The use and repetition of the words Immigration, Jobs, housing by our MP’s in the debates about the referendum is shameful. Whereas the debates should focus on issues like our defences, our safety, our right to control our borders, that might be fair. But using the threat of numbers, the problem of housing, and jobs, is a repetition of what occurred during our history.

Remember Slave Labour? How many millions of Africans were shipped from Africa to the colonies and to Europe and America to labour without pay? Was housing them a problem. Was consideration given to the education of slave children and how it would impact on schools? Was it necessary to discuss hospitals? There was no national health service then and if there was, the slaves would not have been discussed. We don’t know the numbers who died at sea and were dumped without ceremony in the Atlantic Ocean. Huge numbers “flooding” into the country was of no consequence then because the labour was free and in those days to work with one’s hands was considered undignified.

After Slave Labour there was Indentured Labour. Instead of going to the market to purchase slaves the colonists ‘ordered’ them like stock. The orders for indentured labourers were fulfilled from India. The Indians, despite their illiteracy and poverty, were British citizens. Indians were transported to labour in the colonies. Their labour wasn’t free. They were paid with rice and because they were British subjects, if they were maltreated, which they were, they could complain to the Queen, which they did. They worked for three to five years and were then free. They were given land the entitlement to which was written on parchment. The Indians became self employed as market gardeners and hawkers of flowers and vegetables.

Migrant Labour followed Indentured Labour Migrants were allowed to come to work from other African countries without their wives and families then return to their homes when their labour was not required. When South Africa was under the rule of apartheid it went a step further. Firstly the ‘Bantustans’ were created. These were parts of the country that was undeveloped. Then the African South Africans were removed to the ‘Bantustans’. If they wanted to work in South Africa they became Migrant Labourers. In addition to removing the Africans from South Africa, their identities as South African citizens was removed from them. They became citizens of the ‘Bantustans’.

The problem that the freed slaves and indentured labourers created for the colonists regarding jobs and housing may have led to apartheid in South Africa. The apartheid government safeguarded and set aside certain jobs for White South Africans, and prevented non-White South Africans from doing certain jobs.