House of Assembly: Vol106 - WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY 1961
Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 2.20 p.m. SEEDS BILL
Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Hon. the Senate—
The Senate begs to draw the attention of the Hon. the House of Assembly to the following provisions, namely, the words “and shall be accompanied by the prescribed registration fee, which shall not exceed twenty rand” in sub-clause (1) of Clause 3, paragraph (i) of Clause 15 and the words “and the fee to be paid for registration” in paragraph (a), and paragraph (n) of sub-clause (1) of Clause 30, which have been struck out of the Bill and placed between brackets, with a footnote stating that they do not form part of the Bill.
Bill read a first time.
First Order read: Third reading,—Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill.
Mr. Speaker, we are now at the third reading of the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill, and I want to say to the Minister that this Bill presents some difficulty as to how the Opposition, a responsible Opposition, should vote at the third reading. At the second reading we were hopeful that in the Committee Stage the Minister would listen to logic and reason and meet the objections which we had particularly to Clauses 2 and 4, and that at the third reading we would be able to say that the Minister had the support of the whole House. At the second reading we put forward our objections; in the Committee Stage we moved amendments, and with the exception of one which the Minister moved himself, after we had made representations to him, no amendments to Clauses 2 and 4 were accepted, with the result that we are in the position that we would like to support the amendment to Clause 3, that is to say the the amendment to the original Section 39, because of the improved benefits that it provides for the workers, but in relation to the new Clauses 2 and 4 we would like to oppose them with all the power at our command. The question here is whether the workers are going to gain more from the benefits which are provided for here than the unfortunate workers who fall under the provisions of Clauses 2 and 4 are going to lose. That is the position in which this responsible Opposition finds itself. My own feeling is that we are almost duty bound to oppose the third reading because of the features contained in Clauses 2 and 4. We are fortified in this view by the attitude of the trade union movement throughout the country. The trade unions are opposed to the provisions of Clauses 2 and 4, and here I want to point out, particularly with regard to the amendment proposed to Clause 2, that the Minister, with very little help from his side of the House, was unable to put forward a satisfactory case for the particular clause in question. And now at the third reading, with the Committee Stage behind us, we are still faced with the position that unemployed workers will have to provide proof that they are seeking work, and that fact alone will create hardship, which I referred to earlier on, which makes that particular clause most unacceptable not only to us but to the trade unions concerned. If the Minister had been able to put forward a convincing case indicating the manner in which he proposes to apply this provision, the position would have been different, but the fact that the Minister has not been able to do that, makes it more difficult to accept the provision which he has put forward. As far as Clause 4 is concerned, I want to point one thing to the Minister: Clause 4 amends Section 40 of the principal Act and it says that—
And then I go on to the words—
The amendment in Clause 4 increases this to 13 weeks—
Here I want to stop at the words “suitable work” because on a previous occasion the Act was amended to define what “suitable work” means. Sub-section 2 defines “suitable work” as follows—
- (a) in relation to a contributor who is ordinarily employed in Group I, II or III, any work including work in agriculture or work as a domestic servant in a private household, which the contributor concerned is, in the opinion of the claims officer, physically capable of performing and the acceptance of which will not, in the opinion of the claims officer, cause the contributor concerned undue hardship; and
- (b) in relation to all other contributors, for the first 13 weeks of unemployment, work which the contributor concerned is, in the opinion of the claims officer, capable of performing and the acceptance of which will not, in the opinion of the claims officer, cause the contributor concerned undue hardship. …
I stop there, Mr. Speaker, because in both these definitions of suitable work we have this injunction upon a claims officer to avoid undue hardship upon the unemployed worker, yet in respect of sub-clause (i) of Clause 40, no such proviso regarding undue hardship is laid down. Now the Minister may say that, in his opinion, no undue hardship will be caused because the claims officer will not exercise these powers in any respect if he feels that undue hardship may be caused to the worker, but the fact remains that the claims officer can impose the maximum punishment if, in his opinion, the worker has presented himself in such condition that he has prejudiced his chances to get employment, without considering whether or not undue hardship eventuates.
What the hon. the Minister should very carefully consider is that an unemployed person is up against it in any case. It can easily happen that an unemployed person may have considerable credits to his account in the fund and on account of one or other feature a punishment of 13 weeks (now increased from six to 13 weeks) may be imposed. I know that an unemployed person may leave one town to go to another and in the process his appearance deteriorates to such an extent that when he offers himself for employment he may be in such a condition that the claims officer feels that he is prejudicing his chance to get work, and that such a man then may be punished. I think it is unfortunate that this should be the position.
Now, Mr. Speaker, the National Union of Distributive Workers has written to the Minister of Labour in regard to the amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act and I also have a letter here, which unfortunately I did not receive in time to be able to deal with the points raised by them during the Committee Stage.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of the Bill.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, these points deal with the effect of the Bill and I hope you will not rule me out of order if I deal with this point. It is not a new point but emphasizes the gravity of the position. As I say, they addressed a letter to the hon. the Minister of Labour, and I hope the hon. Deputy Minister has seen that letter. In any case I want to read just a few extracts from that letter—
That is the kind of thing that may happen, with the result that a man becomes unemployed. Human nature being what it is, these things cannot be avoided. I have known workers who later regretted their stubbornness. The man leaves his employment and then finds that it is not so easy to get employment else-where. He is out of work and then because his appearance may not be such that it satisfies the claims officer, this additional seven weeks’ punishment may be imposed on him. I say that a claims officer would be a superman if he could avoid any unfairness in the administration of this kind of thing. A claims officer may fail and I want this Minister once more to consider this position. I do not think that the ills that the hon. the Minister wishes to overcome by these amendments weigh up against the effects this Bill may have on genuinely unemployed. Now I come to another matter raised by the S.A. Trade Union Council which arises directly from the contents of the Bill, and I would like to put this very briefly to the hon. the Minister.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of the Bill at the third reading.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, I hope you will allow me to briefly put this request to the hon. Deputy Minister, because it flows from the Bill. I refer to the information booklet, U.F. 100, which the Trade Union Council feels should be revised in accordance with the new provisions. They say—
Order! The hon. member cannot discuss that now.
Sir, this deals with the effect of the Bill, the contents of the Bill. These amendments are of the utmost importance to the workers and I want to plead with the hon. the Minister to issue a booklet in such a form that it is more attractive and easier to understand. This is a very important factor. I have seen repeatedly that workers and unemployed do not know what redress they have under the legislation, and what they can do in a case where a claims officer has in their opinion treated them harshly. I hope that the hon. the Minister will comply with this request and that a booklet is issued which will be more satisfactory and which clearly sets out what an aggrieved worker can do and what right of appeal he has.
It is with considerable regret that we on this side, notwithstanding the benefits accruing to the workers under this Bill, find that we have to vote against the third reading on account of these specific clauses we have dealt with in Committee and to which I have referred now. We do so only because we want to highlight what the trade union movement also feels. They are opposed to the two clauses I have mentioned. I want it to be understood very clearly that we are in favour of the increased benefits given under Clause 3, but are opposd to the additional burden which is placed on workers when they become unemployed, and we think it is not necessary to place this additional burden upon them.
Throughout the second reading debate and the Committee Stage we have raised three main objections agains this Bill, and I wish very briefly to recapitulate same. We particularly object to Clauses 2 and 4. Our first objection is to Clause 2 which places an additional onus on the work-seeker when he is looking for work, whilst no additional onus is placed on the employer to testify that the worker has actually applied for work and that work was not available for him. Then we are opposed to Clause 4, sub-sections (a) and (b). Sub-section (a) increases the penalty period from six to 13 weeks, and then in (b) the discretionary powers of the claims officer are further increased and he will have to decide what is suitable work which the contributor is capable of undertaking and which is not. These are the three provisions in the Bill which we have objected to at the second reading and during the Committee Stage. The hon. Deputy Minister has not met one of our objections We feel that the additional time which will have to be spent on investigation of these matters will be much more than is warranted by the fact that a few won’t-works may be caught. We think the cost of the time spent on these investigations will be much more than the few pounds which will be saved for the fund as a result of a few people being pre vented from getting benefits which they are not entitled to. Therefore we shall vote against the third reading of the Bill because the hon. the Minister has not met our objections which we voiced during the second reading and the Committee Stage.
I am not surprised that the joint Opposition has now decided to vote against the third reading of this Bill. In fact, we have already become accustomed to their tactics in this House, namely that they vote for one reading and against the other, so that they can say they voted both for and against it. That is nothing new to us. What is not new either is the predictions they make about the effect of this measure. When I think back over the seven years I have had the honour of being a member of this House, and I think of the labour measures which have been before the House, and I think of all the predictions made about the harmful effect the various measures would have, then I realize that we are dealing here with precisely the same phenomenon and the same predictions that we have had from the Opposition during the past seven years. In fact, if only a quarter of their sombre predictions in regard to the effect of labour measures had come true, the position of the workers in our country would have been catastrophic today. But, on the contrary, South Africa finds itself in the fortunate position to-day that it is one of the countries in the world which enjoys the most industrial peace, and that the Western democratic countries envy us for the position we have in our country in the industrial sphere. We need therefore not be too much concerned about their predictions in regard to this measure. They are just prophets of doom. We take pleasure in giving the workers of the country this legislation, and the workers themselves will realize that this measure is also in their interest and will give them enormous benefits.
I just want to say something more about the effect of two clauses. Firstly, I promised in the Committee Stage to consult our law advisers about the effect of a provision which was dealt with by the hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw), and later also by the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn). They pointed out that the effect of these new provisions might be that too much was left to the discretion of the claims officers because the expression used is “to the satisfaction of the claims officer”. Our law advisers were consequently asked for their opinion as to whether they thought that these powers given to the claims officers were such that the appeals of the contributors to the Unemployment Insurance Board would have little value. The opinion of the law advisers is as follows—
Then they quote the cases of Shangase v. Minister of Native Affairs and Others, 1958, and that of Langene v. Johannesburg City Council and Others decided in 1959, where a decision was also given as to the meaning of the term “to the satisfaction of It was decided that it meant no more than that the person concerned must furnish proof to the local authority.
The hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton) again raised the point of the “undue hardship” which the legislation is supposed to cause. I want to repeat that the whole of Section 40 is subject to the provision that where the period of the fine is extended from six to 13 weeks, the claims officer cannot offer a man employment which will cause him to suffer extraordinary hardship. The hon. member may be assured that this provision will be implemented in that spirit.
In conclusion, I just want to say that this Bill will now, inter alia, have the effect of granting greater benefits to an additional 100,000 workers in our country, and I think the fact that we can do this for the masses of workers in this Bill will be of great value to them. In fact, that is clear from the representations made to us. Except for certain criticism from workers’ organizations, to which the hon. member referred, there are numbers of trade unions which heartily welcome these improvements in the benefits granted. Even the Trade Union Council said in their memorandum that they welcomed it. I want to give hon. members the assurance that this legislation will be applied in a fair and humane spirit.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. J. Fouché.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
Bill read a third time.
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for second reading,—Preservation of Coloured Areas Bill, to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Deputy Minister of the Interior, upon which amendments had been moved by Mr. Mitchell and by Mr. van Ryneveld, adjourned on 20 February, resumed.]
Mr. Speaker, after the debate on Monday night there appeared a report of the proceedings in the Cape Times the next day, and I regret to say that the prominence of that report and the headlines in the paper were most unfortunate.
Order! That is not under discussion. We are not concerned with the Cape Times, we are concerned with the Bill before the House.
I do hope you will permit me to indicate our position and our attitude as Coloured Representatives in this House. I hope that you will allow me an opportunity to tell the Coloured people of South Africa that we, the Coloured Representatives, would in no circumstances support any legislation which would be detrimental to the interests of the Coloured people. We have not done so in the past and we certainly will not do so in the future. I merely wanted to correct the impression that was given that the Coloured Representatives who had indicated that they accepted the principle of the Bill, although not its contents, did so because we believe that we could persuade the hon. the Deputy Minister in Committee—as has often been done by this Parliament when the principle of a Bill has been accepted but the clauses have been fought—we hope to persuade the Deputy Minister that some of the offending clauses should be removed. But the principle as envisaged in the long title is a principle which, we believe, should be supported in an endeavour to help the people in the reserves.
In that connection, Mr. Speaker, the Cape Argus has an article which ends up in the spirit of this Bill with the following words—
It is in that spirit that we support this Bill in principle because we believe in so doing we could help the Coloured people in the reserves.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity of making that explanation. I want now to come to the Bill itself and to point out to the hon. the Deputy Minister that he has included in this Bill some provisions which are not really necessary to give effect to the principle of the Bill. I do agree that Clause 4 indicates that a man who owns property in one of these areas will lose his right to that property. Now if he has to lose his right, which will be most unfortunate, then the Deputy Minister can, in fact, give it back to him by way of a 99 years’ lease. That will have the same effect of giving him back his property, but, at the same time, giving the Minister the power that he wants. I think it is wrong to deprive a man of his ownership of the property in these circumstances, and that it what Clause 4 does. The hon. the Deputy Minister shakes his head, but Clause 4 reads—
The hon. the Deputy Minister will see that that is true. I hope that in the Committee Stage he will devise some means whereby a man shall not lose ownership of his property but perhaps may be reinvested with it under certain conditions.
There is another aspect of this Bill with which I wan to deal, and that is Clause 4 (3) which deals with the position of any person who is affected by this Bill and who has to bring his title deeds to be amended. If he does not bring those title deeds he can be fined £50. Now, Sir. that is a very, very high fine for the people affected by the application of this Bill in these reserves. I do believe that the hon. the Deputy Minister is only anxious to have those title deeds brought forward for endorsement. That being so surely he should realize that for the type of person he is dealing with this is a very high fine. It should not be necessary for such an enormous fine to be inflicted upon a person should he or she fail to carry out these provisions. I therefore appeal to the hon. the Deputy Minister to make it clear at the Committee Stage that any fine so imposed should be suspended for a period of not more than three months to enable the people concerned to comply with this requirement. I know from personal experience that many of these old Coloured people have either lost their deeds of transfer or mislaid them and it would be very, very hard indeed if they were to be penalized for not having their papers merely because of a new Act. I suggest to the Deputy Minister that he should bear in mind that it may be necessary to advertise for lost deeds of transfer, which takes a considerable time, and that any contravention of this clause which may be punished by a fine should be subject to the proviso that that fine is suspended to give these people an opportunity of complying with the requirements. In those circumstances I am sure that the Deputy Minister will agree to the amendment of that clause. If the hon. the Minister wants to know what I am referring to, it is Clause 9 (2).
I have already dealt, I think, with the various complaints about this Bill, but I do want to put this direct question to the hon. the Deputy Minister: I have previously dealt with Clauses 2 and 3, and I now want the hon. the Deputy Minister to listen to the question I am putting to him, and I want his direct reply. Does this Bill empower the Governor-General to create new areas for Coloured people, or can he only preserve an existing Coloured area for administration in terms of the 1909 Act such as, for example, Saron and other areas which are accepted to be occupied by Coloured people but which areas have been neglected by the authorities? I am reading that question from a note I made some time ago.
Your interpretation is correct.
My interpretation that the Governor-General cannot create new areas is correct?
We would like that on record because I think the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) raised that point, and there is some substance in it, because I think that the Bill as presently framed can be so interpreted. That is why I am putting the question directly to the hon. the Deputy Minister. He has now said that it really means that the Governor-General has no power to create new areas for the Coloured people.
Not under this Bill.
Well, we know that they can be created under other Acts. But as far as this Bill is concerned that is the answer, and it is on record and we shall see how it is carried out.
I then conclude by saying that whilst this Bill is not all we want it to be, and we shall certainly strenuously oppose some of the clauses in Committee, we do want to be able to help the Coloured people in the reserves, and it is in that spirit that we will vote for the second reading. However, I must say that the hon. the Deputy Minister has shown a certain amount of obstinacy in refusing to let the Bill go before a Select Committee.
I have not yet replied to the debate.
Well, I think this is intelligent anticipation. The hon. member for Outeniqua (Mr. Holland), I think, made a good point. If, as has been said, 18 months has elapsed since there was a request for this Bill, surely another week or two will not do any harm?
It might even speed it up.
That might well be so. Surely it will be an opportunity for us to get to a round table and discuss this Bill because, as the hon. member for South Coast said, we do want to help the Coloured people and we want to do so in a spirit of co-operation. I therefore still say to the hon. the Deputy Minister that he should agree to the request that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee. By so doing he would remove any wrangling or trouble or political fights over a Bill which everybody wants to see on the Statute Book.
Mr. Speaker, I support the amendment moved by the hon. member for Natal South Coast (Mr. Mitchell). I cannot agree with the hon. the Deputy Minister that this is a simple Bill. When introducing the Bill the Deputy Minister said it was merely intended to set aside certain traditional areas for the Coloured people, and he referred us to the long title of the Bill which he read out to the House. He said he did not want any misunderstanding, and that this Bill was only to deal with the traditional areas of the Coloured people. I am afraid I do not see it as simply as that, and I cannot accept the assurance which he has given as easily as has done the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett). Admittedly the title does merely refer to the traditional areas, and admittedly from reading that title and from the general impression of the Bill it appears to be merely to assist the Coloured people. Now there has been general agreement in this House that something more should be done for the Coloured people than has been done in the past, and especially at this time when the Government is placing so many restrictions on the Coloured people living in the urban areas. It is only right that they should, therefore, try and give the Coloured people in the rural areas some special advantages. We accept the general principle of helping the Coloureds in the rural areas. I, in fact, have pleaded in the past with the previous Minister of the Interior to do something for the Coloureds in the rural areas who found themselves prohibited from acquiring land, and I was especially thinking of Coloureds who wanted to farm, but because of the application of the Group Areas Act it has been impossible for them to acquire new farms. But in our endeavours to assist the Coloureds in the rural areas we must make certain that we do not unwittingly do an injustice to them in the future.
The hon. the Deputy Minister says that this Bill is a simple one. The hon. member for South Coast asked him what land could be acquired. The Deputy Minister referred to the long title and said: “Only land which is recognized as a traditional Coloured area.” But, Sir, when we read Clause 3 we see that the Governor-General may—
- (b) whenever the majority of the lawful inhabitants and owners of the area request it or agree thereto in writing and subject to such reservations and conditions as the Minister and the majority of the said inhabitants and owners have agreed upon … by proclamation in the Gazette reserve for the occupation and ownership of Coloured persons, any rural area defined in the proclamation which has at any time been granted, transferred or set aside for occupation or ownership for Coloured persons
and then come the words—
Now I submit that the words “which has at any time” must be read in their ordinary meaning. In terms of the Interpretation Act, in terms of the law, in interpreting words you assume that they have the ordinary meaning unless used in a technical sense, and the words “which has at any time” may mean at any time in the future. I cannot agree with the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) that these words only mean the past tense, unless certain other words are added. I say that if the Deputy Minister only wants this Bill, when it becomes law, to apply to areas now occupied by Coloureds, or now regarded as traditional Coloured areas, he must tell us in his reply that he will amend this Bill to make that quite clear. The title of the Bill, which the hon. the Minister read to us, only refers, I submit, to the second portion of Clause 3, which deals with traditional or locally acknowledged Coloured areas. But the first portion deals with any area which has been set aside or granted transfer as a Coloured area, and I submit that that can apply to an area set aside under the Group Areas Act. If the Group Areas Board sets aside a piece of land now for Coloured occupation, the Minister will be entitled, in terms of this Bill once it becomes an Act, to apply the 1909 Act.
Sir, it is quite easy for the hon. the Deputy Minister to put this point beyond doubt, to give us the assurance that in the Committee Stage he will so amend the Bill that there can be no doubt as to how it is to apply.
The hon. member for South Coast also asked what titles are the Coloureds to have in the area where the Act is applied. Mr. Speaker, if you read the Bill before us and you refer to the 1909 Act and the amending Act, you must realize that the position is very confusing. In terms of Clause 3 the proviso says—
That is with regard to the title of the land. Anw if we read Clause 4 we see that it says—
Although in Clause 3 there is a proviso as to the reservations and conditions of the property, it is quite clear that when the Minister takes over the land and it vests in the Minister, it will do so free of any restrictions of condition or personal or real incumbrance. So there seems to be conflict between the two clauses, and it appears that the Minister will get the land free. Then sub-clause (2) of Clause 4 goes on to say what will happen to the land if it has been surveyed into lots in respect of which a sub-divisional plan or diagram has been approved by the Land Survey Act. That means that if an area has been proclaimed and become incorporated and a Coloured man owns certain lots in that area he can then become an occupier in terms of Clause 4 (2). But I ask the hon. the Deputy Minister what happens to a man who is not an owner of sub-divided land but who holds a farm? Supposing we have an area of three farms and these three farms are incorporated. I cannot find any provision in this Bill dealing with what will happen to the owner of that farm, other than that he can be compensated when the Minister takes over his land. I should like the hon. the Deputy Minister to make quite clear whether this Bill is to apply to farms or not. Is it the intention to take over farms in any area and to provide for the acquisition of these farms by other Coloureds?
In this Bill certain owners of lots, I say, are dealt with. We are told what can happen to them. I want the hon. the Deputy Minister to tell us what happens to an owner—not a disqualified owner, but a Coloured man who owns, not a lot, but an undivided farm with freehold title.
We have grave objections, too, to the method of compensation. Clause 6 deals with compensation, and it lays down that—
- (1) The Minister shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (1) of Section 7, out of funds appropriated by Parliament for the purpose, pay compensation to the owner of any right which has vested in the Minister in terms of sub-section (1) of Section 4 or paragraph (iii) of the proviso to sub-section (2) of last-mentioned section.
Now sub-section (1) of Section 4 can deal with the Coloured man who owns a farm which has been incorporated. The next sub-section deals, in (2) (iii), with the man who owns a small lot. In terms of Clause 6 the Minister can compensate the owner of the farm. It reads he can pay compensation to—
- (b) an owner who is admitted in terms of Section 4 of Act No. 29 of 1909 as a registered occupier of land in the area concerned.
