House of Assembly: Vol106 - FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY 1961

FRIDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 1961

Mr. Speaker took the Chair at 10.5 a.m.

Questions:

For oral reply:

Delay in Publication of Annual Police Reports *I. Dr. D. L. SMIT

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) When is it anticipated that the annual reports of the Commissioner of the South African Police for 1958 and 1959 will be made available; and
  2. (2) what is the reason for the delay in publishing these reports.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1) The annual report for 1958 has already been laid on the Table while it is hoped that the 1959 report will be available during the current Session.
  2. (2) The delay is due to the fact that the crime statistics have to be classified and compiled by the Department of Census and Statistics. Owing to the extent of this task the delay in publication of police annual reports is unavoidable.
Officer Transferred from Justice to Police *II. Dr. D. L. SMIT

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Cape Times of 19 December 1960, that an officer in his Department has been appointed to a post in the South African Police with the rank of major;
  2. (2)
    1. (a) what position did this officer hold in his Department,
    2. (b) whether he had any previous police experience and
    3. (c) what qualifications did he possess for the rank of major;
  3. (3) whether any police officers qualified for the post were superseded by this officer; if so, how many; and
  4. (4) what was the reason for transferring this person from the Department of Justice to the South African Police.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1) Yes.
  2. (2)
    1. (a) Private Secretary.
    2. (b) and (c) No. Prior to his transfer to the Police Department he had already become eligible for promotion in the Public Service to a post equivalent to that of major.
      • He served in the South African Defence Force and attained the substantive rank of captain. He attended courses and passed examinations at the South African Military College.
      • Furthermore he has many years’ administrative experience in the Public Service of which seven years in the Defence Secretariat.
  3. (3) No. Not for the post for which his services are required.
  4. (4) In the Public Service language tests he obtained a Grade I in both official languages and after having been successful in the tests for Public Service Inspectors the Public Service Commission offered him a post of Public Service Inspector.
    • In view of this offer by the Public Service Commission, his military qualifications and administrative experience, and with a view to promoting better administration in general, but in particular in respect of the new policy now applicable in the South African Police Force, I approved, on the recommendation of the Commissioner of the South African Police, that he be transferred to the Police Department.

I may point out to the hon. member that in the past several appointments to the rank of officer in the police were made of persons even outside the Public Service, e.g.

  1. (1) Mr. I. P. de Villiers—as Lieutenant-Colonel on 8 February 1928. Ten months later he was promoted to Colonel and appointed Commissioner of the South African Police. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Major-General.
  2. (2) Mr. C. H. Kelly-Patterson — as Lieutenant on 21 May 1935.
  3. (3) P. G. M. Murdoch — transferred from the South African Air Force (Special Reserve of Flying Officers) —as Captain on 12 June 1934.

Transfers from the Department of Defence to the South African Police included inter alia:

  1. (1) Major H. Meintjies—as Major on 2 March 1931.
  2. (2) Captain R. B. Lovemore—as Captain on 12 June 1934.
Regulations Relating to Entry into Prohibited Areas *III. Dr. D. L. SMIT

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

Whether he will lay upon the Table a list of the areas to which the regulations in terms of Proclamation No. 52 of 1958 relating to the control of entry into and departure from Native areas have been applied, setting out in each case the reasons for such application.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:

Part I read with Part III (that is the parts relating to entry into a prohibited area) apply to the areas specified in the schedules to Government Notices Nos. 2114 and 2115 of 23 December 1960, namely Sekhukhune-land, the Bantu areas in the districts of Marico and Peddie, Matlala’s and Moletzie’s locations in the district of Pietersburg and a number of Trust, Tribal and Bantu owned farms in the districts of Pietersburg and Potgietersrus. In each case the application of the regulations was designed to control the entry into the area in question of agitators and supporters of prohibited organizations, whose sole purpose is to foment unrest.

The application of the regulations lapses after six months, unless renewed.

At the moment Part II of the regulations relating to departure from a prohibited area is not applicable to any area.

Leakage of Examination Papers *IV. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science:

  1. (1) Whether any papers of the National Matriculation Certificate examinations held last year came into the hands of candidates before the examinations were written; if so, what were the reasons for the leakage;
  2. (2) whether any steps have been taken to avoid a recurrence; if so, what steps; and
  3. (3) whether any police action has been taken or is intended.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE:
  1. (1) Yes, according to anonymous information that reached the Department, but how it occurred is unknown.
  2. (2) A departmental committee was appointed immediately to institute exhaustive inquiries as to how the leakage could possibly have occurred and a recurrence avoided.
  3. (3) The police also immediately undertook an investigation which is continuing.
“Ghost Squad” Disbanded *V. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) Whether the special detachment dealing with juvenile crime in Durban known as the “Ghost Squad”, has been disbanded; if so, (a) when and (b) for what reasons; and
  2. (2) what steps are being taken or are contemplated by his Department to combat juvenile crime.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1) Yes.
    1. (a) 20 October 1960.
    2. (b) In order to release more members of the force for street duties and direct prevention of crime, including juvenile crime.
  2. (2) At Durban on the beach area as also at other larger urban areas where necessary special patrols are continually carried out in order to combat juvenile crime.

In general juvenile crime, as in the case of other crime, is combated by preventive measures. Departments concerned are at present considering possible measures to combat juvenile crime more effectively.

Rehabilitation Centres for Juveniles *VI. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions:

  1. (1) Whether rehabilitation centres for juveniles are to be established by his Department; if so, (a) where, (b) when and (c) on what grounds will juveniles be committed to such centres;
  2. (2) whether such centres will be for European juveniles only; and, if so,
  3. (3) whether similar centres are contemplated for non-European juveniles; if not, why not.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:
  1. (1) The matter is at present being considered by a sub-committee of the Cabinet.
  2. (2) and (3) Fall away.
Amounts Overpaid to Social Pensioners *VII. Mr. J. LEWIS

asked the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions:

  1. (a) What was the amount overpaid to social pensioners during each year from 1957 to 1960; and
  2. (b) what is the total amount outstanding as at 31 December 1960.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:
  1. (a) The amounts recorded as overpayments during the financial years 1956-7 to 1959-60 inclusive are as follows—

1956-7

£179,400

(R358,800)

1957-8

£184,071

(R368,142)

1958-9

£225,494

(R450,988)

1959-60

£319,142

(R638,284)

Final figures for the period 1 April to 31 December 1960 are not yet available but it is estimated that the amount will be approximately £114,327 (R228,654).

  1. (b) The amount outstanding as at 31 March 1960 was £509,913 (R1,019,826).
    • Final figures are not yet available, but it is estimated that the amount outstanding as at 31 December 1960 will be approximately £460,439 (R920,878).
Naming of Radio Tower at Brixton Ridge *IX. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs:

  1. (1) What person or body (a) suggested and (b) approved the name of the radio tower to be erected at Brixton Ridge and referred to in the Press; and
  2. (2) whether a decision has been made as to the names of the proposed towers at Pretoria, Rustenburg and Potchefstroom; if so, what is the decision.
The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

I have no knowledge of any such decision except for the recent Press report on the matter. The S.A.B.C. is an autonomous body and only its Board of Governors has jurisdiction over any internal matters. I wish to suggest, therefore, that the hon. member approach the Corporation for the desired information.

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Arising out of the reply of the hon. the Minister, did he not ask the S.A.B.C. whether there was any intention of naming that tower the Albert Hertzog Tower?

Pneumonia Deaths at Modder B. Gaol *X. Mrs. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of Justice:

Whether the prison authorities have taken any steps to ensure that there is no repetition of the pneumonia deaths that occurred at Modder B. gaol as reported in the Press last year; and if so, what steps.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Yes. A modern hospital with accommodation for 250 patients has been completed. Provision is also being made for full-time resident medical practitioners.

No State Factories Built in Border Areas *XII Mrs. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of Economic Affairs:

Whether any factories have been built by the Government in border areas and leased to private industrialists; if so, (a) how many such factories have been built, (b) in what areas have they been built, (c) what amount has been expended on their construction and (d) to whom have the factories been leased.

The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS:

No; (a), (b), (c) and (d) fall away.

Report on Cato Manor *XIII. Mr. EGLIN

(for Mr. Butcher) asked the Minister of Justice:

Whether he will now lay upon the Table the report of the inter-departmental committee of inquiry into the disturbances and riots at Cato Manor, Durban, on 24 January 1960; and, if not, when will it be laid on the Table.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Yes; at an early date.

Development of Umlazi Mission Reserve *XIV. Mr. EGLIN

(for Mr. Butcher) asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

  1. (1) Whether the aerial survey of the Umlazi Mission Reserve has been completed;
  2. (2) whether the whole or any portion of the area has been planned for development; if so,
  3. (3) whether the plan for the development of village centres as recommended in the report of the Town and Regional Planner of the Natal Provincial Administration will be adopted;
  4. (4) whether the Durban City Council will in any way participate in the financing of the scheme or the administration of the area;
  5. (5) whether it will be possible for Bantu persons to secure freehold title of residential and commercial sites; if so, (a) what will the sizes of the sites be and (b) on what terms can they be purchased or rented;
  6. (6) whether a start has been made with the construction of roads and the provision of sanitation and lighting; and
  7. (7) when will a start be made with the moving of Bantu into the area.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:
  1. (1) Yes.
  2. (2) The whole area.
  3. (3) The plan was not adopted because greater density is sought to minimize the cost of services and the whole area is being planned with the closely situated neighbourhood units instead of more remotely situated village centres.
  4. (4) Yes, from its services levy account in respect of services only and to the total extent of two-thirds of the cost of such services. The Council will not participate in the administration of the area.
  5. (5) Yes. (a) Details in regard to planning and sub-divisions have not yet been finalized although certain areas for commercial and social purposes have been set aside, (b) Residential sites of approximately 5,000 square feet will cost £1 per 500 square feet or nearest 500 square feet. Houses will be sold over a period of 40 years at the cost of erection plus 4½ per cent interest or 3½ per cent interest depending on the distance of the township from the large European labour centres. It has also been decided to regard the cost of development of essential services as part of the normal development of the Bantu areas and no payment for such development will be demanded. However, residents will have to pay a small amount for the cost of services, rendered monthly. The position as regards commercial sites has not yet been finalized, but such sites will be sold at approximately £2 10s. per 500 square feet or nearest 500 square feet.
  6. (6) Yes.
  7. (7) It is anticipated that the moving of Bantu into the area will commence about October this year.
Purchase of Ministerial Motor-cars *XV. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Transport:

  1. (1) (a) How many Ministerial motor-cars have been purchased for the use of (i) Cabinet Ministers and (ii) Deputy Minister and (b) what was the total purchase price of these cars for the past two financial years and the current financial year, respectively;
  2. (2) what was the make and the cost of each car in each category;
  3. (3) whether any Ministerial cars are on order; if so, (a) how many for the use of (i) Ministers and (ii) Deputy Ministers and (b) what is the make and the estimated cost of each; and
  4. (4) whether any Ministerial cars have been (a) sold and (b) utilized for other purposes during the past year; if so, (i) how many, (ii) what was the amount realized and (iii) what was the age and mileage of each car in each category.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

(1)

(a)

(i)

10

Cadillac

1958

1

Pontiac

1958

1

Cadillac

1959

1

Ford Galaxie

1959

8

Oldsmobile

1960

5

Mercedes Benz

1960

One Cadillac 1958 and one Oldsmobile 1960 were purchased by the South African Railway Administration for the use of the Minister of Transport.

  1. (ii) 4 Ford Galaxie 1959.
    1. (b)

1958:

£33,363

10s.

0d.

£3,232

10s.

0d.

(S.A.R.).

1959:

£8,718

6s.

3d.

1960:

£14,343

10s.

0d.

£1,178

0s.

0d.

(S.A.R.).

(2)

Ministers:

10

Cadillac

£3,232

10s.

0d. each.

1

Cadillac

£3,232

10s.

0d. (S.A.R.).

1

Pontiac

£1,038

10s.

0d.

1

Cadillac

£3,239

0s.

0d.

1

Ford Galaxie

£1,095

17s.

3d.

8

Oldsmobile

£1,174

10s.

0d. each.

1

Oldsmobile

£1,178

0s.

0d. (S.A.R.).

5

Mercedes Benze

£989

10s.

0d. each.

Deputy Ministers:

4

Ford Galaxie

£1,095

17s.

3d. each.

  1. (3) Yes.
    1. (a) (i) Four.
    2. (ii) Nil
  2. (b) Cadillac approximately £3,369 each.
  3. (4) (a) Yes.
  4. (b) Yes, for conveyance of V.I.P’s.

(i)

Three.

(ii)

£320, £40 and £300 respectively.

(iii)

1952 Cadillac: reading: 75,546.

Speedometer

1954 Chrysler: reading: 62,522.

Speedometer

1954 Chrysler: reading: 93,258.

Speedometer

Amount Spent on University College, Western Cape *XVI. Mr. WILLIAMS

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science;

  1. (1) What is (a) the total amount spent to date on establishing the University College, Western Cape, and (b) the estimated capital amount required to complete the college;
  2. (2) (a) what is the annual cost of running and maintaining the college and (b) what sum is received annually (i) in fees and (ii) from other non-Government sources; and
  3. (3) (a) what faculties have been established at the college and (b) how many students have enrolled in each faculty to date.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE:
  1. (1)
    1. (a) £77,065 according to provisional, unaudited accounts;
    2. (b) the buildings are still in the planning stage and it is therefore not possible to estimate the cost for their completion.
  2. (2)
    1. (a) £39,890 for 1960 and the estimate for 1961 is £103,000; it is impossible to give an indication of this cost for the future, since it will vary from year to year according to the growth of the college;
    2. (b) (i) £4,010 in 1960;
      1. (ii) none.
  3. (3) (a) and (b) Arts, with 40 students in 1960 and 77 for 1961; Science, with 67 students in 1960 and 85 for 1961; and Education, with 49 students in 1960 and 101 for 1961.
Amounts Spent on University College for Indians *XVII. Mr. WILLIAMS

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science:

  1. (1) What is (a) the total amount spent to date on establishing the University College for Indians, Durban, and (b) the estimated capital amount required to complete the college;
  2. (2) (a) what is the estimated annual cost of running and maintaining the college and (b) what amount has been received to date (i) in fees and (ii) from other non-Government sources; and
  3. (3) (a) what faculties have been established at the college and (b) how many students have enrolled in each faculty to date.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE:
  1. (1)
    1. (a) £500; and
    2. (b) impossible to determine the amount before the architects’ plans have been drawn and building costs calculated.
  2. (2)
    1. (a) The estimated cost for 1961 is £95,000. It is impossible at this stage to give an estimate of the annual cost after 1961, since no one can foresee to what extent the number of students will increase, and the concomitant extensions;
    2. (b)
      1. (i) none, since first registration of students takes place from 20 to 28 February; and
      2. (ii) none.
  3. (3)
    1. (a) Arts, Science, Commerce and Education; and
    2. (b) falls away.
*XVIII. Mr. WILLIAMS

—Reply standing over.

Distribution of “Curtain up on South Africa” *XIX. Mr. EGLIN asked the Minister of External Affairs:
  1. (1) Whether the South African Information Service has acquired any copies of the book “Curtain up on South Africa”; if so, (a) how many copies and (b) at what total cost;
  2. (2) whether the Information Service has distributed any copies among persons or organizations outside the Union; if so, (a) in what countries and (b) how many copies in each country; and
  3. (3) whether these books are distributed free of charge.
The MINISTER OF LANDS:
  1. (1) Yes.
    1. (a) 3,243 copies.
    2. (b) £2,999 15s. 6d.
  2. (2) Yes.
    1. (a) and (b)

Australia

100

Belgium

30

Kenya

55

Canada

210

Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland

55

France

25

Germany

50

Italy

15

Netherlands

30

Portugal

10

Switzerland

70

United Kingdom

1,200

U.S.A.

1,250

  1. (3) Yes.
Hurricane Damage at Shaka’s Kraal *XX. Mr. R. A. F. SWART

asked the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions:

  1. (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to reports of a hurricane which struck the village of Shaka’s Kraal in Natal on Saturday, 28 January;
  2. (2) whether the Government has received any reports of injuries to persons and damage to property; if so, what reports; and
  3. (3) whether steps will be taken to provide compensation through the Tornado Relief Fund or other sources; if not, why not.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:
  1. (1) Yes.
  2. (2) The Regional Officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Pensions at Durban investigated the matter. No cases of injury to persons came to his notice. He found that the roofs of the Government-aided Indian school, an hotel and a butchery were damaged and that the roofs of a few private houses were slightly damaged.
  3. (3) The damage to private property was so slight that sympathy was not aroused to such an extent that financial contributions were made by the public. The National Relief Fund is therefore not authorized in terms of its constitution to assist the persons who have suffered damage.
Benefits Paid Under Unemployment Insurance Act *XXI. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Labour:

  1. (1) How many persons received (a) ordinary benefits, (b) illness allowances and (c) maternity benefits in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Act on 31 December 1959 and 1960, respectively; and
  2. (2) in respect of how many days in each of these years were benefits paid.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR:
  1. (1) It is not possible to give the information desired as benefits are paid weekly, not daily, and never on a Saturday, the day upon which 31 December 1960, fell.
    • The numbers of persons who received benefits during the years 1959 and 1960, respectively, are as follows:

1959

1960

(a) Ordinary benefits

90,237

93,094

(b) Illness allowances

22,274

23,736

(c) Maternity benefits

22,364

22,702

  1. (2)

1959

1960

Ordinary benefits

7,024,028

7,055,410

Illness allowances

2,201,099

2,460,544

Maternity benefits

2,547,548

2,576,470

Accident at Manors Railway Crossing *XXII. Mr. HOPEWELL

asked the Minister of Transport:

  1. (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a Press report of an accident at the Manors railway crossing; and
  2. (2) whether any steps are being taken to in crease the safety of the crossing for the public; if so, what steps.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:
  1. (1) Yes.
  2. (2) No. The crossing is provided with standard level-crossing warning signs and whilst the provision of flash-lights has been considered, the traffic passing over this crossing does not justify such additional protection.
Erection of Public Offices at Estcourt *XXIII: Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK

asked the Minister of Public Works:

  1. (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to the unsatisfactory condition of the court room and office buildings used by the Department of Bantu Administration and Development at Estcourt; and
  2. (2) whether new buildings are to be erected to replace the court room and offices; if so, (a) when will building operations begin and (b) what is the estimated date of competition.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS:
  1. (1) As the present accommodation is inadequate temporary relief is being afforded by the erection of a temporary court room whilst the existing buildings are being repaired and renovated.
  2. (2) A sum of £90,000 has already been voted by Parliament for the erection of Public Offices at Estcourt which will also house the Department of Bantu Administration and Development;
    1. (a) if nothing unforeseen occurs building operations will commence in the first half of 1962; and
    2. (b) the building is expected to be completed by the end of 1963.
*XXIV. Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

  1. (1) (a) When were the court room and office buildings used by his Department at Estcourt erected and (b) what is the nature of these buildings;
    • and
  2. (2) whether he has made any representations to the Department of Public Works in connection with these buildings; and, if not, why not.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:
  1. (1) (a) 1948.
    1. (b) Military huts.
  2. (2) Yes, my Department did.
Facilities for Offloading Perishables in Durban *XXV. Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK

asked the Minister of Transport:

  1. (1) (a) What rail facilities are there at the Durban market for offloading perishables and (b) when were these facilities installed;
  2. (2) whether any representations have been made to him for the improvement of these facilities; if so, (a) by whom and (b) on what dates;
  3. (3) whether the facilities have been found adequate; and, if not
  4. (4) whether any steps are being taken to provide adequate offloading facilities; if so, what steps.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:
  1. (1) (a) A private siding (No. 527), owned by the Durban Corporation and consisting of one dead-end line adjacent to the offloading platform, which has a staging capacity of 36 short trucks, a staging loop line with capacity for 30 short trucks and a service road for shunting operations; thus total staging accommodation for 66 short trucks at a time.
    1. (b) 1 October 1935.
  2. (2) No.
    1. (a) and (b) Fall away.
  3. (3) The market siding facilities which, as stated, are the private property of the Durban Corporation, have been found inadequate.
  4. (4) Not by the Administration, which is not concerned, but it is understood that the Durban Corporation is investigating the matter.
*XXVI. Mr. LAWRENCE

—Reply standing over.

Visa Refused to Bantu Journalist *XXVII. Mrs. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of the Interior:

Whether a Bantu journalist, who received a scholarship to a University in the United States, was refused a visa to that country; and, if so, why.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR:

Yes. It is not considered to be in the public interest to disclose the reasons why applications for South African passports are refused.

Europeans Detained Under Emergency Regulations

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE replied to Question No. *XXVI by Mr. Lawrence, standing over from 27 January:

Question:
  1. (1) How many Europeans (a) men and (b) women were detained under the emergency regulations in the Cape, the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and Natal, respectively, during the statutory state of emergency last year;
  2. (2) whether any of these detainees were charged with specific offences before the established courts; if so, (a) how many (i) men and (ii) women were so charged and (b) how many were convicted.
Reply:
  1. (1) (a) Cape 22; Transvaal 35; Orange Free State 0; Natal 6.
    1. (b) Cape 13; Transvaal 22; Orange Free State 0; Natal 0.
  2. (2) Yes.
    1. (a) (i) 3; (ii) 1.
    2. (b) None.
Non-Europeans Detained Under Emergency Regulations

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE replied to Question No. *XXVII, by Mr. Lawrence, standing over from 27 January:

Question:
  1. (1) How many (a) Coloured, (b) Bantu and (c) Asiatic men and women were detained under the respective provisions of the emergency regulations during the statutory state of emergency last year in the Cape Province, Transvaal, Orange Free State and Natal, respectively; and
  2. (2) whether any such detainees were charged in public before the established courts of the land with specific offences not relating to pass laws and employment; if so, (a) how many (i) men and (ii) women detainees were so charged and (b) how many were convicted.
Reply:

(1)

(a)

Coloureds

Bantu

Asiatics

Cape Province

31

4,714

10

Transvaal

5

5,468

27

Orange Free State

243

Natal

854

53

  1. (2) Yes. (a) (i) 301; (ii) 19. (b) 136 men and 16 women.
Railways: Erection of Station at Durban Postponed

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT replied to Question No. *XXV, by Mr. Butcher, standing over from 31 January:

Question:
  1. (1) When is it proposed to start with (a) the building of new Railway workshops at the Bayhead, Durban, and (b) the removal of the existing workshops in order to make way for the contemplated rebuilding of Durban Station;
  2. (2) when is it expected that work on the new station will (a) commence and (b) be completed; and
  3. (3) whether in the meantime he will take steps to improve (a) the facilities for passengers and (b) the working conditions of members of the station staff; if so, what steps?
Reply:
  1. (1) and (2) The provision of a new station at Durban is contingent upon the removal of the mechanical workshops to Rossburgh (Bayhead), but as the general policy regarding departmental workshops is at present uncertain, no indication can be given at this juncture when the transfer will be effected. The construction of the new Durban station is, therefore, unlikely to be undertaken in the foreseeable future.
    • During 1950 an agreement was reached with the Durban City Council regarding the siting of the proposed new station, and a plan indicating the proposed layout of the station and adjacent government and municipal buildings was approved by all concerned.
    • A departmental committee of investigation into the economic or other justification for major new works (1950-1) recommended that, in view of the very high cost of new station layouts at ruling prices, as well as the fact that it was possible to make certain temporary additions at reasonable cost, the final scheme for the new station at Durban should be left in abeyance until prices became more stable.
  2. (3) Yes; but no major improvements to the existing station are contemplated. Consideration is at present being given to certain improvement proposals which it is hoped will be incorporated in the Estimates for Capital and Betterment Works for 1962-3.
Mr. BUTCHER:

Arising from the hon. Minister’s reply, may I ask whether in view of the fact that nine years have elapsed since the issue of that report, which I understand was never tabled in this House, the hon. Minister will appoint a committee to re-investigate this question of the building of new workshops at the Bayhead and the economic justification of the building of such workshops.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

It is not only a question of economic justification, but whether it is desirable that the new workshops should be built at this stage, and at the present time it is not considered desirable.

Escapes from Prisons

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE replied to Question No. *XXXIII, by Dr. Fisher, standing over from 31 January.

Question:
  1. (1) (a) From which gaols, police stations and hospitals did prisoners escape during 1960 and (b) how many (i) White, (ii) Coloured and (iii) Bantu prisoners escaped from each institution; and
  2. (2) whether any special steps have been taken to prevent the escape of prisoners; if so, what steps.
Reply:
  1. (1) (a), (b) (i), (ii) and (iii).

Owing to the enormous amount of work, time and expense that will be involved in obtaining particulars in regard to the number of escapes from police stations, it is regretted that the information cannot be furnished.

As far as prisons are concerned, the reply is as follows:

Escape from prisons

White

Coloured

Bantu

Bloemfontein

8

Harrismith

2

Kroonstad

1

Parys

2

Wepener

2

Stoffberg

1

6

Aliwal North

1

Barkly West

1

Caledon

2

Cape Town

4

East London

1

Fort Beaufort

1

George

2

Jansenville

1

1

Knysna

4

1

Port Elizabeth

4

3

Willowvale

1

Worcester

4

Klein Drakenstein

1

Pollsmoor

2

Simondium

1

Boksburg

3

2

Heidelberg

1

Johannesburg

2

3

Klerksdorp

1

Krugersdorp

2

Louis Trichardt

4

Pietersburg

2

1

Vereeniging

2

Volksrust

9

Baviaanspoort

2

2

Zonderwater

2

Witbank

1

Rysmierbult

2

3

Modderbee

12

Bulwer

1

Camperdown

1

Durban

2

Ixopo

1

Newcastle

1

4

Nqutu

2

Richmond (Natal)

1

Utrecht

1

Verulam

1

Weenen

7

Point Prison

6

24

23

92

Escapes from hospitals

Bethlehem

1

Bloemfontein

1

Kroonstad

1

Port Elizabeth

3

3

Johannesburg

5

Pretoria–

1

3

Zonderwater (Hospital for T.B. Patients)

5

Boksburg-Benoni

1

2

Durban

5

Eshowe

1

1

4

27

  1. (2) Yes. New prison buildings are being built to replace old and inadequate institutions and security measures at existing establishments are being improved.

For written reply:

Industries Working Short Time I. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Labour:

Whether any (a) clothing, (b) engineering and (c) other manufacturing firms on the Witwatersrand are at present working short time; and, if so, (i) how many in each case and (ii) what is the number of workers involved in each case.

The MINISTER OF LABOUR:
  1. (a) Seventeen manufacturing firms in the clothing industry are at present working short time and 71 workers are involved.
  2. (b) In so far as manufacturing firms in the engineering industry are concerned, the industrial council concerned estimates that any short time being worked at present and the number of workers involved, must be very small.
  3. (c) There are a few firms in the bespoke tailoring industry who are not working full time. One manufacturing firm in millinery industry is working short time and 14 workers are involved. Short time is also being worked in the canvas and allied industries. It has not been possible to ascertain how many firms and workers are involved, but the figures are estimated as negligible. Three manufacturing firms are working short time in the leather industry and about 100 workers are involved.
Directors of National Financial Corporation II. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Finance:

  1. (1) (a) What are the names of the directors of the National Finance Corporation,
    1. (b) (i) when and (ii) for what period was each one appointed, and
    2. (c) what fees and other emoluments do they receive; and
  2. (2) whether he is in a position to state whether any of them are also directors of public companies; if so, of what companies.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE:
  1. (1) (a) Woodhead, T. T.; Hagart, R. B.; Davies, A. A. Q.; Lindsay, G. K.; Botha, L. J.; Anderson, P. H.; Greenlees, H. C.; Morrison, J.; de Kock, M. H.; Louw, M. S.; Straiten, T. P.; Browne, G. W. G.
    1. (b) (i) and (ii) Woodhead, T. T., Hagart, R. B., Davies, A. A. Q., Lindsay, G. K., appointed from 1 September 1960, for three years;
      • Botha, L. J., Anderson, P. H., Greenless, H. C., Morrison, J., appointed from 1 September 1959, for three years;
      • de Kock, M. H., Louw, M. S., Stratten, T. P., appointed from 1 September 1958 for three years; and
      • Browne, G. W. G., appointed from 1 September 1960 for an indefinite period.
    2. (c) Chairman receives emolument of £1,000 per annum and each of the other directors £500 per annum.
  2. (2) It is known that some of the above directors are also directors of public companies, but complete and reliable information in this connection is not available.
Report on Compulsory Annual Leave III. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Labour:

Whether the inquiry referred to by him on 10 March 1959 into the possibility of making annual leave for office workers in commercial establishments compulsory, has been completed; and, if so, what is the result.

The MINISTER OF LABOUR:

The inquiry has been completed and the information received is at present being studied.

MARRIAGE BILL The DEPUTY MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR:

I move—

That, notwithstanding that a periodical election of the Senate has taken place since the last session of Parliament, the Marriage Bill [A.B. 42—'60] which lapsed at the end of that session by reason of the prorogation of Parliament, be proceeded with in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 186 during the present Session from the stage reached last session.
Mr. J. E. POTGIETER:

I second.

Agreed to.

House to go into Committee on the Bill on 6 February.

FERTILITY OF ARABLE LAND *Mr. WENTZEL:

I move—

That this House expresses its appreciation to the Government for the measures it has already taken to combat the decline in the fertility of the country’s arable land and further requests the Government to consider the advisability of further extending its research and technical services as well as other means of assistance in this connection.

As hon. members will notice, I commence my motion by thanking the Government for the service it has rendered in this regard. Allow me to state immediately that it was in the 1930s under the Hertzog régime that it was brought pertinently to the attention of the Government of the day that this matter should receive attention and the first funds were devoted to this great problem facing South Africa. Later, in 1946, under the United Party régime, the Soil Conservation Act was passed, for which I want to thank them particularly. But only when the National Party came into power were large sums of money expended on soil conservation and on counteracting the deterioration of the position in our fatherland. I think we owe a particular debt of gratitude for these large sums of money which have been spent over the past ten or 12 years in connection with soil conservation.

Mr. Sneaker, we have a big country, covering nearly 500,000 sq. miles—472,000 sq. miles to be exact. We not only have a big country, but we have a particularly rich country as far as minerals are concerned. In the case of diamonds, for example, it, is almost exactly 100 years ago that diamonds were discovered and they are still being exploited, although there has perhaps been a slight deterioration because while at one time we were the largest diamond producer in the world, we have slipped back slightly. It is not so much that our production has declined, but that the production of other countries has increased. In the case of gold, it is also nearly 100 years ago that the first gold was mined and new discoveries are still taking place to-day. If someone had said 30 years ago that our country was going to develop to the stage it has reached to-day, into an important industrial country, he would have been told that he was slightly mad. It is clear to-day that South Africa stands on the threshold of a period of great development. In addition we have a lovely fatherland with magnificent scenery. But unfortunately, and this was to be expected, we have not been given everything. As far as the fertility of our soil is concerned, our country is not as rich as she is in minerals. As far as that aspect is concerned, we have the unfortunate position that South Africa does not enjoy a high rainfall. It is also noticeable that high rainfall is found to a greater extent in the high-lying parts of our country. According to the statistics, we have 6,501 sq. miles with an annual rainfall of less than five inches; 178,250 sq. miles with a rainfall of between 5.1 inches and 15 inches; 170,000 sq. miles with between 15 inches and 25 inches; 93,000 sq. miles with between 25 and 35 inches; 664 sq. miles with between 35 and 40 inches, and 647 sq. miles with more than 58 inches of rain per annum. Hon. members will also find that most of the high rainfall areas are to be found in the high-lying areas. By far the greatest part of our country has a low rainfall and only a small area has a high rainfall. As I have already said, the areas which do have a high rainfall are the high-lying areas of our country which makes our country so much more vulnerable to soil erosion and the exhaustion of our soil. The result is already clearly noticeable in the erosion which is taking place in various high rainfall areas. When we examine the position in the west and we see how rapidly the high-lying areas of our country are becoming eroded, the position is most disturbing. In addition it so happens, and very fortunate it is too, that we have very strong sunshine accompanied by a high rate of evaporation. The sun which brings life also has a detrimental effect on our soil because there is a very high rate of evaporation. The sun which brings life, at the same time brings destruction when the soil is exposed. It is the sun which causes weathering. When the sun shines down on the exposed earth all day long, the land becomes a desert but when there is vegetation, the sun gives protection and life. When the soil is exposed, the land is placed in a very dangerous position. After it had been formed over many years and centuries we as farmers received our soil in its virgin condition. The fertility of the soil had been built up over the centuries. But as has happened everywhere in the world, from the time that man first established himself on the land, he started with his work of destruction. As far as farming is concerned, we have now reached the third stage. In the first stage the farmer did not do so much damage because the farmers of those days I do not want to discuss at this stage the circumstances under which they lived—were to a large extent merely self-supporting. They only tried to meet their daily needs, to provide everything they themselves required. But even at that time man began with his first work of destruction, for example by fire. In these high-lying areas where he burned the veld and the shrubs the natural protection of the soil was destroyed. This caused debris (opdrifsels) which prevent the water from draining away. This burning away of the natural vegetation was the first step towards destroying the soil In the second stage of farming in South Africa the farmers were encouraged to produce for foreign markets. During that period the farmer began to plough his land and to produce on a large scale for the world markets This development collapsed in the 1930s during the world depression. But the farmers then started to destroy our soil on a larger scale. From then on, with the increase in our population, with the development which has taken place in the spheres of mining and industry, the pace has accelerated. I think I am right in saying that we have to feed approximately 15,000,000 people in our country to-day and it is clear in view of our rapid development that in the near future we shall have to feed from 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 people in South Africa.

This development was slow in starting originally and it took nearly 200 years before the first bale of wool was exported from South Africa. But thereafter, particularly once the mines had started, the development took place at a very rapid rate and as it accelerated, our needs increased. It is clear that as a result we have made ever-increasing demands on the soil of South Africa. Just to quote what one authority thinks of the position we have already reached, I want to read from Part I of the “Farmers’ Handbook” which has just been issued. It says: “Since 1914 more than one-quarter of the original fertility reserves of the Union have been destroyed by soil erosion.” Mr. Speaker, if at this stage in our development we find that one-quarter of the reserves which had been built up over the centuries have already been exhausted, then South Africa is in a most dangerous position as far as her soil is concerned. After all it is clear that for the sake of its future any nation must protect its soil most jealously. During this period we have taken various steps. If we want to follow a stable agricultural policy, the protection of our soil must be approached in two ways. There are two aspects which threaten the implementation of such a stable policy. The first aspect is one to which we have given attention especially in recent times, namely the detrimental effects of fires, the destruction of our soil by fires, followed by over-grazing and the mismanagement of the I think that considerably aspect of our lands. But I think that considerably less attention has been paid to the second aspect, although I admit with gratitude that some consideration has in fact been given to it. As far as the first aspect is concerned, I trust that the hon the Minister will be able to tell us to what extent we have, in his opinion, already succeeded in protecting our soil. Great strides have been made; tremendous expenditure has been incurred, but as far as that aspect is concerned we are not interested in expenditure; not that it is of no account, but what we are interested in is the results which have been achieved, to what extent we have succeeded, with the assistance of the funds which have been spent in halting the tremendous incidence of soil erosion. As Dr. Ross says, more than 300,000,000 tons of soil flow to the sea annually. I accept that the Minister will not be prepared to say at this stage what the position is exactly, because I know that many districts have only been proclaimed in recent years and that there are still districts which have not yet been proclaimed. However, he can surely give us some indication of what the position is, bearing in mind that many of the districts have already been receiving attention for more than ten years. He can also tell us whether he considers that he has made any progress towards solving the problem in those areas, and whether he will be able in the future to take steps to solve this tremendous problem facing South Africa. I must say that the handbook is not very optimistic about this matter. It says—

Despite the drastic measures which have been taken in recent years to counter this problem, soil erosion is still triumphant throughout the country and it is in fact increasing in extent. It is rightly regarded as the most serious threat to the future welfare of the Union and the task of bringing it fully under control will constitute a drawn-out difficult and expensive undertaking.

In other words, and we agree entirely, the longer we fail to take measures to solve this problem, the more difficult the position will become. We must reach the stage where we can say that the position is no longer deteriorating, but once that position is reached, it is clear that it will still cost South Africa enormous sums of money to solve this problem finally. But whatever it may cost, we must tackle this problem unless South Africa is simply to be allowed to turn into a desert. We must decide whether South Africa is simply to be allowed to deteriorate into a desert, or whether she wishes to save herself.

But I now turn to the second aspect, the aspect which has received less attention, namely the exhaustion of our arable land as a result of the protracted cultivation of that land without attention being paid to the fertility and the stability of the structure of the soil. Mr. Speaker, combating this deterioration has also become a very serious problem already. I just want to quote the remarks recently made by Mr. Robertson, Director of the Veld Trust, as a result of which an article appeared in the Transvaler reading as follows—

When he referred in a radio talk during the past week-end to the successes achieved in connection with soil conservation, the Director of the Veld Trust, Mr. Robertson, also mentioned another problem which has by no means been overcome yet. The lost fertility of our soil has not yet been restored, even if the process of erosion has already been halted to an encouraging degree, and an increasing population will make ever greater demands on an impoverished soil.

While we are faced with such a tremendous surface area and by the methods which our farmers often use, we are continuing to expose our soil and this is going on year after year. The Department’s Report states that 86 per cent of our land in the High Veld areas has already been under the plough for more than 25 years. That soil is being exposed to a tremendous rate of evaporation. At the outset I referred to the effect of evaporation on our soil. Professor Leppan says that in Johannesburg, which he takes as an example, evaporation in the case of open water exceeds 73 inches, that is to say, it is 2.3 times our rainfall. And in other areas it is still greater.

At this stage we therefore ask for the following three things. Firstly we ask that a thorough investigation should be instituted, that a soil survey should be undertaken, and that research should be expedited and extended. This is urgently necessary. Before discussing this aspect further, I want to say that some attention has been given to the matter recently. I am thinking for example of the grass ley crops. This scheme has been put into operation for an experimental period of three years. Many farmers are making use of this scheme with Government subsidies, and many farmers are also doing so without Government subsidies. But it is clear, even on the basis of the departmental reports, that we shall have to go much further than merely introducing these grass ley crops. They say that it will now have to be decided what is to be done. I hope the hon. the Minister will be able to tell us what success has been achieved with this scheme. It seems clear to me that to date the scheme has not been a complete success in all the various areas but it is also clear that in many cases it has built up the soil, even as regards grazing. But it is also clear from the reports that these grass ley crops can only improve the fertility of the soil up to a certain point, and that they cannot take it any further. I hope that the Minister will extend this aspect of the work, and that he will not only use specific types of grass, but that the scheme can be extended to other types of grass because it is clear that we are beginning to cover our soil to a greater extent than in the past. It is also clear that at this stage the grass ley crops involve extremely heavy expenditure. As a fodder this type of grass is often so expensive that the farmer finds it easier to buy the fodder rather than plant the grass ley crop and use it for grazing. Furthermore, it is difficult, particularly for the smaller farmer, to make use of this scheme and in many cases it is unpractical for him to do so because he is faced with financial difficulties. Because it is clear that if a farmer owns less than 200 morgen, he cannot put from an eighth to a quarter of his land under grass ley crops. I say this with particular reference to the report of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing which points out that it is especially the younger farmer to-day who is in a difficult position. The report states that it also appears that the younger farmers, namely the age group below 40 years, have proportionately by far the heaviest debt burden. In the eastern Free State districts approximately one-third of the farmers do not have any debts at all, and the average debt burden of the farmers amounts to £6.8 per morgan. This type of young farmer whom we should like to help, will find it unpractical to allow such a large proportion of his land to lie fallow for three to four years. What we ask in the first place—right now—is that proper research into our soil should be expedited. A full survey of South Africa’s soil has not yet been undertaken. We must undertake a survey and we hope that the hon. the Minister will be able to tell us to-day that he will expedite this matter so that a proper survey of the whole country can be undertaken. The aim is not merely to determine the various types of soil although that is important. I understand that we have approximately 24 different types of soil. But this survey is also necessary to determine the depth and the ability of the soil to retain humidity, a factor which is determined particularly by the depth of the soil. It is essential, particularly at this stage, that the farmers should be fully informed in this regard and that the Government and the Department should be fully informed, so that they can make the necessary recommendations to the farmers. It is also necessary that these extension and technical services should be extended.

