House of Assembly: Vol106 - WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH 1961
Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 2.20 p.m.
According to Press reports of 7 March 1961, 21 South Africans left for the Katanga to join the foreign legion of the Katanga.
The matter was immediately investigated and it has been ascertained that amongst a group of 21 persons which left the Union on a certain aircraft for the north and which was probably the group in question, there were only 11 South African citizens. They were in possession of passports for travel to Rhodesia.
According to their applications for passports, they wished to visit Rhodesia. One, who was not domiciled in the Union, indicated in his passport application that he wanted to leave the country permanently. Eight others mentioned that they wished to travel to Rhodesia for business or holiday visits and two others gave no reasons for their applications.
If the statement that they were going to Katanga to join a foreign legion was correct, then the Union Government wishes to state explicitly that this did not happen with its approval or knowledge and that the Government is not prepared to extend passport facilities for this purpose.
The financial year ending 31 March 1961, was in more than one respect remarkable for the South African Railways. An important milestone was reached with the Centenary of the Railways, which coincided with the Golden Jubilee of the Union of South Africa. Thanks to the diligence and co-operation of all concerned in organizing the festivities, and the generous support and appreciation of the public, the celebrations held at different places and in various ways had been a great success. During the past century the South African Railways developed from a railway line 2 miles long between Point and Durban into the tremendous undertaking of to-day. It was appropriate, therefore, that this achievement be celebrated and I am convinced that the Festival contributed immensely to a better appreciation of the role the railway has played in the history of our country, particularly its place as a national asset in the economy of South Africa.
Time does not permit of the House being given a detailed picture of the Railways’ achievements. In view of the centenary year, however, I want to touch on some aspects briefly.
During 1910 the total capital invested in the Administration’s services amounted to approximately R181,000,000, compared with a figure of R1,485,000,000 on 31 March 1960. This phenomenal expansion is also reflected in the revenue of R28,000,000 for the first complete financial year, viz. 1911-2, as against an amount of no less than R401,000,000 during 1959-60. Although a large proportion of the railway lines, covering a distance of 7,577 miles, had already been constructed prior to 1910, this distance has, since that date, been extended by nearly 6,000 miles to 13,564 miles, serving a total territory of 790,000 square miles. Tractive power increased by more than 300 per cent and whilst a bare 12,000,000 tons of goods were conveyed during 1910, goods traffic will most probably total 88,000,000 tons during the current financial year. Harbour traffic also did not lag behind; whilst the tonnage totalled 5,000,000 during 1910, it is expected that 19,000,000 tons will be handled during the current financial year—an increase of 14,000,000 tons. South African Airways to-day has a fleet of 29 aircraft operated over more than 45,000 route miles; during 1959-60 some 56,000 passengers were carried on the Springbok, Wallaby and regional services and 279,000 on domestic routes.
As the largest single employer of labour, the Railways have a labour force of approximately 214,000 employees of which slightly more than half are Whites. Salaries and wages paid during the financial year 1959-60 amounted to R217,000,000 and it is estimated that more than 10 per cent of the country’s White population is dependent upon the Railways for a livelihood. The service is also the largest single buyer in South Africa and in this respect serves as a market for the products of all sectors of the national economy. In 1910 total purchases amounted to approximately R8,000,000 whereas during 1958-9 it had increased to the enormous amount of R200,000,000 of which R170,000,000 were spent in South Africa— R109,000,000 on products manufactured locally. The total purchases decreased to R126,000,000 during 1959-60, owing to the fact that certain portions of the new works programme had been completed and part of the rolling stock on order had been delivered during the previous year. Purchases in South Africa nevertheless amounted to R110,000,000 in comparison with R16,000,000 expended overseas. The policy “Buy South African” has for many years been consistently observed and this, together with the stimulus which the Union’s industries receive direct from the Railways—the local manufacture of rolling stock for example—had the effect of reducing purchases from foreign countries, which during 1910 represented 52 per cent of the total to 13 per cent during 1959-60.
In contrast with some overseas railways, the South African Railways serve a more extensive area and private road, air and water transport have not yet reached the overseas level of development, with the result that the contribution of the service to the national income is also higher. With the exception of the year 1954-5, the percentage contribution of the service since 1952-3 to the national income remained more or less constant and in 1958-9 amounted to 7 per cent as compared with approximately 12 per cent by agriculture, forestry and fisheries, 10 per cent by the gold mining industry and 12 per cent by commerce.
The Railways’ primary importance is, however, the function, according to the country’s constitution, to provide an efficient and cheap transport service to all sectors of the national economy. That this function is being fulfilled is proved by three facts. In the first place the Railways cope with all traffic offered for conveyance. Secondly, the Railways are continually promoting efficiency by expansion and modernization of equipment and thirdly, the present tariff structure assures economic tariffs to all sectors of the national economy.
The Administration’s services have, during the past decades, developed into an organization so closely bound up with commerce and industry, agriculture, mining and the general public, that the weal and woe of each sector is reflected in the state of the national transport undertaking and it is for this reason that the service is often referred to as a reliable barometer of the economic prosperity of the country.
Apart from the Centenary, 1960-1 was, from the financial point of view, also a remarkable year for the Administration’s services. A deficit was initially budgeted for but, as I shall explain later, a large improvement can now be expected, mainly as a result of a record increase in traffic which was a further feature of the first eight months of the year.
I do not want to burden hon. members unduly with particulars of the year’s activities and I intend therefore, as was done last year, to table an Explanatory Memorandum embodying the more important statistical and other interesting data. The information relates to the financial years 1958-9 and 1959-60 and in so far as the current financial year is concerned, the memorandum has been made more comprehensive to reflect considerably more information concerning revenue. The particulars also cover a longer period, i.e. eight months, as compared with six months last year.
Hon. members will observe also that, as in the case of the Additional Estimates which I presented last week, monetary figures in the Explanatory Memorandum and in the Estimates for 1961-2 are reflected in the decimal coinage system. The Railways switched over completely to the new coinage system on 14 February 1961. If it is borne in mind that the total revenue and expenditure for 1961-2, inclusive of expenditure on capital and betterment works, will amount to approximately R950,000,000, made up mainly of small items such as revenue from individual consignments and payments in respect of salaries and wages, it will be appreciated that the conversion required quite a good deal of advance planning. For the sake of convenience a change in suburban passenger fares was so arranged as to coincide with the conversion, but otherwise the principle has been observed that no profit should be made as a result of decimalization.
Compared with the corresponding period during 1959-60, the total tonnage of traffic conveyed during the first eight months of the current financial year shows an increase of 4,903,000 tons, and consequently it is estimated that a record increase of at least 6,000,000 tons over the figure for the previous year may be expected for the year 1960-1. This represents an achievement which reflects to the credit of all ranks in the service, especially when it is borne in mind that it was attained during a period when the number of staff decreased.
I do not hesitate to emphasize that, but for the foresight and initiative displayed in the planning and execution of the development programme, the carrying capacity required to handle such growth in traffic would never have been available timely.
Concerning general goods traffic (excluding coal) an increase of 1,707,000 tons was recorded during the first eight months of 1960-1, and on this basis an increase of at least 2,000,000 tons can be expected for the whole year. The export of manganese, chrome, iron and other ores played an important role and was responsible for a rise of 734,000 tons. Although general merchandise increased by only 187,000 tons during the eight months, it must be borne in mind that this type of traffic is usually conveyed at high tariffs and, where imports increase, as has been experienced in this case, there is also an increase in the average length of haul. Agricultural products, in the over-all did not change to any extent, although fluctuations occurred in respect of individual products. An increase of 220,000 tons was registered in respect of maize, whilst in the case of fruit, the rise in citrus exports was mainly responsible for the additional 152,000 tons conveyed. On the other hand, sugar and sugar-cane traffic decreased. During the past number of years there has been a steady rise in the quantities of manure and fertilizers used, and the conveyance of an additional 142,000 tons during the current year reflects a continuation of this tendency.
The largest increase in traffic, however, occurred in respect of coal. Compared with the corresponding period of the previous year, 2,694,000 additional tons of coal were conveyed during the first eight months of 1960-1. This increase is attributed mainly to the Railways now conveying the coal formerly handled by private road hauliers, representing an increase of 600,000 tons; the Clydesdale coal mine disaster, which brought about an increase of 1,000,000 tons; a rise in exports, which was responsible for a further 400,000 tons and an increase in normal consumption. It is estimated that the total increase for the year will amount to at least 3,500,000 tons, which is also a record.
During the year, and particularly during November 1960, special arrangements had once again to be made for the conveyance of livestock from drought-stricken areas. As an indication of the extent to which farmers were assisted, I may mention that 3,775 trucks (expressed in shorts) had to be made available on the Hutchinson-Calvinia branch line during November 1960. Under normal circumstances only one through train runs daily between Hutchinson and Calvinia and one between Hutchinson and Carnarvon. During the three months September to November, however, more than 250 special trains had to be arranged for the conveyance of livestock. Although these services were rendered at a considerable loss to the Railways, it was gratifying to receive appreciation from various sources.
As far as passengers are concerned, the arrangements made for the conveyance of passengers to and from the Union Festival in Bloemfontein worked smoothly. Thirty-eight special passenger trains departed from various parts of the country to Bloemfontein and for the return journeys 41 trains were arranged. In addition, 29 special passenger trains were scheduled in connection with the All Blacks’ rugby test matches. Notwithstanding this additional traffic, the declining tendency experienced in previous years in the number of first-class main-line passengers continued, and a decrease of 2.4 per cent was reflected for the first eight months of the year. A similar tendency in the case of second-class main line passengers has, however, been checked and a slight increase has been registered.
The spreading of the school holidays with effect from January 1961 will no doubt facilitate the conveyance of passengers and bring about better utilization of rolling stock.
In regard to non-White passengers, third-class long-distance and suburban journeys increased by no less than 5.3 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively, during the first eight months of the current financial year. The total revenue derived from third-class passenger journeys, not only exceeded by far the revenue derived from first-and second-class journeys for Whites but also increased substantially during recent years. The conclusion cannot be escaped, therefore, that the non-White passenger is gaining more and more in importance, at least so far as the Railways are concerned. This applies particularly to the passenger services to the various resettlement areas, as evidenced by the fact that third-class suburban passenger journeys increased by 17,500,0 or 12 per cent during 1959-60. This development must be attributed mainly to the resettlement schemes on the Witwatersrand and those in the vicinity of Pretoria, where new railway lines were built and other improvements effected in order to cope with the additional traffic. Good progress has been made with the construction of the new railway lines and improvements which will serve the non-White residential areas in the Cape Peninsula and in Durban, as well as the Bantu township Tembisa, between Germiston and Pretoria. Delivery of the passenger coaches required for these schemes is now expected to be later than originally contemplated with the result that the inauguration of the train services to these areas had of necessity to be postponed until 1962.
In view of the increase in goods as well as in passenger traffic, the Railways are continually improving the position from the point of view of rolling stock. Additional coaches and facilities are being provided for White passengers and special attention is also being devoted to non-Whites; for instance, 190 third-class main-line saloons and 113 third-class electric passenger coaches are being acquired, whilst an extensive programme of converting some of the existing passenger coaches for use by non-Whites is being carried out.
As far as goods wagons are concerned, the current year’s programme provides for purchases amounting to slightly less than R18,500,000 and that for the ensuing year, for approximately R16,500,000. Compared with a year ago, locomotive tractive power increased by 4.3 per cent, mainly due to the delivery of electric locomotives and the diesel locomotives intended for South West Africa. The use of these diesel locomotives solves the problems previously experienced with the conveyance of coal and the supply of water for this area, and the recent opening to traffic of the 353 miles of track converted from narrow to standard gauge resulted in a considerable improvement in the conveyance and handling of traffic.
Road Transport Services
The Road Transport Services experienced another busy period during the first nine months of the current financial year, with a considerable increase in traffic generally. Compared with the corresponding period of the previous year, goods traffic increased by 278,0 tons or 14 per cent and the indications are that the record tonnages carried in 1959-60 will be exceeded this year. The clearance of larger quantities of maize and fertilizer on the Cape Northern and Orange Free State systems, citrus on the Cape Western, Natal and Eastern Transvaal, sugar on the Eastern Transvaal and fishmeal on the Cape Western system, contributed to the increase. Provision is now also being made for the transport of special types of traffic such as heated wax, coal tar, molasses, petroleum products, refrigeration traffic and cement in bulk for which special vehicles are required. The conveyance of abnormal loads weighing up to 120 tons at a time is also no longer a rare sight on the roads.
Although livestock traffic decreased considerably during the first half of the year, the Road Transport Services, as in the case of the Railways, had to render additional services in connection with the drought-stricken areas late in the year.
Concerning passenger traffic, there has, as in previous years, again been a considerable decrease in first-class passengers. This traffic decreased by 15 per cent during the first nine months of the year and although the decrease was mainly confined to the Witwatersrand area, there has been a general tendency towards private transport. On the other hand third-class passenger traffic increased by 5 per cent, which compensated for the loss of first-class passengers. It must be concluded therefore that, as in the case of the Railways, the conveyance of non-White passengers has become increasingly important.
The ancillary road transport services which were introduced some years ago to assist the Railways in the expeditious handling and movement of traffic, conveyed 334,000 tons during the first nine months of the year, a decrease of 20 per cent. This downward trend is ascribed to the fact that trucks are now more readily available and also to the introduction of express goods train services guaranteeing the delivery of goods within a specified period.
To cope with the expansion of traffic, it is imperative that equipment be kept at a high level and provision has therefore been made for the acquisition of vehicles and equipment to the value of R5,685,000 during the financial year 1961-2.
Harbour traffic also increased and although the tonnages of cargo landed will most probably equal the record of 1957-8, it is expected that exports and bunkers will rise to such an extent that the total tonnage of all goods handled will exceed that for 1957-8.
The total cargo landed for the first nine months of the present financial year increased by only 8,000 tons, but it appears that compared with a decline in respect of grain, oil and fuel, of 239,000 tons, general cargo and timber accounted for an increase of 205,000 and 58,000 tons, respectively. The increase in general cargo is specially important, because it constitutes the major source of harbour dues and yields a much higher harbour revenue per ton as compared with other traffic. Incidentally, I may mention that general cargo constitutes an important source of revenue for the Railways.
Concerning exports and bunkers, I have already pointed out in connection with Railways, that there have been considerable increases in the export of ores and minerals, coal and citrus, and these increases were mainly responsible for the rise of 670,000 tons in export traffic. The export of maize traffic increased by 147,000 tons, but against that fuel and oils for bunkering and other purposes decreased by 215,000 tons.
Hon. members will observe from the Brown Book for next year that facilities at harbours are continually being extended and in this respect I wish to refer briefly to the more important works which have been commenced during 1960-1 or which will be undertaken during next year. Provision is being made for the construction of a new tanker berth at Table Bay Harbour which will not only facilitate the handling of fuel oils but will also ensure greater safety. The two berths at the Dom Pedro jetty in the Port Elizabeth harbour which are mainly intended for the shipment of ores, are nearing completion and in order to obtain the maximum advantage from these facilities, especially in so far as large ships capable of taking heavy loads are concerned, provision is made in the 1961-2 Brown Book for the deepening of the entrance to the jetty. Concerning Durban harbour, a new oil refinery will shortly be provided and in this connection a commencement has been made during the year with the provision of a new berth and the dredging of a large turning basin. Harbour activities in connection with the handling of timber are increasing and it has thus become necessary to rebuild two timber quays. Ship repairs at Durban harbour are assuming increased significance and it has been decided to provide sites for the construction of small vessels and to effect repairs. This will necessitate the reclamation of a further area of land. All these new works will account for approximately R6,000,000 and form part of the current harbour programme estimated to cost about R22,000,000.
Exceptional progress has been achieved by the South African Airways with the introduction of the Boeing jet aircraft on the Springbok route with effect from 1 October 1960. A good deal of publicity was afforded these aircraft through the medium of the Press and special flights at inland centres and overseas. The importance of this step forward in our air traffic is no doubt generally recognized.
Hon. members are aware of the unfortunate incident during the night of 29-30 October last year when one of the Boeings was compelled to make a wheels-up forced landing during conditions of bad visibility at Nairobi airport. The accident is regretted and in this connection I have already, in reply to a question in the House, given the assurance that the South African Airways comply with the highest standards in the exploitation of its international as well as other passenger services.
The final figures in respect of repair costs to the damaged Boeing are not yet available, but as it was decided when this type of craft was acquired that the insurance risks be borne by private enterprise, the Administration will be compensated almost in full.
With the exception of mails, the activities of the Airways showed a considerable increase in respect of all traffic during the first nine months of 1960-1. On the domestic routes, the number of passengers on the Sky Coach services increased by 82 per cent and it appears that this increase has not to any appreciable extent been achieved at the expense of the ordinary first class services in respect of which an increase of 5 per cent has also been recorded. Domestic passenger traffic increased on the whole by 13 per cent. The patronizing of the Sky Coach service for non-Whites has, however, been disappointing even after the services were extended to two per week on 1 October 1960. Owing to the lack of passengers it frequently happened that the service had to be cancelled for as long as a month. The withdrawal of the service is consequently being considered.
The domestic services are being used to a greater extent for the conveyance of goods traffic. Commodities such as karakul pelts, leather and footwear, as well as fruit and fish, were mainly responsible for the increase of 14 per cent in the freight ton mileage for the first nine months of the financial year.
Although there has been a decrease in the number of first class passengers on the Springbok service, the demand for tourist class accommodation was so great that the decline in first class passengers was offset and an overall increase of 11 per cent in the total number of journeys for the first six months of the financial year recorded. The introduction of the comfortable Boeing service and economy class fares with effect from 1 October 1960, improved the position further and the latest figures reveal that the number of passengers increased by 14 per cent during the first nine months of the financial year.
Freight ton miles on the Springbok service increased by 113 per cent. Further improvements can be expected in this connection consequent upon the introduction of the Boeing aircraft with their larger freight capacity and reduced flying times as compared with the DC7B aircraft.
During the first nine months of the year the Wallaby service showed a marked increase in respect of all traffic. The number of passengers increased by 24 per cent, mainly due to the All Blacks rugby tour of South Africa, while freight and mails increased by 246 per cent and 89 per cent respectively. No change was made in the service to Australia during the year, but the extension of the service from Perth to Sydney with effect from 1 July 1961 is under consideration.
In view of the phenomenal increase in the activities of the Railways in general and the resultant increase in work, it has become clear that the organization of executive senior officers in the office of the General Manager of Railways is inadequate to meet present-day requirements. In order, therefore, to put this matter on a sound footing, it has been decided to create an additional position of Deputy General Manager and to appoint Mr. J. P. Laurens, at present Assistant General Manager (Finance and Planning), and Mr. J. A. Kruger, at present Assistant General Manager (Staff), to the two positions of Deputy General Manager. As hon. members are aware, one of the vacancies occurred as the result of the appointment of Mr. J. P. Hugo to the position of General Manager. The organization has further been amended as follows:
The position of Assistant General Manager (Finance and Planning) falls away and in place thereof the positions of Financial Manager and Head, Planning and Productivity, are created. Up to now the two important branches of finance and planning have been the responsibility of one executive officer. The object with the division of responsibilities under the new organization is to place not only financial control, but also planning and productivity on a more efficient basis.
In view of the ever-growing airways activities and the high standard to be maintained in modern air transport, the Assistant General Manager (Airways, Catering and Publicity) is relieved of control of all catering and publicity matters and in future he will fall under the direct control of the General Manager, with the designation Assistant General Manager (Airways).
The designation of the Assistant General Manager (Operating) is changed to that of Assistant General Manager (Operating and Road Transport), since he will also exercise control over the Road Transport Section.
The designation of the Assistant General Manager (Commercial and Road Transport) is changed to Assistant General Manager (Commercial, Catering and Publicity) and all catering and publicity matters will now fall under his jurisdiction.
Mr. J. P. Laurens will exercise control over the Assistant General Manager (Operating and Road Transport), the Assistant General Manager (Technical), the Head, Planning and Productivity, and the Financial Manager.
The Assistant General Manager (Commercial, Catering and Publicity) and the Assistant General Manager (Staff) will be controlled by Mr. Kruger.
During the year emphasis has again been placed on the proper training of staff. The two scholarship schemes, one for engineering students and the other for administrative officers, are progressing satisfactorily. Thirty engineering scholarships have been awarded for the academic year 1960, and 124 bursaries, awarded during the previous year, have been renewed. So far 85 scholarship students have been engaged. Concerning the scheme for administrative officers, 14 scholarships have been awarded at the beginning of 1960 for fulltime study at the University of Stellenbosch. A B.Com. degree, especially adapted to the requirements of the service by inclusion of a two-year course in Transport, will be followed. A further 13 scholarships have been awarded for 1961.
The introduction of the Development Course for Administrative Officer, which was commenced during the current financial year, represents a further important step in the training of the staff. The aim of the scheme is that persons appointed to senior administrative or executive posts should be better equipped to comply with the requirements of the service. It is, therefore, essential that members of the staff selected for such posts should follow an intensive training course. The scheme evoked considerable interest and altogether 1,128 applications were received. Candidates were screened and after a final selection test 28 qualified for the first development course. The first part of the course was devoted to the widening of the students’ knowledge of the South African Railways as an organization, and with this end in view 150 lectures were given by a number of senior railway officials. The second part of the course aimed at deepening their insight, broadening their perspective and stimulating critic thinking. Guest speakers were mainly used for this purpose. The students were also required to complete a number of tasks on set subjects to establish whether they were able to apply the knowledge gained during the first part of the course. There is every reason to believe that the first course was a great success, and a commencement has been made with the selection of candidates for the second course.
Work-study is recognized as an indispensable part of management in modern enterprise and envisages the most effective use of manpower and equipment; in other words, the promotion of productivity and efficiency. Towards this end supervisors in all categories, as well as the staff, must play an important part. During 1956 officers from different branches of the Railway service were given training by outside specialists in the work-study field and a small work-study group was originally established. Initially work-study projects were more or less confined to goods sheds, but it has since been possible to undertake the work on a broader front. At present it can be stated that the steps taken to foster efficiency and cost consciousness among all ranks of the staff, represent an important factor in the higher degree of efficiency attained with the resultant decrease in expenditure, while traffic and the amount of essential work increased in most spheres of activity. Considerable contributions were made in this connection by branches of the service primarily entrusted with the development of new ideas for higher production, such as the production and research sections in technical departments and, as far as office work is concerned, the sub-sections of the Planning Section responsible for mechanization and centralization of station accounts.
The necessity of work-study has already been proved beyond doubt, and the new organization, which provides specifically for a separate position of Head, Planning and Productivity, aims at the intensive application of this technique, in order to enjoy optimum benefits.
In the case of non-Whites also, efforts are being made to improve efficiency, and in this connection I should like to refer to one of the schemes whereby indunas and labourers are trained efficiently to handle goods at harbours and in goods sheds, thereby improving not only the productivity of the worker but also eliminating damage to goods. The scheme is in operation at the harbours of Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London, and will in due course be extended to inland centres.
I should like to give hon. members further information on the recent announcement that the cost-of-living allowance of the staff will be consolidated with salaries and wages.
As a result of a discussion which I had with representatives of the Federal Consultative Council on 7 September 1960 I decided to appoint a committee, consisting of representatives of the management and the staff, to collate all facts and information concerning the implications of consolidation. This committee reported on 23 December 1960. After discussions with staff representatives on 27 February 1961 consolidation of the total costof-living allowance into salaries and wages was agreed upon, on the basis that no servant would, as the result of such consolidation, be worse off financially than before, i.e. basic salaries and wages will be increased to cover increased pension contributions.
The increased pension contributions will result in considerably improved pension benefits on retirement, in some cases as much as 40 to 60 per cent. The higher the salary or wage of the servant, the smaller, of course, will be the percentage rise in his pension benefits.
The agreement reached between the Administration and the staff in the acceptance of this scheme is, to a large extent, due to the willingness of certain groups of staff to accept restrictions on miscellaneous extra earnings, such as overtime payments at the new consolidated scales merely in respect of actual time worked and payment for Sunday time at the present scales.
Under the scheme, married and unmarried servants at present in the service will never be worse off than would have been the case had consolidation not taken place.
The new scales for new entrants are also considerably more attractive than the old ones. Arrangements have also been made to consolidated the cost-of-living allowance payable to non-Whites and the total cost of consolidation for both Whites and non-Whites is estimated at R11,000,000 per annum.
The temporary non-pensionable allowance introduced during 1958 is not at present being consolidated with salaries and wages, but will be considered later should a satisfactory basis for consolidation be found and the finances of the Railways permit.
Although a shortage of trained staff is still being experienced and difficulties encountered on some systems to recruit a sufficient number of shunters, I am pleased to state that the overall staff position is sound.
The staff establishment has once again been considerably reduced during the year. The efficiency campaign has contributed in no small measure towards the abolition of certain positions, and the various modernization programmes, as well as the mechanization of administrative methods by the use of electronic computors and other equipment, resulted in the use of fewer staff on the various types of work. This, together with the fact that certain of the expansion programmes had been completed, was the main reason for the reduction in staff from approximately 218,000 in April 1960 to approximately 214,000 in January 1961. Despite this, it was not necessary to terminate the services of any of the White and non-White staff on account of their posts having been abolished.
The staff continue to display interest in the three housing schemes of the Administration, but it has once again only been possible to meet a small proportion of the demand.
Concerning the House Ownership Scheme, the position is that during the current financial year approximately R3,230,000 was made available for loans to the staff, but as this was less than the amount allocated during the previous financial year, it was decided also to utilize a portion of the allotment for the construction of departmental quarters, which would not be expended immediately, for loans to the staff. Four hundred and sixty-two loans have, up to now, been granted during 1960-1 and total loans approved since inception of the House Ownership Scheme, now come to nearly 10,000. The total expenditure incurred amounts to approximately R56,500,000.
The sale of departmental quarters to members of the staff is being continued, and up to the present 380 houses have been disposed of at an amount of just under R2,000,000. Properties acquired by the staff under the assisted 10 per cent ownership housing scheme now number 3,600, and loans totalling R2,500,000 were granted for this purpose.
At the time the House Ownership Scheme was introduced, it was stipulated, in order to assist the staff, that the rate of interest on house ownership loans be not more than the average rate of interest paid on Government loans by the Administration to the Treasury. Rates of interest have however, as hon. members are aware, increased substantially since; consequently it was decided to increase the rate of interest on new loans, to the staff from 3 per cent to 3½ per cent with operative effect from 1 April 1960.
I now come to the financial review and shall first deal with the results for the current financial year.
Hon. members will be able to deduce from the monthly financial results published during the year, that the results up till now are much better than estimated last year. It is gratifying, therefore, that the favourable results for 1959-60 which yielded a surplus of R16,171,574, continued and even improved as I will indicate later.
Although a considerably greater volume of traffic has been handled, it should be noted that this has been done at lower cost and bearing in mind the fact that railway undertakings in other parts of the world are experiencing difficulty to make ends meet, the position as regards the South African Railways is exceptionally gratifying.
Not only had the Administration to meet a great increase in traffic, but it also had to cope with emergency conditions as a result of the Coalbrook disaster and the severe drought which necessitated the conveyance of thousands of head of livestock. Emergencies such as these always cause a disruption in operating arrangements.
It is also significant that the criticism and complaints which were often made in previous years at meetings with organized bodies regarding delays and other unsatisfactory services, when the Railways endeavoured to handle traffic with insufficient facilities, did not occur during this year.
It is also evident that the desired control over expenditure, especially items such as Sunday time and overtime, had been exceptionally difficult where a serious shortage of staff existed, facilities had been inadequate and in addition the overtaxed track and rolling stock had been required to transport large quantities of material for the expeditious completion of new works intended to increase the carrying capacity of the Railways.
These disabilities have not yet been fully eliminated, particularly in respect of development works which of necessity must continue although on a smaller scale than before. The completion of the more important development schemes and the greater measure of stability now achieved has made it possible, however, to introduce efficient financial control measures, in accordance with the findings and recommendations of the mission sent overseas in 1958 to study budgetary and other financial control procedures as applied to overseas railways.
When I delivered my Budget speech last year, there was reason to believe that the economic revival which commenced in 1958-9, would continue during 1960-1, but as it is advisable to be conservative when estimating revenue, I based the estimate on a moderate rate of growth only in the tempo of the Union’s economy. The actual improvement experienced to date has, however, been beyond expectations and it is now estimated that the revenue for the year will increase by a further R18,108,500.
As regards the contribution by goods traffic, the increase in revenue is attributable to the general economic prosperity inland, the rise in both imports and exports, and the extraordinary increase in coal traffic.
In spite of a series of events in this country and beyond our borders, which all created tension in the economic relations of the Union in international spheres, the economic prosperity in the Union continued. In the industrial and commercial fields general turnover brought about an increase in railway traffic particularly in respect of goods conveyed at high tariffs, thus yielding more revenue per ton than those goods on which low-rated tariffs are applicable. In regard to mining, the production of gold increased and although the transportation of gold bar does not render any appreciable revenue, the conveyance of mining requirements is of great importance to the Railways. The production of ore, especially manganese, increased considerably and contributed greatly to the improvement in railway revenue.
In the case of farming generally, the transport of agricultural products, livestock and agricultural requirements is not the only factor of importance to the Railways but also the traffic in other directions consequent upon prosperity in the agricultural and related sectors. The set-backs during the year in respect of wool production and livestock on account of the drought considerably affected the Railways, but on the other hand the good maize, wheat and citrus crops had a favourable effect.
Import traffic also played a major part during the year in the rise in Railway as well as Harbour revenue. Owing to the considerable decline in imports of grain, fuel and oils, the total tonnage did not reflect an appreciable increase, but on the other hand the rise in respect of goods of a value higher than these items, brought about an advance of R100,000,000, or 13 per cent, in the total value of imports during the first nine months of the year according to figures furnished by the Department of Customs and Excise. It is unfortunately not possible to gauge the Railway revenue derived from imports of other goods. If cognizance is however taken of the fact that goods conveyed at high rates are of high value and that wharfage dues for the first nine months rose by R700,000, or 7.7 per cent, the effect of such traffic on railway revenue will readily be appreciated.
In contradistinction to imports, export goods generally consist of goods with a low monetary value and as low railway rates are applied in respect of the conveyance of these goods, the Railways can benefit only if a considerable increase in tonnage is recorded. This then was the position this year and exports contributed appreciably to the rise in Railway revenue. Similarly the unequalled increase in the tonnage of coal traffic brought about a notable rise in railway revenue.
In times of economic prosperity railway revenue derived from high-rated traffic usually increases to a greater extent than that yielded by low-rated traffic. As an example, it can be mentioned that for 1959-60 high-rated traffic yielded 53.2 per cent of the total revenue derived from the conveyance of goods and coal, as against 52.7 per cent for 1958-9. This was, however, not the case for the first eight months of the current financial year as compared with the corresponding period of last year, when high-rated traffic accounted for 51.4 per cent of total revenue, as against 53.5 per cent for the previous year. This appreciable decrease is not ascribable to any deterioration in the economic sphere, but to the exceptional increase of more than 4,000,000 tons in low-rated traffic as compared with the increase of approximately 250,000 tons in high-rated traffic. Even if coal were disregarded, there is still a decrease in view of the fact that other low-rated traffic, especially ore traffic, also reflected a marked increase. This is an occurrence which can without doubt be closely associated with the considerable increase in the carrying capacity of the railways which made possible the conveyance of such larger tonnages under efficient and economic-operating conditions.
Goods revenue for the current financial year is now estimated at R226,175,000, which represents an increase of R6,275,000 over the original estimate; in the case of coal the original estimate of R36,000,000 is increased to R40,800,000.
