“the new goldfields nearby are drawing labour away from the farms; and in any case the Africans are showing an increasing aversion to farm work. Under the masters and servants act, a farmer can still pursue a runaway worker, and have him first fined, and then forced back to work. But the Africans, it seems, now resent this."
“has pursued a deliberate policy of building ‘outpost’ prisons in rural areas, and allowing farmers to hire convict labour from them.’ There are now 12 such outpost Jails in South Africa, but until recently there were none in the Free State. “The farmers of Kroonstad district therefore applied to the government for a prison in their area. As there was apparently some difficulty in finding the money for it, the farmers hit on an ingenious expedient.”
“A leading Kroonstad farmer, Mr. George Verster, organised 22 other farmers into a private company, on a normal shareholding basis. The farmers subscribed £12,000 in £1 shares and elected Mr. Verster their chairman. Mr. Verster then approached the government with the proposition that the company build and equip a prison, if the government would stock it with convicts.”
“The government was enthusiastic about the proposal, and it was arranged that when the new prison was built the government would supply 350 African convicts whom the Kroonstad farmers company could hire by paying the state 1s. 9d. per head per day” (the convicts, of course, get nothing).
“By this is meant that under the rules of the company, the farmers will be treated in exactly the same way as far as getting convicts is concerned, whatever the differences in the size of their contributions to the scheme."
“Stoutly defended the jail farm system . . . praised Mr. Verster and his fellow farmers for their excellent idea (which he frankly confessed would save the state a lot of money), remarked laughingly that the convicts were lucky fellows who would get plenty of fine fresh air, and finally promised that, as Minister of Justice, he would see to it that 'many more’ farm jails were built in the shortest possible space of time."