Mr. Speaker, to-day we are using fertilizers on a large scale. Their use is increasing continuously and the farmers are using more fertilizer every year. But are the fertilizer mixtures which are being used to-day the correct ones? Can the Department, without undertaking a proper soil survey, tell us what type of fertilizer we should use? I find in the report of the Department for 1957 that during that year 962,000 tons of fertilizer to the value of £20,000,000 were used. Of that total 572,000 tons were phosphate fertilizers while 318,000 tons were fertilizer mixtures. Let us just refer for a moment to the Department’s latest report—

The heavy application of super-phosphate over long periods …

This is the finding of the Department in its report for 1957—

… is detrimental to citrus orchards.

Just the one. Then the report discusses mixtures in connection with certain regions, and states that most mixtures contain potash and nitrogen. The report then says that in Natal potash was of some value “but that in other regions the application of potash mixtures is not economically justifiable”. We can now make this inference. Farmers are buying fertilizer mixtures to-day which they are using on a large scale and most of these mixtures do not yield the necessary return. They are actually a waste of money and are destroying our soil.

The third matter to which we ask the Government to give particular attention, is the credit-system—short-term, intermediate and long-term. This was also one of the recommendations of the commission which investigated the depopulation of the platteland. It is clear that under present circumstances the farmer must on occasion look to his immediate future, as the Government also has to do. A farmer draws up his budget and he finds that he has an expenditure of £2,000. He then begins considering where he can economize, as the Government also does with its budget. The Government pares its budget, and like the farmers, it looks to the immediate benefits which it can derive. We know that there has been tremendous development in South Africa which has also involved the farmer in extremely heavy expenditure. For that reason the farmer must consider how he can produce the biggest possible crop in the coming year. The costs of production are so tremendously high under present circumstances that often we cannot blame him: In addition, we often find the phenomenon which was evident during that first period when the farmer burned his veld because he thought only of the immediate advantage. The farmers wanted fresh juicy grazing for their sheep and cattle, without thinking ahead about the consequences which that practice would have over a long period. But to-day to an even greater extent we have reached the position where the farmer is faced with tremendous expenditure and heavy expense in his own personal life. The farmer has children; the schools have been taken away and the children must be placed in hostels; and he must pay their bills. He must consider which accounts it is the most absolutely essential that he should pay. He must have fuel. This is his primary requirement because without fuel he cannot plough. In other words, we cannot even blame him if he does what is often done, as I admit with all due respect to our farmers. They are forced to do so by circumstances. If he can obtain a fertilizer loan and not a fuel loan, he is faced with this problem: He can give his soil fertilizer but how can he plough? Through his co-operative society, he receives a Land Bank loan for the purchase of fertilizer, but he does not have fuel. He does not have available the other short-term methods of financing. What is he to do? Mr. Speaker, are we to blame him if he sells even part of that fertilizer so that he can buy fuel? He is dependent on his crop and for that reason he must in the first place have fuel. I therefore hope that the hon. the Minister will tell us what the position is as regards the commission of inquiry into credit facilities, and what stage the inquiry has reached. I am thankful for the interest and attention which has been devoted to this matter, and for the fact that our credit system—short-term, long-term and other —has now reached the stage where it can be placed on a sound basis.

Mr. Speaker, there is in addition an even greater requirement if we wish to restore the fertility of our soil. We have reached the stage where, just as we did in the case of soil erosion, we must draw up plans, of which the grass ley scheme perhaps represents the first step, but it is not successful enough. We have reached the stage where we shall have to give further attention to this scheme with a view to also subsidizing it on a basis similar to that adopted in the case of soil erosion. By that I do not mean that we should do so by including the subsidy in the price calculations, because that would be wrong. I mean that we should do so on the basis that we are convinced that the farmer will really be able to use the system for improving the structure of his soil and that he will genuinely spend the money for that purpose. But if we want to tackle the problem as it exists to-day, then we must, to a greater extent than we have done hitherto, devise plans and use methods which have not been used hitherto. When we consider the detrimental effects of soil erosion on our soil, if we accept that this process is economically unsound and ruinous, if we accept that principle and when we consider how methods are being used which further soil erosion and the exhaustion of the soil, we shall condemn our farmers in doing so or we can try to justify their actions, but the problem remains and the destruction of the soil of South Africa continues. When we see this position, we as the Government and the state are obliged to take action. The Government is the trustee of our soil during the period in which we live, and it is clear that if the measures we have taken hitherto are inadequate, if they do not half the deterioration of our soil—no matter what these measures may have been, no matter how well-intentioned they may have been— then we must stop for a moment and consider to what extent we have succeeded. To what extent have we solved this problem? Is the problem such that we can combat it? If we are convinced that we cannot combat this problem, either by the one method I have mentioned or any other, or on any basis, it is clear that we shall have to go still further. We shall have to take further steps, steps on which we can rely to place us in such a position in the future that we can at least consider that we have stopped the problem becoming any worse. Then we can go further. But we must first make sure that we have halted the deterioration of our soil, and then we can proceed with its rehabilitation.

That is the first point on which we base our plea. Mr. Speaker, whatever steps have been taken—we are thankful for what this Minister and previous Governments have done—we are particularly thankful that at this stage the exhaustion of our soil in particular is receiving attention and that the necessary steps have already to a certain extent been taken. We are convinced that we shall take these three possible solutions further. As Dr. Bennett said during his visit—and I think we accept this—the position is as follows—

A prosperous and stable agricultural industry depends entirely on sufficient productive land which is being used properly and protected in such a way that it will remain fertile permanently. Without this firm foundation there cannot be any real hope of having a permanently successful agricultural industry in any area. And without this foundation there can be no guarantee of economic stability and social progress, nor any certainty of adequate food, prosperity, happiness or peace anywhere on earth.

Then Dr. Bennett went on to say this about South Africa after that visit—

South Africa is drying up on a large scale.

This is the problem with which we are faced and with which we were faced during his visit. We have now been struggling for years, and have we succeeded in our efforts? According to the “Farmer’s Handbook” it does not seem as if we have made much progress. Have we succeeded in halting the drying up of our land. Well, Mr. Speaker, if that is so, what are we going to do? The question facing us at this stage is: In what condition will we leave the soil of South Africa to our children, and will they be able to exist on soil which we have robbed of all its fertility and vitality? I have every confidence in the Minister and the Department, and I conclude my speech in the full confidence that as far as this matter is concerned it will receive their serious attention in the future. I want to make one request. We farmers are often accused of economizing unwisely, without thinking of the future. The State is dealing with developed people and with problems. When the State tackles this problem, it must not economize on the necessary expenditure. We must not take into account the problems of lesser importance facing us in the immediate future. If we require funds for research in order to investigate these problems adequately and to make the necessary information available to the farmers, those funds must be made available. Do not let us hesitate to do so. There are fertilizer parasites and implement parasites travelling around selling unpractical fertilizers and implements to the farmer. We must draw up our tests on such a basis that we can say that certain specific implements can really be used in practice and we shall then cease spending millions of pounds on unpractical implements which lie on the lands and the yards of our farms. They are useless. We shall cease this large-scale use of unpractical fertilizers which to a large extent represent a waste of money. Then we shall cease wasting money in this way and we shall cease applying the wrong fertilizers to our soil. In that confidence I submit this motion to-day to the House. I hope that it will be accepted on all sides in that spirit, and that we shall tackle this problem facing us to-day without any political considerations coming into the picture.

*Mr. KEYTER:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to second this motion by the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel). He has worded his motion very widely and has explained it very fully. He has covered practically the whole of South Africa and not much remains for us to say. But I should just like to enlarge on one or two points. I know that in recent years the Minister and his Department have done a great deal and that large sums have been spent to further soil conservation, and to try to restore the fertility of our soil. But, Mr. Speaker, far too little money has nevertheless been spent in that direction and too little has been done because too little money has been spent. To restore the fertility of our soil is certainly one of the great problems facing this country and as far as I am concerned it is firstly a question of retaining what we have and then regaining what has been lost. When we consider the position in the eastern Free State to which the hon. member has referred, then I know of land which has been ploughed for 70 and 80 years, and which is still being ploughed to-day. Sixty or 70 years ago the farmers used the following method to restore the fertility of the soil in those areas. New land was ploughed; mealies were sown on it. Nothing else was done—they simply sowed their crops and that was all. They used the land for two years in that way and then placed it under wheat. After it had been under wheat for some years, they would let it lie fallow because land was still plentiful. Farms were big. Consequently the soil regained its fertility over the years. The position to-day is quite different. The farms have become very small. That method can no longer be used to-day and consequently other methods must be applied. Because the farms have become small as a result of the land hunger and high prices, the young beginner cannot buy a large farm and he has to cultivate every inch of available land to make a living. Consequently the only way in which he can do so is by the application of fertilizers. As the hon. member for Christiana has already said, confusion prevails amongst the farmers as to what type of fertilizer should be used. The Department supplies information, but then the fertilizer company representatives come and tell quite a different story. They are also very ready to tell the farmer what mixtures he should use. We have reached the stage where the farmers are using these mixtures and they are going so far as to apply fertilizer before they have planted their mealies, and are applying nitrogen when the mealies are six or 12 inches high, and again when they are three feet high. In this way they are achieving tremendous yields. But, Mr. Speaker, how long can that method be used before the soil eventually becomes exhausted? Because fertilizer alone cannot restore the fertility of our soil. We shall have to find another method, and for that purpose the Department of Agricultural Technical Services requires very well-trained people who will not only work in this field for a short time. They will have to be set aside so that they can concentrate on this work alone, namely on the restoration of the fertility of our soil. The other services must continue as usual. I know that such a task is a long-term undertaking but we shall have to tackle it if we still want to feed the people of South Africa in 50 years’ time. We sometimes find that we are faced with a problem and that a temporary solution is provided. I know that at one time the farmers were experiencing great difficulties, and were told: You must reintroduce the stock factor in to your crop farming. The farmers tried this method and they went in for that type of farming on a large scale. But we now find that if the mealie farmer ploughs his mealie stalks into the soil and does not bring any stock onto his lands at all, it is better for his soil. It is better for him to plough his stalks into the soil and not bring any stock onto the land. He then achieves better results. The following question now arises—and we do not know the answer. We therefore say that the Department of Technical Services must undertake further research. In the long run will it be best to plough the stalks into the soil, or will it be best to make use of the stock factor? These are all problems with which the farmers are faced to-day. They are not certain. I know the Department is not certain either, and we should like sufficient funds to be made available to achieve that certainty. We have found that when fertilizer is applied on a large scale the soil eventually reacts. Eventually it becomes acid from all the fertilizer, and then we are told that we must now apply agricultural lime. The farmers use agricultural lime and it does correct the acidity to a certain extent, but it does not restore the fertility of the soil. I should like to add that the farmers, according to the hon. member for Christiana, are spending approximately £20,000,000 per annum on fertilizers. I wonder what return the farmers are actually getting from that £20,000,000. How much of that expenditure was unnecessary, how much do the plants absorb, and what happens to the other fertilizer because next year we have to apply fertilizer again? They say that 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the fertilizer is absorbed by the plant, but then the plant must be able to absorb 25 per cent in the following year again, and that is not so. We should like to know what happens to the other fertilizer which is applied to the soil.

How is the small farmer who buys land and has to pay a high price for it, ever going to pay for that land when he has to use these expensive fertilizers and meet the high costs with which he is faced in general? By the time he has paid for his land, if he ever does so, that soil is exhausted and he does not have any land which he in turn can hand over to his son for him to make a living. Mr. Speaker, we who come from the farms and who love our soil would like to see our sons in turn being able to make a living on that soil. We do not want them to be given exhausted farms on which they cannot make a living. For that reason it is necessary that the Minister and the Government should consider making additional funds available. We know they are doing what they can and they have already done a great deal, but it is not yet enough. If we wish to maintain ourselves as a nation, we must be prepared to make funds available for that purpose. It is not only in agricultural areas that we find this difficulty. We find people who say: “I have now applied fertilizer but the mealies are turning yellow.” Then the experts say that something has happened to the soil. Some say there is a shortage of zinc or that there is some other deficiency. But has the structure of the soil not been disturbed? But even in the stock farming areas, where grazing plays an important role, we find that to-day there are trace element deficiencies in the grazing which were previously unknown. I attribute this to the over grazing which is taking place generally. When there is over-grazing, we find that the best grass is usually eaten and disappears, and we find inferior grasses taking over the veld. The same applies to shrubs. We have now proclaimed many soil conservation areas and regulations are laid down in those areas, but the legislation is still being contravened on an extensive scale. The danger is that the people who contravene the Act are not punished. We shall have to take more stringent action against the people who are destroying the soil of South Africa by contravening the regulations under the Soil Conservation Act. In many areas one travels through the lands and one sees a wire fence. On one side of the fence there is magnificent veld and it looks as if there is no drought, but on the other side of the fence no animal can exist any longer and inferior grasses and shrubs are starting to grow. This is a crime which is being committed against the soil and we shall have to take action. Any soil which does not have a protective covering at all times, particularly during the rainy season and when the sun is very hot, will be destroyed. It is not only that evaporation takes place more rapidly, but when it rains, the soil cannot absorb the water because it runs away too quickly. But when the soil has a protective covering, we find that the farmers can go without rain for longer periods than is otherwise the case.

We have been told about the grass ley crops. Many experiments have been carried out. Unfortunately it has by no means been sufficiently tested as yet, but my experience has been that the grass ley system is a very expensive system and the farmer canot afford it. The Department must try to devise a cheaper system in order to restore the fertility of the soil. If the Government and the Minister cannot find more technicians to guide us along the right road as far as soil fertility is concerned, it will cost the country far more in the future because to-day every farmer has to undertake his own experiments and not all our farmers can do so. It will cost the country an enormous amount and it will mean the ruination of many of our farmers. For that reason it is economically sound that the Government should make large sums available for research in this direction. It will still be far cheaper for us to spend millions of pounds on this research, instead of the farmers perhaps having to spend £30,000,000 and being unable to tell us what they have learnt.

My experience is that when one s soil is so neglected that it becomes exhausted, it takes longer to restore the soil’s fertility than it took to destroy it. The reclamation period is longer than the period of destruction. We as producers are very grateful to the Government that it has at last begun to devote funds on a far larger scale than in the past to the restoration of the fertility of our soil and for providing guidance to our farmers, but I hope and trust that on the next Estimates we shall not take into account what advantage it will bring us to-morrow, but what advantage it will bring us over the next 50 years, and that a large nest-egg will be set aside for soil conservation.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to move the following amendment—

To omit all the words after “That” and to substitute “this House expresses its deep concern at the continuing low fertility and productivity of the country’s arable land and calls upon the Government forthwith to take all steps necessary in the field of research and in the provision of adequate technical services in order to restore, preserve and enhance the fertility of our land”.

Mr. Speaker, shortly after the last war I was travelling in a train. With me in the compartment was a German officer and jokingly I said to him: “You Germans have really caused many wars.” He replied: “No, you must not blame the Germans for that. Go to East Germany. Neither is it the East Germans who have caused these wars, but a grass called Seredella.” He said that in earlier times Prussia was one of the poorest countries in the world. They then discovered this wonder grass Seredella which enriched their soil and increased the soil’s carrying capacity. The Prussians became rich and later overran their neighbours and to-day they think they can conquer the whole world. I am mentioning this merely because it is an interesting story which has also had its repercussions amongst us in the Western Province because lupins were also introduced into the Western Province at about the time as Seredella came to us. Between the two, Seredella and lupins, they have not placed the Western Province in a position where she can make war on the Transvaal and the Free State, but they have helped greatly to improve our financial position.

To show how poor the South African soil is, it is interesting to examine the comparative figures issued by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations last year. We find that in the case of wheat, the yield in France is 2,080 kilograms per hectare. In Italy it is 2,030, in West Germany 2,830 and in Eastern Germany, where we find Seredella, 3,100. In the case of Russia the figure is 1,150, in England, 3,080 and in South Africa only 560. This shows that South Africa is producing 560 kilograms of wheat per hectare, while England is producing 3,080 kilograms.

*Mr. WENTZEL:

That does not prove that there has been deterioration.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

No, I am merely showing how poor our soil is. Production in South Africa is the lowest of all the countries I have mentioned. In the case of mealies the position is the same. In America with an area of 29,674,000 hectares their average production is 3,250 kilograms per hectare, as against South Africa’s 1,010. Such figures make us realize the tremendous backlog with which we are faced. [Interjections.] I do not know what those few hon. members are trying to say. What are they trying to prove? It is their own motion which asks the Government to help restore soil fertility. I am not criticizing anyone at this stage; that will come later. I am merely mentioning these facts to show that the fertility of our soil is low, and that our production is low.

What can we do to improve the fertility of our soil and to increase our production? Allow me to say at the outset that I think all South Africa is grateful to the small group of officials who are trying their best under very difficult circumstances to provide guidance to the farmers and to undertake research. But it is not only the officials but private companies as well who have helped in the field of research. I hope the Minister will tell me, but my information is that the fertilizer companies have employed private persons trained in agronomics to assist in farm planning, and that the State has asked that they should cease doing so because their activities overlap the work of the Department. I do not know why the Minister has done that, if it was done on his instructions, but what is true is that certain farmers who were fortunate enough to receive this assistance from private companies showed that this planning was completely successful. For many years there has been and there still is a shortage of officials, but I want to repeat that the small number of officials have done very good work.

But I think that the main cause of our difficulties is not so much attributable to the Minister of Technical Services, but to the fact that soil fertility is so closely linked with the prices received for the farmers’ products, and we have to admit that to a large extent this is an economic problem. I want to point out to the Minister that one of his own officials, Dr. J. C. Neethling, has said during this very year—

In analysing the modern state it is clear that any government, particularly a good and sensible government, concentrates in the first place on providing its citizens with sufficient food, with keeping them well clothed and providing the necessary housing … Throughout the world foodstuffs enjoy protection and in America, for example, where less than 10 per cent of the population are still farmers to-day, agricultural products are protected to such an extent, for example, by means of special prices, that tremendous surpluses have arisen simply as a result of the price policy.

He goes on to say that it is pointless telling the farmer that he should farm in accordance with a static system; as long as A and B earn more than C and D, he will do what A and B are doing. For so long as the farmers’ products earn such low prices, soil conservation and all the information which is being provided will not be of much avail.

At this stage I, as a farmer of the Western Province, should also like to express in public my appreciation and I think that of the whole Western Province, to a private person, Mr. Wagner, who is now deceased but who lived at Malmesbury and who, as a private individual, introduced lupins to South Africa and proved their value. Fortunately Malmesbury has not forgotten him and his memory is honoured there. Lupins have shown us in the Western Province what new methods and a more scientific method of farming can do. The sheep population of the Western Province to-day is practically the highest per morgen in the Union, and per morgen we are probably the biggest wool producers. This will give hon. members an idea of what research can do for the farmers. But at the same time we are worried to-day. The experts tell us that virus diseases can easily destroy the lupins and that this is already happening in certain areas. I should like to ask the Minister what research is being undertaken to provide another crop to replace lupins if the worst should happen to lupins. Is the Department for example undertaking research into vetches and what results have been achieved?

I then come to the second point, to which the previous speaker referred incorrectly, namely the question of fertilizers. Let there be no doubt that without fertilizer it will be simply impossible to restore the fertility of our soil. The mover of the motion has asked why I do not want to thank the Government. I shall now tell the House why. It is because this Government is the very Government which has treated us grain farmers in the Western Province, and also the mealie farmers who have to use fertilizer, in a way which we do not deserve. I want to tell the House what I mean. I must sell my products on the world market. In England the Government subsidizes the farmer by paying one-quarter to one-third of the selling price of fertilizer. This Minister gives us £1 per ton. What is the position? The British farmer pays £20 9s. 6d. per ton for sulphate of ammonia. In South Africa it costs £20 1s. 6d. But the British Government gives its farmers a subsidy of £9 9s., and the British farmers therefore only pay £11 0s. 6d. But the Minister gives me a subsidy of £1 and I have to pay £19 1s. 6d. It is well known that South Africa’s soil is particularly deficient in phosphates. In England the price of phosphates is £13 15s. per ton, with a subsidy of £6 9s., so the farmer pays £7 6s. In South Africa the price is lower. It costs £11 3s. 8d. but we are given a subsidy of £1, and our farmers pay therefore nearly £3 per ton more than the British farmer. This is bad enough, but this Government has now gone a little further. Two-thirds of the phosphates used in South Africa are imported and one-third is made locally by Foscor. By way of agreements or compulsion—I do not know how—this Government is now forcing the fertilizer companies to buy one-third of their phosphates from Foscor at £1 per ton more than the price at which they can import it. We are therefore subsidizing Foscor, and the Minister is not subsidizing us. The mover of the motion says that we are spending £20,000,000 on fertilizer, of which more than half is represented by phosphates. The Minister is asking the farmer to subsidize Foscor. That is what it amounts to. He is giving us £1 so that we can pay Foscor £1 more than the price for which we can buy fertilizer on the open market.

But that is not all. Take a very essential fertilizer, namely sulphate of ammonia. Sasol produces it to-day on a large scale. To keep Sasol going, the wheat farmer, the fruit farmer, the vegetable farmer and the mealie farmer to-day pay from £3 3s. to £4 per ton more because they are being forced to buy it from Sasol instead of importing it at the world price. I therefore cannot thank the Government when it is covertly using the farmer to subsidize Foscor and Sasol. I have no objection to the subsidies which are being paid to those two organizations, but I say that if they are a national necessity, then it is the duty of South Africa as a whole, and not merely of the farmer, to subsidize them. When we take £3 to £4 per ton for sulphate of ammonia, it represents a large amount, particularly when we bear in mind that this Government does not subsidize the farmer, as is apparently the position elsewhere in the world, on the basis of the quality and the nutritional value of the fertilizer he uses, but merely pays the subsidy per ton, whether it be good or bad. I wonder whether the Minister will not consider rather subsidizing the farmers on the basis of the quality of the fertilizer rather than the quantity. You see, Sir, when we examine the comparative prices that the farmers receive for their products in this country as against other countries, we find that the position is far worse still. Notwithstanding the low wages which are paid to farm labourers in this country, I do not know of any business which yields a lower return on its capital than our farming industry in South Africa. I ask the Minister who is a farmer himself, to tell me whether he can earn a return of more than 10 per cent on the capital value of his investment. No farmer receives such a return in South Africa, and no business could exist under those circumstances. When we take the number of tractors which are used per morgen in South Africa and we compare that figure with the position in America and we find that as against 50 morgen per tractor in America we have 100 morgen per tractor in this country, we can see what the backlog is. To-day it is practically a physical impossibility for a young farmer to buy these mechanical implements and to bear the expense of maintenance and of buying the necessary parts which are prohibitively expensive, which he must do to cultivate his farm properly. I believe that the improved cultivation of farms will make a great and immediate contribution to the restoration of the fertility of our soil. Unfortunately we know too little about what happens to the fertilizer which is ploughed into the soil. I do not know and I do not think the Minister knows and I do not think that any of his officials know either. Of course we know that a large proportion is washed away, particularly in the case of nitrogen, but how much phosphate is absorbed by the subsoils and thus by the deep-rooted plants while in the process of being washed away? I do not think that a survey has ever been undertaken to determine that, and I think that the mover of the motion is correct. Fertilizers are being used to-day without our knowing what their value is or what the requirements are. I grant to the Minister that he is faced with a tremendous task because we all know that soil does not only differ from region to region but from farm to farm and sometimes from orchard to orchard, and on occasion even in the same orchard. This makes our task very difficult, but I wonder whether the Minister will go further into the matter and will tell us how he can assist us. Mr. Speaker, ½ per cent, that is to say 10s. in £100, of our national income is being spent on university research, i.e. all types of university research. With its tremendous national income the United States of America spends five times more than us on university research. South Africa spends ½ per cent, on university research as against 2½ per cent in the United States of America. In the case of Russia we find that South Africa compares even more unfavourably.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

Can you tell us what they spend on agriculture as against the amount we spend?

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

No, that I do not know. The Minister is Minister of Agricultural Technical Services, not I. Later on, when I sit down, I shall give him the figures, but for the moment he must get the figures for himself. Mr. Speaker, the Minister has in fact given away what I wanted to say, that namely this Minister always thinks in terms of the thousands of pounds which he is giving to the farmers, while agricultural research is a national service which cannot be measured in terms of the thousands of pounds being given to the farmers.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

No, that was a reasonable question. I just want to have the proportion between what America spends on agricultural research as against what we spend on agricultural research in this country.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

To-day there is a great staff shortage and also a lack of direction. I was glad to see the South African Agricultural Union has submitted a memorandum in which they raise some very interesting points. Strangely enough they commence by saying exactly what I have now told the Minister—

We ask for a change of approach as regards the relative importance of research. South Africa will only be able to maintain herself if she is prepared to devote more funds to agricultural research. There will also have to be a change as regards the role, the status and the remuneration of the agricultural research worker.

They then go on and give the Minister certain advice. They say—

There should be close co-operation between research services, field services and extension services. If they cannot be brought into a closer relationship than that existing as a result the present amalgamation under the overall Department of Agricultural Technical Services, there is only one solution, namely that the services will have to be provided from outside the Public Service. Agricultural organizations are not concerned with the internal organization of the Department, but only with the results and the efficiency of the services it provides … An important complaint is also that there is still too little research and that too little research is being undertaken. The many bursaries which the Department and others are making available are not of much assistance. The fault must be sought in the salary scales and conditions of service prevailing within the Department. Technical officials are often overloaded with clerical work. Another complaint is that the laboratory services are also suffering from a lack of manpower. There are too few people to ensure that instructions relating to stock fodders, stock remedies, injections and fertilizers, are being complied with. There is also the complaint that the results of research take too long to reach the farmer. It can be asked why the farmers believe salesmen who force unnecessary things on them rather than the scientists or the extension officers of the Department.

And thus I could continue, Sir. The staff, position, as we have said, represents one of the main difficulties. There is dissatisfaction amongst certain extension officers. People with the same ability and the same training who are doing field work find that they are being discriminated against when their position is compared with that of university lecturers with the same qualification. Why? For how long was there a difference between the remuneration of lecturers in agriculture and that of other university lecturers, and why? I understand that that position has now been remedied. But is the Minister prepared to place the salaries of the very people who are rendering agricultural the greatest service, namely the extension officers who have the same qualifications and the same achievements as university lecturers, on the same scale as those of lecturers? Until such time as he is prepared to do so, he will always experience difficulty.

I wanted to say more about this systematic soil survey, to which a previous speaker has also referred, but I think that enough has been said on that point. However, I want to put another matter to the Minister. Onderstepoort for example has a mobile research unit. Would it not be possible for the Minister also to consider making available mobile units for experiments in connection with soil fertility? What happens at the moment is this …

*Mr. WENTZEL:

Aeroplanes are used.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

No, I am thinking of something more than merely flying around in an aeroplane to see what the countryside looks like. Mr. Speaker, I am thinking for example of the task which is placed to-day on the shoulders of our extension officers. Such an officer is given an area with a very extended radius in certain places; in some cases a radius of 100 miles. It is a physical impossibility for that official to undertake research which will cover the whole district.

*Mr. WENTZEL:

He does so from the air.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

It is physically impossible to undertake experiments on every type of soil, but as the position is to-day, I am afraid that we are not getting full value for our money. Then I want to raise another matter with reference to what the mover of the motion has said. This relates to the grass ley system. I should like to ask what have been the results of the research which has been undertaken. Where has this research been undertaken; has research been undertaken on farms for example? Then I should like to ask the Minister in what way the grass ley system benefits the grain farmers of the Western Province, for example. The system does not affect us and the hon. member over there still wants me to thank the Minister. We do not benefit from it.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

How do lupins, e.g. benefit him?

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

He can plant lupins. The Minister is the last person who should take credit for lupins. All he does is to buy it at low prices for his thin sheep. He must not take any credit for lupins. Not even his Department nor previous Departments can do so. Credit is due to a private farmer of the Western Province, Mr. Wagner, and the Minister wants me to thank him for what Mr. Wagner has done. I know that since Mr. Wagner started with lupins, research has been undertaken elsewhere, but the person who started with lupins and to whom our thanks are due, is Mr. Wagner and no one else. I repeat that the farmer does not receive a penny in subsidy in the case of lupins. This is an economic undertaking which we started ourselves and with which we are continuing. We do not receive any assistance from the Government in that respect. But a start has been made with the so-called grass ley system in the Transvaal and the Free State and I am beginning to suspect that everything connected with agriculture is seen through the spectacles of the farmers in the Transvaal and Orange Free State. Why is the Minister not prepared to give us the same assistance in the case of lucerne, and if he has any doubts as to the value of lucerne to the grain farmers, he can discuss the matter with his colleague, the Minister of Agricultural Economics.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

For years you gave it to the farmers.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

We gave it to the farmers and then the Minister took it away and now the hon. member expects me to thank this Minister. The Minister has not done anything for us. I want to know for example what the Minister has done in respect of another matter. One of the main disadvantages of farming in South Africa is the hot sun. And any farmer will tell you and any scientist will confirm it that if one ploughs humus into the soil under the hot summer sun, it becomes scorched in the soil; it becomes scorched and nothing is left.

*Mr. G. P. VAN DEN BERG:

[Inaudible.]

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

The hon. member opposite is a political organizer and he knows nothing about farming. He must keep quiet when farmers are talking.

*The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

(Mr. Scholtz) Order! The hon. member must not be so personal.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

I now ask the hon. the Minister what climatic studies have been undertaken in connection with this matter. I hope that the Minister will also tell us clearly what is being done in this regard. I think that this research is important and as far as I know not much is being done in this regard at the moment. Mr. Speaker, if this motion has done nothing else, I think it has made the Minister realize that supporters of all political parties in this country are very concerned about the quality and the fertility of South Africa’s soil. Not so long ago we heard that the “honeymoon” of many of our farmers was over, and if that is so, I am very sorry that there has been such great delay in making effective assistance available to the farmers. And I do not blame this Minister for that position. I do not want to thank him, but I do not want to blame him either. I think that the Minister has a good case to submit to the Cabinet in co-operation with his colleague, the Minister of Agricultural Economics and Marketing. This is a national matter which cannot be postponed any longer. We can no longer work on the premise that agricultural research amounts to a subsidy to the farmers. It is not a subsidy; it is a national service which is being provided in the interests of posterity. I move.

*Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK:

I second the amendment. I think both sides of the House are worried about the low fertility and declining productivity of our agricultural soil. I think both sides of the House agree that this is something that should be above politics. I think that all hon. members here are agreed that there is a very strong need for more attention to be given to this matter. I think both sides of the House will also agree that we are very much obliged to our agricultural colleges, our research workers and our extension officers who have been giving a lead under most difficult circumstances, but I think it is also clear from the speeches here that much more must be done. One is inclined to wonder, when one looks at present conditions, what the reason is for this deterioration and the increasing low fertility and productivity of our agricultural land and I want to mention several reasons for this here. In the first place I want to mention large-scale mechanization in agriculture as a result of which far less animal and plant matter is being put back into the soil, with a resultant shortage of humus. It is obvious that as a result of mechanization there is a great shortage of kraal manure. I want to mention as a reason the one-crop system, or monoculture, which is accompanied by a decreasing humus content of the soil and has resulted in a worse structure of the soil. I mention as a reason the up-and-down ploughing of slopes which causes the soil to be washed away. Another reason I would mention is the use of the wrong fertilizer in some cases. I also want to state here that in places where the correct fertilizer was used and where maize was continually being planted and fertilized, although it varied, the maize became yellow and did not grow properly and the crops diminished and much damage was done and the result was much lower productivity. In the same way we find in the wheat areas where fertilizer is applied in the most modern way and where farming is practised on the most modern systems that blackleg and other plant diseases appeared and farmers suffered severe losses. We also find in those areas that oats and barley crops diminished, sometimes as a result of blight and sometimes for other reasons. We find for instance that in the wattle industry a new disease appeared, namely bag-worm which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and in addition the market collapsed There are many plant diseases in our country. The wrong fertilizer is often used. Damage is being done to our soil fertility by not preserving the moisture content, by the bad drainage of land, particularly low-lying alluvial land in the mountainous winter rainfall area. Sowing has taken place at the wrong density. There are caterpillars, cutworms, lice, finches; there is bad weed control; legumes are planted without the proper treatment, and there are a hundred more reasons I could mention for the low fertility and low productivity of our soil. When I mention them all, Mr. Speaker, you will be able to appreciate why the farmers of South Africa are in such distress, and I mention this as a fact. In 1929-34 there was trouble in the farming industry. The Government then had to spend £5,000,000 on rehabilitation. During the last year the Land Bank and the Farmers’ Assistance Board had to spend £43,000,000. Of this amount three-quarters had to be paid out to creditors and although the creditors are now happier because the farmers have been assisted, the farmers still owe exactly as much as they did before. The State is of course a better creditor but there has been no improvement in the position of the farmers. You must take into consideration that of this amount of £43,000,000 which was spent in the form of loans to farmers the major portion was given as loans of up to 80 per cent of the value of the farmers’ possessions. Then you must accept that in times of general economic prosperity the farmers landed in this parlous position in spite of the fact that the decrease in the price of farmers’ products amounts to only about six per cent per year. In addition you must consider—that will bring home the seriousness of the position to you—that £922,000,000 is invested in agriculture. Mr. Speaker, most of the farmers who are in difficulties are in the grain areas and in those areas where the fertility and the productivity of the soil has diminished. This is what makes us realize the importance of technical services, because to prevent these difficulties it is necessary to improve the fertility and the productivity of the soil. The wrong farming systems were practised before in some areas. Lack of capital led to exploitational cropping and it is still causing it. I think we are all agreed that soil fertility is the most important aspect of farming to-day. A few years ago, according to Dr. Van Deventer of the Free State Co-operative, a survey was made of our agriculture and the productivity of our land and it was then stated that within a period of 70 years there would be no more top-soil because it would all have been washed away. As we all know, the fertile top-soil is the source of life and growth. Then we ask ourselves: Why then did the farmers use the wrong methods, and why are they still using the wrong methods? In the first place, because our national economy is unbalanced. This came about as the result of the huge industrial development and the development of the mining industry. It had a detrimental effect on farming. The second reason is a shortage of trained labour for the present mechanized agriculture. Mention has been made here of the number of tractors we have in the country to-day. At present we have tractors representing an investment of between £280,000,000 and £300,000,000. These tractors are handled by untrained, raw farm labour and they are battered and destroyed by them. This is a matter which deserves the attention of the Minister. Then I want to mention the fact that the profit margin on production costs is too small and does not produce sufficient capital for adequate development and improvement of the soil. Thirdly, I would like to mention the high costs of farming equipment, prices the farmer cannot afford. I mention a fourth reason, namely the lack of electric power on farms and in thickly populated areas to save labour, and as a fifth reason I mention the lack of adequate credit facilities.

The ACTING SPEAKER:

Order! I want to point out to the hon. member that there is another motion on the Order Paper which deals with economic planning by the Government and the amendment now under consideration deals with the continued low productivity of the soil. The hon. member must therefore not deal too fully with the economic aspect.

*Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK:

I am only continuing on the lines of the mover of the motion when he said that there are insufficient credit facilities for the farmers. Mr. Speaker, I mention as a sixth reason the over-mechnization which came about when products were exported from this country at a time when prices overseas were higher than the local prices. Then I mention the cost of repairs to implements used in agriculture. When we consider that artisans to-day earn 25s. per hour doing repairs it must be clear that repairs form a considerable part of farmers’ expenses.

I want to say here that to restore the fertility of the soil and to restore higher productivity certain things will be necessary and I want to suggest that the Department and the Minister ask the experts to go into this matter. In the first place I want to ask the Minister to give his serious attention to providing training facilities to the non-White labourers the farmers need on their farms. I want to suggest that they follow the example of the Department of Native Affairs, which trains its own people at Fort Cox in the Ciskei. There they train people who have to handle machinery, and they are trained in the Ciskei. Many of the people trained there are enthusiastically snapped up by the farmers. It is quite clear to-day that with the shortage of White labour on farms the farmers are compelled to make more use of non-White labour and the farmer will never be able to restore the fertility and productivity of his soil unless he is able to obtain efficient and trained non-White labour. I want to suggest that the farmers themselves get more training. Unless a farmer has had training himself he will not know how to restore the fertility of his soil. In the report of the Department it is said that only about 15 per cent of new farmers are trained. It is true that the agricultural colleges supply courses and give practical training and they also have short courses, but how many farmers can afford the time to leave their farms (I am talking about established farmers) and go to the agricultural colleges and get instruction in agriculture and the restoration of the fertility of the soil? But before I go into this matter more deeply. I want to ask the Minister to see to it that agricultural colleges give more practical courses. And when I mention “practical training” I still always see this one difficulty, and that is that the young men at these colleges are trained at great expense. They get everything they need. When they go back to their farms and experience a shortage of capital, they find that they have to practice exploitational cropping and that they are unable to improve their agriculture in a practical way and are unable to restore the fertility of the soil. That is why I am asking for more practical training. I mean that a sense of values should be kept in mind to a greater extent in order to bring it within the means of the farmer. That is why I ask that these farmers should get more practical training in the handling of machinery, because we all agree that we will be unable to get higher fertility of the soil unless machinery is used and unless we know how to use it, because where machinery is ruined, the cost of the machinery is too high and it is above the means of the farmer. At the commencement I expressed my appreciation for what has already been done by technicians and by agricultural colleges but now I come to another difficulty and that is the dissemination of knowledge by the Department. It has become clear from the speeches by several members that something is lacking. The hon. member for Ladybrand (Mr. Keyter) and the hon. mover of the motion come from the grain areas and the mover of the amendment comes from the Cape Province, from an area where a different form of agriculture is practised. Now there is a wealth of knowledge gathered and assembled by the Department. Much of the information is disseminated through the magazine Farming in South Africa, and much of the information can also be obtained by attending short courses at agricultural colleges, but I have to add that few farmers are able to attend these courses at the agricultural colleges. I want to suggest that the hon. the Minister considers regional publications, supplied free to farmers’ organizations for distribution amongst their members. I want to suggest that more experimental plots be established. The mover of the amendment said that it did not help much to talk about the grass ley crop method which is used in the North. It does not help him because it cannot be practised here. I want to make an appeal for more experimental plots to fit in with the conditions in the different regions.

Further, I want to press for more mobile units which will go out into the country to disseminate the available information. I am convinced that there is very little information which has not yet been obtained but it is not brought to the notice of the farmers; it is not available to them. I want to suggest that mobile units should tour the different regions and areas holding fortnightly courses. I want to repeat that there is a wealth of information in the files of the Department but is not available to the farmers. Then I want to suggest that a agro-economic survey of South Africa be undertaken. It was suggested a number of years ago already. I remember how the hon. member for Newcastle (Mr. Maree) before he became a Minister, made this request five or six years ago to the Department. That agro-economic survey should include the following: the economic size of productive farm units. Mr. Speaker, there will be no greater productivity and there will be no increased fertility as long as farms are too small and divided up too much. I propose that a special study be undertaken of the integration of animal husbandry with agriculture. It varies from area to area.

*Mr. G. F. H. BEKKER:

But integration is something which belongs to the United Party.

*Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK:

I understand that the hon. member is chairman of the farmers’ group of the Nationalist Party and one feels sorry for that group if the hon. member is unable to contribute anything more than this. I ask that the investigation shall also include the adaptational possibilities of the different parts of the country. In some parts of the country sheep are the best, in other parts cattle and in this way a contribution can also be made to the improvement of the fertility of the soil. This survey should take special notice of the different crops to be planted in certain areas with the necessary rotation of crops. The necessary information should be made available as to the selection of the best seed. In this connection I am disappointed to see that in the maize areas so little hybrid seed is made available to farmers. It is true that there has been a small increase. Last year 79,260 bags of hybrid seed were made available to farmers whilst this year 80,276 bags were made available but that is not sufficient.

The things I have mentioned have already been brought to the notice of the Department and has been receiving the attention of the Department for a long time. For instance I find, as far as maize is concerned, the following remark in the Van Riebeeck publication (eight years ago)—

The pioneering stage of all agricultural development is usually accompanied by exploitational cropping, exhaustion of the soil and its abuse. Although there is no justification for the statement that South Africa is a poor agricultural country, it is in many respects a hard country and the farmer must wrest his bread from the soil by the sweat of his brow. Years of severe drought appear all too often. The South African soil is not too fertile. Fertilizer is not only very expensive but also comparatively scarce.

