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Where Corruption Thrives

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From Leeds Mercury: The Transvaal government has once more set the new press laws in motion against two local journals, and demand the names of the writers of articles charging members of the legislature with being the recipients of bribes from the monopoly companies. Dr. Leyds was himself acoused the other day in the volksraad of having been in the pay of those companies, but does not seem to have taken any very energetic measures to rebut the allegations. The atmosphere of Pretoria and Johannesburg is heavily laden with reports of corruption and bribery in high quarters, and it must be confessed that the victories so far scored by the railway and dynamite companies are not calculated to allay suspicion. Notwithstanding the great mass of evidence accumulated by the industrial commission in proof of the heavy exactions of those corporations, the subcommittee of the volksraad treats the affair as a gross exaggeration and accordingly proposes ridiculously inadequate abatements of the rates in each case. The proposed reduction of 10 shillings on dynamite would still leave the price some 30 to 35 shillings per case in excess of the price at which European makers offer to supPly it in the Rand free of all charges. As to the proposed reduction of L200,000 in the railway changes on mining neeessities, that will not weigh heavily on a company whose gross earnings last year amounted to over L2,900,000 in contrast with L797,000 two years ago, and whose net profita reached L1,705,000, as against L409.000 in 1894. While the gross traffic expanded by leaps and bounds the ratio of expenses dropped from 48% per cent to 41% per cent. Yet the company is said by the sub-committee of the volksraad not to have been unduly exacting, and is to be askod to make an abatement in its charges of about one-third of what, after considering all the evidence the industrial commission considered equitable. The participation of the government in last year's net profits amounted to the handsome sum of L737,366. It is easy to understand that there is no very burning desire on the part of the executive to curtail so profitable a source of revenue even temporarily, though there can be little doubt that greatly reduced rates would stimulate general enterprise and lead to a more generous yield by the other sources of revenue. The best and wisest course to adopt in this matter would be for the 6tate to take over the railway, paying for it on the basis of the average profits of the last three years. For this purpose L10,000,000 would hn ampie, and tne money as easily raised at 4 per cent. As to the profit of such an opBration to the government there can be no sort of qucstion. Even if such concessions were made to the mining industry as invoĆ¼ved a reduction for a time of a round L600,000 in the net income the latter would still amount to upward of L1,200,000 whille the interest on the loan would on!y require L400,000, so that there would remain to the government a clear gain of L800,000, which is about L63,000 moie than its share of last year's proflts. This, of course, is quite apart from a consideration of the immense benefits which would be conferred on the ! ing industry, on the prosperity of ' which the welfare of the national flnanees wholly turns.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat