copy of which shall be sent to each affiliated organisation. This constitution shall be of force and effect until the next Conference when the Constitution shall be submitted for adoption, approval and/or alteration as Conference deems fit."
27. (a) "The National Committee shall be a body corporate and have the right and power to own property in its own name, to enjoy perpetual succession, to sue and be sued in its name."
(b) "The National Committee shall have the right to suspend, expel or take other action against any affiliated organisation or official or person and to accept or refuse affiliation, such right to be exercised bona fide and on good ground which must be specified. Any organisation suspended, expelled or refused affiliation shall have the right to appeal to Conference."
METHODS OF STRUGGLE
28. "The methods of struggle to be employed by the Non-European United Front of South Africa shall be all and any means which will assist in the attainment of its main objective, namely the EMANCIPATION of Non-Europeans from oppression, colour-bars and racial discrimination. These methods shall include amongst others, the use of Boycott, active and passive resistance, strike protest and demonstration."
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