Several other factors are mentioned in the article to indicate the low fertility and low productivity of the soil. Price increases are also mentioned. But then I also see that the Department says—

Although nobody should have any undue illusions about the future of the maize industry, however, no reason for unnecessary pessimism and worry need exist.

After eight years the picture is quite different and in the latest annual report of the Secretary for Agricultural Technical Services which is available, 1958-59 (we are sorry that we have not had one since then) one is given the impression that the Department is aware of the importance of increased fertility. The Department says—

The object must not only be to increase the total production of agriculture but particularly to increase the production per unit.

They also give other reasons why it should be done. They say it would undoubtedly contribute to the lowering of the high cost structure of agriculture and then they say—

Thus for instance the essential preservation of the fertility of the arable soil in the maize areas cannot be stressed sufficiently.

It is an interesting report, compiled in a very able way, and I want to congratulate the Department on it. I think hon. members on both sides of the House realize that the matters discussed there are of the greatest importance.

Business suspended at 12.45 p.m. and resumed at 2.20 p.m.

Afternoon Sitting

*Mr. KNOBEL:

I want to congratulate the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel) on this important motion which he has introduced and the lucid manner in which he has dealt with it. The subject he has chosen is not only of interest to us as farmers, but it is of interest to the whole of South Africa, because the soil, Sir, is the most valuable asset of any nation; all life spring from that. If a nation neglects and ruins its soil, that nation has become destitute. And because the soil belongs to the people of South Africa it is the responsibility of the farmers of this country not only to improve and protect that soil against erosion and flooding, but also to protect it in such a way that its fertility is retained so that the generation which follows us and which has to carry on with this big and responsible task, will inherit it in an improved condition.

Furthermore when we consider that South Africa is a young country, civilization was only established here 300 years ago, and when we remember that the first nine free burghers started to farm here in 1657 and we think that farming in South Africa really only became an established industry a little over 100 years ago and that the agricultural industry in the Free State and the Transvaal is really only 60 years old, we are amazed at what has been achieved. As far as the Free State and the Transvaal are concerned there was practically nothing left after the Boer War and they had to start right from the beginning. When we study the production figures, we realize what an important function the farmers have fulfilled namely to provide the country with the necessary food. Within this short space of time, of 60 years, they not only succeeded in providing the necessary food, but to show surpluses as well. Only ten years ago, during and after the second world war, consumers stood in queues in the cities and towns because there were shortages in the country and a lack of food, but within this short space of time the farmers have developed our agricultural industry to such an extent that there are surpluses in every field to-day. As I have said, the soil belongs to the nation and that is why it is not only the duty of the farmer to protect the soil, but it is also the duty of the entire nation to do so; it is the task of the Department of Agriculture in particular to assist the farmers by giving them advice and guidance. One sometimes hear irresponsible statements, Sir, for example, that the farmers are being spoonfed. You will agree, Mr. Speaker, that anyone who says that does not know what he is talking about and does not see beyond his nose, because if he considered the true facts he would not say a thing like that. The position is this that every town that comes into existence and every city that grows more and more of our agricultural land is absorbed. Every railway line and every road and every dam which is constructed reduces the surface of our arable agricultural land, and the population is growing on the other hand. If we consider all these things we will certainly not make such irresponsible statements that the farmers are spoonfed when the State fulfils its duty and assists them to look after this valuable asset of the nation for future generations. I repeat that the farmers cannot do that alone. It is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture to provide the farmers with the necessary advice and sometimes with the necessary financial assistance as well. I want to say that the State has done a tremendous amount in connection with soil conservation. During the years 1947 to 1959 alone an amount of £3,642,000 was paid to farmers for soil conservation works and during that period, till to-day, 17,500 farms have been properly planned. It is clear from that that the Department of Agriculture and the State have up to the present done a tremendous amount to assist the farmers. Like the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) and the hon. member for Drakensberg (Mrs. S. M. van Niekerk) I too would like to see more extension officers, more technical personnel and other officials to assist us in regard to research etc. but this is a young country, as I have already said, and when everything is considered we should be grateful for what the State and the Department of Agriculture have done. I could give figures, Sir, but I do not want to take up the time of the House. I have no doubt that the Department and the Minister themselves would like to provide better services and do more research work and give more guidance, but the personnel is simply not there. No matter how anxious they are to place more officials at the disposal of the farmers, they simply do not have the men. For that reason we are grateful for what has been done. I think the Minister of Agriculture will agree wiht me that we have now reached a new stage in the agricultural field. We have spent thousands of millions on binding the soil. I do not know whether I heard the hon. member for Drakensberg correctly but I think she said 70 per cent of the arable soil of the Eastern Free State would land in the sea.

*Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK:

I was referring to the top soil.

*Mr. KNOBEL:

I could not hear what the hon. member said properly, and probably misunstood her. But I want to invite the hon. member to come to the Eastern Free State and I will show her …

*Mrs. S. M. VAN NIEKERK:

I am not the one who is saying that, it is Dr. van Deventer.

*Mr. KNOBEL:

In that case I want to invite Dr. van Deventer to come and see in the Eastern Free State what progress the farmers have made there as far as the combating of soil erosion is concerned. I really think that if a farmer has not reached the stage to-day where he binds the top soil of his land, he is a bad farmer. I honestly think that. I do not think he has any right to blame the Department of Agriculture and to say that the Department will not give him the necessary assistance and guidance to build contour walls and to plan his farm properly. You can take a horse to the water, Sir, but you cannot make it drink.

As I have said we have now reached the second set-up—the most important one. We are conserving our soil but it has become impoverished. There is no doubt about it—the soil has become impoverished. I do not think the Department of Agriculture can argue against that, they will admit that that is the position. It is true that over the years the farmers have farmed unwisely—I must add that they did not do so intentionally, but perhaps through ignorance, they did so not because they did not love the soil, because the farmers truly love the soil of South Africa; we love the soil, and when you love anything you care for it. Just look at the wives of the farmers, Sir, look at my wife. I look after her because I love her. We have reached the stage where I personally, no longer think I have the right manager on my farm. My own knowledge is too defective. We are not trained agricultural experts. The Department of Agriculture should, and I know it will, give us guidance in that new direction. Any person who knows anything about farming knows that if you plough and sow year after year, you will eventually reach the stage where that soil will no longer be capable of producing. We have now reached that stage. We have the fertilizer agents. As far as they are concerned, I differ somewhat from my hon. friend the member for Christiana. I do not know what word he used to describe them, neither do I wish to use any word. I do not regard them as an evil. I regard the erection of fertilizer factories in this country as an important forward step in industry.

*Mr. WENTZEL:

I did not talk about the factories, but about the travellers.

*Mr. KNOBEL:

Millions of pounds have been invested in South Africa in factories to produce fertilizers. For example, we have a urium fertilizer factory at Modderfontein which cost £10,000,000. It is a good thing that we have that factory. We need the fertilizers—potash, nitrogen, phosphate, etc. But what we want to know is in what ratio our soil needs fertilizer. We need guidance from the Department of Agriculture in that respect and we need that to-day more than ever before. I think the Department will agree with me that by using fertilizer by itself is not such a wonderful tonic—as somebody said to me some time ago—that it will make the soil produce forever. That is not the position. At some later stage other defects manifest themselves. You eventually get to a stage, Sir, where the soil is dead in spite of your having spent thousands of pounds on fertilizers.

*Maj. VAN DER BYL:

Hear, hear!

*Mr. KNOBEL:

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion that is one of the main reasons why the farmers have in recent years found themselves in financial difficulties. Production costs have risen and ultimately their margin of profit is so small that they find themselves in financial difficulties. I as a practical farmer, and I think every practical farmer in this House will agree with me, know that during the years when we still ploughed with oxen, the main complaint of the farmers was that their land was being taken in by couch grass (kweek gras) —that accursed couch grass. But as you know, Mr. Speaker, that couch grass was a blessing not a curse. It was the couch grass on our mealie and other lands which prevented the soil from becoming completely impoverished. I cannot help but think that the only way of restoring the fertility to the soil is to introduce proper scientifically planned rotational cropping in which grass—I do not say ouland grass; I am not so sure about that, and I do not say seradella—play its part. I just want to say to the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) that those Germans of whom he is so proud, not only used seradella, but they followed rotational cropping. I should like to see the Department of Agriculture in the position where it can say to me at Bethlehem: Brother, you should go in for rotational cropping. That is my difficulty to-day, Sir—the Department cannot say that to me. I have mentioned this on a previous occasion. I love my soil. I went to the Department of Agriculture and Technical Services and they prepared a rotational crop programme for me. The programme covered a period of ten years, and ouland grass formed part of it for three years and then, a leguminous plant. I had to alternate these two twice. I then asked the official what he thought about rotational cropping and a few days later he told me that he thought it was wonderful and that I would build up my soil by going in for it. I then asked him whether I would make money or go insolvent. He could not reply to that. What he did tell me was that it would be necessary to obtain the services of an agricultural economist to ascertain whether the rotational crop programme was such that I would make money. I want to emphasize to-day that it is of no avail our farmers going in for rotational cropping if they have to die of hunger. The farmer must make money. It must be an economic rotational crop programme. I also believe that the animal factor should be properly introduced so that we will have a properly balanced rotational crop programme. I am now busy with this ten year rotational crop programme and ouland grass forms part of it for three years. And now officials of the Department tell me that ouland grass will not improve my soil. Somebody else again tells me it will. Who must I believe? What must the farmer believe? I should like further research made in order to ascertain which rotational crop programme should be followed.

Somebody said that ouland grass was a failure. I do not think so. Where I farm the soil is light, sandy and loamy. I purchased a piece of ground where the soil had become completely impoverished, the lands were red with sheep sorrell from one end to the other. Sheep sorrell is a sign of soil infertility. That is the last stage of impoverishment. When the soil is completely impoverished it is blood red with sheep sorrell. I planted ouland grass on this land and added super rock phosphate. The land was valueless to me. I could not very well throw it away. It just had to lie there and I was compelled to invest money in it and to try to restore its fertility. I also treated it with large amounts of agricultural lime, added super rock phosphate and planted our land grass, which had been treated with urium. Mr. Speaker, I invite you to come and look at the results. After two years the ouland grass has completely destroyed the sheep’s sorrell and during the recent drought it was the ouland grass which kept my sheep and cows alive, the animals which produced the milk and wool. That is why I say I am not so sure. I am not so sure that the ouland grass is not the magic wand with which to remedy the whole position. I want to give another example. The greatest problem that we as crop farmers in the Eastern Free State are faced with, is the problem of weeds. When you have ploughed fallow land for three or four years, weed becomes the greatest problem and you have to go to great expense to get rid of it. If I put that land under ouland grass for three years and then plough it then it will be free of weed for the first year at least. Something else which I cannot accept is this. When you pull up a tuft of ouland grass you find that the roots are five feet in length—it has a matted root system—and I simply cannot believe that that does not add tons and tons of humus to the soil. As hon. members have said, it may be true that that is probably an expensive procedure. Perhaps the Government will bear that system in mind in their efforts to assist the farmer to restore the fertility to his soil. Because, Mr. Speaker, I assure you that if something is not done to the soil, it will be lost to the nation for ever. I do not want to say more on this subject but I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister of Agricultural and Technical Services to devote all his energies and attention to planning, right methods and research in order to retain the fertility to our soil.

There is one other matter which I should like to raise. I serve on the commission which is inquiring into the question of profits on agricultural implements. Accusations have been made, they were again made to-day that there are millions of pounds worth of agricultural implements lying in disuse on farms. We have been told that agricultural implements to the value of £200,000,000 are lying in disuse on the farms. They have become no more than fowl perches. What is meant by “disuse”? It does not mean that those implements were used for ten or twelve years and could now no longer be used. It means that the farmers bought those implements and found after two or three years that they had bought the wrong implements. That was when those implements were discarded and became fowl perches. A certain doctor in agricultural engineering gave evidence before the commission and this very subject was discussed. I asked that doctor of agricultural engineering whether he could tell me as a practical farmer how I should till my soil; whether I should plough it with a mould board or with a disc plough or whether I should use a “one way” or an off-set disc or a soilmaster or a rotor? He said to me: Mr. Knobel, I am very sorry but I cannot tell you. I asked him who would be able to tell me the best way to till my soil. His reply was that he was afraid that even the Department of Agriculture could not tell me because there had not been sufficient research into that question. That is enough proof to show the Minister that further research should be conducted into this important question and I trust the Minister will respond to the appeals of the farmers and provide them with a solution.

Mr. COPE:

Mr. Speaker I wish to say a few words on this very important subject on behalf of this corner of the House. I make no apologies for intervening in a debate on this subject. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Veld Trust for a long number of years, and as one who came from the country and still has interests in the country, this is a subject which is very close to me.

I want at the outset to congratulate the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel), very sincerely, on putting forward this motion, the very first motion which comes from a private member in this Parliament, and a motion dealing with a subject of such vital concern to our land. Indeed Sir, I am not so sure that this may not be the most important economic problem with which we in this country are faced. I agree wholeheartedly with the hon. member for Bethlehem (Mr. Knobel) that this subject is one of the most paramount importance. I agree with him completely in what he has said in that regard. I want to make just one further observation and that is this: I agree with those who have said in this debate that this is a subject that must be kept outside the realms of party politics. We have succeeded in keeping this subject out of politics for all these years. It has been very difficult indeed to do that, but all of those who are concerned with this problem have striven to prevent it from becoming a bone of political contention. Of course, that does not mean that there cannot be criticisms of methods or that there cannot be disagreements in regard to how we set about the problems and so on. Obviously nobody would object to that. But I think it would be tragic if this subject ever were to become an item of party politics which, I think, would only bedevil the progress we have to make on a very broad front in tackling this problem.

It is for the reason I have just mentioned that we are going to support the amendment moved by the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. I. A. L. Basson). As the hon. member has explained he wishes to omit the “Thank the Minister” side of the motion. That is the only reason why I intend to support this motion, because I think he is right. I do not think the hon. the Minister himself really wants to be thanked, particularly in regard to this matter. Let me say perfectly frankly that I think the Government has done excellent work in regard to Soil Conservation. There can be no doubt about it. And the previous Government which, after all, put on the Statute Book the Soil Conservation Act, also did excellent work. I think all fair-minded people will admit that. So it is not a case, particularly, of thanking the Minister and, frankly, as far as we are concerned—and I do not think the hon. the Minister will mind if I say this —we would prefer to omit that portion of the motion. Therefore we are happy to support the amendment which, I think, is possibly better worded. However, in saying that, I do not wish for a moment to suggest that the hon. member for Christiana had any intention whatsoever of bringing party politics into this motion. He did not mean it that way at all. It is just that I, personally, have a distaste for the “Thank the Minister” kind of motion. That is the reason why we will support the amendment.

What is the broad, overall position in regard to this problem in South Africa? Let us look at it in its broadest aspect to start with. The position is that some few years ago a very important report to my way of thinking the most important report on this matter that has been presented—was prepared by the Government. It was a report on, shall we say, the general “state of the nation” in. regard to soil conservation. The question was whether South Africa was losing ground in regard to soil conservation, or whether we had reached the point where we could now say that the conservation measures which were being applied all over the country had more or less stabilized the position. I say “more or less” in its broadest sense because, obviously, in many areas the position has not been stabilized. In many areas we are still losing the fight, and tons and tons of precious topsoil are still disappearing from the land. The fertility is going out of the land and we have a tremendous job of work to do to overcome that situation. But, Sir, something like 15 to 20 years ago the situation was terribly alarming. It was estimated that we were losing something like 25 per cent of the fertility of our soil every year, which is something very terrifying indeed. The result of the report two years ago, following an investigation carried out by Dr. Ross, who was previously head of the Soil Conservation Division, and who carried out the investigation on behalf of the Government—the report suggested that we had just about reached the stage when, on the overall picture, we had stabilized the position. That was a tremendously important factor indeed, and a most heartening report. It showed that the tremendous efforts which had been made by the farming community, with the indirect assistance of the townsfolk over the last 20 years, had resulted in the attachment of that vital point in our history. I think we can take great heart from that fact. However, as I say, we have to make tremendous efforts from now on. There are areas which I need not name, because I do not want to go into details, where we still have a great deal to do. We have a tremendous lot to do in the direction visualized by the motion before the House to-day.

To pass on from that, and before I come to a suggestion which I want to make to the hon. the Minister, I want to comment briefly on one or two points that have been raised during the course of this debate. The hon. member for Christiana gave us some very interesting opinions — shrewd opinions — in regard to the credit position. I listened to the hon. member with the greatest of interest. Of course, a great deal of what he has said was absolutely correct, but I do want to say this, that in regard to the credit position we must remember that it is a very tricky problem indeed. We must always bear in mind the dangers of too much credit. There is an example before us which we must never forget. I think hon. members who have studied the history of America will know perfectly well what happened round about the ’30’s in that country. I am sure that most of us in this House have read that powerful book, “The Grapes of Wrath”. We know what happened there. We know how the ownership of the land, as a result of too much credit being granted, uncontrolled credit, caused their land to slip from the control of the farming community into the control of the banks, the trust companies and so forth. This produced a situation in America where they had that dramatic migration from the land, that great trek across America when you will remember, Sir, how they went in search of work towards California. I do not suggest that we are facing that situation or that we are likely to be faced by an exactly similar position in this country. But we do have to bear in mind that the most vital consideration is to keep the farmers on the land; to keep as many farmers as possible on the land; and, if possible, to get more people on the land and not less. And when you are dealing with the credit position, a red light shines, because it is something that is very, very tricky. The answer does not lie in the granting of more credit. That is not the answer to the problem with which we are concerned to-day. There must, of course, be liberal credit facilities for farmers in all emergency and who are honestly struggling to remain on the land and so on.

Mr. WENTZEL:

Short-term credit.

Mr. COPE:

Yes, short-term credit. There must be that. But the long term credit position must always be watched with the greatest possible interest and concern.

Mr. Speaker, what is the solution to the problem with which we are concerned to-day? The solution, I submit, lies in three directions. First of all, not in credit but in the farmer obtaining a reasonable and assured income. I think everybody will agree with that. He should get a reasonable and assured income which will enable him to put something back into his soil. And there can be no doubt about it that if the farmer is given an assured income his whole instinct will be to put fertility back into the soil. The concept that the farmer is a robber, that he wants to rob his soil, is not borne out by even a superficial look at the position. The average farmer is desperately anxious to build up the fertility of his soil. I hope that any notions that may be held of farmers “land mining”, or farmers recklessly taking the fertility out of the soil will never gain currency in South Africa, because it is entirely contrary to fact. Give the farmer a reasonable income and he will put the fertility back into the soil.

The second problem is that of education. That is a vitally important aspect and I will say something further about it presently. Finally, of course, there is this vital question of research. I do not want to say very much about that because a lot has already been said. I agree with the constructive suggestions that have been put forward to-day in regard to research.

Sir, I am not going to be long. I did not want to say too much in this debate, but I do want to conclude by putting to the hon. the Minister a suggestion that falls under the heading of education. I know that very powerful and influential representations have been made to the Government that one of the major themes of the republican celebrations which are going to take place in 1962 should be an appeal to the nation to dedicate itself to the preservation and improvement of the soil. I cannot think of a finer theme for an occasion such as that, because without a sound and healthy soil our country, must ultimately be doomed. In concluding what I have to say I would like to join my plea with those who are making this appeal to the Government, and to ask the hon. the Minister to lend his very powerful support to the representations that have been made, so that we can have as one of the major themes a subject in which most of us can join without any differences and wholeheartedly; this theme of the preservation of the soil of South Africa. I think that would be a very fine theme indeed for the republican celebrations, and I hope that the hon. the Minister will give this idea his fullest support.

*Mr. G. F. H. BEKKER:

I am gratified by the nice spirit revealed by the last speaker and I would like to congratulate him on his speech. He has always been the friend of the farmer in this respect. It is not the first time that he has participated in a debate of this kind, and he has always been constructive, in an attempt to be of assistance in regard to these problems we have in this country. Therefore I want to thank him specially for the good spirit in which he spoke. Let us please completely forget the political aspect in connection with this matter. I am sorry that the hon. member, in my opinion, did the wrong thing by supporting the amendment, but I will leave it at that.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to point out that in regard to these matters a great man took the lead. He was somebody whom we regarded as a child of nature, and one who loved our soil and our flora. It was none other than the late General Smuts, who at that time already had taken the lead. Let us therefore, in connection with this matter, forget about politics completely and be constructive, because there is no doubt that we are dealing here with the greatest danger to South Africa, a danger even greater than that of Communism. It is the danger that we are turning our country into a desert. The desert is steadily encroaching. We have spent large sums of money on industries, and the farmers have contributed to their prosperity and to that of the Railways, etc. Because we know that those things are essential for our country. I now want to make an appeal to our friends in the cities also to assist the farmers and to render assistance in this great task resting upon us. There is no doubt that the farmers are slowly but surely nearing a crisis. Money has to be spent to put our agriculture on a sound basis in this respect, so that we will be able to feed our population, which is essential to industry. There can be no doubt about that. There is no doubt that our friends in the cities will have to see to it that the farmers are kept on the land. We have seen the report about the depopulation of the platteland. What is really the cause of it? It is our present economic system. The farmer just cannot produce at the prices he receives to-day. Just take mealies. Twelve years ago the price was 21s. 6d., and to-day it is 28s. 6d., an increase of 40 per cent., but everything required by the farmer has gone up in price. The index now stands at 200. I am glad that my hon. friend put the credit side of the matter. It is true, and we are grateful for the assistance we have received, but that was temporary assistance only. The capital burdens of the farmer are becoming increasingly greater and his income increasingly less, and as sure as I stand here, if a stop is not put to it, we will see a catastrophe amongst the farmers, the people who have to produce the food, such as we have never seen before.

I just want to give a brief sketch of the terrible conditions in the country. We have the north-west and other areas which are drying up, and where people who three years ago were prosperous are poor Whites to-day. It is not their fault. I know those areas and I know what good farmers they are, and I know that they work hard to produce a little fodder for their animals. But when conditions like that arise, nothing can be done about it. I was the adviser to the Minister of Finance from 1934 to 1936. These catastrophes have struck those areas before, and at that time we assisted the farmers and achieved great success, but we have to add something more. It is true that soil conservation assisted greatly with the result that farmers did not go under completely, but that is not enough. It can only be done by assisting them to restore their subterranean water. I just want to mention one example. There are some of our large rivers which to-day are nothing more than drainage canals. In Natal the whole of the northern area is being drained and from Mont aux Sources right down to the sea, a distance of 1,200 miles, it is just a canal and only 4 per cent of the water is being used, whereas the people in the interior and their animals die of thirst. There are people who no longer have water on their farms. Yes, people may laugh at these matters, but the position is so serious that I cannot laugh. I therefore ask that in those cases the cattle farmer should be assisted. They want two things. They want soil conservation, and in fact they receive assistance from the Government, but three-quarters of these people pay for the erosion works out of their own pockets and we should be very grateful to them for doing so. We say we are very grateful for what the Government has done. We are very grateful, e.g. for Vlekpoort, because the area in which there is most erosion is the Karoo. Unfortunately that was caused by the sheep. In the whole of the Southern Hemisphere the economy is based on the sheep. Take Australia, South America and South Africa. It is not based on gold. In 100 years we have destroyed what nature built up over thousands of years. Where in fact we have these experiments, for which we are all grateful, as at Vlekpoort, we must assist people to suit themselves to conditions to a greater extent, because the income does not allow them to use their own money for it. We do not always want to ask the Government for assistance, but these people do not receive enough money on which to live, educate their children and build up their farms. The people in the cities must assist us. We are grateful to them for supplying us with markets. We cannot do without them, but they cannot do without us either. But if one sees what is happening in the North-west and other areas, South Africa will be a desert within 50 years. I remember that when I was younger one could locate water at 50 feet, but within 20 years that water table has sunk to 300 feet. How can that be remedied? The erosion works have assisted to a large extent. I want to ask the Minister to speed up that work. We still have too few opportunities for speeding it up. We would like to assist, but we would like to have more technical men so that we can know sooner what the position is. But I say that if the Government allows the water of our country to run into the sea, then I predict that within 50 years large areas of the country will be a desert. We need only see what happened in North Africa. What was once a land of milk and honey is to-day a desert, and we are busy to-day, through our system of farming and through the prevailing circumstances, impoverishing the farmers and compelling them to rob the soil. We ask the Government for assistance. The cattle farmer particularly should be given a little water and the opportunity to obtain fodder, and then he will not ask for assistance. For two years already the position in the North-west has been that no lucerne could be obtained. It is said that if more lucerne is grown there will not be a market for it in South Africa. I would rather have more lucerne than to see my sheep dying of hunger. Nor is it the truth. There is a great market for lucerne in the Mediterranean countries. Our lucerne has the highest protein content in the world and we can obtain export markets. We have 11,000,000 cattle. Of that 6,000,000 belong to the White people and 5,000,000 to the Black people. We have 14,000,000 people in the country. Unless the farmer is allowed to make a proper living, he cannot raise those cattle. There is the profit motive and unless one can make a profit one cannot attend to one’s cattle properly or improve the soil or make improvements. Give the farmer a decent living. I am sure the people in the cities would also like to see that we feed them properly, but then they should also do something from their side. The position in which the farmers find themselves is not rosy at all. The Government has done its best, but I think it is time for us to say in this House that the present position cannot continue, and we ask the whole House, not as a political body but as a national body, to look after the man who has to produce the food. In time of war it is the country which has food which can hold out. Without food one must lose. We extend our best wishes to our industrial development, because we cannot do without industry; they constitute our market, but we cannot continue to produce below the cost of production. We must have something more. In view of these seasons we have, where the risk factor is so great, it becomes absolutely essential that the risk factor should be brought into operation so that the farmer can stand a bad year. There is a market for our meat overseas. If the farmer is encouraged to produce good quality meat, he will have a market overseas. We have the cheapest meat in the world except Brazil. In order to encourage them to produce that meat, the Government should ensure that the platteland does not become depopulated. Years ago 50 per cent of our people lived on the platteland. It is true that industrial development drew many of them away from the platteland, because economic conditions were so bad that many people were forced to go to the cities. Therefore it is high time that we should all look to the food of our people, and not allow the farmers to go under as the result of low prices. Let us help the farmer to produce enough food. There are people who do not realize what conditions are, but we who live amongst those people know that things are not going so well with the farmer, due to low prices and other conditions. They must be given water and better prices and then we will have a happy farming community instead of the depopulation of the platteland. People talk about America, but they do not know what they are talking about, because conditions there are totally different from those here. But five years ago they spent more on water in America than on the war, because it is essential to be able to feed their people in time of war. The Americans say: “Water brings water”. The water is dammed up, the subterranean sources are replenished and the evaporation brings more water. Let us dam up the water which now runs away. Australia pumps water 300 miles over the mountains into the desert. Those things can be done, and we know the Minister is busy with them and that investigations have been made, but I want to ask the Minister please to give those people some courage again, and to give them those facilities I have asked for.

Maj. VAN DER BYL:

Mr. Speaker, I know that a number of hon. members want to speak this afternoon, and therefore I shall cut myself as short as possible. Let me say this, that unless science is called in, the depletion of our soils to-day must end in disaster. In thirty years I have seen how our soils have deteriorated in fertile areas, like the Caledon-Bredasdorp-Swellendam area. If that continues we will not be able to feed our present population, much less what we expect to have at the turn of the century. But scientific help can only follow on research. Years ago I realized that we could not continue in the area where I farm—and I am speaking for the South-Western Districts—growing only cash crops, unless we were going to face the complete depletion of our soils. Try as I could, and I spent a lot of money, I could find no solution. No amount of artificial fertilizer can give heart to soil, which must have organic matter and humus. Some 40 years ago I went to one of the Government research stations and saw dry land lucerne on a small plot, but no one had attempted to do it on a big or commercial scale. Some 36 years ago, after spending literally thousands of pounds trying to find something which would grow on our dry summer soils in the winter rainfall area to keep that soil covered from the sun and the wind or replace organic matter and after having tried everything, my farm manager, the late Dirk van Zyl, suggested that we try dry land lucerne. I pointed out to him how impossible it was, because our soil was shallow and the subsoil was clay and “naklip that lucerne stops growing from May onwards when the cold weather comes and only if it has moisture; which we don’t have in Summer, but nevertheless he persuaded me we prepared the ground carefully, fertilized heavily and sowed lucerne on dry land. The result is know: it changed the whole economy of the South-Western districts. I take no credit for it because it was my manager who made the suggestion. We did not know it then, but Prof. Sim of Stellenbosch has pointed out since, that the south wind from the sea which is full of moisture resulted in a sort of osmosis in reverse taking place. As hon. members know, the plant takes up moisture through its roots by osmosis right up to the leaves, but in this case it is just the reverse. This wind comes up from the sea and the moist air which it carries is taken up by the leaves and it goes down to the roots; and lucerne is a success there. To the lack of that wind in the Swart-land is the reason possibly why dryland lucerne is not a success there. I mention this to show that by experiments one sometimes finds the answer to problems. The Government then subsidised lucerne seed to the extent of 50 per cent and the whole of the economy changed, and we went in for mixed farming to an extent which we had never done before. But lucerne is not enough, because it has a long taproot; (if it gets “naklip” it will go down 12 feet or more), but it has not got a big root surface or mass and because of that it does not put the humus and organic matter back into the soil, which is essential. It increases fertility by the fixation of nitrogen from the air in the soil through the nodules on the root, but it does not improve the structure of the soil; and until the structure is maintained by putting back the organic matter, nothing will help to rehabilitate the soil. Therefore the only other thing is to plant grasses and clovers. We find that subterranean clover plus H1 Rye grass is quite effective; but they are annuals and, in my opinion, an annual does not create that root surface which gives the organic matter and the humus which is necessary. If that was not so, growing our annual crops would be sufficient to provide the humus and organic matter. Therefore we have to find some perennial that will grow; and that is the point I want to come to. I have tried every type of grass over the last 50 years, including all these exotic grasses we get from Pretoria; and from the summer rainfall areas; but they do not do well with us, except one, which is a grass that will keep on growing and increasing its root surface, and at the same time spread itself by casting seed; and that is Phalarus Tuberosa. But unfortunately it is not good grazing, because it is not palatable to the animals due to the lack of cobalt. Without cobalt deficiency diseases are caused; and no doubt the animals know that instinctively, and do not eat it. The seed is expensive, costing up to 14s. a lb. though it can be cheaper now. Some years ago I tried sowing a small amount of Phalarus Tuberosa (2 lbs. to the morgen), with the lucerne and the other leys we were putting down. By the time the lucerne had to be ploughed out (after five to eight years) the Phalarus Tuberosa had spread itself over the land. It gave big tufts with a heavy root area, and when ploughed in, puts the heart back into the soil and prevents erosion and the soil returns almost to what it was originally.

My point in rising to-day is this. The ordinary farmer who is farming on a tight budget cannot afford to put an expensive grass like Phalarus Tuberosa in if he is going to get no immediate return. He will only get an indirect return over a long period. Therefore I suggest that the Government should subsidise this seed to the farmer, and suggest that he plants it with the lucerne or grass leys to rehabilitate the earth so that in ten or 12 years that soil will be completely rehabilitated. I suggest that research be first done, and if it is found successful—I have had the experts down and they think I am right—the Government could subsidise the seed. Well, that is my observation, but of course we farmers often make observations which are correct but our deductions are wrong. I remember when I came back from overseas with an agricultural degree I was told that if you let the horses out on to the grass when the dew was still on it they got horse sickness. I said it was utter rubbish because dew was practically distilled water. But the fact was that when the dew was on the grass the worm or microbe swam up the grass and was eaten by the animal; but when the grass got dry, it dropped off and was not eaten. So the observation of the farmers was correct, but their deductions were wrong. I merely mention that to show that both my observations and deductions over a large number of years with Phalarus might not be correct; but I hope experiments will be made.

I do not want to waste time going over what the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) put over so ably about Seredella, but to my mind that is one of the most important developments that has come to the South-Western Districts in the last 20 years. Soils which were absolutely useless and could not carry one sheep to ten morgen; that cold mountain sour soil probably Ph. 5, where the proteas grow, will still grow Seredella 2½ feet high; and I have literally cut tens of thousands of bales of the finest hay which carries me through the dry period. I think much more research should be put into that. It is a cheap seed and its only disadvantage is that it germinates very quickly if the rains come too soon, and is not a legume that maintains itself, but it can be sown each year and make fertile quite useless soils.

There is one last point. If only we could develop some of our own natural grasses. The finest grass we have in the South-Western Districts is the “rooi platgras”, and that has been destroyed by over-stocking and ploughing. I have tried every means of germinating the seeds, but nothing came of it. Again Professor Sim came down—we are extremely grateful to these very able men—and told me that wherever you disturb the soil “rooi platgras” would never grow again, and even if the soil is merely fertilized the grass dies out, or will not propagate itself. Even the mere handling of the seed breaks off the germ and it will not germinate so the seed cannot be harvested. He said the only means was to cut bundles of grass and throw it on the virgin land, and then it starts growing because there is sufficient covering to keep in the moisture for the small seeds as the sheaf of grass rots. But then that camp has to be closed for years until the grass slowly spreads. I have areas where there was only a stool every 10 or 15 yards, but after closing that camp to grazing for seven years the whole area came back to grass. I am sure that research could find out some other means of rehabilitating the grass in that way, and I would like to suggest that research be done.

Just one last word to the hon. member for Ladybrand (Mr. Keyter), who said that so much superphosphate was lost in the soil and that only a small portion was taken up by the plant. Well, that is quite true. I have come to the conclusion that when superphosphate is spread, the amount taken up by the crop is very small. Most of it quickly reverts to an insoluble phosphate. I think potclay has something to do with it, with the result that most of it becomes insoluble and is lost. You will remember how superphosphate was discovered. A certain Mr. Law, I think it was, at Rothemstead Agricultural School in England, some 1½ centuries ago, found that plants were devoid of phosphate though they were growing in phosphatic soil. He said that something must be wrong and that the plants must be unable to take up the phosphates. He then put H2SO4 (sulphuric acid) on to ordinary rock phosphate and made its water soluble. Thus superphosphate was discovered. There must be some means by which research could find out how we could get back those large quantities of superphosphates put into the soil which has reverted into some insoluble form and which therefore cannot be taken up by the plant. It lies there quite useless and represents a great waste of money. Some means should be found to make it soluble again so that it can be used by the plant.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

I would like to commence by congratulating the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel) and to thank him for the efficient manner in which he introduced this motion this morning, thereby making it possible for us to discuss objectively a subject of the utmost importance, which we did on both sides of the House. The mere fact that preference was given to his motion should, I think, be seen also in the light of how important the Government regards this matter of the preservation of soil fertility in the country. The suggestions made and the ideas expressed here, and perhaps also the little bit of criticism which was voiced, I found most enlightening, and I want to say here that I take it all in the spirit in which it was meant, viz. a constructive and not a destructive spirit as some people might perhaps think. Where somebody perhaps here and there succumbed to the temptation to criticize the Minister or the Government in order to obtain a little advantage for his party—although it did not really take place on a scale worth worrying about—I do not intend reacting to it. I just want to say that I completely agree with the hon. member for Christiana and also with Dr. Bennett, who in the early 40’s was invited to visit South Africa by the then Government to come and investigate conditions, not only in regard to the impoverishment but the erosion and the destruction of our soil, and then to frame a report. I think that what is said was so true that you will forgive me if I quote his words again, as stated in the quotation read by the hon. member for Christiana. He said—

A prosperous and stable agricultural industry depends entirely on sufficient productive soil which is put to proper use and protected in such a way that it will remain fertile permanently.

That is the crux of his standpoint—

Without this firm foundation there can be no real hope for a continuing successful agricultural industry in any place, and without this foundation there can be no guarantee for economic stability and social progress.

Not only in the agricultural industry but generally—

… nor any certainty of sufficient food, prosperity, happiness or peace anywhere on earth.

Mr. Speaker, the soil is the most valuable possession of any nation in the world, and we cannot and should never dare to regard it as being the possession of those who have made it their profession to utilize that soil, i.e. those who have obtained property rights over it, viz. the farmers of the country. The soil of the country does not belong to the farmers only, but to the whole of the population. The farmers in any country and also in South Africa are merely privileged in the sense that they have been delegated by the people—because originally all the land belonged to the State—to become the trustees of the people over that most important and most valuable national possession, and therefore the old adage that farmers are not made but born is so true. That is a very significant statement because any farmer—and I am very proud to be able to say that I am also one (although perhaps a bad one), but I am proud of belonging to that group, the farmers—and any farmer whose main object in life it is and whose ideal it is to follow that calling in the spirit and with the idea of enriching himself and his family must necessarily be a bad farmer, who cannot carry his full weight and comply with the proper requirements of a good farmer in the fullest sense of the word. Farmers cannot practise that profession unless it goes hand in hand with making a decent living on the land. Just like any other person, the farmer cannot practise his profession if the profits obtained from his operations are too small to enable him to live a decent life. It is only natural that the profitability, the economic factor, should play a role, but I think the feeling should also be there that he has been called to fulfil a function, not only for himself alone but particularly for future generations; and because it is regarded in that light not only by the Government in South Africa but also by other governments in other parts of the world, it is a fact that the prosperity of any country can to a large extent be measured by the success and prosperity of its farmers, and for that reason also governments in other countries of the world devote particular attention to the prosperity of their farmers and the protection and the assistance they have to give them from time to time. We are dealing here with a very important subject, viz. the preservation and the improvement of the fertility of our soil. In order to give a brief background sketch of what we are faced with in South Africa, to complement that which other hon. members who participated in the debate have already given, I merely say this: It is well known that South Africa is particularly poor in useful agricultural land. Approximately only 10 per cent of our total area is suitable for cultivation, i.e. approximately 10,200,000 morgen of land is suitable for dry land cultivation, for the growing of crops; the rest of our country— many parts of it are practically unsuitable for animals also—for grazing purposes, but most of it is used for cattle raising and grazing. Thus far we have in South Africa, it is estimated, approximately 670,000 morgen under irrigation, and it is doubtful whether we will be able to double that area under irrigation, even though we were to make proper use of all the water we have available in South Africa. I think that to accept that we can increase it to approximately twice as much is a reasonable realistic picture, although perhaps a little on the optimistic side; in other words, if we take that into account and consider our population as it is to-day and how it is composed, and if we take into consideration the natural population increase and also how many people there are overseas who will still come to regard South Africa as an attractive land in which to come and settle permanently, then we realize that we are compelled by circumstances, in the interest of our people and in the interest of our future population, to devote the most serious attention to the preservation of our soil fertility and the best possible use of that soil which is available.

Now, what does one really understand by soil fertility? Without expanding on it I want to mention a few matters. There are many factors determining the fertility of the soil. Amongst others, there are the physical qualities such as the depth of the soil, its structure, whether it is sandy, loam or clay, the chemical qualities, i.e. the plant food elements which it contains, etc. Then there is the question of whether it is sweet, brakish or sour. The capacity of the soil for absorbing water and also its capacity for retaining water are both factors which play a great role in determining the fertility of the soil. There are also biological activities, i.e. whether the soil is rich in foodstuffs, humus, healthy micro-biological life, because soil is not a dead thing; it is alive; it changes; it reacts to treatment. And the fifth is the presence or absence of harmful weeds like bulbous plants, cockleburr, etc.

Now the question arises: What factors contribute to the deterioration of soil fertility? I think one of the main factors contributing towards it is not only the method applied but the mere fact that that soil is being used. That is applicable to all types of soil, whether it is used for grazing alone or not, but as soon as one starts using it, as soon as one puts animals on it, one should realize that one is disturbing nature to some extent, because the animals one puts on it are just like human beings. If there is any choice, one first selects the best spots, and therefore it is easy to fall into sin: the trouble is to avoid sin. That is the position in regard to human beings, and the same applies to animals. It is not merely a question of how many animals one keeps on the land, but it is also a question of how one regulates that grazing, whether one regulates it systematically and judiciously, whether one over-stocks the land, whether one simply allows all the good plants to be grazed off and trodden away so that later only the bad ones remain and one’s animals are eventually forced to live on the remaining plants which have the least nutritional value. These are natural factors which arise when one begins to utilize the soil.

Then one comes to arable land. As soon as one starts ploughing, and the more one ploughs and cultivates, and particularly when one plants row crops which one cultivates and keeps clean, one exposes to the sun and to the elements large areas of the soil. The effect of rain on bare soil and on protected soil is very interesting to note, and it is being noted by research which is being done not only in other countries of the world but also in South Africa. These are factors with which one immediately comes into contact without intending to destroy the fertility of the soil, but which one experiences when one starts to apply the process of protection and conservation which as a farmer one is called upon to do; then one is faced with these practical difficulties.