That is a person who the board or the Minister has recognized as a registered occupier, and he might be an owner. But there is a proviso—
That would seem to indicate that they can take land away from an owner; that the Minister can incorporate a farm. The Minister or the board can decide that the owner will have a certain portion. In terms of the 1909 Act they will set aside land for churches, for communal grazing and that sort of thing. The Minister has that power. And the owner is given a certain portion of land. But in terms of this proviso he gets no compensation for improvements unless they are on his land. Now I want to know what happens to the land on which those improvements are standing. Does he get no compensation for that land? Why does he only get compensation for the improvements and not for the land? I would be glad if the hon. the Deputy Minister will deal with that question.
I now go further into this question of compensation. We deal with a disqualified person. Instead of paying compensation to a disqualified person in terms of Section 6 in respect of his rights or share in land in an incorporated area, the Minister may in his discretion compensate such a disqualified person. The Bill then goes on to say how he can compensate that person. But if the Minister and the owner of the land do not come to any agreement as to compensation, then the dispute goes to arbitration. That does not only refer to a registered occupier, a qualified person; it also applies to a person who is not qualified to own land. It applies to a disqualified person, in other words, a European or an Asiatic.
In terms of Clause 12—
That sounds quite all right. Then it goes on to say—
- (a) The fact that the owner has been deprived of his land or right without his consent. shall not be taken into account.
That is most unjust—
- (b) In determining the value of any trading right the value of the goodwill shall not be taken into consideration.
And so it goes on. I shall not go through the whole clause, but those two sub-sections alone must. I think, satisfy this House that the compensation which the Minister intends paying in terms of this clause does not suit the case. It is iniquitous. I want to refer the hon. the Deputy Minister to what the South African Native Land Trust does, because that is a similar act. It buys land and it can expropriate land. In terms of the Native Trust and Land Act. when the Department appropriates, it also pays according to the market value. The only restriction is this, and I quote—
- (a) the fair market value of the land without improvement, plus the fair value of any necessary or useful improvements thereon, plus the fair value of any luxurious improvements thereon not exceeding the actual cost of such improvements plus a sum to make good any inconvenience or loss that would actually be caused by the expropriation.
The hon. the Deputy Minister will know that the practice of the Native Trust is to pay 25 per cent—although I think it has now been reduced to 20 per cent, but they have paid up to 25 per cent for inconvenience. That is the correct way to deal with the matter; that is the humane and the just way. If you are compelling an owner by force to leave his land, if he has to leave not of his own free will, it is only right that he should be justly compensated. And in compensating him it is only right that he be given the value of the goodwill if he has built up goodwill on that property. It is only right that he be paid for all the improvements on the property, and also that he be paid for the inconvenience of being forced to move from the property, as is done by the South African Native Land and Trust Act.
Mr. Speaker, I also object to the fact that disqualified persons can be removed in terms of this Bill after a year or such other time as the Minister may determine. I think it was the hon. member for Parow (Mr. S. F. Kotzé) said it was only right that the Coloured people should serve their own people. He was then referring to White storekeepers in the Coloured areas. I say that if a White man has established himself there over the years and has made it his home, if he has built up his business and always lived there—and many of them have inherited those sites from their fathers—it is not right merely to move them as the Minister now intends doing on the ground of Colour alone. If the hon. member for Parow (Mr. Kotzé) is correct, I would like to say this, that he is surely not intending now to get the Government to apply the Group Areas Act in this way that only White people will be able to serve White people in their areas. Will he remove the fruiterers and other people from Cape Town, who serve White people? That is quite wrong. The Coloureds must be allowed to trade here as they have done in the past, and I submit that Whites and Asiatics must also be allowed to trade in the Coloured areas, or if they are removed they should be compensated adequately.
One thing of which I am surprised is that the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) and the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) did not mention is Clause 14. The United Party takes the greatest exception to that clause. It is that the Governor-General may by proclamation in the Gazette repeal the whole of or in part any law or provision thereof which applies to the incorporated areas and which in the opinion of the Governor-General is in conflict with the provisions of the statute. Sir, the Governor-General should not be entitled to interfere with Acts of Parliament in that manner. If an Act has to be amended, the Minister must come to this House and Parliament must amend its Acts. We strongly object to the system of repealing or amending laws by executive action.
Order! That hon. member should not talk so loudly. He is talking more loudly than the hon. member who is addressing the Hansard.
I do not think there is any member of this House who does not want to assist the Coloureds. They are in a most unfortunate position and they need assistance. One wants to help them to develop in the rural areas as well as the urban areas, and we will give the Minister all the assistance we can to let him help them, but this Bill before the House is not as simple as he said it was. It is a most complicated measure, especially with regard to compensation and land ownership, and that is why we appeal to him to send it to a Select Committee before the second reading, where lawyers can fight it out and go into the rights of qualified and disqualified persons. I again appeal to the Minister to take this step so that we can act unanimously here in giving these people the assistance they need.
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to listen to the change of tone in the speeches from the other side since last Monday. Last Monday, when the matter was discussed here, the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) was in the forefront with his condemnation of the Act and he expressed the suspicion that the Government was busy with nothing else but a preparation for Colouredstans. While we were listening to that speech we could actually predict the headlines of certain newspapers the following day, and it was so too. The next day the headlines were according to our predictions—this Act is a preparation for Colouredstans; this Act, according to the hon. member for South Coast, “is more savage that the Group Areas Act”. I am glad to see that the hon. members opposite who took part in the debate to-day have deviated from that standpoint, but the damage has been done. What damage? This, namely, to sow suspicion in the country and to bring the Government under suspicion. Oh yes, a wall was created behind which the hon. member wanted to go and lie down and fire, and that wall was that the Bill was complicated and unintelligible. In this connection he was ably supported by the hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp). He also embroidered further on the pattern that the Bill was unintelligible; the best legal brains on that side could not understand it and therefore there had to be an obscure motive in the matter; there must be a rascal behind it and that rascal is this Government who want to establish Colouredstans.
Mr. Speaker, the matter goes further. It is presumed that we who sit in this House know a little more about Acts and Bills than the ordinary man in the street. We are expected to study these Bills. The man in the street is not in a position to do so. Now I want to ask any impartial person what the effect is if one listens to the speeches of the hon. members for South Coast and Hillbrow? What will the Coloureds of Cape Town think about it? Simply this: That this wicked Nationalist Government wants to pack up the Coloureds of the Western Province and send them to the sunbaked and bone-day Namaqualand where they will perish miserably. That is the motive. Mr. Speaker, time is running out in the history of South Africa if we fight each other in this manner. What does the ordinary Coloured think of the matter when he reads that speech of the hon. member for South Coast, which was reported with large headlines in the Cape Times? The hon. member did not say in a single word that he welcomed the principle of the Act. All credit to the hon. members who represent the Coloureds. The hon. member for Karoo (Mr. G. S. P. le Roux) said he differed on certain minor points which could be rectified in the Committee Stage, but that he welcomed the principle. I say that is to their credit. They represent those people and we accept that they want to serve them. But you do not serve those people if you continually load them with suspicion. If those people were to read in the newspaper that there was not a single word of approval of the principle then it could only breed hatred in their hearts. Is that the aim, to bring about further reproaches and estrangement? Are there not enough problems in South Africa? Here is a Bill which is in line with the declaration of the hon. the Prime Minister when he published the socio-economic policy for the Coloureds. It reads—
The next paragraph deals with the development of the Coloureds in the urban area. Where do the hon. members get the idea from and what is the motive in saying that they cannot understand such a simple Bill and that therefore an evil spirit is at work, and this is that the hon. the Minister and the Government want to create Bantustans, and the poor Coloureds must be stirred up by that? I regret that politics in this country should be played in this cheap manner for a little political gain, at this stage of our history when the alarms are sounding on our borders and when the fires are burning beyond our borders.
What is this Bill? It is merely an enabling Bill to incorporate existing traditional Coloured areas in order to incorporate those areas which do not fall under the Act of 1909, so that they may share in the benefits of that Act, that the people may establish their own councils which will have the right to borrow money to develop the area to their own benefit. I think the hon. members for South Coast and Hillbrow will be haunted by their conscience if they read the articles which appeared in the Argus on Monday and yesterday, not written by a Nationalist but by “a staff reporter of the Argus”. He is a man who went along and made an ad hoc investigation for his newspaper after the hon. the Prime Minister had made his statements. I have not the time to read it all here but he emphasizes that there are about 31,000 Coloureds living in that area of about 2,000,000 morgen who find it very hard to make a living. Something which worries one in this debate, and in the attitude of those hon. members, is this: Is there then no feeling for the Coloured? Is he simply a creature which you want to allow to perish if it suits you? As the hon. member for Karoo has said, there are people who have taken part in this debate who have never seen those areas and who do not understand anything about the problems. I have parts of this area in my constituency and I know it. I also know other parts. Those people find life hard. Hon. members must read the Argus. The author says that 31,000 people make a meagre living there. Now for the first time a Government comes along and says they want to spend thousands of pounds to ease the position for those people. There are good farmers and hardworking people among them, but those of us who know something about the north-west know that it is not an easy life. Is there anyone who is so hard-hearted as to say that what is happening to those people does not concern him?
The Government says it does not only want to sink more boreholes there but also wants to put up fences so that the people can have better grazing. But this type of speaker says: It does not concern me, the music continues even though Rome is burning. Mr. Speaker, a simple Bill is conjured up into an unintelligible and complicated matter so that it can serve as a shield from behind which the Government can be shot at.
I want to conclude by saying that this side of the House appreciates the better tone of the speeches made to-day. No one expects that any hon. member of the Opposition should rise and say that he agrees 100 per cent with the Bill, but we ask that they should at least agree with the principle. There is a Committee Stage in which these things can be rectified. But do not conjure up these ghosts with a very definite but dishonourable object, namely to scare the Coloureds. It is not only the Coloureds who are scared by it, and I am sure the hon. member had it in mind; it is the great mass of Whites who employ the Coloureds in their service. They will say that the Government is busy taking the Coloureds away from the Western Province and from the farms and factories. That was the aim of those speeches. We are glad that they have seen the folly of their sinful ways.
Mr. Speaker, I listened very attentively to the hon. member for Piketberg (Mr. Rust), and I want to say immediately that I agree with a great deal of what he said. There are certain aspects of his speech in which the hon. member confused the position in regard to the Coloured reserves with the areas contemplated in this Bill, and I will deal with that a little later. But in fairness to him I would like to say that I agree with a great deal of his approach to this matter.
I feel that a great deal of the confusion and suspicion which exists in regard to this Bill is attributable perhaps directly to the statement made by the hon. the Prime Minister himself on 7 December last, when he announced his so-called positive rehabilitation programme for the Coloured people. I think it is necessary to bear in mind the circumstances in which that announcement was made. You will remember, Sir, that early in December the Prime Minister announced his most peremptory decision to prohibit for all times the direct representation of Coloureds in this House by Coloureds. This announcement not only shocked the Coloured people, but also a large number of White people in the country, including many Nationalist Afrikaners, but I do not want to deal with that aspect at this stage. Furthermore, it unfortunately shocked the outside world. In order to ameliorate that shock, the Prime Minister announced his “new deal” for the Coloureds a few days later, and I want to examine his proposals. He said this—
Then he went on to say, giving his positive programme, that an effective development programme must be applied in the existing rural homelands and settlements for Coloureds (about 2,000,000 morgen), with a system of local government; the villages in his area should be properly organized and developed. Sir, at this stage I want to deal only with the rural homelands and settlements, and I leave alone the urban residential settlements which do not form part of this Bill. This statement, I submit, has brought about the fear and the suspicion which exists in the minds of many people, including many hon. members of this House, that this Bill is the commencement of the Colouredstan similar to the Bantustan already established by the Government. The impression has unfortunately been created that this Bill is the first step to give effect to the Prime Minister’s idea of establishing Colouredstans with a so-called system of local government. If this were the case—and I say immediately that I accept that it is not the case— you can well imagine the justification that exists for opposing this measure. We in the Cape realize only too well that the future of our Coloured people is inextricably bound up with the future of the Whites; that the economic future is bound up with that of the Whites, and that the whole of their future is so interwoven with the future of the White people that it is impossible to give effect to the scheme which the hon. the Prime Minister envisages in his new deal. I say that the scheme which the Prime Minister has in mind of applying an inflexible policy of apartheid, which cannot become effective for reasons we have given time and again in this House, has given rise to this unfortunate impression and the fear which exists in the minds of many people in regard to this Bill.
Now I want to deal with this Bill specifically. My colleagues and I have given it a great deal of careful consideration and we have had opportunities of discussing it in great detail with the Coloured Affairs Department. As the result of that consideration and the talks we have had and the representations that have been made to us by Coloured leaders living in the rural areas affected by this Bill, we are prepared at this stage to accept the assurance given by the hon. the Deputy Minister and by the Coloured Affairs Department that this Bill is not intended in any way to give effect to what the Prime Minister envisaged in his scheme, that it is not intended to create Colouredstans on similar lines to the Bantustans, and that it is not intended to establish central homelands for the Coloured people as envisaged in the rehabilitation programme I have just referred to. My colleagues and I are prepared to accept the statement of the Deputy Minister that this Bill has been introduced as the result of representations made by the Coloureds themselves to place their traditional rural areas, which are virtually uncontrolled at the moment, under the control and authority of the Government, so as to enable those areas to be developed on proper lines. The Deputy Minister has stated that that is the primary object of the Bill and we are prepared to accept it.
We heard from the hon. member for Karoo how he, on behalf of a large number of Coloured communities living in these rural areas, made representations to the Government and particularly to the former Minister of the Interior, to give some legal recognition to these rural areas traditionally occupied by the Coloured people, with a view to their proper development. I am assured by the hon. member for Karoo that this Bill has come as the result of the repeated representations he made to the Government, to give effect to the proposals submitted to him by the leaders of the Coloureds.
The Bill itself seeks to provide for the preservation of certain traditional Coloured areas and to apply to those areas the provisions of the 1909 Act. Unfortunately the hon. member for Piketberg is not here, but this is where he missed the point. The excellent article which appeared in the Cape Argus referred specifically to the Coloured Reserves. This Bill does not refer to the Coloured Reserves. It refers to those rural areas which have been traditionally occupied by Coloured people, which were unfortunately established under the aegis of mission societies and churches who, by reason of lack of funds, were unable to develop them, and to-day they are virtually uncontrolled; and without financial assistance from the Government they cannot be developed properly on modern lines. At present these areas, which are scattered throughout the different parts of the Cape Province, have been miserably neglected. I have seen one or two of these areas and I say as the result of my own inspection that the time is long past when the Government should have done something to try to improve conditions there. There has been practically no development in those areas. Although they were traditionally Coloured areas, they were left to the goodwill of churches and mission societies who could not adequately develop the areas through lack of funds, with the result that they remained completely undeveloped and have deteriorated and to-day they form a blot on the country. As the result of the representations made by the Coloured communities themselves, helped by the hon. member for Karoo, this Bill has now been introduced in order to obtain the necessary legal authority for the development of those traditionally Coloured areas in the rural parts of the country and for the spending of public funds in order to provide proper housing, services, roads, water, etc., which are needed by these people, The point has to be remembered that this Bill is intended to deal exclusively with these rural areas traditionally occupied by the Coloureds, and not with the urban areas governed under the Group Areas Act and by other Acts which the Government has introduced. I can understand and appreciate the attitude adopted by the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell). In his earnest desire to prevent further friction between the Coloureds and the White people of the country, and his well-intentioned desire to ensure that this Bill is not used for any ulterior purposes, he has suggested that the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee where evidence can be led and the details thrashed out and the representatives of the Coloureds can be heard, so that a Bill can emerge which will have the blessing of all sides of the House. I want to say this immediately, that if the Deputy Minister sees fit to allow this Bill to go to a Select Committee, I am sure a great improvement will be made to it. I think that in the calmness of the Select Committee we could hammer out many of the details better than by having a full debate in this House. I say to the Deputy Minister that he should give careful consideration to that suggestion. On the other hand, if the Deputy Minister, in consultation with the Government, feels that this Bill has already received the attention of the law advisers and that no further delay should take place, whilst we would vote for a Select Committee we will not vote against the Bill but vote for it rather than see it being delayed unnecessarily. I say that in view of the statement made by the Deputy Minister in introducing the Bill, when he spoke in the name of the Government and declared unequivocally that it is not the intention to establish Colouredstans or separate homelands for the Coloureds, my colleagues and I are prepared to accent his assurance and to support this Bill. We say that at this stage to vote against this Bill would result in our depriving the Coloured people of the benefits they can receive under the 1909 Act, which some of their own people are receiving in the reserves and which they have been denied for many years. I want to go on and deal with one or two aspects dealth with by the hon. member for Piketberg. Before doing so I would like to say that if this Bill were referred to a Select Committee, the country would then receive this benefit that it would then be able to hear the representations that are or were made by Coloured leaders living in these rural areas, and that would pave the way for a Bill that could receive the unanimous approval of all parties and sections in this House. In any case, evidence of that nature which we would place before a Select Committee would eliminate the doubt which has been created in the minds of certain people here by reason of the trend of the early part of this debate and the unfortunate subsequent headlines which appeared a day or two ago in one of our local newspapers in which this Bill was stigmatized as a “savage measure”. I think those headlines were unjustified and that that statement has led to a great deal of confused thinking, not only in this House but outside, and unfortunately among the Coloured people. I therefore appeal to the hon. the Minister, even at this stage, to give careful consideration to handing this matter to a Select Committee where the air can be cleared and where we would be prepared to place evidence before the Select Committee justifying this Bill perhaps with certain amendments which we propose, in any event, to move in the Committee Stage.
Mr. Speaker, recently—the hon. member for Piketberg referred to them, but I want to refer to them in detail, briefly—recently there appeared a series of articles in the Cape Argus on the conditions which prevail in the Coloured homelands, and these articles referred to the traditional Coloured rural areas which the hon. the Prime Minister had in mind in his New Deal statement. These articles apply specifically—and this is where the hon. member for Piketberg went wrong—to the rural areas which are already controlled under the 1909 Act, but they have great applicability to the rural areas which we have in mind under the provisions of the present Act. In these articles these areas are referred to as rural homelands, because that is the term used by the hon. the Prime Minister in his statement. They indicate that these Coloured homelands, as they have been called by Government spokesmen, are for the most part settlements which grew up around missionary undertakings over the past hundred years. And then, Sir, in the course of this very estimable series of articles the following appears—it is stated—
There are 31,000 Coloured people living in these reserves, and they are quite satisfied that this 2,000,000 morgen of agricultural land in its present condition cannot support that population. The writer of this article goes on to say—
Then he goes on to say this, dealing with the requirements of these people in the reserves—
Those, I suggest, are sentiments which will receive the approbation of every well-disposed South African, particularly where the writer says that a development programme, no matter how forceful, can only succeed in bettering the lot of these unfortunate people living on the land. Then in the second article the writer goes on to say this—
Sir, these articles apply specifically to the areas which we know as the Coloured reserves. I have indicated to the House what the conditions are in those reserves. These articles indicate how necessary it is for a development programme to be proceeded with, for money to be spent and for proper steps to be taken to develop these reserves. You can well imagine, Sir, how much more money is needed in regard to those areas which do not fall under the reserves and which are referred to in this Bill. The areas which the Minister has in mind under this Bill are not Coloured reserves, but are these other areas in the country which have been traditionally occupied by Coloureds and which do not get the benefits and protection of the Cape Act of 1909. You can well imagine therefore how much greater their need is. It is for those reasons that my colleagues and I feel that we should encourage and urge the Government as much as possible to take those additional Coloured areas under the control of the Government so that funds can be spent as quickly as possible in giving the unfortunate people living there the rights and the benefits which are enjoyed by other Coloured people living in the reserves but which have been denied to them for many generations by reason of the lack of funds of the churches and the mission stations under whose control they fall. In conclusion, I want to say that for these reasons we are prepared to support this Bill. We think it would be quite wrong to do anything to retard the passage of this Bill. If the hon. the Minister would be prepared to allow this Bill to go to a Select Committee, I am certain that on that Select Committee we could evolve an agree measure which would be supported by every section of the House. If, on the other hand, the Minister is not prepared to allow the Bill to go to a Select Committee, my two colleagues and I, who represent the Coloured people, wish to indicate that we shall nevertheless support this Bill.
I would like to start on the note on which my hon. colleague has just ended in relation to a Select Committee. I would like to say that to me it is a matter of deep regret that the Minister has seen fit to follow the method that he has followed in legislating in this particular case. Sir, the base of this legislation is an old 1909 Cape Act, which is almost unobtainable. It is extremely difficult to find it. I may say that a number of members who found a copy of this Act and who attempted to study it only then found that there had been a series of amendments in 1929, 1946, 1949, 1955 and 1959, and now we have a further amending Bill. Sir, if one looks at three successive sections in the old Act, one finds that there are no less than 15 amendments, and a number of amendments in this Bill now before the House further amends those sections. I do hope that the hon. the Deputy Minister will accept the amendment of the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) that this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. If in fact the interpretation placed on this Bill by the hon. member who has just sat down is correct, there should be no difficulty in arriving at a suitable measure, and I hope that such a Select Committee would produce a measure which would give us a completely new Bill dealing with the whole of this matter, in which all the relevant sections would be readily available to the people of this country. Sir, it has been said by a leading judicial authority that the two most important things about the law are, firstly, that it shall be certain and, secondly, that it should be readily ascertainable. Sir, the law on this subject is not readily ascertainable today and it will be no more readily ascertainable when this Bill has been put on the Statute Book. After all, this is a Bill which deals with one of the less fortunate sections of the community, and in their case particularly simplicity is absolutely a prerequisite of sound legislation.
