Friday, March 19, 2010

The South African Labour History

1. What was the labour question that concerned European colonist in colonial South Africa?

According to Ruggunan (2009) the European labour question was “How could the colonial authorities best organize a labour force to attract minerals, grow plantations crops, transport, new raw materials and work on the docks in a way that would make such systems profitable and self sustaining?”

As the colonial authorities acquired more land the need to provide labour for their operations increased. The use of the indigenous people were difficult to conquer and to force them to provide labour without some of force so they used a number of ways to attain labour form the indigenous people the only answer was Slavery. When Slavery was abolished the Europeans depended on unfree labour which was largely enforced through the use of captive black children .Indentured labour was the most important way of attaining labour, the indentured contract allowed employment of wage workers under conditions giving a high control to employers. The fixed contract would allow the employer to set terms of work without the concern of the worker and to restrict the worker movement. This was a dependent workforce to the Europeans as this was part of the integral part of the worker’s life in the hands his master.

Question TWO
Discuss three ways in which the labour question was dealt with by the colonial government?
(i) Legislation
(ii) Slavery
(iii) Indentured labour
(iv) Coercion
(i) Legislation was part of the ways that the colonial government used to get labour force from the indigenous people. The native land act of 1913 which deprived the indigenous people of their land to promote the colonial masters proletarianisation and improverishment attempts.The implementation of Pass laws in 1948 to restrict Blacks movement to make them work in the agricultural sector ant the agricultural sectors .The Glen Grey Act of 1984 deprived Africans of their land for them to have survival from working for the white colonial masters. Master and servant laws were implemented to force the blacks to work for white capitalists .Influx control which was abolished in 1986 was meant to regulated to movement of the immigrants and force them to work in the white man farms and gold mines.

(ii) Coercive System was the most enforced way of the whites to get labour. The system of enforced contract labour which meant that the migrants were exploited by being paid less because they had agricultural subsistence base were they come from. Discrimination of the Africans infavour of the White to improve the socio economic position of improveshed and unemployed white it was a system of direct labour coercion of blacks it was finally abolished in 1979.In 1952 Verword formulated the comprehensive system of migrant labour for the manufacturing industries in urban areas through the use of labour bureaux, bantu administration boards, influx controls and pass laws this was to supply cheap and docile labour force to the whites through force of the improveshed African with no choice than to work for the white man.

(iii) Slavery was the most brutal way of the white man to acquire labour form the indigenous people. The Dutch East Indian company owned most of the slaves which were mostly Indians. This was a system of direct forced labour which was finally abolished in 1936 were the capitalists were the owners of the land the slaves were their subjects. Indentureship followed which was also a form of direct labour. Slavery was mainly done in the patriarchal households,

(iv) Indetureship was applicable to the Khosian and African child in the Cape during the 18th century. This system was applied by the Caledon Proclamation of 1890.It was also a form direct forced labour that was begin applied to the people by the colonial masters. It was later abolished by the request of the humanitarian missionaries by the proclamanation 50 of 1828.The indentured contract allowed the employment of workers, under conditions giving a high level of control to employers. Masters would freely set the terms of the employment and prevent the workers form leaving the grounds.

Question THREE

(i) Industrialization according to Abercombe, Hill and Turner (123:1988) it refers to sustained economic growth following the application of inanimate sources of power to mechanize production. It is a paradigm shift from an agro based economy into a machinery based economy to increase production and services to meet the growth demand of production in the world markets. It involves division of labour, new social relations of production between owners of capital and workers and formation of a capitalist economics.

Industrialization is era of technological improvement to meet the demand of world markets this was the transition form the agro based economies to technological based economies which use machines to produce products.

(ii) Capitalism according to Johnson (31:2000) is the private ownership of means of production it is an economic system that emerged in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, mainly from the prospective of Karl Marx which states that capitalism is organized around the concept of capital, ownership and control of means of production by those who employ workers to produce goods and services in exchange of wages.

Capitalism is an economic structure where privatization is allowed and there is a trade off between the owners of production and the workers inform of wages.

(ii) Proletariat according to Johnson (285:2000) refers to the working class who produce wealth but neither own or control any means of production.

(1)Proletariats can be inform of slaves which are exploited and forced to produce for the capitalist for no wages at all they are there to produce goods and services for the capitalist to acquire wealth.

(2) Proletariats can offer their labour to the capitalists in return for rewards inform of wages, they do not control the means of production but they are controlled by the capitalist to produce wealth for them.

Abercrombe N, Hill S and Tuner B.S (1988) The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology 2nd edition Penguin group lnc England

Johnson A.G (2000) Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology 2nd edition Blackwell Publishers USA

Ruggunan .S (2009) “Development and Capitalist economy in SA” and Indentured Indian and China” IOLS Notes UKZN

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