Then there are two types of processes by which soil deteriorates. Soil is not only eroded or carried away by washaways when there are visible sluits, but one e.g. finds surface erosion caused by wind. We call that wind erosion, and it is considered that surface erosion in the long run causes the loss of the most fertile topsoil. Hundreds of millions of tons of topsoil is washed or blown away every year, and the value of this loss of soil cannot be expressed in terms of money. If one should try to replace these plant foodstuffs which are destroyed in this way by wind erosion by means of applying fertilizers, it would amount to millions of pounds annually. Mr. Speaker, I have mentioned a few factors. There is one other important factor militating against soil fertility, and that is the system of soil exploitation applied in certain areas. I may just add that there is exploitation of the soil on large properties as well as on small farms, because it is simply due to a lack of a planned system of agriculture, a scientific system; and when we ask what machinery there is and what we have done to minimize this destruction of our soil, this reduction in our soil fertility, we think in the first place of the State machinery we established under the Soil Conservation Act. Many people regard the Soil Conservation Act simply as an act which aims at the closing up of dongas which have been washed into the soil or the erection of contour-walls to prevent other dongas being made, or the application of a system of having different camps and a change of grazing, thereby allowing the natural plant growth to give the land the protection there originally was and thereby allowing less water to run away from the soil, so that there is less run-off. But many people do not understand the main function of soil conservation, which is to establish a planned system of farming for every farm unit, a system which suits that farm. Now the question arises: What has the State done in recent years? An amendment has now been moved to the motion moved by the hon. member for Christiana because some people say one should not thank the Government because the Minister might perhaps take credit for it personally; rather move an amendment. I do not think that this was really the true reason for that amendment. I think the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) really wanted more speakers on his side to have the opportunity to participate in the debate.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

And on your side too.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

If I were to weigh the contributions made here, even though they were all sound, I would rather be inclined to accept the motion of thanks and the good contributions made by the mover of the motion and members on this side.

Mr. Speaker, I just briefly want to mention what the State has done, apart from how the Soil Conservation Act works and how we subsidize farm planning works done in terms of the Soil Conservation Act, whether it consists of groundwork, water works, the storage of water or the erection of fences. Those are all works subsidized by the Government. The Soil Conservation Act was passed in 1946 and it was mentioned that because of the short period of time left, very little was done to apply the provisions of the Soil Conservation Act before 1948 when this Government came into power. Between 1948 and 1960 more than £4,000,000 has been paid out in the form of subsidies to farmers. It was paid out only to people who applied for it and who constructed these works in terms of the Soil Conservation Act, and if one takes it that on an average they are subsidized to the extent of 30 per cent in respect of the works undertaken, it means that the farmers themselves over the past 12 years spent no less than £8,000,000 out of their own pockets—altogether £12,000,000—but what about the millions of pounds spent by farmers who did not apply for a subsidy from the Government? Whilst I am on this point I want to express my thanks to all farmers, particularly to the cattle farmers, who took the lead in tackling soil conservation works without any subsidy from the State, when their position and their income was such that they could afford to do so out of their own pockets. In order to make this Act a success and to get people to realize the necessity for soil conservation, there must be a period of education, guidance, the provision of information. I do not want that to be lost sight of. It was the duty of the State to do that work and an organization had to be established for that. That organization was established. The question was posed here whether the money we have hitherto spent on soil conservation in all its forms has achieved the results; whether we have achieved anything by it. I must say that I was a little surprised to hear that people could even at this late stage still ask whether the money was spent advantageously and whether we had achieved anything. The hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) commenced by saying how the soil had deteriorated, how the coastal areas had deteriorated, but not long afterwards he told us how many more animals he can now keep. I want to state that particularly over the past 10 to 12 years tremendous progress has been made and much has been achieved through the active steps taken by the Government in conjunction with the farmers, and with the co-operation of the general public of South Africa which is very sympathetic towards soil conservation. Not only has tremendous progress been made, but splendid results have been achieved. I can mention examples here of where the carrying capacity of various farms in various parts of the country, not only in one area where the rainfall was favourable but even in the north-western Cape, was doubled on well-planned farms where farm planning was implemented. Not only was the carrying capacity doubled, but also the production per animal. On those farms the production of sheep and wool was doubled, and in the recent drought those people suffered fewer losses than other farmers who had not done so yet. But Rome was not built in a day, and therefore one has to be very careful not to judge too hastily. Since Union the Department of Agriculture has done a tremendous amount of work in the sphere of research. But when I come to research I want to have a broader vision and consider the application and the utilization of the most scientific and technological measures which in these modern times have become available to us and to the farmers. I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of somebody whom we cannot lightly forget when talking about research and the proper utilization of the technical manpower and the services made available to South Africa by the Department of Agriculture. I think of our deceased friend who was the champion of the idea that science should become an integral part of the planning of the system of farming in South Africa. I am thinking of the former Secretary for Agriculture, who was later Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing, namely Dr. M. S. du Toit. I was glad to hear the words of appreciation expressed in regard to the officials of the Department, our research workers and our technical staff, without whose assistance we could not have done these things. I may just say that it was Dr. du Toit who was responsible for the reorganization of the whole of the Department of Agriculture and who established the basis on which our agricultural technical services still stand to-day. Research was always being done, but it was never co-ordinated or properly organized. Dr. du Toit divided the country up into six ecological areas. For a long time already—and I say this particularly to hon. members who are interested in the eastern Cape—it has been urged that the eastern Cape, which has a tremendous potential, should enjoy more attention, and it is a pleasure to me to announce here to-day that, with the approval of the Cabinet, I have decided to separate the eastern Cape from the existing Karoo Regional Organization. It will now function as a separate area, with a Regional Director and two Asistant Directors at the head of affairs. As the result of this step the technical services for the eastern Cape will be extended and that area will be given more effective services.

*An HON. MEMBER:

Where will the headquarters be?

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

That still has to be decided. In the sphere of research, my Department is making experiments in regard to fertilizers. The impression was created here this afternoon that we were doing too little in that regard. We do a tremendous amount of work in regard to fertilizer experiments at our central research stations, as well as on our experimental farms, and co-operative experiments we carry out everywhere in co-operation with the farmers. It should be remembered, Sir, that fertilizer experiments are also accompanied by soil surveys, and we do a tremendous amount of work in regard to soil surveying. It was of course practically just impossible, in view of the shortage of manpower, to make a soil survey of the whole of the Union, but we have made tremendous progress. I may, for example, say that we even appointed an expert from abroad on a contract basis in the service of the Department, and he and others are now busy making an intensive soil survey of the whole of the Tugela area in Natal. Then if soil surveys have to be made by the Lands Department for the purposes of establishing settlements or for other reasons, use is also made of my Department, and sometimes it becomes a little difficult where preference has to be given to surveys which are urgently required, with the result that some of the other surveys perhaps have to be delayed.

Fertilizer experiments are being carried out. Our difficulty is that one cannot e.g. prohibit the fertilizer companies from paying these people more and enticing away the extension officers who were in our service by offering higher salaries. They probably consider that these people have already gained some experience in the Department and then they use them as selling agents, to go around the country and to give advice. But our farmers do not have to accept that advice without more ado. If a man wants to do so, he can do so. It is not that those people have no agricultural knowledge, but their motives and objects are not necessarily the same as those of the Department. Our officials only aim at giving the farmer the best possible advice, but the others still have the sales motive at the back of their minds. They also do good work, but I just want to say that the fertilizer companies have now formed an association and they have also promised their co-operation. There ought to be co-operation between them and the Department, and there will now be better co-operation. I hope that will be one of the methods by which the advice they give to the farmers will be better coordinated with the advice we give them. We do not only do research in regard to fertilizers, but also in connection with the effect of trace elements. I want to ask the hon. member for Sea Point to go to Stellenbosch.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

I was there.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

Perhaps it was long ago, or else he did not spend enough time there, judging from his speech. But there he can see what is being done in this sphere, and also in other spheres. Now somebody has said that we should give economic guidance to our farmers also in connection with drop rotation experiments. In other words, when we have evolved a crop rotation scheme we should be able to reply to the question put by the farmer: “Will it pay me?” Now I must say that we have not got the units available to be able to do it for every farm and in every case. Our aim is to establish such units in various places in the various areas of the country and there to establish experimental farming units, economic units dealing with various systems of crop rotation, and then we want to prove to the farmer that our system will ensure that he receives a greater income than he would otherwise have had.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

Where have you got them?

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

We have one e.g. at Potchefstroom. We have one at Brits, not far from Pretoria. There we have such a unit. But now I just want to come to what was said by the hon. member for Drakensberg (Mrs. S. M. van Niekerk), viz. that she was convinced that the Department has enough material available but that it does not reach the farmers. I want to put it another way. The Department realizes that you can do all the research in the world, but if you cannot inform the farmers of results it is no use. If one cannot bring them that knowledge and then still try to see that it is applied, that research is not of much value. If you take all our publications, all our periodicals, the broadcasts over the radio, the farmers’ days, farmers’ days at experimental farms, demonstrations on farms and at our agricultural colleges and at our agricultural schools, and if one sees what the attendance is on those occasions, I must say that there is still something wrong. As someone said, one can lead a horse to water, but one cannot force him to drink if he does not want to. I would like hon. members to help us there. We must impress it on our farmers that where it takes place in their vicinity, where there is an experimental station near to them, even though the type of soil is somewhat different, they should still be interested in it. Take the case of George. How many Oudtshoorn farmers have attended there? And how much benefit can they derive from it! That is the experience. I went to Brits, and there the position is the same. The data are available, but the people simply do not read it sufficiently and do not make use of all the facilities. The older farmers in many instances have perhaps got into a rut and have the idea that an expert or an extension officer, because he has been to a university, can only talk out of the book and not from a practical point of view. I know there are farmers who say: “Why should I take notice of him, because he cannot even inspan an ox or saddle a horse?” and because the man cannot do that practical thing he thinks: “Now what can this man teach me?” We still find that mentality on the part of many of our farmers and we must break down that prejudice. Otherwise we will not achieve the desired results in the actual application of that knowledge available to us and its application by the farmers. To do that we need the help of everybody.

I am now busy improving the whole of the land service movement in the Department of Agriculture, i.e. a land service movement for our youth—not the youth of one section of the population only, but of the whole of the White population. Because if we have failed to make the older generation realize that it is our national asset and that every individual should take an interest in the soil, in the beauty of its flora and its preservation and protection, then I think we should in any case concentrate on the youth. I want to appeal to hon. members on both sides of the House to assist us in this respect, seeing that we have had reasonable success in that regard. I attach so much importance to it that I am now sending the regional director of the land service movement overseas to attend an international land service conference. Now I hope that hon. members, in addressing the public, will bear it in mind and that with the influence and status they have in the eyes of the public they will not only play off the one party against the other, but use their position for this positive objective in the interests of agriculture and of the country. Without your help the Minister and the Department, with the best will in the world, cannot achieve the success we otherwise could have achieved.

I want to conclude. Of course there is much scope for further research. I have not mentioned all the projects we have. At the moment we have 289 different research projects in operation, all in connection with some aspect of soil fertility, and it is being done by no fewer than 300 research workers. I referred a moment ago to education and guidance. We have made much progress. We have four agricultural faculties at four universities. We have our agricultural colleges. We have a large extension service which we are now making more efficient. I want to add that I have now obtained Cabinet approval for an extension of the personnel of my Department of Agricultural Technical Services because it is absolutely necessary to know what staff will be available in future. That is necessary for orderly planning, because research is a long-term project. One must have an idea of how much one can spend. I may mention that it has now been approved that I will be given £175,000 extra for this year, and in the course of ten years I will receive £1,000,000 more from the Exchequer for increasing the personnel of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services.

The hon. member for Bethlehem (Mr. Knobel) and also other hon. members mentioned how essential it was that we should give guidance in respect of agricultural engineering and mechanization. I have already said that I have not progressed as fast as I had expected to do, but a tremendous amount of capital is concerned here, and I have succeeded at least in obtaining approval now to establish in my Department of Agricultural Technical Services a national division of agricultural mechanization and engineering, and two posts have been approved, viz. a director and a deputy director. The main function of this division will be, apart from the necessary co-ordination in the sphere of agricultural mechanization and engineering in the Department, also to evolve comprehensive plans in co-operation with the C.S.I.R. and the S.A. Bureau of Standards as to how research in connection with agricultural mechanization and engineering and the testing of farm machinery and implements can be organized and carried out in the most efficient way. When these people have drawn up their plans and made their suggestions, the Government will then devote attention to the implementation of those plans. [Time limit.]

*Mr. LABUSCHAGNE:

I think the subject we have discussed here to-day is of such importance that we will not be able to conclude our discussions this afternoon, and therefore I move—

That the debate be now adjourned.

Mr. M. J. DE LA R. VENTER:

I second.

Agreed to; debate adjourned until 10 February.

The House adjourned at 4.15 p.m.

MONDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 1961

Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 2.20 p.m.

VACANCY

Mr. SPEAKER announced that a vacancy had occurred in the representation in the House of the electoral division of Swellendam owing to the death on Friday of Mr. I. W. J. van der Vyver.

CONDOLENCE *The PRIME MINISTER:

Mr. Speaker, I wish to move as an unopposed motion—

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death on Friday of Mr. Izak Wilhelm Johannes van der Vyver, who represented the electoral division of Swellendam, and desires to place on record its appreciation of his parliamentary service of nearly eight years. This House further resolves that its sincere sympathy be conveyed to the relatives of the deceased in their bereavement.

Mr. Speaker, it is always a painful experience when a friend or a relative dies, but it is usually doubly painful for the family when it happens almost without any warning. In the case of our friend who has passed away, although it is true that during the past year or two he was seriously ill from time to time, still it had seemed just recently as if he had been regaining his health and energy. Nobody expected his sudden demise, considering that he still was in our midst on Friday.

Mr. van der Vyver had a long period of public service in various spheres behind him. He was born in Barrydale in 1903 and therefore was only 57 years of age. He received his schooling at Riversdale. In his area he was a member of various bodies, like the Divisional Council, the Advisory Committee of the Agricultural School in Riversdale and the Hospital Board of Montagu. In the Provincial election of 1943 he became a member of the Provincial Council, where he served until 1953. Then he succeeded Mr. S. E. Warren as the Member of Parliament for that constituency. From 1953 he was a member of this House. He leaves a wife, four daughters and a son.

Mr. van der Vyver was a good man and a pleasant personality. He made friends everywhere. I think in this House he was a beloved personality who had friends on both sides of the House. His demise is a great loss to us. To his family it must surely be an even greater loss. We want to convey our deepest sympathy to his widow and his children. We would like them to know that we are thinking of them.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

Mr. Speaker, I second the motion and on behalf of members on this side of the House I should like to associate myself with the words that have fallen from the lips of the hon. the Prime Minister in regard to the demise of somebody who was regarded as a friend by both sides of the House. Mr. van der Vyver was one of the most likeable people we have ever known in this House. He was a genial and friendly person, and he conducted himself in such a way that although he expressed his own opinions he never made any enemies here. He meant much to the community, and we in this part of the world knew him as somebody who made his contribution in regard to work in connection with agriculture, education and hospital services, and also in the Provincial Council in earlier years. He was always helpful and prepared to render assistance, even to those from whom he differed politically. Mr. Speaker, I think we are in the position to-day where both sides of the House can say that we have lost a friend, somebody who made his contribution and whom we will all miss. I am sure that everybody will want to express his sympathy with the members of the family of our deceased friend.

*Dr. STEYTLER:

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of myself and my friends here, I should like to associate myself with what was said by the hon. the Prime Minister and by the Leader of the Opposition. To us here the death of Uncle Sakkies van der Vyver was a tremendous shock. To us he was always the personification of the finest characteristics of the South African farmer. He was friendly and although he had his convictions, he never put his differences with others on a personal basis. We shall all miss him.

Mr. BLOOMBERG:

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues and myself I should like to associate myself with the motion before the House, and with the well-deserved tributes paid to the memory of our late colleague and friend.

Motion agreed to unanimously, all the members standing.

VYFHOEK MANAGEMENT AMENDMENT BILL

Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Honourable the Senate:

The Senate transmits to the Honourable the House of Assembly the Vyfhoek Management Amendment Bill passed by the Senate and in which the Senate desires the concurrence of the Honourable the House of Assembly.

By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Bill was read a first time.

COLOURED PERSONS COMMUNAL RESERVES BILL

Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Honourable the Senate:

The Senate transmits to the Honourable the House of Assembly the Coloured Persons Communal Reserves Bill passed by the Senate and in which the Senate desires the concurrence of the Honourable the House of Assembly. By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Bill was read a first time.
CENSUS AMENDMENT BILL

Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Honourable the Senate;

The Senate transmits to the Honourable the House of Assembly the Census Amendment Bill passed by the Senate and in which the Senate desires the concurrence of the Honourable the House of Assembly. By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Bill was read a first time.
CONSTITUTION BILL

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for second reading,—Constitution Bill, to be resumed.

[Debate on motion by the Prime Minister, upon which amendments had been moved by Sir de Villiers Graaff, by Dr. Steytler and by Mr. Bloomberg, adjourned on 2 February, resumed.]

*Mr. J. A. F. NEL:

Mr. Speaker, when the House adjourned last Thursday evening I was dealing with the amendment of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition to the effect that he could not approve of this second reading because we could not give an unequivocal assurance that the proposed republic would be within the Commonwealth. I asked the hon. the Leader of the Opposition what kind of Commonwealth he had in mind, because his conception of the composition of the Commonwealth is apparently different from ours on this side of the House. I said that Gen. Smuts had divided the Commonwealth into two sections, an inner circle and an outer circle, and I said that this side of the House could not accept that type of Commonwealth. However, it was not only Gen. Smuts who said that, but also the present Leader of the Opposition. He said the following according to the Cape Times of 11 August 1960—

To South Africa its free association with the Commonwealth was particularly valuable in its relationship with what has been called the inner circle of the Commonwealth. Dr. Verwoerd forgot that it was a fact that the Crown had a role in South Africa’s Constitution which it did not have in the republics of the Commonwealth which assured South Africa of bonds of friendship with the inner circle.

In other words, the Commonwealth of the Leader of the Opposition has now been divided into two sections. The one section consists of those members who accept the monarchy and the other section of the republics. It has always been our argument that the Crown is the very thing which has divided the nation in South Africa but it seems to me that it is going much further now and that the Crown is also dividing the Commonwealth. I say that in those circumstances we are not prepared to accept it. But it was not only the Leader of the Opposition who said that but also “his grey eminence” the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn). According to correspondence which passed between the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn) and the hon. member for Yeoville, he said that if we remained within the Commonwealth we would be moving towards the outer circle with countries such as Ghana and India. They are asking for a guarantee but I say we are not prepared to give that guarantee in the case of a Commonwealth such as that. The Leader of the Opposition referred to Ghana. He is now busy driving his friend, Dr. Nkrumah, to the outer circle. Surely there should be loyalty amongst friends.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! That has nothing to do with the Bill.

*Mr. J. A. F. NEL:

I am dealing with the amendment, Sir. As far as that is concerned, Sir, I am prepared to be a member of the Commonwealth, but then it must be the Commonwealth which was established in pursuance of an agreement, an agreement which was based on the condition that all members should be equal in status.

But there was something else as well. Hon. members talked about certain basic rights which had to be entrenched. On 25 April 1951, Adv. Strauss got up in this House and said that the position of the Union as a member of the Commonwealth should also be entrenched. I want to know whether that is still the policy of hon. members opposite, namely that the position of the Union as a member of the Commonwealth should be entrenched in this constitution? If that is the case, Sir, the freedom and independence of South Africa will be affected.

But I want to go further in view of certain developments which have taken place since this House adjourned last Thursday, and I want to couple this to the amendment of the Progressive Party. According to their fourth point they want—

The decentralization of legislative and executive power on federal lines in the interest of a reasonable degree of provincial and local self-government.

I should like to ask the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, if the hon. member for Danskraal will allow me to have his attention, whether they subscribe to that? Do they subscribe to this amendment of the Progressive Party? It is important for us to know that because the hon. member for South Coast addressed a meeting at Pietermaritzburg last Friday and according to the Eastern Province Herald of Saturday, 4 February—it is interesting to note that his speech was not even reported in the Cape Argus or the Cape Times —he said this—

When the opportunity comes we will insist upon our own powers of legislation.

He says they want their own legislative powers; that fs precisely what the Progressive Party says in their amendment. Does the Leader of the Opposition support the hon. member for South Coast as far as that is concerned? Does he support this statement by the hon. member for South Coast, because it is precisely what the Progressive Party asks in their amendment?

But I go further. Will the hon. member for South Coast get up during the Committee Stage and move an amendment to the effect that Natal should be treated on a federal basis, and will the Leader of the Opposition support him? Those are questions which they will have to answer.

But that is not all, Sir. According to a speech which he made in Pietermaritzburg, he said this, according to the Eastern Province Herald

Mr. Douglas Mitchell told a Maritzburg audience to-day that he was determined to have the republican constitution replaced by a constitution which had the approval of Natal …. Mr. Mitchell saiad that the Government would never have peace in South Africa as long as Natal was opposed to the republic; did not approve of it, rejected it, would have no part in it and would amend it at the first opportunity. “To that end I pledge myself to work,” he said.

Does that mean that the hoon. member for South Coast will revert to the monarchical system of government and that we will again have a monarchy in South Africa? Because that is the only constitution which will satisfy Natal, according to him. Does the Leader of the Opposition agree with that? Because he is the person who stated last week that they were prepared to accept the republic subject to certain amendments. Now I come to the most shocking statement of all. He says—

I was entitled to say that we will not accent it—it is hot our republic. Because the Government has the guns, the tanks and the troops we can be forced to comply with the laws of the republic, but we don’t accept the republic—it is completely unacceptable to us.

What impression must that create abroad? It creates the impression that troops have now occupied Natal and that she is being forced to become a republic. But here is another example. We are told that the provincial council members will resign and that there will be a by-election in Natal, on one point only, namely, the right of self-determination for Natal. Is that true? Does the hon. member for South Coast know about that? Are the United Party members going to resign and call for an election? What does their leader say about that? We have been wondering why all those statements were being made and what the motivating forces behind them were and it is interesting to note that the first one also appeared in the Eastern Province Herald, where Mr. Prosser wrote as follows—

Furthermore, Mr. Mitchell has to placate the militant monarchists of his province. In doing so, he is unlikely to lose support, however shocking his statement may strike both friend and foe.
*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member is going too far; he must return to the amendment.

*Mr. J. A. F. NEL:

Sir, I am busy dealing with the amendment of the Progressive Party and coupling it to the attitude of the United Party. The amendment reads as follows—

Dr. Steytler moved as a further amendment, seconded by Mr. Swart, the decentralization of legislative and executive power on federal lines in the interest of a reasonable degree of provincial and local self-government.

I am now asking the hon. member for South Coast whether he is going to have that election, because according to another newspaper report the United Party members of the Natal Provincial Council are going to resign and there will be an election on one point only, namely, the right of self-determination for Natal.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! That has nothing to do with the amendment. I have allowed the hon. member to deal with it but he cannot go any further.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE:

On a point of order, Sir, may I refer to Clause 87 of the draft constitution. It says: “Any ordinance made by a provincial council shall have effect in and for the province as long and as far only as it is not repugnant to any Act of Parliament.” With respect, Sir, my submission is that that is what the hon. member is dealing with and I respectfully suggest that what he is saying is relevant.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

I listened to the hon. member but he went too far. He must come back to the Bill and to the amendment.

*Mr. J. A. F. NEL:

With due respect, Sir, I am dealing with the principles of the Bill. I was saying that there was a report in the Sunday Times of yesterday’s date and I want to deal with this point in connection with the decentralization of power and the reason why hon. members opposite are suddenly also pleading now for that decentralization of power. A report appeared in Natal that “Natal Secret Society backs Mitchell”. The reason they advance is the very fact that there can be this election and I want to ask the hon. member whether that is true—

A semi-secret organization with a Natal-wide membership was the force behind the anti-republican speech made in Parliament this week by Mr. Douglas Mitchell, leader of the United Party in Natal, it can now be disclosed.
*Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes, but the hon. member is going too far.

*Mr. J. E. POTGIETER:

On a point of order, Sir, may I point out that during second-reading debates Speakers have always ruled that the arguments advanced in the debate should be against the background of the aims and motives and even the technique of the other side, and that is the background of this debate. Is the hon. member not allowed to discuss the background?

*Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member was present when I gave the ruling that, because the House had been discussing the background for three days. hon. members should now come back to the Bill.

*Mr. J. A. F. NEL:

Then I want to put it this way to the Leader of the Opposition. The report says—

But its influence is so strong that recently it was directly responsible for this week’s belligerent parliamentary speech by Mr. Mitchell, in which he hinted at Natal taking steps to making its own laws.

That surely is within the amendment, Sir. Is that the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition? Does he support the hon. member for South Coast when he says that Natal must make her own laws? But it goes further, Sir—

A hush-hush agreement that all Natal’s United Party and M.P.C.s would resign to fight the election. …

Is that correct or not? Is the method to be employed by the United Party that their provincial councillors should resign and that an election should be fought on that basis? There the hon. Leader of the Opposition sits. We want to know what his attitude is. We have had all sorts of speeches on this Bill, especially by the hon. member for South Coast; we had even had threats about taking up arms and the Leader of the Opposition does not answer us. He is leaderless. [Time limit.]

*Prof. FOURIE:

Mr. Speaker, as one of the few men in this House who went through the crucible of the old republics, I consider it a great honour to-day to say unequivocally that I not only welcome this Bill, in so far as its main principles are concerned, but also give it my wholehearted support. There is a long history behind this Bill. It goes back to long before the Anglo-Boer War, but today I want to speak in the spirit of one of our great leaders of the past who used the following words at that tragic incident in Vereeniging in 1902 when he said—

Nobody will ever convince me that the unequalled sacrifices laid by the South African nation on the altar of freedom will be futile and in vain. The war of independence of South Africa. …

Not of the two republics alone, and not of the Afrikaans-speaking people alone—

… was fought not only for the Boers but for the entire people of South Africa. …

including my English-speaking friends here and outside this House. That is the spirit in which I had hoped all these years that this Bill would be received. These words were used by General Smuts on 31 May 1902. They were wonderful words at that time, in those dark days experienced by the one section of the population, that a man like him could see such a vision. I think my English-speaking friends must accept that that is really what the Afrikaner feels. We are fighting not only for ourselves, but for South Africa and also for them and their children. This Bill is the inevitable result of the evolution which has taken place since then, that fight for freedom which we all fought, and in spite of what is happening in Natal to-day—to me it is one of the most tragic things that after all these years we have come to the stage where the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) still dares to exploit these sacred sentiments of the one section of the population for party political gain. He may succeed in his attempt, and I want to say that I do not under-estimate the clever tactics used by the hon. member and the importance of it. He is associating himself with the stirred-up sentiment of one section of the population, and I want to tell him this, that along that road he can eliminate all the parties there, but by following that course he is writing his own epitaph on his own political tombstone. He is leading the English-speaking people into a political cul-de-sac, a dead end for the future. By adopting that course they are condemning themselves to frustration and ineptitude for the future. Along that road there is no hope for English-speaking South Africa to make a positive contribution to the development of this country. I find it surprising that the Leader of the Opposition seems to be going along with them. How can a leader afford to make a statement which is neither one thing nor another? Is he playing along with them or not? But I am surprised at the hon. member for Florida (Mr. H. G. Swart) and Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) and quite a number of other hon. members whom I know personally and whose thoughts I know. It surprises me that at this stage they can remain sitting silent, without reacting to what is happening to-day. It simply surpasses my understanding. But I leave the matter there, except to say this. The hon. member for South Coast has not yet contravened the laws, but if he continues along this course the spirit of everything which he has said so far is unconstitutional and completely in conflict with the constitution of South Africa as it is now and as it will be after 31 May. What does he want? I hope he will have the courage and be man enough not to shelter behind ambiguous statements, but let him say he rejects the whole thing and is prepared to stand the consequences of his unconstitutional actions. He now pretends to act constitutionally, whilst the whole spirit of his course of action is unconstitutional. He might as well have said, after the 1958 election, that the overwhelming majority of people in Natal have expressed themselves as being opposed to the Nationalist Government and for that reason he would no longer have anything to do with the Union and will no longer obey the laws, but will make his own laws as soon as possible. How ridiculous, particularly at a time when White South Africa has to face the overwhelming problem presented by developments in Africa. In spite of everything, I personally remain optimistic in regard to the future of South Africa, but if one sees such things after all these years one begins to doubt whether White South Africa really ought to have the right to exist. On the basis of such irresponsibilities, there is in my opinion not much hope for us.

*Mr. HUGHES:

Why do you not resign your seat?

*Prof. FOURIE:

My hon. friend over there has been repeating the same little song for the past two or three years like a parrot. Mr. Speaker, as I see the matter, the over-all principle of this Bill amounts to a change in the form of government, the changeover from a monarchial to a republican form of government. That is the main principle and I believe that the people already gave their decision on 5 October 1960, in that regard. I accept that decision; I played a part in that decision. I hope that my hon. friends here will also in time bow to the will of the people, if they do not want to bow to anything else. This Bill in my opinion is simply the implementation, the confirmation of the decision given on 5 October, and I accept it as such. But the content of the Bill, all those other clauses which do not really relate to the change in the form of government, remain an open question, and I believe that the hon. member for South Coast will move amendments wherever he considers it necessary to do so, and I admit that, like any other hon. member, he will have the fullest right to move amendments to any of those clauses. He may even advance his federal idea. I do not believe that that would be in order, but there is one thing he will not be able to do: When once the second reading of this Bill has been passed he will not dare tamper further with that main principle, viz. that the monarchial Union of South Africa will become the Republic of South Africa. He will have to accept it, or else he will have to emerge from his refuge and proceed to commit overt acts of revolt, and also advise his Natal supporters to do so. I myself believe that wiser guidance than that of the hon. member for South Coast will prevail in Natal. If that is not the case then I wonder what the Afrikaners were supposed to have done during the past 60 years. Should we also have revolted? Should we also have considered that we were being governed by guns and tanks and power? I believe that the Afrikaner has much more right, if it is a question of right, to adopt that sort of attitude. No, let us get away from all that foolishness in our national life. I accept the republic and this Bill, and here I want to say a word to the hon. the Prime Minister.

I accept the Bill, but not in the spirit of making a sacrifice with a long face, like a martyr surrendering great things. I accept the Republic of South Africa gladly. I do not regard it as a sacrifice to accept the Republic of South Africa in the place of the old Boer Republics. We know what propaganda was made in recent years for an exclusive Boer Republic. Those old republics were model republics—that I admit. They were models for a pastoral people and the comparative simple way of life of a handful of Boers of those days. I have the greatest respect for it, but do not let us come along in a spirit of sacrifice to trade with our English friends. Let us be light-hearted. We are exchanging something which has small value for something which is infinitely more valuable. As far as the Afrikaner is concerned, it is certainly a case of his winning almost everything. On the other hand, when we come along here to take up a positive and constructive attitude in regard to the Commonwealth instead of a negative or neutral standpoint as we did before, do not let us regard it as a sacrifice. These things sound hollow and unrealistic to me; it makes one suspicious. No, I say that the acceptance of the Commonwealth idea to-day in a positive sense is in the interest of South Africa, and I hope that we, as we develop, will adopt an increasingly positive attitude towards the idea of the Commonwealth as a free nation, not as a nation which is going to bind itself ad infinitum, whatever might happen, but as a free nation with a free right of self-determination which at any time, if the people consider it to be in their interest to step out, are free to do so. But I blame the hon. the Prime Minister for talking about a spirit of sacrifice. The acceptance of the Commonwealth idea is said to be a tremendous sacrifice on the part of the Afrikaner; the acceptance of the Republic of South Africa inside the Commonwealth is alleged to be a tremendous sacrifice on the part of the Afrikaner. I believe that that is the wrong spirit. Mr. Speaker, the troubles we have to-day are also partially due to the mistakes made by the Prime Minister. His speech in Sea Point, which he later tried to explain away, shocked me. I thought it was not cricket. “Heads I win, tails you lose” is never cricket. I say it is a pity.

Another matter I wish to refer to is this: It is still clearly stated to-day in the programme of principles of the Nationalist Party that they reserve the right to strive for the attainment of a republic and for segregation from the Commonwealth. Why should something like that be left in the party’s programme of principles as an objective to be attained? If that is not the intention, why leave it there; why is it not deleted? Leave it to the free will of the people in the future, a nation which is free and independent and which can leave the Commonwealth at any time if it wants to, but why should it be stated as an objective in the programme of principles of the party?

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The constitution of the Nationalist Party is not under discussion now. The hon. member must come back to the Bill and the amendment.

*Prof. FOURIE:

Sir, I leave it there. That is the spirit in which the hon. the Prime Minister spoke, a spirit of sacrifice. Do not let us do horse-trading in terms of sacrifices. Nor should my hon. friend here and all the English-speaking people in South Africa think that they are going to make tremendous sacrifices. It is no sacrifice to take the hand of a fellow-South African on a reasonable basis. There is much in this constitution, even as it stands to-day, which the English-speaking section ought to find inspiring. Just think of this parliamentary system under which we work. It is part of their heritage. Think of the Commonwealth which in my opinion is the greatest heritage not only of English-speaking South Africans but of English-speaking people right throughout the world. It is their heritage. I believe that the Afrikaner in future will adopt a positive attitude vis-à-vis that heritage of English-speaking South Africa. It is a tremendous gain to them. No, let us have an honest and honourable comparison. Where there are conflicting sentiments in South Africa, we have a choice between two courses. We can either allow those sentiments to clash and let the one destroy the other, or perhaps destroy both, or else we can like intelligent people arrive at an honest and honourable compromise. I consider that if as the result of an honest and honourable compromise between two hard-headed sections of the population who have to meet each other, whether they want to do so or not, a South African republic will be established on a democratic basis, a republic within the Commonwealth. If the two sections do not want to meet each other, if they want to carry on like the hon. member for South Coast, then let us write finis to the future of White South Africa and the future of our children. But I do not think that is necessary. When people exploit a sentiment for party-political gain I believe that the moderate section of the people will unequivocally condemn such actions. Mr. Speaker, I stand by that compromise because I believe that on the basis of the past, where the one section of the population demanded a double portion and begrudged the other section anything, we cannot continue to exist. Of what avail is it to the English-speaking South Africans to think that they can grasp for themselves a double portion in so far as the Crown is concerned—the Crown as the Head of State in South Africa and the Crown as the Head of the Commonwealth—a double portion—and begrudge the Afrikaner anything which will act as a link and a bond with his own historical past? Along that course of double portions on the one hand and nothing on the other hand, there will be strife and the eventual death of South Africa. But I have always hoped that they would recognize the reasonableness of the Afrikaner’s standpoint on this question—and that is mainly why I left the United Party—and that they will realize that the republic is not merely a constitutional or a political question to the Afrikaner; it is something much deeper and greater. It is part of his whole national history and his national aspirations, and any attitude, such as I experienced in the United Party, the attitude of having no republic in any shape or form and of being opposed to a republic in principle, is in essence an anti-Afrikaner attitude; and on that basis, unless we arrive at a compromise, we cannot continue in this country and build up anything here. In this compromise which is embodied in this Bill, a republic of South Africa within the Commonwealth, I see hope for the future, where the Afrikaner can realize his highest aspirations and where my English-speaking friends on this side can, with the assistance of the Afrikaner, establish a positive and constructive standpoint on the part of the Afrikaner for the retention of our membership of our Commonwealth.

I now come back to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. He asks for guarantees. It is fortunate that Messrs. Macmillan and Menzies and others have a much better conception of the Commonwealth than the Leader of the Opposition and the English language Press, as was revealed during the referendum campaign. Guarantees? There is only one guarantee, and any member of the Commonwealth which during the referendum and even now would like to say: “Very well. South Africa is automatically a member”, or “South Africa is automatically not a member”, dare not do so. That would be in conflict with the deeper spirit of the Commonwealth. There is only one incontrovertible guarantee and that is the uniqueness, the unity which is embodied in the Commonwealth concept, viz. the sovereign independence and equality of member within that group of nations, who voluntarily co-operate with each other on an equal basis in order to solve their common problems. The hon. the Prime Minister has often referred to the principle of non-intervention, and I want to say this to my hon. friends here and also to the other Commonwealth countries. Temper with that fundamental corner-stone of the Commonwealth, the sovereign independence and equality of the members, and that will be the beginning of the end of the Commonwealth. The people of South Africa—and I believe even the English-speaking section—have regard for the sovereign independence of South Africa; they have a high regard for it, but where the Leader of the Opposition throughout the referendum campaign tried to make the independence of South Africa subordinate—and still does so—to its membership of the Commonwealth, and where he even played along with Ghana to make it difficult for us freely to exercise our independence, he did South Africa a disservice, nor did he promote the cause of the continued membership of South Africa. On the contrary, the Leader of the Opposition and the English Press were playing with fire. They tried to play along with Ghana and others, and in that process I felt that if that is the Commonwealth, as depicted by them, then however convinced I may be of the value of our membership of the Commonwealth, it can certainly not be in the interest of South Africa to remain a member. If the South African nation in fact has to sacrifice its independence in order to remain a member of the Commonwealth, if that is the character of the Commonwealth, then I say it is already dead; it remains only for it to be buried. But thank God that is not the Commonwealth. It is something quite different, and here I want to express my appreciation to the hon. the Prime Minister for having repeatedly stated the case clearly. He stated the case much more clearly than the Leader of the Opposition ever did. Just imagine the slogan we continually heard: “A vote for the republic is a vote for the expulsion of South Africa out of the Commonwealth.” That was the slogan of the Leader of the Opposition and his Press. No, Sir, here we have something big, something of which the English-speaking section can be proud, and they should not allow anybody at all to play fast and loose with that great idea of the Commonwealth. It not only offers the English people something, but who knows to what other nations still in the future in the dangerous and uncertain world? Let us cling to it. I went through the whole struggle together with the Nationalists and let me tell my hon. friend the Deputy Minister of Education this: He should not, when I give expression to national feelings, which I had before he was born, interpret it as if I have now become a Nationalist. By what right does anybody lay down the national feeling of a nation in party principles? Let my hon. friends opposite not delude themselves. There are people with a national sentiment who still cannot agree with the type of nationalism which they advocate. I will come to that. In this Bill the Afrikaner in my opinion assumes tremendous responsibilities. We have now reached a milestone. We had that Afrikaner nationalism which over the years acted as the consolidating factor for the Afrikaner who expected to achieve much for South Africa, and here we have one of the products of it. But when a nation has become consolidated it should be on its guard not to become solidified, or petrified. I believe that my Nationalist friends as well as I have come to the point where we should have a somewhat wider view of our nationalism, and not regard it in the old sense of apartheid nationalism, or in a spirit of exclusiveness or of narrowness; that this is not something which belongs to the Afrikaner as such. Nationalism belongs to the whole of South Africa and I hope that my hon. friends opposite will, not only in regard to the Commonwealth but in regard to all the population groups in this country, have a wider vision of what their calling is in South Africa.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member must return to the Bill and to the amendment.

*Prof. FOURIE:

This Bill embodies that hon. compromise between honourable Afrikaans- and English-speaking people. To me it is, in the words used by Gen. Smuts, “the grand equation” which can bring English-and Afrikaans-speaking people in South Africa together, and we must get together. Let the hon. member for South Coast go and perform his tricks in Natal. I hope he will soon be finished with them, and I hope the English-speaking people in Natal will soon be finished with him too. But here we are faced with a tremendous problem in the light of which the problem with which we are dealing now is merely a minor matter. In this Bill mention is made of the other population groups and of the relations between Whites and non-Whites, but I believe that this Bill can be the beginning, provided both sections of the population accept it in the right spirit, of more hope for the non-Whites and for the relations between Whites and non-Whites. Mr. Speaker, I want to make an appeal to my English-speaking friends. To-day they consider that they have suffered a defeat, that they have lost something vital. Perhaps they are losing something important, and I have the deepest respect for their sentiments concerning their monarchial past, for the Royal Family and particularly for the reigning Queen. I have the deepest regard for that and I am the last one to belittle those deep sentiments of the English-speaking people. But cannot they rise, as Gen. Smuts’s vision rose in those tragic circumstances of 1902 to where he could see above the misery of the moment, and look to the greater future of South Africa? Personally, I have the greatest respect for Her Majesty the Queen, and I want to express the hope here— and I believe that the Afrikaans-speaking section will welcome it—that when we celebrate the establishment of the republic next year, the Prime Minister should seriously consider inviting the Queen and her family to come and take part in those celebrations. I believe she would come, and I believe that both Afrikaans- and English-speaking people will meet her here and treat her with the greatest courtesy and goodwill.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill and the Amendment.

*Prof. FOURIE:

I just want to mention this, Sir, in connection with Commonwealth relations, because I believe that our relations with Britain and with the other Commonwealth countries will in future be much more positive and more constructive than in the past provided we can understand each other at this stage. Sir, I will say no more. Another gratifying sign to me is that we are now beginning to adopt a different and more positive attitude towards the increasing of our White population in South Africa. I sometimes wonder whether the republic should not have come ten years ago, because in the meantime South Africa has paid a price which is perhaps so big that even having the republic at this stage will not make it worth while. I believe that the republic must come now and must come speedily so that the Afrikaans section can get rid of the complexes they had in the past in connection with White immigrants, whom they always feared would stand in the way of obtaining our greatest ideal, viz. a republic. Let us establish the republic now and let us adopt a much more positive attitude in regard to this matter because on that will eventually depend the possibility of the continued existence of both sections of the population here in South Africa.

*Dr. COERTZE:

It is a great privilege for me to-day to congratulate the hon. member for Germiston (District) (Prof. Fourie) on the sentiments which he has expressed here. I want to associate myself with large portions of his speech, but not with everything he said. On one occasion he said here that if we were to sit down and jot down all the points of agreement rather than the points of difference, we would be a much happier nation. I think he spoke in that spirit to-day, but there is one respect in which I differ from him and it is this: He accuses us of suffering from a certain exclusiveness. There are others who call us “sectional ”. There have been times when we have closed our ranks and that was very essential, but I think those days are over, and everybody who listened with an open mind and without prejudice to the hon. the Prime Minister will agree with the remark that today there is no longer any question of exclusiveness. Mr. Speaker, having said that I do not propose to come back again to the speech of the hon. member.

I want to confine myself very strictly to this Bill, if the House will forgive me. I am anxious to be in Mr. Speaker’s good books. I want to start by associating myself with the hon. the Minister of Justice just to say that I believe that we could have given the preamble to this very important document, which is going to become our constitution, a much warmer content, but I have no bright ideas on that subject. I should like to confine myself to another clause of this Bill, and that is firstly with regard to the oaths which the President will take as well as all the other oaths of office that will follow.

Mr. Speaker, an oath is much more than just the muttering of a few words which are then followed by certain legal consequences, as, for example, in proceedings in a court of law; there one mutters a few words and if one does not speak the truth then one makes oneself guilty of a crime. An oath is much more than that, particularly oaths of office. Oaths of office reflect the history of the nation; they date back to time immemorial. The first oath of office in the Anglo-Saxon world dates back to A.D. 760, and that oath—I do not propose to burden you, Sir, with the Anglo-Saxon version; I have translated it into Afrikaans—is the oath that was taken by English kings as from 960 and which was crystallized in law in the days of Ethelred and Redeless. He subsequently had to make certain promises, and these promises are interesting because of their dignity and the ceremony which accompanied them. Ethelred had to promise—

I promise true peace to God’s Church and all the Christian people of my realm; secondly, that I forbid all rapine and iniquities to all men of all conditions, and thirdly that I enjoin and promise equity and mercy in all my judgments to all my subjects.

Having taken the oath he then says “So help me, God”.

When we study the other oaths in the Anglo-Saxon countries (and I do this for the sake of my English-speaking friends on the Opposition benches and others) we find that the greatest note of solemnity was introduced in 1688 when William and Mary, in their coronation oath, were asked certain questions to which they solemnly replied. And in saying that I have in mind the forthcoming swearing-in of the State President. We must not have an oath which is over within a few seconds because that would detract from the solemnity of the occasion. I am not pleading for a carnival but I am pleading for the dignity of the swearing-in ceremony. When we look at the oath that was taken in those days— and this was an interesting period in English history, because in those years they had the glorious revolution—we find that certain questions were put to the King and Queen at the coronation ceremony. The first question was—

Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the people of this Kingdom of England and the dominions thereto belonging according to the Statutes in Parliament agreed on and the laws and customs of the same?

The question was put by the Bishop or Archbishop. I am quoting now from an Act of the House of Commons passed in that year or a little later. There it is stated that “the King and Queen shall say”—

I solemnly promise so to do.

Then the Archbishop or Bishop would ask—

Will you in your power cause law and justice in mercy to be executed in all your judgments?

The Queen and the King would then answer “I will”. And the Archbishop would then put the following question—

Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel and the Protestant Reform Religion established by law, and will you preserve unto the bishops and the clergy of this realm and to the Churches committed to your charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do and shall appertain unto them or any of them?

They would then reply—

All this I promise to do.

You can imagine what a solemn occasion it was in those days.

An HON. MEMBER:

The Church in England was a State Church.

*Dr. COERTZE:

I am not pleading for a State Church. I think these oaths should be taken at some sort of ceremony. Those questions should be put by the Chief Justice and they should be asked in the spirit of our history. Taking a page out of this glorious English history, I have in mind, for example, that the Chief Justice should put a question more or less after the style of Psalm 90—

Are you prepared in the name of our Almighty God, our All-Father, our aid and sustenance from the cradle to the grave to take the oaths of office of the Republic of South Africa on this solemn occasion?
The President must then reply:

“Yes, I am prepared to do so.” I am just suggesting that we should consider this. I do not want to put forward any proposal, but I should like to make a great occasion of this moment. The following question should then be put to the State President—

Do you promise to be loyal to your people and fatherland, to honour the republic and loyally to maintain it with all the power at your command and to serve it faithfully?

In putting that question, we would put it as the first duty of the President to serve the whole of the republic and he would then answer “I promise”. Our political philosophy would then be further incorporated in the oath, namely that he must obey the law. That brings me to the point raised by the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) who objected to Section 107 concerning the formulation of the Supreme Court. If we put it in this way—

Do you yourself promise to obey the laws of the republic and to see that they are applied to everybody “in geregtigheid en genade, sonder gawe, sonder gunste, sonder vrese en sonder aansiens des persoons”?

He would then reply “I promise”. Translated into English this would read—

… in justice and mercy (see the oath of A.D. 760 without gift, without favour, without fear and without preferment of any person.

To which he would reply “I promise”. And then we come to the third pillar of our constitutional law—

Do you promise to govern (or to administer) the republic, our fatherland, in sincerity and with the utmost conscientiousness as laid down by law?

And then his final words should be: “I promise and swear to fulfil my promises faithfully (‘rein’—pure), so help me, God.” As you know, in our own history oaths are either “rein” or perjurious (“mein”), “mein” being the opposite of “rein”, and I think that is a word that we should add (if I may make this contribution from the Afrikaans angle).

Then I feel that in the oath taken by Members of Parliament recognition should also be given to something from our past. I mention this only for the consideration of the Select Committee: The following question should be put by Mr. Speaker or by the Clerk, as the case may be—

Dou you promise …

“Douglas Mitchell” let us say—

… to be loyal to your people and father-land, to honour the Republic, to maintain it with all the power at your command, and to perform your task as Member of Parliament with all your intellectual powers and with the utmost conscientiousness?

To which the reply should be “I promise and swear”, or “I solemnly undertake”, that is to say, if anybody wants to make the affirmation, as we have done in the past. In that event he would make a solemn declaration. That is just a suggestion. It is not that I am pleading for a carnival or for puppetry. I am pleading for dignity.

Now I come to a second point that I want to make in connection with this Bill. I miss one very important juridical principle in this Bill, namely, the recognition of the Union as a body corporate. As you know, we were part of the British state and we therefore also inherited various problems which are peculiar to the British state. One of their problems was that they looked upon the King as the state. You will recall that they always talked about “His Majesty’s ships”. and “His Majesty’s army”. Everything belongs to “His Majesty” or “Her Majesty”, except the public debt. You will never come across the term “the King’s debt” or “the Queen’s debt” in any English document. It is always “the public debt There are good reasons for that, but this arises from the fact that the state in England is not a legal persona. They made the King the state, and because the concept of a body corporate is a fiction, they also tried, by way of a fiction, to make the King a legal persona. And they actually did so. That is why we get the saying “the King never dies”, although we know that he does die, or “the King is never insane”, while there have been kings who were insane; or “the King is never incapacitated”, although there have been examples of kings who were incapacitated. So as not to have to propagate this patent nonsense constantly, they devised something else and made the Crown (another fiction) a body corporate. I am not saying this in a derogatory way; I am simply quoting what English lawyers say; Maitland in his “Constitutional Law” says: “We read that the Crown does this and the Crown does that but as a matter of fact the ‘crown’ does nothing of the sort but lies in the Tower of London to be gazed at by sight-seers.” That is what the “crown” does. As a result of the fact that this problem exists in England and that they have tried to resolve this difficulty by means of all sorts of artifices, the “Crown” has almost become a legal persona. And that is something that we also inherited. That is why we find that the Governor-General, the Governor-General-in-Council, is the repository of government property. To whom do the Railways belong? They belong to the Governor-General-in-Council; the Consolidated Revenue Fund belongs to the Governor-General-in-Council. Other legal relationships must fit into that pattern and unless one undergoes some intellectual contortion, one does not succeed in fitting it in. If we made the republic a legal persona then all these troubles would fall away and everything would fit together like pieces in a jig-saw puzzle. We could stipulate that the Republic of South Africa is the legal persona with perpetual succession and that all public property belongs to it. These goods or Government property would be handled by the State President-in-Council. That is the idea.

But it is not only there that one comes up against difficulties as a result of the absence of a legal persona. One also comes up against it in respect of the liability of the Government for unlawful acts by its servants. On this point the jurist has to undergo just as many intellectual contortions. As the Bill now reads, all this is being introduced into our new constitutional law. We must have a “Crown Liabilities Act” if the king, who is immune as a person in authority, is to be bound.

In England they set up this fiction: They said “the King can do no wrong”, and that was because in his personal capacity the King was immune. That is why the King could commit no unlawful act. The trouble was how to make the state liable in the light of that proposition if he caused damage. They only resolved this difficulty in the ’fifties.

We introduced all those artifices in 1910 and prior to that date. I do not think we should re-introduce them in 1961. If we do so, we shall never be able to get rid of them.

It may be said to me that we are creating a fiction. Either we make the republic a legal persona (that is a fiction) or the State President-in-Council. It is quite true that one can create any fiction. In other parts of the world, under Hindu law, for example, certain plants have been fictitiously vested with legal individuality. Strangely enough, they can be summoned and they also institute proceedings, because they are vested with rights and obligations and are provided with organs. But our Roman-Dutch Law does not make an office a legal persona. There is only one part of our legislation where an office has been elevated to a legal persona, and that is in the Department of Labour where various councils are recognized as legal personae. That is not how we view it. The whole property complex, with all the people, with their managements, with their organs (call them what you like)—that is the legal persona. That is how we should make the republic. I think the Select Committee should make the Union itself a legal persona, not the State President-in-Council.

That brings me to the third point of this legislation as it is being proposed here. I notice in Clause 14 that the Great Seal will be in the custody of the State President. I do not know whether the hon. the Prime Minister is wedded to that. I do not think it would be advisable to do it in that way. When we look at the history of the Seal, we find that a seal was initially used by the King because he was unable to write. In the year 0, or very early, the only people who could write were the priests and rogues. The King had other pastimes. He was expected to be able to handle his rapier and to acquit himself well in the lists, and he was expected to have a certain amount of wisdom and to be able to stand up against other people in the ring. That is why he used a seal. Subsequently the seal was used for quite a different purpose. The rule in England was that “the King can do no wrong”. If the King acted in conflict with the law. no citizen had any redress in the Courts of Law against him. Because the seal was not in his possession and because he had to be assisted by one of the people, who looked after the seal, to affix it to the document, that person was charged as an accessory. In this way we got the “Keeper of the Seal”, which was a very important post in England, because he was really the custodian of the people’s freedoms to ensure that the King would not violate those freedoms.

Then there is also a third phase. One of the members of the House of Commons had to keep the seal in custody, because this is one of the ways of ensuring that the King, in the exercise of his judicial authority, was kept under the thumb of the House of Commons. Because the King had a free choice of Ministers and could possibly get some Minister to assist him if only he had the necessary courage to commit this unlawful act, or this unpopular crime, the King was able to do so. That is why the seal, when it was in the possession of a member of the House of Commons, also became the guarantee of the authority of the House of Commons.

In our country the King (hereafter the State President) is not free to choose Ministers. He can only choose members of the House of Assembly or of the Senate, or people who then become Members of Parliament within three months after they have been chosen. But during a period of civil unrest, three months would be long enough to conduct a revolution successfully by means of lawful Government action against the wishes of Parliament. I do not think it would be advisable to have this position. With all due respect to the future State President of South Africa, I do not think it would be advisable to give anybody that opportunity for three months.

It is true that we also stipulate that no document signed by the State President will be valid unless it is co-signed by a Minister, but he may be able to get a Minister during those three months. I would say therefore that all important documents should be sealed, and the seal should remain in the custody of the person who is the trustee of Parliament’s powers, and that would be none other than the Prime Minister or a person nominated by him. I think these are all points which can be considered by the Select Committee. I leave it at that.

There are also other points of lesser importance, but you will forgive me if I now come back to the debate … [Laughter] … of the past few days. Hon. members of the Opposition start feeling uncomfortable as soon as one turns to them. That is why they laugh, and then they start passing adverse remarks. My duty is to pass remarks derogatory remarks at that. In the course of this debate the Opposition has given proof of a pettiness which is probably without parallel in South Africa. As the hon. member for Germiston (District) (Prof. Fourie) has said, we have reached a milestone, a culminating point in our history. The Whites of this country want to make a new start. This is a culminating point and a milestone. We are witnessing the advent of a new era. This is a great event in our history. We are witnessing the birth of a new state and we are witnessing it without battle din, without bloodshed, without war. This is just as great an event. We are witnessing the renewal of our old aims, and that is just as great an event. I do not want to talk about a re-birth, but here we are again giving an account of our presence at this juncture, at this moment in eternity. And what do Opposition members do? They bring under discussion in this House subjects that we have discussed, directly and indirectly, hundreds of times. And what else do they do? I am thinking of the hon. member for Durban (Berea) (Mr. Butcher). He goes and sits on the ash heap and covers himself with the draff of hate. Why should we sink so low in the face of great events? I can only say that it is only small people who, in the face of great events, are able to sink to such a low level that one does not know where they are going to wind up. I just want to read out these few words used by the hon. member for Durban (Berea) with all the chilliness that they convey in cold print—

They realized in Natal that a mandate for a republic would simply lead to an entrenchment of a Nationalist-Afrikaner republic in which every racial group in South Africa would come under the combination of the Nationalist Party and that it would lead to the perpetuation of a régime which has caused unspeakable humiliation and repression of all racial groups in this country.

Mr. Speaker, if the Afrikaners in this country had tried to do to the English-speaking section only one-half of what the English wanted to do to the Afrikaans-speaking section in the past, I should have liked to hear what hon. members would then have said. Having said that, I leave the hon. member. I just want to tell him that it is the Afrikaans-speaking people (it does not matter to which party they belong but they are mainly Afrikaans-speaking people in the National Party) who guarantee the continued existence and the non-oppression of the cultural possessions of our English-speaking friends. We are proud of the fact that we have no Lords Charles Somerset in our midst; we are proud of the fact that we have no Lords Milner in our midst. We are very proud of that reputation. I shall say no more in that regard. One of the subjects that has been introduced here for discussion is that our Commonwealth membership is in danger. The hon. member for Germiston (District) put it perfectly correctly when he said that it was evident that there was a lack of understanding as to what the Commonwealth really implies. The relationship between the members of the Commonwealth (including those which are monarchies) is a international law relationship of international laws and not one of constitutional laws. If therefore one of the members changes its constitutional law, whether it is changed just a little or whether it changes its entire constitution, the relationship remains the same because it is an international law relationship, whereas the changes affect constitutional law relationships. Assuming, for example, that England became communistic and that Scotland and England became the Queen’s Soviet Republics, then the relationship between ourselves and the Queen’s Soviet Republics would still remain what it is because it is an international law relationship. This international law relationship is of a two-fold nature. It arises from contracts that we have concluded, and a change of government, very often even by means of revolution, does not alter the ties under international law. When we look further, we find that the relationship between ourselves and the co-members of the Commonwealth is not laid down in writing, but the object still remains to promote peace. Let me quote again from the statement on the Prime Ministers’ Conference of 1949—

They are free and equal members of the Commonwealth, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress.

that is the unwritten part but it is still an international law one. If one of the states then comes along and changes its form of government, that is the occasion to review the international relations or, let me rather say, to discuss them. They could equally use any other occasion. They could choose Sharpeville or any other occasion to discuss the international relations between the two territories. It is possible to discuss them. But the fact that we are changing our constitutional law, in no way changes the international relations. The fact that we are scrapping the King as part of our constitutional law, does not detract in any way from the international law relations. Because although it is stated in the Declaration of 1926 that as autonomous comments (the one in no way subservient to the other) they are connected with the Crown through a common allegiance, the world “allegiance” means no more than that each one in its own way will be a kingdom. That is all that is stated there. But our history has not stood still and it goes even further. Let us look again at the Conference of 1949—

In reply to a question raised by Dr. Malan, the meeting agreed that it should place on record that the designation of the King as head of the Commonwealth does not connote any change in the constitutional relations existing between the members of the Commonwealth and in particular does not imply that the King discharges any constitutional function by virtue of that headship.

There is no question therefore of our acquiring an international law relationship in taking this step. If we are expelled therefore, that expulsion must take place with our permission. For that reason there is no question of any guarantee. The Prime Minister and all of us want to remain in the Commonwealth. We are not prophets so we cannot say what the feeling of the majority or of all the other members is going to be at the Commonwealth Conference. We can, however, draw a perfectly simple inference. We can see where the interests of the people and of the whole of the Commonwealth lie. Everything revolves around one point and that is that Europe must be the head of Africa, otherwise Europe will become the tail of Asia. At the moment England is the head of Europe, or tries to be. England needs everybody to assist her to ensure that Europe remains the head of Africa. In the same way she needs our assistance. It can be stated as simply as that. I simply cannot understand why hon. members on the other side made this an issue because in doing so they reveal two things, firstly, that they have no conception as to the meaning of the Commonwealth or, secondly, that they are crying for the moon.

But that is not the only respect in which they are setting up such a cry. When I analyse the attitude of the Opposition parties towards this Bill, I find that they are both crying out for certain guarantees to be entrenched in the Constitution. If that is what they are trying to do, I want to say that it is simply not possible. To say that here we are making a new creature and that we cannot take any notice at all of the past, also reveals a lack of appreciation of the premises that we have. This Parliament can do no more than it is able to do at the present moment; in other words, this Parliament cannot, as the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) alleged by way of interjection, create something more than it is itself, the reason being that Sections 152 and 137 of the old constitution still remain. If we repeat this in the new Constitution, then we have this advantage—hon. members may call it a doubtful advantage if they like— that it will be in writing in two enactments. If we say that we will repeal it, it may possibly be ultra vires or it may not be ultra vires. I believe that it would be ultra vires. But any person who thinks that Section 110 and Section 114 of the new Constitution fall outside our competence, would only find himself saddled with an adverse judgment if he were to start legal proceedings based on the old Sections 152 and 137 which read precisely the same as the new Sections 114 and 110. You cannot go and create a vacuum and then think that you can work a lot of guarantees into it. You can, it is true, extend Section 137, which now becomes Section 110, but then you can only add a language like Xhosa or another language—Sotho or any other language. But you can do no more than entrench languages only. I think that is the right construction, which will be followed by every Court. I do not propose at this stage to burden and to weary hon. members with the arguments in support of that proposition.

Mr. Speaker, when I say that they are not going to create a vacuum, then I exclude the member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell). It is his intention to create a vacuum. He propagates rebellion, he propagates revolution, he propagates violence here so that he can make tabula rasa—he wants to wipe out everything so that he can start at the beginning again. Let me tell him one thing: The path of South Africa is strewn with gallows for rebels. There are also graves of rebels. There are some who have monuments. That is what awaits a rebel in most cases—the gallows—and a monument if the rebellion is successful. If he is so set on a monument, why should he start a rebellion? He can build a monument for himself without a rebellion and without the gallows. How can he get that monument? Here we have 60 per cent of the population —he constantly holds it against us that we are exclusive in the National Party—who offer their hand in friendship and peace; why does he not take it? He does not want it. If he accepted this hand he would deserve a monument, not a monument at Durban but on one of the highest peaks of the Drakensberg range. Because he would then have done what other great men before him tried to do, but for whom the time was not ripe. I have in mind John X. Merriman and I have in mind Sir James Tennant Molteno. But to him these are not even words; they are not even names to him, so little does he know the history of South Africa and so far he is removed from it. Let me tell him that there was a time when rebels used to be shot in this country. If we took him seriously, we would say to him what I have just told him. If we did not take him seriously, we would tell him what Polonius said to Ophelia. His words amount to nothing but—

Springs to catch woodcocks.

They are nothing but traps to catch woodcocks. To that we can also add this, and we say this to Natalia and not to Ophelia—

I do know, When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter, Giving more light than heat—extinct in both, Even in their promise, as it is a-making— You must not take for fire.
*HON. MEMBERS:

Translate that.

*Dr. COERTZE:

I can translate it—

Ek weet mos as die are brand Dan stuur die siel verkwistend beloftes Op die tong. My dogter neem hierdie Brande, met meer lig as hitte nooit vir vuur nie. Uitgedoof is beide, selfs in hul moontlikheid Sodra ’n man dit maak.

Except that this time it is not a man who made it.

Mr. Speaker, there is another point which the Opposition parties have in common and that is that they all represent federation as the fine new thing that would be created here as part and parcel of this constitutional law. I do not want to go into the merits of federation or non-federation. I just want to read out to them what one of the great Anglo-Saxons had to say about the merits of a federation as against a unitary form of Government, as we have it. I quote from “The English Constitution” of Sir Walter Bagehot. It is an old book, but it still contains many truths. This is what he says about a federation—

The “constitution” cannot be altered by any authorities within the constitution, but only by authorities without it.

That is to say, if you limit sovereignty—

Every alteration of it, however, urgent or however trifling, must be sanctioned by a complicated proportion of States or legislatures. The consequence is that the most obvious evils cannot be quickly remedied; that the most absurd fictions must be framed to evade the plain sense of mischievous clauses; that a clumsy working and curious technicality mark the politics of a rough-and-ready people. The practical arguments and the legal disquisitions in America are often like those of trustees carrying out a misdrawn will—the sense of what they mean is good, but it can never be worked out fully or defended simply, so hampered is it by the old words of an old testament.

That is the programme of mischief that they prescribe. And why? Because we accepted this Anglo-Saxon Constitution with all its advantages, they do not want it. They prescribe for us an example of a constitution which has many defects, and then they level the reproach at us that we refuse to accept it. What does the Opposition want; just the reproach?

Mr. Speaker, I have put it to you that there are certain things in the Constitution, as we have it before us, that we can improve. I have put it to you that the Opposition have given evidence of a pettiness without parallel. I have put it to you that they are asking for things which they cannot get and which are impossible of fulfilment and they prescribe for us a programme which is absolutely mischievous from beginning to end.

Mr. RUSSELL:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Standerton (Dr. Coertze) said must that was interesting but wholly academic and legalistic. I will traverse the other arguments in his speech and will deal with that part which was of some political import, as I go along.

Before I sum up for this side of the House, setting out the main objections we have to this Bill and dealing with the highlights of the debate, let me place my own personal feelings on record. I oppose this Bill, in the first place, because I do not like a republican form of government. It is not necessary to have a sentimental attachment to the Crown or for a Monarch to believe, indeed to know, that a non-elective, non-political head of State is desirable, particularly in our kind of flexible constitution. I have, unlike some of the hon. members opposite, no objection to borrowing constitutional devices from other countries and even, if necessary, from Great Britain—devices which time has proved to be democratically suitable. I think the world has acknowledged that the so-called “British Parliamentary System”, tested by time, has very definite advantages, not the least of which is the fact that they have a Queen or a King—that they have a monarch—as their head of State. It is true that she exercises mere social influence and has limited functions. She serves as a symbol of unity for that nation. She has very little executive power, and even then it is exercised only on the advice of her Ministers of State. Unlike Presidents, monarchs are not products of the hustings. Therein lies my first attraction to a monarchial form of government. A monarch owes no debt, even indirectly, either to an electorate or, what is more important, to any political party; and there I find another element which, I think, is worthy of maintaining.

Sir, it seems to me eminently desirable to have as Head of State one who is outside the political spheres; one who is above and beyond the petty squabbles of the nation—one who serves to keep the people unified because they share common allegiance to, and respect for one institution. No matter how much they differ politically, there is this traditional institution that they can all share. This hon. House knows my opinion on these matters. I have discussed them often in the past in motions I have brought before Parliament. I will not, therefore, go into greater detail on this matter except to point out that my preference for a monarchy is known to be based on sober constitutional reasons rather than because of sentiment.

I am glad that the new president which this legislation will eventually introduce to us, will not be directly elective as is the American President. I am no great admirer of the American system, precisely because it elects an old-fashioned, all-powerful, executive “king” for a period of four years. Originally the hon. the Prime Minister, so he tells us, had envisaged a president who was to be the Executive Head of the State, with wide executive powers. He claims that it is a sacrifice for the Afrikaner to give up that idea. I believe that if he had taken that step there would have been an inevitable clash between the Executive and the Legislature such as occurred, as we all know, in the Transvaal Republic, where even the Judiciary was assailed by the President. It is also possible that if the president were to be elected in the American way, the present Prime Minister would not have been head of our state. So changing his ideas was really no sacrifice for him.

Mr. Speaker, I also object to any system which upsets what I regard as an excellent system of checks and balances, which ensures that no majority nor minority can, at any time, acquire arbitrary powers without being soon answerable to the people. I must say that in my objective admiration for the British system and in my readiness to take from it what is good and graft it upon our own Constitution, I do not want it to be thought that I approve of our present “British” constitutional arrangement or consider it as being ideal for our particular country. Since I have been in Parliament I have tried to make it clear that, in my opinion, our present Constitution needs very significant reformation to fit it to the needs of our multi-racial nation. The fundamental error of our Constitution, from the very beginning, was that it took no adequate account of the fact that we are a multiracial nation with vastly differing levels of civilization and distinctive traditional customs and institutions.

A flexible Constitution such as we have is very difficult to manage fairly in a heterogeneous country. It takes a lot of what we have not got to make it work justly and democratically. It takes centuries of tradition and experience and a nation that shares common constitutional ideals which they wish to preserve. It requires the habit of observing precedent and tradition, without necessarily relying on the letter of the law to keep politicians, such as I see opposite me to-day, within limits and on the narrow road of constitutional rectitude. I maintain that our flexible Constitution is not ideally suited for the unusual needs of our heterogeneous country. It can enable an unscrupulous minority to control the machinery of State and impose arbitrary rule over the nation as a whole. I do not think that should be tolerated. It is possible to do things, in terms of our Constitution, which only centuries of respect for principle, precedent and tradition would preclude. Very few modern constitutions give such untrammelled power to an executive. No other constitution in the Western world refuses any political representation whatsoever to the vast majority of the peoples they rule. Most modern constitutions delegate certain powers to the local constituent states or in our case, provinces that were the old colonies, to guard important fundamental rights which they hold dear. In general the aim also is that the Constitution itself should only be significantly altered by way of general consent rather than mere majority decision, as in the old Free State.

Again, I have not time to go into greater detail, but I do say this to the Prime Minister: The present Constitution is not, in my opinion —and perhaps it is not even in his—the ideal Constitution for a heterogeneous, multi-racial country. I say to the Prime Minister that is his golden opportunity for changing it appropriately by consent and in co-operation with us. The legislation now before this House offers him a unique opportunity. He and his party could, with our help, devise a constitution that could be a model for all time. There is no hurry, there should be no need for anxious haste. Those hon. members who are ardent republicans have surely waited long enough. Some extra time spent in sober reflection would do no harm. If we were given time, we could draw together all the best abilities of our nation, and by patient consultation and conference, draft a revised constitution which would meet the needs of all of our people, as this present Constitution most decidedly does not do. That would make a lasting contribution to true national unity.

The hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) has suggested a new National Convention of the 1909-10 type. I agree that a National Convention is a very good idea, but I suggest that it should go beyond the composition of the 1909 Convention. It should not be composed entirely of politicians; it should contain representatives of all the institutions of Church and State; certainly all of the peoples of our country should be represented on any convention of that sort, or it would not be truly national.

The phrase “national unity” has been bandied about, but nobody has set out to define what it means. May I have the temerity, Mr. Speaker, to try to define what national unity is. To me, true unity is found in the common worship by a nation of a shared ideal. It may come as the result of a common striving for. or the united defence of, some noble cause. But it should never be personal. It should never be the worship of a person. That leads to dictatorship. There should be something symbolic or spiritual about it. What is true happy married unity but the common worship of children? What is Christianity but the common worship of a spiritual ideal? In the same way, if a nation or a country shares a common reverence for a tradition or an idea which is above and beyond the people, then you get true national unity. The secret of the national unity of the English-speaking people is not Queen Elizabeth, it is the Crown. And I maintain that we could follow the course of America. There we have a people that has come to reverence their Constitution. Their Constitution, enshrined in the nation’s archives, protected by the courts of law, has become something which binds the whole nation together. And we could, if we would, in the next year after the consultations of a convention had been completed, hammer out a constitution, in this House, which would act as a truly unifying force, not only for the White minority, but for all the peoples of our country.

In connection with the unity of our White peoples, which is what the Prime Minister means when he talks of “national unity”, I would say that it is sad that the constitutional changes now proposed to be brought about will be forced through in such a way as to cause lasting bitterness between English-speaking and Nationalist Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. Natal has made clear, in no uncertain terms, her overwhelming antipathy to the idea of a republic. In spite of that she has shown that she is prepared to accept even this that she finds repugnant, conditionally. She made those conditions known to this Government, to the hon. the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister would accept none of their suggestions. Not a single concession would he make. He snubbed Natal. And I say this to him: if he is determined to force an unwanted republic upon an unwilling Natal, it will be a breach of the spirit of Union. To me it is a sad proof that Union has failed. To me it means that the compact of Union, in its essence, is to be violated. The whole spirit of the compact of Union was an effort to draw together the old republics and the old colonies, and to ensure it possible that those rights and customs which were particularly reverenced by one province should not be destroyed by two or three other provinces “ganging up” on another and imposing their will upon it. That was the reason behind the specified majorities needed to change the franchise and language rights. The idea was that, if a single colony were unanimous in its resistance to a particular change, they could, alone if necessary, successfully defend themselves constitutionally. I believe that the fair way of bringing about a momentuous constitutional change such as this would have been to take due note of the referendum results in the individual provinces, in the old colonies that made up the Union of South Africa. I believe that that would have been the truly democratic way, in the spirit in which our Union was born.

Of course, Natal could not and should not expect to stand alone in the face of the overwhelming desires of the people of South Africa as a whole. The people of Natal do not want that. But what they do object to, quite rightly when they are so overwhelmingly against a republic, is that a small and thin, and in some respects artificially manufactured majority— because, amongst other things, the Coloured people were excluded from voting—the narrow will of the majority should force them into a republican strait-jacket. That is at the root of their bitterness. If there had been an overwhelming national majority, Natal would have had no case. Their just objection rests upon the fact that the majority was both slender and tenuous. I am sure they are right. I think the hon. the Prime Minister should be made aware of the fact that by insisting on this republic now, without securing the general consent of the people and relying on a close majority vote, he is doing a great disservice to the cause of true national unity in this, our country.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

You should bear in mind that Natal and Mitchell are not synonymous.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

Do you think Mitchell speaks for Natal?

Mr. RUSSELL:

Two things are certain to my mind: One is that the present system of government was freely agreed upon by all contracting parties to Union. If there had been even a remote possibility that any form of government other than a monarchy could ever come about in terms of our constitution, Union would never have been agreed to. Union would have been overwhelmingly rejected by the Cape, and almost unanimously refused by Natal. I submit that both the Cape and Natal are right when they say that they have been swindled—legally swindled; constitutionally swindled perhaps—but definitely swindled, defrauded, victimized, deceived. We have heard that Natal is prepared to continue to resist this republic …

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Not Natal, Mitchell.

Mr. RUSSELL:

They are reluctant to accept it in the present uncompromising circumstances. They consider it has been forced upon them against their will. Their attitude is understandable after …

Mr. B. COETZEE:

[Inaudible.]

Mr. MITCHELL:

Will you come and fight my seat, Blaar? I will resign if you will come and fight it.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

You resign and see what I do.

Mr. MITCHELL:

You are a moral coward.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, is the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) in order in calling me a coward? [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Order, order!

Dr. STEENKAMP:

He said a moral coward.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

A moral coward is worse.

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Order, order! Did the hon. member for South Coast refer to the hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) in those terms?

Mr. MITCHELL:

Yes, Sir, I said he was a moral coward.

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

The hon. member must withdraw that.

Mr. MITCHELL:

I withdraw, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

You are the last one to talk of that type. [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Order, order!

Mr. RUSSELL:

It seems to me, if I may join in the duel, much better than being called an “immoral coward”.

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Order, order! The hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) must withdraw that.

Mr. RUSSELL:

I did not call anyone anything, I made an abstract statement. I said it is much better to be called a “moral coward” than an “immoral coward”.

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

The hon. member may continue but he should not make superfluous statements.

Mr. RUSSELL:

I shall try to keep all my statements strictly relevant and temperate, when I get a chance to make my speech. Sir, I am quite certain that all of us here, everyone who calls himself a South African of English origin, not only knows and sympathizes with —I will use the words of the hon. the Prime Minister “understands and respects”—the sentiments of all Afrikaner republicans who say there is only one type of government to which they can feel truly attached. We feel proud, because they are part of us, of the sturdy independence of the Afrikaner people. We know that they have been able, under a British constitution, to take legal advantage of its flexibility to achieve their purposes. They have prospered to govern this country although they were a decided minority when they first came into power. We know that they have been able to advance right up to the threshold of a republic in terms of a constitution which was granted to them and which was modelled on that of the British people. I realize that it is hard for them to bring themselves to have a deep attachment for or bear allegiance to a Queen across the seas. And that is why, because we understand these things, we have surrendered—albeit very unwillingly—many of the traditions, symbols and customs which we have known for centuries and still value exceedingly. It is just as difficult—and this the Afrikaner in his turn should realize—for Natal to drop, overnight, the deep feelings of sentimental attachment her citizens have always had for the monarchial system. The nationalists have won their republic. They are jubilant because, they say, they “now feel free”, They have told us in this debate—and I quote one of them—that they “have all their lives been forced to submit to a form of government and an institution which was foreign and repugnant to them Against this imposition, they proudly say, they have never ceased to fight. They have grasped every possible constitutional—and unconstitutional weapon to their hands. They have not even stopped short of rebellion in time of war. They have failed to submit to the constitutional decisions of this Parliament. In spite of all that, we admired them for their perseverance and fortitude and courage. Now they are in a position of power and have won this referendum. Although they gained a very narrow majority, it has given them what they want. Now they ignore the overwhelmingly anti-republican feelings in Natal. And what is the very first thing they propose to do? Is there any magnanimity in the Prime Minister’s mood of victory? None at all. He proposes to do to Natal exactly what he accused the British of doing to him and his people. He is taking his revenge. He is forcing upon Natal a form of government which is almost unanimously disliked by the whole province by a homogeneous English-speaking community. He will do to Natal exactly what he claims was wrongly done to the Transvaal, to his people— a thing he says he would never forgive, something which his people have fought to repudiate, with any weapons that came to hand. [Interjections.] I say that is something which does not make for true national unity. Sir, while they spoke of “national unity” on the other side of the House I was filled with a sense of unreality. When I listen to the appeals made by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, in spite of all their sincerity, I was shocked at their unreality. It is quite clear in all they said that they only had in mind the unity of one small section of our nation, the White people. Do they not realize that if we have a constitution in the making of which the vast majority of our non-Whites have had no share, and do not accept, that constitution will be built upon sand. It will crack and fall. All of us must face up boldly and realistically to the fact that we must live here, happily if we can, together and forever, with non-Whites in varying stages of advancement and civilization. Unless we can devise a constitution which eventually ensures that, in some form or another, all the constituent elements of our multi-racial nation can participate in government we shall not prosper and may not long survive as a nation. One of the primary arguments advanced by the Minister of Finance for wanting unity was that the White people, properly unified under a republican constitution, would resist with greater strength the inroads of Communism. Does he not realize that unless we draw the non-White peoples closely to us, unless we can teach them a common patriotism that all can share, we remain very vulnerable indeed? I ask him what incentive have 10,000,000 Natives to defend, from the influence or attack of Communism, this our common fatherland, even if they are allowed to do it with their bare hands, because they will never be armed. These millions have nothing to lose but their disabilities, their humiliations, their chains. Why should they defend our country? Surely we have to get them on to our side and one of the ways of doing it is to treat them with respect and train them in the ways and workings of democracy. How can we expect 6,000,000 voteless, voiceless non-Whites in what is called White South Africa to resist with any degree of co-ordinated strength, or enthusiasm, together with us, a communistic system which promises to share with them all the good things which are now denied to them by us? It seems to me that we have to set out to win our way towards a common patriotism for all South Africans in our country. Nobody wants complete equality. There never was, there never can be complete equality in any country of the world. What we want is a system which allows people to advance in political responsibility as they advance mentally and culturally. It is to the everlasting shame of this Government that they have thrown the Natives’ Representatives out of Parliament and have threatened to throw the Coloureds’ Representatives out, too, if they do not behave …

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.

Mr. RUSSELL:

While our rulers keep on with the present system of bullying and dragooning the Coloured, Asiatic and African peoples, they are wilfully manufacturing a fifth, sixth and seventh column to aid the onslaught of Communism. Mr. Speaker, we English-speaking South Africans have been accused of refusing the outstretched hand of the Afrikaner. One of the great faults of hon. members opposite is that they identify the narrow Nationalist with the Afrikaner people. We have never refused the outstretched hand of the Afrikaner. Indeed, we have willingly advanced half-way to grasp his hand. In our party you see an example of English-and Afrikans-speaking people working side by side, and we do not care and scarcely know whether we speak English or Afrikaans. When you gentlemen opposite say that I must accept your hand of friendship and add, as a condition precedent, that I must embrace your principles of narrow Nationalism and “baasskap”, then I say that I cannot accept that hand of friendship. We do not and cannot ever accept or condone the doctrine of Herrenvolk-baasskap. Our ideal is to create a state in which all men would have a place in the sun and have a fair share in the good things of life and are able to grow to a fuller height of responsibility. We want a country in which all men should live in freedom without fear, and institutions like the Church and the Press should be free. We know that in our country that is not so. Thousands of our people are liable to arbitrary arrest at the behest of a Minister. We have had the High Court of Parliament, the Senate Act, the Church Clause, the Universities Act, job reservation and all those distressing things. We know that the present programme of legislation is to remove even more rights from us this Session. But the greatest tragedy is being enacted in this Bill. We feel that the Prime Minister is losing a golden opportunity. Never again may he find the nation poised and ready and willing to compromise. Although we do not want a republic we say we will accept it with the best grace possible, if he will agree to our fair demands. Even though we do not like it, if he will only compromise we can make in South Africa a thoroughly good and democratic republic. Mr. Prime Minister, if you would agree to the conditions suggested by the people of Natal, we could have a republic which all could honour and sustain and in which we could truly co-operate. The Prime Minister said he and his Nationalist Afrikaners were making sacrifices in order to meet us, in this Bill. He had wished, he said, to have a president who held executive power. I have dealt with that point. He was ready, to please us, to retain certain ceremonials at the opening of Parliament. We English-speaking people give such ceremonial only secondary consideration and would prefer more seriously democratic offers. We would prefer to have really democratic safeguards in our constitution than the mere outer trappings of what the Prime Minister calls democracy. He said that he made a sacrifice in giving up the old republican constitutions of the north in favour of the British system. I wonder whether he had in mind the republican constitution of the Free State? If he had followed that democratic lead he could not have introduced this legislation into Parliament with any prospect of success. For the Free State constitution could only be altered by a three-quarters majority in two successive sessions Was not that real democracy? Where is the sacrifice? [Interjections.]