The hon. member for Piketberg (Mr. Rust) raised very strong objection to the fact that it is suggested that this Bill may be used to carry matters very much further than he thinks is the intention of the hon. the Minister. Sir, my view, having looked at the Bill, is that it is extremely likely that this Bill could be used for purposes which are far wider than the limited purposes which he and others regard as the objects of the Bill before the House. Sir, there have been statements from the Prime Minister, from papers supporting the Government and on political platforms in regard to certain steps which are visualized in relation to the Coloured people. In those circumstances it is the duty of the Opposition to be watchful and to endeavour to protect the rights of those who are less fortunate than the groups of people who elected them to this House. I say it is our bounden duty to do that, and I repeat that in my opinion, if the Minister’s intention has in fact been correctly set out by the hon. member who has just sat down, this Bill can be gravely abused by a future Minister or possibly by this Minister. Sir, I am not going to dwell on this because it has already been dealt with by other members, but it is perfectly clear that this Bill can be applied to a far wider field than the so-called mission reserves and mission stations. I believe that that could be done. We have seen before that, when an Act of this sort is used to apply to something of that sort and the courts rule that that is beyond the scope of the Act, the Government comes back to the House and says: “We want a simple little amending Bill to give effect to the intention of Parliament at the time.” All we are asking is that there should be certainty in regard to this matter; we believe that that would be in the interests of all. If the Bill is to be a measure with a specific and limited scope, let it state so. Sir, this Opposition will not be backward in supporting the Government in measures which it seeks to pass in the interests of the Coloured people of South Africa. We are prepared to support the Government in those measures if they are proper measures. I would just say that one of the provisions of this Bill which could be abused is the provision of Clause 14. Sir, I am unalterably opposed to putting a measure on the Statute Book which allows the Governor-General, who in effect is the Minister, to override Acts of Parliament which have been placed on the Statute Book by Governments of the past. If it is desired to override existing Statutes it should be done by the proper legislative authority, which is Parliament. I would like to put it quite specifically to the Deputy Minister that I think this Bill will apply to the Union. The hon. the Deputy Minister has referred to certain areas in the Cape, and I suggest to the Deputy Minister that he owes a duty to this House to indicate what other areas in the other provinces he proposes to deal with under the provisions of this Bill. This is a matter of very great public interest. I think he has dealt fairly fully with the position in the Cape, and I am prepared to accept, for the purpose of argument, that he has mentioned all the areas, but no mention has been made of the areas to be dealt with either in the Transvaal or in Natal, nor has there been any statement to the effect that no areas are to be dealt with in those provinces. Sir, I would like to put certain points quite specifically to the Deputy Minister, because I think it is in the public interest that he should answer them. I would like to ask him whether it is the intention of the Government either now or in future to include the Dunn land in Natal within the purview of the provisions of this Bill? It seems to me they would be competent in terms of the provisions of this Bill to deal with that land and to override the provisions of the Act of 1925 which are at present applicable to that land. I believe I am right in saying it could be applied to that land, and I think the Minister shouldd tell us quite candidly—and I think he will—what his intention is.
Sir, the hon. the Deputy Minister has referred to the fact that this Bill is to be used largely for the mission station areas. I accept that and I accept too what has been stated by other hon. members, namely that the present conditions in those areas are deplorable and chaotic; that this is a matter which very much needs the attention of the Government. Sir, the Government has already been assured from this side of the House, that for necessary measures in the interests of those people it will have the full support of the Opposition, but we would like to be told why certain of these conditions cannot be dealt with under existing legislation. For instance, there are matters of health, matters of soil conservation and then there are the provisions of the Unbeneficial Occupation of Land Act of 1935. I think we are entitled to know whether steps cannot be taken under those Acts and if not, why not? Then I would like to ask the Minister to be good enough to tell me what the motive is in wanting to administer the Coloured platteland differently from the European. Sir, a system of registration is growing up here, and I believe that in regard to the registration of our land we should be very careful not to break down the South African system which is almost a model for the world. In extending this measure—although I realize that there is a desire to avoid unnecessary cost and that there is therefore some justification for it— I do believe that it is absolutely essential that we should preserve the certainty which exists under the land registration system which the Union enjoys at the present time. Sir, the hon. member for Piketberg said that the Government would like the support of the Opposition for the necessary expenditure in regard to these areas. It has been indicated that we all believe that where necessary that expenditure must be incurred. I think the hon. the Deputy Minister owes it to this House to tell us what is the estimated expenditure, at least in the current year, and what the total expenditure is likely to be. I accept that there is probably a very big burden of expenditure which will arise; I accept that it is necessary expenditure and that that money should be voted, but I think the country is entitled to know what that expenditure is.
Then I come to the position of the trader and I would like to say that as I read this Bill, its provisions are more serious so far as traders are concerned than are the provisions of the Group Areas Act in certain respects. I think the hon. the Deputy Minister should tell us quite candidly whether it is intended that these traders should be expropriated, because there is specific provision in this Bill that in the event of disqualified persons having to leave, or if their land is taken over, they will not be compensated for the loss of goodwill. Sir, I say quite straightforwardly to the Deputy Minister that it will be a blot on our name if this House takes away trading rights from persons who legally acquired them without giving them reasonable compensation for those trading rights. That is the very minimum to which they are entitled. I say that where we have allowed trading rights to grow up and they have become valuable, it is utterly wrong that the goodwill of those businesses should not be taken into account if the person is prevented by legislation from carrying on that trade, in the public interest or for any other reason. In this respect it has been made clear that this side of the House is not in agreement with the ideology which underlies certain Government measures, but again I say that it is our bounden duty, if rights are to be taken away, to see that those persons are protected. I presume that it is intended to take away rights, because if that is not the intention, why is there this provision to the effect that no goodwill will be taken into account in assessing the compensation to be paid?
Then there is the all-important question of an assurance in regard to the political aspects —and I think this is an assurance for which we are entitled to ask. As far as the political aspect is concerned, if only local self-government is being considered, well and good, and I think the hon. the Deputy Minister should tell us that. But I come back to the point where I started: There have been statements by no less a person than the hon. the Prime Minister which do appear to link up with this Bill and I think we are entitled to know exactly what the Government’s full intentions are in regard to this measure. If the fears of the Opposition are groundless, the Deputy Minister can give us the assurance that he will accept amendments to this Bill when it goes to a Select Committee, because I believe it should go to a Select Committee which will give effect to his intentions and will not put on to the Statute Book enabling legislation which could be used for a very much wider purpose than certain members on the Government side seem to think is the object of the Bill now before the House.
Sir, I want to make a final plea to the hon. the Deputy Minister. Sir, some of us on this side of the House have studied this legislation and it has taken persons learned in the law hours to try to find out the exact meaning of one section, and I would like to put forward this plea that particularly in legislation of this nature which deals with people who are not far advanced on the scale of civilization, the language used should be used as simple as possible and, above all, the legislation should be contained in one measure so that one does not have to seek it, as will be the case if this Bill is passed, in seven different pieces of legislation spread over a period of some 51 years.
When introducing this Bill, I said that it was an enabling measure to apply the Act of 1909, as amended by Act 32 of 1959, to the remaining traditional rural areas of the Coloureds. I would like to repeat that. In terms of the 1909 Act, the definition describes what is meant by a “communal reserve” and a “mission station”, In terms of that definition certain reserves and certain mission stations were made subject to the provisions of that Act, but the 1909 Act did not really amount to much, in spite of the amendments referred to by the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker), until we further amended the 1909 Act in 1959. As a result of those amendments in 1959, effect was really given to the 1909 Act. The most important provisions of it were twofold. The first is that the management board of that specific area which is administered under that Act can request the Minister to declare it a betterment area, as the result of which certain developments are then set in progress; or the Minister himself can declare that area to be a betterment area, and when he does so there is a definite financial arrangement in terms of which obligations may be incurred, and in terms of which the loans incurred are repayable. Let us just take one example: When the Minister declares such an area to be a betterment area and money is made available by the State for its development, the management board repays that money at the rate of not more than one-tenth per annum of their revenue. In other words, if they have a good year they are able to repay more, but if they have a bad year the Act protects them. In other words, the 1909 Act, in fact, only received force and became effective after the amendments introduced by the 1959 Act. That amending Act of 1959 was unanimously approved by this Parliament. There were a number of amendments made to the 1909 Act in past years, up to 1959. I have already said in this House that we intend eventually introducing a consolidating measure. The idea now is that we will introduce this consolidating measure next year, which will then include all these amendments and give us a measure which will give a proper picture of how we are going to handle these areas. But, Mr. Speaker, certain other things still had to be done. About a week ago we passed other legislation in respect of another Coloured area, in order to include that also under the provisions of the 1909 Act, and in the present case we are now busy with enabling legislation in order to include the traditional Coloured areas which have not yet been able to enjoy the benefits provided by the 1909 Act and to make them share in those benefits, as I said in my second reading speech. The hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) criticized me for having treated the House in a slapdash fashion. I stated in my second reading speech what the benefits are which can be enjoyed in terms of the 1909 Act. I mentioned the areas which have already enjoyed these benefits, then I said that there were other areas which, because of testamentary provisions or gifts or in some other way became traditional Coloured areas, and that we wanted to apply the 1909 Act to them also. What more could I do than to explain the principle of the Bill? I took it that the hon. member for Hillbrow, who gave his approval to the amendment of the 1909 Act, would still remember it. I did not think that I would again have to explain that Act in its full implications. Mr. Speaker, during the past two years since the passing of that amending Act, these amendments have borne fruit in these areas, and allow me briefly to mention what has been attained and what is now being envisaged in these areas which we want to deal with in terms of this Bill.
I have caused a survey to be made of what we have achieved just since April 1959, when that legislation was passed by Parliament, and I want to quote just a few things from this long list. There is the Richtersveld, which is an area in which there was never a single fence, an area of more than 600,000 morgen. It was left lying there neglected, there was no fencing, there were no camps and no water was provided. I visited the Richtersveld more than a year ago and noticed that on this vast piece of land of 600,000 morgen there were only a few wells from which water for the cattle had to be drawn with buckets. That was the position even after we had had the opportunity since 1910 to do something for those areas in terms of the 1909 Act. And now what has happened just recently? We have already erected 40 miles of boundary fences around the Richtersveld, and we called for tenders for sinking 10 boreholes in the area, and some are already being sunk. It is our intention, wherever there is a little hollow or other suitable place where water can be conserved, to do so, and to enable these people to apply rotational grazing by providing inner camps, and further also, to develop the townships in that area, something to which I shall revert in a moment. At Steinkopf and Concordia, which are two other areas, two concrete dams of 10,000-gallon capacity each, fed by windmills, have been erected and have been hygienically equipped as sources of drinking water for those communities. At Mamre, near Cape Town, 30 miles of inner camp fencing have been completed, and rotational grazing is being practised, and we are busy doing experiments for them in small experimental camps. We have now improved their water supply to such an extent that when, a few weeks ago, I was there, the whole community which was at Mamre that day came along to express their thanks for the improvements which the Department made there.
All of that could have been done under the existing Act.
Now just listen to the cleverness of the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes)! He says all of this could have been done under the existing Act. But who amended the existing Act? The United Party or the Nationalist Government? It is this Government which amended it. But what the hon. member for Transkeian Territories cannot understand—and unfortunately I cannot give him the intelligence to grasp it …
Deal with the Bill.
I was referring to the benefits these areas will derive as the result of our accepting this enabling legislation. If the hon. member for Transkeian Territeries is not interested in it because he is merely interested in sowing suspicion, I will give the facts to hon. members who are really interested. I will not allow him to dictate to me how I should make my speech.
We are planting trees in these areas. In some areas thousands of trees have already been planted where before there was nothing. We are surveying residential sites in the townships, because those townships were established without any planning. We are surveying their residential sites and we are bringing about order so that proper hygienic conditions can prevail. But of course the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) and his henchmen are not interested in that. All they are interested in is to make a fuss in the country and to incite the Coloureds against the White man. I am accusing them of doing that today, and I shall take the hon. member for South Coast to task in a moment because of the attitude he adopts, and I shall do so in such a way that he will remember it. But I say that at Concordia and Steinkopf and the other areas we have started betterment works in various spheres, and anyone who wants to inspect those areas will see that more has been done there in these two years than in the whole preceding period. I do not want to bore the House by reading this long list of improvements, but it is available for inspection to hon. members. That is what we have done, and that is what we have in mind for the areas which have already been included. But now there are a number of other areas in the country, e.g. in the Western Province, more towards the Eastern Cape, and also in the other provinces, areas which were traditionally Coloured areas. These areas do not comply with the definition of “communal reserves” or “mission stations” as defined in the 1909 Act, because they were established in a different way and are being managed, or not managed, in a different way. What is happening now is that we are taking powers here to include all those different areas under one measure, and the measure has been framed in such a way that under this legislation we can deal with every one of those areas. The Bill was drafted after thorough study. It was further drafted in order to include these areas individually, so that they can enjoy the benefits of the provisions of the 1909 Act. I considered it necessary to state this clearly once more.
Now I immediately want to express my appreciation for the spirit in which the representatives of the Coloureds approached this Bill, because here we are acting in the interests of the Coloureds and in order to uplift them. Now the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) asked a few questions to which I want to reply. His first question was: What about the children of mixed descent? As far as I know, there are not many such cases in these areas, although there may be a few, and there the rule will apply which applies in terms of the Population Registration Act, viz. that acceptance by the community will be the deciding factor. There is such a case in one of the existing areas (under the 1909 Act) where the community has already accepted that person as a Coloured. We do not intend interfering in any way with this person who has been accepted by the Coloured community there. In that way we are complying with the provisions of the Population Registration Act.
Does that also apply to the spouse of an individual?
Yes. I think that is no more than right. If these people live there as Coloureds, as in the case to which I have just referred, and the person came there years ago and has been accepted as a Coloured and is happy under those circumstances, then I think we should leave that person alone.
The second question of the hon. member for Boland was in connection with Clause 3, line 56. In fact we have heard the chorus right throughout this debate that now the Governor-General can proclaim new areas on a large scale. Let me just say why we use this particular wording. In the principal Act of 1909 there is reference to “communal reserves and mission stations”, and these areas with which we are dealing now are not communal reserves or mission stations. It is a different type of area, but they are also traditional Coloured areas, and therefore we have to use words which enable us to include these areas. The hon. member was so friendly as to come and see me about it and I asked the law advisers again to go into the point and to ascertain whether it is susceptible to the interpretation some people give to it. The law advisers assure me that that is not so, because these words have to be read together with the long title, and if one does that the intention becomes clear, and it is only areas which cannot be described as communal reserves or mission stations. But, Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to admit that malicious people, people who would like to ruin the good spirit between the Whites and the Coloureds, can misrepresent this in order to set afoot an agitation and engender fear in the minds of the Coloureds that this Government will grab them by the neck and push them into certain areas where they will die of hunger. In order to negative that inimical and sadistic propaganda …
Order! I do not think the hon. member should use the word “sadistic”.
Mr. Speaker, I was not referring to any hon. member of this House. If there are hon. members who want to be sadistic, I am not accusing them of that now. I say that if there are people who want to go and make that fiendish propaganda outside then I want to stop them now, because they are committing a crime in so far as race relations in South Africa are concerned.
Mitchell every time!
Therefore in the Committee Stage I myself will move that after the word “period” in line 56 the words “before this Act comes into operation” should be inserted, and then after the word “which” in line 58 the words “on the date this Act comes into operation” should be inserted. That will make it clear that the areas referred to are those which existed as traditional Coloured areas on the date or before the date that this Act comes into operation. I think that by so doing we will prevent malicious persons from continuing with their propaganda and inciting the Coloureds against the Whites in South Africa.
Now I just want to tell the hon. member for Boland that in terms of Section 27 of the 1909 Act, as amended in 1959, the Governor-General has the power to add areas to the existing Coloured reserves. Why did we take that power? Because for administrative or practical purposes it was sometimes necessary to add a farm or two to such an area in order to administer it more effectively. Supposing there is a dry reserve and there is a neighbouring farm on which there is water, then one should surely have the power to acquire that farm, if it is for sale, in order to do effective betterment work in such an area. That is why we took that power in the 1959 Act, and Parliament unanimously approved of it, including hon. members opposite. But now they make a fuss because we give the Governor-General the right to increase the area. We have that right, and those hon. members all voted in favour of it.
I want to make it clear to the hon. member for Boland that these areas came into being as the result of donations, legacies, etc., or else they are areas where there are local authorities in control. Therefore we had to insert these words in order to be able to refer to them properly.
The hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) only made a political speech and I will not go into that further.
The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) raised a few points to which I wish to reply. First I want to say that it is impossible for me to accept the amendment of the Progressive Party. I can understand the hon. member’s standpoint, but he should also realize that there is a wide gulf between the principles of the Progressive Party and those of this side of the House. We can understand their standpoint. It may be a standpoint based on principle, but it is a principle with which this Government can never reconcile itself. Therefore we cannot accept that amendment. But I want to explain to the hon. member the implication of his amendment. The implication is that he wants these reserves to be developed. He has no objection to us tackling development works there, but then he still wants to let the White people stay there to compete with the Coloureds. That is the direction in which their policy goes, that the measure of protection enjoyed by the Coloureds in South Africa in these rural areas should disappear, and they want to throw open these areas to the Whites, and if that competition is allowed, how long does the hon. member think the Coloureds will remain in possession of those traditional homelands of theirs? I do not say that the hon. member advocates it, but that is the consequence of his policy.
We are prepared to have a limitation imposed on the acquisition of property.
We say that if there is a White trader—and there are only a few of them, a small number which infiltrated in the course of time into one or two of those areas—we will not take the White trader there by the neck and throw him out. We will negotiate with these people in the proper way.
And if they want to remain there?
If it should appear that there is a White trader who should still remain there in order to serve the community, we shall allow him to remain. But if competent Coloureds come along who can take over the business, we will give preference to the Coloured trader, just as in the White area we give preference to the White trader. I do not think there is anything wrong with that.
The hon. member asked me how many persons would be affected. I have already partially replied to that by saying that there are not many of them. I cannot give their numbers, because I do not think that any proper survey has ever been made, and it would be a difficult task to ascertain accurately how many there are, but there are not many. In one or two areas there are small groups of Whites whom we will have to treat very sympathetically. I want to give the undertaking to-day that they will be dealt with most sympathetically. The hon. member asked what areas we intended to incorporate. I do not think I would be acting responsibly to-day if I were to read out a list here and say that these are the areas I want to incorporate. I know what areas they are, but if I were to name them in public to-day, whilst I have not yet negotiated with all of them, I think I would be acting very irresponsibly. I now take the power under the Bill to negotiate with them. Some of them have already approached us. I have already mentioned the names of four groups who have approached us. But it would be a great pity if I were to be compelled this afternoon to read out a long list of names, whereby I would publicly be giving notice to those people in advance without having had prior contact with them, and if I were now to tell them that they will be treated in this way. Leave it to us. We will negotiate cautiously and wisely, and when they are convinced of the benefits they will derive, they will all come along voluntarily. For example, I am sorry that one name has been mentioned here, namely Zuurbraak. I will explain to the hon. member what happened there. Zuurbraak has a local management board under the Provincial Administration, and the Group Areas Board has planned Zuurbraak—one portion is set aside for immediate occupation and possession by Coloureds, and the other portion has been planned for Coloureds in the future. But the commonage has not been planned, i.e. that portion of Zuurbraak which has been planned by the Group Areas Board is only a very small A.H.–34 portion, and I am very sorry indeed that Zuurbraak has been mentioned here and dragged into the discussion, because there is a small group of White people at Zuurbraak, but the predominant group consists of Coloureds, and it would have been much better if we could first have negotiated with these people quietly and judiciously without publicly mentioning their names now.
The hon. member also asked what would happen to the Dunn Reserve, and the hon. member for Springs also referred to it. That case is rather different because the Dunn Reserve was put on a different basis by Act 15 of 1935. What has to be done now is that the Dunns should be taken out of the Native Trust, because it is still Native Trust land. In order to remove them compensatory land must be provided elsewhere for the Bantu who are there, because everybody who lives there now is not regarded as being non-Bantu. As soon as that happens and the Bantu have been removed, the necessary steps can be taken also to bring this Dunn land, if they so elect, under the provisions of this Act, in order that they may also enjoy the benefits of the Act.
The hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) (Mr. H. Lewis) referred to Clause 6 (1) (b). All I want to tell him is that this will only apply where there has to be a re-allocation of sites and compensation has to be paid—then he is only compensated for the improvements on the original site. Let me give an example. There are a number of people in one of these areas, and there are perhaps ten Whites and a few hundred Coloureds, and the Whites live amongst the Coloureds. Now one can perhaps set aside a portion of the land, e.g. of the commonage, and one can compensate the Whites there by giving them plots in exchange for the plots they have in another place. Then one compensates the Whites by giving them a plot in exchange for a plot, but one also gives him extra compensation for the improvements he has made on the other plot.
What about the Coloureds?
Why should we remove the Coloureds there? It is their area.
My question is this: Where the Minister is taking over certain areas occupied by Coloureds, and decides in terms of his powers to set aside a certain area as a commonage, and he has to uproot certain people there, Coloureds, what happens to them?
I will try to explain it to the hon. member once more. When I take over these areas they will first go to the Minister in trust. The moment I bring such an area under the provisions of the 1909 Act there will be an interim period until a management board can be established, and during that period the Minister is the trustee. But the Minister is only the trustee during this intermediary period. The moment he finds it possible to do so he establishes a board, and then he makes plans in consultation with that board, and in most of these places the townships have already been established and the commonages surround the townships. There are no farms there. There are plots, and many of the plots are held jointly, and all of the commonage is communal ground.
May I put a question for the sake of clarity? Is it the intention, and does the Minister have the power in terms of this legislation, to grant full property rights to individuals?
I will come to that.
Now the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) started off by praising me, and said that it is generally known that I seek to create a good spirit between the Whites and the Coloureds. But, Mr. Speaker, I do not want to create that good spirit for my own sake, but because it is my conviction and also because it is Government policy to do so. I do not want to be dissociated from the Government in this respect. What I am doing I do on behalf of the Government and with its approval. Therefore if I show a good spirit towards the Coloureds, it is the Government which does so, because I am only the spokesman for the Government in my relations with Coloureds. If, therefore, credit has to be given, it should be given to the Nationalist Government and not to the individual as if he were acting differently from his Government. Immediately after praising me, and segregating me from the Government, as it were, the hon. member for South Coast began with his Colouredstan story. I must say that it is a pity that we should, in the times in which we live, take a step of this nature to plant the idea in the minds of the Coloureds that they cannot trust the Government with improvements of this nature. I deeply deplore that. Let me tell the hon. member that I have in my possession a list of the areas which in the past few months, since October 1960, have been declared as being urban areas for the Coloureds. Where does the hon. member now get the idea that we want to establish Colouredstans by extending their rural areas on a large scale, whilst the Government has already proclaimed 13 areas in the Cape Peninsula for Coloureds?
What about the Natives?
These are certain areas in which they can enjoy property rights. The hon. member evidently did not know that. He is only discovering it now.
Do you mean the right of occupation or the right of ownership?
What prevents a Coloured from buying a property in one of these group areas and making it his own?
The right of occupation?
Occupation rights and property rights. The right to occupy is not merely occupation. That is what I meant by property rights and the right to occupy. He can occupy it as his property. Now we have just recently proclaimed a Coloured area in Paarl, and in the past six months 26 or 27 areas were proclaimed as Coloured areas in cities and large towns in the Boland. Now how can the accusation be made that the Government intends establishing Colouredstans when it proclaims urban areas for the Coloureds where they can enjoy property rights? I have never yet been able to understand the logic of this argument. Whilst dealing with this matter, I think I should immediately refer to one point which was also made by the hon. member for Peninsula (Mr. Bloomberg) in this regard. I am sorry that he spoilt a good speech by referring here to the statement made by the hon. the Prime Minister. I also have the Prime Minister’s statement here, and I think the hon. member did the Prime Minister an injustice, because this statement clearly says—
And then it clearly states two points of policy. The first is—
I read that out.
But then the hon. member is not justified in inferring from that that it is a Colouredstan, because the Prime Minister went further and said—
Now how can the Prime Minister be accused of envisaging Colouredstans when, together with the development of the rural areas, he also immediately mentions the urban areas, and when he mentions a positive housing programme and their development into entities of their own which should take place as fast as possible? What the hon. member said is not correct. I will tell hon. members where this story about Colouredstans comes from. It emanates from the minds of people who have become afraid of the success the Government has achieved with its policy; who have become afraid of the success the Government has in regard to its policy of rural homelands; who have become afraid of the success the Government has had amongst the Coloureds with regards to the development of its urban policy; who are afraid of the good spirit which is beginning to develop on the part of the Coloureds towards the Department of Coloured Affairs. The best way in which to neutralize this now and to shout “Wolf, wolf!” is by telling the Coloureds: Do not trust them; one of these days they will put you in camps in the north-west. That is where this Colouredstan story creeps from.
Here I have the number of urban areas which have been proclaimed. Only since 1 October 1960, 31 urban areas have been proclaimed for Coloureds, and then the hon. member for South Coast still comes along with his Colouredstan story. The further question he put to me was this. He asked what benefits I wanted to apply. Well, I can answer him very briefly: I want the benefits of Act 32 of 1959, an Act for which he voted, to be applied. Then the hon. member further wants a Select Committee. He wants us to appoint a Select Committee, and hon. members should now listen to the terms of his motion—
Now after all these years, and after having had commission after commission sitting in connection with Coloured affairs, we must again have a Select Committee which can hear evidence and call for papers? When will these investigations then come to an end? The time for investigation is passed; the time has come to act, as we are now acting in connection with these rural homelands which are under our control. We want to take the same action in the other areas, and therefore I cannot agree to a Select Committee which will again result in delay by inquiring into a matter in regard to which we know everything. We have all the facts about these Coloureds, about their living conditions and their problems. I definitely cannot agree to this type of delay and the protracted ness of investigations which in the end will bring nothing new to light.
May I put a question?
Just wait a moment. I want to add this. It has been said here that this is terribly complicated legislation. I am very sorry that the hon. member for South Coast took the lead in regard to this matter on behalf of the Opposition. If he had left it to the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit), we would not have had these episodes here. On the Opposition side the hon. member for East London (City) is acquainted with these circumstances and he has always been the one to speak on this legislation. He can speak about it knowledgeably, and that is why he supported me in 1959 and again a week or two ago. But no, then the Bull of Basan had to jump in and break things up and sow suspicion.
Then the hon. member for South Coast asked a further question, which has now been followed up by the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn). He asked: What about property rights; can these people acquire property rights? Well, Section 8 of the 1909 Act provides as follows—
In other words, after certain procedures have been followed, they can acquire property rights under the 1909 Act.
Will they be able to take a mortgage?
I shall take it a little further. Section 9 provides as follows—
In other words, two rules will apply here. Where property rights are granted, it will always have to be subject to the approval of the Minister, and in terms of that Act two conditions must apply, viz., they may not alienate it without the approval of the Minister, and they may not mortgage it without his approval. I think that is no more than right. These people must be protected against exploiters. They are simple people who are easily deceived, and they must be protected against exploitation Now I just want to tell the hon. member this. Hitherto we have received no request from any management board to grant property rights, because these people realize that it is in their own interest that we should first implement a developmental programme there. But what is in fact becoming a practical problem is the question of the townships.
We are now having the plots surveyed. We are bringing some order into the matter, because the housing conditions must be improved. It seems to me that we shall have to take steps to transfer the trust vested in the Minister to the management boards in order that they may grant property rights to individuals subject to the conditions I have just mentioned, so that they may obtain loans from the Housing Commission for improved housing. Not only is this being considered at the moment, but we are already busy taking steps in this direction.
What, then, will the position be of Coloureds who at the moment have property rights in the rural areas? Will they be able to mortgage their properties without consent? Supposing that the areas in which Coloureds enjoy property rights are proclaimed, will their rights then be curtailed and be subjected to these conditions?
In the areas which we want to incorporate under this Bill?
No, we say that a man will retain the property rights he enjoys in one of these areas which we are incorporating.
He is now being brought in under the 1909 Act, but the property rights he enjoys are protected.
He will therefore have to obtain the consent of the Minister to alienate his property?
I shall not reply to that now; I would like to reply to it in the Committee Stage. But let me tell the hon. member that if there are such people, it is only a very small group.
I have now dealt with the question of the townships. I think we must make those townships more viable, and in order to do so we should be able to pay compensation by giving them other plots. That means that we must be able to remove disqualified persons there if we want to develop those townships and give them the character they ought to have.
Then the hon. member asked me: What about the disqualified persons? I have already replied to that with reference to the question put by the hon. member for Boland. I have already said that in so far as White traders are concerned we will leave them there if they cannot be replaced. But I think it is no more than right that they should get out if there are competent Coloureds who can trade there.
And what about the Indians?
We cannot on the one hand establish White group areas and on the other hand refuse to give the Coloureds certain rights in their areas. We must be prepared to give the Coloureds the same rights in their own area that we give to the White man in his. What I have said here also applies to the Indians. I do not intend allowing Indian traders to be in the Coloured areas, and the Coloureds themselves do not want that. They are continually making representations to us in that regard. I am surprised that the hon. member for Outeniqua (Mr. Holland) put such a question to me.
Order! Hon. members should not ask questions which can be dealt with in the Committee Stage.
I ask these questions because they are my voters.
Mr. Speaker, just listen to this logic. The hon. member for Outeniqua says we must allow the Indians in there because they are his voters. He is now pleading for them. Let me now tell him that he can look after the interests of the Indians in his constituency without expecting me to allow them in the Coloured areas.
That is a distortion of my remark.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, may the hon. member accuse the Minister of distorting his remarks?
Yes, but the hon. member did not accuse the Minister of distortion. The hon. the Minister may continue.
I have almost finished. The hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) began by saying that restrictions are placed on the Coloureds in the urban areas and therefore they are in favour of rights now being given to them in the rural areas. Where are the restrictions on the Coloureds in the urban areas?
How many Coloured traders went into business under the United Party Government? Let me tell you where the Coloureds landed under the previous Government. They landed in the slums together with the poor Whites. There they formed an intermingled residential area. They made no progress in commerce or in any other sphere. There were only two spheres in which they made progress and those were on a parallel basis, viz. the spheres of education and the church.
What about job reservation?
I do not know what job reservation has to do with this rural development.
Order! The hon. the Deputy Minister should not take notice of interjections.
But, Sir, if one enters the huntingfield and there are so many buck to be shot one must at least fire a few shots. I deny that this Government imposes restrictions where it establishes separate residential areas. I say that we give those opportunities to the Coloureds, but we give them in such a way that we protect the rights of the White man also.
Then the hon. member referred to the arrangements made for compensation—Clause 12. I am satisfied that those arrangements are sufficient, but if the hon. member wants to argue it in the Committee Stage, we can discuss it further. Then he raised a further point on which I want to be very clear. The land which, on proclamation of the area, goes to the Minister in trust, is land which has already been set aside for Coloureds in undivided shares. And the land mentioned in Clause 2 includes land which can be held by qualified and disqualified persons in registered subdivision. This land does not pass into the hands of the Minister on proclamation—that is my information—but only the land of disqualified owners, when one day the owners have been bought out in terms of the Act. Therefore, qualified persons, Coloureds who are owners, retain their title with an endorsement on it such as is provided in Clause 4 (2), in order to bring them within the provisions of Act 29 of 1909. Any land held in trust by the Minister passes over to the board of management of the area as soon as that board has been established. In other words, it is to cover the transitional period that the Minister has to act as trustee for those people.
Well, Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude by expressing the hope, or making an appeal to the official Opposition, and particularly to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. He is a man who knows the Coloureds. The Coloured people are inclined to be susceptible to gossip. They tend to allow themselves to be incited very easily, and I want to appeal to him to restrain his lieutenant, the hon. member for South Coast. The hon. member for South Coast always reminds me of the activities of the fruit-fly in the Western Province. Any fruit with which it has come into contact is useless, and the hon. member for South Coast should now busy himself with his other “stands” and just allow us intelligently to promote the interests of the Coloureds. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition can give him some friendly advice, and, if he wants to, also to people participating in this debate. There are members of his party who represent Coloureds, and who are sensible, like the hon. member for East London (City), and who, in the past, showed that they can appreciate these matters. In the past our debates on Coloured affairs were on a high level. Let us maintain that level. If the hon. member for South Coast wants to sink to the depths, there are enough depths in Natal into which he and those who wish to follow him can sink.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. J. Fouché.
Tellers: A. Hopewell and T. G. Hughes.
Question affirmed and the amendments dropped.
Motion accordingly agreed to and Bill read a second time.
House to go into Committee on the Bill on 23 February.
Third Order read: Second reading,—Group Areas Amendment Bill.
This Bill contains several amendments to Group Areas legislation which was consolidated in 1957. Since then the amendments now proposed have become necessary to bring the Act into line with administrative requirements, to abolish unnecessary control measures and to rectify certain errors and anomalies. Several principles with which I shall deal later, are also embodied in the Bill. The amendments now proposed fall into four groups; these are amendments which will result in important additions and modifications to some provisions of the Act, provisions correcting certain errors when the legislation was consolidated, provisions of an administrative nature and consequential amendments. In this speech, I intend to deal only with the most important clauses of the Bill since the others can adequately be dealt with during the Committee Stage.
Mr. Speaker, the first matter which I wish to raise is the new Section 11 suggested in Clause 8 of the Bill. In terms of this clause, the actual acquisition by disqualified persons of immovable property situated in the controlled area is prohibited and not agreements whereby such persons would acquire such property, as hitherto. I must here explain that the acquisition of immovable property in the controlled area by disqualified persons has never been prohibited but that the prohibition contained in Section 11 of the Group Areas Act No. 77 of 1957 relates solely to agreements whereby such property may be acquired by disqualified persons or companies. Such a prohibition was first introduced in the Trading and Occupation of Land (Transvaal and Natal) Restriction Act No. 35 of 1943 and it was retained in the Asiatic Acts which succeeded that and later in the group areas legislation. This prohibition on agreements and not actual acquisition, has, however, given rise to serious difficulties such as hardship to innocent parties who may find that agreements which they have entered into in ignorance of the group of a seller or purchaser are in fact null and void. There is, moreover, reason to believe that agreements of sale have frequently been ante-dated with the result that the restrictions provided for in Section 11 as it now stands have been violated. Such frauds have been virtually impossible to prove, even with the assistance of the presumption provided for in sub-section (4) of Section 11 which stipulates that immovable property which is acquired by a disqualified person after 30 March 1951, shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to be or to have been acquired in pursuance of an agreement entered into after that date. It is therefore much better to place the actual acquisition of such property by disqualified persons under permit control. This already is the position in the case of group areas and in this respect there is no reason to draw any distinction between group areas and controlled areas.
The exemptions from the restrictions which will be imposed by the acceptance of Clause 8, are virtually the same as the ones now contained in sub-section (2) of Section 11 and need not be further explained, but I can add that any acquisition of immovable property from the State or from a statutory body, other than a local authority, is now also exempted.
The second matter to which I wish to refer is contained in Clause 12. This clause introduces a new principle into the Act and is designed to enable premises which have been defined in terms of paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of Section 16 to be occupied or used for a particular purpose (such as business) only. Members of the group lawfully in occupation of such premises will, in so far as they occupy the premises for the purpose specified in the proclamation, be entitled to continue occupation for that purpose only but may not occupy the premises for any other purpose. To quote an example. If a storekeeper carries on his business on certain premises which are proclaimed under the provisions of the proposed Section 16bis and also resides thereon, he may continue to occupy the premises for business purposes but as from the date fixed in the proclamation, he will no longer be entitled to reside on the premises but will have to move his home and family to the group area set apart for them. This clause therefore contains a very important principle which will make it possible for trading areas to be proclaimed for racial groups without attaching thereto the implications coupled with the proclamation of group areas. It will also have the advantage of terminating occupation for residential purposes without depriving the person concerned of his means of earning a livelihood. I may add that the establishment of group areas for the various groups will continue as hitherto and that the principle that trading activities in a group area can only be carried on by persons who are not disqualified in relation to that area, still applies. In certain exceptional cases, especially in metropolitan areas like Johannesburg, practical problems have, however, necessitated the proclamation of the special specified areas now proposed in this clause; such a step will facilitate and expedite the achievement of the aim of residential separation and will also assist in the implementation of group areas. It must be emphasized that the right, for instance, to carry on business in areas proclaimed in terms of the proposed new Section 16bis is not coupled with the right to reside in these areas.
It must also not be inferred from this step that there is in any way a deviation from policy, but this procedure must be construed as a method of expediting the implementation of group areas. It must, moreover, be emphasized that a public inquiry and the customary report by the Group Areas Board to the Minister are prerequisite to the issue of a proclamation of this nature. The amendment to the Group Areas Development Act, 1955, proposed in Clause 29 of the Bill, will enable the provisions of the Group Areas Development Act to be applied to areas proclaimed under the proposed Section 16bis. This will assist in the development of these areas.
The third matter with which I wish to deal is the very important change suggested in Clause 16 of the Bill. This is the one relating to the determination of a date with effect from which, the prohibition on occupation comes into operation. As the Act now reads, a date by which disqualified persons must vacate premises in a group area for occupation has to be fixed in the proclamation in terms of which a group area is established. This procedure has led to difficulties and has caused inconvenience to many people who have had to apply for permits to legalize their occupation after vacating dates have arrived. It has in practice proved impossible to determine an appropriate date with any efficacy, as the provision of alternative accommodation for displaced persons who are unable to fend for themselves, has been dependent on many factors which it is impossible for the Board to take into account, and which can only be determined after the demand for housing for persons unable to provide for themselves has been established in consultation with the Group Areas Development Board and the National Housing Commission. Circumstances which cannot always be foreseen at the date of proclamation, moreover, often hamper the implementation of group areas and delay the evacuation of disqualified persons. Instances are litigation and local circumstances which may delay the development of proclaimed areas. This results in a spate of applications for permits from persons who have to evacuate by a certain date and who have nowhere else to go, to legalize their occupation. It is accordingly proposed to change the present system to omit any mention of a date for vacating from the group areas proclamation and to have such date fixed in respect of any group area or part of a group area by government notice. In addition, and pending the issue of a notice in respect of any area, provision is made to order individual occupiers to vacate their homes. These amendments will accordingly make it possible for group areas to be cleared of disqualified persons by degrees as alternative accommodation becomes available for them, and also to move isolated families into new homes. As hon. members will observe, no notice of a general nature can be effective until 12 months after the date of proclamation and in the case of individuals a similar period will apply. The limited period which may under the present provisions be allowed, is also one year which makes it clear that no change is effected in this respect. As I have pointed out, evacuation dates (both in the case of general notices and notices to individuals) can now be synchronized with the availability of alternative accommodation. This procedure is in accordance with the assurances given by the Minister and by myself that no person who cannot provide for his own accommodation, will be uprooted unless alternative housing is made available, and also in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (7) of Section 5 of the Group Areas Act which stipulates that the Board shall not advise the Minister in regard to the issue of a group areas proclamation under sub-section (1) of Section 20 without taking into consideration whether or not suitable accommodation will be available outside the area affected for persons whose occupation of land or premises in that area would be rendered unlawful by such proclamation. Mr. Speaker, I am convinced that the changes proposed in Clause 20 will be welcomed by all right-minded people. I may add that sub-section (2) (a) of Clause 16 provides that an evacuation date which has already arrived is deemed to have been fixed by a notice in accordance with the procedure now suggested and that sub-section (2) (b) has the effect of cancelling evacuation dates fixed under the provisions now sought to be repealed and providing that these dates be redetermined in the manner now proposed.
In the fourth instance I wish to say a few words in connection with the amendment referred to in Clause 17 (b), in which the insertion of a new sub-section (1) bis to Section 22 is proposed. In terms of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 22, a border strip may not be proclaimed unless the Board has reported that no natural barrier exists upon or near the perimeter of the group area concerned. Since such finding can strictly speaking not be made before a group area actually exists, the legality of the proclamation of a border strip simultaneously with that of the group area which it will adjoin is open to doubt. It is, however, not only more convenient to conduct inquiries and make recommendations in connection with group areas and border strips simultaneously, but it is more effective and also in the interest of persons who live in or possess property in such areas. Sub-clause 17 (b) therefore provides that the Board may, whenever it recommends the proclamation of an area as a group area, at the same time recommend the proclamation of an area which is contiguous to the whole or any portion of the perimeter of such group area (or a future group area) as a border strip or area destined to be a border strip. The sub-clause further provides that the Governor-General may proclaim a border strip or area destined to be a border strip, simultaneously with a group area or future group area.
This, fifthly, brings me to two further important changes proposed in the Bill. These changes are proposed in Clause 23 which provides for the repeal of Section 31 of the Act and the insertion of a new Section 31. The present Section 31 deals with certificates for trading licences. It places a duty on an official upon whom duties under group areas legislation have been imposed, to issue a certificate to the effect that a person who will be in actual control of a business in respect of which a trading licence is applied for may lawfully occupy the premises sought to be licensed. This certificate hardly serves any purpose since the legality or otherwise of occupation is regulated by existing provisions of the Act and since the legality of occupation of premises by a person who will be in charge of a business can be established by referring to the provisions of the law and the circumstances of each case. The issue of a certificate is therefore unnecessary. It is cumbersome for traders to obtain these certificates and if the legality of occupation is in doubt, adequate means exist to determine the matter. In all these circumstances it is proposed that a section in the Act which contains provisions which cause unnecessary inconvenience to the public, should be repealed.
The new Section 31 now proposed, provides for restrictions on the use of land or premises (other than the letting thereof) by a company through its employee, agent or representative in an area in which the company would normally be a disqualified one. The restriction contained in the proposed section is really nothing new but has been inserted to ensure that the provisions of the Act are not violated by a company by the expedient of carying on activities in an area where it is a disqualified company, through an agent, employee or a representative. This is the law but some divergent judgments of the Supreme Court have left some doubt about the interpretation of the Act as now worded. Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to furnish names of transgressors in this respect in this House but I can give the assurance that cases have arisen which have left me no alternative but to ask for this provision. I may add that the necessary provision for the relaxation of the restriction by way of permit is contained in the clause.
The following and sixth matter upon which I wish to say a few words is the amendment referred to in Clause 14 (b) and which is proposed with a view to assist a mortgagee who is a disqualified person in relation to a particular property or area and who bona fide has to acquire the mortgaged property to protect his investment.
The granting of a permit to a mortgagee who is a disqualified person free from restrictive conditions, is hardly possible since it will allow him to hold the property indefinitely and this will operate against the implementation of group areas. It is therefore often necessary to refuse such permits with the result that hardship is caused by such refusal. The solution would be to issue a permit to the mortgagee in which he is authorized to acquire the property but to annex a condition to the permit that the property should within a specified period be alienated to a member of the qualified group. According to an opinion by the law advisers such a condition cannot, as the Act now reads, always be annexed to a permit and since I am of opinion that provision for a concession in the circumstances enumerated above should be made. I propose this amendment.
Mr. Speaker, the seventh matter upon which I wish to enlarge is the proposal in Clause 27 (b). I am sure that this amendment will be welcomed since it is now suggested that the magistrate convicting an unlawful occupier under sub-section (2) of Section 42 shall have a discretion to order his ejectment (the order lapsing if the person concerned obtains a permit) and shall not be compelled to do so as is now provided. This amendment contains a concession which will avoid hardships even on the part of persons who did not strictly observe the provisions of the Act and is another example of the desire to administer Group Areas Legislation with equity and reason.
I have given a brief outline of the more important amendments proposed in the Bill, but wish to revert to two further matters before I conclude. The first of these two matters is the one dealing with the delegation of certain powers by the Minister to the Chairman of the Group Areas Board and other officials (Clause 15). I may here point out, Mr. Speaker, that authority for the delegation of powers by the Minister is already contained in Section 19 of the Act. According to that section, the Minister has the unrestricted power to delegate to the Chairman of the Board, subject to such conditions as he may determine, such of his powers under Sections 16, 18 and 37 as he may deem fit. The amendments now proposed in Clause 15 will enable the Minister to delegate in his discretion certain other purely administrative functions to Board members and officials. This will facilitate the administration of the Act and will avoid inconveniences and delays which must inevitably occur if the Minister or the Chairman personally has to deal with every application. Provision exists in any event for an appeal to the Minister by any person who is aggrieved by any decision by virtue of a delegation under Section 19 of the Act.
The second of these matters is the position of local authorities. In this connection I consider it necessary to state that the special specified areas to which I have referred in my remarks on Clause 12 of the Bill, can only be proclaimed after advertisement and inquiry with the result that local authorities will have every opportunity to co-operate with the Group Areas Board in this respect. The Group Areas Board will also always take town planning schemes into consideration where the proclamation of areas in terms of the proposed Section 16bis is considered. I just wish to add that specific reference to “local authority” in various sections of the Act where certain exemptions are applicable to “statutory bodies” has become redundant since “local authority” is now included in the definition of “statutory body”.
As I have indicated at the beginning of my speech, there are amendments correcting errors made when Group Areas Legislation was consolidated in 1957. These errors are corrected in Clauses 9, 13, 21 and 26 (Sections 13, 17, 28 and 41 of the Act). The provisions of an administrative nature such as establishment of the Group Areas Board and Committees thereof, procedure to be adopted at inquiries by the board and reports by the Board to the Minister, payment of proceeds obtained by virtue of the provisions of Section 37 to the Group Areas Development Board instead of into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and consequential amendments can, as I have pointed out, be dealt with in the Committee Stage.
The Bill we have before us has a long line of legislative forefathers behind it. The first Bill was introduced by the then Minister of the Interior, now the Minister of Finance, in 1950, and it was amended on numerous occasions, and when it was finally consolidated in 1957 it had already been amended about seven or eight times, and now the amendments continue. Sir, this side of the House has been opposed to the Bill from its introduction. I will deal with some of the reasons for it later. In regard to the position in which the Government finds itself now, I want to say this, that the Deputy Minister has made out a case for easing the hardships of people who have been brought within the ambit of the Act. On that basis no one can have any objection to the Bill, because it eases hardships. Naturally we would be very pleased indeed to see that where Acts create hardship through their administration those hardships should be alleviated, particularly where the hardships have been borne by people who very often, not on the ground of colour but probably on the ground of their economic circumstances, and of all colours and races, are perhaps least able to protect themselves. But when we ask ourselves whether it is not an admirable sentiment on the part of the Minister to ease the hardships of these unfortunate people, in order to get a fair picture must we not ask ourselves: Who created the hardships? Surely that is fair enough, and here we have to be quite frank and I think even the hon. the Deputy Minister will not deny it when we say that the Government with its legislation has created the hardships. Then for years and years the hardships are accentuated by debates in this House, and from this side of the House we have repeatedly over the years drawn attention to those hardships. To-day the Deputy Minister comes along with one or two provisions which will lighten some of the hardships, and with the countenance of a man who is a public benefactor he looks at us on this side and in effect says: I hope I will receive the grateful thanks of hon. members opposite for alleviating these hardships.
No, I do not expect it, nor do I want it.
The Deputy Minister certainly will not get it under these circumstances. How can a man whose Government is responsible for grave hardships expect thanks for minor alleviations of those hardships? What an extraordinary state of affairs that would be if one follows the ordinary patterns of human nature. Human nature is not like that, Sir, and least of all are hon. members opposite inclined to be thankful for small mercies when they think they suffer from great hardships. Let us face the issue. We are in this struggle on this side of the House that the more ordinary, common humanity enters into the administration of the Group Areas Act, the more the difficulty of its administration. Where do the difficulties come from that the Deputy Minister has referred to? They come from the fact that either the Board or the officers of the Board, or even the Minister himself, have found that there are hardships and they are trying to avoid them, and they are getting into difficulty with the administration. And we warned them. To take just one point, the Deputy Minister this afternoon says that as an individual he will deal with these cases. Sir, I sat in this House and heard the then Minister of the Interior say that he would deal with every one of these cases personally. Look up your Hansards. I remember an hon. member on this side at that time saying: You will have to live for 200 years if you are going to deal with all the matters that call for your personal attention in administering this Act. I repeat that I am not blind to the underlying humanity somewhere in the administration of this Act which has created the difficulties. The hon. the Deputy Minister put four categories of objects of this Bill before the House this afternoon. He said that all the clauses of this Bill fall into four categories—1, 2, 3 and 4. The only one with which I think we should busy ourselves is No. 3 which he said dealt with matters of an administrative nature and corrected mistakes that were made when the Act was consolidated and so on, but what we should really deal with this afternoon is category No. 3 in his list, the administrative matters. Sir, what do we find when we look at this Bill read with the consolidated measure? We find that all our prognostications when the Bill first came before Parliament have now been justified up to the hilt. This Bill is an admission by the Government, through the mouth of the Deputy Minister today, that the law cannot deal with the situation in regard to the principles adumbrated by the Government for the segregation of various races of people into group areas. The law cannot deal with it. The only way in which the Government can now reach its objective is to take delegated powers from the Minister and spread them to the chairman of the Board, to members of the Board and to civil servants. So by a system of permits the law is now to be asked to be made to work—not by the law but by permits. Sir, in a rather jocular frame of mind, I think, a very senior counsel to whom I referred this Bill recently said: “You know, Mr. Mitchell, if I had a law suit in terms of an Act like this, it is the kind of thing that I would leave to my heirs, and I think I would leave them a very lucrative business.” This is the kind of thing that will lead to innumerable cases with very fat legal fees attached to them. Sir, the law no longer defines the rights of individuals; it can’t; the Deputy Minister has said so. You can go now to the best legal talent that you have in South Africa, if this Bill is put on the Statute Book, and if you are one of the people who feels that your rights are infringed in any way because of the prohibition laid down in the statute from time to time and you want to know what your rights are in law, you will end up 99 times out of a 100 by being told that you can apply for a permit to escape your difficulties. Mr. Speaker, that does not tell you what your rights are, what position you occupy in law. The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) on another occasion this afternoon, said that there was a cardinal principle in regard to law; it should be certain and ascertainable. In the Group Areas Act the law is neither certain nor ascertainable and if this amending Bill is put on the Statute Book it will be less certain and less ascertainable. It is administration by permit, and the Minister is delegating his authority and his power to issue permits, to carry out investigations and to make recommendations. Even the Board itself can set up sub-committees. Sub-committees consisting of one man can be set up. Sir, is this fair to the people who have to administer the Act if you are going to have this delegated authority? I know from public experience just how tongues will waggle and I know how they are already over this very Bill in its present form; I am sure the Minister does too. There is not a member of the Board or any of the officials of the Board who have not already heard what is being said about them and about the people concerned. If all the members of the Board and their officials and everybody concerned, from the Minister and the Deputy Minister downwards, had the unblemished reputation of arch angels, they are not going to escape the wagging of evil tongues when this law is being administered any more than it is at the present time.
The hon. the Deputy Minister says “So what!”. Does he think it is fair for us to put our officials in a position where they have to face up to that sort of thing? This opens itself to patronage as probably no other Act on the Statute Book today. The hon. the Deputy Minister must know that. He knows the kind of people we are dealing with in the administration of the Group Areas Act. This is something that we have had for decade after decade in the past, not only in regard to this Act, but in regard to licensing laws and matters of that kind where the law is easily ascertainable and where it is certain—and this law is not. This Bill in essence provides for a fresh flood of permits to escape the restrictive conditions in the Act as consolidated; that is the purpose of this law. Sir, it may be based upon humanitarian reasons, and I am prepared to accept that. Some of the municipalities I believe, and possibly other folk will be pleased to welcome the easing of the restrictions. I have already heard one man very closely associated with a large municipality say: “We will now have one official to go to and we will be able to get the permits, instead of all this circumlocutionary roundabout way of dealing with this matter, instead of referring it to Pretoria and then having it referred back again for some reason or other. We will now have one official whom we can go to and we can get our permit.” Sir, is that not something that we should avoid? Is that not precisely what we on this side of the House are complaining about?
It all depends on what the Minister is going to delegate.
Sir, what the Minister can delegate is set out in the various clauses of the Bill, and presumably they are set out because the Minister intends to delegate powers under those clauses.
And also where the policy has been laid down and it is clear to the officials.
I have pointed out that under Clause 7, for example, the Minister may—
to carry out all sorts of functions—a standing committee of one—and thaf one is going to carry the full authority of the Board. The recommendations that he makes will be as though they were made by the full Board. If the Bill says that it can be a committee of one, then it is because at some time or other the Deputy Minister expects that it may be only one, otherwise he will not insert this provision here. This individual, incidentally, can exercise all the powers conferred and perform all the duties imposed upon the full Board in respect of any such inquiry conducted by it, and summons can be issued to witnesses by an officer designated by the Chairman of the Board, and so on. The Minister can delegate his powers under Clause 15 to the Chairman of the Board and then to a member of the Board or an officer of the public service—any of his powers under Clause 16 or Clause 18. These powers which are set out in Clause 15 and which may be delegated are surely powers which the Minister anticipates he will be delegating to the Chairman of the Board, and then the Chairman himself can in certain instances again delegate those powers to members of the Board and members of the public service. Those are the people who will be issuing the permits; that is the point I am making. Here we have no clear-cut law, and we on this side of the House have warned the Government about this over and over again. Where we deal with matters such as those dealt with under the Group Areas Act, we say that the person who feels that his rights are being infringed or whose home or property is in jeopardy, ought to be able to know precisely where he stands by examining the law, or if he is not himself acquainted with the law and goes to his legal adviser, his legal adviser ought to be able to advise him what his precise position is. Sir, we are not dealing with dozens of people here; we are not dealing with a few of the disqualified persons referred to in another Bill this afternoon; we are dealing with hundreds, with thousands, with tens of thousands of people whose homes and businesses are in jeopardy. The Minister stated this afternoon with a look of approval on his face, that one of the conditions that he was glad to be able to remedy now was the case of a storekeeper who was a disqualified person in a group area and who, instead of having to sell up his business and get out, would now be able to leave his business there and carry it on while he himself goes and lives in a group proclaimed for his race. That was a humanitarian point of view. The storekeeper does not lose his store now; he has not got to sell up and get out and suffer great financial loss; he can keep the business while he himself lives somewhere else. Mr. Speaker, this was one of the difficulties we raised ab initio in 1950. We pointed out that that was going to be one of the great difficulties and we asked that it should be met by the law. How is it being met to-day? By the person concerned getting a permit—delegated authority—a permit from– an official. I repeat, there is nobody who is going to be looked at more askance in the whole of the Civil Service of the Union of South Africa than the unfortunate folk whose duty it will be to issue permits in terms of the Act, as amended by this Bill.
Did you not hear me say that the prerequisite for the proclaiming of a specialspecified area is a proper investigation and advice by the Board to the Minister?
Yes, a proper investigation which may be made by one man. A sub-committee can carry out that investigation—a sub-committee of one man. Sir, the Government has been dealing with this thing for 11 years, and they still cannot come with a law which will be certain, clear and understandable, in a matter in which the livelihood, the homes and the properties of tens of thousands of our citizens are concerned. Sir, that is the thing in essence. I do not propose to labour it any further. I hope I have emphasized it because we will come back to it. This is not the last amendment of the Group Areas Act. The thing will fail and break down again and the Deputy Minister will come back once more with a smile on his face hoping that we are going to give him some thanks for some further relief for people who are suffering under his Act. I do not want to pursue that, but there is one point that I do want to pick up and that is in regard to Clause 24. Under Clause 24 (c), which amends Section 37 of the Principal Act, certain moneys which come in as a result of the transgression of this law are to be paid to the Group Areas Development Board established under the Group Areas Act, instead of into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Here I want to say at once that we on this side of the House take the strongest exception to that. Where moneys come in they should go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and Parliament should vote them for whatever the purpose may be. If the Group Areas Development Board is to have money for its functions and for whatever services it provides, it should get its money either in terms of its own statute or money voted by Parliament. Money in terms of its own statute is money voted by Parliament. But we take very strong exception to taking short-cuts of this kind with public revenue, and that money is public revenue and it should go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and then be voted for whatever the purpose may be. I know that the hon. the Deputy Minister will not be surprised when I say that this is tinkering with the whole thing. It is completely unacceptable to this side of the House. We do not propose moving any amendments, but we are going to vote against the second reading because this is not the way to deal with the problem that we are faced with in this country. This is just further tinkering. It has none of the hall marks of a solution to the problem, and it is now going from bad to worse because the law is becoming more uncertain, less understandable by the ordinary man and the nepotism and the patronage that can follow in its wake, to our mind, are entirely unjustifiable. We shall therefore oppose the second reading of this Bill.
The hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) found it very difficult indeed to-day to advance reasons as to why the Opposition is going to vote against this Bill. He did mention a few reasons, some of which are of a technical nature and with which the hon. the Deputy Minister will certainly be able to deal much better than I could. But he complained, inter alia, that this Bill was delegating too much power to officials. He had a great deal to say about this whole question of the delegation of powers. I want to point out that it is not proposed here to delegate powers to officials to make regulations, for example; powers will not be delegated to officials to formulate policy. What this Bill does is purely to relieve the Minister’s burdens; to delegate simple routine and administrative duties to officcials, duties such as the issue of permits. The Minister will still be formulating the policy and in the last resort he will still be responsible to this Parliament. It will be possible to criticize him in this House with regard to the exercise of any of these delegated powers entrusted to officials, and thereafter he will still have the power, if he considers it necessary, to withdraw those delegated powers. As has been said already, an appeal lies to the Minister in respect of the exercise of any of these delegated powers.
Another objection which the hon. member has to this Bill is that it amends the Act for the umpteenth time. Mr. Speaker, the Group Areas Act is one which is constantly used in practice. Show me any Act dealing with such a practical issue, or any Act which is worth anything, which is not amended from time to time. No, Mr. Speaker, this is not the last occasion on which this Act will be amended; it will be amended again, and if we discover in practice that certain amendments are necessary to facilitate and improve the working of this Act, we shall certainly not ask the hon. member for South Coast whether we may again amend the Act. The hon. member’s next objection is that more permits are going to be issued now. I shall show later on in the course of my speech that one of the very objects of this measure is to limit the number of permits and that fewer permits will be issued than in the past.
I think I am right in putting it this way that the object of this amending measure before us is to improve certain provisions in the Principal Act in such a way that it will be possible to implement the Act in a more practical and realistic way, and at the same time to facilitate the administration of the Act and to reduce red tape as much as possible. These amendments are being introduced as the result of practical experience gained over quite a number of years in the application of this Act, and they ought to meet with general approval. In practice this will greatly expedite the implementation of this very difficult and intricate undertaking. As a Cape resident I welcome this Bill with even greater enthusiasm because nowhere in South Africa have the different racial groups lived shoulder to shoulder as much as here in the Peninsula and in the immediate vicinity, and nowhere in South Africa has so little been done in past years to check this process of intermingling of the races in the residential sphere. On the contrary, until the National Party Government came into power there was an extremely liberal spirit of laissez-faire with the result that over a period of nearly 300 years conditions developed in this mother city of ours and in the immediate vicinity which assumed alarming and scandalous proportions.
It may also be the position elsewhere, but here in the Cape particularly the successful realization of the aims of the Group Areas Act is the key to the solution to our Coloured problem and it is the basis of the attainment of more harmonious relations between White and non-White. The Group Areas Act is the only instrument in our hands to achieve good neighbourliness with proper lines of demarcation, as the hon. the Deputy Minister put it on one occasion. As has already been indicated, this Bill contains two very important provisions. Clause 16 will give the Minister the right, after the expiration of 12 months from the date on which an area has been proclaimed and upon three months’ notice, to serve ejectment notices in that area. Such notices may be served on a whole area, on a portion or portions of the area, or on a block or on a street or even on individual occupiers within that area, and in practice this provision will produce better results than the old set-up under which, simultaneously with the proclamation of the group area, an ejectment period was fixed, the minimum of which was 12 months. Furthermore, it introduces into the Act a more realistic approach to the enormous task of moving races from one place to another on a large scale, and this provision, because of the accepted principle that such notice will only be given once adequate alternative housing is available, will also eliminate a very great deal of administrative work in respect of the permit control system. In most of the larger urban areas it has been practically impossible hitherto to clear up a particular area within the fixed period, on the one hand as a result of the unwillingness and reluctance of the local authorities to cooperate with the Department and, on the other hand, as a result of the lack of sufficient alternative housing but also as a result of the limitations of the present section of the Act. For example, in certain big areas which are declared we always find that in one spot in that area there is a big concentration of disqualified persons but that adjacent to that spot there are smaller spots or islands or even scores of individual disqualified occupiers spread right over the whole area. This Bill obviously makes it easier for the local authorities and for the Department systematically to clear up such an area as alternative housing becomes available. But it should be very strongly emphasized here that the basis of the process of clearing up the area and the basis of this huge undertaking to shift the races, is the availability of alternative housing. If the housing is not available, then we simply cannot carry out the scheme.
I want to emphasize that in this connection the Government has really contributed its share. Nobody can point a finger at the Government and say that it has not done its duty over the past few years in respect of this matter. May I point out that the total amount approved by the National Housing Board in respect of housing schemes as from the beginning of 1950 to the end of 1960, in the case of Whites is R117,502,022; for Coloureds R24,895,482; for Indians R5,844,134; for Chinese R8,000,000; in other words, a total for these racial groups of not less than R148,289,638 to which must still be added the amount for Bantu housing, namely R88,916,416, making a grand total therefore of R237,205,684. Expressed in terms of houses or housing units for the same period it means this: for Whites 28,994 houses, for Coloureds 23,928, for Indians and Chinese 4,301, a total of 57,223, to which must be added 172,413 housing units for Bantu, making a total of 229,636 houses and housing units. Mr. Speaker, in the Cape Town Municipality alone there are at the moment seven large economic schemes costing R6,246,000 under construction and there are three sub-economic schemes to the value of R2,000,000 pending. Nobody can point a finger at this Government therefore and say that we have not done our best in this connection.
Then there is Clause 12. Clause 12 makes provision for the proclamation of special specified areas. The Minister may, after proper inquiry by an ordinary committee or by an ad hoc committee of the Board proclaim such special specified areas in certain urban complexes, and thereafter he can allow a disqualified person who is trading, for example, in a special specified area from which he is required to move, to carry on with his occupation or trade in that area, with the specific proviso and on the specific understanding that that person and his family will not be allowed to live there but will have to move to the area declared as a residential area for his race.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
Just before business was suspended, I was discussing the clause dealing with special specified areas. In that connection I just want to say that I think it is certainly not the intention that this provision should be used frequently and as a general rule. On the contrary, I want to express the hope that it will only be applied in exceptional and very special cases. Because it still remains the object of the Group Areas Act that adequate provision should be made within a particular specified area for all the requirements of the racial group for whom that particular group area is set aside. But for practical purposes and in the meantime, Mr. Speaker, this provision can be of great assistance in clearing up what is otherwise a predominantly White area in which there are isolated spots occupied by Coloureds and mainly by Asiatic traders who cannot easily be moved either because of the high expropriation costs or for humanitarian reasons. But for the provisions of this Bill, it would still take years in some cases before we could get rid of such disqualified occupiers who are trading in areas, the greater part of which has already been cleared up. Under the provisions of this Bill it will now be possible to instruct such persons to go and live within the group area proclaimed for their race while continuing to make their livelihood in such a special specified area.
Mr. Speaker, as I have said, these are the two most important clauses of the Bill. There are other material improvements but I do not propose to deal with them here. I should like, however, to make an appeal to local authorities not only to give this venture their wholehearted support but also to make the greatest possible use of the provisions of this measure so that we can complete, within the shortest possible time, the process of clearing up the group areas which fall under their control. This will reduce to a bare minimum the annoying uncertainty, the gnawing fear and uneasiness in the minds of the groups concerned, because of the possibility of suffering deprivation.
There is ample evidence that the principle of the Group Areas Act, even in our part of the world, in spite of the stubborn opposition that we have had hitherto from the United Party-controlled City Council of Cape Town is accepted and welcomed. In this connection I want to quote just a few witnesses. This is what appeared in the Cape Times of 3 October 1959—
And is there anyone who would allege at this stage that the time is not overdue and that it is not absolutely essential to clear up slums in certain areas in the vicinity of Cape Town? But I find in the Burger of 5 October 1959, that Mrs. E. M. Harding, chairman of the Ratepayers’ Association of Ward 15, in opening a new residential area for Coloureds in Retreat, said the following—
Mrs. Harding is certainly not a Nationalist. But I want to call a witness on a wider plane, the Rev. J. A. J. Steenkamp, Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church, who, according to the Burger of 8 February 1961, recently stated, after he had been doing research for four years for a thesis for his doctor’s degree in connection with the place of the Coloured in the economic structure of the Western Cape—
And where this principle is not accepted and is not welcomed, the opposition to it has ceased long ago. In this connection Dr. R. E. van der Ross, a well-known Leftist Coloured leader in the Peninsula, complained at the beginning of 1959 before the South African Institute of Race Relations that the Group Areas Act was not meeting with sufficient opposition in the Peninsula nowadays. But in the written policy of the United Party, under the heading “Rights of the Coloured People ”, we find the following—
These “suburbs of their own” can only be obtained in one way and that is through the Group Areas Act. Mr. Speaker, if only we will display political honesty and sincerity the Group Areas Act can be used to achieve the best results for all sections and all races of the population, with the least harm, fear and hardship. But in that case we must certainly not act like the hon. member for Outeniqua (Mr. Holland). Last year he voted here together with the Opposition for separate facilities on beaches. The Golden City Post of 21 January 1960, tackled the hon. member about it and accused him of being “in love” with apartheid. What was his defence? He replied, to quote this magazine, that “he votes that way because of ducktails, said Long Bill ”. And then the Golden City Post goes on to say that—
And listen to this, Mr. Speaker—
In conclusion, I want to deal with the unfounded charge that the Group Areas Act only hits certain racial groups and that more often than not it is specifically designed against particular non-White groups. I want to refer by way of illustration to a statement by Miss Muriel Horrell, technical officer of the S.A. Institute of Race Relations, in which she alleges—
That is the type of malicious story that the Liberals in the Opposition camp like to spread. Except, of course, in cases like Bellville South where a large number of Whites had to be uprooted as a result of the application of the Group Areas Act. In that case the United Party and its Press intervened enthusiastically to try to incite the Whites against the Government by telling them in a heart-stirring way how the Government was cruelly taking away their home and hearth, which they had bought with their life’s savings, and giving it to the Coloureds.
And if members of the United Party were not living in glass houses themselves, they might be at liberty perhaps to throw stones. But what did my hon. friends do when they were in power? Let us hear what their friend, Alan Paton, says in his publication, “The People Wept ”. He says—
And, after all, it was the hon. member for South Coast who talked about “hardships ”. Sir, we who sit in this House all know about the Asiatic Land Tenure Act, Act 28 of 1946, which was passed by the United Party Government. That Act imposed a large number of discriminatory restrictions upon a specific racial group, namely, the Asiatics. It imposed restrictions on certain agreements with regard to fixed property; it placed restrictions on the ownership of immovable property as far as Asiatic companies were concerned; it placed restrictions on the occupation of certain land in Natal and the Transvaal; yes, it even placed restrictions on the guests, visitors and employees of Asiatics in respect of occupation for business or trading purposes. The restrictions were so severe that at that time the Indians resorted to passive resistance and sought international aid. They went to UNO and UNO passed a resolution, about which Contact wrote as follows on 12 July 1958—
No, if the Opposition is honest in alleging that they are also in favour of residential segregation, then in the future they should in all honesty and fairness use their influence with their Press and with their liberalistic friends, the Cape Town City Council and in the country to persuade them to abandon this nonsensical and unnecessary obstruction and malice with a view to expediting this comprehensive and difficult task in the interests of all racial groups in South Africa.
I want to reply just to one or two points which were made by the last hon. member who spoke, the hon. member for Parow (Mr. Kotzé). He said at one stage that the Group Areas Act was a way of getting “beter gesindheid tussen die rassegroepe ”. I reject that entirely and seeing that the hon. member spoke particularly of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula, I want to ask him what he thinks the effect on the Coloured people will be on the recent proclamations which have been proclaimed in the Cape Peninsula, can he possibly suggest that that kind of proclamation is going to lead to better relations between the races in the Cape Peninsula?
The second point that I wish to reply to, is a related point. I shall deal with the proclamations at a later stage and in a little more detail. But the second point is the statement that “skrikwekkende en skandalige toestande geheers het in die Skiereiland ”. That statement I also reject. A pattern has developed in the Cape Peninsula over the last 300 years, which to a certain extent has involved mixed residential areas. For the most part people have in fact sought to live amongst their own people and the measure of mixing was very limited. I think it is only since the Nationalist Party came into power that there has actually been friction in these areas because of the race prejudice which has been whipped up by the Nationalist Party. But even if one takes the position as it exists to-day, can one compare the friction which might have existed because there was a certain measure of mixing in residential areas with the hardship that will be caused by the proclamations which have just been proclaimed in the Cape Peninsula?
Where does the hardship come in?
Of course there will be hardship, because some thousands of people will have to be moved in terms of these recent proclamations. Accurate statistics are not available, and I want to say that it is most regrettable that the Group Areas Board can make these proclamations without having accurate statistics of the number of people who will have to be moved.
Why do not the Cape Town Council co-operate?
I have sympathy with the Cape Town Council in not co-operating, because it is an inhuman Act, and I cannot complain about the attitude of the Cape Town Council. It is an extremely tricky situation for the Cape Town City Council to know whether it should co-operate with the Government and assist the Government in defining areas, and certainly the Government has no right to lay the blame at the door of the City Council. The third point I want to make is that the hon. member for Parow said that the Group Areas Act was a way of clearing some of the slums. Mr. Speaker, there are much better ways of clearing slums than the Group Areas Act.
Coming to the Bill, we are opposed to this Bill. We are fundamentally opposed to the main Act, which is one of the most vicious Acts on our Statute Book, if not the most vicious Act.
Order! The hon. member may not reflect in that way on an Act passed by this House.
Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the word “vicious ”. May I use the term “inhuman ”?
Then I will use the word “unfortunate ”, It is one of the most unfortunate, if not the most unfortunate Acts on our Statute Book. We object fundamentally to the main Act. Not a single one of the drastic powers already existing in the main Act has been taken away in terms of this amending Bill. What is proposed, is that the Minister shall have new alternative powers, and in some respects these powers are even more unfortunate than the powers which exist at present. Certainly none of the old powers is relinquished. The effect of this Bill is that the Government has a greater variety of ways of depriving people of their property rights. When it is suggested that there are concessions in this Bill, that impression is quite false. There are certain very minor concessions, but I think the answer to that suggestion contained in the words of the hon. Minister himself when he said—
There are certain new powers given which may achieve the same result in a different manner, but there is absolutely no deviation from the policy of the Government. If that is so, there is no concession in this amending Bill, and we reject it. It is no improvement whatsoever on the main Act, and in fact one of the most important clauses effects an even more unfortunate result than previously.
One of the two most important clauses is Clause 12 of the amending Bill which introduces a new Section 16 bis into the main Act. That is the clause which entitles the Minister to define areas for a particular purpose, and the hon. the Minister in his speech when he introduced the Bill in the Senate and again to-day here, referred to this as an important concession. Mr. Speaker, it only becomes an important concession if the hon. Minister will drop the more drastic power he has got of removing these people altogether. If the hon. the Minister were to come here and say: I shall not proclaim group areas but only define them in terms of this measure, then it would be a concession. Such a change of policy we would regard as a concession. But in the way it is obviously going to be used, it is no concession whatsoever. With that clause I wish to deal in more detail later. The point I want to make now that this is not a concession.
Then again there is another clause, Clause 16 which introduces a new Section 20 in the main Act. This too might be described as a power which is similar to an existing power, but slightly different, the power when one proclaims a group area, not to define an evacuation date at the same time, but to leave it to be published in the Gazette, the power which allows the hon. the Minister not to give an evacuation date for all people in a particular area, but for the people in a portion of that group area, or even in respect of individual persons. I say that this is not just an alternative method of proclaiming group areas, but it is more unfortunate in its effect than the previous power. Those are the two main clauses in the Bill, and I mention them at once because the Bill should be judged mainly on those two clauses.
I want to deal, however, with some of the less important clauses to show to what extent provisions can be regarded as concessions and the extent to which they are offset by other clauses, admittedly not important ones, which in effect make the law more stringent. Let me therefore first of all deal with one or two of the minor relaxations. They are hardly worthy of the name of concessions in a Bill of this nature, but they are minor relaxations. For instance Clause 23 of this Bill repeals the old Section 31. Previously, where a person applied for a trading licence to a municipality, he had to go to an official of the Group Areas Board to get a certificate that he was not a disqualified person in respect of the premises for which the trading licence was required and that he would be able to occupy the particular site. Now it is no longer necessary to get that certificate. One must still be qualified in terms of the law, but one does not need the certificate. The Minister is getting rid of the extra red-tape of having to get a certificate from the Group Areas Board in applying to the municipality for a trading licence. One can accept that as a minor concession. Obviously a lot of people have been greatly irritated by this unnecessary red-tape, including Europeans.
Then there is Clause 27 of the Bill which gives the magistrate a discretion where he has to sentence an unlawful occupier. He is now given a discretion whether to order his ejectment or not. Previously, in terms of the law, he was compelled to do so; now he is specifically given a discretion. It is a minor concession, but in practice it does not appear to be a very important one, because even up to now, whatever the law was, magistrates have in fact, in many cases, not ordered ejectment but given a suspended sentence, or have overcome the provisions of the law in some similar fashion. This, too, is a very minor concession. Then again in Clause 14, provision is made for giving a general permit to cover cases where a cinema owner or an institution wants to allow disqualified persons on the premises. It has been suggested that, as a matter of law a permit is required in each individual case. This clause makes it quite clear that a general permit can be obtained. Again a very minor concession. And, finally, Clause 10, where there is an exemption from the provision in Section 15 relating to occupation in specified areas. The exemption here is slightly widened. So there are these very minor relaxations.
But to offset these minor relaxations, there are also clauses where the law is tightened up. I don’t say that they are very important, but nonetheless they more than offset the kind of minor concession which I have been describing. In Clause 8 for instance there is now a prohibition on the actual acquisition of immovable property in controlled areas. Previously the prohibition was on agreements to acquire property in controlled areas. And because the prohibition was framed in that way, people who had entered into agreements before 1951 could still acquire property in terms of those agreements, and people could inherit property, even though disqualified, because that would not be an agreement to acquire. Now both those things are rendered illegal by this Bill. So this is a tightening up of the Act in regard to the acquisition of property in controlled areas. Then again Clause 16 is also a clause which tightens up the Act, the clause extending the presumption where a person is charged and the question of his disqualification is in issue. It is provided in this clause that—
The allegation shall be presumed to be correct, unless the contrary is proved. This is an extension of the presumption against persons. Thirdly, there is another tightening-up clause, although not very important: In Clause 19 the prohibition on the acquisition of property in a group area for ownership is extended to the administrators of deceased estates, beneficiaries of which are disqualified persons.
So we have clauses such as these which tighten up the law and they more than offset the minor relaxations which I enumerated. Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to cover all or even many of the clauses of this Bill. I have chosen a few by way of illustration. I do not, for instance, propose to deal with the question of border strips.
I want to come back to the main clauses of this Bill, firstly, to Clause 12, which introduces Section 16 bis, which enables the Minister to define an area for a particular purpose. As I said before, this is no concession. It would only be a concession if the hon. Minister were prepared to drop his power to proclaim group areas and to remove people lock, stock and barrel. However, it is obvious that he does not intend to do that. But I want to show what limited scope is offered by this clause. Mr. Speaker, this power cannot be exercised at all in group areas. It has no relation whatever to those group areas which have been proclaimed and in respect of which it has already been laid down that people will have to move not only in respect of their residential rights, but also their business rights. So it cannot operate in group areas at all. It can only operate in areas which are defined in terms of Section 16 (3). Those areas form only a small part of the controlled areas. Part of the controlled area becomes a specified area, and these special specified areas form again a small part of the specified areas. In fact what usually happens is that particular properties are defined. Invariably, so it seems to me (I should like to have the hon. Minister’s comment on this particular point) invariably the properties, call them areas if you like, which are defined in terms of Section 16 (3) are Indian properties, properties owned by Asiatics, and the object of defining them is to stop development which is regarded as being unfortunate for the future. That is confirmed by a paragraph in a book by Mr. Rousseau on the Group Areas Act, on page 12, where he states specifically (I may say that Mr. Rousseau is the legal adviser to the Group Areas Board, so he clearly knows what he is talking about)—
It only happens in relation to Asiatic development. That is regarded as undesirable. It affects Asiatic properties which are defined in terms of Section 16 (3), and that is the limit of the scope of this new clause which entitles the Minister to limit areas for business purposes only or for a particular purpose only. So it is clear that it does not apply in group areas. A further limitation is that where it is stated that the Minister can declare areas for one particular purpose, and it is suggested that he will do so for business purposes, that is subject to the qualification that a person can only carry on business if he is allowed to carry on business also by the municipal regulations. The position is not that one can create a business area here. One is still subject to the municipal regulations which confine trading to particular sites. I say that the scope of this Section 16 bis is extremely limited. But apart from its scope, what are we doing? One is still getting rid of people, removing them for residential purposes to some other area though leaving them for business purposes. Now that too has an economic aspect, because many of the people, in particular the kind of people to whom this clause is intended to refer, do live above their shops, and it is a way of making their shops economic. So if they are forced to move their residential quarters to areas which in many cases are far away, their shops are no longer economic. It has an economic effect on their business as well as the effect of removing them to other residential areas. Quite apart from the economic effect, it is extremely awkward for these people. As I say, I chose the example of the Indians because this clause relates almost entirely to the Indians. Take an area like Pretoria. Claudius is many miles away from the Indian business areas and if they must live at Claudius and work in another area that is a substantial disadvantage to the type of shopkeeper who is only just making a living out of his business.
Tell me, do White people living in Rondebosch have their shops in Cape Town central?
Of course they do, but I am now talking of Indian shopkeepers of whom many can only run a business because they are able to take advantage of living on the same premises as their shop. You cannot compare their position with that of a White person. In many cases I come to town by car, and for my purposes there very probably will be public transport which will take me from my residence to my business. Will the hon. the Minister give the assurance that there will be similar public transport from Claudius to all the areas where there will be Indian shops in Pretoria?
There is a railway there and bus services.
I make the statement categorically that it will not be nearly as convenient as the example with which the Minister challenged me, that of people in Rondebosch having businesses in Cape Town. Of course there will be public transport. They may get on one bus and change to get on to another bus or, if they are lucky, they may be able to do the trip in one. But the point I am making is that for the Indians who can only just run an economic business, this is a very real hardship. [Interjections.]
Order, order! Hon. members must please not speak so loudly while the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) is making his speech.
May I say it is particularly hard on the kind of Indian shopkeeper who has to keep late hours, such as a café owner.
There is one other point I want to add in connection with this clause. As far as Clause 16 bis is concerned it deals only with occupation. But it does not mean that the Minister cannot proclaim that area as a Group Area for ownership. I do not know whether it is his intention to do so, but there is no safeguard against it being done. That area can be declared a group area for ownership or a race different from the occupiers. If that is done and another race is forced to acquire, in due course, the ownership of the property, then there is no security for the Indian shopkeeper or his descendants who may wish to continue with the business in that area. So that as far as this important clause is concerned, which has been represented as an important concession in terms of the hon. the Deputy Minister’s speech, we reject it as a concession. Its scope is extremely limited. The Minister retains all the powers he had previously. It would only become a concession if the Minister were to drop his powers to proclaim group areas, and he has clearly indicated that he does not intend to do so.
As regards the other important clause, which is Clause 14, amending Section 20 of the main Act, this is the clause which entitles the Minister, when proclaiming a group area, not to proclaim the evacuation date at the time when he proclaims the group area but to publish the evacuation date in the Government Gazette, either then or at a later stage. It entitles him to do it for the whole area and all the persons living in that proclaimed area, or for a portion of the area, or even for individuals. I can understand the advantage of this clause, from the point of view of the hon. the Minister, because at present, if he proclaims an area, for instance, where there are 500 disqualified persons he must see that there is alternative accommodation. That he accepts.
It has always been accepted.
I am glad that he accepts it now at any rate. The Minister must then ensure that at the time when this evacuation date arrives, there is alternative accommodation for these 500 people. I can see, from the Ministers point of view, it is unsatisfactory to set aside or to build some 500 houses which may be unoccupied for a substantial time until the date of evacuation. I can see that it is much more satisfactory from the Minister’s point of view to be able to move people by degrees. It is more satisfactory also from this point of view, that up to now it has been extremely difficult in practice to show sufficient alternative housing to ensure that his proclamation is not held invalid. The danger of that happening was demonstrated in the Lockhat case of last year. This new provision will make it more difficult to go to Court and defeat a Group Areas proclamation. So that I can see the advantage from the Minister’s point of view. I am not suggesting here that that should be a reason why we should oppose it, the fact that it now makes litigation more difficult. I merely point to the fact that I can see the obvious advantages from the Minister’s point of view.
However, Sir, its effect on the people is unfortunate. Previously, one did know where one stood and there was a certain amount of security. One would know that in a year’s time or in five years’ time or in seven years’ time, the evacuation date would come if one was a disqualified person and that one would have to move out. It may be that one would be able to get a permit after that time, but one would know that that was the time after which one no longer had a fixed right to be there. But now one is subject to three months’ notice. It is true that an initial period of one year must elapse after the proclamation, but at any time after that, one could be moved on three months’ notice. That leaves one in a very great state of uncertainty indeed. It makes it impossible for any shopkeeper who must take in stock for a long period, for at least a year. For him the three months’ notice is quite insufficient. It may be that he has already had that year’s warning at the start, but he may hope still to be there for some years. But he cannot bank on it and he is left in a particular state of uncertainty.
I here want to draw attention to one of the effects of this clause. Where an evacuation date has been proclaimed and has already passed, this clause has no effect on it. But where a proclamation has been proclaimed which, say, gives five years for evacuation, and that five years has not elapsed, that period of grace falls away. Even though up to the passing of this Bill one had a right to be left until the end of that five years, once this Bill is passed one is subject to three months’ notice. For instance, there is the Prinsloo Street area in Pretoria. Their date for evacuation is, I think, 1962, but if this Bill is passed it becomes three months’ notice. And these areas which have been proclaimed in Cape Town with the indication that seven years was to be given before the people were to be forced out of the area, are also now affected. There is no security, even for the seven years, because they are now subject to removal in less than a year. After nine months has elapsed since the date of proclamation the Minister can give them three months’ notice in which to move and they must move. That is a most unfortunate effect of this particular clause and it tremendously increases the uncertainty which exists. I say also that the power to deal with individuals is open to abuse. I am not suggesting that there is necessarily going to be abuse, I merely put the point that it is open to abuse; it leaves the way open for victimization and from that point of view I also regard it as unsatisfactory.
This is the most important clause in this amending Bill. It does not relax the effect of these group areas proclamations, it in no way relaxes the hardships but, in fact, it increases the uncertainty under the Act. We see no concessions whatever worthy of that name in this Bill. The hon. the Deputy Minister has said that there is to be no deviation from the policy of the Government. He can still achieve the same object that he did before in a slightly different way, so there is no concession. This Group Areas Act undoubtedly has caused and will cause tremendous hardship in the uprooting of people. There is compensation in certain cases, but it is quite inadequate. In very many cases it cannot possibly compensate people for the loss of their property. One has only to look at the Cape Peninsula proclamations to see how many people will be moved under these proclamations. These Coloured settlements in the Cape Peninsula between the railway line and the mountain have existed for a long time. There is that hamlet near Kirstenbosch, the area in Dean Street in Newlands, in Claremont, in Constantia, long-standing established communities which are harming no one but which are forced to move under these proclamations. This is only the newest of a long list of proclamations which are most unfortunate in their effect.
I want to mention another new development which is taking place, proclaimed on 3 February. I see that there is now to be a new group, the Zanzibari Arabs. To what extent are we going to go in this separation of people? Now there is to be an Indian group which includes—
- (i) any person who in fact is or is generally accepted as a member of a race or tribe whose national home is in India or Pakistan; and
- (ii) any person who in fact is or is generally accepted as a member of the race or tribe known as the Zanzibari Arabs (also known as Zanzibari or Kivas).
And now even this Indian group is to be split up. For certain purposes in the district of Durban and Pinetown these Zanzibari Arabs I are to be a separate group.
Talk about something you know about.
I agree that I do not know them, but look at the length to which we are going. Why is it necessary for this small group of people to be declared a separate group? Why is it necessary for the 300 Chinese in Cape Town to have a separate area set aside for them? Surely they can be left where they are? To what extent are we going to take this rigid separation of our people?
Mr. Speaker, we in the Progressive Party are totally opposed to this Act. We are totally opposed to the principle of removing persons by compulsion from properties where they have legally established themselves. We shall, at the first opportunity, repeal the Group Areas Act. We have stated that before and we shall state it again: We shall repeal this Act as soon as wet get into power. This does not mean that we are in favour of residential integration. I think the great majority of people in South Africa prefer to live amongst their own people. We are not opposed to certain areas being developed for occupation by one racial group only. We hope that local authorities will encourage township owners to develop certain townships for one racial group only and in those areas we do not object to the acquisition of property being controlled, but that is subject to two qualifications: Firstly, that there should be fair treatment in the provision of areas for all racial groups and, secondly, that there should be no attempt to control all areas in this way. There must be proper provision for those people who do not wish to live in the segregated areas or who do not wish for a safeguard that they shall for all time be in a segregated area. That is basically the principle on which we approach this matter of residential separation.
To sum up, we are fundamentally opposed to this Act. It represents no deviation in the policy of the Nationalist Government. It contains no important concessions. Not one single drastic power of the Group Areas Act is removed in terms of this amending Bill, and we shall oppose it.
The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) told us nothing that we did not know when he said that they were against the principle of the Group Areas Act. We know that they are against racial separation; we know that they are in favour of integration in every sphere, and we knew therefore that they would also be against the Group Areas Act and against this Bill. But the hon. member went on to make a plea for the Indians who, he says, will not be able to sleep in their shops. The hon. member overlooks the fact that this Bill does give relief to the Indians in this respect that they will not be required to move their businesses. The amendment which is proposed here actually gives them a measure of relief therefore. But what objection has the hon. member to requiring Indians to travel a few miles to their business premises? The answer will be that it will make their businesses uneconomic. As far as we know that is not the position. Moreover, this does not apply to the Indians only; it applies to every race. It also applies to the Whites. We have White workers who are not rich, who do not earn much and who have to travel 20 or 25 miles to their places of employment. If the principle mentioned by the hon. member is such an important one, then he probably expects us to say that these people should also be allowed to sleep at their places of employment. No, the argument advanced here by the hon. member is a ridiculous one.
The hon. member went on to refer to the latest proclamations here in Cape Town and he asked what the effect of these proclamations would be on the Coloureds. He wanted to know whether this would make for better race relations. We say that these Coloureds will be happy and contented once they find out what the effects and the results of the group areas are, once they find out that they have been misled by the propaganda of the Opposition and the English-language Press and others. But it is this propaganda which is responsible to a certain extent for the dissatisfaction which prevails at the moment.
I suppose you are also thinking of Dawie of the Burger.
If the hon. member would only speak up I might be able to reply to him. Sir, if the hon. member who is mumbling here in his beard will only give me an opportunity to proceed, I want to point out that a great deal has been said here this evening about the so-called hardships, the inhumanity of this sort of legislation. The hon. member for East London (North) referred to it and the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) also dealt with it. There are perhaps cases where people suffer hardship initially, but the Government and the Group Areas Board act with the greatest degree of humanity and fairness. Wherever possible they come to people’s assistance. Our experience is that in those cases where people are dissatisfied initially, eventually, once they are settled and see what the true position is, they are happy and contented because they then realize that they are living under better conditions than they did previously. That argument is very much exaggerated therefore.
Hon. members also wanted to know why the Group Areas Act was amended so frequently. The hon. member for South Coast says that this Bill only proves that the Group Areas Act cannot be implemented. Initially when the Government introduced the group areas legislation, it was said that it would never be possible to implement it; that it was an impossible task. The Government realized that this was a formidable task but it was prepared to tackle it; it was determined to carry it out successfully, and I say that there is evidence already that we are achieving success. We have evidence to-day to show that this task that we were prepared to tackle, can and will be successfully carried out. Those people who say that it is impossible need only look at what is being done already. These amendments which are being introduced here, are designed, as the hon. the Deputy Minister has said, to facilitate the administration of the Act to a certain extent. But on the other hand, Mr. Speaker, here we were entering upon new ground, we had no previous experience and knowledge that we could rely upon. There was no previous legislation which we could use as a guide. We had to find our way gradually, and as we went along we had to adapt the legislation to the new situation and to the changed circumstances. What is wrong with introducing amendments to adapt the legislation to the changed situation?
Reference has been made here to the local authorities. One of the problems has been that municipalities have not been helpful in every case; there has even been open opposition. Surely the Government cannot allow local authorities to thwart the national policy and the Government’s policy. This is a principle which has been accepted by this House and by the country, and where local authorities refuse to co-operate, other steps simply have to be taken to carry out the national policy. Fortunately we are able to say that there have been very few cases where we have not received co-operation. I do not want to enlarge upon that because it is not relevant here. I just want to say that those local authorities who have not given their co-operation, are very anxious though, to have the benefits that result from the application of the Group Areas Act, benefits such as slum clearance, higher valuations where an area has been cleared, etc.
In the main the objections which we have had here are really confined to two clauses to which I want to refer just briefly. The one is the clause to which the hon. member for East London (North) referred so often, namely in connection with the setting aside of special areas. I refer to Clause 12, which amends Section 16. It has already been stated here to-day that there will be public sittings of the Group Areas Board; the interested parties, the local authorities, etc., will be able to make representations and proposals to the Board. Recommendations will then go to the Minister, and whatever steps are taken will be taken with circumspection. But what hon. members overlook is that this is a great improvement on the present or on the previous position. This is a concession; it does provide a degree or relief, and the amendment which is being introduced here is a good one. This is a step which is being taken to meet people, the very people who, according to hon. members, are to-day suffering hardships. This is one of the amendments which is designed to eliminate any possibility of hardship. The hon. member for South Coast says that these people will have to have permits to continue to run their businesses there. In fact the position is the very opposite. In these areas which will be declared for a special purpose, where certain buildings can be set aside for certain businesses, the position in fact is that permits will not be necessary except in the case of buildings which are used for some purpose other than that for which they have been proclaimed. In other words, this provision will reduce rather than increase the number of permits.
The amendment which is probably of the greatest importance to Group Areas is that contained in Clause 16, which amends Section 20 of the Act. This is an amendment which provides that after the expiration of a year from the date of the proclamation, disqualified persons may be ordered, on three month’s notice, to vacate a certain area. The hon. member for East London (North) says that this is a short period. But the important and cardinal point which must be borne in mind here is that those people will not be ordered to leave the area until such time as alternative provision has been made for them, until such time as they are able to make alternative provision for themselves, or, if they are non-Whites who are unable to make provision for themselves, until such time as alternative housing is made available for them. Why should they be given more time once alternative provision has been made for them? Moreover, this provision may even result in longer periods being available than has been the position in the past. Whereas in the past a certain period was simply fixed and it was difficult to determine how long it would take to clear up a certain area—and it may have taken longer than the period laid down in advance—people will not be ordered now to leave the area until such time as they have alternative housing. Surely that is a very great improvement. Why then should hon. members mention this here as an objection and suggest that people are going to suffer under this provision? The hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton) smiles, but that is the position.
I am smiling because we asked for this 12 years ago.
Hon. members opposite are trying to suggest that, as far back as 12 years ago, they made certain proposals and certain prophecies. They predicted that we would realize that it was impossible to implement this legislation. We have evidence to-day which shows that this Government is going to apply this legislation successfully, to the satisfaction of all races.
Where is that happening?
Mr. Speaker, this amendment also makes it easier to apply the Group Areas Act in this respect, that it will now be possible to develop an area from one end; to order people in a given block to leave the area. That is a very great improvement on the old provision. Here I just want to point out again that the hon. member for South Coast alleges that this Bill will greatly increase the number of permits. I have shown already that the number of permits will be reduced in these special areas. But in this case, too, the number of permits will be reduced, because, in the past, when a certain period was fixed in the proclamation, unqualified persons had to obtain permits for an extension after that period, if there was still no alternative housing available. Those permits are also being eliminated entirely now. But I just want to say again that the main point, and the crux of this matter, is that the development of group areas is now being made subject to the provision of housing. That is the underlying premise, and that is the important point that must be borne in mind.
Then I just want to say a word or two about the so-called cruelty and inhumanity to which reference has been made so often in this debate. The vast majority of the non-Whites—I do not say all of them—who are affected by the Group Areas Act are living in areas where housing conditions are extremely poor. We see it here in the Peninsula and in other places, and we cannot get away from that fact. Now they are not only being given decent housing, but they are being given housing under better conditions. Moreover, other facilities are being provided for them; better services are being provided in conjunction with these housing schemes which are coming into being as a result of the proclamation of group areas. Health services, schools, etc., are provided there. They are getting all these services in the new residential areas which are being established. That is why I say that the vast majority of these people who are affected by the Act, and to whom hon. members referred, will be better off. Under this Group Areas Act, as amended, the leeway caused by the neglect on the part of local authorities in many cases will now be made up. That will happen here in Cape Town in particular. I just want to point out that in the area of this one local authority, which refused to co-operate under the Group Areas Act, there was a leeway of 20,000 houses for Coloureds when this Act came into operation. As a result of the application of this Act, that need is now being met and this leeway will be made up. How can hon. members talk about inhumanity in these circumstances? Mr. Speaker, in these areas, as has been pointed out here in passing, these people are also being given greater opportunities to lead a decent existence, and to build up and to develop their own community and to have more say eventually in controlling their own affairs.
So much with regard to the non-Whites. On the other hand it has also been stated frequently that the Whites, too, are suffering under the Group Areas Act. Hon. members of the Opposition are inclined, when an area is proclaimed from which the Whites have to move, to raise a hullabaloo because the poor Whites, according to them, suffer as a result of that proclamation. When the reverse happens, and it is the non-Whites who have to move, then the same thing is done. Both groups derive benefits from it. The White workers who have been unable to buy apartheid for themselves in select residential areas, now also enjoy the benefits of these group areas.
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I want to say that this Group Areas Act, with the amendments that we are proposing here, benefits both racial groups, in spite of what has been said here and in spite of the propaganda that is being made against it, in the English-language Press as well.
Finally, there is one more clause to which I want to refer, and that is in connection with the border strips. I feel that this, too, is a great improvement on the old provision. Previously, where a group area was proclaimed, it took a long time before a border strip was proclaimed, which then had to be advertised again, etc. It took a long time. It caused uncertainty and created other problems. Now the border strip can be proclaimed together with the original proclamation, which is a very great improvement. I do not want to refer to the other clauses and the other improvements. I think those are things that we can discuss in the Committee stage. I say again that that is the sum total of the amendments, the improvements, proposed in this Bill. On the one hand they are administrative improvements; on the other hand they give relief to those people who are affected by proclamations under the Group Areas Act.
Mr. Speaker, both the last speakers on the Government side of the House have gone to considerable lengths to try and justify this amending Bill as well as the original Act. They have called to their aid all the means that they could, and when I look through my notes I find that these really boil down to three things. The first one is the concessions which, they claim, are being made in this Bill. The second one is justification because United Party policy also lends itself towards social and residential separation. The third one is the provision of housing or alternative accommodation.
It is, of course, questionable what concessions these really are, and how far they go. We have had quite a lot of argument on them this evening and I will deal with the particular question of those concessions, especially the trading concessions, a little later on. When it comes to the question of the United Party policy of social and residential separation, we must say that is our policy. We are not running away from it as the hon. member for Parow (Mr. Kotzé) seems to think. But let me assure you, Sir, that the method of application of our social and residential separation is so completely different from the application of this Government’s policy of apartheid that they cannot possibly be compared.
Are you now referring to the Pegging Act?
I am just referring to a difference in policy. When we come to the question of providing housing, the hon. member for Parow quoted some figures to show what this Government is doing. He quoted a figure. I think, of some R884,000 that had been set aside specifically for Indian housing. Two years ago in this House, when this question was under discussion, I think the hon. the Minister will remember that I estimated that in Durban alone the cost of rehousing the Indians, who are to be moved, would run into a figure of some £50,000,000, that is R100,000,000. At the time there were indications that all the hon. members on that side of the House thought I was exaggerating. But let me remind them that during the last month or so that figure has been confirmed by a man who has had a lot to do with the working of group areas and the housing of people displaced by the Act in Durban. I quote Mr. Carte, who was at one time Mayor of Durban, and who has now confirmed that a figure of some £50,000,000 will be required to rehouse the Indians being moved under the Group Areas Act. And that is in Durban alone. Imagine the fantastic cost that is going to be involved in moving not only members of the Indian group, but members of the other groups who are being displaced and for whom alternative accommodation, has to be found. It will run into a figure which will take many, many years for this country to be able to find. Hence I believe that the intention of the hon. the Minister in altering the fixed date is more to suit his own convenience than to give any relaxations and to be able to see a little further into the future. I believe that when he really gets down to his job, he will find that the costs are so fantastic that he will come back to Parliament with more amendments so that he can slow this process down. I wonder to what extent he will be able to speed it up when he gets to the stage where he has to find accommodation for all these people who are going to be displaced.
There is one more point on which I would like to touch, a point which was also touched on by the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld). He mentioned the question of the “Zanzibaris” or the “Kivas” being made members of a group within a group. I do not know, Mr. Speaker, whether you will allow me to go into the question relating to these people at the moment, under the amendment. I am not sure whether it is not properly a population registration matter.
It has nothing to do with this Bill.
I quite agree, but it has been brought up during the debate, and I would bring it up again if I will be allowed to do so, but I am prepared to abide by your ruling, Sir.
I cannot allow the hon. member to go into details.
All I want to do is to mention that I believe that the fact that this particular group of people, having been placed as a group within a group, is an indication that the Group Areas Act and the amendments thereto which are now before the House, have reached a stage where it is necessary to reclassify people to make them fit the Act rather than making an Act which would fit them as human beings.
But this has nothing to do with the Act or with any of these amendments!
I am not going any further with the matter but I would like to point out that we are discussing the Group Areas Act and I think I will repeat the statement which I have made, namely that this Act and the administration thereof, have reached such a low stage now, that people are being reclassified to fit into the Act rather than the Act meeting the circumstances of ordinary human beings. I will prove this statement at the earliest opportunity, but I will not go any further with it at this stage. Before I deal with those particular clauses I want to deal with in this Bill, I want to say that this is a very complicated Bill. On that, I think, we are all agreed. I think the hon. Deputy Minister will agree with that too. The amendments which have been brought forward here—there are altogether, I think, some 60 amendments—have been brought in at short notice. Although he has published a White paper on the Bill the time factor has not allowed sufficient time, especially with a view to consultations. I would therefore suggest to him, Sir, that when introducing a measure such as this, the longest possible notice should be given to enable us not only to study the implications of an amending Bill such as this, but also to consult with those people who are affected. They are long distances away—in my particular case, it is a matter of 1,000 miles. I can assure you, further, that consultation on matters like this is not so easy and everybody will therefore appreciate if the Minister could publish his Bill in advance or give us some opportunity of not having to deal with it in such a rushed manner. I do not think that, bringing it like this, leads to legislation being properly considered.
Coming to the amendments proposed in this Bill I must first of all say that I agree absolutely with the hon. member for Natal (South Coast) (Mr. Mitchell) where he expressed the belief that the introduction of amendments delegating power as is being done in these amendments, is a complete admission that this Bill or the Act cannot work through the ordinary processes of the law. That is quite obvious because, otherwise, it would not be necessary to delegate all this authority and to hand it to a number of local authorities, local managers, which is what the Minister is actually doing, to work out the fate of these people according to each one’s case. In other words, Sir, this Act is obviously not handling the affairs of groups properly and is now being broken down to handle the case of individuals one by one according to the judgment of some local authority—not a local authority in the true sense of the word, but a local official.
I now want to turn to Clause 5 (a) because, I believe, this clause introduces a quite now principle into our law. I believe it changes our whole concept of law, that is, if we accept the principle which is embodied in this particular clause. A long time ago—I think it was some 2,000 years as a matter of fact— our system of justice was introduced on the basis of Roman law, the basis of which was that you should hear the other side; both sides should be heard. Our law has been set on that foundation ever since that time, and has been accepted throughout the world, even amongst the most primitive tribes one can find. Even they have accepted the principle that both men should be given an equal opportunity of putting their cases. But in this clause, the Government now proposes to abolish this principle. It proposes to remove that principle entirely from our system of legislation, and is bringing in a system in terms of which only one side of a case will be heard. But I think even the hon. Deputy Minister will accept that it is not his intention to introduce that principle into our law. If he studies Clause 5 carefully, he will see that the new principle of reporting a recommendation without the other side having been put into a position to put its case is being introduced. That is distasteful to us. What is the effect of it going to be? If only one side of a case can be put, what is going to be the effect? It is going to make legal advice valueless, absolutely valueless; legal advice applied to this Bill will be absolutely of no value. It is also going to bring uncertainty and a certain amount of disgust and disappointment along with it.
I now want to move on to Clause 12 dealing with business areas. I would like to approach this matter from two angles. When the hon. Deputy Minister presented this measure to the House, he put this provision forward as a concession to business people. I accept that he puts it forward in that spirit but I think he is going to strike quite a number of difficulties in the application of this particular clause. First of all, he creates a group area within a group area. He has tried to explain that but I still think it is going to bring numerous difficulties in its train. I can foresee many of them. What are going to be the conditions of occupation of these premises by these people? In Durban terrific development is taking place in the non-European business area where shops are being built on the ground floor, with a considerable number of flats above the shops. What does the hon. Deputy Minister intend to do with the residential accommodation above these shops? Can he create a vertical buffer zone? Will he be in a position to say that these flats cannot be occupied by anybody but must form a buffer zone, or will he direct that they should be demolished or turned into halls or something of that nature? I am not sure. I am sure of one thing and that is that he is going to run into quite a lot of difficulties in handling buildings of this nature and I think he will find that there is quite a considerable number of them around the country. I know in Durban alone that there are quite a number. He said it was a special requirement for the Johannesburg area and I think he will probably find more properties of that nature there. I also know that there are some in Pretoria. Another question which comes to my mind in this connection is how are the people going to be certain of any security of tenure? They will obviously be there on a permit basis, and to try and develop and work up a business and even to maintain it when one is not sure of tenure, is not an easy thing to do. I think the hon. Deputy Minister knows that in the sale of businesses, one of the important points a purchaser wants to know, is what security of tenure there is. Now, if these people have these places on a permit, if they are allowed to trade there on a permit from the Minister’s Department, what is going to happen if the person holding such a permit dies? Is his family going to be allowed to carry on that business at that same place or is the estate going to be allowed to dispose of the business? It is not clear to me and I am sure it will not be clear to anybody who has to rely, for their future income and future livelihood, on the permit of an individual official within the Minister’s Department. That is something which the Minister should clear up so that these people will be able to know where they stand. Although I have discussed this aspect of the matter, I see this clause in a slightly different light. I read into this clause an atempt by the Government to allow it to control the use of land. That is a principle which I do not think was in the Act up to now. I cannot find it in any event. I think this Government made such an attempt a little while ago in a draft Bill to amend the Group Areas Development Act, to try and do exactly this thing, namely to control the use of land but I think that was withdrawn because it is not in the Act now. That, of course, is going to cut right across town planning—there is no question about that at all. It is going to mean that in a province such as Natal, there will be three town planning authorities: the local authority, the provincial authority and the Government. Should either the local authority or the provincial authority give permission for the development of a piece of land for any particular purpose—for anything: a drive-in cinema or anything where a lot of money is involved—the company goes ahead with the development of the land along those lines in good faith and involves in the process a considerable amount of expenditure. The whole plan is brought to fruition and perhaps they write to the hon. Minister asking him to open it for them, but when he gets there he says that they were not allowed to build there. Under this clause the Department can prohibit them from using the land for that purpose and I cannot find any provision for compensation for what they have put into the land. There is a definite distinction in this clause between the use and occupation of land and I would like to hear from the hon. Minister exactly what he has in mind here and how he intends to deal with situations such as this.
I now would like to come to Clause 17, the question of border strips. The question relating to border strips is at the moment not very satisfactory. Even where there is a natural border which can be used as such a strip, the position is unsatisfactory. To proclaim a border strip is going to be quite a price to pay for dividing people up under the Group Areas Act. First of all, as I see it it will be unsuitable for use as parks or sports grounds because if it is used for such purpose, it will defeat the very objects of the Group Areas Act; it will tend to bring together groups which it is designed to put apart. Should that happen, what will the hon. Minister do? He cannot build a wall round the place—the days of the Roman walls are gone. He will therefore have to devise some other scheme. The clause as I read it means that even where there is a natural border strip which could be proclaimed, you can now disregard it and proclaim some other border strip to serve the area you want to divide. I think the hon. Deputy Minister if he reconsiders this clause, will find that I am right and I would like to hear from him exactly how he intends handling such a situation. Border strips, at the best of time, are one of those terrible things and part of the price which we have to pay for this Group Areas Act. They are very often the hiding place for roughs and ducktails.
I would now like to deal with Clause 23. I see in this clause something to which attention has not yet been directed and I would like to bring it to the notice of the House. First of all, I think this clause takes the principle of segregation to quite extraordinary lengths.
It will prohibit, as I see it, companies and commercial banks, building societies, insurance companies and factories and even the departmental stores—places like the O.K. Bazaars— from establishing branches in these areas. That, I think, is going to bring real hardship, because the people affected are usually those who go along to these stores in their fight against the never-ceasing rise of cost of living. Most of them are earning less than the amount which is considered necessary to keep a family economically and they have to watch their pennies very carefully. What will be the position 1f people wish to have their houses financed by a building society? The building society under this clause will not be allowed to establish a branch there. What arrangements will be made for the payment of the instalments on their properties or for getting loans? I do not know what the banks have to say about it; I am not a banking man, but I imagine that commercial banks would be very upset if they believe, as I believe under this clause, that they will not now or in the future be able to establish a bank within an area for groups other than their own. This, I think, is a very important point, one to which the hon. Deputy Minister should give consideration. There is another point involved in this and which gives me a lot of worry. In the case of businesses, the classification goes according to the race of the proprietor. Frankly, that is something which I just cannot understand. Surely, Sir, the group in which the business falls is determined by the group of customers patronizing it. Let us assume that a big shop in Adderley Street, which is in a White area, builds up a huge clientele of non-Whites from other group areas. What will the position be then? The business is in a White area and the proprietor is a White, but the clientèle is non-White. On the other hand, an area which has been proclaimed for Coloured or Indian occupation who are, perhaps, market gardeners, the Europeans will probably go and buy their vegetables there or their crawfish. I do that, and I suppose many of the other hon. members do so too. What will the position be then? Frankly, I do not know. To me it seems to be far more logical to say that the group of a business should be determined by the people who patronize it rather than by one man who happens to own it. As I understand the position, banks, insurance companies, etc., might staff their businesses in these areas complete from top to bottom with people from the group for which the particular area has been zoned, but yet they will not be allowed to carry on their businesses there. This, I think, is something which the hon. Deputy Minister should clear up for us before we proceed any further with this particular provision.
Mr. Speaker, I have dealt with some clauses in particular. I would have liked to deal with more of them, but to sort out the implications and intricacies of this Bill I must say that more time is needed. Nevertheless, I hope that I have contributed something to the debate, and wish that I could have contributed more, but, unfortunately, on account of the shortage of time, I have not been able to arrange consultations. However, I would like the hon. Deputy Minister in his reply to pay particular attention to the provisions of Clause 23, because I am very perturbed about it.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say at the outset that of all the Acts in connection with the separate development of the various racial groups it has always been my opinion that the Group Areas Act has contributed more to the matter than any other Act. I am convinced about that because I am in the first instance of the opinion that it saves a large section of our White population from a large degree of embarrassment. It gives an opportunity to the people who cannot afford to choose where they want to live at least to go and live in areas which are reasonably respectable, with a view to the standard of living they would like to maintain. It is easy for us to speak against group areas and it is easy for hon. members in this House to get up and throw up their arms and say that if they come into power they will repeal this Act. May the Almighty preserve us from that. Personally I do not think that will ever happen. It is easy for us to say that, because most of us can elect where we want to stay, but with thousands of our fellow-citizens that is not the case. Secondly, I believe in it because I am convinced—unlike the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld)—that it would be more to the benefit of racial relationships than to its detriment. And it is for this simple and obvious reason that where the races live apart from each other there is less friction and where there is less friction the relation between the races will improve and not deteriorate.
I want to make a few remarks about points made by the hon. member who has just sat down (Mr. H. Lewis). He spoke about the financial position in connection with the implementation of group areas. As a result of my convictions about it I feel it does not matter how many millions of pounds it costs South Africa. We realize that the application of the Act is more difficult than the passing of it. There I agree with them. It brings many problems in its wake—very many—and also much expenditure. But the benefits for our country and for our population are so great that we must really not stagger back in this hour because of the expenses which may be incurred. Much has been said here about the number of amendments which have already been made to the original Act but I want hon. members to realize that legislation is a living organization of the population of a country. There has always been legislation and there always will be legislation in future. It is not always new legislation; most of it is amending legislation with the specific purpose of adjusting it to changing conditions in our development in the normal flow of circumstances. For this reason it is clear and also obvious, not only in connection with the Group Areas Act but also in respect of other Acts, that there will always be amendments where we see that we shall be able to administer and apply the Act better through the medium of amendments.
But this one wins the Oscar.
Therefore I want to ask hon. members rather not to raise that here as an argument. The hon. member has just made a remark that this Act would probably take the prize. I must admit that there have been many amendments but it is necessary, particularly where we have to deal with such complex circumstances as we have here in South Africa. No hon. member can deny this House the right to make amendments when it is convinced that it is in the best interest of the country.
I listened very carefully to what was said by the hon. member for Natal South Coast (Mr. Mitchell). Personally I think that the Bill is a little too technical for him. He is far more at home with sentimental things; he can speak more easily about that, especially when it is accompanied by incitement. For that reason he has not advanced one single argument as to why any one of these clauses should not be allowed. He spoke a lot about amendments which had been made and he decried it wherever possible but he said nothing about the merits, about the principle, about the basis on which this legislation should be rejected. I then came to the conclusion that there had to be some other reason because towards the end of his speech he said that they would vote against the legislation, as the hon. member for East London (North) also said. They were also going to vote against this legislation, and at the same time he, the hon. member for East London (North), mentioned a whole number of reasons why there was some measure of justification for the legislation. I think he saw about half a dozen good points in the legislation. Now I want to put it to the hon. member like this: If he is sincere—why does he not concentrate on accepting the good points and oppose only the bad ones. But what does he do? He opposes everything, good or bad. He opposes the legislation, notwithstanding the fact that he accepts that there are good points. I then asked myself what the actual objection was, what the precise reason was for hon. members opposite saying through their various speakers that they would vote against the legislation. The answer I found was that they had broken all the basic principles of democracy in this country since 1948. I say it with emphasis and sincerity. Hon. members opposite have since 1948 not yet realized that the Opposition cannot rule but that we are ruling now. I thought that they would realize it on October 5 but they did not. They come here to-day and instead of accepting and amending to the best advantage legislation which has been democratically accepted and placed on the Statute Book, they still want to rule the country and do not want to accept the democratic principle that we are now ruling the country. It is for that reason that they still come along and say that they reject everything. They say that if they cannot get what they want then they reject it, whether it is good or bad.
As I said before, the hon. member for South Coast, when he finished speaking, made a summary of what he had actually said and his summary was that “you are tinkering with the Act ”. This is what the hon. member said, namely that we were playing football with the Act. That is the summary of his whole speech. For that reason I say that I would like hon. members to accept the fact that it is the Government that is ruling; they cannot expect the Government to accept their guidance.
I would like to refer to a few of the clauses which were dealt with by hon. members. Allow me to start with Clause 12 which provides for an addition to Section 16 of the existing consolidated Act. I think it is essential, Mr. Speaker, when we speak about it that we go into this clause otherwise I am convinced that we cannot speak about it with any degree of clarity. Clause 12 provides for the inclusion of Section 16bis in Section 16 of the existing Act. Section 16 reads as follows—
And paragraph (b) provides for the stablishment of new buildings. I do not wish to read the whole section. And now Section 16bis provides that it can be prescribed for what particular purposes such buildings may be used. The hon. gentlemen object very strongly to that. Now I want to point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that this question of amendment of the use of land and buildings is as old as the hills. It is applied throughout South Africa in connection with our town planning. It is still accepted as a good and reasonable way of acting in town planning because one cannot plan without it. It is the same thing that is now being done here. The hon. member for Umlazi (Mr. H. Lewis) made a sound observation when he said that there may be problems in connection with its application because we now have various authorities who have to make more or less the same application. That may be so; I agree with him on that. But one really cannot believe that it will bring about terribly difficult circumstances and that many people will suffer, because it is simply a policy which we have accepted in this country for very many years without much protest.
Then I also want to refer briefly to Clause 26 which provides for the onus of proof. Clause 26 (c) (e) reads—
Provision is now made for the onus to be placed on such a person or company. A big fuss is now also being made about that. The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) spoke about it but that is also common practice. Mr. Speaker, it is only applied in cases—as we experience it in the administration of justice—where it is extremely difficult to prove an offence because of circumstances. You find it in the Water Act. If someone is caught having taken water out of his turn from a communal canal then the onus is on him to prove that it was his water and his turn that he used. We have similar examples throughout our judiciary. It is only applied where the circumstances are such that in case of an offence it is difficult to furnish such proof because of the circumstances. It is a transfer of the onus to the accused in contradiction with the basic principles of our common law that a person must be proved guilty. Now the onus is placed on the accused but it is done in many instances and I think that if the hon. member for East London (North) investigates it he will find that it is also justified in this case as in all the numbers of cases for which provision is already made in legislation.
In conclusion I wish to say this. We have already accepted the basic principle of the application of group areas. I want to appeal that in our approach to amending legislation we should see it in the light that the principle is accepted and that we must all—not only this side of the House; also that side of the House—build on that principle and that we must continue on that principle in the interest of South Africa, whether we like the principle or not, and to continue in all sincerity to bring about amendments which are in the best interests of the administration of our country.
Mr. Speaker, I took part in the debate last Monday evening when other legislation affecting the Coloured people was under discussion. I was reported in a certain newspaper as having said “because everything the Government did was viewed with suspicion by the Coloured people ”. Mr. Speaker, I should like to repeat what I did say because it also applies to my attitude as far as this legislation is concerned …
Order! That is not relevant as far as this Bill is concerned.
I should like to repeat what I did say, Sir.
Order! Yes, but the hon. member said that in respect of other legislation. The House is not discussing that legislation at the moment.
The attitude I adopted in that case also applies to this Bill namely that as result of what has happened during the past 12 to 14 years there is no doubt about it that as far as a certain section of the population is concerned, namely the Coloured section …
They are much better off.
… rightly or wrongly …
… regard certain measures passed by this Government with suspicion. Mr. Speaker, the Group Areas Act which this Bill before us seeks to amend, has been the greatest cause of that suspicion and for very good reasons too. The hon. member for Ceres (Mr. Muller) who has just sat down, spoke about the Group Areas Act as an idealist. I am not criticizing him for it, Sir, but he spoke here as an idealist who envisages ideals in a future state where the Group Areas Act will operate. I feel this way about the law, which we are now amending, Sir: What is to happen in the intervening years—11 have already gone by—from the time the Act, which has been amended from year to year, was placed on the Statute Book up to the time when that ideal state is reached? [Interjections.] Mr. Speaker, that remark is quite uncalled for and it is not relevant. I think the hon. member knows what I am talking about.
Mr. Speaker, I regard this measure and the Act which will be affected by this amendment, as a serious one and one of the utmost importance. I can tell this House that during the past three years I have been representing those people in this House and have had active dealings with people who suffer and who have to carry the consequences of the legislation which was placed on the Statute Book 11 years ago. I say this in all seriousness, because I am in constant touch with people who suffer under this legislation, people who are suspicious and people who despise the White man because of certain aspects of that legislation, suspicion and contempt which is not without a certain amount of bitterness and hatred.
Why do you not tell them what the true position is?
How can I do that, Sir, when the original Act is amended so drastically from time to time—I am not referring to this little gift. The hon. member for Ceres and other hon. members who spoke before him tried to convince this House that this amendment which is before us at the moment is an improvement on the original Act.
Do you agree that where representations have been made, they have been treated with the utmost sympathy?
I will come to that, Sir. The hon. member for Ceres, like other hon. members, tried to convince the House that this amendment would bring relief. In view of the experience I have had and what I see daily, my humble advice to this House and to the Government and to White South Africa is to stop administering medicine and plasters to the cancer, risk an operation and remove the cancer. [Interjections.] I am surprised at the hon. member who made that interjection. After all, he is a cultured person. I was talking about legislation; I was not comparing him with a cancer. But if he wants me to do so I can, but unfortunately I do not dwell on the plain as he does. The hon. the Deputy Minister has drawn my attention to representations which I have personally made from time to time in connection with the application of the law. As far as the hon. the Deputy Minister is concerned I have always received the greatest consideration from both him and his officials. He has treated me with the utmost courtesy, courtesy which I expect from him to some extent, in view of the position he occupies, but which I nevertheless appreciate greatly. But unfortunately the hon. the Deputy Minister has also on occasions accused me of inciting the people when I have dealt with certain aspects of this legislation. There are specific instances, but I shall not go into them at this stage; I do not want to analyse personal remarks. This matter is far too serious as far as I am concerned.
Sir, the Group Areas Act is a drastic law and it is a cruel law …
Order! The hon. member cannot say that. The House is not discussing the Group Areas Act, what the House is discussing is an amendment to the Act. The hon. member must withdraw the word “cruel ”.
I withdraw it, Sir. I was only repeating what the Chairman of a Group Areas Board had said. That was how he described the Act. In any case I withdraw it and I leave it to the credit of the Chairman of that certain Group Areas Board who used it. This is a drastic law and, as originally warned, we cannot regard this as a chess board where we can simply move our pawns from one square to another. Here we have to do with the suffering, with the weals and woes, with the happiness or unhappiness of people, of communities, of citizens of South Africa, people who unfortunately are perhaps not of the same colour as we who are sitting in this House are, nor of the same racial group. But the fact remains that they are people who are as attached, who attach as great a value to the property which they occupy, to the house in which they were born and in which they grew up, to the little home which they have acquired and which they have paid for in instalments and which they can now call their own, as any civilized person who craves to possess a little place which he can call his own. That, Sir, is the greatest bulwark against Communism, particularly as far as the under privileged racial groups in South Africa are concerned. Here we have amending legislation which will bring relief in certain respects. I do not deny that. Viewed in the light of the application with which I come into daily contact, there are certain aspects of this legislation, which I welcome, but I do not regard this as a solution. That is the reason why I cannot approve of this amendment, because if I did, I would create the impression that I approved of certain aspects of the Group Areas Act.
I want to confine my remarks more particularly to a racial group which will be drastically affected by this amendment—a group which will be cruelly affected by it.
You are again using the word “cruel”.
Apparently the hon. member for Groblersdal (Mr. M. J. H. Bekker) does not know the meaning of that word. I want to confine my remarks to the Indians or people of Indian descent. This afternoon the hon. the Deputy Minister referred to something which I had said by way of interjection.
Are they your constituents?
The hon. member asks whether they are my constituents. I think I have a few hundred Indians or people of Indian descent in my constituency. For the information of the hon. member for Parow (Mr. Kotzé) I should like to tell him that over the years the Indians, at least the Indians of the Cape Province, have been accepted, politically and economically, as part of the Coloured community, and with good results.
Did they vote for you?
Many of them did not vote for me for the very reason that because of this Group Areas Act and its application, a large section of the Indian voters in my constituency—and other hon. members who represent Coloureds in this House will bear me out—adopted the attitude (an attitude which the Indians in Natal are now adopting) which we have never had in the Cape Province before. They did not want to vote at all; they wanted to reject everything; they refused to accept anything. This is nothing to joke about, Sir, it is a serious state of affairs, because the fact remains that over the years, in the Cape Province at least, the Indian National Congress and similar organizations, made little progress. The reasons for that was that the people had property and political rights. It is because of what has been taking place over the past years that these elements have filtered through.
What has that got to do with group areas?
If the hon. member who is so noisy over there, were to read this amendment and study the various racial groups in South Africa and the relation between those racial groups, he would realize that he was not in the Utopia which only exists in his own imagination but that we are dealing here with the practical application of legislation which affects those people. If he does that he will not ask such a stupid question.
What is the connection?
The connection is this that as a result of this amendment the Indians and people of Indian descent will be drastically affected. During the past few days I have had practical experience of this. I think the hon. the Deputy Minister will not deny it when I say that the Group Area Boards have been instructed to take firmer action in respect of Indians who live in areas which have been proclaimed as areas for other racial groups. Every person who is affected by the Group Areas Act and the amendment before us, has suffered as a result of the heavy expense he has had to incur from time to time to state his case. We are not dealing here with people who can go to their local Member of Parliament for assistance and who probably lives in the same town or city as they do.
Where do you live then?
According to the Act on the State Book I live somewhere between Caledon and Umzimkulu, two points 1,000 miles apart. I should like the hon. member to tell me whether that is good representation. [Interjections.] Mr. Speaker, if one is not even allowed to state one’s case in connection with human suffering which one witnesses every day, human suffering which results from legislation, how can one expect hon. members to know what the position is; how can one expect that there should be trust instead of suspicion on the part of the Coloured people as far as this legislation is concerned? The attitude of the hon. the Deputy Minister is more or less this, that he challenges me to state the attitude of the Indians and of people of Indian descent, and that will then be presented to the Coloured people who are supposed to want the Indians to get out.
What are you talking about; come back to the amendment.
I am referring to the hon. the Deputy Minister’s attitude. The hon. the Deputy Minister now adopts the attitude that he is dealing with the Group Areas Act, the Group Areas Act which as a result of this amendment and as a result of the instructions already given to the Group Areas Boards, will drastically affect a certain racial group.
When I referred to that the hon. the Deputy Minister sat there quietly and said nothing.
If I do not react to your nonsense, it does not mean that I accept it.
If the Deputy Minister did not react then he should not react now to something which, by his silence, he admitted at an earlier stage. And if the Deputy Minister regards what I am saying as nonsense, I can assure him that he is dealing with the weals and woes of human beings and not those of animals, this is not a game of chess; there has been great suffering and misery over the past 11 years and this amendment does not bring the relief which a civilized nation ought to give to its under-privileged section. Sir, if you come into contact with cases such as these every day of your life, and if you come up against a concrete wall every day of your life, as I do, you cannot do otherwise but draw attention to these cases in this way. We are dealing with human beings and not with animals and hon. members and a responsible Deputy Minister try to joke about it.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
With the greatest respect, Mr. Speaker, I shall endeavour to confine my remarks to the Bill but I find it difficult to hear myself because of all these interjections. As I have already said this amendment with which we are dealing at the moment will drastically affect a certain racial group, namely the Indians and the people of Indian descent. For example we have the position in Cape Town—and that is why I cannot support this amendment or the Group Areas Act—and I wonder what the hon. the Deputy Minister intends doing about the position of the constituents of the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) and the hon. member for Peninsula (Mr. Bloomberg). We have two group areas in Cape Town, namely Ryland Estate and Cravenby and the two Indian group areas which have been set aside where there are more or less 32 business plots and more than 500 Indian businesses. Where must they go? Hon. members have referred to the consequences of this amendment namely that the people will in future have no option but to leave their homes and to go and live in their own distant racial group areas and that they will have to travel to and fro to their shop or business. What is the Deputy Minister’s intention with this legislation, how will this amendment affect those people? Let us assume, Mr. Speaker, that there are two or three buildings on a plot, one of which is a shop and the other two dwelling houses, under one roof and on one plot. The owner himself is not allowed to live there; he has to get out and live seven or eight miles away and he will have to acquire a motor-car to travel to and fro from his shop. Now you are left with a property which was formerly occupied as a dwelling house with a shop next to it. under one roof. What is the position in a case like that? Will the hon. the Deputy Minister now proclaim that as a White area so that White people can live there? Surely that is impracticable Mr. Speaker. Many of these people, I think I can say thousands of these people, conduct their business in such a way that they live next to their business, in the same building otherwise they cannot make an economic living. Kindly allow me, Sir, to refer to other consequences which flow from the application of the existing law. Many of these people try to find some way out. I have come across various cases over the years, cases where I have tried to be of assistance, where the man says to himself: In terms of the Group Areas Act I shall have to move away from here; my son has no future here. Then that man tries to have his son trained as a doctor or he tries to have him trained for some other profession.
That is very good.
But now the difficulty arises. His son was born and bred here in Cape Town, a son born from an Indian father and a Coloured mother and the son is classified as an Indian. If that son wants to go to University he is unable to enrol for the B.Sc. degree at the university college of the Western Cape.
We are not dealing with the population register at the moment.
Mr. Speaker, I am drawing attention to the economic consequences of the application of this Act and this amendment. I know it has nothing to do with universities and I know I shall never get a reply to that. That, however, is the misery and bitterness which I come across daily, misery and bitterness which the people have to endure as a result of this legislation. I cannot help but say to the hon. the Deputy Minister and my fellow-South African friends on the Government benches that this kind of legislation will never create a position in which you will find loyalty on the part of the non-White sections of the population, be it Indian, Coloured or Native or anything else, towards the country as South African citizens.
You are guessing.
The hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) should not make remarks. I said the other evening in this House, that when the Greeks bring gifts you must be careful.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
The hon. member for Parow said earlier this evening that this Bill dealt with the practical application of the Group Areas Act. The hon. member also tried to justify this amendment and previous amendments. He delved into the history of Cape Town where the people supposedly lived cheek by jowl for so many years. He criticized the Cape Town Municipality because they allegedly did not want to co-operate in respect of the application of the Group Areas Act. It seems to me that the hon. member was away from Cape Town for the past 30 years.
I am not even as old as that.
Possibly, but if the hon. member is not as old as that, he should study history and learn something from it. When the principle of separate residential areas was accepted the Municipality of Cape Town was the first municipality in South Africa to take effective steps in that respect, particularly as far as the Coloureds were concerned. [Interjections.] If you approach Cape Town from the Strand, Sir, you pass for miles through Coloured towns, Coloured cities as it were, which were started in the ’thirties. Those houses were built after the catastrophic years of the depression when money was again available, and it did not require one single municipal regulation, or provincial ordinance or one single law of this House. The houses were built and the people went and lived there in their thousands. Now the hon. member comes along and attacks the Municipality of Cape Town. I can only say this to him: The Municipality of Cape Town did not require this Act to force them to do what they had already done. They built those houses on their own accord and people from overcrowded areas went and lived there.
Does the United Party accept the Group Areas Act?
When the Group Areas Act was passed in this House the attitude of the United Party was—and it has not changed since then—that they accepted the Group Areas Act in principle. [Interjections.] Mr. Speaker, I can only reply to one question at a time. I first want to deal with the hon. member for Parow.
Order! The hon. member must not allow himself to be distracted by these interjections.
Very well, Mr. Speaker, I shall try not to be. I shall confine my remarks to the hon. member for Parow. The hon. member for Parow has asked me a question. That was the policy of the United Party and it has never changed namely that they accepted the Group Areas Act in principle, but Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned, when I see what misery and disaster it causes, I am not so sure that I accept it.
I return now to the speech of the hon. member for Ceres, the hon. member who visualizes an ideal state at some future date once this legislation has been in operation, but what about the misery and bitterness which it causes in the meantime? The hon. member for Parow now comes along and tries to justify this Act and the amendments on the strength of the fact that last year I, as a representative of the Coloured people, voted in favour of separate beaches, as he called it. The hon. member knows only too well that that Act was passed in 1953 and that last year we were dealing with an amendment to the Act in order to place the Crown land between the high water mark and the sea under the control of local authorities. Then the hon. member accused a Coloured person, a cultured man with a doctor’s degree in Philosophy, of being a Leftist. [Interjections.] I ask your permission to deal with this, Mr. Speaker, because it is rather important. Whether the hon. member agrees with what that Coloured man says or not, that Coloured man with a doctor’s degree in Philosophy—something which the hon. member himself did not attain—I think he did himself a disservice by accusing that man of being a Leftist, which is very close to being a communist. The hon. member then read a cutting from the newspaper, the Golden City Post. What I said in respect of that legislation, Sir, is recorded in Hansard and to come to this House with the stories which appear in a little newspaper like the Golden City Post, a newspaper with which I am not connected in any way—I have nothing to do with it—is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever come across. I have nothing whatsoever to do with that newspaper and I never, said what appeared in it.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I want to return to the argument used by the hon. member for Vasco (Mr. C. V. de Villiers) and I want to conclude with that. In the case of the hon. member for Vasco we have another instance of: When the Greeks bring gifts be careful. I am now talking about the former Nationalist Party organizers who travelled through the length and breadth of this country and described the Coloured people as political weeds; those organizers who are now supposedly talking on behalf of the Coloured people.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to deal with the argument of the hon. member for Vasco for a moment. The hon. member referred to the housing shortage—he mentioned 20,000 houses—which existed when the Nationalist Party Government started to build houses for the Coloured people. But, Mr. Speaker, let me go into the reasons for that shortage of 20,000 houses. [Interjections.] I find it difficult to hear myself, Mr. Speaker, and I appeal to you to assist me to continue with my speech.
Order! Hon. members must give the hon. member a chance.
I appreciate that Mr. Speaker, but there is no justification for the stupid questions and the noise on the part of hon. members opposite whose only object is to interrupt me.
Order! It is because the hon. member tries to react to every interjection.
In that case, Mr. Speaker, I give you the assurance that I shall not react to a single interjection, if hon. members will only allow me to continue.
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 23 February.
The House adjourned at