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Order! Hon. members must give the hon. member an opportunity to make his speech.

Mr. RUSSELL:

The Prime Minister now has a wonderful opportunity of achieving greatness and making our country great if he follows the course we have suggested. Surely there is something in what we say. Surely there are one or two reforms we urge which are worth consideration. Must he reject every single suggestion made by us? We have democratic traditions no less renowned than he has. We also want South Africa to prosper. Are there not a few points in our suggestions on which he can meet us? It appears not. Yet I appeal to the Prime Minister again. Will he not agree to draft a new constitution in consultation with us. at meetings in which, with wide terms of reference, all sides can make the sacrifices and compromises necessary for the complete unity of all of our peoples. I am sure that we on this side, although we do not like the idea of a republic, although we would be parting with something we hold dear, would, if he agreed to consider the terms proposed by Natal, which we think are minimum demands, accept a republic which could be a democratic model for multi-racial Africa and for the world. Such a step would truly unify and make great this nation of ours.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) started to coo like a dove, something which we never associate with him, I asked myself whether the referendum result had really such a revolutionary effect on this member that his entire personality had changed. But it was not long before we once again heard the bitterness which has always characterized his speeches. He was bitter because I think he is one of the people who has had the opportunity to learn to know the Afrikaner. In my young days I played football against him, but it seems to me that even sport could not teach him to take a defeat. But what I cannot understand about him is that he can be so arrogant in defeat that as a prerequisite for full co-operation and unity he only offers one solution, as do most hon. members opposite. It is this: Reject your own principles, accept our policy and write our principles into the Constitution, and if you do so, and not only write them into the Constitution but entrench them as well, you can expect co-operation from us.

The arguments I have heard during the debate all have only one trend. We can divide the demands of the Opposition into three groups. The one is the following—and here they are somewhat divided; the hon. member apparently now accepts the mandate the Government obtained at the referendum.

*Mr. RUSSELL:

On conditions.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

In the first place, they do not accept the decision of the people as justification for the introduction of this Bill. They say that there is no mandate for this Bill; this is a dictatorial measure which is being forced on the people of South Africa. This argument has been used repeatedly. The second is: Satisfy us and give us the assurance in advance that we shall remain a member of the Commonwealth. The third is: After consultation, give us a Constitution; repeal this Constitution; call us together and consult us and also other groups who were not consulted during the referendum, and let us then draw up a Constitution which must be based on certain conditions and which must embody certain principles which this side of the House has in essence rejected because we do not consider them to be in the best interests of the country. In making these three submissions, hon. members have three objects in mind. They want to disparage the republic in advance because, as they say, we have no mandate for establishing it. I do not think that ever before has a matter of equal importance which this House has had to consider, been handled with more care, patience and statesmanship than this very Bill. Hon. members opposite forget that the whole movement towards a republic in South Africa is not something which arose overnight. It has been a natural evolution which has developed during the years of our history. It represents the final conclusion of generations of struggle between two political ways of thought, a struggle which has arisen mainly as a result of the hetrogeneous composition of the White population. On the one hand we have had those who have believed that the people of South Africa can only have a happy future if we can succeed in developing a South African nation of our own and if our country can succeed in developing to full nationhood within the framework of a republic, separate from the British Empire and Crown. On the other hand we have had the school of thought that has said: No, let us develop a state in this country but always within the British Empire and under the Crown. These two schools of thought came into conflict with one another and were the cause of all our struggles. We have experienced a long period of evolution during which there has been much bitterness, but during which there has been much progress as well. Gradually, particularly over the last 50 years, we have advanced along that road by way of struggle, with great idealism and with sacrifices for the sake of their ideal by the one group, and on the other hand in the face of great opposition aimed at achieving the ideal for which the other group stood, i.e., for the retention of the monarchy in South Africa. These are the historical facts, and step by step, when the opportunity has presented itself, certain laws have been passed and certain steps have been taken which have led us further away from what we regarded as the foreign and un-South African attitude and on every occasion something truly South African has been substituted. The hon. member has experienced that evolution just as I have; hon. members have experienced it as well, and people who have passed on, took part in it and offered everything they had for the achievement of that ideal. We have now at last reached this joyous day for those who have striven for a republic. For this reason the passing of this Bill represents the greatest triumph of one school of thought, and the greatest defeat for the other. Seeing that that is so, we must not now be bitter and reproach one another and it is pointless saying that we do not accept it. If we should do anything, we should thank the Prime Minister for the contribution he has made towards leaving old wounds untouched and leaving old reproaches unsaid in an attempt to prevent this referendum campaign being one of the most bitter campaigns we have ever experienced. But I do not think there is anyone in the country who deserved greater credit for the fact that this campaign was fought in this fine spirit than the Prime Minister. I am sorry that I cannot say the same of the Leader of the Opposition. Hon. members say this does not represent a mandate. I just want to read what the hon. member for Yeoville has said—

But no one can expect of us that we should suddenly emerge as enthusiastic republicans. No one can expect it. Now hon. members opposite also agree with the hon. member for South Coast. As I have said, it cannot be expected; it would be unnatural.

No one on this side of the House is so naive and foolish as to expect that people who are opposed to something for sentimental reasons or in principle, will immediately accept it. This matter must be decided by the jury of the people. It has not been decided in their favour but in favour of their opponents, and we cannot expect them immediately to become enthusiastic supporters of this principle. The hon. member said—

It cannot happen, but we cannot deny that although in our opinion the referendum is not a mandate for the Government, the Government has the constitutional power to force a republic on South Africa.

According to him the Government derives this constitutional power from the majority which it has in this House, a majority which it did not obtain on the basis of its republican policy alone, but he does not recognize the mandate which the Government obtained at the referendum at which the only issue was the establishment of a republic—

The Government has the power to pass the necessary legislation to turn South Africa into a republic. We do not accept that, but as law-abiding citizens we submit ourselves to it—to the laws of Parliament and not to the result of a referendum which was immoral and unjust in its scope.

Now, the Government had the constitutional right to decide whether to introduce republican legislation into Parliament by going to the people and holding a general election and then returning to Parliament with the same majority, if not a bigger one. That is the one course which the Government could have adopted. But to make it absolutely certain that the majority of the people were in favour of a republic, the Government decided to take the risk of holding a referendum and I make bold to say that we will find few political leaders in South Africa who have the same faith in their ideals as the Prime Minister revealed when he decided to hold a referendum, instead of following the easy course of holding an election. The objection of hon. members to the referendum is that we would have established a republic with a majority of just one vote. Now that we have gained a majority of 75,000, they say it does not represent a mandate for the legislation now before this House. The same hon. member for Yeoville pleads with the Prime Minister and criticizes him because he wants the principle of this legislation first to be adopted and then to attend a Commonwealth conference where he will indicate that we have decided to establish a republic and that we wish to be a republic within the Commonwealth. The hon. member says that is wrong. He has mentioned the examples of India and Ceylon and says that they did not first decide to become a republic; all they had was the approval of their Parliament and long before they became a republic they made application. He says: After all you have now won the referendum, and why do you want to enact the legislation? In other words, the result of the referendum must serve before the Commonwealth as a mandate which the Prime Minister has obtained from the people, but it is not a mandate for the passing of this Bill; in this instance a republic is being forced on the people. What sort of logic is that? As the hon. member for Wynberg has said, it will be a republic which will be forced on Natal especially. Like his leader, together with the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) and the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn), he has also tried to present the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) as a hero. I do not want to be personal; I shall rather use the words of the Rand Daily Mail to say what I think of the hon. member’s tirade, of his recklessness and irresponsibility here in this House. The Rand Daily Mail said—

Startling as Mr. Douglas Mitchell’s statement was in the debate on the Republican Constitution Bill …
*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! I must point out to the hon. the Minister that under the rules of the House he may not read extracts from newspapers referring to debates in the House during the same session.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

Mr. Speaker, I bow to your ruling but in any case what the paper said was that all that would come of the bravado and the recklessness of the hon. member for South Coast would be that it would place the United Party in an even more embarrassing position—nothing more. When one considers the arguments which the Opposition have used in discussing the referendum and the legislation which has followed the referendum, then one must also infer that they, good democrats that they say they are, have never in the past really accepted this Government in their heart of hearts as the constitutional Government of this country after the National Party Government had pitted its policy against theirs at a general election and won the election. They are the people who say that we cannot hold a referendum and that we cannot ask the people to take a decision until we know what the Constitution is going to provide. They are the people who brought the electorate under the impression that the Government would not keep its word, that the Government would deviate from the Constitution of the Union of South Africa as we know it and that if they gave their support to the republican cause, the Government would eventually introduce a republican constitution which would differ so drastically and so essentially from our present Constitution that their position in this country would be completely untenable. The hon. member for Constantia, just as the hon. member for Wynberg and other hon. members have done, has now pleaded for a National Convention and he has said—

But if on the basis of the referendum result you are willing to summon a National Convention or something similar to that in consultation with us, a convention to work out with the same spirit of determination as the 1910 Convention, a republican constitution which will command the respect and the approval of the vast majority of our people …

and I want to draw the attention of the House to these words especially—

… which will command the respect and the approval of the vast majority of our people, you will find an immediate and generous response from my people.

He says that if we summon them to a National Convention and we then reach agreement with them on a constitution for the republic “which will command the respect and the approval of the majority of our people we will find an immediate and generous response from those people”. By implication he is saying that they do not have the same respect for and the same high opinion of the present Constitution as we do. The hon. member for Wynberg has now subjected our Constitution to a thorough analysis and he has suddenly discovered a large number of weaknesses which should have been changed already. One would have sworn that this draft Constitution was exactly the same Constitution as the National Convention drew up in 1910, whereas our present Constitution is one which has developed with the people, which has been changed from time to time when circumstances have necessitated it, so as to keep pace with the developments which have taken place and the will and the desires of the nation. In this way a country’s constitution develops with its people, and if that is not so, it simply means that in a sovereign democratic country the whole nation is subservient to the dictatorial powers embodied in a Constitution for which the people were possibly never responsible. It would mean that the people or the country or the State concerned are there to serve the Constitution instead of the Constitution being there to serve the people. No one can forecast that this draft Constitution which we have before us to-day will be exactly the same in 15 or 20 years’ time because we wish to establish a democratic republic and within that democratic republic the people will continue to have the right at all times to remedy the weaknesses in their Constitution by deleting certain provisions and inserting others so that the Constitution can keep pace with the development and the requirements of the country and of the people who live in the republic. It is quite clear to me that hon. members opposite are not in earnest when they ask for a National Convention. They know that it cannot serve any useful purpose; it is merely part of their delaying tactics because they do not want a republic to be established on 31 May and a National Convention will postpone the establishment of the republic—for how long we do not know. But it would in any case no longer be possible to establish a republic during this year. Then they hope that in the meantime, as now and in the past, pressure will be brought to bear on the Government and on the country from all quarters and in every possible way, pressure in which they will also participate, to see whether they cannot prevent the establishment of a republic in South Africa. They know that such a proposal cannot lead to anything, because we know what demands they are making. What demands can they make at a convention or what reasonable and acceptable contribution can they make at such a convention, which they cannot make on the Select Committee to which this measure is to be referred? In the second place they want us to give the Commonwealth advance notice of our intentions. Mr. Speaker, if we were to be obliged to inform the Commonwealth in advance that we are going to become a republic, what would it mean? In the first place they forget that we have a mandate from the people. We have obtained the approval of the majority of the people for the establishment of a republic because that was the issue before the people when they voted. The question was whether a republic should be established or the monarchy retained. Whether the republic would remain a member of the Commonwealth or would be outside the Commonwealth was of completely secondary importance, and in any case we put it quite clearly to the voters of South Africa that if they decided on a republic, this Government undertook to honour their wish and to introduce the necessary legislation to establish a republic, and would thereafter do everything in its power to remain a member of the Commonwealth, but that if membership was refused, we would nevertheless become a republic because we were not going to allow any group of nations in the Commonwealth, whether they be our friends or our enemies, to prescribe to us what we as an independent sovereign people would do in our own country. It is our right and our privilege to decide that. In this respect we do not subscribe at all to the opinions of the members of the Opposition, and of the Leader of the Opposition and particularly of the hon. member for Florida (Mr. H. G. Swart) because if we were to make our whole constitutional development, all our legislation in this field, subject to the approval of a nation or group of nations, no matter how friendly we may be with them, it would simply mean this: What right would we in this House then have to pass any legislation dealing with any matter of which these other countries did not approve? No country with any self-respect would ever tolerate such a state of affairs, and for that reason we cannot even take any notice of this request. We shall continue to do what we have promised to do, but I just want to ask in passing whether hon. members opposite by making this request are admitting in advance that their Leader’s trip overseas has been a failure because I have heard that his object was in fact to keep us within the Commonwealth. Must I accept that they are admitting that he has not made any contribution of value? In other words, if we remain a member of the Commonwealth, no one must ever come later and say that it was the Leader of the Opposition who helped us to remain a member because I expect that in years to come the Opposition, the monarchists of to-day, will still become the fathers of the Republic of South Africa.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Yeoville has mentioned three expectations which we have supposedly aroused. The one is that after the referendum and prior to the establishment of a republic or even in our draft Constitution we would give some indication of giving effect to the expectations which we supposedly aroused during the referendum campaign, namely that we would be much milder in our policy. In other words, what he really meant and what the hon. member for Wynberg was advocating was that we should be prepared to sacrifice our principles. That we have never said, and no member on this side is responsible for inferences the hon. member makes or for expectations which he cherishes nor for the way in which he interprets our speeches. Our only responsibility is that we said that by establishing a republic we would usher in a new era in this country and that the republic would inevitably result in closer and improved co-operation between the two main racial groups of our country. However, this will never be achieved by sacrificing principles and I do not believe, nor do I expect, that we have the right to expect the Opposition to co-operate with us in establishing a republic if it involves the sacrifice of principles which they are solemnly convinced are essential to the prosperity of South Africa. We cannot do that.

I now want to say a few words about how I see the future in the light of this Bill, seeing that I want to say a few words in this regard, I just want to quote what the hon. member for Yeoville said in the House about how he and his Leader saw South Africa’s future as a republic—

What now of the future? The Government has the power to convert South Africa into a republic. As my hon. Leader said immediately after the result of the referendum had been announced, this will inevitably, in the light of South Africa’s history, which we cannot deny, be a sectional republic. It will be a republic belonging to the Nationalist Party as a part of the Afrikanerdom; We cannot deny it. This is an historical fact and it is pointless condemning or denouncing one another because of it. We must simply accept it as a fact. It is so. From the nature of its establishment, in the light of its history, this republic will be a sectional republic. It will never be anything else. Will it ever be anything else? Will it be an issue which we must continue debating in the years to come? Will it be an issue with which to cloud our political thinking and our political differences in this country?

By the same token I could give the following reply: If the submissions which hon. members have made are logical, then it must necessarily follow that the monarchy in South Africa has been just as sectional as the republic of South Africa will be; then it must also follow that the monarchy in South Africa has in fact bedevilled relationships between the people of South Africa in the past, because that is after all what a republic is going to do. But now there is this difference: Let us assume that we agree that that is so (they only believe that a republic will bedevil relationships between the people of this country; as far as the monarchy is concerned they do not believe it) then I just want to say that there is a very big difference. We were not given the monarchy of our own free choice. If ever anything has been forced on our people, it is the monarchy. We do not want to delve to-day into our past and into our history and make reproaches, and I am not saying this in that spirit, but in what spirit did the people who were defeated, whether or not by force of arms, accept the monarchy? They accepted it as sensible, honest, respectable but responsible people. They suffered defeat; they were defeated but they were not destroyed. They retained their spirit, their faith, their ideal. They continued to work for that ideal step by step and by constitutional means. They did this so effectively that, while it was only in 1935 that they gained sufficient support in their own ranks to embody this principle in the constitution of their Nationalist Party, the party which stood for this principle, they gained ever increasing support for the principle thereafter, so much so that even the Opposition had to embody the republican principle in their Constitution so as not to lose votes. We know that they never honoured this constitutional provision in their constitution as we honoured it. It was merely a bluff to catch votes.

Mr. Speaker, I have said that there has been evolution and progress. Step by step legislation has been adopted which has loosened the links with the monarchy and cleared the way for the republic. I shall just mention one or two in passing. There is for example the Status Act. Take the constitutional changes which have taken place in the Commonwealth itself. Whereas at first there was a common allegiance to the King, this was later changed; the common allegiance to the King or the Queen was abolished and the Queen’s position as head of the Commonwealth was defined so that no one could interpret it as the United Party and the opponents of the republic, the monarchists, are still incorrectly doing to this very day whenever it suits them, namely that if a country is a member of the Commonwealth, it means that it actually has a dual loyalty. One really owes loyalty and allegiance to the head of the Commonwealth, the Queen. Mr. Speaker, I am not so certain that the earnest representations and pleas which hon. members opposite have made to the effect that we should not think of establishing a republic if we cannot remain a member of the Commonwealth, are merely based on economic and even social grounds. I believe that they are also based on political grounds because I believe that there are some hon. members who, in their opposition to a republic, will regard it as a second-rate republic which really owes loyalty and allegiance to a super-state, the Commonwealth, with a nominal head, but a head which they will regard as a constitutional head, i.e. the Queen. If I become convinced that that is the position, that our republic will be humiliated in this way, and if I become convinced —which I am not—that our people accept that position as correct and if I see that in a republic we are also subordinate to the Queen, the head of the Commonwealth, then I shall definitely be opposed in principle to our remaining a member of the Commonwealth. But because I know that that interpretation is incorrect and because I know that there are no constitution and legal grounds on which it can be based, I shall be glad if we can retain our membership of the Commonwealth, but by the same token I feel equally strongly that we must not abandon our intention to establish a republic if we are not allowed to remain a member of the Commonwealth because then I should have to surrender my self-respect, apart from my ideals and my deep desires. Then I should not only be betraying and renouncing my own being and my own past, but I should also be betraying the respect of those hon. members opposite who want to be just as good South Africans as I am. Mr. Speaker, seeing that we are taking as a basis our own Constitution as it has been adapted over the years in the light of changing circumstances, I consider this new republic to be something which cannot in any way be regarded as contentious, but as something which, just like the flag, South African citizenship and all the other things which were supposedly sectional because they were not unanimously supported, but as something which all sections will later accept, as constituting our greatest unifying factor. If the argument of hon. members opposite is valid, then our entire constitutional development hitherto, our Status Act, our citizenship, our flag, our National Anthem, has been a sectional achievement and only represents something of importance to the Afrikaners, in other words, for the Afrikaans-sneaking section of our people. I am convinced that these things have already become part of all hon. members opposite too. They will never become part of some of them; there are some people who are so obstinate that they will only come right when they are dead; the others are more sensible; they try to come right while they are still alive. Mr. Speaker, because the things which I have just mentioned have already become part of hon. members opposite, no one can convince me that we will not experience this same natural process of development within the framework of our own South African nationhood. The republic will not belong to a section of our people; it is not the republic of a section even now because hon. members have said that a third of the Afrikaans-speaking people voted against the republic. If that is so, a third of the English-speaking people voted for the republic. Otherwise we could not have achieved our majority and if that is so, then it is surely untrue that the republic will be a sectional republic or that by this legislation we are carrying out the wishes of a section of the people. Where are the many other people who were frightened by the bogeys which the Leader of the Opposition and other members opposite conjured up before them before the referendum, people who were not opposed in principle to a republic, but were frightened by stories of products which would lie and rot, by stories of bankruptcy and of persecution which would follow. Mr. Speaker, I have faith in the future; I have hope for my people, and I believe that in the republic all of us will eventually develop the necessary loyalty, the necessary allegiance, the necessary acceptance and dedication. The present generation, who will find it difficult, will be helped by the generations to come, who will find it easier and for whom it will be a natural process of development. For that reason, because it is so important for South Africa that we should be united, and because I am convinced in my heart that this is the only constitutional form of government which will really bring about greater co-operation and eventually complete national unity, this day is the happiest day in my whole life.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

The other night when I asked you, Sir, to allow the House the fullest latitude in discussing this Bill, I suggested that this House was sitting as a National Convention. That, of course, is not strictly correct —we are not sitting as a National Convention. It is a pity that we are not. It is a pity that there is not gathered between these walls to-day a true National Convention representative of every section of the people. But however that may be, we are gathered here to-day bent upon the task of constitution making. We have been called upon as a House of Assembly to deal with the draft Constitution which the Prime Minister has placed before us, and for that reason I am very glad, Sir, that you have in your wisdom allowed a great measure of latitude. I am not referring now to idle repetition, but I am glad that you have allowed hon. members to deal with the background against which this Bill should be viewed and to deal with aims and ideals which have led to the evolutionary process which has brought us to this historic debate, which has been going on since last week and which is now drawing to its inevitable conclusion. The fact that we are not sitting as a National Convention unfettered by rules of Parliament, has, in my opinion, for an occasion such as this, a great many disadvantages. The first is that quite obviously it means that the discussions which are taking place upon a constitution which is to transform the whole constitutional set-up of South Africa, to start us on a new road in the political life of our country, are limited to representatives of the White voters, with the small exception of the four representatives of the Coloured population. There is also the disadvantage that the opportunity for constructive contributions to the proposed Constitution is limited. I say that for three reasons, firstly because the Prime Minister has told us in advance what he wants, and we have come to realize in the course of the last year or two that when this Prime Minister tells us what he wants, this House will do it. Secondly, it is quite clear therefore that not only will the Prime Minister get what he wants—the majority party vote will ensure that—but in consequence of that certain principles of this Bill will be settled. I therefore come to the third reason for restricting constructive contributions. As certain principles will be settled when this second reading inevitably goes through—because it will through the force of numbers—the Select Committee to which the Bill will be referred will not be entitled to go outside the scope of the Bill as passed at the second reading. It is, therefore, very probable that the Chairman of the Select Committee will have to rule out of order suggestions by way of amendments to specific clauses of the Bill which may come from one member of the Opposition or another, or even possibly, mirabile dictu, from some member on the Government benches. In a sense, therefore, these proceedings, as the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) said the other day in his most eloquent speech, savour of unreality. So far as the Opposition is concerned, we are in a sense, cabined, cribbed, confined. It is like breeding in captivity. We are very limited in the scope of what we may do. It is therefore, in my opinion, much to be regretted that the Prime Minister has been in such haste to introduce this Bill. You see, Mr. Speaker, when you start on a new road in the life of a nation, it is wise, it is good policy, it is human to try to carry as many people as possible with you. But from the very nature of our problems in South Africa, from the very nature of the set-up—the racial differences between the two White groups, their historical backgrounds, their conflicts—from the very nature of that you cannot hope to go forward at once without great patience and understanding.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE:

A referendum was held.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Yes, the hon. the Prime Minister has had his referendum, and now this Bill comes before this House, and we are told in effect to take it or leave it. The Nationalist Juggernaut drives on relentlessly, with reckless disregard of what it crushes beneath it.

I want for a moment to try to approach this Bill against the background of that reality which I think both the hon. the Prime Minister and his followers refuse to face. This Bill is primarily a measure to transform the Union of South Africa as we have known it since 1910, with its four provinces, as from 31 May into the republic of South Africa. The primary purpose then of this Bill is to give constitutional effect to a majority verdict of White voters in the referendum of 5 October last year. But it is much more than that, Sir, because, as I said earlier, what we are doing now is participating in a great historical occasion comparable in my view only with the deliberations of that National Convention which led in due course to the birth of this young nation on 31 May 1910. This Bill then seeks to transform, to transmute our present constitutional position from a monarchy to a republic, and it establishes the necessary machinery of government and administration of the republic. It comes at a time when South Africa is passing through a period of doubt, of questioning, of very understandable hesitation, much of which, of course, has been reflected in speeches of members on this side of the House in the course of the last few days since the hon. the Prime Minister introduced this Bill on Monday, a week ago. Now I would say at the outset that these doubts to which I referred, these questionings, are not something new. They are not something that has arisen solely since the referendum in October. These doubts, this uneasiness, this uncertainty, all these things, in my opinion, have been growing in volume and intensity progressively over the past 12 years of Nationalist government. They flow from various causes, the chief of which is the realization amongst thinking people, English-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking, that all is not well with the land and its people either internally or externally. Long before the Prime Minister threw his republican bombshell into the political vortex during the no-confidence debate in January last year, both Afrikaans-speaking and English-speaking South Africans had been asking themselves such questions as: Whether our future is assured; whether our problems are not perhaps insoluble; is their solution being approached in the right way? There has been a great upsurge of new thought, of questioning, of doubts, in all strata of White society in South Africa, quite apart from the fact that this thinking had been going on for a long time amongst the non-Whites. There has been impatience with the slowness of the growth of true national unity; there has been frustration by the refusal of so many political leaders to face the realities of a multi-racial State, to meet the challenge which is presented by these realities, and to take steps in time on the basis of mutual agreement to make peaceful co-existence possible. And I would say that that sense of uneasiness, of uncertainty has been strengthened and extended—it certainly has not been created—by the conditions of the immediate present in which an authoritarian Government is effecting a major constitutional change, not by way of consultation and give and take, but by insisting on imposing their will on everyone.

I believe that there are three main factors that may be singled out to account for this sense of uneasiness amongst people which has been growing in the course of the last few years and which is high-lighted by the fact that we are now discussing this republican constitution. Firstly, there are the delays that have arisen in the attainment of true national unity. Certainly, the expectations which attended the birth of the new nation in 1910 have repeatedly been deferred, and the deferment of hope has played its part in making men’s hearts verge on despair from time to time. The National Convention certainly did its best to lay the foundation for national unity. At the time when Union came into being their achievements were acclaimed with enthusiasm and heralded with predictions of success. But when we came last year to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Union of South Africa, only those who are blind to facts or refuse to see could deny that the work of the framers of Union remains unfulfilled and unfinished, and indeed, had been sabotaged by extreme politicians intoxicated by power. So far from consolidating and developing national unity, the present régime through their policies and administration have laid constant emphasis on the separateness of the two elements which constitute the White population, quite apart from constant emphasis on the separateness of the White elements and the non-White elements. That has resulted in the strengthening of the consciousness of distinctiveness and the revival of old controversies. That consciousness has aroused apprehension chiefly, although not entirely, among English-speaking South Africans, apprehension which was quickened by the obvious influence of the Broederbond in the public services and the policy of separating children at school; and it is now being brought to a head by the refusal of the Prime Minister to make any concessions to Opposition ideals in the republican constitution.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! I have allowed the hon. member a lot of latitude, but he must now come back to the Bill.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Sir, with your permission I am coming immediately to the Bill. I was about to say that this is very relevant to the terms of the Bill because the Bill has increased this uneasiness. There has been a realization recently that the good name of South Africa that it had at the end of 1948, at the end of the Smuts régime, when it stood so high in the councils of the world, has become subject to hostility and criticism.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! That is not under discussion now.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Mr. Speaker, one of the amendments to this Bill deals with the question whether or not we are to remain in the Commonwealth, and with the greatest respect —I am merely touching on it in order to make one point if you will allow me—I want to say that it is beside the point that much of this criticism and hostility flows from inadequate knowledge of the facts and that in some cases it is based on a complete lack of knowledge of facts, and that it amounts in many cases to reckless criticism and malicious criticism. But, however that may be the fact is that South Africa has become disliked in the outside world because of present policies, and one of the consequences of this deterioration in our external position is the potential danger of South Africa being excluded from the Commonwealth.

Mr. SPEAKER:

That argument has been used repeatedly.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Yes, Sir, the point that has not been made is that I am sufficiently optimistic to believe that as a result of the exertions of our friends in the Commonwealth, particularly the exertions of Mr. Macmillan, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, we shall not suffer the fate of being excluded. That is my view. But I maintain that South Africa should never have been placed in this potential position of jeopardy, because we are in a position of jeopardy at the present time, and the onus lies on the Prime Minister for having placed us in this position.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! That argument also has been put forward repeatedly.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Sir, I say that we may escape that fate, I hope we do. My own view is that through the kind offices of our friends in the Commonwealth, the older members of the Commonwealth, we shall escape that. But that does not leave us without our problems and problems outside. And if there are external problems, all the more reason then when we are constitution-making, when we are about the process of hammering out a new Constitution (if we have to do so) that we should do so on a basis of consultation and not on a basis of having to accept what is placed before us. Because the fact that we are going to have a new Constitution is not going to change the climate of world opinion in regard to South Africa. We may survive the Commonwealth of Nations, we may retain our membership of the Commonwealth of Nations, but apart from the Commonwealth there is the United Nations, there is our mandate over South West Africa, there is the expanding force of Black nationalism on the African continent.

That of course brings me to the third reason for the troubling of men’s minds and this feeling of uneasiness, namely, the conviction amongst Opposition groups that the policy of total apartheid offers no solution of the problem of race relations in South Africa. Now you may ask me, Mr. Speaker, what that has to do with the Bill. Let me tell you at once, Sir, because I want to obey your ruling, that it has this to do with the Bill, that just over a year ago the hon. the Minister of Lands told us that the old happy era—the old book of South Africa—had closed with the happenings at Sharpeville. But the hon. Minister of Lands does not seem to have made much impression upon the Prime Minister …

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member is now digressing too far and he must come back to the Bill.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Sir, I am dealing with the amendment of the hon. member for Queenstown (Dr. Steytler) that this Bill does not make adequate provision for the representation of non-White groups both in respect of franchise rights and participation in the Government; and I was about to say that it was obvious that the Minister of Lands had made no impression on the hon. the Prime Minister, because this Bill now before the House holds out no hope that the Coloured man, the African, the Asiatic is to be regarded as a full citizen of the republic, entitled to participate in the government of the country and to make their respective contributions to a common fatherland.

Having tried to direct the attention of what in other circumstances I might have called the delegates to a convention, but who are now my fellow-members of this House of Assembly, to the background against which we have to discuss this Bill, I now come to a question that I wish to address to myself, although it is a question that everyone of us has to answer in the great responsibility we carry. I have to ask myself what attitude should I adopt towards this Bill and all it involves: The coming of the republic and the framing of a republican Constitution. I say that that is a heavy responsibility because one is here not merely as an individual, not merely as a South African, not merely as one who has lived all his life in this country, but one is here as one who has taken part in much that has happened in this House and in the history of this country, I, in the course of the last 30 years, have seen a great deal of history made in this House, I have seen much development that has led inevitably to what we are doing at the present moment, and it is a great responsibility. I would say that even if we cannot change this Bill—because I have suggested at the start, but by virtue of the restrictions imposed on us, that the chance of doing so is really nil in view of the intransigence of the hon. the Prime Minister—we can at least hope to influence the future by the fearless exposition of our ideas and beliefs which in due course will influence affairs in our country. We can in the course of this debate dedicate ourselves to just causes, to reasonable causes, the right course to adopt in order to implement what we believe is right and good for South Africa. So I ask myself in the first place: Should I who voted against this republic in the referendum and who asked others to do so, now accept the republic? What shall I tell the large numbers of persons who said “No”? And if I do accept the republic, what must I do about this Bill? Now I want to say a word or two about “accepting” the republic, because I think it is of primary importance that one should do so. I think this is a matter on which there should be the utmost clarity and the utmost good faith, I think it is a matter on which, because of the fundamental character of what we are discussing, because we are dealing with a matter which affects the whole future of our country, every one of us should be able to give an answer, a clear and unequivocal answer to this question as to whether or not we accept the republic. In saying that, I say it in no spirit of grandiloquence, I say it in a spirit of humility. I am not here to quibble about what other persons say. I respect any man’s opinion, especially if I know that he is a good South African. But my conviction is that on this question there should be absolute clarity, and so far I am bound to say I have not had clarity from my friends on my right, the members of the United Party, and I think we are entitled to have that clarity. I say that in no carping spirit, but they should let us know where they stand. Now it all depends, in my view, upon what you mean by “accept If I am asked whether I accept the republic, what do I mean by the word “accept”? Mr. Speaker, I accept the fact that there is a Nationalist Government in power at the present time. It is there, it is a reality. But I do not accept the policy of this Nationalist Government. I do not accept that the course they have taken is in the interest of this country. But it does not help to refuse to accept the facts. It would not help me to say that I do not accept the regime of the Prime Minister and his Nationalist Cabinet and that I propose to set up my own provincial government and make my own laws. That will get me nowhere. Sir, let us face it: South Africa is about to have a republic. That is a fact which every realist in this country must accept. And if that is so, then I have no doubt whatsoever that if we accept that as realists, the old issue of the monarchy versus a republic is now dead. It will be dead from the day that this republican constitution becomes law.

An HON. MEMBER:

Will it?

Mr. LAWRENCE:

In my view it will, in my view it should. Not because I wish it. We may deplore it, it is something which we may deplore and regret. It is something that is touching deeply the hearts of many people in this country, it is causing anguish and concern. We have heard the speech the other day of the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit). But short on an armed revolt, we can do nothing against the disappearance of the monarchy. Sir, the days of the Jameson Raid are over in South Africa. In any event, you do not take up arms or defy the laws when more than half of the voters of the country are against you. In this referendum more than half of the White vote in the country was against those who wish to retain the monarchy; and when you have more than half of the vote against you, you do not adopt unconstitutional methods or go outside the laws. The recent Presidential elections in America showed that President Kennedy was elected by a very small majority of the votes, something like ½ per cent. Yet he obtained the requisite number of State votes to make him President, and people have not advocated unconstitutional means there. True, it may be said that it was only the White vote in this country that decided the issue; and indeed we protested against the fact that the option given to the people of this country was limited to the White voters. But let me remind many of those who now say that this White vote is not decisive that the verdict of this White vote is regarded as decisive when matters of colour are at issue. When it is a question of whether a particular policy relating to the non-Whites should be carried out or not, the White vote is held to be sufficient. We do not take up arms because of that; and it would be a sorry day if the non-White people in this country, if African leaders, because they felt that the Prime Minister, or the Leader of the Opposition, or the Progressive Party did not go far enough in meeting the needs and the aspirations of the African people, were to say: We do not accept the republic, we are going to set up our own provisional government. I think that we have to be awfully careful at the present time that we do not put ideas in the heads of these emigrant Africans who may seek to set up provisional governments overseas and flout the law. We have to be very careful.

Mr. RAW:

Who has suggested that?

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I am not suggesting that anyone has said so, I am just giving a warning. What has been suggested is that the republic should not be accepted and its laws should not be accepted.

Mr. RAW:

No.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I am making no personal attacks on anyone. I say that that was said by a South African, and a good South African. I differ from him and I believe that that statement was as unwise a statement as has ever been made in this House. It was unwise in the interest of the White man, unwise in the interest of the Black man; and it is only because I know that the hon. gentleman who made that statement has played his part as a South African and will continue to play his part that I can forgive him politically for making it. Much can be forgiven him in view of his record in the past. But I would be neglecting my duty if I did not say that I regard that statement as the height of irresponsibility, probably made in the torment of emotions, but yet a pity.

Mr. RAW:

He did not say that.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Let me put it this way: When someone has died and the verdict has been given it is not going to be helpful to call in another doctor, it is certainly not a kindness to the near relatives and friends to delude them into believing that if you call in some patent medicine doctor you can revive the corpse; it is a cruelty to those who may be deluded by believing that something can be done to prevent what has become inevitable. There are momentary times in the lives of us all and in the lives of nations, times of mourning, times of rejoicing. But life must go on, whether it is in regard to the individual or whether it is in regard to the nation.

Those of us who have honoured the monarchy can look back with pride upon what the monarchy has meant to South Africa. We shall look back and remember that this republic will have been born as a result of a monarchy. The hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) this afternoon suggested that the Prime Minister should be more magnanimous. I would remind the Prime Minister of the words of Burke when he said: “Magnanimity in politics is no seldom the truest wisdom.” I would remind him that it was Campbell-Bannerman, the British Prime Minister, who in 1906 so shortly after the South African War was returned to power as the head of a Liberal government (that much abused word), and that it was Campbell-Bannerman under a monarchy who restored self-government to the old Transvaal and Free State Republics. What Campbell-Bannerman did led inevitably and ultimately to South Africa becoming a republic. It was born out of a monarchy, it flowed from a monarchy; and when we try to assess the position at the present time, let us not forget that. Let us not forget all the good that has come to this country, the fact that we have had the interplay of parties, that representatives of both sections of our population, English-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking, have been able to make their contributions to the nation. The very fact that the hon. Prime Minister can sit in his present seat despite many things which he has done and said far, far worse than any words which may have been uttered by the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), the fact that he sits there to-day and the fact that this Parliament is carrying on at the present time, flows from the fact that under the monarchy, under the system of freedom and the system of government which has been handed down to us, we have been able to develop our own parliamentary institutions. So we go on the new road that lies before us. But having said that, I come to ask myself the next question: If I accept this republic which is inevitable, I of course …

An HON. MEMBER:

… will have no confidence in it.

An HON. MEMBER:

… You have lost your notes.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

No, I have made very careful notes because I regard this as a very serious occasion. This is an occasion on which I should weigh my words, I felt. We are dealing with a matter which is becoming part and parcel of the history of this country. These deliberations that we are having at the present time, will be read and re-read and analysed by generations to come, just as members of this Parliament during recent years have been trying to analyse and to put new meanings into the words of the framers of Union. Let us then accept the inevitable. I do. And if we do, let us tell that to the people who voted against the republic so that we do not disappoint them by deluding them. A great many have done so. A great many accept it. I believe that that is the view of many people on this side of the House. The hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) the other day said this: “Although the republican principle was accepted at the referendum, and I personally have accepted it, I feel that it would be most unwise for the hon. the Prime Minister at this stage to go ahead immediately with the establishment of a republic.” A little later he said: “Although the principle has been and is accepted, it would be unwise to go ahead with its implementation immediately.” Quite clearly there was an acceptance. Not so long ago we had an interesting document issued by what was known as the “69”, 69 prominent South Africans, representative of all walks of life and of the three political parties represented in Parliament, declaring their belief “that no group is superior or inferior to other men on the grounds of race or colour”. In the course of that statement they said this—

Having taken part in the referendum according to our individual convictions, we believe that the result of the referendum having been announced, the people of South Africa should now willingly accept the decision of the majority of voters and proceed to establish a republic.

That was said by the “69”. And among these signatories I see a number of English-speaking people, like Mr. C. S. Corder, director of companies and chairman of the Cape Times; Prof. Duminy, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town; Mr. Charles James, a very distinguished citizen of Durban; Mr. Frank Robb, director of companies; the hon. D. G. Shepstone, former Administrator of Natal.

Mr. MITCHELL:

He has denied that.

Mr. HUGHES:

Nobody signed it actually.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I do not want to do anybody an injustice. I am not quite sure whether Mr. Shepstone’s attitude is that he did not sign the document or that he did not agree with its contents. It may be that he did not sign the document, but it is conceivable that he agreed with the contents and that he was a party to the sentiments expressed. There is Major-General Frank Theron, former Minister Plenipotentiary in Rome. Then, according to a Press report—

Within five days of the dramatic declaration of beliefs by 69 prominent South Africans on 20 October, more than 300 people from all over the Union have written to the signatories giving their support to the principles adopted.

Now amongst the 300 are many prominent South Africans, and amongst the new signatories I see is Mrs. Joyce Newton-Thompson, the Mayor of Cape Town. So there is a very wide range of support for this doctrine that we should accept the republic. But if we accept that there is a republic, does that mean that we have to accept this republic and this Bill? There the position is perfectly clear. So far as I am concerned, I do not accept that this Constitution which is to replace the South Africa Act and the Constitution under which we have been governed for the last 50 years, is the right Constitution for the new republic. I believe that if we have to make a change, if it is inevitable—and we have now started on this new course—that here is a great opportunity for rebuilding, for fresh thinking, for collaboration and co-operation between the different groups. And not only between the two sections of the White group, but between the Whites and the non-Whites.

Consultation is really the watchword. I would say that the lack of statesmanship on the part of the hon. the Prime Minister is illustrated by his intransigent refusal to consult with those who opposed the republic. After all, we cannot get away from it that in this country there are English-speaking people and there are Afrikaans-speaking people, and I do not believe that any republic is going to make an English-speaking South African any other than an English-speaking South African. I believe it would be wrong. I do not believe that it will make an Afrikaans-speaking South African any other than an Afrikaans-speaking South African, and I believe that that would be wrong too. True national unity does not mean uniformity. It does not mean that we all have to be lined up and all think as one. True national unity means that you get co-operation between those who may spring from different stocks. They may have different cultural backgrounds, but they are linked and guided and animated by a common patriotism towards a common Fatherland. And if that is so, a wise Prime Minister would recognize the aspirations and the needs not only of those from who he sprung or who he understands, but he would understand the aspirations of the other man.

The English-speaking communities of this country have been built up on consultation. It is their way of government and administration. English-speaking people of this country do not like dictation. They prefer and they want the way of consultation. They will not accept dictation in substitution for consultation. And I believe that that goes for a great many, indeed, for the bulk of the Afrikaners; it is only that there are some who are not sufficiently vocal to express what is really the view of so many Afrikaners who do not like dictation. Take Natal for instance. I am completely convinced that the people of Natal want to contribute to South Africa. They want to play their part. They do not want to be isolated. I believe that there is no English-speaking person in Natal who wants to secede from the Union, if given a chance to contribute to the Union; if given a chance to contribute on the basis that his views and his background and his aspirations are appreciated by the Government in power. But why are the people of Natal disturbed at the present time? Why are they frustrated? They have, for instance, a system of education which they like and which they do not want to lose. But they fear that they will lose that. They fear that many of the things which they hold dear are going to be torn away, now that we have this republic. I have no doubt that if this Government had its way without a republic, and it wanted to adopt those policies, it could do so. It is not by reason of the republic per se that the education system of Natal may be changed. But because there is to be a fundamental constitutional change, those who fear for their way of life—what we may call the English way of life, which has its own particular shape and colour and method in Natal— those people fear that that way of life will be tom away from them as a result of the republic. [Time Limit.]

*Mr. LABUSCHAGNE:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) who has just sat down is well known throughout South Africa for his eloquence and we know that he has made a great contribution to many a debate. I want to say at once that although we certainly do not agree with everything he has said, he has nevertheless enlightened us on a few very important points by taking part in this debate. I therefore want to associate myself at once with what he said when he praised the magnanimity of a Campbell-Bannerman who gave us self-government after the old South African Republic and the old Free State Republic had been conquered. That was a magnanimous gesture which my section of the nation will never forget. I also agree with the previous speaker that that gesture in itself was the beginning of what we are experiencing to-day, namely the establishment of a Republic in South Africa. I want to illustrate that by referring to someone who is held in special high esteem by the other side of the House, namely the late General Louis Botha. When the Peace of Vereeniging was signed the late General Botha was the undisputed king of the old South African Republic. Somewhere in the Eastern Transvaal, I think it was at Wakkerstroom, that day when arms were laid down, he said to the burghers: To-day we are laying down our arms and we are abandoning the fight with weapons. But I call upon every burgher to-day to take up the constitutional weapon immediately and to fight until we get back what we are to-day losing. That is a road a nation should follow. That was the lead given to us and it was along that road that Great Britain made that concession to us, a concession which gradually enabled us to develop and to reach this culminating point in our Afrikaner history, namely the establishment of a Republic. Our nation never faltered in that struggle for a Republic of over 100 years and we are to-day witnessing the fulfilment of that ideal of freedom. I want to associate myself with all those speakers who have referred to the manner in which we have climbed the constitutional ladder from the bottom rung to where we are to-day, and I want to pay tribute—without mentioning any names— to everyone who has contributed to that during the long process. I was born on the bed in which the Republic died, but I was born a Republican. I am very proud of that. Ever since my earliest youth I have cherished the ideal that we would once again have a Republic. But as I grew older and wiser I realized that that was not something which affected only myself and my nation, but that there were two sections in the country and that we would have to do constructive and convincing work in order to attain what we wanted to attain. I do not think anyone is more grateful than I am for the fact that we have reached that stage. Mr. Speaker, I also want to say that in my opinion this new Republican Constitution complies with the dictates of my Christian conscience, namely that a Republic will flow from it which will be acceptable to all of us and which will create harmony. When we regard the future of our country intelligently, we see great thunder clouds appearing on the horizon. There are so many reasons in South Africa why we ought to close the chapter, the epoch, which is behind us and why we should make a start to build a new future. For this reason it gives me great pleasure to make my small contribution towards that end. I want to express the hope that we shall view the fulfilment of this great ideal of our nation with that magnanimity and conviction that will draw people towards us and not repel them. Mr. Speaker during these difficult times that we are experiencing, this occasion presents a golden opportunity to us. We have reached a culminating point which we can use as a stepping stone to build something great and I know that that is the intention of the hon. the Prime Minister. That is the intention of us on this side of the House and I support them in that. At a time like this we should be great and use this opportunity to create greater faith among the various sections of the White population of this country—the Coloured and the Bantu populations. I know it is not only the Coloured section of the population which is friendly disposed towards us, but amongst the Bantu people there are great numbers who stand by the White man 100 per cent, and who will continue to do so. We should use those forces and elements in order to ensure South Africa’s future and to ensure a civilized White government for the future. Those Bantu are not as stupid as many people think they are. They know what is happening and they see, for example, what is happening in the Congo and what happens when you place former servants at the head of affairs—or as is stated in the Bible, when servants go on horseback and rulers go on foot. That is why I have courage and faith that greater things will be born from the Republic and that we will not allow this great opportunity to pass us by.

I have listened to the appeals made by many hon. members opposite and they really amount to this that they are suspicious of our motives. I am sorry to have to put it that way but it really amounts to this that they are afraid that, if we do not have an inflexible Constitution, injustices may in the distant future be perpetrated against their language and cultural rights. That, Mr. Speaker, will be the most irresponsible act that anyone can be guilty of. I do not think we have sunk to the depths that the Congo has sunk to, there where people bite the hand that has fed them. We shall most certainly make the best use of our opportunities and will be wise enough to govern South Africa in such a way that all our sons and daughters will be offered a great future.

There is another small point I want to raise. In their amendment the Progressive Party really asks for a looser set-up—for a federal system. I, on the contrary, think we should make as few changes as possible. The hon. the Prime Minister said, quite rightly, that this Constitution envisaged as few changes as possible. I should like to see one Union from Table Mountain up to the Limpopo. There should be no differences and no provinces. I am saying this because I would like hon. members who will form the Select Committee to decide on the final finishing touches, to know what I am thinking. As you know, Mr. Speaker, we have four provinces in the Union and there is little uniformity amongst them, so much so that the citizen in the one province pays different taxes from the citizen in another province. A child in the one province does not have the same school facilities and hospital facilities as the child in another province. As far as roads are concerned, no comparison can be made. What I should like to plead for— although I know that this is not the only opportunity I shall have to do so; I am merely mentioning it in passing—is that these things should be borne in mind. We hope and trust that under a Republic this injustice will also be removed and that true uniformity will be brought about. I just want to say that even English-speaking people in my constituency, people who do not agree with us as a Party, have said to me: My friend, if you can remove, under the new Constitution, the existing differences between the citizens of the various provinces, so that there will be uniformity, we will vote for that Republic because we should like to have uniformity. That is the general attitude amongst all sections. I know, however, that a commission has been appointed, the Schuman Commission, which is inquiring into the financial relationship between the provinces, and I shall direct my appeal for greater uniformity to them. I think that after 50 years the time is more than opportune that those discriminations which we have inherited from the distant past, be viewed in the right perspective and removed.

Mr. Speaker, with these few words I have briefly aired my views on this Bill. Before I sit down I just want to express the hope that after the Republic has been established the two White sections will show such a united front to the problems which confront us that our internal squabbles will come to an end once and for all and that we shall stand shoulder to shoulder to meet the enemy which is looming on the horizon.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to deal, firstly, with two speeches made during the past hour, one by the hon. the Minister of Agricultural Technical Services and the other by the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence). I shall deal with certain aspects of those two speeches together because, in effect, they contain similar arguments directed against this party. The hon. the Minister and the hon. the member for Salt River both accused the United Party of not accepting the mandate for a republic and, therefore, of actually going against the peoples’ will in this case.

I believe that my hon. friends on my left are tragically wrong in their attitude of saying that we should now accept the republic. Like the hon. member for Salt River, I also feel that this is a matter for interpretation, interpretation of the words “to accept”. What do we actually mean by the words “accepting a republic”? I ask this: Was there actually a mandate for a republic in general, or was there only a mandate for a particular type of republic? My contention is that the Government did not gain a mandate for taking the Union of South African out of the Commonwealth. If there was a mandate of any nature, it was a mandate for a republic within the Commonwealth itself. There were hundreds, there were tens of thousands of people who voted for a republic in the belief that it would be inside the Commonwealth. I therefore believe that it is wrong to say at this stage, as my hon. friends on my left are saying, that we should accept a republic, because it might mean the acceptance of a republic outside the Commonwealth, which would not be in the interests of this country. May I put it this way? The hon. the Prime Minister faces us with two alternatives. He says “Either you accept the republic inside the Commonwealth or, if that is not possible, we go outside the Commonwealth We, on the other hand, say “No, that is not correct. If we are denied membership of the Commonwealth then we have two other alternatives. The first one is that of the Prime Minister wishing a republic outside the Commonwealth. and the other alternative is the present sovereignty of South Africa under a sovereign.” In other words we in this party maintain that it is perfectly legitimate to plead for the maintenance of the present constitution of the Union. And we shall continue to do so while this Bill is before Parliament.

An HON. MEMBER:

And thereafter?

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I am asked by my hon. friends on the left what we should do afterwards. May I shortly say what my views are. What is happening at the moment is this: There has been a referendum and now the Government is coming to this House to ask for the legal right to create a republic. Could I use an analogy? The Government is coming to ask the legal right of Parliament to break down an existing building and replace it with a republican building. We say “No, the existing building is in good repair, it is perfectly suited to our tasks and to our needs in South Africa to-day. We are not going to give you that legal right to break down that building. We shall fight the granting of that legal right to you Once the legal right has been granted then, in my view, the position is not exactly the same. Presumably, then, the Government will break down the perfectly good existing building and erect the new republican building in its stead. The question then facing us would be: are we in turn to break down this republican building, or are we to say “We must alter and make the necessary urgent and important modifications to make this building acceptable to all who wish to live in this multi-racial society of ours”?

I do not wish to be dogmatic in replying to the question that was put to me, but I believe that the reply will depend upon three things. First of all, will we be inside the Commonwealth or not? Secondly, will the bases of Parliamentary democracy be guaranteed? Thirdly, will those basic rights which are necessary for the furtherance of national unity be guaranteed? In other words, what are the foundations of the new building? Those are the assurances we are seeking from hon. members on the Government benches.

Running through the speech of the hon. the Minister for Agricultural Technical Services, and also through the speeches of many hon. members on that side of the House, was an ominous note. It was a note to the effect that we have only arrived at a certain step in an evolutionary process; that there are further steps ahead after the establishment of a republic. The hon. the Minister for Agricultural Technical Services used the word “evolution” and he stated that it would be wrong to say that we were bound, and bound formally to the present republic. It was stated in the same way by other hon. members such as, for instance, the hon. member for Wolmaransstad (Mr. G. P. van den Berg). I regard it as an ominous note and we must be quite clear as to what it implies.

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES:

You were just stating that you wanted to change the building; this gives you the opportunity to change the building.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

No, the difference is that we shall be hoping to change the building so that if we are given certain assurances, it will be possible to make it more habitable for the people of South Africa and more fitting for our country as a whole. I am convinced, however, that the changes envisaged by hon. members on the other side will not make it such a type of building. The Minister’s statement was ominous and I should like to have further reassurances on this issue.

You know, Mr. Speaker, it has been said by hon. members on the other side of the House in the course of this debate that, should the Commonwealth interfere in the internal affairs of South Africa, it will be a reason for either leaving or reconsidering our position in the Commonwealth. Again, I find it an ominous phrase. What is meant by “interfere”? Would the hon. the Minister of Agricultural Technical Services, for instance, regard the fact that there have been talks in Malaya of boycotts against South African goods, as interference? Would the fact that there have been debates in the British House of Commons, criticizing our South African policy, be constituted as interference? I want to be quite clear on this because I know hon. members on the other side, and they are quite capable of saying, at some time or other, that since there had been a threat of a boycott, it was interference in South Africa’s internal affairs and therefore it was time to leave the Commonwealth.

In all there have been three main arguments advanced by hon. members on the other side of the House during this debate. The first one—which I have dealt with—was that there actually was a mandate for this republic. May I just add one small point which has not yet been raised in this connection? Hon. members on the other side said that the late Dr. Malan had stated that the republic should be based on the broad basis of the people’s will. I believe that Dr. Malan, when he used those words, meant a majority of all the enfranchised European voters. Dr. Malan used the words “’n veilige meerderheid van die geregistreerde kiesers”. My contention is that the Government did not get a majority of enfranchised votes. They only got a majority of those people who actually voted. Out of 1,800,000 enfranchised voters they only got 850,000 votes. A safe majority of the enfranchised voters would have been 900,000 plus 1, and they were 50,000 short of that.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order, order! Dr. Malan’s speeches are not now under consideration in this House.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Mr. Speaker, I was actually dealing with what is meant by a man. date, and the broad basis of the people’s will. However, I shall not consider that any further. I shall also not, at this stage, deal further with the contention that a republic would bring about unity in South Africa. I do hope you will permit me, however, to deal with one further aspect of this problem, which is mentioned in the amendment; the problem of whether this mandate for a republic was given irrespective of whether we were to be inside or outside the Commonwealth. Here I must refer to the speech made by the hon. the Minister of Finance. When he spoke the other day he said that at every meeting he had addressed during the referendum campaign he had made it very clear that the people were voting for a republic either inside or outside the Commonwealth. If a republic inside the Commonwealth—as he wished it to be—was not acceptable, then it would be a republic outside the Commonwealth. I submit that if the people of South Africa had known that they would have voted otherwise.

Dr. VAN NIEROP:

But they were told that.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Now I hear the cry that the people of South Africa were told that. Here I have the cuttings of the speeches of the hon. the Minister of Finance, in my File 8. The hon. the Minister of Finance spoke on a republic and on this Bill during the referendum campaign. He spoke at Bloemfontein, he spoke at Worcester, he spoke at Queenstown, at Moorreesburg, at East London, at Muizenberg, at Beaufort West and at Vryburg. I have here the reports of his speeches from the Burger itself. Yet in not a single one of these reports is it mentioned that the hon. the Minister told us that we might be taken out of the Commonwealth.

HON. MEMBERS:

He did.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Very well, I challenge those hon. members to show us one single sentence in which that was said. I say the issue was not clearly put before the people of South Africa. I would even go so far as to challenge the hon. the Prime Minister, and say that I dare him to hold a referendum today on a choice between a republic outside the Commonwealth and our present constitutional position. I am quite sure that the vast majority of people in South Africa would rather maintain our present constitutional position than accept a republic outside of the Commonwealth.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order, order! The hon. member must make new points now. That point has been mentioned frequently.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

Do not ask the impossible, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Several of the hon. members on the other side spoke about the traditions of the Afrikaner people in the Union of South Africa, and how the republic was actually a fulfilment of the dreams of the Afrikaner people as such. I am also Afrikaans-speaking; I am also a member of the Afrikaans-speaking group of South Africa. May I say a few words on that …

Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.

Evening Sitting

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Mr. Speaker, when the debate was adjourned I referred to the incongruity at the hon. Minister of Finance, the father of the High Court of Parliament and the enlarged Senate, now calling on us to “play the game, you cads”. I dealt also with the attitude of the party on my left and pointed out how tragically lacking in foresight they were in supporting the republic now, not knowing whether it was to be a republic inside or outside the Commonwealth. I mentioned also what our attitude presumably would be in the future. There is nothing startling or new in this principle. We fought the Decimalization Bill but presumably we shall not undo it or repeal it once it has been shown that it works. But I say that for the Progressive Party at this stage of the fight, when the battle is at its height, to strike the flag in the face of the enemy …

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! That has nothing to do with the Bill. The hon. member must come back to the Bill.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I shall, Sir. We shall certainly be true to the mandate as we see it, seeing that 750,000 people asked us to fight the republic. Sir, I was dealing with the fact that many hon. members opposite purported to speak on behalf of the Afrikaner people and said that it was the tradition of the Afrikaner to have a republic. I thank hon. members opposite for their solicitude, but I want to tell them that not a single one of them has the right to speak on my behalf as an Afrikaans-speaking. [Interjections.] May I say equally that they have no right to say that the tradition of the Afrikaner is predominantly a republican one. It may have been so in the Free State and the Transvaal, but it has never been the tradition of the Afrikaner in the Cape Province and in Natal. [Interjections.]

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill and the amendments.

An HON. MEMBER:

Tell us how you landed in the United Party.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Am I not allowed to reply to the argument that it is the tradition of the Afrikaner to have a republic?

Mr. SPEAKER:

We have had that over and over again.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Very well, Sir, then I shall come to another point and I deal with the Constitution in particular. As you know, Sir, there are those on this side of the House who feel very strongly about the removal of the Crown and to whom it is the most important point in the Bill. There are others again who feel the most important thing in this republic to be that it should be established on the basis of parliamentary democracy. To me, the fact that we want parliamentary democracy to continue is as important an any other factor, even the retention of the Crown.

Looking at the Bill, I appeal to the hon. the Prime Minister to give us certain further assurances with regard to parliamentary democracy, so that we may have clarity and not say afterwards that we did not understand each other. I believe that in maintaining parliamentary democracy it is not necessary only to preserve the outward form. We must also seek to preserve the customs of parliamentary democracy. In Clause 2 it is mentioned that the customs relating to the exercise of the functions of the president will be similar to those which existed in the past in regard to the Governor-General, but a general undertaking that the customs of parliamentary democracy will be honoured is not given, I think, to the fullest extent that it could have been done. These customs and conventions of the Constitution are part of the Constitution and of our political life. In the words of a great constitutional lawyer, they provide the flesh which clothes the dry bones of the law. They are conventions such as that a ministry which does not have the confidence of the House must retire or advise dissolution. We might say it is an accepted thing and why even ask that this convention should be honoured in future? Yet I should feel safer if we had the assurance that this convention will be honoured. The same applies to the convention that if a government loses an election it cannot ask the President to hold a new election immediately. Also, the convention of the collective responsibility of the Cabinet is very important. If the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, e.g., makes a statement which is unacceptable to the hon. the Prime Minister, either the Minister should be repudiated or a new Cabinet should be formed. These conventions are very important. Even if the words of this Bill are the same as the words used in the old South Africa Act, I should like to have an assurance from the hon. the Prime Minister that the spirit of those words will also be honoured. In Clause 66 of the Bill we find these words—

The President shall assent or withhold assent to Bills according to his discretion, subject to the provisions of this Act.

Now these words are largely similar to those of Act 69 of 1934, Sec. 8, but will these words also be honoured in the spirit, or will another interpretation be placed on the provision that the president may withhold assent to a Bill according to his discretion?

There are conventions with regard to the rules of the House, e.g. that Standing Orders are not to be abolished roughshod by a majority vote. I was interested to hear the Prime Minister say that he envisaged certain changes in procedure. He repeated the statement in Afrikaans and in English and to my mind those two statements were not exactly similar. I am not for a moment accusing the Prime Minister of having deliberately made one statement in Afrikaans and another in English, but I should like to have an exact interpretation of what he means by changing the procedure of this hon. House. He said in Afrikaans: “Daar sal moet ooreengekom word om prosedure te vereenvoudig.” The accent is on the word “moet”. It was almost a demand. In English he said:

“Attempts will be made towards simplification of procedure by agreement.” I prefer the English version and I shall be glad if he can give us an assurance on that point.

There are conventions relating to another matter in which I am probably as interested as any other member of this House, and those are the conventions in regard to the putting of questions to Ministers. I trust that the well-established conventions in that respect will not be disregarded. There are one or two minor points I should like to deal with in what the Prime Minister told us in his speech. He told us that it was utterly impossible for him to appoint an independent English-speaking person to the Cabinet. I wonder whether he realizes that in the history of parliamentary democracy it is not so impossible? I believe that General Smuts at one stage during the war contemplated including Dr. Hendrik van der Byl, an independent, in his Cabinet. I wonder whether he knows that in the Conservative Party in Britain Mr. Churchill had Lord Woolton as a Minister in his Cabinet for eight years, and that Lord Woolton only joined the Conservative Party in 1950, after he had been a Minister for all those years? It is therefore not so impossible.

The next point on which I should like to have clarity from the Prime Minister is this. To what extent will this Republican Bill change the citizenship of South Africans and certain rights that people who were born British subjects may have, including those which they may or may not have under the British Nationality Act? I think it is important to know that the British nationality of many citizens of South Africa will not be interfered with.

We must be particularly careful not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the Prime Minister that once this Bill is passed everything in the garden will be lovely and there will be peace in the Union. I think the Prime Minister himself realizes that that may not be the case. On this issue, too, I should like to have his views. When this Bill has passed the second reading and the Prime Minister goes to London, and supposing he gets the agreement of all the other Prime Ministers for South Africa to remain in the Commonwealth, will we then have peace and quiet in S.A.? Indeed, many people in industry, commerce and mining are demanding to know this.

HON. MEMBERS:

Ask Mitchell.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I believe that the Prime Ministers at the Conference will not be able to bind their respective Parliaments. They will have to go back to their Parliaments and introduce a Bill dealing with our Constitution, a South Africa (Consequential Provisions) Bill. Now that Bill may well be opposed in the Dominion Parliaments, in Ghana, Britain, India and Nigeria …

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member is going too far now. His imagination is running away with him.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Then may I point out that once the Bill is accepted certain events will flow from it and I would like to quote from the words of an eminent constitutional lawyer, Sir Ivor Jennings, who was responsible for drafting three monarchial and four republican constitutions. He said—

If the Union does become a republic, some legislation will be required in the United Kingdom, and possibly in other countries of the Commonwealth … It would presumably take the same form as the India (Consequential Provision) Act, 1949, or the Ghana (Consequential Provision) Act, 1960 … Though it would be almost, if not quite, impossible to eject the Union from the Commonwealth if it remained a monarchy, it would be politically difficult for most of the Prime Ministers to assent to a resolution authorizing it to remain within the Commonwealth as a republic. Hitherto, resolutions of that kind have been carried unanimously. It does not necessarily follow that this practice would be adopted, and some of the Prime Ministers, at least, would find great force in the argument that a mere minority decision in South Africa should not deprive all South Africans of their Commonwealth citizenship … A decision by a majority of White South Africans to establish a republic, followed by a request from the Union Government that the republic remain within the Commonwealth …
Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.

Mr. HUGHES:

On a point of order, the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition particularly deals with the question of Commonwealth membership. We want the assurance from the Prime Minister that we can remain in the Commonwealth. The hon. member is now pointing out why he thinks there may be difficulties in the way of our remaining in the Commonwealth. He is speaking to the amendment.

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member must obey my ruling.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I merely trust that we shall not be lulled into a false sense of security that everything will be rosy in the garden once this Bill is passed. There is another point on which I should like clarity from the Prime Minister. Is it his intention that this Bill should be passed by Parliament and go through all its stages and then be promulgated on 31 May, so that he can go to London and say that it has been passed, or is it his intention to ask for permission, to remain in the Commonwealth first of all at the Conference, and then to go through the final stages of the Bill? I ask this particularly in view of a statement made by the hon. the Minister of Finance. When speaking during the referendum campaign at Vryburg, the Minister of Finance, according to a Press report, said on 22 August 1960—

Should the people vote in favour of a republic, the change would not come immediately. Firstly, said the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister would have to receive permission for South Africa to remain a member of the Commonwealth, and secondly, laws which might take some time would have to be passed.

That statement seems to be a clear contradiction of the attitude adopted by the Prime Minister and the one adopted by, I believe, the hon. member for Wolmaransstad (Mr. G. P. van den Berg), who said: Have your republic first of all, and then ask permission. No, I believe it was the hon. member for Smithfield who said—

Om ’n republiek te word is van primêre belang. Na Suid-Afrika ’n republiek geword het, dan is dit van belang om te besluit of ons binne die Statebond sal bly of nie.

The issue is important, because once we have decided to become a republic, the Prime Minister can go to London and say: There is no alternative; either we remain a member as a republic or we walk out. But, if permission to remain in the Commonwealth is asked before the republic is definitely confirmed by this House, we at any rate will still be able to say that there was an alternative to a republic outside the Commonwealth, namely the maintenance of our present sovereign position under the Monarch, and within the Commonwealth.

I do not wish to deal with all the arguments used by hon. members opposite. I was impressed by the sincerity of the hon. the Minister of Defence, which was in marked contrast to that of the Minister of Finance, who is never less convincing than when he appears to plead as an advocatus diaboli. There was, however, an argument used by the hon. member for Smithfield (Mr. J. J. Fouché, Jnr.) as to why we should pass this Bill. He said there were complexes amongst the Afrikaners which would be removed by a republic, and also similar complexes, amongst the English-speaking people. It appears to me that we do not need a law, but a psychiatric clinic. I was equally unimpressed by his argument that once we are a republic, the other nations in Africa will say: The Great Chief of S.A. is no longer overseas. I shudder to think what the sophisticated African Prime Ministers, particularly of the French colonies who sat in the French Chamber of Deputies in Paris for years, will say when they hear of this argument of the Great Chief. [Interjections.]

Mr. FRIELINGHAUS:

On a point of order, although I have a hearing aid, it is hardly possible to hear anything.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order!

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

The Minister of Finance dealt with the question of national unity and gave what he described as certain constructive proposals as to how unity should be obtained. I must say that I am bitterly disappointed at the proposals. The first was that we should support the desire of the Prime Minister, and ours, to remain within the Commonwealth. Obviously we shall do that. The second was that we should counter unfair attacks on South Africa in the overseas Press. Obviously we have done so, and shall do so in future. Then there came a third and mighty concession by the Prime Minister to the Afrikaans-speaking supporters of the United Party. He said: From now on I shall never again call an Afrikaans-speaking supporter of the United Party a “stooge”. I wish I could tell the Prime Minister what he could do with that assurance. Surely much more could have been done for national unity without having this Bill. We can break down the barriers in our schools between Afrikaans- and English-speaking children. Among the many other issues which it will not be possible to describe here, is the one of greater unity in regard to our external affairs. Unity has been tried in this country and it worked under the United Party Government. We had no need of a republic. I say this because national unity is greater than the form of the State; it comes from within, and our call on this side continues as in the past to South Africans of whatever political persuasion to join us in the United Party and to fight for national unity. It is not yet too late for the Prime Minister to withdraw this Bill. After all, his own supporters are not satisfied with this republic.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I am referring to a statement made by the Prime Minister in which he said that concessions were being made by him and his party, one of them relating to the nature of the republic. He stated that many hon. members opposite were not completely satisfied with the form of this republic. May I add that we on this side are not satisfied with this Bill either. On this one issue we seem to have national unity. We do not want this Orphan Annie republic.

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

Mr. Speaker, I must say that I have a great deal of sympathy with the hon. member who has just sat down. I cannot help thinking that the United Party has now come to its Operation Back-to-the-Wall. They have now advanced the very last arguments available to them. I do not want to refute all the arguments advanced by the hon. member; I want to mention just two of them. One of his main points was that we must give him all sorts of assurances that all sorts of practices will continue unchanged. He wants to keep the procedure of this House unchanged. Sir, times change and the world changes. The modern world is changing more rapidly than ever before, and when times and circumstances change, it becomes necessary to change your actions as well as procedures. We have repeatedly amended our rules in this House in the past ten years. The hon. member now wants an assurance that the rules will never be changed. It is a pity that arguments of that kind have to be resorted to.

Let me mention another. He wants an assurance from the Prime Minister that if he goes to London and gets the assurance there that we can remain in the Commonwealth, there will then be peace. But peace does not depend upon us. We have obtained the Republic now through an overwhelming victory. There is peace in our ranks but war on the other side. I really do not think that we need take the arguments advanced by the hon. member very seriously. The hon. member for Orange Grove (Mr. E. G. Malan) has simply contributed to the peculiarities of this debate, as has been pointed out also by other hon. members. One of those peculiarities is that this is a very unreal debate as far as the United Party and the Progressive Party are concerned, because the latter demanded in the course of this debate what they know they can never get, and the United Party, through its Leader and others, has asked for something wihch it knows it does not want itself. The Leader of the Opposition has moved an amendment to the effect that this House refuses to approve of the second reading because the Government has refused to entrench certain basic rights in the Constitution and to promote unity. This was a repetition of the amendment which he moved when the Prime Minister sought leave to introduce the Bill. He has not explained to us in the course of this debate what those basic rights are which he wants written into the Constitution and how they are to be entrenched and what the unity is that he wishes to promote. It is a strange thing that the Leader of the Opposition, while he comes along with certain demands in respect of basic rights and the guaranteeing of those rights, refuses to tell us what those rights are. All we can do now is to draw an inference as to what he wants. He referred to the resolutions of the three Provincial Councils of Natal, the Cape and the Transvaal, in which they sought certain guarantees and assurances from the Prime Minister and demanded that the Prime Minister should give consideration to those demands. Another remarkable feature is that the Leader of the Opposition tackled this matter so half-heartedly, with so little conviction and inspiration, that he did not even state his case, and there are two inferences that one can draw from that.

The first inference that we have to draw is that he has not promoted the case which Natal instructed him to state; he wrecked it by his weak exposition and his poor advocacy of that case. “He damned Natal’s cause with his faint praise.” The second inference is that he does not really believe in the case which he stated. He stated Natal’s case in the belief that it was wrong, but he stated it for another reason, and that is because Natal is the bulwark of the un-Afrikaans element and of jingoism. Natal, as the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) said, is very important to the United Party “because it swamped the whole republican majority of the Transvaal and of the Cape and of South West combined”, That is the reason why the hon. member moved this amendment. According to his own amendment the Leader of the Opposition does not want any republic to come into being in South Africa unless we satisfy those people of Natal who demanded certain guarantees from the Prime Minister. Unless we comply with those demands they do not want any republic. In order to satisfy them we must guarantee those so-called basic rights. That is what the Leader of the Opposition stated very clearly by implication.

Let us pause for a moment to deal with the guarantees which the Leader of the Opposition wants us to entrench in the Constitution in specific terms. Those demands were made by the Provincial Council of Natal in a resolution which they passed and which was subsequently affirmed by United Party members of the Cape Provincial Council, as well as by the United Party members in the Transvaal Provincial Council. To use their own words, they demanded—

Firstly, that the fundamental rights should be guaranteed.

There are certain fundamental rights which had to be guaranteed. Many of them described them as the “five freedoms” which they wanted entrenched in the Constitution. Let us take them one by one. In the first place they ask that the Constitution should make provision for language equality. They demand that we should guarantee in the Constitution of the Rpublic that equal rights will be given to Afrikaans and English. In so far as guarantees are possible, Mr. Speaker, those languages are already guaranteed.

*Mr. RAW:

You accept the principle of entrenchment.

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

As far as it is legally possible to do so—I shall show in a moment that new entrenchments are impossible—we accept it. Mr. Speaker, is it not remarkable that this request should come from the leader of a province and from the Provincial Council of a province which has always trampled upon equal rights? Is it not remarkable that this request should be made to people who through out their lives and in the whole of their history have always respected equality? We are the people who have never begrudged others what we claim for ourselves. Just as we have claimed our language and our culture for ourselves, we have never begrudged the English-speaking section their language and their culture. We have never suppressed the language of others, but under the leadership of the leader of Natal, when he was Administrator of that province, the majority of the provincial ordinances of Natal appeared in one official language.

*Mr. RAW:

That is not correct.

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

Pardon me, Sir, that was a slip of the tongue. I was referring to municipal bylaws. The by-laws of Natal, Mr. Speaker, until recently, when the National Party Government forced them to rectify the position, were drawn up in English only. And then these are the people who tell us that we must guarantee that there will be equal rights for the two languages in South Africa.

If people obviously act so peculiarly, so irrationally, then the reason they advance for doing something cannot be the correct reason; then there must be another reason. They are not concerned about the equal rights for English and Afrikaans. That is not the reason why they oppose this Bill. They oppose it for other reasons. Let me now deal with those reasons. They say that they refuse to agree to the establishment of a republic in South Africa unless “freedom of worship” is guaranteed in the constitution.

*Mr. RAW:

Why not?

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

But in South Africa we always had freedom of worship.

*Mr. RAW:

What about the Church Clause.

The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

They are dealing here with people who are the descendants of nations which had sacrificed everything for the sake of freedom of religion. That is part of our culture, Mr. Speaker, and freedom of religion has never been threatened in South Africa. We must bear one principle in mind, a principle which is recognized right throughout the world, and one which even the hon. the Leader of the Opposition recognizes, viz. that a man has no absolute right. There is nothing like an absolute right. The rights one has are always subject to a condition, namely that one will exercise that right in such a way that one does not cause one’s fellow man harm and misery. Every right has that limitation. Of course the exercise of our religious rights is the same. We have the right to practise our religion, but we do not have the right to do it in such a way that we become objectionable to others or cause them distress and misery. That right which we all have, with that limitation, is recognized by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, as I have said. That principle is recognized by every reasonable person in the world. I am convinced that it is equally recognized by every person in Natal. In other words, their demand that there should be a guarantee in regard to the freedom of worship is not a genuine one; it is not made because they fear that freedom of religion in South Africa will be limited; there must be some other reason for it.

Let me now come to their third demand. The other right they ask to be embodied in our constitution is the right of parents to choose the medium of education for their children. Allow me to analyse that for a moment. They demand the right for every parent to choose whether he will send his child to an Afrikaans-medium or to an English-medium school. That is supposed to be the demand emanating from Natal. But what is the position in Natal, Sir? In Natal the parents are predominantly English-speaking, and those English-speaking parents, almost without exception, send their children to English-medium schools. They prefer English-medium schools. They do not prefer mother tongue education; that is not the thing which counts with them. What counts with those English-speaking parents is the fact that they send their children to a school where they will be educated in their own language. That is why they do it. Let me just remind you, Sir, what the position is right throughout South Africa in regard to our English-speaking friends. On the Witwatersrand there are 39,000 children in English-medium schools, but only 2,000 English-speaking children in parallel-medium schools.

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, when I was speaking I referred to parallel-medium schools and unity, and you quite correctly told me that in that context it was out of order. Is what the hon. the Minister is now saying in order?

*Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. the Minister may continue.

The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

Let me take Klerksdorp as an example. There are 812 children in the parallel-medium school and they are all Afrikaans-speaking; there is not a single English-speaking child in that parallel-medium school. They are all in English-medium schools. In Natal one finds that practically all the English-speaking children are in English-medium schools. In other words, I say, Mr. Speaker, that this is what it amounts to: The English-speaking parent is not concerned with slogans; he is not concerned with the reality, and the reality is that he should send his child to the school where he will be educated in his own language—the home language of the parent and the child. That is the principle which applies everywhere. But it is also the principle which we on this side accept as ours. It is the principle accepted by all thinking people in the world. We accept that every person has the right to send his child to the school where he will be educated in the language of his parent. There is no danger to the English-speaking parent in Natal in terms of our policy; our policy is actually the policy which the Natal parents want.

Does the hon. the Leader of the Opposition now want to tell me that the English-speaking parent in Natal is so concerned about the republic that he demands that the parental choice should be entrenched in the constitution of our country? I say, Sir, that cannot be the reason for this motion of theirs, and it cannot be the reason underlying this amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. There must be a different reason.

Let me now mention the last of the five freedoms, viz. the freedom of the Press. He says they will not allow a republic to be established in South Africa until the freedom of the Press is guaranteed and entrenched in our constitution. We all stand for the freedom of the Press, Sir. In fact we are in favour of the Press being independent and not being a mere slave in the hands of a few people in order to promote the interests of a few individuals, but that in fact it should be free to express its own convictions. Actual freedom of the Press has always been the object and the aim of civilized men. That has always been our policy.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Minister has just said that he is a protagonist of the freedom of the Press. May I ask the hon. the Minister why it is that the free Press was not allowed into the sealed-off portions of Pondoland?

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

I do not think the hon. member really expects me to reply to his question.

No Government in the world can allow any person or institution to abuse its freedoms in such a way that they become a danger to society and destroy civilization. No country in the world can ever allow the Press, which is destined to be the watchdog of civilization, eventually to become the monster which destroys that civilization. For that reason every government in the world will have to arrogate itself the liberty, if it should ever become necessary, to set limits to the actions of the Press, or to limit the actions of any individual or any group if they should abuse their powers. From the very nature of the matter we can therefore give no such assurance, but also from the very nature of the matter the people in Natal do not want such an assurance. Do hon. members forget what happened recently? Do hon. members forget what happened during the riots in Cato Manor when no less a body than the City Council of Durban appealed to the Government to put a stop to the distortions and falsehoods published by the Press in regard to that incident? That was Natal’s choice, Sir, and it is the choice of any intelligent person. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition will not dare say that the public of Natal demands freedom of the Press, whatever the cost might be, even though the White man and White civilization should be destroyed. Not a single one of those demands made by the City Council and the Provincial Council of Natal, in fact, reflect the feelings of the people of Natal. All these so-called basic rights which they say should be entrenched are in fact basic rights which are hollow and senseless. They are so senseless, Sir, that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition did not have the courage to mention them by name. Is it not peculiar, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition pleads that basic rights should be guaranteed but that he does not even mention them specifically? He did not mention a single one of these rights. I can only infer that the Leader of the Opposition was ashamed of those demands. He stated those demands so half-heartedly that it was obvious that he could not justify them. By so doing he wants to tell us in the world that in fact he cannot support them. He said by implication that this was a very poor effort on the part of the hon. member for South Coast and his followers.

Now we must ask ourselves why the Leader of the Opposition moved this amendment. I repeat that there must be a different reason from the one they advance. Before analysing this other reason, I just first want to continue further with his request. The further request of the Leader of the Opposition, as embodied in the resolutions of the Provincial Councils of Natal and of the Cape Province and the Transvaal is that those rights should not only be written into the constitution, but that they should be guaranteed. In other words, this sovereign Parliament of the Union must pass an Act providing that in future those rights will never be tampered with or repealed. It is the demand that not only should we give certain rights to certain classes of persons, but we should guarantee and entrench them to such an extent that no future Parliament will ever be able to change the position.

My reply to this demand made by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is in the first place that this request cannot be implemented. The Parliament of the Union is a sovereign body, and a sovereign body means a body which can make a law and any moment thereafter again change that law. In the words of Dyson—

Parliament has the right to make or unmake any law whatever.
Mr. LAWRENCE:

In terms of the constitution.

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

That is in terms of the constitution and in terms of the system under which we live. It means that the sovereign Parliament of South Africa can pass any law at any time, but it also means that thereafter it can repeal that law again. It can repeal it even though it provided that it cannot be amended without a two-thirds or a three-quarters or a 100 per cent majority. Any entrenchment of rights can be changed or repealed at any time by such a sovereign Parliament. In other words, any guarantee which the hon. the Leader of the Opposition wants incorporated in our constitution by way of entrenchment will be absolutely valueless. In fact, it would only mislead the public. A Parliament can lose its sovereignty as a result of war, or it can lose its sovereignty over part of its territory when it gives away that territory completely, in the same way that Britian relinquished South Africa, but as long as a Parliament is sovereign over a territory, for so long will the power of that Parliament be inviolable, and for so long no Parliament can bind any future Parliament or restrict its powers.

The hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson), supported by the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker), suggested another way of trying to get past these entrenchments. He suggested what he called the calling together of a National Convention to frame the new Constitution of South Africa. As was done in 1910, he wants to convene a National Convention, and that convention must then frame the constitution, and the entrenchments must be incorporated in that constitution. But, Sir, the hon. member for Constantia forgot that the National Convention of 1910 did not frame the Constitution of South Africa; it was merely advisory. They drafted that constitution and eventually submitted it to the British Parliament, and the sovereign British Parliament passed an Act embodying that constitution, an Act for the future South Africa.

Let me now analyse the proposition of the hon. member for Constantia further. Supposing the hon. member for Constantia or the United Party were to convene a National Convention, that convention would have no authority. Even though the Nationalist Party were to convene such a national convention, or even if the Government did it, it would have no authority. A National Convention would only have authority if this sovereign Parliament of South Africa grants such a national convention certain powers to frame a new constitution. The powers granted to that national convention will never be greater than the powers possessed by this Parliament. This Parliament must delegate its own powers to that national convention, and an agent who has delegated powers never has more powers than his principal. That national convention will not be able to incorporate any entrenchments which will be of force in future, because the sovereign Parliament of South Africa itself does not have that power. Therefore I say that the whole concept in the minds of the hon. members for Constantia and Springs and others, to introduce these so-called entrenchments, will be valueless. Such a convention cannot attain what those hon. members envisage.

I briefly want to add this. We have no legal power to bind the future generation. Nor is there any moral right for doing so. No generation has the moral right to say: We in our wisdom decide that we can bind future generations, whatever their circumstances might be and whatever their troubles and problems might be. Morally there is no such right. If people were to try to entrench rights for future generations, they would be trying to do something which is immoral. We have an example of this in the history of the world. In the time of Louis Napoleon the French Constitution also provided that certain parts of that Act could only be changed by a two-thirds majority. Those rights were entrenched. But not long afterwards the French regarded those entrenchments as impracticable and simply took no notice of them. There was no power in the world which could force that French Parliament to give effect to those entrenchments. Even though it were legally possible, and even though one could justify it morally—something which one cannot do—it is a physical impossibility to write in entrenchments for the future. Sir, even the hon. the Leader of the Opposition recognized this in his speech. He himself said—

No constitutional guarantee can be stronger than the will of the nation.

And now, if that is his honest conviction, and I accept that it is, it becomes an even greater problem to us. If he himself believes that it is impossible, why does he move an amendment which he knows to be impracticable? Mr. Speaker, perhaps you will not believe me if I analyse the position, so therefore allow me to ask the editor of the Rand Daily Mail to reveal the reason. Mr. Gandar says that the real reason behind all this is the following. He says—

Since the shock of the referendum, Natal has been suffering from two allied delusions … It will be remembered that after the referendum result became known …
*Mr. RAW:

What are you reading from?

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

I am reading from the Rand Daily Mail of 14 December 1960. Mr. Gandar says—

It will be remembered that after the referendum result became known there was a hurried meeting of top Opposition leaders in Natal. Strong action was being demanded by the frustrated Natalians who had been promised beforehand that Natal would “march” if a republic were forced on it, and they took a great deal of persuasion behind closed doors to agree to anything less.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition used all his gifts of persuasion to try to induce them to act differently. They then arrived at a compromise. Mr. Gandar says—

The compromise was supported by the United and Progressive Parties …

I am sorry to say this—

… for an approach to the Government for a devolution of powers to the Provinces in a new constitution and the entrenchments of various rights.

He says it is a comedy. He says—

And so the solemn pantomimes …

A comedy for children—

… went forward with the United Party teams in the Transvaal and Cape Provincial Councils sheepishly introducing motions patterned on the Natal motion.

If Mr. Gandar were to write again to-day he would just add this at the end: “ending in this amendment moved by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition”.

Mr. VAN RYNEVELD:

Mr. Speaker, the gist of the hon. the Minister’s argument is that it will be impossible for this Parliament to entrench rights in the constitution and that apart from the question of impossibility it will be immoral to do so. We differ fundamentally from the hon. the Minister in regard to this question of entrenchment. I do not wish to deal with the arguments at length but what I would point out to the hon. the Minister is that other countries have done so successfully, for instance Switzerland and the United States, and we believe not only that it is possible to do so but that it is desirable and in fact essential to do so.

I welcome the opportunity of speaking in this important debate, not only for myself, but on behalf of people in East London and the Border area. I believe that the attitude taken by the Progressive Party represents the attitude of a large section of the people of the Border at this stage. I am strengthened in that belief by the experience that I had last week when I had the privilege of addressing a large meeting at East London.

For many people in East London the passing of this Bill is a sad occasion, for they are strongly attached to the monarchy. Those who listened to the heartfelt speech of the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) on Thursday will have appreciated the strength of the sentiment which exists. Very many of the people of the Border area are descended from the 1820 Settlers and they are proud, and justifiably so, of those settlers and of their link with England. This pride has strengthened their sentiment for the monarchy. If any other proof were required one need only point to the referendum results. East London and the Border area voted against the republic by overwhelming majorities and the percentage polls exceeded anything known before in that area.

What is the attitude of these people now that the referendum has gone against them? So far as sentiment is concerned I believe that the feeling for the monarchy is as strong as it was before. In fact it is, if anything, stronger, because of the knowledge that the monarchy is to disappear. But at the same time there has been a change in the attitude of people since the referendum. Increasingly their thinking has been directed to the kind of republic they will get and their future in it. To-day many of them accept the fact that a republic will be established and prefer to regard that issue as decided. They feel that more is to be gained now by concentrating on the other fundamental issues which are at stake. In doing this, Mr. Speaker, they are mindful of the fact that although the Crown is the symbol of the English-speaking tradition in South Africa, and a cherished symbol, there is more to the tradition than the symbol. The substance of the English tradition in South Africa is the way of life which has been brought from England and developed here. It is a way of life which attaches importance to the individual and values his freedom, his freedom of speech; freedom from arbitrary arrest; freedom of education; freedom of the Press and many other rights and freedoms. These are the things that the English-speaking tradition has given to South Africa and these are the things on which the people of East London and others are making their stand. They are asking that these rights be entrenched in the constitution. The importance of this is only too clear for already a Bill is envisaged which will curtail the freedom of the Press. The speech of the hon. Minister who has just spoken leaves us in no doubt as to the attitude of the Government on the question of freedom of the Press. The principle of Press freedom has a special meaning for the descendants of the settlers, for it was men of settler stock, such as Pringle and Fairbairn, who first fought for and established the principle of freedom of the Press in South Africa. Another right which the people of the border area would like to see entrenched in the constitution, and on which they may have to take a stand in the near future, is the right of parents in relation to the education of their children and the rights of the provinces in this respect. The Bill which has been published to establish an Advisory Council for Education is aimed at giving the central Government greater control over education. Here too the people of the border area are preparing to fight for their beliefs.

We in the Progressive Party believe that these rights should be guaranteed by the constitution of one’s country. Not only should they not be tampered with, but they should be so entrenched that no government should be able to tamper with them. So too with many other rights which we regard as fundamental, rights belonging to Europeans and also to non-Europeans. It is because of the failure of the Government to do this that we and the people on whose behalf I am speaking to-night, reject this Bill. Had the Government taken any step in the direction of entrenching these basic rights it would have gone a long way to ensuring that the republic gained the loyalty and active support of other sections of the population. It is tragic that the Government has not done so, for the strength of the republic will not depend on the force with which its laws compel people but on the loyalty which those laws inspire in them. Similarily, Mr. Speaker, if the Government had made any move in the direction of granting the non-Europeans an increased say in the government of the country, it would have gone a long way towards getting the support of those non-Europeans for the republic. And apart from that, it would have eliminated the risk that we might be expelled from the Commonwealth.

These are the grounds on which we oppose this Bill. As I have said, this attitude represents the attitude of many people in East London, and I believe it to be the attitude not only of Whites, but also of non-Whites. Probably the majority of the non-Whites would have voted against the republic at the referendum had they been allowed to do so. It is unfortunate that they were not allowed to do so, and we have protested strongly against that fact. But at the stage which we have now reached, I believe that the non-Europeans prefer the issue to be settled one way or another so that attention can once more be focused on the fundamental issue of race relations and the part wihch the non-European is to be allowed to play. When I addressed the meeting in East London last Monday, there were in the audience over 300 non-Europeans. I set out the attitude of this party to the republic as it has been set out in this debate, and I believe it was clear that it had the approval of the majority of non-Europeans at the meeting.

This party, then, as has been stated, opposes this Bill because it fails to give South Africa the kind of constitution which we regard as essential, the kind of constitution which is indicated by our amendment. It is one in which responsible people of all races should be allowed to participate fully. And it is one in which the fundamental rights of all people should be effectively protected. These things we regard as even more important than the question whether we should be a republic or a monarchy. In fighting for them, I believe that an ever-increasing number of English-speaking people and of Afrikaans-speaking people, of Europeans and non-Europeans, will find themselves fighting together. In doing so, they will have the best chance yet of achieving that national unity which we desire.

Mr. GAY:

I want first to deal with one or two points raised by the hon. Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, who is not with us at the moment. I want to ask him a couple of questions. The hon. Minister in his speech attacked the Leader of the Opposition in regard to his criticism and pledges asked for by three provincial councils. He dealt at some length with that, and he went on to deal with the Natal stand. Then the hon. Minister went to considerable trouble to explain that it was not possible to embody certain of the entrenchments asked for in the amendment of my leader, that it was impossible to enshrine them in this Bill—the entrenchment of certain fundamental rights, including language rights. The hon. Minister went on to say that it was not possible to include the new entrenchments in the republican constitution which we are now considering. I want to ask the hon. Minister why it is not possible to do so. Surely at a time when the House is being asked to adopt a new constitution (because that is virtually the position; it may be modelled on the South Africa Act, it may be modelled on the old constitution, but we are virtually being asked to adopt a new republican constitution), surely that is the opportune time to include safeguards if there are any to be included. Now, the hon. Minister and the Government have accepted the principle of the entrenchment of the language rights. It is true that that is already enshrined in the existing South Africa Act, but that principle has been accepted, and the hon. Minister himself referred to it in his speech. At the same time he said that it was not possible to include the entrenchment of the remaining safeguards we ask for. I say that we are perfectly justified in then arriving at the assumption that having accepted the principle of the entrenchment of one particular safeguard, the language rights, if a refusal is then given to the entrenchment of the remaining rights asked for, we are perfectly justified to assume that that refusal means that the Government does not want to give such guarantees. What other construction can one put on it? There is no other reasonable construction that one can put on that refusal. Having accepted the principle of entrenchment, the only other reason can be that they do not want those particular things to be included.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Or they don’t believe that the other rights are really entrenched.

Mr. GAY:

That is another story. The hon. Minister used another argument referring to the sovereignty of Parliament and in effect he said: What is the use of putting in entrenchments when any sovereign Parliament succeeding the one which introduced those safeguards, could remove them if they so desire? In other words, he argued that entrenchments had no real security, even if embodied in the Act. Well, Sir, if ever a Parliament has had evidence of the correctness of that statement, I think it is this Parliament, because the Government has given this Parliament and its predecessors ample evidence of the correctness of the hon. Minister’s statement. We have had striking examples of the length this Government is prepared to go to destroy entrenched rights, and evidently that is the criterion by which the hon. Minister is now assisting his refusal to support the request in the amendment moved by my hon. leader for the further entrenchments. But I would put this to the hon. the Minister, that in assessing the value of any entrenchment, it is implicit that one assumes that the Parliament dealing with entrenchments is composed of responsible men who would stand by and honour pledges given by their predecessors and not seek to destroy them by backdoor and other very dubious methods which have been attempted lately. May be that is the true answer as to why the hon. the Minister is not prepared to support these pledges.

Then the hon. the Minister quoted at considerable length figures of language groups of children attending the various types and classes of schools. Just what he meant to prove by that, I find it difficult to understand. He may know the answer, but he certainly is practically alone in that respect. Then he went on to deal, also at length, with his support of the freedom of the Press—the Minister is a staunch defender of the freedom of the Press! I want to tell the hon. Minister that the radio news service, the national news service, is just as much a portion of the Press of this country as the written word printed in the newspapers. It is part of the news service disseminated amongst the people of this country, and it falls in the same general category as the ordinary daily printed newspaper although circulated in a different manner. If the hon. the Minister is such a strauch supporter and defender of the freedom of the Press, then I want to say that there is very little evidence of that freedom in the radio national news service which falls under the control of the Minister’s Department, because if ever there was a news service which was slanted in order to boost up the prestige of the Government—and in fact it has become the preserve of the Government and any other political party and any other line of thought is rigidly excluded—then I think it is the radio service. I would commend that point to the hon. the Minister, because when he speaks he speaks as a responsible member of the Cabinet, and one assumes that he speaks with the authority and support and backing of the hon. the Prime Minister, and we have the right to expect that when a Minister occupying such a responsible position, makes a statement, he should be capable of substantiating it and not merely make statements which so often in the case of this particular Minister are afterwards dubbed as having been misquoted, misreported, or misunderstood. He is one of the most misunderstood Ministers in the Cabinet, and I think it is time that when he speaks again, the Minister should give us the answer to these points and clarify the statement that he has just made.

I want to touch also very briefly and in passing on the speech made by and the amendment moved by the hon. the Leader of Progressive Party, and I would like to ask the members there how they reconcile the statement made by their leader, which was virtually an acceptance of the fact that the Government had a mandate for the republic and that in effect the Progressive Party accepted that fact, how they square that with the statement issued in Natal on Saturday by the Natal Executive of the Progressive Party and Mr. Leon Boyd, the Leader of the Progressive Party in Natal, after the executive meeting—

The party does not, will not and cannot accept the republican constitution as proposed by Dr. Verwoerd.
Mr. LAWRENCE:

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Mr. GAY:

The Natal Executive of the Progressive Party announced in Pietermaritzburg last night “that if the Republican Bill becomes law and is foisted on the people, the party will take the first opportunity of amending the law”.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

So what?

Mr. GAY:

The hon. member who occupies the United Part seat of Salt River says that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. I would remind the hon. member that he is occupying a United Party seat to which he was elected by United Party strength, with United Party assistance and with United Party votes, to fight this Nationalist Government on their policy, including the republican issue. When he talks about throwing stones and people living in glass houses, that is the last thing he has any right to do.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Then please make your position clear. That is the least we can expect.

Mr. GAY:

I am quite prepared to make my position clear, and I am quite prepared to answer questions put by the hon. member for Salt River, and I speak as the representative of the people who elected me to this House.

This debate has ranged very far and wide from the amendment moved by the hon. Leader of my party, a very clear-cut amendment tabled by my leader, namely that the Government have failed to safeguard the security of South Africa and to safeguard the basic rights which advance national unity in South Africa. Perfectly straightforward. There is no equivocation about that, and that is the standpoint of this side of the House, the failure of the Government to give well-warranted consideration and weight to the solid opposition which exists among practically half the White voting strength of South Africa to this particular republic and the Republican Bill now before us. Against that there is the practical acceptance of the Prime Minister’s right to establish the republic by the Progressive Party, and on the other hand the statement also by an hon. member who occupies a United Party seat he captured with the assistance of this party and who is now supporting the Government in connection with their republican proposal—I am referring to the hon. member for Germiston (District) (Prof. Fourie). On the Government side again we have the continuously urged plea by the Prime Minister and practically every member who has spoken that a republic is the only means of bringing about national unity. That is one of the main principles which is being constantly urged as a reason for support of the Bill we are discussing. Sir, that assumption, viz. that this Republican Bill will bring about national unity is based on two completely false suppositions. The first one is a rather insulting one, if I may say so, the patronizing manner in which the English-speaking South Africans are said to be in need of having a republic forced upon them in order, to become good loyal South African citizens. I have never heard a more ridiculous statement in support of a Bill of this nature—that we need to have a republic in order to turn us into good loyal South Africans. I would characterize such a statement as completely without foundation. The past record of service to South Africa by the English-speaking section of our people, in co-operation with their friends on the Afrikaans-speaking side, presents irrefutable proof that that statement is completely unwarranted. They have played their part, with their Afrikaner friends, to build up South Africa.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

[Inaudible.]

The DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member for Salt River knows what he has to do if he wants to put a question to the hon. member.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I thought the hon. member was going to give us some clarity.

Mr. GAY:

I’ll give the hon. member clarity before I sit down. But, Sir, the second assumption on which we are getting this plea for national unity is that the Nationalists would become more co-operative under a republic. That is simply farcical, if I may put it that way. The present form of nationalism as practised by this Government is an attitude of mind (that is how it can be summed up), the synthesis of fear and suspicion built largely on fear and forming a dangerous complex. One constant theme which is adopted: The patronizing manner in which Nationalist leaders offer us a share if we become good republicans. It is something which is helping to estrange the two sections of the White people, it is certainly not calculated to bring them together. I will go so far as to say that it forms part of the creed upon which the whole of the republican issue has been framed. I would refer to a statement made in that connection—

Peace and order and economic progress demand a final settlement of the dispute in regard to the republican issue …

and then the significant paragraph—

Should South Africa remain a monarchy, it will have to suffer time and again from instigated racial clashes and economic setbacks since these are the weapons used to prevent the coming of a republic.
An HON. MEMBER:

Who said that?

Mr. GAY:

That was said by the Prime Minister of this country, the hon. Dr. Verwoerd, in his “Dear Friend” letter. I am quoting from that letter. Surely the hon. member is not going to doubt the authorship of that document? I say it is a shocking statement to make, that in order to keep the republic away, one would instigate unrest and strife, as they are the weapons used to prevent the coming of the republic. How can you build unity on a basis such as that? We are not asking for any concessions, we are asking for what is the clear and unchallengeable right of the English-speaking section on a 50/50 basis. Much has been made, and the hon. member for Salt River may be interested in this, of the speech made by the hon. member for Natal South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), and many varying interpretations have been placed on Mr. Mitchell’s speech. Actually the hon. member for Natal South Coast only put into honest, straightforward words sentiments that tens of thousands of South Africans of both language groups hold to-day, people who lack either the opportunity or in other cases the courage to voice those sentiments themselves. Mr. Mitchell, for whom nobody in this House can have but the highest regard for his integrity and his honesty of purpose, has only translated into words what so many South Africans are thinking to-day. I put it to the House that it is not the words that Mr. Mitchell used that is the most significant feature of that statement. The significance lies in the fact that he found it necessary to use those words at all. It was a most significant warning of the tremendous emotional potential built up in this very issue that we are debating to-night. In a Parliament such as this one at least can expect that the members versed in parliamentary procedure can exercise a balanced judgment, a reasonable and balanced judgment in their statements, and when statements are made which lend themselves to such varying interpretations (in lots of cases quite wrongly) then surely one cannot ask for any bigger warning as to the potential danger existing in this particular measure which we are discussing to-night amongst the general rank and file of the people of South Africa who have not got the parliamentary background and experience which we as Members of Parliament should have to assist them in their judgment. That I feel is the most significant thing; that factor constitutes the most significant warning that exists in the statement made by the hon. member for South Coast. And I would say: How much more danger is there in allowing such a situation to develop rather than meet the request that has been made for discussions beforehand, allowing such a situation to develop by bludgeoning and forcing through a measure of this sort without the prior consultation that we have asked for.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

Tell us what Mr. Mitchell’s statement meant.

Mr. GAY:

I would say that the hon. member is quite as capable as I am of judging what he meant. I have just explained what he meant and the reason for the statement he made. It was a straightforward statement of honest facts as to what the public are thinking, the 750,000 odd people who voted against the republic. It was a warning to the hon. the Prime Minister. The hon. member for South Coast meant no more than what has been consistently done by the members on the other side of the House and the Government during the last 10 years whilst they served this House under affirmation of loyalty to the Queen, to undermine the constitutional system under which they were serving in order to bring about a republic. He meant no more, no less, and he has the right to expect to be allowed, in accordance with constitutional methods to do exactly what members opposite have done during the last ten years.

Mr. B. COETZEE:

Are you going to live under a republic?

Mr. GAY:

I want to say again that the debate itself has ranged over a very wide field, and I think that if there is any one factor which justifies this side of the House in refusing permission to accept the Bill as it is now before us, or refusing to accept the result of a referendum that does not necessarily commit the Government to proceed with the proclamation of a republic at this stage—the Prime Minister himself has given us all the evidence in support of that attitude, if any support was needed—then it is that the hon. the Prime Minister himself made it very clear in this House that the referendum itself is not the legal act in itself. It has happened before in other countries, and the hon. the Prime Minister quoted the example of Australia, that a positive decision was given in a referendum but that nevertheless that decision was not implemented. Then the hon. Prime Minister continued “This will not be the case here because I have given the undertaking on behalf of the Government that we will act in terms of the advice given by the White voters of South Africa He goes on to say “The referendum is not a decisive constitutional act, except in so far that something of that nature will follow because we gave that undertaking. But it is not the act itself And then a little later he made the following remarks—

That is why in the referendum we are asking the advice only of the White voters, as we have consistently promised to do. But after obtaining that advice …

I stress the word “advice”, because the idea has been broadcast throughout the country that the result of the referendum practically establishes the republic. The Prime Minister made it clear that all the referendum gave him was advice on which he could act, but need not act. He continued—

That is why in the referendum we are asking the advice only of the White voters as we have consistently promised to do. But after obtaining that advice, the legal Act, the constitutional Act, will be committed by Parliament which will then be sitting, if there is a sufficient majority to attain that object.

It was made quite clear by the hon. the Prime Minister (Hansard 104, Cols. 3208-9) that the referendum was not the decisive act, that it would merely be in the nature of advice, and therefore there is no compulsion on the Prime Minister or the Government to force this measure through at this stage in the life of Parliament—to put it as the first item on the Order Paper, forced through without any further consultation between the people who could perhaps give some valuable advice on the matter in an endeavour to put eventually before Parliament a Bill in a form which would be acceptable even to those who voted against a republic. I do not wish to labour the point and I do not wish to detain the House too long. But I want to conclude by quoting a voice from the past. I know the hon. Minister of Finance has told us that we should not look backward but forward, that we should forget the past. I can well believe that that hon. Minister wants to forget the past, to forget the High Court of Parliament, to forget the enlarged Senate, to forget the rape of the Coloured vote—to forget all these matters; as far as he is concerned they could well be forgotten, because he was the architect of those measures. But the country does not so easily forget these things; the country will remember them for a long, long time after all of us who are here had passed on and they will still be a blot on the record of the legislature of this country. As I say, I want to quote from a voice from the past, the voice of one of South Africa’s greatest sons on this very issue which we are discussing to-day. One of our main objections, one of the elements in the amendment not only of this party but also of the other party, has been that we have no guarantee that if we declare ourselves a republic, we will retain our membership of the British Commonwealth. It was something which was implicit in the assurances given by the Prime Minister and by his supporters in the referendum. I am the first to admit that I have not the slightest doubt about the hon. the Prime Minister’s sincerity when he told us that when he goes across to the Imperial Conference he will do all in his power to see that we remain inside the Commonwealth. But unfortunately, the decision does not rest with us. We are the applicants in this case, and the decision rests with those who are our judges, the remainder of the Commonwealth. If I might digress for a moment we have had the challenge from the other side as to what we have done to help to retain our Commonwealth membership. It has been said by members opposite that we are making it more difficult for the Prime Minister to retain that membership. I want to say that the hon. the Leader of this party in his recent visit overseas probably did more to assist the retention of the Commonwealth membership than any member on the other side of the House has ever managed to do. He certainly did far more in the interest of South Africa to build up our prestige, to restore good relationship and to ensure our retention of Commonwealth membership than our own Minister of External Affairs has done over the last ten years. Our leader certainly did more for South Africa if only to counter the damage done by the Minister of external Affairs during the last 12 months. But I want to come back to the voice of General Smuts discussing a matter also dealing with the loss of Commonwealth membership by this country. In those days, in the time of General Hertzog, he was dealing with the question of secession and General Smuts made these remarks—

Secession means not only secession from the British Commonwealth. It also means secession of the Afrikaans-from the English-speaking South Africa who made a solemn covenant at Union.

Exactly parallel to what we have got to-day, exactly what we are warning the Prime Minister about to-day, that he is driving a wedge between the two sections instead of bringing about this wonderful unity that we hear so much about. General Smuts continued—

It means secession of one province of the Union from another and the breakup of the Union which is the noblest legacy of our great statesmen and the consecration of all the sacrifices in the past.

Have we not got the shadows of that in the debates and discussions which are going on now? He said—

It means the secession of the Natives, whose devotion to the British connection is historical. It means the complete isolation of Afrikaans-speaking Africa, and in that isolation its stranglement and decay.

That was said by General Smuts many, many years ago, a prophecy which is coming true. And then the General concluded—

It means that civilized South Africa becomes a dream and that the White people of the continent have decided to commit suicide.

Is that not as true to-day as in those long off days when General Smuts made that statement, and is that not sufficient justification for my leader and this side of the House to oppose a measure for which the Prime Minister has received the advice which he sought by means of a referendum, but for which it remains the responsibility of Parliament to translate into legal action, into legislation? That remains our responsibility and nobody who voted in the referendum can take one jot of that responsibility from the shoulders of Members of Parliament. We have to make the final decision. Is that not ample justification for refusing to place on the Statute Book a measure which we believe will end in the disruption of our country, and may eventually lead to its destruction? Because that is the fear that we have. Parliament may by a parliamentary majority establish a republic by law, a republic the legality of which will be accepted by the majority of South Africans—there is no doubt about that once it becomes law. It is part of our United Party policy, part of our creed that once a law is passed, whether we like it or not, we endeavour to make the best of it. That is the rule of law, which forms part of our creed. But we shall not stop in trying to improve it. There is no law to prevent that. But that is not enough. If unity is to be given a chance to develop, as we are all hoping it will develop, then it is essential that the republic must also be accepted in the people’s hearts and the people’s minds, that it must be in accordance with the will of the people, that it is accepted there—the human acceptance over and above the mere legal acceptance. The human acceptance is so much more important than the bald legal one, and unless this republic of the Prime Minister and his Nationalist Government is established in the hearts of the vast majority of the people of this country (and when I say “the vast majority” I am not restricting that majority to the White people only, but I am speaking of all the people in South Africa, irrespective of their colour), unless the republic is accepted by the vast majority of all the people, the republic will fail, and in failing it will wreck and destroy this country of ours. The Prime Minister in forcing this measure through in the manner he is doing to-day must accept the full responsibility for subjecting our land to the risk of that disaster.

That is my plea. That is the justification and ample justification, for refusing to vote for this republic, which is the motive actuating and guiding this side, placing South Africa first before the prestige and the interests of a political party. We believe that South Africa must come first, and we are not prepared to risk the future of South Africa in the manner now proposed.

*Mr. SADIE:

The hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) continued the United Party’s fight with the Progressive Party which has been going on throughout the debate. I have no objection to that. If they wish to continue their battle they are welcome to do so. But what I do object to is the United Party using this debate on this extremely serious matter as a political platform for a by-election in a provincial constituency in the Cape Peninsula. I object very strongly to that. The hon. member simply rejected the appeals by the hon. the Prime Minister and the hon. the Minister of Finance to forget the past and to stretch out our hands to each other and to go forward and build a great, strong, united South Africa. But I say this to him: He can reject these appeals and other hon. members of his party in the House can reject them, but I want to assure him that the people outside will not reject these appeals. There are very clear indications that the people outside are taking each other’s hands to meet the dangers which threaten us.

The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) took up a very strong standpoint honestly and sincerely, as he always is in this House. In the first place he put the case of the English-speaking people of the Border and he made it very clear that he did not vote in favour of a republic in the referendum. But if I understood him correctly he also said that now that the decision has been taken, the English-speaking section of the country accepts the republic with the reservation that they wish to bring in amendments to the draft constitution to meet their needs. That is their right, which we do not begrudge them. We willingly concede them the opportunity to put their case. But I assure the hon. member that we bid him and his English-speaking companions from the Border a hearty welcome to the Republic of South Africa.

The hon. member was very outspoken about his own and his party’s colour policy for South Africa. He expressed himself very strongly, as he always does, and the fact that he whom we know to be a sincere member of the House was invited, during the split in the United Party when the Progressive Party was established, to rejoin the United Party and find expression for his principles there, is a very clear indication that the fight which is going on in this debate is a mock battle between the United Party and the Progressive Party.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. member is wandering too far and must return to the Bill.

*Mr. SADIE:

Mr. Speaker, I am replying to the arguments which he used.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes, but the hon. member is doing it very deviously.

*Mr. SADIE:

The hon. member for Orange Grove (Mr. E. G. Malan), alleged that the Government had only secured a mandate to establish a republic within the Commonwealth. I find this odd when the leader and his party declared themselves as being completely opposed to a republic and said that they were against a republic. Where this argument comes from I cannot understand. At the very first opportunity when the hon. the Prime Minister announced the date of the referendum in a radio broadcast he dealt with this question of membership of the Commonwealth and he said, i.e.—

The Government therefore states unequivocally before the referendum that refusal will lead to the fact that South Africa will realize that the Commonwealth has changed to such an extent that she has no other choice than to become a republic outside the Commonwealth.

This is a very clear statement by the hon. the Prime Minister at the time of the announcement of the date of the referendum, namely on 4 August last year. I cannot understand how anyone can use such foolish arguments. He argues somewhat like Natal which is now completely opposed to a republic but which, when it had the chance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Union last year, refused to participate.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes, but that is very devious. The hon. member must now return to the Bill.

*Mr. SADIE:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. members on the other side, among others, the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) and, I think, the hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw), took up this curious stand that they had a mandate to vote against the constitution because more than 700,000 voters voted against a republic at the referendum. If that argument were valid they should also have used the argument that when in the general election they came to this House with just over 50 members those 50 members also had a mandate to govern the country. Mr. Speaker, that argument is not so foolish as it sounds because it is a reflection of the attitude of those hon. members during the last 13 years that this Government has been in power. Since 1948 when the Government came into office the United Party has never been prepared to give up the Government to the Nationalist Party. That is very clear from their actions. It is quite clear from the very first reaction after the result of that election when they said they were not prepared to give the Government a sporting chance.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. member must return to the Bill.

*Mr. SADIE:

The hon. Prime Minister during the referendum and, especially, in his introductory speech in this debate took a step which will resound far into the future and in the history of South Africa. Indeed he prepared the way for the two language groups to create a new nationalism. This alone, even in spite of the enticements of the United Party and of the Press which supports them, to place the English-speaking people in a sort of vacuum, will gradually give a large section of the English-speaking people the opportunity to develop their own nationalism, a nationalism of their own which at this stage they still lack as a result of the withdrawal of British Imperialism without their leaders leaving those people something in its place. I would like to refer to a few sentences from an article written by a well-known English-speaking journalist—

The Government is supported by Nationalists and Nationalists. The Nationalists are the English-speaking variety, either conservatives or patriots—call them what you will—who lack only political channels to express themselves fully. Never in their long history have members of the English race found themselves in such a strange predicament, in such large numbers, and yet without a political voice.

Mr. Speaker, by contrast the Afrikaner has developed his own nationalism, a nationalism which knew only one allegiance, which knew no other fatherland, which was born and grew out of the South African soil, and which increasingly attracted more and more English-speaking people until it could eventually achieve its destiny and realize the fulfilment of its ideals.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. That point has been made repeatedly. The hon. member must return to the Bill and produce new arguments.

*Mr. SADIE:

I want merely to emphasize this new point, Mr. Speaker, that this nationalism cannot be resisted by antinationalism alone. If you wish to fight nationalism, you must at least offer another nationalism in its place and this the opponents of the Nationalist idea have not succeeded in doing. They have simply asked their supporters to say no. They have simply said no to every constitutional step and development in our country. Even after the republicans of South Africa, which includes many of their supporters, gave a clear mandate to the Government they went on saying no. I wonder whether the hon. members of the United Party realize when they take this standpoint and oppose the republic in the way they are doing that there are large numbers of their own supporters who were and still are republicans. I can but point out that in my own constituency several hundred United Party members voted in favour of becoming a republic because they are republicans. I want to ask the hon. members of the United Party: What do they expect of those supporters of their own party who voted in favour of a republic? Are they prepared through the attitude they have adopted during the debate in opposing the republic—do they expect to retain the support of their own supporters in this way; or do they attach so little importance to those supporters on the one hand and so much importance to a group of hot-heads in Natal on the other hand that they simply no longer want these supporters in the other provinces?

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! But that is not relevant to this Bill.

*Mr. SADIE:

This Bill and this appeal which the Prime Minister has made to the people will still be recognized as a tremendous service he has done to the English-speaking section by offering them the opportunity to say with the South African: South Africa first and only South Africa. And more, Mr. Speaker.

With the advent of a republic—a pure White republic this time—the hon. the Prime Minister is not only creating a safe refuge for every White man, but is also preparing the ground for every White man to concentrate his attention and devote all his strength to the survival of his own race and to the creation of a safe haven for his descendants. This too is a step along the road of nationalism and will not be prevented merely by saying no.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, therefore, does his own supporters and his party a tremendous injustice when he places the responsibility for the attainment of this ideal of unity solely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister and his party. At the same time he is fostering this idea and by so doing he is, on the one hand, making the Nationalist Party bigger and stronger and, on the other hand, weakening his own party.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member must return to the Bill or to the amendments.

*Mr. SADIE:

Mr. Speaker, this gesture of friendship on the part of the Afrikaner, as outlined by speakers on this side of the House, is not the first they have made. This draft constitution is not the first attempt on the part of the Afrikaner to bring about national unity. Several other such attempts have been made. They have failed repeatedly because the right climate for those efforts could not be created in a monarchy. Since the beginning of the referendum the United Party have fought the republic by every possible means without advancing a single argument then or in this debate for the retention of that for which they stand, namely, the monarchy. They called on their supporters to vote against a Verwoerd republic. I do not wish to refer to the personal attacks on the hon. the Prime Minister. They did not object to the republic as a form of government. Nor did they ask their people to vote for a monarchy. They asked them to vote against a Verwoerd republic. Why? Simply because the electorate, including the English-speaking voters, have no sentimental feeling and cannot arouse any emotions for a Head of State who lives 6,000 miles away and who is not a citizen of South Africa. That Head of State is not the unifying factor in South Africa that, it goes without saying, she is in her own country and for her own people. They also dragged in other issues. They said, for example, that in the referendum a decision would be taken on the racial and economic future of our country. If the struggle were concerned only with a Verwoerd republic and if the choice were not between a republic and a monarchical system, it would be extremely foolish not to accept the Verwoerd republic, because they would then have had the fullest right to take over the government in that republic and to get rid of the Nationalists. The only stumbling block in the way of their assuming office would then have been eliminated. No, they revealed themselves as unrelenting monarchists, only they were not prepared to say so. During the referendum and this debate they appealed to the people to take a decision not only in favour of a republican or a monarchical constitution but also on other matters which had no connection with the republic. Now they must accept the result as it behoves good citizens to do.

Among the arguments which hon. members used against the acceptance of this draft constitution there are three concepts which they regard as complementary. Those concepts are isolation, Commonwealth membership and Imperial preferences. Whenever they mentioned one of those concepts they mentioned all three concepts in the same breath as though they were complementary. I simply want to say that those hon. members who call themselves good democrats and who do not wish to accept the referendum result are isolating themselves from the majority of our electorate. Why do they do so? Because they are afraid that a group of extremists will reject them. The fact is, however, that, as I demonstrated just now, they are driving away their supporters in the other provinces.

What took place after the referendum that they are now using arguments for the introduction of new entrenchment provisions in the constitution? The statement of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has already been quoted and I do not wish to repeat it, that they must now accept the republic and that they must act as watch-dogs to see that the Government and especially the Prime Minister carry out the promises he made before the referendum. What has happened in the meantime to cause other statements to be made so soon after that statement and to cause such a change of standpoint and such a swing around in their attitude towards this draft constitution?

Another cry which is heard perpetually is that we are heading for isolation if we accept this constitution. Apart from the fact that it is practically impossible for a state to isolate itself in the modern world, I feel that this argument is being used simply to find an instrument with which to whip up the electorate against the Government. All these things are being said in spite of the statement by the hon. the Prime Minister and other speakers who have said and indicated precisely the opposite. This is nothing else but an attempt to sow suspicion. We found in this debate, for example, arguments based on the presumption that we shall not be able to remain a member of the Commonwealth. This is the United Party’s chief ground of attack. But those hon. members go further and adopt the point of view that as we will not remain a member of the Commonwealth we will automatically lose our Imperial preferences. In the first place I wish to refer to the statement of the hon. the Prime Minister after the last Commonwealth Conference that the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth re-affirmed that they would definitely not interfere in the domestic affairs of member states. If, therefore, we were to be kicked out of the Commonwealth it would not be because we had decided to become a republic. It would be simply because of our colour policy. We would then be placed in a position where we would in any event not want to be a member. They can kick us out anyway or they can make the position so impossible for us that we will simply have to get out. As early as 1956—long before there was talk of a referendum and a republic—a former Minister of the British Government, Mr. Patrick Gordon Walker, wrote in an article in the Socialist Commentary

The expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth could only be proposed by Britain. It would be for all Commonwealth Prime Ministers together to come to a decision.

As early as 1956 this gentleman was pleading for our expulsion from the Commonwealth because of our colour policy. It is absolute non-sense to use the argument that we will not be able to remain a member because we are becoming a republic. The argument of the hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) that the Prime Minister must first test the climate in London and, if the climate is right, he can continue with this Bill, is an impossible demand and an invitation to the non-European members of the Commonwealth to kick us out.

I want to return to the argument of isolation. Is there really any danger that we might be isolated? I want to cite a few instances to prove the contrary. We who comprise 6 per cent of the population of 230,000,000 in Africa deliver 22 per cent of the gross production of Africa. In the Union there are no less than 175 American companies which are already producing to the value of 600,000,000 dollars a year. England already has investments here to the value of £900,000,000. Over and above this the Western world, including the United States and England, has the greatest interest in us from a strategic point of view, as the hon. the Minister of Defence showed in his speech, because of our situation on the southern point of Africa. We are tremendously wealthy in minerals. We produce 62 per cent of the total gold production of the free world. As gold is the only internationally recognized currency and bearing in mind that Russia is estimated to produce nearly as much gold as we do, we can realize how easily Russia could paralyse the whole Western economy if our gold were also to fall into Russian hands. Besides this we are a big producer of uranium. It is estimated that, except for Canada, we possess the largest uranium reserves and uranium is still the strategic means of defence in the modern world. In addition, South Africa is virtually the only bulwark against Communism on the Continent of Africa. Is there any danger that the South African Republic might be isolated in these circumstances? I submit that because of these important matters which intimately affect the Western world, it is impossible for them to manage without South Africa as an ally, whether we are a republic or a monarchy. Where the Government is also seeking to secure a tremendous advantage for South Africa, before the establishment of a republic, in the field of commerce and to give new direction in this respect as well, the anti-republicans now have the chance in this respect at least to fight side by side with the Nationalists for the interests of South Africa and to accept at least in the economic sphere this feeling of unity and to give assistance.

*Dr. DE BEER:

Mr. Speaker, before making a start with the subjects with which I really want to deal, it will perhaps be fitting if I first reply very briefly to an attack —well, it was a very friendly attack—made upon me and to certain criticism expressed during the earlier stages of the debate by the hon. member for Bellville (Mr. Haak). He made certain remarks about the role played by various members of this House during visits oversea, and particularly in connection with the question of Commonwealth membership. Because I made certain remarks there which amount to this that I expressed the fear that the loss of South Africa’s Commonwealth membership might lead to an even poorer deal for our non-White sections than they are getting at the moment—because I said that and coupled it with certain remarks about the policies of the various parties and how those policies may change if South Africa was no longer a member of the Commonwealth, the hon. member saw fit to criticize me and to say that I made those speeches not with a view to protecting our membership but in an endeavour to promote my own party’s interests. Mr. Speaker, in the first place it is not very clear how one can promote one’s party’s interests in South Africa by talking to people who have no vote here. But leaving that aside I just want to say this to the hon. member, that if one considers it desirable— and I think he also considered it desirable when he was overseas recently—to try to influence people overseas in the interests of South Africa, it stands to reason that one must endeavour to do so by referring to those things which they firmly believe. Mr. Speaker, it is perhaps worth while to remind ourselves that one thing at least is perfectly clear, and that is that if there is any doubt about South Africa’s continued Commonwealth membership, then that doubt arises not so much with regard to the question of our form of government as about the question of our race policy. We have said on previous occasions, and I repeat it, that the danger which exists now that we are becoming a republic is the procedural danger that it may create an opportunity or circumstances in which we may lose our Commonwealth membership. But the reason why we will lose or retain membership will not be the establishment of a republic as such; it will be the attitude of other member countries and the rest of the world towards the race policy that we follow here. That, of course, is the reason why my hon. Leader and other speakers on these benches have considered it necessary in this debate to emphasize questions affecting our race relations and race policy.

Mr. Speaker, normally I do not like taking part in this House in a debate dealing principally with a subject which affects the sentimental relations between White and White, and that is so because it seems to me from the little experience I have had that it is in connection with these very matters that we as politicians, to whichever side we may belong, often do more harm than good with all our representations. During the short period of 25 to 30 years that I have been aware at all of what has been happening around me, I as one who springs from both language groups and therefore takes a particular interest in these relations, have noticed that it is in spite of and not because of what our politicians say, that the White sections are drawing closer together. Here I am obviously not referring to political policies which have been followed from time to time in particular areas of the country amongst particular sections.

At 10.25 p.m. the business under consideration was interrupted by Mr. Speaker in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (1), and the debate was adjourned until 7 February.

The House adjourned at 10.26 p.m.