I have previously indicated that an increase in passenger traffic occurred during the current year. The introduction of passenger services for non-Whites to some of the resettlement areas did not progress as well as was originally expected and in addition Treasury indicated that the losses on the passenger services which were operated prior to the resettlement schemes were not covered by the guarantee agreement. The effect of this is that the estimate in respect of passenger revenue is reduced by R150,000.
The drought which occurred in various areas caused a marked increase in livestock traffic and provision is accordingly being made for an increase in revenue of R900,000 from this source.
It is expected that rents and storage will increase by R200,000. The record citrus exports caused a rise in the revenue from precooling stores and as a result of the considerable increase in import traffic, the transfer of one-third of wharfage due to railway revenue appreciably exceeded the amount originally estimated. It was, therefore, considered necessary to increase the Estimate for Miscellaneous Revenue (Railways) by R382,000.
In so far as subsidiary services are concerned, provision was made in the original Estimates for the transfer, with effect from 1 October 1960 of bookstalls to the control of the Catering Department. On account of practical considerations it was subsequently decided to postpone the transfer to 1 April 1961. The revenue of the Catering Department was also slightly under-estimated and is now, together with the transfer of the bookstalls, being rectified in the revised Estimates. The final estimate for the maize crop is far in excess of previous Estimates and in view of the increase in maize exports which will accordingly result, the estimate in respect of grain elevator revenue has been increased by R240,000. I have already referred to the considerable increase in the activities of the Road Transport Services and it is now expected that revenue from this source will increase by R756,000.
It is anticipated that interest on investments will be R3,645,000 more than originally estimated. This is ascribed primarily to an increase in investments and for the reason that stocks earning interest at a low rate were disposed of and the proceeds reinvested in stocks yielding a higher rate of interest. Interest on temporary investments with the National Finance Corporation brought to account as miscellaneous revenue, also reflected an increase.
The amount representing wharfage dues under Harbours will improve as a result of the increase in import traffic, but on the other hand other harbour revenue was originally over-estimated; an increase of R472,500 in total harbour revenue is now anticipate.
In the case of Airways it is necessary to make certain amendments in respect of the estimates of specific services, but the combined result is that the total estimate requires to be reduced by R41,000 only.
Summarized, the expected revenue for 1960-1 is now as follows:
I have already indicated when dealing with the Additional Estimates, that a saving of R5,099,000 is expected on the original Estimates of Expenditure, and that the estimated expenditure for the year will amount to R405,131,400. The working results of the year are thus estimated to reflect a surplus of R19,701,100, as against the original estimated deficit of R3,506,400.
- (1) The state of emergency and adverse circumstances during the year, as a result of severe droughts have been successfully met;
- (2) the Railways expect to convey at least 6,000,000 additional tons of traffic this year;
- (3) revenue is expected to increase by R18,000,000;
- (4) expenditure will amount to approximately R5,000,000 less than originally estimated; and
- (5) a record surplus of approximately R19,700,000 is expected at the close of the year instead of an estimated deficit of R3,500,000.
Indeed an achievement of which the South African Railways can be justly proud.
As is customary, Government Departments and a large number of organizations and concerns in the various sectors of the country’s economy were again approached this year with a view to establishing the economic prospects, especially in regard to the Railways, for 1961-2.
Concerning commerce and industry in general, the general consensus of opinion is that during the ensuing year there will be a relative decline in the rate of growth as compared with 1960-1, but that the level reached during this year will at least be maintained. Considerable importance is attached to the question of whether the decrease in the Union’s gold and currency reserves will be arrested, and, closely associated therewith, whether the Union will enjoy overseas confidence. I am convinced that the positive steps which the Government is taking in connection with these two matters, coupled with the developments visualized for industry and the fact that the Union’s economy is intrinsically sound, will not only strengthen overseas confidence in South Africa, but will also contribute a great deal towards the creation of a healthy internal business climate.
On the other hand, the measures which were recently announced in regard to import restrictions have been duly taken into consideration together with the fact that a spontaneous reduction in the exceptionally high level of imports of the present financial year can be expected.
Concerning commerce and industry I have, in framing the Estimates of Revenue for 1961-2, therefore assumed that there will be a moderate increase in the Union’s rate of growth, but that imports will decrease appreciably. I have accordingly made provision for the tonnage of general merchandise which will be offered for conveyance and which mainly represents high-rated traffic, to be slightly higher during 1961-2.
In regard to mining, a moderate increase in the production of gold is expected while there will also be an increase in the domestic consumption of iron, manganese and other ores. The export of ores, especially manganese, contributed considerably to the increase in railway revenue during the present financial year, but in view of the uncertainty of the overseas market and the fact that the export of ores has already reached a high level, it is prudent to estimate the tonnages for 1961-2 conservatively. I am, therefore, providing for an increase in ore production considerably lower than the increase anticipated for the present financial year.
In the case of the agricultural sector, it is extremely difficult at this stage to make a forecast for 1961-2. The good rains in various regions should make good summer harvests possible. It is possible, for instance, that there will be a large maize crop and that an appreciable portion thereof will have to be exported. The wheat harvest will again most probably not be sufficient to provide the Union’s needs and wheat will consequently have to be imported. In view of the uncertainty in so far as other crops are concerned, I considered it wise to estimate conservatively the tonnage for the agricultural sector, and I am providing for only a moderate increase in regard to the sector as a whole.
Summarized, it is expected that approximately 52,000,000 tons of goods (coal, livestock and free-hauled traffic excluded) will be conveyed during 1961-2 at a total revenue of R228,000,000 which exceeds the estimated revenue for 1960-1 by R1,825,000.
In regard to coal traffic, I have taken into consideration that it will no longer be necessary to convey additional coal during 1961-2 on account of the Clydesdale coal mine disaster. The railways are also now able to cope with the coal traffic which was conveyed from Witbank by road as a temporary measure and no further increase in railway traffic will therefore take place on this score during 19612. On the other hand, increases in normal consumption and exports may be expected. It is estimated that in all approximately 24,000,000 tons of coal will be conveyed which represents a slight decrease, but as there will be an increase in the average distance over which this traffic is conveyed, an increase of R630,000 in revenue is anticipated.
I have already referred to the ratio between high and low-rated traffic for the current financial year and as the anticipated increase in the estimated tonnage for 1961-2 will be mainly in respect of ore production, agricultural products and fertilizer, whilst high-rated traffic is expected to show only a slight increase, I do not envisage an improvement in the ratio.
In regard to passenger traffic, the loss recoverable from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in respect of the conveyance of non-Whites, is provisionally estimated at R2,000,000 as was the case in respect of the current financial year. For the rest, no noteworthy increase in revenue is anticipated for 1961-2 and in consequence I place the Estimate for 1961-2 at R42,450,000 which represents an increase of R100,000 over the figure for 1960-1.
It is extremely difficult to make forecasts on revenue from livestock traffic at this stage. As it is not desirable to make advance provision during 1961-2 also for the large-scale conveyance of livestock in case of drought conditions, a reduction of R400,000 in revenue from this traffic is anticipated for the ensuing year.
Regarding the subsidiary services, I have already mentioned that Bookstalls are being transferred to the Catering Department with effect from 1 April 1961, and provision is being made accordingly in the 1961-2 Estimates. In addition an increase in revenue is expected on account of the expansion of the catering facilities in the Johannesburg new station building and at the Jan Smuts and J. B. M. Hertzog airports. The possibility cannot be excluded that the maize crop for the 1960-1 season will be smaller than that for the previous year and that the grain elevators will therefore handle less export maize. In consequence provision is made for a decrease of R232,000 in grain elevator earnings. The Road Transport Services have had an exceptionally busy year and as a slight decrease in traffic is possible, a decrease in revenue, estimated at R326,000 is being provided for.
A further increase of R931,000 in respect of interest on investments is envisaged.
In so far as Harbours are concerned, a decrease of R1,800,000 is anticipated in respect of wharfage dues on account of the Government’s declared import control measures. One-third of this amount is brought to account under Railway revenue and this is primarily responsible for the anticipated decline in miscellaneous revenue.
In contradistinction to Railways and Harbours, an appreciable increase in Airways traffic is anticipated. It is the intention to introduce five frequencies per week with Boeing aircraft on the Springbok Service with effect from 1 April 1961 and in view of the popularity of these aircraft, a considerably larger number of passengers than hitherto will no doubt be conveyed. The Pool Agreement between B.O.A.C. and the South African Airways has also now been extended and includes traffic previously conveyed in terms of a separate agreement between B.O.A.C. and E.A.A.C. In consequence of this, an increase in revenue is expected. An agreement has also been concluded with Trek Airways in terms of which S.A. Airways will place aircraft at the disposal of that airline on a charter basis and revenue from this source is anticipated to yield R360,000 during 1961-2. Apart from that, an increase in traffic on the internal services is expected.
It is anticipated that the total Airways’ revenue will amount to R26,279,000 which is R4,540,000 more than the revised estimate for 1960-1.
The total estimated revenue in respect of all services for the financial year 1961-2, therefore, amounts to R430,889,000, and is made up as follows:
Expenditure for 1961-2 is estimated at R419,396,200 which exceeds the revised Estimate for the current financial year by R14,264,800. Under the head Railways it is necessary to provide for an increase of R12,4220,000 or 3.4 per cent, but as was the case during the current year, this increase is characterized by the fact that fixed charges will increase to a considerably larger extent than operating expenses. The most important fixed charges are interest on capital, interest on superannuation and other funds, and depreciation. It is estimated that the increase in respect of these three items will amount to R8,656,773 which constitutes 73 per cent of the total increase in Railway expenditure, exclusive of subsidiary services.
The increase in interest on capital and depreciation of course arises from the Railways’ development programme, in which provision had to be made not only for normal development, but also for a large back-log. It can be expected, therefore, that until such time as the programme has been completed and provision has to be made only for normal development, an unfavourable ratio between interest on capital and depreciation on the one hand and operating expenses on the other hand, will continue. In view, however, of the exceptionally good progress made with the development programme of the Railways, a gradual improvement in the ratio may be expected.
Regarding the Administration’s Subsidiary Services, it is anticipated that expenditure will increase by R535,000 during 1961-2, due mainly to the expansion of the catering facilities in the Johannesburg new station building, and at the Jan Smuts and J. B. M. Hertzog airports.
In the case of Harbours, it is necessary to provide for an increase in expenditure of R871,000, due to a rise in interest on capital and depreciation as well as repair costs.
I have already referred to the anticipated expansion in the activities, and an increase of R4,540,000. in the revenue of the Airways. It is obvious that expenditure will also increase and additional provision is being made for R4,452,000.
Concerning net revenue appropriations for the financial year 1961-2, the anticipated gross surplus will not be sufficient to meet all commitments including consolidation of the cost of-living allowance for the year. In the case of the Betterment Fund, the anticipated expenditure which will have to be incurred during 1961-2 is estimated at R9,698,700; for this purpose I therefore intend appropriating R6,000,000 from the anticipated surplus for the current financial year. This amount together with the balance in the fund, should be sufficient to meet the anticipated expenditure during 1961-2. I indicated in my Budget speech last year that the appropriation of R10,000,000 from loan funds during the financial year 1959-60 to supplement the Betterment Fund, would have to be repaid in subsequent years. For the Administration the financial year 1960-1 has so far been a prosperous one and justification therefore exists for the utilization of a portion of the current year’s surplus for this purpose; I therefore intend appropriating R4,000,000 for this purpose.
In so far as the Higher Replacement Cost Section of the Renewals Fund is concerned, the expenditure to be charged to this section of the fund for the financial year 1961-2 is estimated at R7,123,665. To meet this expenditure, I propose appropriating a further R7,000,000 from the anticipated surplus for 1960-1. This will be supplemented by R1,000,000 from the anticipated gross surplus for the financial year 1961-2. The balance of R876,335, i.e. the difference between the appropriations of R8,000,000 and the estimated expenditure for 1961-2, will be utilized to reduce the present debit balance in the Higher Replacement Cost Section of the Renewals Fund. As at 31 December 1960, the debit balance amounted to R18,056,278 and it is unfortunately not practicable at this stage to appropriate further funds to reduce the debit balance. This, however, is an obligation which will have to be met and will receive attention during the ensuing years.
The remainder of the anticipated surplus for 1960-1, i.e. R2,701,100, will be transferred to the Rates Equalization Fund. Hon. members will agree that it is of particular importance that this fund be strengthened, especially in view of the ever-growing ambit of the Administration’s financial affairs. It is essential that the reserves be built up to a higher level than was the case during previous years.
It will in accordance with an actuarial recommendation, also be necessary to appropriate an amount of R67,200 from the anticipated gross surplus for the financial year 1961-2 for the Pension Fund and in the case of the Fund for the Elimination of Level Crossing, the Administration’s obligation amounts to R500,000 which must also be appropriated.
It is proposed to provide in the Finance Act 1961 that the anticipated surplus of R19,701,100 for 1960-1 be appropriated as follows:
To the Betterment Fund for defraying expenditure during 1961-2
To make good a portion of the appropriation from loan funds to the Betterment Fund
To the Higher Replacement Cost Section of the Renewals Fund
The balance of the surplus will, in accordance with normal procedure, be transferred to the Rates Equalization Fund, i.e.
In so far as the financial year 1961-2 is concerned, the following appropriations will be made from net revenue:
Fund for the Elimination of Level Crossings
Deficit in Pension Fund
Higher replacement cost of assets
The total expenditure for the financial year 1961-2, which has so far been referred to, will amount to R419,396,200, i.e. R11,492,800 less than the estimate of revenue. The cost of consolidation together with certain other concessions which are envisaged, is, however, estimated at approximately R12,000,000, and the financial year is therefore expected to close with a deficit of R507,200.
I indicated last year that the level of expenditure in regard to capital and betterment works was following a downward trend and it will be noticed that a further decrease is expected in 1961-2. This does not mean, however, that essential work is not being undertaken; it is actually the logical result of the fact that the great leeway in works is being made up, which now enables the Railways to convey all traffic offering.
I wish to express my thanks to the Railway Commissioners, the General Manager and every member of the staff for the diligence again displayed during the year, making possible its successful conclusion.
It is fitting that I take this opportunity of expressing the appreciation and thanks of the Government for the loyal service rendered to the country by the General Manager of Railways, Mr. D. H. C. du Plessis, over a period of nearly 46 years. Mr. du Plessis will retire on 12 March upon attaining the retiring age of 63 years.
Mr. du Plessis progressed from the lowest to the highest position in the Railway Service; this he achieved solely on the grounds of efficiency, conscientiousness and devotion to duty. During his term of office as General Manager, the Railways went through very difficult times. I think there has been no other period in the history of the Railways during which such serious difficulties had to be overcome. I have in mind, for instance, the grave transport crisis during 1954 when practically no one had a good word for the Railways. At that time the Railways had to face severe criticism; some of the critics even went so far as to say that the Railways had become outmoded. There were also serious financial crises and the allegation had been made that the position in which the Railways found itself was attributable to inefficient administration and management. I do not intend going into the merits of that allegation here but can only say that in spite of it all, Mr. du Plessis never became discouraged or doubted that matters would right themselves. It was to a very large extent due to his determination, strong leadership and ability always to get the best out of his staff that the Railways managed to overcome those crises.
The satisfactory operating results anticipated for the current financial year as well as the proposed improvement in conditions of service of the staff by way of consolidation of the cost-of-living allowance with basic salaries and wages which this made possible, coincide with Mr. du Plessis’s last year of service, and I think he would not have wished to leave under any other circumstances. He can justly be proud that he leaves behind a sound organization, definitely a much better one than when he took over eight years ago.
I should like to wish him God’s blessing, good health and a well-earned rest.
I now lay on the Table a Memorandum setting out particulars of the estimated results of working for the financial year 1960-1 and the anticipated revenue and expenditure for the year 1961-2, together with the latest traffic and other statistics.
I also lay on the Table the Statements of Estimated Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending 31 March 1962 as well as the Statements of the Original and Revised Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending 31 March 1961.
Mr. Speaker, taking a broad look at railway finances over the years, I come to the inevitable conclusion that Nationalist Ministers of Railways would be more at home managing and administering a “switch-back” rather than a normal railway service. Since they came into power in 1948, railway finances have experienced a disturbing switch-back of deficit and surplus. Between 1948 and 1950 down they dropped to a deficit of R14,500,000; for the years 1950-2 up they shot to a surplus of R29,500,000; by 1954 they had plummeted down to a deficit of R12,500,000; at the close of the 1956 financial year they had climbed up to a surplus of R16,000,000, only to slither down again next year to a deficit of some R4,000,000; in 1958 up to a R9,000,000 surplus, in 1959 down to a R16,000,000 deficit; in 1960 up again to a £16,000,000 surplus. Sir, this switch-back of deficit and surplus financing may seem natural to the hon. the Minister, it may even be thrilling to him when one realizes that he does not always know, with any degree of certainty, whether, in any particular year, he is going to “switch” up or “back” down. It is not. however, amusing to us. As a matter of fact it is rather alarming to members on this side of the House. Take last year, for example, the Minister budgeted for a deficit of some R3,500,000; he had planned to plunge down mildly to a deficit of a mere R3,500,000. But what happened? His switch-back propelled him up; up and up it rocketed him to unheard of heights which, apparently were totally unexpected. He ended the year on the dizzy crest of between R23,000,000 and R24,000,000 more than he had ever anticipated. I wonder if one is allowed to entertain just the faintest suspicion that inefficient estimating, both of revenue and expenditure, may have been one of the causes of this financial indiscipline, this financial uncertainty?
In this same debate, in February of last year, the Minister said that he would close the year ending March 1960 with a surplus of a mere R4,000,000. One month later, Sir, when his books had been closed, he found he had an inadvertent surplus of no less than R16,000,000. In other words, one month after he estimated, conservatively as he said himself, for a surplus of R4,000,000, he had no less than four times as many millions as he thought he would have just one month before his books were closed. When one estimates like that, it is no wonder that his “switch-back” gives him uncomfortable and distressing moments. One wonders also whether the rumours may not have just a grain of truth in them that on this occasion the Minister found it necessary to send for, and severely and angrily to reprimand, certain of his financial advisers for their estimating inefficiency. I cannot believe that this Minister, who after all must be the best of that bad bunch sitting over there …
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, is the hon. member allowed to use such an expression?
The hon. member ought to withdraw the word “bunch ”.
Let me say, one of the best men sitting amongst indifferent Treasury Ministers. I withdraw the word “bunch ”. I can hardly believe, Sir, that the Minister with such outstanding talents amongst his mediocre colleagues, could have thought in February 1960 that his surplus would only be R4,000,000 when in actual fact one month later R16,000,000 were found there. Unless, of course, he had been inefficiently advised! It is either ministerial shortness of vision, or inefficient estimating. It cannot be anything else. I wonder whether we can trust the figures he has given us in this Budget this year. Sir, throughout 11 years of managing the Railways, this Government at first in two-year periods, and then later, when this Minister took over, in one-year periods, has switched-backed almost hair-raisingly from deficit to surplus and down to deficit again. The Minister has either been down in the valley of deficit and despond or up on the mountain tops of ecstasy and surplus. This “manic depressive” financing has been an alarming feature of Nationalist Railway budgets. The President of the Railway Artisans’ Association said (and rightly, because, as a result of our severe but constructive criticism, things are beginning to get better) this—
I say that is due to United Party criticism—
And on behalf of the public to-day, I ask why this mania for jumping from deficit to surplus in this inconsequential way? This switch-back from deficit to surplus is enough to turn the stomachs of all those who have to travel with the Minister, especially the workers on the Railways who sweat hard on short rations when times are bad, and get belated and all too few benefits when times are good.
Mr. Speaker, I have already said in public this year that this Budget should have been a “Workers’ Benefit Budget ”. The hon. the Minister has at long last taken some steps to meet some of their financial demands. But he has not gone far enough He will know that about two years ago, when faced with a deficit of R16,000,000, railwaymen got down to the job of cutting expenditure and increasing efficiency. They accepted drastically reduced incomes; cuts that were vicious and complete; and they helped to turn a deficit of R16,000,000 into a surplus of R16,000,000 in one year. The next year of course they were, not unnaturally, bitterly disappointed with the Minister when he budgeted for a deficit of some R3,000,000 and announced that he would not have sufficient to meet the increased demands for benefits and wages made by the workers. As things have now turned out, with this record-breaking surplus, it seems that the hon. the Minister could quite easily have taken the advice given from this side of the House, and satisfy the just and fair demands of the workers, both as regards pension increases, wages and hours of work. For he has shown an average monthly surplus of just under R2,000,000. He must realize now that it was quite unnecessary to reject, out of hand, the representations made to him so patiently and so correctly by the Artisans’ Staff Association not long ago. I think he must now realize that it was wrong and unnecessary of him to advise the Governor-General to snub them when the railwaymen petitioned him.
Our railwaymen have worked well and loyally for the Administration. They have increased their productivity per man enormously. We know that in this year alone, with a staff decreased by 4,000, according to the figures the hon. the Minister has just given us, they have moved a record 6,000,000 tons of goods. I think 3,500,000 tons of extra coal and the balance in other goods. They have increased their output per man enormously. It is in times like this that they deserve greater rewards than those that have come their way. They have shown a great degree of responsibility. I believe that in any other country, and with any other railwaymen, we could easily have had a general strike on our hands or “go slow” inaction. I noticed in one of the latest issues of the Economic News Letter, which the hon. the Minister may have seen, published by the South African Information Service, a comment on—
I warn him that it is dangerous to drive a willing horse too hard or too far. I think that, in any business, the first charge on that undertaking should be a fair wage for the workers. Especially in a State concern I think the welfare of the worker should be paramount. No wonder that we have had to fight to see that the railway workers are not exploited.
This year we are definitely told—the news was given to us a few days ago—that the total cost-of-living allowance is to be consolidated into basic wages. This is to be done in such a way that no worker will go home with a smaller pay packet. Basic salaries and wages are going to be increased to cover increased pension contributions. We must remember, however, that this is not an entirely unmixed blessing for the worker. We must not forget that the workmen themselves have agreed to make substantial concessions regarding their overtime and Sunday time pay. They have agreed to remain on the old basis of Sunday time pay. We must also remember that, although consolidation will cost between R11,000,000 and R12,000,000, it is something that the working man on the railways has richly earned; and we must not forget that the old pensioner gets nothing. He has helped this Government and the Railway Administration through very bad times. Are they grateful enough for that? On the railway workers’ behalf we say: “Thank you for the fact that some small crumbs have at last fallen from the rich managerial table.”
With these few preliminary remarks, and, as is the custom, I now move—
Agreed to; debate adjourned until 3 March.
First Order read: House to resume in Committee on the Additional Estimates and Expenditure.
House in Committee:
Mr. Chairman, I want, once again, to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister to Item A (2) as it stands here, and to point out to the hon. the Minister that this is bad estimating. The way in which it is shown here leaves one with the impression that this is a new item, because there is nothing in the original estimates on this subject. The hon. the Minister, in his explanation yesterday, said this was a sum which had been on the original estimates, and that the various accounts had come in later, amounting to R30,000, this amount as shown in the estimates. I want to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister to the fact that, in the way in which this estimate is printed, it leaves one with the impression that this is a totally new sum on the estimates, a totally new item. There is nothing on this in the original estimates column, and I say this is bad estimating. Especially is this so in view of the reply that the hon. the Minister gave me yesterday when I asked for more information and he told me to go and read Hansard. If he wants to estimate correctly, and if he wishes us to understand his estimating, then I request the hon. the Minister that these items be shown in the correct manner.
[Progress reported on 7 March, when Votes Nos. 40 and 41 were standing over and Vote No. 44.—“Agricultural Economics and Marketing (General) ”, R735,800, was under consideration.]
An amended page 20 of the Estimates of Additional Expenditure to be defrayed from Revenue, Bantu Education and Loan Accounts during the year ending 31 March 1961 has been referred to the Committee.
Mr. Chairman, is the hon. the Minister not going to reply to the hon. member for Drakensberg (Mrs. S. M. van Niekerk)?
I replied yesterday.
No question has been asked.
Yes, a question has been asked, and it stems from the reply of the hon. the Minister yesterday. I am sorry that the hon. the Minister of Finance was out yesterday. It appears that, after the adjournment of the House, a new page was printed and has now been inserted in the estimates. But that still does not overcome the difficulty raised by the hon. member yesterday, that this particular item which is headed “Transport of water in drought-stricken areas” does not deal with the transport of water at all. No water was transported, and this has nothing to do with the transport of water. It was the disposal of the assets in the insolvent estate of the transport of water.
Vote put and agreed to.
On Vote No. 45.—“Defence ”, R5,555,400,
I want to ask for some further information with regard to this particular vote dealing with additional expenditure in connection with defence. Over the various items this additional expenditure totals R5,550,000. The hon. the Minister of Finance, in introducing this particular item yesterday, gave us some explanation, in general terms, as to the reason for this increase. The hon. the Minister of Finance mentioned that, as a small country, we cannot devote the same percentage of our income to defence as would a large country. He then went on to say that one of the reasons for these increases was that, for some time past, the Defence Forces had been unable to keep pace with modern development, so that it was now necessary to catch up with the backlog and equip the Defence Forces to enable them to meet their responsibilities. I think you will agree, Sir, that that is a fairly general statement to cover additional expenditure amounting to R5,550,000.
I would like to ask the hon. the Minister of Defence to explain certain aspects of this additional estimate. I must confess to some difficulty in this matter, in view of the general trend of defence policy, one wonders whether we are addressing the hon. the Minister of Defence or, perhaps, a Deputy Minister of Justice in dealing with these particular matters. However, I will deal with the hon. the Minister as the Minister of Defence, and ask him if he can give us some information as to why this additional expenditure is necessary. The hon. the Minister of Finance did refer to relatively heavy expenditure and to the fact that we could not spend as much as we should in view of the fact that we are only a small country. But I would refer the hon. the Minister of Defence to the relatively heavy expenditure which, taken in relation to the size of the country and our financial and other resources, we have expended on defence in the past and therefore …
Order, order! The hon. member must confine his remarks to this Vote.
I am endeavouring to do so, Sir. In asking the hon. the Minister to give us the reasons for this increase, I would be pleased if he would also give us a considerably more detailed explanation than has been given by the hon. the Minister of Finance. We have at the back of our minds that very substantial expenditure, over and above the normal parliamentary expenditure, has already been approved …
Order! The hon. member should not anticipate the hon. the Minister's reply.
I would just put that question to the hon. the Minister and ask if he can amplify the explanation given by the hon. the Minister of Finance. There are altogether five items here. There is the item of subsistence and transport showing a revised expenditure entailing the addition of R362,000. Then there are Items G and L; G dealing with army stores, services and equipment, entailing an increase of R4,294,000, which is practically double the amount originally asked for. Item L deals with aircraft stores, services and equipment, aviation fuel, etc., showing an increase of R797,000. Perhaps the hon. the Minister could give us the reason for the increases on these Votes and a little more specific information with regard to that expenditure.
May I ask the hon. the Minister of Defence if he will give us the proportion of these increases relating directly to the cost of calling up the various A.C.F. Units last year?
Order! The hon. member can ask for the reasons only.
Before the hon. the Minister replies, may I ask him also to give us some information in regard to the item “Ex Gratia Payment to Swaar Toerusting (Edms. Bpk.” What does that entail?
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) said that our expenditure is fairly heavy for a small country of this size. I might mention that we spend only about 6.8 per cent of our total Budget on military matters, which I do not consider to be a fairly heavy proportion.
The hon. member asked, firstly, that I should give an explanation of the R362,000 increase in regard to subsistence and transport under Item B. The answer is this. The excess on this sub-head is due. first of all, to subsistence and transport expenses incurred during the state of emergency, amounting to R70,000, and for the training of the “Brandwag Peletons ”, R22,000. Further expenses were incurred in respect of rail and wharfage charges for the Centurion tanks that were sold to the Swiss Government, R150,000. Freight and rail charges for automatic weapons ordered from Belgium, R120,000. That gives the total of R362,000.
The hon. member also asked that I should explain the extra expenditure on Army stores, services and equipment, unde Item G. There I might mention that the Cabinet approved of the following new services: the purchase of machine guns and automatic rifles, including accoutrements, spares and ammunition, to the value of R6,166,000. The purchase of machine guns with spares and accoutrements during the present financial year, R347,410, and another batch during the 1961-2 financial year, amounting to R116,000. The purchase of mortars with spares, R50,000, and for the safeguarding of supply depots, R579,000.
Due to the recent strike in Belgium it is estimated that automatic weapons to the value of R4,500,000, only, will be delivered. Equipment to the value of R260,000, for the safeguarding of supply depots has been delivered. Lighting installations to the value of R319,000 will be commenced during 1961-2.
The expenditure of R21,000 was incurred for the purchase of radio spares and general stores. Telecommunication equipment to the value of R124,000, which should have been delivered during 1961-2, will now be delivered in the present financial year, which gives the extra sum of R4,905,000.
The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) asked me to explain the ex gratia payment to a certain firm. The position is this, that a certain number of Sherman tank engines were bought. They were in a good condition at the time, but when they arrived it was detected that some damage had been caused. I may say that these were bought at a very low figure. This firm reconditioned these engines and delivered them in a better condition than they should have been originally. They went to very heavy expense in doing this. I forget what the actual expense was that they incurred, but it was very heavy. After due consideration it was agreed to give them an ex gratia refund of R18,000.
With regard to these tanks about which the hon. the Minister is talking, I must say that I cannot quite understand his explanation. Were these Sherman tanks second-hand?
No, they were engines.
They were second-hand engines, I take it?
The hon. the Minister says that they were not satisfactory and therefore the suppliers put them into good working condition. But according to him they put them into better condition than they should have been. That I cannot understand at all. If you buy an engine it is either in good working order or it is not. The Minister tells us that they delivered second-hand engines in a better condition than they should have been. I just do not understand that.
Mr. Chairman, I am not a mechanic but these engines had to be delivered to comply with a certain standard. The price was considerably lower than the quotations we received from America. There was something wrong with them, however, and it was only discovered after the engines had arrived here. Whether water got into them or what, I do not know. The firm then repaired the engines. The repair work which they did was of such a nature that the engines were in a better condition than those they originally quoted for. That, however, involved the firm in tremendous expenditure. Eventually, after long negotiations, it was decided to make an ex gratia payment to them of R18,000.
Following the query raised by the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson), surely if these engines were damaged in transit to South Africa there was some insurance covering that? Are we to be asked to pay for damage which was caused in transit because a firm which contracted to supply certain equipment happened to have to spend money on it? I do not feel the hon. the Minister has given us a clear explanation. If these engines were bought, surely the Department knew what condition they were in. Were they bought known to be unsatisfactory or were they bought expecting them to be satisfactory? If it was known when they were purchased that they would be unsatisfactory, then what claim was there on the firm to repair them? If it was expected that they should be satisfactory then, surely, the onus is on the seller to deliver them in the condition as sold.
I should like to go further, Mr. Chairman, in connection with the explanation given in regard to the R4,250,000 for equipment and stores. Could the hon. the Minister tell this Committee what type of machine guns were purchased, and what type of automatic weapons? This is not just a few cents that is being spent here, this is a large amount of money. Does this mean that the type of arms being supplied to the Defence Force is being changed throughout? Was the large bulk of this amount spent on machine guns and automatic weapons?
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to questions and not suggest reasons for the increase.
I am asking the hon. the Minister, Mr. Chairman, what proportion of this amount was spent on machine guns and automatic weapons. And I am asking what type of weapons they are. I should also like to ask the hon. the Minister what the reason is for changing, or for purchasing this new type of weapon as opposed to the type in use, or whether it was that he has had to increase the armaments of the Defence Force to the extent of some R4,250,000; in other words, is this an additional number of machine guns and automatic weapons or are they in replacement of existing arms? Also, was this a completely unforeseen expenditure of over R4,000,000, or was it forced upon the Minister by circumstances and events at the time?
I may just say that I took over last year as Minister of Defence. I then went into matters and the Government agreed with me that the defence programme of the Union of South Africa should be overhauled. It was decided at the time that we should purchase certain modern weapons. A thorough investigation was made. We bought two different types of rifles from different countries, from practically all the countries in the world. Thorough tests were carried out over a long period. The rifles were put to every conceivable test that rifles and weapons can be put to. Thereafter a certain type was decided upon. The automatic FN rifle was purchased from Belgium. It was also decided to purchase the Ouzy from a factory in Belgium. That is the machine gun. What proportion of the expenditure applies to either one I cannot recall with certainty. I do not have that information here. But that was the type of rifle that was purchased. If I remember correctly, we spent about £30,000 on machine guns, and about £10,000 or £15,000 on the other but I have not got the figure with me at the moment. More or less treble the number of rifles were purchased than machine guns.
No, my point was what proportion of the total amount was spent on both machine guns and automatic rifles. In other words, was this amount spent mainly on machine guns or was a large supply of something or other purchased with it?
This money was spent on the purchase of machine guns and automatic rifles, including spares and ammunition which we agreed to buy for R6,166,000. The purchase of sub-machine guns with spares and accoutrements during the present financial year, and another batch during the following year will be R347,000. The purchase of mortars, with spares, R50,000. That is the lot. I gave those figures to this Committee in my earlier reply.
The hon. the Minister referred to the Belgian rifle, the FN. I would like to ask him this. We have the right to manufacture those rifles in this country, I believe. If that is so, on what basis, what sort of royalty do we have to pay to the company which owns the patent? What I mean to say is that we do not have to import them. We can actually manufacture them, I presume, on some basis of a royalty to the parent company whose patent we are using?
Mr. Chairman, I am not prepared to give that information now, but I can assure the hon. member that everything is included in the sums I have mentioned. Even the purchase of the right to manufacture those arms in South Africa is included in the sum I am asking to be voted.
I want to revert to the ex gratia payment to Swaar Toerusting (Eiendoms) Bpk. I think the hon. the Minister must agree that his explanation is not entirely satisfactory. The hon. the Minister has indicated that the Department bought Sherman tank engines second-hand. It is not clear whether they were entirely in a satisfactory condition, but at some stage after the purchase some defect entered into these engines. The Minister is not clear what the reason for this defect was; he says he thinks water got into the engines. Surely a responsibility rested upon someone at that stage. Whose responsibility was it to ensure that water was kept out of the engines? I think the Minister must agree that his explanation with regard to this ex gratia payment is not satisfactory.
Why is it ex gratia?
It is ex gratia because it was not contractually due, I take it. But why was the payment made? Who is responsible for bringing about the situation in which these engines became defective?
The Minister said they were very cheap; he should have smelled a rat.
The other aspect is this. Were the recipients of this ex gratia payment the suppliers of the engines as well, or were they the persons who reconditioned the engines?
The recipients were the suppliers. These engines were bought by them, and after very careful consideration it was decided that we should give them this ex gratia payment, because we were satisfied that the engines that we got eventually were better than the engines which our representatives had inspected beforehand. There was no question about that. I had to be satisfied about that, and I was perfectly satisfied that eventually the engines were in a better condition than they were originally when they were bought.
The hon. the Minister used the word “suppliers ”. They were not the makers of the engines. In other words, they were merely agents buying second-hand engines and supplying them to the Department.
They are scrap dealers.
Well, then, they were found to be deficient, and then the agents, not the makers or the original manufacturers, had to have these engines repaired and put in working order, and it is for that that they got this extra payment. Is that the position?
Where did the water come from?
Probably the water gaskets were not screwed down tightly enough.
Are they a South African firm?
Yes, are they a South African firm? These engines were not made by the people who supplied them. The suppliers were merely acting as agents. They bought them on behalf of the Government, and when they arrived here they were found to be deficient and they, I presume, not the manufacturers, put them in order, and they got paid for that work. Is that the position?
Returning to the question of machine guns and automatic weapons, if I understand the Minister correctly, he said that the expenditure was some R900,000 on machine guns and automatic weapons— R600,000 on the one and R300,000-odd on the other. Did I understand the Minister correctly?
That accounts then for roughly R1,000,000 out of the R4,250,000, which is what I was trying to get at in the first place— the percentage of this expenditure on automatic weapons and on machine guns. Can the Minister give us any information with regard to the other R3,000,000?
I gave it right at the beginning.
The details of the other three-quarters of the expenditure.
Yes, I gave it. It was for the safeguarding of supply depots.
Are we to understand then that R3,000,000 was spent on the safeguarding of supply depots, as unforeseen expenditure? The Minister mentioned that, but I assumed that that was a minor amount. The Minister mentioned two points, the purchase of these weapons, which now accounts for R1,000,000, and secondly the safeguarding of supply depots. Are we then to assume that R3,000,000 was spent on the safeguarding of supply depots or are there other items which make up part of the amount? While I am on my feet, may I ask the hon. the Minister under Sub-Head L, “Aircraft, Aircraft Stores, Services and Equipment, etc.”, if he could give us a little more information on the extra R797,000. What occasioned that expenditure?
I would like to raise two points, firstly under Sub-Head G, “Army Stores, Services and Equipment ”. Are these stores purchased with an eye on internal or external defence?
Order! The hon. member can only ask for the reasons for the increase, not for the purpose.
Well, is one of the reason for Sub-Head L the reconditioning of old planes? Is that in order?
I could not follow the last question.
Under Sub-Head L, the additional amount of R797,000 that is required, does that include the cost of reconditioning any old planes to bring them back into service?
I have already replied and said that R6,000,000 was needed for the acquisition of automatic guns.
No, R6,166,122. We decided to spend R3,347,410 on the purchase of sub-machine guns; R50,000 on the purchase of mortars and R579,000 on the protection of our magazines. But certain savings have been effected under other heads and that is why we are now asking for R4,905,000.
In regard to the payment to this firm, the position is as follows: The tank engines ordered had to be in accordance with certain specifications. They were inspected by the British Ministry of Supply. When they arrived here there was no doubt about it that they were defective. How that happened we do not know but the firm then undertook to repair them at a cost of £216 a-piece and we received engines which were better than the original ones, according to a report submitted by the British Ministry of Supply and because this was a substantial sum we decided to make this ex gratia payment of R19,000 to them.
In regard to Sub-Head L, the position is as follows: Insufficient provision was made in the present financial year for the high cost of spares required for the major overall programme for modern aircraft and for the servicing of aircraft by private contractors in the amount of R137,000. Four used Harvard aircraft were bought at a cost of R36,000. The expenditure in connection with the State emergency for aircraft and radio spares amounted to R27,000. Seven helicopters were bought at a total price of R781,000, of which only R642,000 will be spent in the present financial year.
So, I would like some more information in regard to Sub-Head B. The Minister did not give us enough detail. There is a very big increase here of about 25 per cent.
I have given the answer already, but I will give it again. The excess on this sub-head is due to the susbsistence and transport expenses incurred during the state of emergency, R70,000, and for the training of the Brandwag-Peletons, R22,000. Further expenses were incurred in respect of rail and wharfage charges for the Centurion tanks that were sold to the Swiss Government, R150,000, and freight and rail charges on automatic weapons and machinery bought from Belgium, R120,000.
To revert for a moment to the item “Ex Gratia Payment to Swaar Toerusting (Edms.) Bpk. ”, I wonder if the hon. the Minister can tell us whether in the contract for the purchase of these particular tanks it was provided that delivery was to be in South Africa, or did we take delivery on the other side? Because it does have a bearing on the question of liability if any damage was incurred in transit.
I take it we took delivery in South Africa.
If delivery occurred in South Africa, then liability for any costs incurred must rest with the seller, and the only justification then for this payment must be the fact that the engines after having been repaired were really in a better condition than they were when originally purchased.
Vote put and agreed to.
The Committee reverted to Votes Nos. 40 and 41, standing over.
On Vote No. 40.—“Health (Union)”,
Will the Minister now please explain the difference under Sub-Head L, R7,000.
With regard to this elusive R7,000, the position is that this amount eluded us because of the way in which the appropriations are set out. If hon. members will be good enough to look at the Abstract on the first page, they will find that there are five columns, whereas in the detailed Vote on page 19 there are only four money columns, not five. In the Abstract on page 1 hon. members will find that the fourth column, which is the additional column, sets out savings not available to meet excess expenditure. The Estimates set out two columns, and any saving made on any of the sub-head's in the first column can be used automatically on other sub-heads, but if any saving is effected on any amount set out in the second column, it may not be used for covering excess expenditure on any other sub-head. Those two columns are the third and fourth columns respectively in the Abstract. Column three is headed “Excesses to be met on savings from other sub-heads ”, and the fourth column is headed “Savings not available to meet excess expenditure ”. If hon. members will now turn to Vote No. 40, they will find that there is an amount of R7,000 which has been saved, but that is money which cannot be used on any other sub-head. Returning now to the detailed Vote on page 19, it must be read in this way: The sum of R8,000,000 in the first column represents the original Estimate. The full R8,000,000 was not expended. A sum of R7,000 was saved on it, so really one must subtract the R7,000 from the R8,000,000. The revised Estimate is R8,604,000, but from that must be subtracted R8,000,000 less R7,000, and that leaves R611,000.
Vote put and agreed to.
Vote No. 41.—“Health (Union): Hospitals and Institutions” put and agreed to.
Expenditure from Bantu Education Account
On “Bantu Education ”, R7,600,
I wonder if the hon. the Minister could assist me here. Can one assume that this amount of R7,600 has reference to the amount on the back page? I should like to refer to the back page in order to clarify the amount on page 25. There is given here “Erection or Purchase of Buildings for University Colleges ”. Can one assume, in regard to the University College of Fort Hare, that the purchase of the hostels belonging to the churches has cost this amount, and that the amount given on this page, R7,600, is interest over a period? If we can assume that, it would facilitate our discussion.
I am instructed that the position is as follows. The amount is made up as follows: To the Methodist Church of South Africa, R2,600; to the Church of the Province of South Africa, R3,000; to the Church of Scotland, R2,000. In terms of Section 2 (2) (d) of the University of Fort Hare Transfer Act of 1959, the Minister of Bantu Education assumed control of all hostels which prior to 1 January 1960, were attached to the University College. In terms of Section 2 (2) (c) of the Act, the Department negotiated with the owners, namely, the three churches I have mentioned, for the payment of compensation equal to fair valuation of the hostel buildings erected by the respective churches on land which now vested in the Government of the Union. Finality was reached and payment effected of the undermentioned amounts on the dates specified. I do not know whether the dates are important. The churches requested payment of interest calculated at six per cent on the amounts agreed upon from 1 January 1960, to the date of payment, as the Department had had the beneficial use of the hostel buildings during those periods. The law advisers are of opinion that the Government is not legally bound to pay interest provided there had not been delay in compensating the owners for their property. Although the negotiations of necessity took some time, there was no undue delay on the part of the Department; but on grounds of equity and with the concurrence of the law advisers and the approval of the Treasury, it was decided to offer the churches the amounts enumerated above without recognizing liability and provided they waived their claims to interest on the capital amounts involved. In consultation with the Government Attorney, the Government’s offer of ex gratia payments were transmitted to the churches, and they have since signified in writing their acceptance thereof.
Vote put and agreed to.
Expenditure from Loan Account
Loan Vote A.—“Miscellaneous Loans and Services”, R180,000, put and agreed to.
On Loan Vote B.—“Public Works ”, R301,050,
I would like to ask the Minister of Education a question with regard to the item R30,000, which is the revised Estimate, and the R100, which is the additional amount to be voted for the East London Technical College, “Purchase, Repair and Conversion of a Property to Serve as a Hostel ”. We appreciate very much the action of the Government in undertaking this service. The R100, I take it, is only intended to serve as a commitment. I would like to ask the Minister when the work on the building is likely to be begun, and when the building is likely to be available for service.
I wish to refer to the item “Ficksburg; Houses for Commissioner-General and a Member of His Staff ”, R24,000, in respect of which an additional amount of R50 is to be voted. May I ask the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development whether this is for two houses. It is put in the plural here, “Houses for Commissioner-General and a Member of His Staff”. Then I should like to know whether this is in keeping with the amount of R200,000 odd for the Commissioner-General’s house at Umtata. Here we have a sum of R24,000, whereas the Commissioner-General at Umtata is having a palace built.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the reason for the increase.
Could the Minister please tell us something more about this house: Whether it is fitted with any special equipment such as iron curtains or fences? We feel that it is not justified to limit the Commissioner-General for Ficksburg to a sum of R24,000. We would like to know whether this is in keeping with the high status of this particular gentleman?
There are two items on which I would like further information from the Minister under “New Works There are two new Votes here which require some explanation. One is “Durban (the Bluff): Offices, Lecture Rooms, a Store and Single Quarters for No. 3 Mobile Watch ”, in respect of which the revised Estimate is R52,000 and an additional amount of R12,000 is to be voted. The position at the Bluff is that we have a naval depot in existence, and I should be pleased if the Minister could give us some information as to whether this naval depot is to be converted for the use of this No. 3 Mobile Watch, or whether this is an entirely new place to be built at the Bluff. The other item is “Durban: University College for Indians—Temporary Accommodation ”, in respect of which the revised Estimate is R97,000 and the additional amount to be voted R10,000. This seems to be a very large sum for the provision of temporary accommodation, particularly in view of the fact that, on Salisbury Island, there already are large numbers of buildings that could be converted. Therefore, it would be interesting to know whether this is to be an entirely new building, or what type of accommodation is to be provided.
With regard to the first item mentioned by the hon. member, viz. offices, etc., for No. 3 Mobile Watch, the position is as follows: It has been decided to form and station a further Mobile Watch unit at Durban with the least possible delay, and the cost of providing the necessary minimum accommodation is estimated at R52,000. It is expected that approximately R12,000 of this provision will be spent in this financial year. As provision for this expenditure did not exist in the Appropriation, a special warrant was obtained and it is therefore now necessary to vote it. With regard to the University College for Indians at Durban—temporary accommodation—the position is as follows: In accordance with the declared policy of the Government, that a college for Indians was to be established as soon as possible, it was decided to open this college as from the beginning of 1961. To achieve this, use had to be made of existing buildings as a temporary expedient. An inspection in loco revealed that certain buildings on Salisbury Island would be suitable for the purpose, subject to the necessary repairs, renovations and alterations being carried out. The cost of this work is estimated at R97,000.
I want to refer to the new item on page 31: “Welkom: Erection or purchase of eight houses for officials of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.” Slightly higher up we have the following item: “Klerksdorp: Postmaster’s residence,” but that is an item which has already appeared on the Estimates. It is merely an increase. The other item is a new one which is appearing for the first time, and I should like to know from the hon. the Minister whether this is a new policy on the part of the Department to build houses for post office officials.
The position with regard to the erection or purchase of eight houses at Welkom is as follows: The new automatic exchange telephone building at Welkom, which will also house the headquarters of the section engineer, is due for completion in 1961. The section engineer and his staff are at present accommodated in hired premises at Kroonstad.
The position at the new goldfields in the Free State is this that we have supplied a number of houses to officials there because on account of the large-scale development which is taking place there, sufficient houses have not been available. A number of houses has therefore been built for officials at Welkom and other towns in the gold-mining areas of the Free State.
With regard to the item “Port Elizabeth: Forest Hill Camp—New Married Quarters for Permanent Force Personnel ”, can the Minister tell us how many houses are involved and what type of housing is being constructed.
The hon. member can only ask for the reason for the increase.
May I ask for an answer to my question about the Technical College, East London—the new hostel that is to be built there?
The question was passed on to me, but this falls under Public Works and the reply should be given by the Minister of Public Works.
The Technical College at East London was taken over by the Government from 1 July 1959 and due to the increased enrollments at this college there is a shortage of hostel accommodation, and as it is necessary to relieve the position with the least possible delay so as not to jeopardize the activities of the college, it was decided to acquire an existing property. Investigations have revealed that a certain hotel would be suitable for the purpose in view, and as the property could be purchased at a reasonable price, arrangements were made to acquire it. The purchase price is R27,000, and a few alterations estimated to cost R4,000 will have to be effected, whereas it is estimated that it will cost approximately R44,000 to provide similar accommodation if a new building were to be erected.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to refer to Item (17) on page 31. This item deals with the bridge over the Jukskei River. I would like to know whether this bridge is being built somewhere off the main road, because the main road has an adequate bridge. Is this a new bridge which is being built to link the property of the prison with some provincial road or other?
I cannot tell the hon. member what the reasons were for building the bridge.
In connection with the item “maximum security institution” under Leeukop Prison on page 31, can the hon. the Minister please tell me whether that is a new item.
All these items are additional items. They have been agreed to by Parliament already. I cannot say what the reasons are.
In regard to Item (2) on page 30 dealing with additional defence accommodation there appears the item “Port Elizabeth: Forest Hill Camp: New married quarters …” The next one is “Pretoria: Swartkop Air Force Station: Additions, alterations and improvements to single quarters” and the third one is “Simonstown: S.A. Naval Base: Additional accommodation ”. There are additional items of expenditure of R7,000, R9,600 and R19,000 respectively. I am not criticizing the additional amounts spent on accommodation but I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he can give us the reasons for these additional amounts on these three particular items.
The reason for these three amounts is that they were under-estimated.
I would like to remind the hon. the Minister that he has not replied to the question in regard to Item (2) on page 30 “Houses for Commissioner-General and a member of his staff ”.
That was not what I was asked. I was merely asked why this was less than the others. These are houses that we bought and that was the price. I cannot say why it is less than the other houses we have acquired.
The Minister says that these houses have been bought, but we are merely asked to vote an amount of R50.
The sale is being negotiated.
Can we have some details about what is being bought.
Order! That is not under discussion. The hon. member must confine himself to the reasons for the increase.
The Minister now says that certain negotiations are being conducted in regard to the purchase of houses. It says “houses” here, but how many houses are concerned?
Two houses. One for the Commissioner and one for a member of his staff. The price of the two houses together is R24,000.
Surely we are entitled to know the details.
I am sorry, I can only tell the House what the two houses together cost.
The information which the hon. the Minister has given us is very scanty, Sir. This is a new item and we should like to know what type of houses they are; what the property is like and whether this constitutes a satisfactory investment of public money. That is what we are concerned about. If these negotiations are at present being conducted and the House is being merely asked to approve of the purchase of these houses, we are entitled to more details, Sir. Are these houses equivalent to the standing of a Commissioner-General? When we compare the amount of R36,000 which is being spent in one particular case with the mere R24,000 which is being spent in another case, the position seems to be unfair. It says two houses but we have no details. Is the assistant going to get a house of R1,000 and the Commissioner-General one of R23,000? Will the Minister give us more details please? Surely the hon. the Minister can tell us what they are negotiating about.
They are buying two houses; I have said that. I do not know what the price is for each house. The total purchase price is R24,000.
If the Minister will turn to page 32 he will see an item of R54,000 “Additions, conversions and alterations to various buildings—Acacia Park ”. Let me say at once that I want to know what this expenditure is for, because the Minister will remember that his own Department was entirely unaware last year of certain demolition work that was undertaken at Acacia Park. I shall be glad if the Minister would give us the exact details of this item.
The information is as follows: The new national road from Malmesbury which will be constructed through Acacia Park necessitated the demolition of 12 flats. As these flats will not be available for the 1961 parliamentary session the Board of Control recommended the conversion of certain buildings to provide alternative accommodation. The Board of Control also recommended that certain other conversions, adaptations, etc., to various buildings be effected before the 1961 session. This did not appear under the Appropriation and that is why it appears here.
I wish to support the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) in his request for further information in connection with this item “Houses for Commissioner-General and a member of his staff ”. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he can give us details of these houses and if he cannot give us the individual prices. Is there provision in these houses for reception rooms, conference rooms and office accommodation? Are there different reception rooms for different ethnic groups? We are being asked to vote money in order to carry out the policy of the Government under which the post of a Commissioner-General was created. We are entitled to ask what this money is being spent on: we are entitled to ask whether the spending of this R50 is in fact going to enable His Excellency the Commissioner-General to receive his subjects and to do his wok as he should do.
Don’t you want to know about the toilet facilities as well?
The hon. member in front of me asked about that, Sir. Are they following and observing the different customs and traditions of the various tribes or the modern system?
The modern system.
Mr. Chairman, the Minister cannot merely say: “We are buying two houses and I do not know anything further about it.” We are being asked to vote money and surely this is not the way to spend public money. We are entitled to know what sort of houses are being bought for R50; what sort of contract has been entered into. We are being asked to vote R50 for the purchase of a house; surely this cannot be an instalment. The Government is buying these houses and surely they should have information as to what they are buying. Can the Minister give us no information at all?
I can give the hon. member information, whether he can understand it, of course, is a different matter.
Have a try.
I will have a try and put it in words of one syllable. We are in the process of purchasing two houses. In the meantime I have received the information in regard to the cost of the two houses. The house for the Commissioner-General will cost £7,000 and the one for his personal clerk will cost £3,800. We are in the process of purchasing these houses …
Is that sterling?
Yes. This was before the rand came in. We are now asking the House to vote R50 so that we can pass the item of R24,000. The payment will only take place when the Estimates come on.
These two houses are apparently in Ficksburg. Are they in the territorial Native Authority for which the Commissioner-General has been appointed?
So that Ficksburg is part of a territorial Native Authority? It is a peculiar position if the houses are to be in Ficksburg; the houses are in the territorial Native Authority but Ficksburg is not in a territorial Native Authority! Can the Minister explain the position?
Order! That is not the subject under discussion.
What I am trying to ascertain, Sir, is whether the Commissioner-General is going to live in his territory or are we purchasing houses outside of his territory for which he has been appointed?
The Commissioner-General will be stationed at Ficksburg because that is the most conveniently situated centre to serve the South Sotho area. The two houses which were purchased there were properly inspected. As far as both the Department of Public Works and the Department of Bantu Administration and Development are concerned these houses meet the needs of the Commissioner-General for the South Sotho. I do not think the hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) will achieve anything by doing what he has tried to do. He tried to compare the price of these houses with the price …
Order! That question is not under discussion at the moment.
No, it is not under discussion Mr. Chairman. The reason why we purchased the houses at Ficksburg was to meet the needs of the Commissioner-General for the South Sotho and the house is large enough for his purposes; it has all the conveniences which it should have and the house, as well as the house for his personal clerk, is such that it may be used as it stands with very few alterations and renovations.
Are those houses in the area of the territorial Authority for the South Sotho?
I have already replied to that.
This is a new item, Sir, and we are entitled to more information from the hon. the Deputy Minister. These houses are being bought in Ficksburg. In regard to other Commissioners their houses are being built outside the European area in the Native territory, they purposely will not build a house in the European area. I want to ask the Deputy Minister why in this case the Government is buying property in the European area? We want to know why these houses are being purchased in Ficksburg. The Government’s policy is not to have the Commissioners living in the European area, but to have them living in the Native area or has the Government changed its policy?
Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that it is necessary to give the same reply 20 times before hon. members will be able to understand it. I have said that the house was purchased at Ficksburg because that was the most conveniently situated centre to serve the area of the South Sotho. That is why the Commissioner-General is accommodated there.
Is it within the area?
It is the most conveniently situated centre to serve the area of the South Sotho, and is situated within the area where the South Sotho are.
Sir, if I were to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister whether it was the intention to turn Ficksburg into the capital of the South Sotho area you would rule me out of order, but what I would like to know from the hon. the Minister of Public Works is this: There seems to be a discrepancy in the figures. The hon. the Minister of Public Works has indicated that two houses will be purchased. The one is to be purchased at a cost of £7,000 and the other at a cost of £3,800. If the hon. Minister converts that to rand it is only R21,600.
The balance is for improvements and renovations. Those figures of £7,000 and £3,800 are the purchase price of the two houses.
That shows how we have to struggle to get information, Sir. This item merely reads: “Houses for Commissioner-General and a member of his staff.” When the Minister replied the first time he said this item was to purchase the houses, he did not say that the R24,000 also included renovations and improvements. I think the reply given by the hon. the Minister is most unsatisfactory.
I am not at all satisfied about this matter. I should like to know from the hon. the Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration and Development why these houses are being built in a European town. He has not given the House a satisfactory answer to that at all. There is only one scheduled area in the Orange Free State and that is at Thaba ’Nchu. That is the big centre for the Native people. I want to know why these houses are not built in the centre of their Native administration.
Order! The hon. member cannot ask for reasons why these houses are not being built in the Native area. The hon. member cannot discuss that.
I should like to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister whether the Department has considered hiring a house until they have made up their minds where they should build. This is a new service. Apparently they have made up their minds to purchase in a White area whereas they will eventually build in a Native area. Has the hon. the Deputy Minister considered hiring a house in the meantime until the Department has settled this question? We quite realize that this is not easy because these are new posts and naturally there have to be new buildings. They seem to have decided this question in the Transkei, but it does not seem to me that they have come to a decision in the case of the South Sotho. And if that is the case have they considered hiring a house or are they just going to buy a house, vacate it later and probably sell it at a loss? That is not sound business.
When the Deputy Minister was pressed for an answer a few moments ago he said that he had replied. But the Deputy Minister has not answered my question. We are being asked to vote the sum of R50 in respect of which we will be committing ourselves to a contingent liability of R24,000. The question which the Deputy Minister has refused to answer—and which the Leader of the House said he could not answer—is this: Are these houses which are being purchased within the Territorial Authority of the South Sotho? The Commissioner-General concerned is for the South Sotho area. Are these houses within his area of jurisdiction or are they not? That is the question, Sir. This is a new Vote and I ask the Deputy Minister to reply “yes” or “no ”.
I have replied twice to that.
No, the hon. the Deputy Minister has not replied to that at all. All the Deputy Minister has said is that that is the most satisfactory point from which to administer the area. But that is no reply to my question. It may be the most satisfactory point from which to administer the area—that is not in dispute—but is it within the South Sotho area of which this person will be the Commissioner-General? We are not concerned with whether that is a good place from where to administer the Act or not. The point is: Is it within the area of the South Sotho Territorial Authority or is it not? Why does the Deputy Minister run away? We want an answer to that question. I press that question.
I have answered it.
Perhaps the hon. the Deputy Minister might be able to give some more information on the last point raised by the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) if he would tell this House what plans had been drawn up for these houses and who the architects were. I understand certain renovations have been undertaken which account for part of the additional amount we are now being asked to vote and my question is directed to that, Sir. What labour undertook those renovations? I assume that if these houses are within the area to which the hon. gentleman has referred, it will be proper and in conformity with Government policy that Bantu labour be employed in respect of these renovations. Were Bantu artisans employed? Did Bantu give advice in regard to the design, etc.? I think we are entitled to information in that regard. What renovations were undertaken? Were renovations effected to enable the Commissioner-General to receive representatives of the Bantu chiefs? What arrangements have been made for the reception of persons who may have to be received in audience by the Commissioner-General? These are all relevant matters. The Government is continually buying buildings and we are continually spending large sums on renovations. We have this in the case of houses which are built for the Ministers.
That also happened in the case of your house when you were a Minister.
It may be, Sir. But that is the point I am getting at. I think this Committee is entitled to know what those renovations are because we are being asked to spend money for this purpose. It is important to know whether these houses are being built in what is known as a White area or whether they are being built in a Black area. I do not think the hon. the Deputy Minister should trifle with the Committee. These are relevant questions. It is not merely a question of construction which in the normal course of events would have fallen within the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department, but this is essentially something which affects the policy of the Department of Bantu Administration and Development. We are entitled to know how Government policy is going to be implemented through its architectural development in this particular area.
Mr. Chairman, you will appreciate our difficulty. Under the Rules of the House we are debarred from going into any details in regard to this expenditure. The hon. the Minister of Public Works mentioned that one of the reasons for the additional amount of R50 which we are being asked to vote, was in effect to authorize the Government to spend the sum of R24,000 which is a new item on these Estimates. Under the Rules of the House we cannot discuss the R24,000. Yet we are asked to commit Parliament by voting R50, which will in effect entitle the Government to spend the sum of R24,000, details and implications of which we are not permitted to discuss. You see our difficulty, Sir? I think we are entitled to expect answers from the hon. the Minister to the very pertinent questions we have asked. Those questions are so limited and restricted by the Rules of the House that we are unable to get much information. But I do expect the hon. the Minister to give us sufficient information to enable us to form some idea as to whether we are justified on what is really an authority to the Government to spend R24,000, although at present we are only asked to vote R50. I think this is a very serious weakness in this particular form of legislation.
Mr. Chairman, this is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. I am not at all satisfied with the explanation given by the hon. the Minister. I am not at all satisfied that he can justify the erection of these houses at a place like Ficksburg and I therefore move—
Upon which the Committee divided:
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and T. G. Hughes.
Tellers: J. J. Fouché and D. J. Potgieter.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
Loan Vote B.—“Public Works ”, as printed, put and agreed to.
On Loan Vote C.—“Telegraphs. Telephones, and Radio Services ”, R300,000.
May we ask the hon. the Minister to give us details in connection with this loan to the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Will the sum which we are being asked to vote be used in any way for the erection of buildings in respect of broadcasting services as such or for equipment for the corporation? For what purpose will this money be spent?
The amount of R300,000 forms part of the total amount of R2,000,000 which is being lent by the Government to the South African Broadcasting Corporation. This amount of R300,000 is the amount which will be paid over this year and the balance will have to be approved of in the 1961-2 Estimates. It is for the purpose of installing the very high frequency system, which is the only system which will enable us to provide broadcasting services to every home in South Africa, also those of the Natives.
A new service?
I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether the R300,000 is the first instalment of a loan which will be devoted in any way to the introduction of television through the V.H.F. service, to which he referred. Is this money the foundation stone to introduce television? Is it his policy to develop along those lines? I think we are entitled to ask at the same time whether this high tower which is to be built in Johannesburg, and which is to be named after the Minister, is also being built as part of this new service out of these funds, because I would have the strongest objection to voting money for a tower to be named after the hon. the Minister. I would also like to ask whether in view of the fact that he is asking this money to lend to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, whether he will take steps to provide this House with information on the activities of that corporation. We are told by the hon. the Minister that he is unable to give us any information on the service. Yet the hon. the Minister is asking us to give him money to lend to a corporation over which he has no control. I would like to ask whether he has any control over the Broadcasting Corporation. or whether he is lending this money to an organization which he does not and cannot control, and whether having lent them the money, he will take steps to ensure that this House which is being asked to vote this money, will be given information in regard to the expenditure thereof? We on this side of the House have continually had refusals from the Minister to give information in regard to the activities of the S.A.B.C.
Order! That would involve legislation and the hon. member cannot discuss that now.
Mr. Chairman, we are being asked to lend money to the S.A.B.C. Having lent the money, we will hear nothing more about it, because every time we ask the hon. Minister a question, he says “that is none of my business ”.
The hon. member cannot discuss in Committee any matter that involves legislation.
On a point of order, I do not know how this can involve new legislation. I may say that previous Ministers in the same position had been good enough to give the House the information. It is a new Minister that is needed, Sir, not new legislation.
May I point out that the Explanatory Note says: “Interest payable after final drawing of total loan of R2,000,000.” The hon. Minister has told us that the R300,000 is a first instalment, but now the note says that interest will only be payable after the final drawing of the total loan. That does not mean new legislation,
Let me explain. The hon. member for Durban (Point) raised the point of more control over the corporation. That would require legislation, and it is only that point that cannot be discussed.
This is a new item, Sir.
That makes no difference. You cannot advocate new legislation.
This is a new item.
You cannot …
I am not talking to the hon. the Minister of Finance. Will the hon. Minister kindly behave himself. We are entitled to this information. We have no information at all, so far.
Let me repeat that hon. members can ask any questions they like on this item, except questions that might involve legislation. If they ask questions about greater control over the corporation, obviously that requires new legislation and they are not entitled to ask such questions. That is all I said.
Now that the hon. Minister of Finance is here, perhaps he can give us a little enlightenment on the nature of this loan. It says here in (b) “Interest payable after final drawing of total loan of R2,000,000 ”. That means that if this loan is drawn in instalments over a period, say one year, two years, five years, ten years, no interest is payable until the final drawing. Not only that, but if they draw R1,999,999 they need not pay interest at all. I don’t think the hon. the Minister of Finance would be guilty of entering into a deal of this kind.
I do not know what kind of a curb the hon. the Minister is using on the hon. Minister of Posts and Telegraphs. It is perfectly clear to me that this is the sort of loan we are all looking for!
I want to abide by your ruling, Mr. Chairman, and will certainly not ask any questions which will involve the Minister having to reply about policy. But we are dealing here with an item which involves the making of a loan by the Minister’s Department, by the Government to the S.A.B.C. We are involved here with a contractual obligation. The Minister is lending money to a corporation. On what terms? On what terms and conditions? Is it a condition of this contract that the Broadcasting Corporation will have to give the Minister information which he can pass on to Parliament?
Sir, I am not asking questions about legislation. I am asking the hon. the Minister about the terms of the contract. Has the hon. Minister in entering into a contract with the S.A.B.C. safeguarded the rights of Parliament in this matter? I want to know whether he has enabled himself, as the custodian of his Department and as responsible to this Parliament, to be in the position to demand information which he can pass on to this House? It is a perfectly simple matter of two parties entering into a contract, and the one party is apparently wide awake, but the hon. Minister may not be. The Minister, as one of the parties, may allow the other party to put a fast one across him. The Minister may be handing out the sort of loan which the hon. member for Kensington referred to, the sort of loan that we would all like, without having strings attached to it. But strings ought to be attached by a responsible Minister to a loan of this nature.
I would just like to ask the hon. the Minister one question. He told us that he has no control over the Broadcasting Corporation. What security has the Minister got for this loan? The Government has got to get the money back. What sort of security has he got? We see here that interest does not become due until the last drawing of that loan has been made. That has been fully ventilated here and I do not want to repeat arguments. But it could go on for years and a portion of the money could be drawn without interest being paid on it. Is there then interest on interest ultimately? What security has the Minister got? What is the Broadcasting Corporation giving him as security for the money lent? If the Minister has no control over the Broadcasting Corporation, then surely he has got no control over this money either once it is paid?
The terms and conditions of the loan are as follows: (1) The loan may be used for defraying capital expenditure only; drawings are to be arranged strictly within the limits of the parliamentary provisions. (2) Interest payable half-yearly is charged with effect from either the date on which the full amount is taken up by the S.A. Broadcasting Corporation, or a date one year after that on which the first instalment was drawn, whichever is the earlier. The latter date will be regarded as the commencement date of the loan. (3) The rate of interest is the current rate applicable in terms of Section 1 of Act 42 of 1917, namely 5½ per cent. (4) The period of the loan is 20 years, calculated from the aforementioned commencement date. (5) Only interest payable half-yearly is payable during the first ten years of the loan period and thereafter capital redemption and interest are effected on an actuarial basis half-yearly. (6) At the request of the South African Broadcasting Corporation and as mutually agreed upon, the provisions of sub-paragraphs (4) and (5) can be varied by the Minister of Finance at any time after the commencement date.
The information the hon. the Minister has given is most disturbing. I think this is the first time since 1948 when I came to this House that we have been asked to lend money from the taxpayers of South Africa free of interest for a whole year. If this loan is at 5 per cent, we are being asked to make a gift of at least £15,000 to the S.A. Broadcasting Corporation, unless they draw the whole amount in the first year, which seems quite unlikely in view of the nature of the work that is being undertaken. This means a gift in interest of at least £15,000.
It is interest-free for a certain period.
Exactly, it is interest-free one year after the first drawing, and if it is at 5 per cent, it is a gift of £15,000 of the taxpayers’ money to the S.A.B.C.
Yes, but is that the intention that out of capital funds we must now subsidize an organization like that? Surely a subsidy should be paid out of revenue funds. This is to me a most peculiar principle that subsidies are now to be paid to organizations out of capital funds. I think we need a little bit more by way of explanation and justification of this most peculiar item.
Then I want to refer to the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs. He tells us that the purpose of the loan is to introduce a very high frequency service in the Union. From Press statements we understand that the high frequency system is an excellent system of broadcasting, it is interference-free, but it is very short in range. The effective range of a station is apparently about 60 miles. So if with this money adequate coverage is to be given to the people of South Africa, if all areas of South Africa are to enjoy the benefits of this improved service, it does mean that there will have to be a vast network of relaying stations throughout South Africa. Then of course we will need more towers, to be named after Ministers. But the point I want to raise is whether R2,000,000 is sufficient to bring the benefit of very high frequency broadcasting to the vast majority of the people of South Africa, and not only those who happen to live in thickly populated areas, and whether we are being asked to subsidize the S.A.B.C. in this fashion to give an incomplete service to South Africa?
To facilitate the passage of this Vote, I wonder if we could follow the procedure that we followed yesterday in regard to the hon. Minister of Agricultural Economics and Marketing. Would it not be possible for the hon. the Minister to resubmit this Vote and add the addendum that we received from the hon. the Minister of Finance, because the hon. Minister of Finance has now given us an explanation? I accept his explanation unreservedly. Could we not have this Loan Vote resubmitted, because if this goes down on our record and to history, as it will in our libraries and throughout the world, it will be said that a new system has been introduced in this country. I wonder whether the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs would be prepared to resubmit this Vote at a later stage?
The hon. Minister has not yet given this House any information other than the general statement that this loan is required for very high frequency broadcasting. He has not given us any information on the details which we have asked him. We have asked him whether there was any intention to use this system as a basis for television. He has given us no answer on that. We asked him whether this was to be spent on erecting aerial towers? We had no reply on that. The hon. member for Yeoville and the hon. member for Kensington raised a very important point, namely that these Estimates as printed are incorrect. There is a false statement here, only a half truth. It is a misleading statement, a statement which is not in accordance with facts. There are three issues on which we have had no reply from the Government, and I would like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he can give us information as to what is going to be done with this money. What is going to be built with it? Is it going to be used for equipment, for aerials, for buildings? We want to know whether it will be sufficient to give coverage for the whole country. We want to know whether it will give an efficient service to the people. The hon. Minister sits there and does not reply. He treats the House with contempt. We are entitled to have this information before we are asked to vote this money.
I think all of us in this country are concerned about one thing and that is that our broadcasting service does not cover the whole country, particularly not the Bantu areas in South Africa. Any person who does not know the true facts of what is happening daily fall easy prey to rumours, rumours which get exaggerated and which may give rise to ill-feeling. Every modem state wants to ensure to-day, in its own interests, that the nation is au fait with what is happening. The Bantu are illiterate and in order to enlighten that section of our population, it is essential that we use the best method which is at our disposal, namely the radio, because even the illiterate person is capable of listening in to the radio. I think everyone will agree that if we really have the interests of the Bantu at heart, as hon. members opposite continually allege they have, if we are reasonable and fair and in the interests of good relationship between the different races in South Africa, we should establish a system of communication between the White man and the Black man. We have gone into this matter very carefully. Technicians have been devoting their attention to this matter for a number of years and could not get away from the fact that the right and best method of establishing such a system would be the new V.H.F. system which is being introduced over the whole world to-day. I think in the case of England practically 98 per cent of their system is V.H.F. It has already been in use in Germany for many years. Most countries, such as France, Holland, Italy, for example, use this system and in America this system is fast gaining ground over the whole country. This system has many advantages. In the first place this is the only system by means of which we in South Africa can reach every corner of the country. Under the old system that was not possible. But there is something else: If we tried to make the existing stations more powerful, which would be a very clumsy way of trying to solve the problem, the interference would be such that it would no longer be a pleasure to listen to the radio. Another advantage is this that it will be much cheaper to introduce V.H.F. than to attempt the impossible by trying to extend our present medium wave length system. From a technical and financial point of view there is, therefore, only one system and that is the V.H.F. system. As hon. members have rightly said in the case of the V.H.F. system direct waves are used. We have the medium waves which travels round the earth, the short waves which echo back from the ionian layers, and the ultra short waves which simply travel in a direct line. Consequently, for a V.H.F. station to cover the largest area possible, high towers have to be erected. That is the reason why there is such a very high tower in Stuttgart in Germany for example, because the higher the tower, the longer the distance you can broadcast, and the cheaper it is in the long run. This sum of R300,000 is to-day being spent on installing this V.H.F. system. Four central stations, namely, one at Johannesburg, one near Rustenburg, one near Welgedacht and one near Pretoria are intially planned under this R2,000,000 scheme.
Nothing for Cape Town?
That is the first instalment. The Government will first erect those stations and our next step will depend on the knowledge we acquire through our experience.
Where do the Bantu areas come in?
We have the biggest concentration of people on the Rand, and it is only right that it be introduced there.
The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) says that we have given false information in these Estimates. There is no false information; it is information in a summarized form. Surely hon. members do not expect us to set out conditions in detail in any Estimate of Additional Expenditure such as these. We give in brief what the conditions are. With respect, Sir, the hon. member for Durban (Point) is unreasonable in saying what he did say. In refusing to approve of this amount, hon. members opposite have advanced an argument which they so often advance in this House, namely, that I am unwilling to reply to questions relating to the Broadcasting Corporation.
Yes, that is true.
I am unwilling because I am unwilling to do anything illegal. The power of the Minister and of the Government is strictly limited by legislation. Surely hon. members do not expect me to go beyond the law. Surely hon. members expect the Government to set an example in the observance of the laws which it passes itself. Those are laws which the hon. members pass in this House. I say the Minister’s power is limited and I conform to that law which was passed here—I think that is sound policy.
Order! The hon. member must not enlarge upon that because that is out of order.
It is not unwillingness on my part but I am merely fulfilling the duty which rests upon me as Minister. The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn) asked whether this system was limited in the distance it could cover. Naturally, it is, as I have already explained, because the waves go off at tangents. That is why the system is limited in its scope, but in that also lays its big advantage because it means that when there are various stations, the one station does not interfere with the other. That is one of the reasons why we will have a clearer reception and a better service.
I am sorry, but I cannot agree with either of the statements made by the hon. the Minister. First of all, he says that the statement under (b) at the bottom of this section is just an abbreviation. That might well be the case, but it is a very misleading abbreviation. It does not give the conditions of this loan as they were explained to us by the hon. the Minister of Finance. Therefore, as it appears here, as the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) has said, it is not a true reflection of the position. On the second point I do not agree with the hon. the Minister either. He has changed the heading of this vote this year to include the words “and radio services ”. Now if this vote is “telegraphs, telephones and radio services ”, which is a new departure, then I was hoping that it was a new departure in the outlook of the hon. the Minister too. He might just as well argue that we are not entitled to any information on telephones or telegraphs either. That information is readily available to us. I contend that if the hon. the Minister has broadened the title of this vote, as he has this year, and there is an explanatory note under (a) to the effect that it was previously telegraphs and telephones, and if it is now telegraphs, telephones and radio services, I contend we are entitled to all the information we want.
Just a final word. Would the hon. the Minister accept this suggestion: the printed words are “interest payable after final drawing of total loan of R2,000,000 ”? Would he agree to this being added “or twelve months after the first payment ”?
For the purposes of record I have made a statement of all the conditions of this loan. That is, after all, a matter for the Department of Finance. We have given the Department permission to enter into this loan on definite conditions which I have stated to the Committee. But we cannot incorporate those conditions here. If we were to do what the hon. member has suggested, another hon. member may stand up and say, “But why do you not insert the rate of interest; why do you not insert the period of the loan; why do you not insert when the redemption has to be paid?” The hon. member will see it would really become impossible if we had to do that. I have given the full conditions of the loan, but to expect us to put it all in a footnote is to expect the impossible. I am sorry but I cannot accept that suggestion because it will lead to other suggestions of a similar nature, and I would not be able to resist other requests for the insertion of other terms of the loan if I were to concede this one.
Will the hon. the Minister agree that a good deal of his trouble this evening has been due to the fact that the explanation given about this item was incorrect and misleading?
It is not all the conditions.
It gave part of the conditions, and the effect of giving part of the conditions is to give a misleading statement to the Committee. Surely, as Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister will realize that when he puts figures with an explanatory note, the explanatory note must be correct, otherwise it is a misleading statement. It comes down to this: Will either the hon. the Minister of Finance or the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs explain to us—because neither Minister has done so—that in effect they are giving an interest-free loan? To the extent that interest is not paid there is a secret subsidy and, in effect, this is a wangle. The interest is being given at the expense of the taxpayer, as stated by the hon. member for Yeoville, and we would like to know to what extent the S.A.B.C. is being subsidized.
The hon. member for Yeoville has indicated that the S.A.B.C. can be subsidized to the extent of R15,000, for the one year. But it could be a greater amount than that, and the hon. the Minister has failed to answer that point. It is, in effect, a subsidy which only appears as a result of the examination of this amount. Not only are we being asked to vote a loan of R300,000 to the S.A.B.C., but we are getting no explanation. And if we do agree to do so without a satisfactory explanation from the Minister we will, at the same time, be acceding to a subsidy by way of an interest-free loan to the S.A.B.C. We are entitled to that explanation.
I think we all agree that it is a subsidy, but there is nothing wrong with a subsidy. If one studied the position in regard to big broadcasting systems of the world one would find that in Europe they are subsidized. England subsidizes her broadcasting system, the B.B.C., to an extent of £6,000,000 per year. It is not £6,000,000 in capital, but about £6,000,000 per year. They do so because broadcasting is of vital importance in any country to-day. It is an institution designed to keep the population informed about current events. It is an institution which at the same time performs a cultural, developmental, informative and educational service. There is therefore nothing wrong in subsidizing it and we agree that this is a subsidy. But the peculiar thing is that hon. members opposite have become accustomed to the idea of our never having paid a penny for it. Hon. members will recall that the S.A.B.C. started with a deficit of £150,000 and every penny they possess to-day they have built up themselves. But now they have reached the stage where it is impossible for them to go further than to provide the White population in the concentrated areas with a good service, and if it is also in the interest of the White man to ensure that justice is done towards the Bantu, then the time has arrived for the Government to step in and to provide a subsidy. I do not think hon. members will be so unreasonable as to object to that.
We are objecting to the method.
The method is after all that a loan be granted which will be interest free for more or less a year. It is a small subsidy. If hon. members would like the amount to be entirely free of interest, to be a loan free of interest, then the S.A.B.C. would, of course, welcome it all the more.
I want to draw attention to one thing which the hon. the Minister has just said. The Minister states that this money will be spent to create a service through which propaganda can be put across to the Bantu people.
I never said that.
“Inligting ”—information. Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, information and propaganda, in the minds of this Government are synonymous. The hon. the Minister spoke of information. A propaganda official is called an “Inligtings-beampte ”. This service is to get “inligting ”, in the Government’s interpretation of the word, to the Bantu people, inter alia. Yet the hon. the Minister, earlier in his speech, said he had no control over the S.A.B.C. One moment he has no control, the next moment he is going to get Government information across to the Bantu peoples through the Corporation.
That is nonsense. Who said that?
No, Mr. Chairman, it is not nonsense. The hon. the Minister has let the cat out of the bag in a very high frequency. The Minister said quite clearly that it was essential that we provided this service, inter alia, to serve the Bantu peoples. He said that, in this unsettled atmosphere of the world at the moment, it was necessary that we get “inligting” to the Bantu people.
To keep them well informed.
To keep them well informed, but he painted as the background to this “inligting” the disturbed circumstances of the world and the disturbed atmosphere in which the world lives. He made it quite clear, whatever words he may try to use now to get out of it, that it was his intention that this service would get across to the Bantu peoples, Government propaganda. That was quite clear.
That is a lie.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, is the hon. member for Wolmaransstad (Mr. G. P. van den Berg) entitled to say: “That is a lie ”?
Order, order! Did the hon. member say that?
Mr. Chairman, it is a lie. The hon. Minister did not say that, and it is a lie.
Order, order! The hon. member must withdraw those words.
I withdraw, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I did not say that the Minister had said that; I said that it was quite clear from his speech that that was the plan. And I said that the hon. the Minister had earlier claimed that he had no control. Now I ask him to tell this hon. Committee how he knows what the Broadcasting Corporation is going to do with V.H.F. if he has no control? Is it his intention then, in fact, to take over control and turn this into a Government propaganda service? Is it his intention to use this new service to put his propaganda across through the Broadcasting Corporation, or was his original statement correct, that he had no control? And if he has no control, then how does he know what is going to be done with the service?
When the hon. the Minister addressed us a minute ago he raised the question of the present financial policy of the S.A.B.C. He quite rightly pointed out that over the years of the corporation’s existence, any development that has taken place had done so without the necessity of borrowing at all. In other words, any development had come from the corporation’s own resources, which is primarily from licence fees obtained from listeners. The corporation has developed itself, its buildings and its services from the funds obtained from licensed listeners in this country. Any extensions of the Broadcasting Corporation have been done on the basis of that fixed principle over a large number of years. But this loan which the hon. the Minister seeks for the corporation represents a complete departure from that policy.
Yes, it is a departure, so what?
It is a complete departure because, if the principle is extended, what about the fixation of licence fees which listeners are called upon to pay? We are now faced with the position that the hon. the Minister is approving a borrowing rate for the corporation upon which interest has to be paid at due date. If that principle is extended, what guarantee is there for the listeners of this country that it will not result in increased licence fees required to meet the loan interests required by the Minister? That is an important question, and I think the hon. the Minister must reply to it. Some line must be drawn in regard to these developments.
It is quite clear, from the statement made by the hon. the Minister, that we are being asked to approve this loan to provide better services to only a section of the listeners of this country, those within the Pretoria-Randfontein-Rustenburg triangle. But the rest of the listeners of South Africa have to pay for it. Throughout the years the principle has always been that if any improvements are made by the S.A.B.C., all listeners throughout the country should enjoy the benefits of those improvements.
I challenge the hon. the Minister’s statement that this loan is being introduced for the purposes of introducing V.H.F. to the corporation for the purposes of reaching the Bantu listeners. That is the implication of what the hon. the Minister said. He kept on referring to the question of the necessity of being able to reach the non-Europeans. But there are protests from dealers throughout the country that the introduction of this service will mean that every receiver owned by a S.A.B.C. listener in this country will be completely out of date. Listeners will now be faced with additional expenditure of between £50 and £70 in order to get an ordinary radio receiver for these services. Last year we passed the Bantu Broadcasting Bill which sought to introduce a Bantu service. Is it now expected that a Bantu listener must invest approximately £60 in order to enjoy the benefits of this service? I think the hon. the Minister owes this Committee and the country a far fuller statement on this subject than he has so far made.
It is quite clear from the hon. the Minister’s statement that the purpose of this Vote is to feed news to the masses. The hon. the Minister said so. He went to great lengths to explain, in his lucid explanation of this additional amount, that news is sometimes falsified; that persons get hold of false rumours or wrong information. Then he went on to say that the purpose of the V.H.F. is to get correct news to the masses—in this case the masses being the Bantu population. Then the questions which have been put to him from this side of the House become all the more relevant. What control is there going to be over the news that is fed to the masses? Who is going to prepare the news? Who is going to broadcast the news?
Who is going to pay for it?
Well, we know who is going to pay for it. We will all have to contribute to increased licence fees.
The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) referred to a very relevant matter when he said that the hon. the Minister was contradicting himself. He certainly is. He has shown at one stage this afternoon that he appeared to be short-circuited; the next moment he alleges that he has no control whatsoever, and the next moment he goes off at a tangent and states that the purpose of this V.H.F. is to put news across. Surely we are entitled, when we are starting on a new scheme of this sort, to have much fuller information than the hon. the Minister has given to us.
If the hon. the Minister goes on like this, he will get an extremely bad name in this House. Unlike a distinguished personage who also bore his name, he will be known, not as Albert the Good, but as Albert the Bad, and he will deserve that appellation, and very much so. And not only for what he has done in this House, but for what he has done outside.
I think that the points that have been made by hon. members on this side of the House are very relevant. We have now discovered that this is a matter of contract. We have managed to extricate that contract, with great difficulty, from the hands of the hon. the Minister of Finance. We know, now, the terms and conditions of that contract. But surely, more than ever before, it should be necessary to incorporate, amongst the terms and conditions of that contract, something relevant to the control of this news which is going to be fed to the masses.
When the hon. the Minister replied to me a little while ago he conceded that a subsidy for the Broadcasting Corporation was nothing new and was something that he favoured. I hope that the hon. the Minister is going to remember, in future, that he has accepted the principle of a subsidization of the Broadcasting Corporation, and in future when we ask him for an explanation I hope he is not going to shield behind that and say that the S.A.B.C. is an independent body. Because if Parliament subsidizes it to the extent of a loan free of interest, then Parliament is entitled to an explanation from this Minister. I hope that at no time in the future will the Minister come to us and say that the Broadcasting Corporation is an independent body and he is not entitled to explain what they do. He has admitted that this Parliament is subsidizing the S.A.B.C., and we will therefore call him to account so long as this Parliament does subsidize the S.A.B.C.
That does not change the law.
The hon. the Minister says it does not change the law. Having regard to his long experience as a Minister, he should at this stage appreciate that once Parliament gives a subsidy the Minister concerned is accountable to Parliament. I hope that this hon. Minister will account to Parliament in future for the Broadcasting Corporation and will not say that the S.A.B.C. is an independent body and shield behind that. We are here giving a loan portion of which is interest free, and the Consolidated Revenue Fund will have to bear that interest free loan. The hon. the Minister of Finance will have to find that money out of the pockets of the taxpayers of this country. We will call the Minister of Finance to account, and the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs also, to the extent of this subsidy for the S.A.B.C.
I do not want to see this Vote go through until the hon. the Minister replies to the pertinent point I made as to what will be the effect upon the licence fees when the Corporation is called upon to meet its commitments in terms of the interest on this loan. The position is perfectly clear. The hon. the Minister has told this Committee and the country that in regard to the introduction of V.H.F. for the Witwatersrand area a capital sum of R2,000,000 will be required. There are four main areas in which the S.A.B.C. operates; the Durban area, the Eastern Province area, the Cape area and the Witwatersrand. It is therefore quite within the bounds of possibility that if it costa R2,000,000 per area, the total capital cost for the introduction of full service for these areas will be in the region of R8,000,000. At the rate of interest of 5½ per cent, the licensed listeners of this country will be called upon to meet an annual interest repayment of R400,000. That is £200,000. The gross income of the S.A.B.C. from licences is only £1,100,000; the amount of R400,000 is roughly an interest debt of 25 per cent of the total income of the Broadcasting Corporation at the present time. If the S.A.B.C. is to balance its books on that basis it will have to come to the hon. the Minister and say, “We must raise the licence fees in order to meet this commitment ”.
I think that before this Vote is allowed to go through we must have a direct answer from the hon. the Minister on this question. Is it the intention of the Government to go to the listeners of this country and say that in order to meet interest payments higher licence fees will have to be paid? We want to know and the country wants to know. With great respect to the hon. the Minister I think he should make a clear statement. Is he or is he not prepared to approve of an application from the S.A.B.C., should he receive it, for an increase in the present licence fees in order to meet these commitments? Because they will have to be met from some source on the basis of the loan we are now asked to approve, I think we are being asked to mortgage the licence fees of listeners of the future in order to meet these commitments. I am not prepared to vote for this amount if it involves an increase in listeners’ fees for the people of South Africa.
Mr. Chairman, the position is getting very interesting. I cannot understand how the hon. the Minister could have omitted to reply to the pertinent question put by the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant). Surely when the hon. the Minister conducted the negotiations to have R2,000,000 of the nation’s money made available to the Broadcasting Corporation, he satisfied himself that interest would be paid? Surely he must have gone into the matter and asked the Broadcasting Corporation whether they expected to be in a position every year to pay the interests? Or is the veiled aim to write off the interest and to make the subsidy one of a permanent nature? Or did the hon. the Minister ascertain from the Broadcasting Corporation that this would inevitably result in an increase in the licence fees? I think the Minister owes that information to this House. We cannot just blindly vote globular sums of money without detailed information. I think the most important information that we are entitled to have is what assurance the Minister has that the interest on this money will be paid by the Corporation, a Corporation which with a view to the service it has to render, is not a rich corporation; and whether the Minister is able to assure us that he has safeguarded the interests of the listening public by ensuring that the Corporation will be able to pay the interest without increasing the licence fees to any appreciable extent.
I want to come back to the note on this loan …
Are you going to take the oath?
I might surprised the hon. member by the kind of vote I could take if necessary. It might burn his ears.
With regard to this note, the hon. the Minister of Finance has given an explanation in which he tied up with it the rate of interest, when it is to be paid, the period of the loan and so forth. But that is all quite beside the point and the hon. the Minister knows it better than anybody else in this House.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
Mr. Chairman, when the House adjourned for supper, I was dealing with the note to Loan Vote C. I now want to return to that note and I want to deal with it in the light of the explanation therefore. given by the hon. Minister of Finance. The hon. Minister of Finance, Sir, said that this was not the only condition in respect of interest, attaching to this loan of R2,000,000 to the Broadcasting Corporation for radio services. He said that there was another condition. Now, that is the point from which I want to start. If there is another condition, namely, that interest shall not run until after one year, if that is a shorter period than the period for the drawing of the whole loan, then this is not correct. It is no good us arguing about the rate of interest, for what period the loan is being granted, and all the rest of it. The points the hon. Minister used, were used simply to confuse the issue. We are dealing here. Sir, with the question of interest—an interest-free loan—and the hon. Minister with some unction told us that we were misreading this note because it was not the case that interest would be payable only after the final drawing of the loan of R2,000,000 but if one year was a shorter period than the period for the final drawing, then interest would run after one year. Then it should say this; it does not say that here. What it does say, therefore, is inaccurate; it is incorrect; I would not go so far as to say that it is false, but it is incorrect. What we are concerned with now, is the Estimates as they are before this Committee. May I just read what it says here. The note reads—
- (b) Interest payable after final drawing of total loan of R2,000,000.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I want to repeat that that is not correct; that is not true; that is not the position at all. As far as this Committee is concerned, that is completely misleading; it is not the position. As the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moor) pointed out, it means that if the loan itself was never drawn, if the final cent of the loan was never drawn, interest would never accrue. In terms of this explanation, of this printed word in our Estimates, interest can only run after the final drawing of the loan of R2,000,000. That is wrong and all the arguments of expediency used by the hon. Minister of Finance are not going to make it right. If he wants to correct it, he should withdraw this page, this particular Vote, in the same way as was done with the Vote of the hon. Minister for Agriculture last night. He should then reprint it, and give the Committee the true facts concerning the interest— not necessarily the rate of interest—but the period from which interest shall run. We are entitled to say that until interest runs, this is an interest-free loan or subsidy to the Broadcasting Corporation. If it goes for two years or for three years before they draw the last of the loan of R2,000,000 and if this note is correct and true, then no interest is payable until the last amount of the loan has been drawn. That is on the basis of which we have been assured by the hon. Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. This is what we are being asked to pass; this is what Parliament is agreeing to. It is not agreeing to some explanation which the hon. Minister of Finance has produced here in the course of debate. Parliament has to pass what we have before us in the Estimates. I say again that this is completely wrong; it is absolutely wrong.
You are absolutely wrong.
Mr. Chairman, if I am wrong, that is so because the hon. Minister has misinformed me.
You are passing the Vote with the explanation which has been given.
If the hon. Minister of Finance has more to say on this matter, I am quite prepared to sit down to allow him to say it. I am not prepared to carry on an argument with the hon. Minister across the floor of the House. I hope the hon. Minister will take the opportunity which is known to him as an old member of this House, to stand up and address us with courtesy and in a proper parliamentary manner on this matter if he knows anything about it. His previous explanation was that this explanation here in the Estimates, was not the complete explanation, We do not particularly want to know about the details which are not germane to the voting of this money. What is germane is the length of time during which this loan shall be an interest-free loan to the Broadcasting Corporation. That is material to the question. The longer it is an interest-free loan, the more the interest will become a free subsidy to the Broadcasting Corporation. We are not here to pass subsidies; we are not here to pass hidden subsidies to the Broadcasting Corporation, hidden subsidies to an organization in respect of which, once the money has been voted, the Minister is placed in a position as he has pointed out twice already in the course of the afternoon, to say that he has no more commitments to Parliament in the matter. He went so far as to say that it would be unlawful for him if he transgressed the law in regard to the giving of explanations to Parliament. We want this particular note amended to give us the correct information and not information which on the face of it is false.
Mr. Chairman. I cannot understand the attitude of the hon. Minister of Posts and Telegraphs. We from this side of the House, have been putting some very pertinent questions to him in respect of the rate of interest on this loan but the Minister continues to sit silent in his seat. The net income in regard to the finances of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, is that it comes from the radio listeners in South Africa. A pertinent question is now being put whether the licence fees payable by radio listeners, are going to be raised to meet the interest commitments on R2,000,000 which we are being asked to approve in the Estimates. I have really indicated that, by the Minister’s own undertaking and by his own statement, this was only the first of many loans which the Corporation is going to ask for in order to introduce the Very High Frequency transmissions. The Minister has admitted this. He has said so himself this afternoon, namely, that this was but the first step. The first step was this loan of R2,000,000. But there is the rest of the country to be considered. I have mentioned only three areas, namely, the Port Elizabeth area, the Durban area and the Cape Town area. The hon. Minister has talked about the Bantustan areas and of Native reserves which he wanted to feed with a radio service under this system of VHF. But the hon. Minister continues to remain silent. I say to him that I am not prepared to vote for the granting of this amount without a satisfactory explanation from him. It is a matter of concern to some 910,000 radio listeners in our country. I think, Sir, that the hon. Minister has a better explanation than that which he gave this afternoon. I ask him again to give us a clear-cut answer on the question as to who is going to pay the interest on this loan which he is seeking from the Government. If it is only to take effect after one year, then it is obviously going to grow into sums of R8,000,000 or R10,000,000 if he is able to introduce these services throughout the country. The hon. Minister has told us that the Broadcasting Corporation would have to pay an interest rate of 5½ per cent on these loans. A matter of a simple calculation, Mr. Chairman, indicates a sum of R400,000, which, presently, represents about 25 per cent of the total gross income of the South African Broadcasting Corporation from radio listener licences. I think, Sir, that this is a matter of considerable public concern in respect of which the hon. Minister should provide satisfactory answers. I hope that he will do so now.
Order! I cannot allow hon. members to repeat arguments which have already been used.
Mr. Chairman, I intend raising quite a new matter in regard to this Vote. The hon. Minister has been asked for an explanation for the necessity of this additional expenditure. Linked up with that is the explanation given in the Estimates now before us, namely that interest would be payable after the final drawing of the loan. But, Sir, when one reads this explanation, it is by no means conclusive that the total expenditure involved stops at R2,000,000. I think the House is “entitled to be informed what the position is. There have been statements in the Press, in which it has been stated with authority, that the total cost of the changeover to the new system was going to run to somewhere in the region of £10,000,000 or £12,000,000. We are in effect being asked now to approve of that total expenditure by agreeing to this additional expenditure of R300,000. It seems to me to be an item which should never have appeared in this form at all. It should be put before the House in the ordinary way, when it can be discussed on its merits. We are debarred in this debate, by the rules of the House, from discussing this new item on its merits. This is a most important feature, and we would like to ask the Minister to give us the assurance, when he replies to the other questions, that the R2,000,000 stated here will be the total amount which will be required for the installation of this new broadcasting service? Or is there money to come? And who is eventually going to pay the costs? Ultimately, no doubt, this is going to be done by the radio listener through his licence fees. This is a pertinent question, and I think we are entitled to a much fuller explanation than that so far given us, and an assurance given that the information supplied is correct.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to reply, in the first place, to a few of the pertinent questions which have been put. The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw), who is not in the House at the moment, said that the South African Broadcasting Corporation was a propaganda machine of the Government’s.
He did not say that.
He said that repeatedly. The hon. member for Yeoville could not have listened. I am asking hon. members whether they want it to be a propaganda machine?
It is one already!
Just listen to that!
Very well, if the hon. member says it is a propaganda machine already, does the hon. member want it to remain one? There is only one way in which we can ensure that it does not become a propaganda machine of the Government’s, and that is to keep it out of the hands of the Government. [Interjections.]
That is why we have the Act, and that is why the Act lays down that there shall be a Board of Directors which is independent of the Government and on which the Government will have no say, except that of a shareholder in a company. The Government merely appoints the Board of Directors and that Board of Directors is responsible for managing the corporation. The Government has no say in that. If we wish to ensure that it does not become a propaganda machine, and if we wish to ensure that the rest of the world has confidence in the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, we must ensure that it is independent of the Government, and that it is organized along the lines which the B.B.C. is to-day being organized. The South African Broadcasting Act provides for that at the moment. That, Mr. Chairman, is the only guarantee which we have that it will not be used as a propaganda machine. The Government should have no control over it whatsoever, and, because the Government has no say over it to-day, I am not in a position to reply to all the questions which are put to me from time to time concerning the internal affairs of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether it is not a fact that he appoints persons as members of the Board of Directors of the South African Broadcasting Corporation who follow his policy?
As I have said, the shareholders appoint the directors. The relationship between the Government and the corporation is that of a shareholder in a company and who votes for a director. [Interjections.] Surely that is obvious! I cannot understand how hon. members can laugh at their own ignorance. Do they not know that that is the way in which a company is controlled? Do they not know that the shareholders appoint the directors and that that is the way in which the shareholders acquire a say in the activities of the company? Shareholders, however, have no say in the internal affairs of the company. They merely appoint the directors, and the directors control the affairs of the company. It is so clear, Mr. Chairman.
The hon. the Minister should not go into too great detail; it has nothing to do with the question under discussion.
The hon. member for Pinetown (Mr. Hopewell) expressed the hope that, because the Government was now lending money to the corporation, I would give the House more information from time to time.
I said “subsidized”.
The hon. member said that the Government was supplying the corporation with R2,000,000 and, because of that, he expected more information. But now he comes with a different story. However, even the fact that the Government is subsidizing the corporation does not alter the Act. The Act lays down what power the Government and the Minister shall have.
Can the hon. the Minister quote the section in the Act which prohibits the Minister from supplying Parliament with information relating to the activities of the Broadcasting Corporation?
Order! That is not relevant.
On a point of order, Sir, the hon. the Minister made a lengthy speech on that subject. He said that it would be illegal for him to give the information. Is the hon. member for Yeoville not in order in asking in terms of which provision the Minister said that?
Order! I asked the hon. the Minister not to continue with that point, and that is why the hon. member’s question is out of order.
The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant), supported by the hon. member for Yeoville. also said that if the Government lent R2,000,000 to the Broadcasting Corporation, interest would have to be paid to the Government and the licence fees would be increased. But the hon. member has forgotten what I have been telling him all along, something which the Minister of Finance has also explained, namely, that the loan is free of interest for one year—during that year no interest will be due to the Government. In the course of that particular year the Government will judge what progress has been made, and it will determine how many new listeners there are; it is hoped that there will be a large number of new Bantu listeners as well as other listeners who do not make use of the radio service to-day because it is not possible to serve them. In other words, the position will be reconsidered after a year. It does not follow at all that licence fees will be increased. I have pointed out that we have now reached a stage of civilization in the Western world where broadcasting service has become of the utmost importance to the countries concerned and, because of that, all Governments are today subsidizing their broadcasting services. This Government has already decided to subsidize this service to some extent.
But this is a loan!
The hon. member for Pinetown said a few moments ago that this was a subsidy by the Government to the corporation, irrespective of whether it was for one year or for ten years. It is also my attitude that, as long as the Government is willing to subsidize the corporation, in accordance with the trends which are evident throughout the world to-day, it will not be necessary to increase the licence fees. The hon. member for Peninsula (Mr. Gay) asked for an assurance that the footnote meant that the maximum amount which would be lent to the Broadcasting Corporation would be only R2,000,000. He is correct. As I have explained, this is for a limited scheme to be introduced in the Johannesburg-Pretoria-Rustenburg-Klerksdorp area, and R2,000,000 is required for that. After that the Government will have to consider what further steps to take. All the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) did was merely to repeat his allegation that the footnote at the bottom of the relevant Vote was limited, and that it did not give all the conditions and stipulations relating to the loan. Does the hon. member really expect that all the conditions should be set out in a footnote which is merely there to assist hon. members?
I did not say that.
But you implied it.
I did not even mean that by implication.
This is a summary and, because it is a summary, it merely reflects the crux of the matter.
It is a false summary.
It is not a false summary. If the hon. member alleges that it is false, then every item which does not include all the conditions relating thereto should be false. From the nature of things, it can only be a summary. I do not think any sensible person would have thought that that reflected all the conditions relating to the loan. If he thought that was not the position, did he really expect that there should have been a whole page of conditions?
I said I did not expect that.
Then you have no right to criticize it, because this is merely a summary of the crux of the matter, and it is absolutely correct.
The hon. Minister talked about this footnote being the kernel of the agreement. But that is where we differ. This is not the first time in the course of these Estimates, that we had to criticize the way in which they have been set out. Now this note says that interest is payable after the final drawing of the total loan of R2,000,000. We had it from the hon. Minister as well as from the hon. the Minister of Finance that this loan is, in fact, interest-free for one year. Now, I suggest that by putting the footnote in the form in which it has been put, the whole kernel of the thing has been missed. If the footnote had said that this loan was made interest-free for one year in order to get the new system started, it would have been a different matter. But this Committee is now being asked to agree to a loan of R2,000,000 free of interest for an indefinite period. That, I submit, is not in accordance with the facts; it is not true. The truth is that the Government proposes to make a loan of R2,000,000 to the Corporation which will be drawn progressively and for a period of one year it will be free of interest. I say again, as I had occasion to say last night, that this Committee is entitled to have precise information in respect of the Estimates it is required to vote. I say again that I think this footnote is wrong and that this Committee will act wrongly by agreeing to it in the terms in which it has been placed.
But the Minister has explained it in detail.
The hon. Minister has done nothing of the sort. The hon. Minister of Finance has given us the terms of the contract …
Now you know what you are voting for.
No, we do not. The hon. Minister of Finance has told the Committee several things which should have been printed in these Estimates. As I said earlier, this is not, by any means, the first occasion in the course of these Estimates, that we had to make exactly this sort of complaint. If the hon. Minister has any respect at all for this Committee, he would move for its adjournment in order to enable him to put the thing right. The position now is that he is coming to this Committee, asking it to vote a large sum of money the implication of which are much more complicated than merely the voting of the R300,000. It is well known that once the principle of the thing has been agreed upon, the hon. Minister shall, in the event of us requiring information about the balance of the loan, tell us that he has no control over it. It is in the light of this that we must be somewhat meticulous on this particular vote. I say again that if the hon. Minister has any respect for this Committee, he would ask for this vote to stand over until he has been able to furnish the correct information in connection with it.
Mr. Chairman, it is perfectly clear to me that there is another reason, a hidden reason, behind the opposition to this Vote. I think the hon. the Minister has stated very clearly for what purpose this amount will be used. Hon. members opposite know very well how the South African Broadcasting Board is constituted and they also know perfectly well that this board lays down the whole policy in connection with South African broadcasting.
Order! That is not relevant at the moment.
Those hon. members refuse to approve of this Vote and the hidden reason behind their opposition is that they do not want news to be disseminated amongst the non-Whites out of South Africa. [Interjections.] They would prefer to see that news disseminated from Ghana, from Nyasaland or from Tanganyika. [Interjections.] The principle underlying the request to this Committee to approve of this amount is to institute a better frequency and thus to be able to maintain a radio network throughout the country so as to be able to reach all listeners and particularly the non-White listeners. That has already been explained by the hon. the Minister. That, however, is not what hon. members opposite want and that is why they come along with this camouflaged opposition, which is not opposition to the principle as such but which is based on the fact that they do not want news to reach the non-Whites …
Order! The hon. member cannot pursue that argument.
Then I want to make this submission that hon. members opposite want a greater say in broadcasting so as to permit of greater interference with it. Why? They are opposed to news being disseminated in the correct light by the corporation.
I have listened very carefully to the explanation which was given tonight by the hon. Minister but I must confess that, after having listened to him on several occasions, I have come to the conclusion that what he lacks in depth, he wants to make up for in length. That, however, does not lend very much clarity to the position. It is quite obvious from what was said by the hon. member who just sat down (Mr. Martins) that an irresistible conclusion from what was said by the hon. Minister himself, is that what the Minister actually wants, what is actually behind this amount which we are being asked to vote, is to provide radio blinkers for South African listeners. I understand—and I shall be glad if the hon. Minister will correct me if I am wrong—that this V.H.F. does not permit of a listener hearing overseas news. The hon. Minister explained earlier that this money is to be expended for feeding news to the masses and, in view of what I have just said, that then must be local news, news concocted locally, to the exclusion of any news from any other part of the world. The hon. member for Wakkerstroom raised the possibility of news coming from Ghana …
Order! He was called to order. The hon. member cannot proceed with that argument.
We are discussing whether or not the amount of R300,000 for the V.H.F. system should be voted and I am asking the hon. Minister to say, whether, when this system is introduced, listeners who pay their licence fees will be prevented from hearing news coming from without the confines of the Union of South Africa. Is that an attempt to blinker listeners in this country? The hon. Minister started on a propaganda note when he gave his initial explanation on this Vote. He said all types of odds and ends of news are being broadcast and therefore it was necessary that we should have the correct information. Now, what is this correct information and who is going to get it? Will it be the correct information because the source thereof is the Broadcasting Corporation or some secret office outside the confines of the Broadcasting Corporation?
Order! That point is not now under discussion. The hon. member must come back to the Vote.
The hon. Minister has told us that the purpose of this Vote is to disseminate information, to feed news to the masses. Now, what I want to know is who is going to control that news. May I say that the hon: Minister has put forward what to me is an astounding proposition. He has been asked about this question of control. In answer to the criticism of his denial that he had control the hon. the Minister said: “Yes, indeed, we do appoint the directors; after all we are the shareholders, but we have nothing more to say.” What an extraordinary doctrine, Sir. Does the Minister suggest that the Government are the only shareholders in the Broadcasting Corporation? What is the position of the unfortunate people who put up the money, the licence holders? Are they not shareholders? How do they fit into the scene? What about the taxpayers? It is a most extraordinary position that we now have a body of shareholders who get capital from outside people and those outside people get no interest whatsoever on their money. These so-called shareholders appoint the directors and then wash their hands off the whole business! And in the same breath the Minister says that this service will be putting across certain views. The Minister is on the horns of a dilemma. One the one hand he says he has no control and on the other hand he says he appoints the directors. What is it? He appoints the directors and he knows what they are going to do. He has it both ways. The Minister certainly has a direct line to the Broadcasting Corporation. What we have been trying to ascertain from the Minister is whether he will transfer that direct line, or put a connecting line to that direct line, between himself and this House.
I allowed the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) a great deal of latitude, but I hope that hon. members will co-operate with me now and come back to the Vote. The House is considering this Vote and this Vote alone.
Mr. Chairman, I rise to thank the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs …
I want to emphasize that, and I repeat that I rise to thank the hon. the Minister for having succeeded in getting this Vote on the Estimates and for the fact that this sum of R300,000 is being made available free of interest to the Broadcasting Corporation in the form of a loan, even if it is given in the form of a subsidy to the corporation. I have every reason for thanking him. At the same time I want to express my gratitude to the South African Broadcasting Corporation for the services rendered by them. I think it is the duty of this House and of this Committee to make available this R2,000,000—and R300,000 this year —for the services that we are getting from the South African Broadcasting Corporation. I want to say this, Mr. Chairman, that, bearing in mind the fact that we are not contributing any funds one can only express one’s surprise at the enjoyable service that one gets hour after hour from the corporation; this means hours of relaxation, hours of education, and this service is being given without any money having been provided by this Committee on the Estimates in the past. I want to confine myself to this Vote and I think I am entitled to talk about it and justified in doing so. It is desirable that we should make money available to the Broadcasting Corporation in the form of a loan. I want to thank the hon. the Minister, therefore. [Interjections.] Mr. Chairman, I would be out of order if I replied to some of the arguments which have been advanced here this evening by members of the Opposition. You would rule me out of order if I did so. The explanations which have been given both by the hon. the Minister of Finance and the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs are not accepted by members of the Opposition; they doubt their validity.
The hon. member says “Nonsense ”, but he himself has made himself guilty of putting into the mouth of the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs words which he did not use at all.
Order! The hon. member must not follow another hon. member’s example; he should carry on with his own speech.
That is why I say that it is a privilege and an honour for this House to make money available in this way for the expansion of our broadcasting service in South Africa. The hon. the Minister has explained for what purpose this money is going to be used. Do hon. members opposite expect every Loan Vote to be accompanied by a long essay setting out the reasons? Must we explain every item in detail after both Ministers have explained it? This money is going to be used for expansion and for the establishment of a high frequency broadcasting service which all of us welcome except the Opposition, which apparently does not like to see progress in this country. But we who like progress, we who are anxious to have that service, want to say to the Minister that we appreciate his explanation that this money is not going to be used at once over the whole of the Union of South Africa. This is a very wise and sensible experimental step. We gladly support it and I am convinced that the listeners in South Africa will be grateful to the Minister for making provision for this sum of money in order to expand the South African broadcasting service.
The question now is how do we vote on this?
Do not vote at all.
I want to say at once, Mr. Chairman, that we of the official Opposition are not opposed to very high frequency. We are not opposed to lending money to the South African Broadcasting Corporation for that purpose. We would have liked to have seen more—I do not think I would be in order to say that we would have liked to see this opportunity taken to introduce a modern and essential development such as television at the same time. But I want to say this, that while we are not opposed to very high frequency, we are opposed to V.L.C.—the very low competency of the Minister who has been dealing with this matter. I have much sympathy with the hon. the Minister of Finance, who, after the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs attempted to answer the very reasonable questions which came from this side of the House, left the House. I must say, Sir, that we are most disappointed, most dreadfully disappointed in the performance of the two hon. Ministers who owe a duty to this House to give adequate explanations. They have utterly failed to do so. A number of questions which have been put to the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs remain to be answered. The Minister of Finance has evaded the issue of this misleading footnote. I want to ask the Minister of Finance to give me a simple answer to a simple question: Does it appear in the terms of the contract with the S.A.B.C. that in no circumstances will any interest have to be paid on this loan until the final amount of the R2,000,000 has been drawn from the Government?
I have given you the answer.
Is that the position or not?
I have given you the full terms of the contract.
If I heard the Minister correctly that is not the position.
You probably heard me wrongly. [Interjections.]
You see, Mr. Chairman, when I speak about the very low competency of the Minister you will have to sympathize with me. Here we have a footnote which says clearly that no interest will be paid until the final instalment of the loan is drawn. That is all that we have before us, but the Minister assures us that it is not true. When he was asked about this by the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) he said: “I will never be a party to such an agreement.” But that is the agreement before the House. The Minister explained to us that interest would have to be paid after a year, whether the full amount has been drawn or not. That means that this footnote is wrong. I want to leave the Minister of Finance for the moment. He does not seem to appreciate the importance of the role that he does play and can play in South Africa, so I will leave him.
I want to return to the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs. The questions we have put must be answered, Sir. We as an Opposition are compelled in protest against the incompetency—I was going to say the discourtesy but I shall not do so—against the lack of consideration for Parliament, to voice our objection by voting against this item. I want the Committee to understand clearly that we will be doing so in protest against the attitude of the two Ministers concerned. They will not listen to reason, they will not account to Parliament for the money that they ask the taxpayer to contribute to the South African Broadcasting Corporation. We have asked fair questions but they remain unanswered while hon. members opposite sit back smugly and thank the Minister for treating Parliament with contempt. For these reasons, Sir, we are compelled to vote against this item.
Mr. Chairman, in supporting the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn) who has put the case quite clearly and left no room for doubt, I want to make this additional point. The hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs has claimed for himself the right virtually of being the sole shareholder in the S.A.B.C. He said that the Government—and he represents the Government—were the shareholders and that therefore the shareholders appointed the board of directors and the board of directors then ran the company. Is the Minister not a shareholder in any company? Does he not know that shareholders have a right to demand from the directors an account of their stewardship and that the directors are responsible to the shareholders? The point is this that it is not the Minister who is a shareholder. The Minister is not the shareholder neither is the Government; it is the people of South Africa who are the shareholders. That Minister is elected by the people to represent the people. This Parliament is the shareholder and whether I have one share or 103 shares, as the Government has in this Parliament, is beside the point. The holder of one share has an equal right with the holder of any of those 103 shares.
So that means you want the Natives on the Common Roll.
The hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) had better be careful otherwise they might build another tower at Vereeniging and they might hang him from it before long. [Interjections.]
Mr. Chairman, the issue is this: The hon. member for Vereeniging and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and myself and every member of this House have one share of equal value in the S.A.B.C. and every one of us is entitled to demand information from the board of directors whom we as shareholders have appointed. The Minister is merely the caretaker.
Order! That has nothing to do with this Vote. The House is discussing the item of R300,000.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, we are asked to lend this money to the board. When we asked the Minister what control we as a Parliament will have over the expenditure of that money, we were told by the Minister that we would have no say whatsoever. Once we have voted this amount of R300,000 we lose control of it. My argument is that we are being asked to vote money from this House in the form of a loan to an organization, the South African Broadcasting Corporation. The Minister stated that that corporation was in effect the board of directors appointed by the shareholders. My point is that if we accept the Minister’s argument, we are the shareholders, therefore we have the right to demand of the board of directors that they account to us, the shareholders, in regard to what they intend doing with the R300,000. It is a simple issue, Sir. We are asked to vote this money …
Yes, that is a point. The hon. the Minister wants our proxy to hand over this sum of R300,000.
If Parliament wishes to have control over this money it must change the Act. That is why I cannot allow this discussion to continue.
No, Mr. Chairman, I am not asking for the Act to be changed. The Minister has admitted in his speech this evening that de facto he does have control, because he has told us what is going to happen if we grant this money. He has said that through the granting of this money a new system of broadcasting will be established which will enable them to put over “inligting ”—(in the Government sense, I assume, as he speaks in the name of the Government)—to the Bantu. The Minister therefore admits de facto that he knows what will be done with this money. All we are asking is that if the Minister has sufficient control to be able to tell this House that if we vote this money the consequence will be the dissemination of “inligting” to the Bantu, then he must have sufficient control to be able to pass that information on to us. What information we have managed to get out of the Minister we have dragged out of him word by word. Had we not objected to this item we would not have known that it was the intention of the Government in granting this loan to use the S.A.B.C. to disseminate “inligting ”. I use that word deliberately because of its special connotation, because of the meaning it has when used in the Government sense. We, Mr. Chairman, are not prepared to hand over the rights of the people of South Africa to a Minister who in turn is going to hand them over to a body over which he alleges he has no control. We say that if we vote this money then we, the Parliament of South Africa, in the name of the people whose money it is, we should have some control over it. It is not my money, it is not the Minister’s money, it is the money of the people, the man in the street, the labourer, the bricklayer, the carpenter, the people who earn their money by the sweat of their brow. It does not belong to that Minister; it does not belong to the member for Vereeniging; it belongs to the workers of South Africa whose sweat and blood have provided this money. In their name, Mr. Chairman, we are entitled to demand that when their money is spent, we have control over that money. This Parliament, which is the mouthpiece of the man and woman of South Africa, is entitled to demand that their money be protected. This Minister wants to take that money and spend it without control. We object. Not only does the Minister want to spend it without control, but as the hon. member for Yeoville pointed out, to spend it under the pretence that no interest will be payable until the whole loan has been taken up.
Order! That argument has been used time and again.
I want to agree with the hon. the Minister of Finance. We accept his explanation and we ask the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs also to accept the word of his colleague, the Minister of Finance, that the statement in this printed estimate is incorrect. We agree with the Minister of Finance and we ask the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs also to agree with him.
Any objections? No objection—agreed to. [Interjections.]
I put the Vote …
I want to take a point of order, Sir, before you put the Vote. I want to take the point of order as to whether you should put the Vote now … [Interjections.]
Order! There cannot be a point of order in regard to putting the Vote now.
On a point of order, Sir, are hon. members entitled to shout down an hon. member when he is raising a point of order? [Interjections.]
Order! There is no point of order in regard to putting the Vote. The acceptance of the closure is entirely in the discretion of the Chairman and I decided to accept it.
Then I shall take the point of order afterwards.
May I take a point of order, Sir …
Sit down, you are too stupid to understand this!
Order! The closure can be moved at any time, even while a member is speaking, so there is no point of order in regard to the acceptance of the closure.
Mr. Chairman, on a point or order … [Interjections.]
On a point of order, Sir, even if the closure has been moved, I take it that it is for the House …
Order! That is not a point of order.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, is the hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) entitled to say of another hon. member on this side of the House that he is too stupid to understand this (te onnosel om dit te verstaan)?
But when it is true?
Order! The hon. member for Vereeniging should give the Chairman an opportunity to make himself heard. That point of order should have been taken as a point of order at the time it was said. [Interjections.]
On a point of order, Sir, I should like to explain that we rose to take the point immediately, but you were on your feet and out of deference to you, Sir, we waited till you had given your ruling on the point whether there could be a discussion on the question of your discretion on the Closure. After you had given your ruling, I rose immediately to take that point of order.
Did the hon. member for Vereeniging say that?
Whether I said that he was too stupid? Yes, Sir.
That is insulting language and I think the hon. member should withdraw it.
I withdraw it, Sir, that he is stupid but …
Mr. Chairman, when you asked the hon. member for Vereeniging to withdraw what he had said, he said “I withdraw it, Sir, but …” I submit that the hon. member cannot do that. He is trifling with the Chair.
Order! Did the hon. member for Vereeniging not withdraw it unconditionally?
Mr. Chairman, as far as I can remember I said “I withdraw it … hmmm …”
Order! Will the hon. member please withdraw those words unconditionally.
Mr. Chairman, I did withdraw it unconditionally.
I put the Vote …
Mr. Chairman, I rise on a point of order. A point of order was raised by the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence). You did not have the opportunity of hearing it because of the noise on the other side. The hon. member for Vereeniging spoke loudly so you could not hear the point of order raised by the hon. member for Salt River. Sir, you did not have the opportunity of deciding whether it was a valid point of order so you obviously could not have heard the hon. member for Salt River. I ask for your ruling, Sir, as to whether when a member raises a point of order other hon. members should not be silenced so that you may hear the point of order and give a ruling on it.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, the hon. member for Britz (Mr. J. E. Potgieter) moved that the question be now put. As far as I know the Rules of this House there can be no discussion on a motion that the question be now put. It is obvious that the hon. member for Salt River tried to evade that Rule. [Interjections.]
Mr. Chairman, I again rise on, a point of order. I am sitting next to the hon. member for Salt River. He was not attempting to continue the debate. He wanted to submit a point of order to you, Sir, for consideration. I am probably the only member in this House who was able to hear what the hon. member for Salt River was saying.
You are wrong.
Will you allow me to say something, Sir?
No. I just want to explain to the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker). I heard the point of order. The hon. member for Salt River said he wanted to raise a point of order before the Vote was put and I said the Vote had to be put now.
I accept your ruling, Sir …
The point of order I wanted to put before you, Sir, before you put the Vote … [Interjections.]
This is the Closure now.
I always abide by your ruling, Sir, but I hope you will give me an opportunity of raising my point of order after this vote is taken and before you put the Vote.
The closure has been accepted …
When the matter was raised by the Chief Whip I said: “1 put the Vote: Any objections …”
Mr. Chairman, with respect, you cannot put the Vote before the question of the closure has been settled.
The Vote was not put; the closure was put.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of explanation, may I say this that you proceeded to put the closure. You asked whether there were any objections. Almost the whole of this side of the House said they objected …
No, no …
Yes, yes …
There seems to be a mis understanding. Is there any objection to my putting the closure again?
Yes …. [Laughter].
The Committee divided;
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and D. J. Potgieter.
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and T. G. Hughes.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, before you put the Vote, may I be allowed to put a point of order? My point of order is this: Whether, in view of the fact that, according to the hon. Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, this expenditure is intended to provide a means of transmitting specialized information to the Native people, the item should not properly fall under the Vote “Bantu Education ”?
That is not a point of order for me to decide.
Mr. Chairman, before you put this Vote, may I point out to you that this Vote purports to be a Vote in respect of Loan Funds. In terms of the information given in the printed document, the amount has not been spent, but purports to be a loan to be granted …
Order! The Committee has decided that the Vote should be now put and I cannot allow any further discussion at this stage.
Loan Vote C.—“Telegraphs, Telephones and Radio Services ”, as printed, put and the Committee divided:
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and D. J. Potgieter.
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and T. G. Hughes.
Loan Vote C.—“Telegraphs, Telephones and Radio Services ”, as printed, accordingly agreed to.
On Loan Vote D.—“Lands and Settlements ”, R4,001,
I wish to refer to the amount of R1, or 10s. which is to be devoted to “location of industry ”. This amount comes under the Vote “Lands and Settlements ”, and we on this side of the House wish to know what industry is going to be created with this R1, what ground is going to be purchased. It is not a token Vote with a revised Estimate of a larger amount. There is no larger amount. The total revised Estimate is R1 and the total amount to be voted is R1. It is not placing on the Estimates a token amount for spending later. We wish to know what land is to be bought with this R1, whether this R1 is the start of the development of industries on the borders of Bantustan? Is it a start of the development of border industries, or is it the start of the development of normal European industries with Government subsidies? We get an item placed on the Estimates which nobody can understand. Without wishing to give any reasons for this amount of R1, we on this side of the House are entitled to ask the hon. the Minister whether that is the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Tomlinson Commission that the Government should now develop industries in the Bantu areas? On 6 February 1959 an announcement was made that the Government was going to develop industries in the Bantu areas. We had subsequent announcements that the Government was to develop industries on the borders of the reserves. But the lowest estimate that we have come across is the estimate that for secondary and tertiary development in the next ten years R60,000,000 would be required. We want to know whether this is the first Rand of the R60,000,000 which are required in terms of the Tomlinson Commission’s Report to develop Bantu industries. We will allow the hon. Minister now to give us the picture of this vast tract of land which is to be bought for the ten bob, and in the light of the explanation, we can then take the matter further.
This is merely to establish the principle. The Department of Lands has the power, granted by Parliament at various times, to purchase land for different purposes, but it has never been established that we can purchase land for the establishment of an industrial area. Ground has been offered to us at various times and we wish to have the power to purchase land now for the establishment of industries in certain areas—they might be on the borders of Native areas, but it is merely to establish the principle that we shall have the right to purchase land for such development.
Why then does it appear in the Additional Estimates?
The matter happened to come up. We can buy land for Government purposes, but the law advisers say that we cannot buy land for industrial purposes. We have had negotiations with the Municipality of Pretoria, to purchase an area in the vicinity of Pretoria, which we might then hand over to them. I think that is what they wanted us to do. We have the power of purchase which they have not got and we also have the power of expropriation if necessary. I do not know how far that matter has gone, but it was found necessary for us to establish our right to purchase ground for the development of industrial areas. That is the only reason why this amount is put here.
Does that include resale as well?
If we resell, we have to resell according to the law. We have to come to Parliament then and get Parliamentary approval. If we buy an area of ground for industrial purposes and we wish to resell it to a municipality or local board or a company, we have to come to Parliament to get approval.
It is not quite clear to me what the hon. Minister means. He says that his Department has the right to buy land but that it has never been established that they are able to buy land for industrial purposes. He says that he is putting R1 on the Estimates here to establish that right. Surely, Mr. Chairman, you cannot establish a thing legally by putting money on the Estimates. If there is any doubt—I do not know whether there is or not, and I am only quoting the Minister—as to whether the Department of Lands has the right to acquire land for industrial purposes, either for resale or for use by the Government, then surely it is a matter for legislation to establish that right.
May I help the hon. member. A certain amount of money is voted annually for the purchase of land and in the past it has been established by parliamentary custom for what purposes we can purchase that land, where it is purchased because the State requires it. Now it is rather difficult to say if the State actually requires the land for the development of an industrial area. So now we are coming to Parliament and ask Parliament to agree that the Department can out of moneys located to it by Parliament, also purchase land for the establishment of industrial areas. If we wish to divest ourselves of that land to any other body, to any local authority, then we have got to come to Parliament again to get parliamentary approval.
Does it mean that he could dispose of this land to private enterprise as well?
If Parliament agrees. We have got to come to Parliament.
I find it rather difficult to follow the hon. Minister’s reasoning here. The position surely is that the Department has statutory authority to purchase land and either the purposes for which it can purchase land are specified, or the authority is in general terms. If it is in general terms, then there is no need to try and establish a right in this manner by voting R1. If the authority is not in general terms but is specific, then either this purpose falls within the specific authority which is enjoyed by the Department of Lands or it falls outside it. If it falls outside it, then it is not made a statutory authority to purchase land by putting R1 on the Estimates. That does not give statutory authority to the Department of Lands to purchase land.
Surely the position is that if the Minister has got this statutory authority, his Department at least, to buy, then they are limited by the amount of money voted by Parliament. But I repeat that they do not get statutory authority to buy by merely putting a sum of money on the Estimates. They are putting the cart before the horse. They can have Parliament vote the money for them to spend, but they still cannot spend it unless they get statutory authority to spend it. They cannot get statutory authority to spend merely because an amount appears on the Estimates. When they have acquired the authority to spend, if it has been voted by Parliament, then the sum of money voted by Parliament is available for expenditure in terms of the authority they have acquired ex post facto. But unless they have got the authority, Sir, as distinct from the voting of the money, they have no right to spend. In any case, they are limited by the amount of money. This is not a token Vote. We are in this difficulty again that although this is a new item in these Additional Estimates, it is not like an item coming on our main Estimates where we are given every opportunity to go into the whole question. We are limited in a debate of this kind, and it is making it extremely difficult for us. But in the explanation given by the hon. Minister I must say that it appears that his Department has not got statutory authority to buy land for the purpose of an industrial area, which presumably—I hope I am not attributing to the Minister any wrong intention—will be an area which will not be developed by the Government industrially. The very wording here indicates that it is to use his Department as an instrument to buy land for border industries. The Minister nods. That appears to be the position. Then I think the picture is clear and the Minister acquires no authority to buy land for border industries to be established upon merely because he puts R1 on the Additional Estimates. He has still got to acquire that authority from Parliament by way of legislation. Only legislation can give him that authority. This is not legislation permitting him to acquire land for that purpose. Only specific, positive legislation can do that, and having acquired that authority it merely remains for the hon. the Minister and his Department thereafter to come to Parliament for such moneys as they require.
Parliament can vote money for any purposes. Parliament has always voted moneys to the Department of Lands for the purchase of land and property for certain specific purposes. That is where it is required by the Government. That has always been the accepted formula. Now we want to deviate from that, because now we wish to buy land for the establishment ot industrial areas. That is not in conformity with the purpose for which the money has been voted in the past. I am not a lawyer, and I think the hon. member, like me, is just a simple farmer. Lawyers get rather het up about things on which we would comfortably agree if we were alone. They have come along and say: No, you can’t purchase land for this purpose because this is the form which has always been observed, and you have to go to Parliament with a token amount of R1 to get the principle adopted that you can purchase land for the development of industrial areas. That is the reason why the amount is put here. I quite agree with the hon. member, but you know how lawyers look upon things in a different light from the way in which a practical person like the hon. member and myself view these matters. They call it the legal way. It might be legal, but it is an extremely involved way of looking upon things, and they always try to make things difficult for people who want to do the right thing. There I see I am in complete agreement with the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell). We want to simplify this matter, and now the Department has to come to Parliament and put R1 here so that Parliament can say: “All right, go on and do the right thing. Now you cando it legally.”*
I think we should be grateful for the charming way in which the hon. the Minister has explained this matter to us. But I wonder, Mr. Chairman, whether I may put forward an alternative argument in addition to the argument advanced by the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), and it is this: If it is in order for Parliament to accept an entirely new principle in the administration of the Department of Lands, enabling the Department to follow practically a new policy and to undertake new activities, by simply placing R1 on the Additional Estimates, then I want to put it to the Minister in the same spirit in which he put it to us, as one practical person to another, without any confusion being introduced by the lawyers, that Parliament must then have the fullest opportunity to discuss that principle. They cannot expect Parliament, without properly discussing the matter, simply to allow a new principle to be introduced in the administration of a Government Department.
If it is a good principle.
That is a matter of opinion. I want to put it to the hon. the Minister, since he has come forward with this explanation and since he is asking Parliament to accept an entirely new, important, perhaps revolutionary principle in the history of South Africa, that should agree to this matter standing over till to-morrow so that members of this House will have the opportunity thoroughly to consider this new implication and then to discuss the principle so that when Parliament comes to a decision, it will be able to make that decision with a full realization of the implications and what we are authorizing the Department to do. I say that in all seriousness because I do not think there is a precedent for the proposition that a vote of 10s. can introduce an entirely new principle in the administration of our State.
I want to limit my remarks, but in certain respects I have a high opinion of the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn). As far as his intellect is concerned I have a good deal of respect for him, and if he tells me that he needs time to think over this matter, then I think he is doing an injustice to himself. It is perfectly clear what his object is. I do not think he is opposed to the idea of voting money for the purchase of land for the development of industries in South Africa. I think he agrees 100 per cent with me.
But where and why and what for?
Is he against industrial development taking place on the borders of a Bantu reserve?
The Minister is throwing the discussion wide open now.
No, I want a reply now. I do not think the hon. member, with his intelligence, needs two days to think over this matter. Is he against that?
You will get the answer immediately.
I do not think he is against it. Very well, if he is not against it, then we must create the machinery to develop an industrial area there. At the present time a municipality can go and buy land and, if necessary, it can itself expropriate that land, but where that land does not fall within a municipal area or does not adjoin a municipal area, the municipality has no Tight to do so. Many of the municipalities, such as King William’s Town, for example, are very anxious that industrial development should take place there. The various municipalities now approach us and ask us to assist them by buying the land for them. They thought we had the power to do so. And they said to us: “Once you have bought it we can talk the matter over and if you approve of it and if Parliament approves of it, you can transfer the land to us and then we can develop it ”. But the lawyers then came along and said that according to the way in which the money is voted for the Department of Lands, we have no right to do such a thing. We are now asking Parliament to give us the right to do so, and we can then allow industrial development to take place there. This is a simple and practical way of overcoming the difficulty, and I think the hon. member is far too intelligent to need two or three days to consider it.
I should now like to speak to the hon. the Minister in a different vein. He has paid me a pleasant compliment with qualifications, but I shall not take the qualifications very seriously. I now want to pay the hon. the Minister a qualified compliment, namely that, as we have learned to know him, the hon. the Minister has a very high regard for Parliament as an institution. In his speech he himself asked me whether I was opposed to the principle which he was now laying down by this appropriation, namely, that industries should be obliged to move to the borders of the reserves. The hon. the Minister will agree with me that this is one of the contentious issues in South African politics and it is very difficult to do justice to the Minister’s question under the limitations which are rightly imposed on this Committee in discussing an appropriation such as this. I really feel that it would be unfair to Parliament to ask Parliament to discuss this matter which is so complicated, and to which so many secondary and tertiary considerations apply, on the Additional Estimates and to ask Parliament to take a decision in principle. I just want to mention one example. If I must answer the Minister’s question— you will not allow me to do so, Mr. Chairman, because I would be out of order—as to whether I am in favour of the establishment of industries on the borders of the reserves, then I as a member of this Committee must raise a matter which lies close to my heart in order to answer that question. I would say “Yes ”, provided certain conditions are complied with. One of those conditions is that wage differentiation shall not be used to encourage people to establish industries near the reserves instead of in the cities, instead of in the existing industrial centres. Mr. Chairman, you will agree with me that we would then throw the whole matter open for discussion, and I consider that that shows that this procedure which is being followed is not a correct procedure and is not a fair one. I think that the Minister with his respect for parliamentary institutions does not wish to use a back door in order to establish this new principle as far as his Department is concerned. I appeal to him to let the matter stand over. Let us then deal with the matter as man to man by means of legislation, or by means of a proposal in the Main Estimates. But I want to warn the hon. the Minister in all friendship that if this is the way in which this principle is to be established, then we shall feel, and we shall also have to tell the people so, that the Government is not prepared to discuss this matter frankly as man to man with the Opposition, and that the Opposition is trying to hide behind the limitations which the rules of the House place on the Opposition when in Committee so that the Government can get away with something. I do not think that that is the Minister’s intention. In all seriousness, I appeal to him to reconsider this procedure because I do not think that this method is in the best interests of our parliamentary institutions.
On this Vote I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether I am correct in saying that at the moment it is the custom that funds which are voted for the Department of Lands under one Head can be transferred to another Head. For example, funds are voted for the purchase of land which is to be allotted under Section 23. Those funds can be used to provide assistance in respect of land which is sold to farmers under Section 20. I now want to ask whether this procedure is not merely being followed to make it possible for funds of this nature to be transferred to another Head. When this provision for R1 has been made, we shall have authorized the procedure whereby part of these same funds can be transferred for this purpose. We find at the moment that the Department of Lands has a three-fold task in connection with the purchase of land. They buy land which is later allotted to farmers under Section 23. Then they use funds to assist farmers to buy farms under Section 20. They have further funds for purchasing land which is required for magisterial offices and public works—these funds are used when State-owned land generally is required for this type of thing. But without legislation, and merely as a matter of procedure, it was always possible in the past to use these funds for these various purposes, and to transfer funds from the one Head to the other. Funds which had been voted for the purchase of land could then be used for these various purposes. Now another object is being added and R1 is being voted to enable the Government when necessary to purchase land for industrial development, not necessarily for border industrial development, but also land which adjoins municipalities. There are cases where the municipalities cannot buy the land or expropriate it. The Department of Lands can then acquire that land by using the funds to which I have referred, provided the principle is established that the funds on this Vote can be used for this purpose.
That is quite correct.
That is as I see the position. If we were to discuss the desirability of border industries and the principle involved, the Chairman would rule us out of order, and I do not want to do so. But with reference to what the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn) has said, I just want to put the matter briefly as follows. I think we shall have an opportunity to discuss the principle of border industries and all the other considerations involved when the main Vote of the Department of Lands is discussed on the Main Estimates. Here we are dealing with the principle of the appropriation of these funds, so that provision can be made in the Main Estimates for the amounts which must be utilized in the future. I, therefore, think that this objection by the hon. member for Yeoville and other hon. members opposite is not one which this Committee can accept.
Mr. Chairman, I accept the sincerity of the hon. the Minister who says that he has been advised that by putting a token vote on these Estimates the Government will establish the principle of being able—I put it differently, the hon. the Minister said “to buy land ”—I would say to spend voted money on the purchase of land. But I question whether that is the method of establishing the principle, because Estimates endure for a limited duration. These Estimates are for a single year. The Estimates we are now dealing with will expire on 31 March. I do not see, therefore, how the hon. the Minister can say that he is establishing a principle, because the appropriation lasts for a limited time and is to spend money up to a maximum amount for a specified purpose. It is true that the policy of government is often determined by an appropriation of money set forth in the Estimates of Expenditure. But this principle—if it is a principle—will die on 31 March, and I rather question the application of the principle in this way, when it is obvious that there is no intention to spend the money during the term for which these Estimates run.
If the hon. the Minister is right, and if the principle is then established as a parliamentary principle or precedent then, of course, further implications flow from this. The purchase of land is one thing, but the use of land for industrial purposes is an entirely different matter. The Government has then to get additional authority, either by legislation or by providing moneys to build industries, or to found one or other form of industry on the land which has been purchased for that purpose. I think that the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn) is right in suggesting that this matter should be referred rather than be dealt with in this manner. There is an element of unreality in this item, because it is quite obvious from the method in which the information is placed before this Committee that there is no intention to purchase land for this purpose during the current financial year; the year for which the appropriation lasts and beyond which it cannot extend.
I do hope that the hon. the Minister, having stated that an important principle will be decided by the acceptance or otherwise of this vote, will not press for its acceptance this evening. I think he must realize that from merely looking at these Estimates it is very difficult to ascertain that there is a fundamental principle in the vote of R1 It really means this, that the Government, for the first time, wants to become an industrial land developer. In the past the development of industrial land has been confined exclusively to certain public corporations, to private enterprise or to local authorities, and it appears that the Government now contemplates moving into a field in which, in the past they have never moved, and in which in the past they had never contemplated moving. I think that that alone is an issue which should be debated, whether or not one is in favour of border industries and the development of those industries. It is all very well for the hon. the Minister to suggest that the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. Steyn) is not in favour of these things. Being in favour of industrial development does not necessarily mean that you favour the State taking a leadding role in industrial development in the way in which he contemplates. We are all in favour of industrial development round our major urban centres, but we certainly would not contemplate the Government being given the power to purchase land and becoming a developer of land for industrial purposes. I think this whole principle of the State moving into the field in which it has, in the past, never had a role to play, should be seriously considered by this Committee before this principle is accepted.
The next point the hon. the Minister indicated was that once we have approved this principle by adopting the vote of R1, that from there onwards it would not be necessary for the Minister to come forward and place particular items on the votes in order to get approval for the purchase of particular pieces of land. If the State is going to move into the field of land purchasing for industrial purposes then I suggest, in each instance it should come to this House and seek specific authority from this House for the buying of a particular piece of land for this type of development.
Thirdly, the hon. the Minister mentioned the right of the State to expropriate. One of the grounds on which the State may expropriate land is for Government purposes. I have a feeling that if we approve this vote this evening we would have broadened the scope of the acceptance of what constitutes “Government purpose If we, to-night, concede that one of the Government purposes is to purchase land for industrial purposes— and we can do that by passing this vote of R1—Then I believe we have broadened the whole scope of our expropriation laws, because we will have included in the definition of “Government purpose” the purchase of land for industrial purposes. That is clearly the interpretation which any reasonable person will place on the intention of Parliament, should it accept this vote this evening.
Mr. Chairman, I think this whole question of how this vote may affect our expropriation laws, and therefore the right of the individual to resist expropriation from the State, should be very seriously considered before going further with the matter. The hon. the Minister has indicated that the only reason he has placed this item on the agenda is because the matter was raised during the course of the last few months. I would appeal to the hon. the Minister, because of the importance of the issue he has raised with this Committee, and because of the wide implications of the acceptance of the small amount of R1, that he should rather not press for the inclusion of this sum and that not only the principle but the particular items of expenditure relating to the land which the Government wishes to purchase should be debated when the main Budget Estimates are put forward.
Mr. Chairman, apparently the hon. the Minister is not prepared to accede to the request from this side of the House that we should be given a later opportunity at which to discuss this principle. As it is before us at the moment the principle is simply the purchase of land for the location of industries. But that is a very broad principle. Could not the hon. the Minister take this Committee into his confidence a little more and tell us, if the Government wishes to establish this principle, do they have a principle of policy for which they require these powers? If the State is going to purchase land for the development of industries, there are many different ways in which that can be done. The State can purchase the land and develop their own industries. The State can purchase the land either inside the Native reserves or on the borders.
No, only outside.
The State can purchase the land in the existing industrial centres. These are all details which the hon. the Minister should give us now. Furthermore, does this mean that the State itself is going to develop industries, or is it going to buy industrial estates and lease these to manufacturers? Or is it simply going to buy land in certain areas in order to overcome present legal difficulties that municipalities apparently have, in order to create new industrial areas, with the intention of reselling that land to industrialists?
I think I have given sufficient indications to show that this is such a wide principle that we really do not know what the principle is. We do not know the principle on which Government policy is based. If the hon. the Minister will not give us an opportunity to debate this fully, then I think it is at least incumbent upon him to take Parliament into his confidence and tell us what Government policy is in respect of the location of industries.
Mr. Chairman, I again repeat to the hon. the Minister my question: What is the hon. the Minister going to spend before 31 March? He is not going to spend this R1. If the Minister got up and said “I want money available at once because I want to buy some land” and he told us of the urgency of the matter, there would be some point to it. But what urgency can there be before the end of the financial year?
You are only asked to vote R1.
But what for? He is obviously not going to buy land for R1. Why does the Minister want that? I do not see why the hon. the Minister cannot get up and withdraw this amount. After 31 March he will be able to make provision, in the main Budget, for the money he wants. The hon. the Minister cannot blame us for being a bit suspicious as to the reason for the insertion of this amount in this manner. It is only R1— 10s.—which is now asked for. And that cannot be spent before 31 March.
Not 31 March, it is round about June.
The Minister says round about June?
Yes. that is when the Estimates will be passed.
Well, what is the Minister going to spend now? If the Minister is right when he says he is going to spend it before the 30 June …
I did not say so. I said if it went on to the main Estimates it could only be passed round about June, so it is not 31 March. I was correcting the hon. member on his dates.
If we then authorize this now we are accepting the principle and the hon. the Minister can spend what he likes, because we will have accepted that principle. If that is so then we must be allowed to discuss this whole principle.
On any project.
On any project. We do not know what it is going to be spent on. Therefore we must be allowed to discuss the whole principle of where the land is to be bought. I honestly cannot believe that there is this urgency and I would appeal to the hon. the Minister to make this one gesture, to withdraw this vote for R1.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I would like to have your ruling on the following questions. Does a Minister acquire power which he otherwise does not possess, to spend money merely because Parliament, wrongly and in ignorance of the law, passes it on the Estimates? I put this point to you very seriously because the hon. the Minister, in explaining this item, stated to us that there was doubt in the minds of the legal advisers as to whether he had the right to spend this money as the law stands to-day. Therefore he is coming to Parliament and asking PaR1iament to vote money to establish his right to spend this money.
Not as the law stands to-day, as the money that I have has been voted.
But surely, if the hon. the Minister does not have the right to spend money the mere voting of R1 cannot change that position. The Minister may find himself with R1 in his pocket that he is not allowed to spend.
I think it is your duty, as Chairman, Sir, to guide us as to whether the hon. the Minister will achieve his purpose because—and this is the second part of my point of order—if it requires legislation to enable the Minister to spend this money, it is, in terms of the Rules of this House wrong for the Minister to ask for money the spending of which would require legislation.
The point is that these Estimates have been referred to us by the House and it is our duty to consider them. We can reject or pass them as we please, but we have to consider them.
It is perfectly clear that despite some of the doubts expressed by the rank and file on the right of the hon. the Minister, the Minister is seeking to entrench something by means of this particular item. Just recently the Part Appropriation Bill went through this House. It places at the disposal of the Government and, obviously, at the disposal of the various Departments, a sum of R300,000,000. That was in order to enable the Government to carry on the process of Government until the main Estimates eventually saw the light of day on the Statute Book.
That has nothing to do with this.
Where is the Chairman? I thought I was addressing the Chair! It is strange how some hon. members try to assume the mantle …
Order, order! The hon. member may not reflect on the Chair.
I am sorry, Sir.
The hon. member may continue.
As I was saying, Mr. Chairman, there was the Part Appropriation Bill which went through this House not so long ago and which placed sufficient funds in the hands of the Government to carry out certain undertakings if they so wish, and the principle of these undertakings, or the main projects, would then have been fully disclosed in the main Estimates. The House would then have had a full opportunity of discussing and debating the principle in the course of the debate on the Minister’s Estimates, in Committee. That would have been the procedure that would normally have been adopted. Yet this rather strange and, it seems, unprecedented step is taken to place an insignificant sum of money, the sum of R1, which must appear even to any layman of the public to be absolutely insignificant, on these Estimates. This, obviously, is done in order to get something on record, so that the Government can thereafter refer to it as an acceptance of some principle.
If there is any fallacy in this argument, surely the hon. the Minister should take this Committee into his confidence and explain why it is necessary to have this insignificant sum placed on these Additional Estimates. Why, with the tremendous amount of funds which have already been made available to the Government, cannot the work be carried out; that work which the hon. the Minister says has to be dealt with urgently? That is the point. We are not querying the fact that the hon. the Minister requires R1. If the Minister requires a sum to spend satisfactorily and adequately in the interests of the State, one would be able to appreciate it but then the Minister must say so. And he does not. He states it is there for some purpose. But what is that purpose? Why must it be entrenched now? Why, if money is to be spent for a purpose, can it not be spent out of the moneys already made available by Parliament until the main Estimates are placed on the Statute Book? The Minister shakes his head in doubt …
No, not in doubt, merely at your lack of understanding.
Yes, I can well see that. Obviously the hon. the Minister will not understand what he does not wish to understand.
No, your lack of understanding of ordinary paR1iamentary procedure.
Well, Sir, it appears to even more experienced paR1iamentarians than myself that there is a very grave doubt as to this particular item following the normal parliamentary procedure.
Mr. Chairman, we are in difficulties over our discussion of this item. But I want to come back to the hon. the Minister. As this debate has gone on it has become perfectly clear that the hon. the Minister has really no interest in R1 as such. R1 is neither here nor there. He has himself said that he wants to establish a principle. He wants, by the passing of this vote, to acquire a statutory right to spend money for a purpose which is set forth in the Estimates as the location of industries. That is a very wide term indeed, and I want to come back to that in a moment.
The hon. the Minister makes it plain that from funds voted by PaR1iament for the purchase of land, which funds are already at his disposal, he is in a position, once the principle has been established by the passing of this vote of R1, to make use of those funds which are at his disposal, or which he anticipates acquiring through the general Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure; he will then make use of that to purchase land for the location of industry. I say that “location of industry” is an extremely wide definition. It does not say it is for industry that is to be developed on the borders of the Native areas, the so-called Bantustan. It does not say where they are to be located and it does not say who is to develop the industry. But if the hon. the Minister’s claim is right, that by PaR1iament voting R1 he is given a specific legal authority to spend money on the acquisition of land for the location of industry, then it must also be said, at the same time, that the money can be spent—not this R1 but the money at his disposal which has been voted for the purchase of land—can now be specifically used for this type of land purchase. That can be spent by the Minister in terms of any definition to which the hon. the Minister may stretch the words “location of industry ”. And Parliament loses all control of it. On the passing of this Vote Parliament loses all control of the methods by which the industry is to be developed, who is to develop that industry and where it is to be developed. Parliament loses control of all the associated circumstances. The Minister will now have obtained legal sanction if, in fact, his contention is right, that by voting the R1 he has the legal right to spend that money.
He cannot spend a penny without the permission of Parliament.
The position then is, as I say, not merely that the Minister acquires the right to spend money, but he acquires the right to spend it in terms of this definition. That definition is so wide that, indeed, heaven alone knows the final determination of its limitations.
Under this Item 4, it starts off by saying it is for the purchase of land for public and general purposes. I do not know whether the location of industry comes into that. It certainly does not come in for public and general purposes. Surely public and general purposes must be the public and general purposes of Government services in relation to the public at large, in relation to the nation. They are either public purposes or they are the general purposes of the Government. I still cannot believe that the hon. the Minister can acquire this right to this extraordinary development which can run from one end to the other and through the four corners of the Union, and which may ultimately result in the expenditure of millions of rand for this purpose.
It is quite clear that the hon. the Minister, having established the principle, feels that he can draw upon funds made available for the purchase of land by Parliament from time to time, in terms of the general principle. I am afraid this is creating a very bad precedent indeed. It seems to me that where there is now a statutory limitation upon spending departments, we are creating a precedent to-night whereby those spending departments, where they fall short of statutory powers for the expenditure of public money in some regard or another, are now being virtually shown the open door to get round the difficulties that they are in through the failure of statutory powers to spend money for a given purpose. This I think is a most unfortunate precedent which can be established. The hon. the Minister has not suggested that it has ever been done before by any other Department. In fact, I think we can infer from what he has said, that he is now breaking entirely new ground, literally, and that a precedent established in this manner, particularly through additional Estimates, is a most unfortunate precedent. This is entirely at variance with the whole principle on which Parliamentary government is based, and that is that we will not vote supplies until we are satisfied with the reasons for that expenditure. Quite frankly, that is now being completely undermined owing to the circumstances under which this vote is brought before this Committee.
I do hope that the hon. the Minister will reconsider this matter and will not establish this precedent. It can have the most far-reaching and grievous effects as far as Parliamentary control of expenditure is concerned.
Mr. Chairman, may I be permitted to take a point of order with you? As I understand the rules of the House, no new principle can be originated when the House is in Committee of Supply and when considering items of this nature. With respect, I submit that this item cleaR1y indicates that we are dealing with Item No. 4, the purchase of land. You will note that against the first item of R4,000 there is an asterisk, the relevant note of which says that the Governor-General’s special warrant No. 6 was obtained in respect of this service. That refers to the acquisition of land. There is no question of a new principle there. But if, Sir, you will refer to Rule No. 99 of the Standing Rules and Orders it says quite clearly that this House—
I have left out the other two conditions in reading these rules.
It is quite clear from what the hon. the Minister has said that a new principle is being initiated by the voting of this R1, which is for the purchase of land for public and general purposes. It is clear, in the first instance, that a Governor-General’s warrant was obtained for these recommendations. But in regard to the location of industry, there is certainly no such suggestion made. It is my submission that the inclusion of this item is contrary to the Standing Rules and Orders of this House, and in that regard I should appreciate a ruling from the Chair.
If the hon. member will refer to the Votes and Proceedings, page 268, he will see that when the Estimates were laid upon the Table the Governor-General’s recommendation was conveyed to the House at the same time.
I regret that the hon. the Minister is unable to meet what I consider to be a very reasonable request from this side of the House, that the question of this amount should either be withdrawn or that the taking of a vote on the matter should be deferred. I think it is quite clear that this side of the House feels that the position is not adequately dealt with, and cannot be adequately dealt with by us in this way. I therefore move—
Upon which the Committee divided:
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and T. G. Hughes.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and D. J. Potgieter.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
Loan Vote D.—“Lands and Settlements,” as printed, put and agreed to.
At 10.25 p.m. the Chairman stated that, in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (4), he would report progress and ask leave to sit again.
Progress reported and leave asked to sit again.
House to resume in Committee on 9 March.
The House adjourned at
Mr. Speaker took the Chair at 2.20 p.m.
First Order read: House to resume in Committee on the Estimates of Additional Expenditure.
House in Committee:
[Progress reported on 8 March, when Loan Vote D had been agreed to.]
On Loan Vote E.—“Water Affairs ”, R3,860,
Can the hon. the Minister give us some information concerning these ex gratia payments?
These ex gratia payments were made for the following reasons. I shall first take the case of the goldfields in the Orange Free State. The Tender Board gave a contract to the firm J. J. Moore (Pty.) Ltd. to convey sand and rock to this water scheme as from April 1959 to 31 March 1960. Meanwhile the increased duty on dieseline and petrol was introduced. The firm thereupon made representations to the Tender Board to the effect that as a result of the increased excise duties, they could not complete the work without incurring a loss. The Tender Board agreed to assess their loss at R1,224 and recommended that the firm should receive that amount as an ex gratia payment so that they would not have to work at a loss. In terms of a circular from the Treasury, any amount exceeding R1,000 intended as an ex gratia payment must be approved by Parliament.
The next is an ex gratia payment to Keir & Cawder (S.A.) Ltd., in connection with the Sand-Vet (Allemanskraal Dam), which is recommended for the same reasons.
Vote put and agreed to.
On Vote F.—“Forestry”, R200,000,
Can the hon. the Minister tell us why this large amount of R200,000 is needed? How much of it is for afforestation and for maintenance, and how much is just for the protection of the present plantations and forests that they have in hand?
I can give the hon. member the explanation. Proportionately the amount is really not so large. It is R200,000 on an estimate of approximately R4,000,000. There are three reasons for it. The first is a beneficial reason and that is that as a result of restricted imports of wood the sales of South African timber, especially those under the marks of the Bureau of Standards, have increased to a very large extent. We supply most of the saw mills—or to a very large extent we supply them with their raw timber. That necessitates the cutting of a large amount of extra timber to the value of R800,000. That is the first reason.
The second reason is that our non-White labourers have now been granted paid leave, and that has necessitated extra expenditure. We have also, with regard to the non-European labourers, arranged with the Department of Nutrition that they lay down certain specific rations which were considerably higher than those which we gave them previously. That has been undertaken departmentally. The rations are given departmentally and that has increased the expense. The third is that during November and December a lot of damage was done to the plantations in the Sabie region by wind and by hail. About 3,000 morgen containing about 1,000,000 cubic feet of wood was, I won’t say destroyed, but the trees were so damaged that they had to be removed immediately otherwise they would not have been marketable, and replantings had to take place as soon as possible. Those are the three main reasons.
I am sorry to hear from the hon. the Minister about the damage done to forests, but surely if a larger amount was derived from the sale of timber, that ought to have lessened the amount that should be shown here, or does that money go to the Consolidated Revenue Fund?
All our income goes to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Vote put and agreed to.
On Loan Vote L.—“Transport”, R471,600,
I want to ask for some further information with regard to Item 3, “Building Costs of a Departmental Ship for Meteorological and Scientific Research Purposes ”. We are asked to vote an additional amount of R212,000, and, in that connection, there is a note stating that a Governor-General’s special warrant has been issued for this purpose, because this is a new service, and that the total cost of the vessel is going to be R846,000. Firstly, I should like to know the reason for this so-called additional expenditure, and to get some description of what work is actually involved. This is a new item again, a very important item, which the House has not had any opportunity to discuss, yet we are being asked here to approve of additional expenditure in respect of a ship which, until we approve of this additional expenditure, actually does not exist, and the details of which we have no right to discuss. I should like to have some description of the vessel covered by this additional expenditure, and I should also like to know under what conditions this expenditure was authorized. Were tenders invited for the construction of this vessel, and for what service is she to be used? It is simply stated here as being “for meteorological and scientific research purposes ”, but here, too, a point of principle is involved as to whether the time has not arrived for some co-ordination of the meteorological and scientific research services, because so many Departments to-day are incurring the same type of expenditure. We have research vessels for fisheries; we have very finely equipped survey vessels competent to do this work, run by the South African Navy. The total cost involved here is something like R500,000, and this ship is to be run by another Department—the Department of Transport. The universities also have a special research vessel dealing with fisheries work. It appears that we are spreading our work very widely, and apparently with no close co-ordination. I would like to know, dealing with this additional expenditure, what the real urgency was for putting the matter before the House in this way. Again this is one of these items, of which we have had so many examples in these particular Estimates, where, by agreeing to additional expenditure, we are, in fact, approving of a new item of substantial expenditure which the House has had no opportunity to discuss in any shape or form. I should like to know what was the reason for the urgency. Was it not possible to have brought an item as important as this one before the House in the normal Estimates, so that the principle and the details could be discussed? You see, Sir, we are embarking here on ship construction. This is a very important form of ship construction because it is a highly specialized job. We would like to know over what range the specialists are going to have to operate, because so much of this same type of work is being carried out free of charge to us by the bigger ships passing our coast, who are in a much better position to be able to deal with it.
If you will allow me to explain, you will save a lot of time.
In that case I will sit down, but I think the Minister will agree that these points do arise, and the Committee would like to have full information.
With regard to Item 2, “State-Owned Airports ”, I notice that there is an increase of more than 100 per cent, and I shall be very pleased to hear from the hon. the Minister what these amounts are for and whether they are new works?
I will give you all the information with the greatest of pleasure.
Following the question raised by the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay), I should like to ask the Minister of Transport whether Item 3, R212,000, for the construction of a departmental ship for meteorological and scientific research purposes, is the same ship that he referred to in his reply to my question dated 17 February? I asked on that occasion for what purpose this ship had been ordered, and whether tenders had been called for this ship in South Africa. The reply to the question was that tenders had not been called in South Africa because the Minister had been informed that South African ship constructors could not construct a vessel of this type. I should like to know whether that reply referred to the same ship.
It referred to the same ship.
The next question I would like to ask is whether in point of fact this order has been placed?
In what country has it been placed? Sir, my information is that this ship has been ordered from Japan.
Let me reply first to the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood). Originally R300,000 was provided in the Estimates for the building of an additional runway at KimbeR1ey. Unfortunately, no agreement has been arrived at with the KimbeR1ey Municipality, consequently, the money could not be spent this year. Agreement will probably be arrived at, and provision will again be made in the Estimates next year for this expenditure. What I am referring to at the moment is the saving of R299,000. In regard to the increase of some R630,000, the main runway at Jan Smuts Airport was extended about 4,000 feet. That cost R630,000. It was an urgent job. The work had to be done immediately. There are possibilities that we may be refused landing rights in certain parts of Africa. Our Boeings can fly with the full load from Johannesburg to Rome without landing if the runway at Jan Smuts is long enough. This was considered to be an urgent job, and I created a new organization under the Department of Transport and called in the assistance of the Provincial Administration and the Railway Administration, with the result that this job was completed in record time. Under normal circumstances, if specifications had to be drawn up and tenders called for, it would have taken at least two years from the date of my decision. Actually, it took about 12 weeks from the date of my decision to complete the job, which is a record. The job was very well done. So much with regard to that expenditure. Then there was some expenditure at Jan Smuts Airport for additional parking accommodation and the surfacing of the parking area, and then provision was made for the reconstruction of roads to the fuel site and the engine test cells. At the J. B. M. Hertzog Airport payments amounting to R7,000 had to be made to the Bloemfontein Municipality for the lowering of overhead cables, and R1,600 to the Orange Free State Provincial Administration for the construction of culverts under the road to divert flood waters. With regard to the East London Airport, the expenditure on the deviation to the Peddie Road was under-estimated. It appears now that R74,000, and not R70,000, will be required. That is the information with regard to that item. I hope the hon. member is satisfied with it.
The extension to which the hon. the Minister referred is to allow the aircraft to carry a greater load of fuel before take-off from Jan Smuts.
The Boeing can now carry a full load of fuel, passengers and baggage and freight, and take off at Jan Smuts Airport, stopping for the first time at Rome.
What is the safety margin at Rome?
A new airport has just been opened at Rome, and there is ample safety margin, and, in any case, when we arrive at Rome most of the fuel has, of course, been consumed, as the hon. member knows.
*With regard to the purchase of the ship, I would like to reply in Afrikaans, because my notes are in Afrikaans, and the hon. member understands Afrikaans.
The reasons for the purchase of this ship are as follows: The Department of Transport is responsible for the Union’s meteorological stations on Marion, Gough and Tristan de Cunha Islands, as well as for the Sanae base on the Antarctic Continent.
The South Pole Continent.
There has to be a change of personnel at these stations and on this base every year and they have to be provided with fresh provisions every year. It has also happened frequently that persons have had to be taken off the islands suddenly during the course of the year because of illness. As far as the Sanae base, the South Pole base is concerned, it is of the utmost importance that the Department should have some means of transport at its disposal because it is extremely difficult to charter suitable ships for this purpose. In the case of the last mission we sent to the Antarctic we already experienced exceptional difficulties in chartering a ship, because there are only one or two countries in the world which have these ships available. On one occasion it looked as though we might not be able to get a ship at all, which would have placed us in an impossible position, since our people would then have had to stay there for another year. The only ships that we have been possible to obtain in the past have been sealers, and then only during December, when ice conditions are extremely severe in the polar region, so that it is actually an unsuitable time to send ships to the Polar region. Hon. members will realize what could happen if no ship can be obtained to remove the staff from this base on the Antarctic continent. I might also add that the Department spends approximately R80,000 annually on chartering ships, if nothing upto-wards happens on the voyage. Then there is usually a provision that if a ship becomes ice-bound in the Polar region, if it cannot return within the prescribed time, an additional R2,000 per day has to be paid. The frigates of the South African Navy are no longer available for relief voyages. Therefore the Department had no other choice but to buy a ship itself or to have one built for these purposes. In the meantime the ship will also be used for meteorological investigation and for research, and in that connection the Department of Economic Affairs will make use of it for certain research purposes.
The inquiries that were made and the negotiations which took place extended over a period of more than one year. Finally, tenders and quotations were received, inter alia, from France, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands and Japan. After careful consideration of all the quotations it was decided to buy the ship from Japan for the following reasons. In the first place, their quotation was the lowest. In the second place, the firm concerned undertook to take South African products for at least one-third of the purchase price. This offer has meanwhile been increased and the Japanese have undertaken, as a result of the order placed with them, to purchase South African products for approximately R1,200,000 over and above their normal purchases. Thirdly, the ship is to be delivered within 12 months. This ship was designed by the engineers of the Japanese shipbuilding industry but the specifications were checked by the marine engineers of the Department of Transport and by other experts and certain alterations were made. Thereafter expert advice was also obtained from England in order to ensure that the ship will serve the purpose for which it is to be used and will also be able to withstand the rigours and hardships of Antarctic voyages and ice conditions. Tenders were not invited locally, nor were South African firms approached to design the ship, because South Africa’s shipyards are not equipped for the construction of a ship of this size. Technical information available to the Department also indicates that the South African firms at this stage do not have the necessary experience or the personnel at their disposal to design and build a ship of this type. Care must also be taken to ensure that the ship complies with certain special requirements in order to be suitable for use under Antarctic conditions. For example, it must have special structural reinforcements enabling it to break its way through ice, and it must be designed specifically to carry a helicopter, to mention only two of the important requirements. Then the ship must also meet the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act and, because it will carry passengers, it must comply with the provisions of the International Convention on the Safety of Human Life at Sea. As far as the ship itself is concerned, detailed specifications were not furnished, but basic specifications and minimum requirements were laid down, for example that it must be built in accordance with the requirements of Lloyd’s Register of Shipping and must have “+100 AI + LMC Ice Class I Strengthening”. The length is approximately 224 feet, the width 41 feet, and it will have a gross tonnage of approximately 1,550 tons. I think that is the full information.
I listened to the hon. the Minister with considerable interest, particularly because I believe this is a scandalous affair, and I want to say so quite clearly. Sir, the fact that stands out is that the Department, when considering the purchase of this vessel, did not think it was even worthwhile acquainting the South African marine engineers with the fact that they were contemplating building the ship, or even asking them whether they were in a position to build it or to submit tenders. I listened to the Minister with great interest regarding their reasons for placing the order with Japan, but those reasons do not convince me at all. The fact that Japanese builders are purchasing South African goods to the value of one-third of the cost of the ship makes no difference whatsoever. I think we must remember that at present South Africa is going through a crisis as regards its reserves of foreign exchange. Seldom has South Africa been in more serious straits for foreign exchange than it is to-day, and I do not have to remind the hon. the Minister how his colleagues in the Cabinet have on every possible occasion urged South Africans to buy South African goods, and thus to conserve our foreign exchange. Therefore it seems a most remarkable thing to me that at a time like this the Government should take the opportunity of spending neaR1y R846,000 to place this order overseas without even taking the trouble to find out whether South African manufacturers could make this ship.
I want to deal with the allegation made by the Minister that South African ship repairers lack either the facilities or the technical personnel to build a ship of this sort. I categorically deny that statement, and I make that statement not only on behalf of the marine engineers in Cape Town—the Globe Engineering Company particularly—but also marine engineers in Durban—James Brown and Co. Ltd. and Gilbert Hamer and Co. Ltd. In both ports this ship could have been constructed to the designs which were submitted to shipbuilders all over the world and on which the various manufacturers submitted their tenders. I want to make it quite clear that this statement that the ship was too large for construction in South African harbours is completely incorrect. In Cape Town at present the shipbuilding facilities are equipped to take ships up to 200 feet. This particular ship happens to be 224 feet in length, but the Minister seems to have overlooked the fact that the Cape Town facilities can be readily adapted by removing certain superstructures on the water’s edge to take ships up to 280 feet in length, i.e. 56 feet in excess of the length of this particular vessel. I am also advised that both at Durban and at Cape Town sufficient, technical trained artisans are available for all the necessary work for making the hull and the greater portion of the ship, and even if it were true that such men were not available in South Africa they could readily be obtained from overseas, particularly for this job. I admit that certain portions of the technical equipment, the engines and so on, might have had to be imported from overseas, but that surely does not rule out the obvious advantages of having a ship of this description built in this country. After all, tremendous strides have been made in South Africa in recent years in the building of trawlers of a length of up to 120 or 130 feet, and recently we had an outstanding example where the Department of Commerce and Industries ordered a research vessel, very similar to this type of vessel, approximately 150 feet long, a ship by the name of Sardinops. That ship was launched in South African waters and attracted worldwide attention. It was regarded as a remarkable feat that South African marine engineers should have been able to produce a vessel of this capacity. But having reached those limits, there is no reason whatsoever why South African ship constructors should not have been given the opportunity to build this ship in South Africa. For many years marine engineers, both in Durban and in Cape Town, have pleaded for the Department of Transport to spend the minimum amount of money to provide slipways either for sideways launching or for forward launching, both in Durban and in Cape Town, and for years that demand has been studiously rejected.
The Department of Transport is not called upon to provide those facilities.
Let me remind the hon. the Minister of Transport that he is responsible for the harbours of South Africa, and therefore he is also responsive for the equipment of all the facilities that go with it. But quite apart from that Sir, what a glorious opportunity this Minister has missed by placing this order in Japan. Not only would it have provided a market for approximately 1,500 tons of South African steel, but it would also have given opportunities to engineering companies to supply some of the machinery; it would have given a tremendous opportunity to companies like Stewarts & Lloyds to supply the piping, to say nothing of the paint industry and the brass and iron foundry industries and the hundred-and-one other industries which are inextricably tied up with the shipbuilding industry. Here was an opportunity not only to save South Africa R500,000 in foreign exchange, and give South Africa that boost for which they themselves are pleading every day of their lives, that South Africans themselves should support South African industries. Sir, I repeat. I believe that this is a most disgraceful instance of needless squandering of public money by purchasing a ship overseas which could have been built in this country. Let me also make this point: I cannot see why the matter of urgency is pleaded in mitigation of the Minister’s action in placing this order in Japan. The fact remains that the Minister did not even take the trouble, either in the form of a letter or even in the form of a telephone inquiry, to ascertain whether the marine engineers of South Africa were interested, or what sort of delivery they could offer, or whether they could in point of fact submit quotations. But I make this statement emphatically—and I challenge the Minister to deny it—that this vessel, with the exception of the specialized equipment which naturally would have to be imported, could have been built in South Africa, and it could have given South African industry a tremendous impetus.
I can appreciate from the hon. the Minister’s description of the vessel and the special features that have to be built into her to equip her for work in the ice, that it was necessary to exercise a certain amount of discretion and care to see that wherever the order was placed the firm or the country concerned was in a position to deliver a vessel conforming to the very high specifications quoted by the Minister, as laid down by Lloyd’s. These Lloyd’s specifications are possibly amongst the highest in the world. But I should like to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention to what he appears to have forgotten. I am not going to say now what can be done in future in South Africa. I want to refer to what has been done in the nature of shipbuilding in this country as far back as the war years. I want to remind the Minister that in Durban itself a most intricate job of shipbuilding was undertaken, one of the most intricate known in shipbuilding. I refer to the building of a 10,000-ton floating dock, almost eight times as large as this vessel. A floating dock which was built by South African labour, by the then existing engineering firms in Durban and successfully tested and found to comply with the highest requirements of Lloyd’s, which on completion was sent out East to take part in the war effort. That was a ship-construction job which South Africa had never dreamed of tackling before, and it was done then under conditions which were vastly inferior to the conditions which exist in the shipbuilding industry to-day, bearing in mind the advances which have taken place since the war years. I would like to remind the hon. the Minister that in East London his own Railway Department, assisted by an ordinary firm of structural engineers who had never touched ship-work before, built a floating dock almost the size of this vessel—another most intricate vessel.
There is a very big difference between a floating dock and this specialized ship.
In this case I would remind the Minister that I am talking about my own profession. The Minister may be an expert on Railway matters; I claim to know what I am talking about on this job. When you deal with a floating dock structure, you are dealing with one of the most delicate and intricate structures that you can possibly get. Two of them were built in Cape Town. There were ship repair jobs done on this coast, with assistance to a large extent from the Railway workshops, jobs which would equal anything done in the best European shipyards. We have to-day in Cape Town a shipbuilding firm, connected with one of the leading shipbuilding firms in Holland, and although I will concede that it may have been necessary in the construction of a vessel of this sort for certain of the specialized equipment to be obtained from overseas, practically every engineering firm in the shipbuilding world in this country to-day has those overseas connections and are quite capable of producing these goods. I do feel—I agree with the hon. member for Durban (Berea) (Mr. Butcher) that there has been a very serious slip-up in not having given the South African shipbuilding industry, which is making very rapid strides in this particular class of work, an opportunity at least of saying what it could do and of submitting quotations for this job. If they were given the chance in fair competition with the world, there may have been some reason why they were not given the contract, but at least they should have been given an opportunity to prove whether or not they were capable of producing the goods. I, too, feel that in this case there has been a very serious slip-up, to put it in its mildest form, in the way in which the contract was placed. With regard to the vessel itself, Sir, the hon. the Minister quite rightly, I think in this case, quoted the charter costs of obtaining a ship for the services on which this vessel will be used. I do not think there is any shadow of doubt as to the necessity of having a vessel of this kind. But I come back to the other point that once the vessel has been completed we come up against the question of the running and the maintenance of it. From the Minister’s description it appears that this vessel is largely to be used in connection with this scientific work of bringing relief in the form of stores and personnel down to the Antarctic Ocean. This item is described in the Estimates as “Building costs of a Departmental ship for meteorological and scientific research purposes It is true to say that by her work of servicing the islands she could be classed as that. But I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether the vessel as such, apart from those particular characteristics, for service in the ice is in any way designed or equipped so that she herself can form a salient part of the research services? In other words, there is so much of this scientific service that has to be carried out at sea from a ship suitably designed for the purpose, that quite apart from her job of plying backwards and forwards as a relief ship, is she herself designed and equipped for doing that specialized portion of the research work where it is necessary to be done, viz. at sea?
I am gratified that the hon. members are concerned about buying South African. It is a pity that they have not always followed that policy in the past. I still remember the campaign that had to be launched in the past—the Buy South African campaign. They were not always as keen to buy South African as they should have been.
The Government does not seem to have bought South African in this case.
Mr. Chairman, for the hon. members opposite to ask the Government to buy South African is like taking coals to Newcastle. That is the policy of the Government and as Minister of Railways I have implemented that policy more than probably any previous Minister has ever done. As a matter of fact, it was only a few months ago that I gave a contract of £10,000,000 for the building of railway electric coaches to a firm in Nigel. So the hon. members must not talk to me about the necessity and the advisability of buying South African. That is my policy.
In this particular case there was no question of any South African firm being in the position of building this ship. I have the particulars of all the shipbuilding firms in South Africa and not one of them had the equipment or the know-how or the plant which would have enabled that particular firm to construct this type of ship—nor did they have the experience. Where we are dealing with a ship that has to go to the Antarctica, we cannot afford to experiment with the lives of men. The main purpose in purchasing this ship is to undertake the voyages to the Antarctica—to take our men there and to bring them back and we are not prepared to experiment with a firm that has no experience and no equipment and no plant to build a ship of this type. I have a list of all the firms here with all the particulars; I have all the details about their capacity, their equipment, etc. There was no South African firm who, even if they tendered and received the tender, would have been able to construct it within 12 months. It is urgent that we receive this ship as soon as possible. As I have already explained to the House we find it extremely difficult to hire ships. It may be at the end of this year when we have to relieve the men at Antarctica that we cannot hire a ship. That would be disastrous. The ship has to be delivered within 12 months and there was no South African firm, apart from the other matters that I have mentioned, that would have been in a position to construct it in 12 months’ time.
I think most of us look upon this hon. the Minister as one of the outstanding Ministers who occasionally talk sense, but on this occasion I think he has talked the most unutterable nonsense that I have ever heard him talk in this House. And I say that deliberately, Sir, because for the Minister to get up in this House and to say that he has a list of the South African marine engineers and that there is not one firm amongst them that has the technically trained men to build a ship of that nature is simply untrue. I want to say this: That if that is the advice that the hon. the Minister is given by his technical advisers, then I think this House is entitled to know who those technical advisers are, and that it is about time that the Minister learnt what was going on in this country. Sir, the hon. the Minister’s remarks cleaR1y show that he is totally ignorant of the extremely highly technical nature of the shipbuilding and the marine engineering work that is being done at Durban and here in Cape Town. Outstanding technical work was done during the war and latterly during the Suez crisis. It is no exaggeration to say that the marine engineers in Durban were not only responsible for keeping the British fleet afloat in the Indian Ocean, but they were materially responsible for the United Nations being able to bring the war in Burma and in the Middle East to a successful conclusion. For the Minister to turn round at this stage and to say, because ever since then the Department of the Minister has refused to listen to the pleas of the marine engineers and supply them with the basic minimum requirements to launch ships, they lack the facilities to do this work is simply not true. The fact remains …
You are not a marine engineer; what do you know about this?
I know quite a lot about it. I am interested in promoting marine engineering in Durban and in Cape Town too. I have taken the trouble to interview these companies and to find out what they had to say about this. If the Minister were to interview the South African Society of Shipbuilders and Repairers or any of these individual marine engineering firms which I have mentioned, he will find that the advice given him by his technical advisers is completely untrue.
I want to remind the hon. the Minister that the research vessel which was produced for the fishing industry was also a specialist built job. It was built for research work and it also has specialist technical equipment just as in the case of this vessel. That equipment was imported from abroad and there is no reason why it could not have been imported from abroad in this particular instance. What would the Vanderbijl Engineering Company have given for an opportunity to make the engines for this ship? I believe that this is the most regrettable incident because the Minister has thrown away a golden opportunity of giving the South African marine engineers a chance of taking one step forward towards the establishment of a shipbuilding industry capable of producing larger ships.
If the slipways were provided by the Government to-day there is no reason why South African shipbuilders could not produce 10,000ton cargo ships. There is nothing secret about the design of this particular vessel; the same plans were submitted to firms all over the world so that they could be resubmitted to this country and had the local shipbuilders not been able to build according to those specifications they would have been the first to say so. So I would urge the hon. the Minister to be more careful what he does in connection with this matter.
I am quite satisfied with what I have done.
The hon. Minister seems to be under the impression that he is infallible and that he has nothing to learn. I put it to him that he has a lot to learn. If he takes the trouble of communicating with some of the engineering companies in South Africa he may be a wiser man as a result of it.
Referring to the hon. the Minister’s reply, Sir, I should just like to say this. I have seldom listened to a reply from a responsible Minister which shows the irresponsibility which this Minister’s reply has shown. I gave the Minister a couple of examples of what has been done by South African shipbuilding companies. I will give him a couple more. An aircraft carrier had practically a third of her hull rebuilt by South African labour during the war. One of the bigger aircraft carriers, a 30,000-ton ship, after being practically blown to pieces by a bomb, was practically rebuilt at Durban. We had an American cruiser here, Sir, and 8,000-ton cruiser, Marblehead, of which only the remnants really arrived after bombing and she was rebuilt by South African labour so that she could return to America. That job was done with South African labour and mainly with South African material produced at Iscor and on the Rand. The work was done by men some of whom had never seen a ship before in their lives let alone worked on it. I say that there has been a very grave misdirection of effort in this case in that the South African firms were not even invited to submit quotations and tenders. Had they been allowed to do so they could have been judged on their merits, but they were condemned unheard. The hon. the Minister said that he had a list of the resources of these firms. During the war we worked on the same basis. It was my particular job to investigate the ability of the firms, on the same basis of typewritten statements giving the resources of the South African engineering firms. Those things do not really matter when it comes to actually doing the job. You find that what you are given on paper bears no relation to the real capacity of the firm to turn out the job. And when it comes to the know-how again I say that practically every one of our major shipbuilding firms in this country has either now or in the past had to train their staff by using the best shipbuilding brains from overseas. They still have access to them so that point does not come into the picture at all. The hon. the Minister might just as well say that when it comes to very specialized work connected with the Railways, because it has never been done in this country before, it is not right to give the tender to a South African firm because they do not have the know-how. It won’t take them very long to acquire it. A lot of the know-how in war days was found in the Minister’s own Department, the Railway, which at that time was under a different Minister who was prepared to look at things in a more rational way. It is no good just being arrogant and obstinate or to say “I know that I have done right ”. I would like to assure the Minister that while he is quite satisfied that he has done right, there will be a big number of people in this country who will be quite as satisfied that he has not done right in this case.
Vote put and the Committee divided:
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and A. Hopewell.
Loan Vote L.—“Transport”, as printed, accordingly agreed to.
On Loan Vote M.—“Education, Arts and Science ”, R430,005,
Mr. Chairman, I object to this Vote. The House is being asked to vote additional sums of money to carry on this process of slum clearance and removal in Alexandra Township. I object to this House voting any further money for this purpose on the ground …
Order! The hon. member is speaking under the wrong Vote. The House is considering Loan Vote M.
“M” for mistake.
Sir, I wonder if the hon. the Minister could give the House some information on this additional amount of R180,000 in respect of technical high schools and hostels for commercial high school at Krugersdorp. It appears under the heading Witwatersrand Technical College.
That is the cost of the building.
Sir, the amount provided for for the University of Natal seems to be very meagre. The University of Natal is faced with great difficulty in regard to its students. For their final three years those students have to work at night. …
Order! The hon. member can only ask for the reasons for the increase.
I think the increase is not sufficient, Sir, and I wonder if the Minister could give us more details.
I want to come back to the item that I asked the Minister about. It says here “Technical and Commercial High Schools and Hostels at Krugersdorp ”, and the Minister says it is in respect of the erection of only one building. Can that be correct?
Mr. Chairman, I am very grateful for the item “Commercial High School at Benoni ”, R220,000, and the extra R20,000, but I should like to know what the extra R20,000 is for. I am very grateful for it, but I would like to know what it is for.
I am sorry, I have no further particulars about that item.
Will the Minister please reply to my question in regard to the technical high school and hostel for Krugersdorp, R180,000?
As far as Krugersdorp is concerned, the only note I have is R120,000 for that school. I have no further information.
Mr. Chairman, is the position that the Minister comes here and asks us to vote money when he is unable to give us any information in regard to how this money is to be spent? We are being asked here to vote money for technical and commercial high schools—plural, “schools” with an “s” on— and hostels (with an “s” on it). All the Minister says is that he has a note that it is for a building. Surely the Minister responsible for this Department should be able to give us information as to why he wants this money, and what it is going to be spent on?
If the hon. member wants to quarrel, I am quite willing to argue with him. The fact simply remains that money cannot be used for anything other than the building of a school, and that is what I told the hon. member.
But how many buildings, and what are the details?
Mr. Chairman, from the very nature of the matter, I cannot tell the hon. member how many rooms there will be or how the building will be built. A school is a unit, and if the hon. member now wants to break it up into rooms and halls, I think that is ridiculous. I can, however, give the hon. member the further information that the total cost in connection with that whole unit will amount to R900,000. In respect of that R900,000, we are now only concerned with R180,000 for the first portion of that school. If the hon. member had taken the trouble to read it he would have seen that that is what it says here.
Mr. Chairman, we can also read the figure in the Estimates, but we want to know whether there are one or two schools. It is a matter of principle; it is a question of policy.
Order! The hon. member evidently got that information when the amount originally appeared in the Estimates. The Committee is now dealing only with the R180,000.
On a point of order, Sir, this is an additional amount and we want to know whether it is for the same school or whether it will be spent on new buildings.
The original Estimates included a technical school and a commercial school. That is the total amount. If the hon. member would just take the trouble, he would see that this R180,000 refers only to the technical school portion of it.
Loan Vote put and agreed to.
On Loan Vote N.—“Bantu Administration and Development”, R1,
I wonder if the hon. the Minister can give me some details in regard to this saving of R159,999.
Order! The hon. member cannot ask information in regard to the savings. It is only the R1 that is under discussion.
Very well, Sir. I might ask the hon. the Minister what progress has been made in regard to the rehabilitation of Alexandra Township. Money has been spent on that and I should like some information.
I object to the spending of this R1. I do so because I feel the time has come when the House has to give a very close look at this expenditure that was approved on previous occasions. We are now being asked to vote a sum of R1 in order to keep in being the whole of this loan operation. In other words, to enable this board to continue with the operations …
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the reasons for the increase.
I fully appreciate that, Sir. The reason for the increase of R1 is to enable the whole of this operation …
Order! The hon. member cannot suggest reasons; he can only ask for reasons.
Very well, Mr. Chairman. Then I shall ask the hon. Minister to reply to the following question: Those who have been observing this operation are full of misgivings …
I will begin then, by asking the Minister to tell the House why he requires to spend this R1. I will then ask him a number of questions under a number of headings when he replies to my question as to why he requires to spend this R1. In the first instance I would like to ask him whether the undertaking which the Government gave when the original sum was proposed …
Order! That point is not under discussion now. The hon. member can only ask the reasons for the increase in respect of this additional R1.
Then I would like to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister to explain why he wants the R1, and then if necessary I will put further questions.
What with the urging of hon. members, and your caution, Mr. Chairman, I shall have to be very careful. Firstly I would like to give the hon. member for Parktown an explanation in regard to the item of R1. Actually this is a technical point in order to make expenditure of more than R1 possible. Let me put it this way: The nominal provision of R1 in these Additional Estimates is to get approval in principle for a supplementation of the funds in respect of the purchase of the land in the Alexandra Township. Subhead (2) does not appear in these Supplementary Estimates but sub-head (2) did appear in the Main Estimates, and it was an item which provided money for clearing up areas other than Alexandra. And savings which might be affected under sub-head (2) may be transferred to this Vote, but to make that possible the provision of R1 has been included here. That makes it technically possible. Whilst I am on my feet, I just want to tell the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) something about the progress which has been made in regard to this clearing up. I do not know whether it is in order to reply to that question now.
If it deals with the Additional Expenditure of R1.
No, Sir, then I fear that I cannot reply to this question.
Surely the hon. the Deputy Minister can say what progress has been made?
Loan Vote put and agreed to.
On Loan Vote Q.—“Bantu Education ”, R586,246,
This Bantu Education Fund is, I understand, according to our law, operated by the Department of the Minister of Finance and the Department of the Minister of Bantu Education jointly. I should like to know how this loan is raised and how it is to be paid. It is a very large amount on a supplementary estimate. R586,000, and I want to refer specially to the last three items totalling R442,000 to the nearest R1,000. If this money is borrowed by the Bantu Education Fund, is it borrowed from the General Account through the Minister of Finance?
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the increases on the three last items.
Yes, Sir, and these additional amounts to be voted come to R442,000, and in asking for the reasons for these increases, I would refer in the first place to the final one. What I want to understand first is the manner in which this money is paid. It is a loan by the Bantu Education Fund. That loan, I take it, is through the Minister of Finance out of the General Fund.
That is not under discussion now.
Very well, Sir, then I would like to know this: Is this fund paying interest to increase this amount?
I am sorry, but that is not under discussion either. The hon. member may only ask for the reasons for the increase.
May I not make a comparison with Vote C, a loan to the S.A.B.C. free of interest?
No, the hon. member cannot do that.
Very well, Mr. Chairman, then I will refer to the final item “University College of Fort Hare ”. I Understood from the discussion we had yesterday that this was for the purchase of certain church hostels. If that is correct …
Order! The hon. member is advancing reasons.
Sir, I am asking reasons, because yesterday we were told that. I am asking whether the information given yesterday in the absence of the hon. Minister of Bantu Education was correct. The information we were given was that the final item was for the purchase of hostels and that the interest was shown in the other account, the expenditure account. If this is for the purchase of hostels, then I am asking the hon. the Minister whether this amount has to be paid out of the Bantu Education Fund which was originally intended for primary and secondary education for Bantu children? Are we now paying for a housing scheme for students out of the Bantu Education Fund?
The principle to which the hon. member just referred is one which has already been embodied in legislation by the House. It is the Act in terms of which these purchases are made which provides that the money must come from the Bantu Education Account.
What rate of interest do you pay to the General Revenue Fund?
Order! That is not under discussion now.
I should like to ask the hon. the Minister for further particulars regarding Item 9: Ohlanga Training School, R52,000; Item 19, Mafeking Training School, R20,000. I want to know whether the hon. the Minister has made provision for an adequately trained teaching staff at these institutions, whether those staffs will be available when the buildings are finished and whether they will be composed of European or Bantu teachers? Then I want some information in regard to these university colleges, namely the University College of the North, the University College of Zululand and also the University College of Fort Hare. It seems extraordinary that the original Estimates should be exceeded by such large amounts. In the case of Turfloop the Estimate was R203,000 and now the excess is more than half of that sum; in the case of Fort Hare the original Estimate was R100,000 and here the excess is R291,820, neaR1y three times as much. Surely there is something wrong with the original calculations. Another question I would like to ask —I do not know whether I am in order, but I am going to put the question—is about the serious drop in the number of matriculated students qualified for admission to these colleges …
Am I not entitled to ask the hon. the Minister why this further expenditure is required in view of the startling figures the hon. the Minister gave me the other day in regard to the matric results?
I should like some information in regard to Item 21. It is a new item, and I just don’t understand that the revised Estimate of the total cost is R46,000, the revised Estimate is R8,150 and the additional amount to be voted therefore R8,150. Now I take it this is in respect of the Adam’s Mission College and I would like to have some information from the hon. the Minister. What is being done here and on what is the amount going to be spent?
With reference to the question put by the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit), I just want to say that the amount provided for here for the Ohlanga Training School does not mean that a new school has been established there. What happens here is that the Ohlanga Training School is situated in a released area, and the Department of Bantu Administration, through the Native Trust, purchases the whole property on which this school is situate, but my Department must pay the costs in regard to the school building itself. Therefore it is not a new school but the taking over of a school, and this is the amount it will cost. In the original Estimates there was an amount of R2,000 provided for this purpose because at that stage the negotiations in connection with the purchase price has not yet been completed, and it is only because the negotiations have in the meantime been completed that we can now provide for the actual amount required. There is therefore no question of a new institution for which new staff is required. The staff is there. In regard to the Mafeking Training School, hon. members will remember that during the course of the year there was a case of arson at the training school at Tierkloof. The Tierkloof Training School is quite wrongly situated within a White area, far from the Bantu areas, and instead of completely restoring the original Tierkloof institution, which would have cost a lot of money, it was decided to build a training institution at Mafeking, in the Bantu township of Mafeking, instead. Therefore no new staff is required for that either. It is really just new buildings to replace the wrongly situated Tierkloof.
Is the Tierkloof School being eliminated?
The school at Tierkloof itself will disappear on completion of the new school. At Tierkloof there are still classrooms and facilities which are in the meantime being used as far as possible, but as soon as the new institution is completed the Tierkloof School will be closed.
In regard to the costs in connection with the university colleges, I may just say that as the result of the fact that in the course of time increasingly more buildings become necessary in order to provide for all the classes, and because greater progress was made in the building of the university college in Northern Zululand than we originally expected, it is necessary to make this additional provision. In regard to the University College of Fort Hare, of course a large increase is being asked for in the Additional Estimates, but the reason is that in the original Estimates provision was made for the purchase of the hostels, but because the negotiations in regard to the purchase of the hostels had just been commenced at that stage, it was impossible even approximately to indicate the amount which would be required for it, and a tentative amount which was very low was made available for that purpose, merely to get the principle approved. In the meantime the negotiations have been completed and additional amounts are now required for the purchase of those hostels. I may just say that the compensation paid to the various churches totalled R304,000 for these hostels. Then additional funds are required for the purchase of six dwellings for the staff in Alice. For that an additional R40,820 is required, and then renovations and modifications to the houses were necessary, which amounted to a total of R47,000. The R47,000 was used not only for renovation and modification of the houses, but also includes electrical repairs. The wiring of the halls and of the grounds practically had to be completely renewed because it was in a very bad condition, and that resulted in great expenditure.
In regard to the Amanzimtoti Training School, which formeR1y was known as Adam’s College, the reason for the increase is that as the result of a recent inspection of the condition of the buildings it was found that these buildings left much to be desired from a health point of view, and in order to comply with the proper health requirements it was necessary to make certain essential changes. The water reticulation system had partially to be replaced, roofs had to be put on the conservation dams and the purification systems at a cost of R13,400; the electrical wiring to a large extent had to be replaced to comply with the requirements of Escom, which in future will supply the electric power; it was necessary to enlarge the septic tanks, and the antiquated sewerage system had to be modernized. It was further necessary to build eight additional classrooms in order to accommodate the increased number of students. Altogether the total amount is R46,000. I may say that the expenditure on the training institutions and university colleges, in spite of the temporarily weak results in the matriculation examination, which was not the result of the bad work of my Department but of circumstances which we can discuss proDeR1y at the correct time, was completely justified. As the result of having incurred that expenditure, and for that reason alone, we can remedy the tremendous shortage of trained teachers, which was the main and most important cause of the bad examination results in the matriculation classes.
May I ask whether the dwellings at Fort Hare to which the Minister referred were built in the college grounds or outside?
I said that the amounts were destined for the purchase of dwelling-houses in the town of Alice.
For the White staff?
Yes, for White members of the staff. We have sufficient housing for the non-White members of the staff.
May I just inquire in connection with Item 16 whether the amount asked for here is sufficient to conclude the whole undertaking there, or whether possibly further funds will be required after the sum of R11,246 mentioned here has been spent?
That is not relevant.
Loan Vote put and agreed to.
Estimates of Additional Expenditure from Revenue, Bantu Education and Loan Accounts reported without amendment.
Report considered and the Estimates of Additional Expenditure adopted.
brought up a Bill to give effect to the Estimates of Additional Expenditure adopted by the House.
By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Additional Appropriation Bill was read a first time; second reading on 10 March.
Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Hon. the Senate:
The Senate transmits to the Hon. the House of Assembly the Precious and Base Metals Amendment Bill passed by the Senate and in which the Senate desires the concurrence of the Hon. the House of Assembly.
The Senate begs to draw the attention of the Hon. the House of Assembly to the following provisions, namely, paragraph (c) of sub-clause (1) of Clause 3, Clause 5 and Clause 8, 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.
Second Order read: House to resume in Committee on Group Areas Amendment Bill.
House in Committee:
[Progress reported on 6 March, when Clause 13 was under consideration, upon which an amendment had been moved by Mrs. Suzman.]
I have had an opportunity of reading the hon. Minister’s explanation as to what purpose the amendment introduced in this clause to Section 17 of the principal Act is intended to serve. I have also had regard to the interpretation which he says the legal advisers read into this section as amended. Now, Sir, we are here concerned with the section as it stands, whether it got on to the Statute Book by mistake or otherwise. I can only say that if the section, as amended, is given the interpretation suggested by the hon. the Minister, then he is merely setting out to make confusion worse confounded. Because to read into the section the interpretation which is suggested, once it has been amended, and to suggest that no rights will be taken away, is of course just to make nonsense of the entire section. I have no intention to be profane, but I think the House will bear with me when I say that this whole section, as amended, if it is to be interpreted in the way the hon. the Minister suggests, rather reminds me of the story which is told of the fellow who wrote a poem and when he was asked some time later what it meant, he replied: “When I wrote those beautiful words, God and I alone understood what they meant. Now God alone knows.” I feel that this is precisely what the hon. the Minister will feel about this clause, as amended, by the time it is carried out in practice. By that time I have a feeling that neither the hon. Deputy Minister nor his leal adviser will fare very much better than the fellow I have just quoted.
As regards the first part of sub-section (2) of Section 17, as it stands at present, an unqualified occupier of land is exempt from the peremptory statutory prohibition of sub-section (1) if he occupies under one of three methods; that is if he occupies (a) under an agreement, whether in writing or not, entered into before 1 July 1957, (b) an agreement in writing entered into on or after 1 July, 1957, and (c) a testamentary disposition made on or before 24 April 1950. Those are the three categories which under the existing legislation provide exemption from the peremptory provisions of sub-section (1). Sir, if the amendment is accepted, then the occupier of land will be exempted from the statutory prohibition only for two reasons: namely if he occupies under (i) a written agreement entered into on or before 24 April 1950, and (ii) a testamentary disposition made on or before 24 April 1950. In other words, Sir, immediately this Bill becomes law, the persons falling under category (a) and (b) will lose the rights that were granted to them in Section 17 (2) as it now stands. Only the persons falling under category (c), that is those who occupy by virtue of a testamentary disposition made on or before 24 April 1950, will retain their rights. Once the Bill becomes law, it will matter not what the rights of the two categories may be because the prohibition will then apply to every occupier whose authority to occupy land does not arise from “a written agreement lawfully entered into on or before 24 April 1950”. Now I am perfectly aware that the hon. Minister does not regard the effect of this amendment to be retrospective legislation. But clearly it will be retrospective. If that is not going to be the effect of this legislation, then I can only say that words will lose their ordinary meaning. In that regard I am also reminded of Humpty-Dumpty’s use of words as recorded in “Alice through the Looking-Glass ”—
Sir, we must be careful that we do not assume the attitude of trying to be the master. Let us rather be Alice, because I think she was the wiser in the discourse that took place.
I believe that the hon. the Minister does intend that the rights that accrue to persons in categories (a) and (b) that I mentioned—that is persons who have acquired exemption from the prohibition because of their occupation under (a) “an agreement whether in writing or not entered into before 1 July 1957”, or (b) “an agreement entered into in writing on or before 1 July 1957” should be preserved. That being so, I move as an amendment—
- (b) by the addition of the following proviso at the end of paragraph (b) of that subsection:
- “Provided that any right to occupy land which had accrued to any person under lawful agreement and which was being exercised immediately prior to the coming into operation of the Group Areas Amendment Act, 1961, shall remain of full force and effect.”
I hope the hon. the Minister will agree with me. If he does not want rights to be forfeited, as I understand is the position he maintains, then this proviso will assure that that will happen. This proviso will then only preserve the rights which had accrued to any person under a lawful agreement, and it will only apply to those rights which are being exercised immediately before the coming into operation of this new Act. I think, therefore, the position of the Group Areas Act is preserved as regards the prospective provisions of the new legislation, but I maintain that the rights which were conferred under legislation, will then be preserved. I say it does not matter how that legislation got on the Statute Book; whether it got on to the Statute Book by mistake or otherwise, it means what it says and any court must give it that meaning. I say that to try and give it any other sort of meaning is simply to make a nonsense of the legislation. I hope that the hon. the Minister will accept this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I did not want to be in the position of Humpty-Dumpty who sat on the wall and eventually had a great fall, so I took the opportunity of considering the implications of this clause very thoroughly and in the closest consultation with the law advisers, and also with the senior law adviser of the Government. I asked them to put this explanation on paper. I now want to read that to hon. members. I admit that this is a complicated matter.
The law advisers tell me that Section 10 (1) of the original Group Areas Act of 1950 prohibited occupation by disqualified persons in the controlled areas. Exemption was, however, by Section 10 (2) (b), afforded persons occupying under valid agreements, notably agreements of lease. In 1955 that exemption was withdrawn in so far as persons occupying under verbal leases were concerned. They were, however, given two years’ grace up to 1 July 1957 to legalize their position by obtaining permits, or to vacate. On consolidation of the Act in 1957 the section in question became Section 17. Occupation by disqualified persons in the controlled areas is now prohibited by Section 17 (1). The consolidation error had the effect that people occupying under verbal contract after 1 July 1957 again enjoyed the same exemption as they did before the 1955 Act. It created no right whatever to enter into leases. That right is determined by Section 11 (1) of the Act. Section 11 (1) deals with the acquisition of immovable property in the controlled areas, which includes leasehold rights. And that section must be read with the definition of immovable property in the Act. Where the consolidation error is being corrected, no rights are therefore being taken away, except the exemption which should have fallen away as long ago as 1957.
Would the hon. the Deputy Minister please repeat that point?
Where the consolidation error is being corrected, no rights are therefore being taken away, except the exemption which should have fallen away as long ago as 1957. Because the amendment is not being made retrospective, the occupiers concerned cannot be prosecuted for having occupied since 1957.
But they can now continue?
Yes. After the discussions with the law advisers I decided that I would move a further amendment to make a concession which will give them a further year after this Bill comes into operation, to regularize their position. Therefore I move as an amendment—
- (2) Paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) shall come into operation on the first day of July, 1962.
- That will give them the opportunity to regularize their position.
Will it be regularized by permit? Is that the point?
Yes, that now gives them the opportunity to regularize their position.
As far as the amendment moved by the hon. member is concerned, I also discussed this matter with the law advisers. Now I must admit that this is a complicated clause. I admit that, and I do not think that any hon. member in this House would be able to explain it without studying it very thoroughly. The law advisers tell me that where Section 17 (2) (b) in its erroneous form, created no rights but merely protected occupation which had already become unlawful, the amendment would defeat the whole object of correcting the error. On the face of it, moreover, it would perpetuate occupational rights of lessees as against lessors, and deprive the latter of their rights to eject the former, even on breach or termination of the leases concerned. In the premises, the amendment cannot be accepted.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot go any further in this matter. I have been to a lot of trouble about it and I have had two or three discussions with the law advisers. I consulted the senior law adviser, and after all this I must now tell hon. members that I cannot help them any more than I have done.
Mr. Chairman, the question I wanted to ask the hon. the Minister when he said that paragraph (a) shall come into operation a year hence, is this: Is it the present (a) of sub-section (2)?
I do not want to pursue the matter much further. The hon. the Deputy Minister has conceded that it is a most complicated matter. All I can say is that he is not the only person who has tried to understand what it means. But so long as we go on talking about consolidation errors, I think we are in error because the law, however it gets on to the Statute Book, must be interpreted and whether you interpret it as giving protection to occupants, or whether you call it “rights” as I do, I think we are talking about the same thing in different words.
I think I agree with the legal interpretation which the hon. the Deputy Minister has read out, except in one respect. I think it was possible for people to acquire rights in terms of the 1957 Act, which the hon. the Minister says was a mistake. It is probable that not very many people did do so but I think in fact it was possible. If a person entered into an agreement by way of permit, then it was a lawful agreement. If he entered into a written agreement by way of permit, it was obviously a lawful agreement, and I submit that he acquired rights which he would maintain but for this amendment. However I am not going to press that point any further because it is not the most important point.
There is a much more important point than that, and that is that the effect of this amendment is to take away the protection which people have had so far if they had verbal leases prior to 1950. I think the hon. the Minister agrees with that. That is the object and the effect of this amendment. Until 1950 people who had verbal leases to occupy property in controlled areas were protected. They were protected not only prior to 1950, they were protected after the Group Areas Act came into existence, and they have been protected at all times up to the present. In 1955 an attempt was made to take away that protection and to leave it only in respect of people who had leases entered into prior to 1950. In 1955 that amendment was made.
I may say, in passing, that on reading the debate of that year, this point was not argued in Committee in 1955. It may well be that the importance of the amendment was not realized at that stage. But, in fact, it is a most important amendment.
In terms of the 1955 amendment, these people were to lose that protection. As the hon. the Minister has said, they were to lose it not at once but as from 1 July 1957. After that date they were no longer to have the protection they had had, in spite of the fact that they had a verbal lease prior to 1950. But fortunately—or unfortunately, depending upon how you look on it—when the Act was consolidated in 1957 the law advisers made a mistake and these people …
No, the Select Committee made the mistake.
I think it must have been the law advisers who put the Bill before the Select Committee. It may well be that the Select Committee made a mistake in accepting the word of the law advisers. In any event, it is quite an interesting commentary on the complications of this Bill that the law advisers, with the principal and the amending Acts before them, were nevertheless unable to give the correct interpretation of the law; and not only the correct interpretation but the correct wording of the law. Parliament then passed a consolidating measure and that measure had the effect of saving for these people with pre-1950 verbal leases, the protection which they had had.
Mr. Chairman, the point is this, that the amendment now has the effect of taking away that protection; the protection of people who had verbal leases prior to 1950. We are opposed to that.
Many of the Indian traders in rural areas occupied by virtue of verbal leases, and still occupy by virtue of verbal leases. Others may have entered into written agreements before 1950. At that time, in certain provinces at any rate, there was no difference in the validity of a verbal or a written agreement. And to say now that verbal leases entered into before 1950 shall no longer protect you, whereas written leases will protect you, is to draw a most arbitrary distinction. Quite cleaR1y the object is just to get rid of a certain number of Indian traders who are occupying and whom the hon. the Deputy Minister wishes to have removed from areas which he intends for European occupation. I think that that object was made quite clear in the debates in 1955 when the Government abolished another exemption which operated in favour of these Indian traders. The then hon. Minister of Lands said in the debate—
As a result another exemption was then abolished. And now we get a further exemption which is to be abolished; a further clause which protected these people is now to be taken away. And we are opposed to that.
Not only are the rights of occupation now to be taken away, but they are being taken away without the kind of inquiry which would be necessary if a Group Area were to be proclaimed. Here it is not necessary to have an inquiry. The rights of these people can be taken away without such an inquiry. We believe that this amendment, if accepted, will result in the elimination of a very large proportion of those Indian traders who are still trading in the rural areas, that is, in all those areas which have not been proclaimed as specified areas, which include almost all the rural areas of South Africa. Mr. Chairman, we are strongly opposed to this clause.
I would like to try and get a little clarity here. As the hon. the Deputy Minister has said, this is a very complicated issue. I think it has been further complicated by the discussion that has taken place in this Committee, and I do not think the hon. the Deputy Minister has quite cleared that up. The hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) introduced, in discussing this clause, the fact that when this measure was consolidated in 1957, certain Coloured people acquired rights under the measure as consolidated.
But this clause deals with disqualified persons for occupation.
The hon. member for Boland made the point that under Section 17 (2) (b) which, the Minister tells us, came about as an error in the consolidation of this Act— and I want to be corrected here if I am wrong —in terms of the section providing for any agreement lawfully entered into before 1 July 1957, certain Coloured people had acquired rights of occupation. That was the point made by the hon. member for Boland.
Please read Section 17 (2) (a).
I am not talking about that issue, I am talking about the point made by the hon. member for Boland. The hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) then said to the hon. the Deputy Minister “If this is a bona fide mistake, and if these people acquired rights in a bona fide manner in terms of this section, will the Minister then establish that those rights shall not be interfered with; will the hon. the Minister give those people protection?” He asked that they should be given protection. In his reply the hon. the Deputy Minister did not deal with the request of the hon. member for South Coast, but he did reply to the hon. member for Boland, and he said that this was not being made retrospective. Therefore it would not interfere with the rights which they had acquired. But to-day he has further complicated the issue by bringing forward this amendment which does not do either of these things; either the thing that the hon. member for South Coast asked for, nor does it achieve the object which the hon. the Deputy Minister indicated to the hon. member for Boland.
I now want to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister for some clarity on this measure. This amendment which he has now brought forward, as I see it in relation to to-day’s date, has given these people just one year’s grace in which either to get a permit …
No, it gives them an extra year.
That is the same point. The hon. the Deputy Minister must not get impatient. That is exactly the same point made here, the point to which the hon. the Deputy Minister replied the other night. The question was, was the Minister prepared to entrench the rights which these people had acquired in terms of Section 17 (2) (b)? In his reply, let me repeat, the Deputy Minister said that as this clause was not retrospective they would not lose those rights. But now, with his amendment, what he has said is not that at all. He has said something totally different. He has said “I will give these people one year as from to-day’s date, in which to establish their rights by permit, or to get out I would like clarification on that point because, quite frankly, it is neither in line with the assurance given by the hon. the Deputy Minister to the hon. member for Boland, nor is it in line with the request made by the hon. member for South Coast. We are now discussing three totally different things and I should like the Minister to clear those points up for me.
After this explanation, which I had prepared with so much trouble and after such thorough consideration, I will not consider exemptions from this prohibition. It was restricted already in 1945, and those persons, therefore, knew that those rights would disappear. They had sufficient time to put their house in order. Because I am now remedying a mistake here, and want to be fair, I must tell them that I will give them further time to put their affairs in order. That is all it amounts to. I am not able to do anything more in that regard. We are now approving of the same principle which has already been approved of by Parliament, and in regard to which a mistake crept in, for which Parliament was not responsible.
I do appreciate the efforts which the hon. the Deputy Minister has made. It is perfectly clear that he has taken a great deal of trouble to go further into this matter in order to bring a solution to what is obviously, as he himself has admitted, and as has been pointed out to him on more than one occasion, an extremely complicated and difficult clause. It is the type of clause that, unfortunately, became even more complicated on the consolidation of the Act. But I think that one must stress the point made by the hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) (Mr. H. Lewis) when he said that, on the last occasion on which this matter was discussed, the hon. the Deputy Minister did give an assurance that the law, as it will be amended by virtue of this Bill, will not in any way interfere with any existing rights. Now, if one reads the amendment that has been moved by the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) and reads it carefully, all one will find is that it provides that any rights which existed until this amending Bill becomes law, whatever they may be, whether they are valueless or whether they have any content in the legislation—whatever the value may be, those rights shall pertain. That is all. The hon. the Deputy Minister is not asked, in this amendment, to create any new rights. He is not asked to ensure any right of occupation. He is not asked to ensure any vested interests. He is not asked to ensure that there shall be a real right—which is what he intended to convey when he dealt with the definition of immovable property. All that the amendment asks is that whatever the interpretation of the law may be, in so far as the affected person is concerned, and whatever rights may have been acquired by the individual under the law as it stands to-day, those rights shall be maintained. And, quite frankly, I fail to read into that that, by virtue of accepting this amendment, one will be creating a real right in the affected person which will even go so far as to entrench a certain right for all time against a lessor if that affected person be the lessee.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, whilst one does appreciate the efforts of the hon. the Deputy Minister to provide what he calls certain concessions, he is, in fact, avoiding the issue, because nothing is asked of him save that what exists shall continue. For that reason we find it very difficult indeed to accept that the hon. the Deputy Minister is making any concession at all. After all, the administration of the Act is in his hands and, through him, in the hands of the board. We are concerned with the rights of individuals as interpreted through the law. And the law must be accepted as it appears on the Statute Book. That is the only thing we are asking of the hon. the Deputy Minister, and, unless he can give us an assurance, or unless he can be more persuasive that those other …
I cannot give you any more assurances than I have done.
What I mean is this: That, unless the hon. the Deputy Minister can satisfy us that what he is now doing in fact provides the relief which he suggested the other night he intended to provide, then I do not think he really appreciates the purpose of the amendment. We can, therefore, see no good reason why the amendment we have moved this afternoon should be denied, as it is in the interests of the affected persons, and as it creates no more rights than those existing in the law.
Then we must agree to differ.
Question put: That paragraph (a), proposed to be omitted, stand part of the clause,
Upon which the Committee divided:
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: C. W. Eglin and T. O. Williams.
Question affirmed and the amendment proposed by Mrs. Suzman negatived.
The amendment proposed by Mr. Plewman was put and the Committee divided:
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and A. Hopewell.
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
The amendment proposed by the Deputy Minister of the Interior was put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and the Committee divided:
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and A. Hopewell.
Clause, as amended, accordingly agreed to.
On Clause 14,
I should like the hon. the Deputy Minister to give us a little information about the reason for the insertion of the proposed (5)bis (b), which allows him to give a permit subject to certain conditions. This sub-clause allows the Minister to lay down the condition, if he grants a permit to acquire property, that the person to whom the permit is granted must “erect or cause to be erected such buildings or other structures or provide or cause to be provided such facilities, etc., as may be so specified ”. The power which is to be given in terms of the amendment appears to be a very wide one. It is not the object of the Group Areas Act to make people build structures. We should like some information from the hon. the Deputy Minister as to why this sub-clause has been included.
I might just explain to the hon. member that where, e.g., in the case of a church, one must issue a permit in order to acquire land for those special purposes, we must take power in order to ensure that it is used for the purpose for which it was acquired. That is the whole object here.
And will that power not be used for wider objects?
I am glad to hear what the hon. the Deputy Minister says. I would just like to be quite clear on this point. This could apply, for instance, in a case where a mortgagee is taking a permit and buying in the property. I take it the same provision could be applied. If that is so, there is a power to erect buildings. I appreciate what the hon. the Deputy Minister has said; this really applies to cases where the use of the land is being permitted for a specific purpose, and then in those cases he wants to put it in the permit itself in order to protect him against any abuse of the power given by the permit.
That is so.
Clause put and agreed to.
On Clause 15,
I move the amendment standing in my name—
This is a clause which in our opinion calls for the very closest scrutiny of this Committee because it deals with powers of delegation and it affects the greatest issues of property owners; it not only affects property rights but also financial interests and, indeed, the standard of living of many of the affected persons. We should remember that these affected persons are for the most part the people who are most politically defenceless in South Africa. Clause 15 provides first of all for a delegation of the Minister’s powers to the Chairman of the Group Areas Board in a wider range of powers than has been the case hitherto. We have no objection to this delegation of power to the Chairman. Indeed, we believe that it is only correct that he should have these powers. After all, the Minister has multifarious duties and he cannot be expected to run everything including the administration of the Group Areas Act, and consequently we approve of that delegation. The second thing that this clause does is to extend the right of delegation of the Minister’s powers, subject to such conditions as the Minister may deem fit to impose, to members of the Board. In this case it is a more restricted delegation and it refers particulaR1y to Clause 16 which deals with determinations and Clause 18 which deals with permits. We would have preferred to have had no delegation of any sort to anybody other than the Chairman, but we do accept that with the growing volume of work which is going through the offices of the Group Areas Board and the consideration that unless there is a certain amount of delegation accepted, there might be a hold-up in the issue of permits, we are prepared to concede the delegation of these powers to members of the Board. That statement is, of course, subject always to the reservation which we made clear under Clause 7, where we made it very clear that we do not approve of the delegation of powers to single individuals appointed to act as standing or ad hoc committees. But, Sir, the members of the Board are the appropriate people to exercise these powers. After all, they are full-time employees; they have a very adequate grasp of the extremely intricate provisions and the workings of the Group Areas Act and they are specialists in their own particular occupation. More important than that is the fact that these individuals, by reason of the fact that they are fully aware of the extremely wide objections to this legislation in South Africa, and also indeed abroad, are, I think, fully appreciative of the necessity for the administration of this Act with the very highest standards of integrity and also, which is even more important, in a spirit of the utmost humanity. We do not therefore oppose the extension of the right to delegate powers to members of the Board. But the third provision of this clause is to provide for the delegation of the Minister’s powers to officers of the Public Service, and this is something which we think entirely reprehensible. We cannot agree to this because we think it is entirely wrong. After all. we have not over-looked the hon. the Deputy Minister’s comments on Clause 5 of this Bill, which provides for public servants to exercise certain functions in conducting inquiries and submitting reports to the Minister, and we assume that his remarks made under that clause apply pari passu to Clause 15 as well. If that is the case, we want to make it clear that we do not think that the ordinary civil servant, who is not a permanent official in the Group Areas Department, should be entrusted with these powers, because after all this is a highly technical question; it is extremely specialized work and it entails the responsibility which we believe can be only adequately fulfilled if there is a measure of continuity. We believe that it is all wrong to entrust those powers to officers of the Public Service, whether they be second or third grade officers, in any particular department, whoever happens to be handy at the time. If to us it is objectionable to give them the right to conduct inquiries and submit reports, we believe that it is even more objectionable that the Minister’s powers should be delegated to them. I think it is important that the Government should realize that we should at all costs prevent any belief arising, either in this country or elsewhere, that the Minister is becoming callous or indifferent in respect to the manner in which this legislation is administered. We believe that it is important that the public in South Africa and particularly affected persons should have the utmost confidence in the persons who are administering the Act, and we believe that they can only do that if these powers are confined to members of the Board. We believe that affected persons are entitled to the very highest standard of administration of this extremely complex Act, and that can only be assured if the delegation of power is restricted to the absolute minimum number of individuals. I want to make the point, too, that it is important that in the administration of this Act there should be the maintenance of the highest standard of uniformity in all decisions, and this again, we believe, is something which can only be ensured if the delegation of powers is confined to the smallest possible circle, and seeing that members on the Board are in constant daily or weekly touch with the Chairman of the Board, we believe that by limiting the delegation to the members we can achieve those results.
Finally, I want to comment on a possible reply from the Minister that affected persons have at least a right of appeal. They have no right of appeal to the courts; they have a right of appeal to the Minister. That may be very well, but I believe that if this administrative work is confined to expert officials, to members of the Board, there is far less chance of mistakes occurring in the first place, and I believe that if we are to achieve the best results in the administration of this very difficult and contentious Act, then there is less chance of something going wrong if in the first place the delegation of powers is confined to members of the Board. For that reason I move this amendment which will have the effect of omitting, as far as the delegation of powers is concerned, the officials of the Public Service. I hope the hon. the Deputy Minister will appreciate the spirit in which this appeal is made, because I am perfectly certain that if he makes a gesture and accepts this amendment, he will be making a gesture which will be greatly appreciated by the affected persons all over South Africa. Sir, I appeal to him to give it a trial. If thereafter it is still necessary to allow further delegation, then let us review the legislation at a later stage. I hope the hon. the Deputy Minister will accept this amendment.
I do not blame the hon. member for raising objections, but now he must understand that we have made so much progress with the application of the Group Areas Act that it has become a huge administrative undertaking. In the first place it should be remembered that the Group Areas Board is a deliberating body. They have enough of their own work to do just in so far as deliberations are concerned to make it unfair to the State and to those high-salaried people to saddle them with these delegated powers and the work connected with it when it can just as well be done by capable officials. The hon. member referred to something I was supposed to have said, viz. that I did not know whether they would be first-grade or second-grade clerks. I simply used those words by way of comparison. The idea is certainly not to entrust absolutely junior officials who have no knowledge of the work with delegated powers of this nature. This clause provides that the Minister may do certain things subject to certain conditions which he may determine. Of course when he delegates powers he will delegate them to people whom he regards as capable of dealing with the affected persons, and that is in order to bring relief not only to the Minister but also to the members of the board, so that they can devote their attention more specifically to the deliberating part of their work. Hon. members, e.g., complain that group areas are not proclaimed judiciously. Well, the more opportunity one gives the Group Areas Board to devote their attention to their deliberations, instead of encumbering them with petty administrative work, the more they are enabled to demarcate areas properly and justly. But in the second place the Minister will surely not delegate powers where his discretion has to be used. He will only delegate powers to officials where the policy is clear. The Act provides for certain restrictions. The permit system is destined to meet cases to which those restrictions apply. But now the Minister has a certain policy. He says: I will grant exemptions in this or that type of case; in this particular case you may issue a permit. One finds many cases of a particular type where concessions are made to people in order to give them relief, and when such people apply it is essential that the matter should be dealt with as speedily as possible so that people do not suffer from a feeling of insecurity and tension where concessions can be made. Therefore if one has responsible public servants in the service of the Group Areas Board, no fault can be found with the delegation of powers in regard to matters of a non-discretionary nature. In any case there is always the provision contained in Section 19 (4)—
The hon. member himself gave the reply. All I can say is this. My experience of the Group Areas Board and its chief officials is that they try in the most sympathetic and humane manner to implement this Act. That is also the policy of the Government. The Government wants to show these people the greatest sympathy and humaneness. But if we want to achieve that, we must speed up the pace and enable people to enjoy these services. There is a growing realization that they can just go to the offices of that board in order to be assisted. There they receive explanations and the necessary assistance by the officials, and we would like to encourage that because we do not want our offices to create a feeling of fear in the minds of the public. These offices and this Department must be able to enjoy the confidence of the people; we want the people to realize that the officials are there to assist them. I therefore regret that I cannot accept the hon. member’s amendment.
Sir, I listened attentively to what the hon. the Deputy Minister had to say on this particular clause and I appreciate the problem with which he is faced. He is faced was quite a terrific problem but I think this side of the House warned him of these problems when this Act was placed on the Statute Book. The hon. the Deputy Minister is now trying to cope with the difficulties that were foreshadowed when this Act was put through. Knowing that he is faced with these problems and knowing that he must find a way out of them I accept that in this clause the hon. the Deputy Minister has probably the most convenient way out. But surely, Sir, the hon. the Deputy Minister cannot expect this side of the House to accept a clause such as this.
What is wrong with delegating power to an official to give notice?
This clause contains delegation of powers which is so serious that one has to distinguish here between what is democratic and what is bureaucratic. Through the delegation of power in this clause we are placing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people into the hands of an official. Whilst I do not want to criticize the officials we must admit that they are not all of the same calibre; some are obviously very well equipped to do their job properly.
Did you not listen to my explanation?
I accept that the hon. the Deputy Minister has a big problem, but he is going to have many more problems before he is finished with the administration of this Act. The powers which the Deputy Minister is trying to delegate under this clause are powers which we are not prepared to allow the Deputy Minister to delegate. We are not prepared to allow delegation of powers such as these. By delegating this power the hon. the Deputy Minister is putting into the hands of officials the future of people. These officials are empowered to make decisions, and we are not prepared to allow such important decisions to be made at that level. It is also not fair to ask the officials to make such decisions.
That is an over-statement. You are merely trying to create suspicion.
Every person who applies for a permit regards it as the most important thing in his life. These people have to uproot themselves and move to new areas. Surely to goodness when dealing with the future of a whole group of people, it is essential that the utmost care be taken. We want to take every step to ensure that the necessary measure of control and consideration is exercised in dealing with the future of these people. Why should it just be handed out on a rubber stamp basis to move them? We are not prepared to accept that. I sincerely hope that this side of the House will never be prepared to accept that principle. It is a principle which I personally, and I am sure the members on this side of the House agree with me, am not under any circumstances prepared to agree to. I personally, Sir, and I believe this side of the House, am not prepared to accept this clause as it stands now because it compels a degree of delegation of power which I think this House is very, very wrong in even considering.
We agree, Sir, that one does not want to keep people waiting when they have applied for a permit before they know whether or not the permit has been granted. We agree with the hon. the Deputy Minister on that point. It is an advantage to have an official who can issue these permits more speedily. But what worries us is that an officer of the Public Service might refuse a permit, which can have the most grievous consequences to the people applying. The hon. the Deputy Minister said that in practice he only delegated power where a clear policy had been laid down. But I submit, with respect, that in the case of every inquiry the question must arise as to whether it will cause undue hardship to the person concerned. That is a point which has to be considered in every case. No policy can be devised which will cover that point. These officials of the Public Service are inevitably called upon to use a measure of discretion and we feel it is undesirable to allow delegation of power to this extent. As other hon. members have pointed out the right to refuse a permit is a very substantial power, or the right to make a determination in respect of a new building which is to be erected. In terms of this clause the public official has the right to determine who shall occupy that building. If it is a new modern building that obviously is a most important power.
May I ask the hon. the Deputy Minister whether in fact it happens in practice that officials are allowed to refuse permits. It will not have been done to the extent that the whole power was vested in the official because that would be illegal, but in practice have decisions been taken by public officials to refuse permits and confirmed by members of the board—presumably the chairman—without going into the matter fully themselves? Will the hon. the Deputy Minister specifically reply to that point?
I want to ask one other question. When different sections of this Act are read together the effect of this amending legislation will be that the officer of the Public Service can deal with a permit from A to Z, whereas previously it was necessary to report to the Minister or, at any rate, to the chairman. Now because of the power of delegation, and because in all cases where the power may be delegated, the person to whom the power is delegated may operate in the place of the Minister for all purposes, this means that the public official has the right to go into the question of a permit or a determination from A to Z without ever referring to any member of the board or to any other person. Will the hon. the Deputy Minister also confirm that that is the position? Because if it is, as seems to be the case, then we are definitely opposed to the delegation of this power to a public official.
We shall be quite prepared to meet the hon. the Deputy Minister if he says that public officials shall have the right to grant these permits but that in the case of a refusal it should be referred to a member of the board or to a higher official.
Surely it is clearly stated here: “the Minister may subject to such conditions as he may determine …”. Now it is up to the Minister what powers he is going to delegate to that official. The Minister may say: “I am prepared to delegate to you the power to sign all notices under certain circumstances which comply with these requirements ”, or the Minister may say: “I shall delegate to you the power to refuse permits of this type, permits which comply with these specific conditions.” The Minister determines the conditions governing that delegation. The onus is therefore always on the Minister and if the Minister makes a mess of it, this Parliament has the right to call him to account. That is surely clear. After all the Minister remains responsible to this Parliament; the Minister is after all not elevated above Parliament so that he is not subject to Parliament’s authority.
You think so.
Many hon. members also think so, but they are wrong. That is why they sometimes never even become Ministers; that is why they remain on the Opposition benches. I do not know to what the hon. member is objecting. I should like to help him if I can. The point is that it is stated specifically here that the Minister will lay down the conditions under which this delegation takes place. In the second place it is the position that if such a person feels aggrieved, he can lodge an appeal within 60 days. Of course the Minister will not delegate powers relating to any matters in which he must exercise his discretion. It is only in connection with matters on which there is clarity and when he wants to relieve himself of routine work that he will delegate powers.
Must a certain measure of discretion not be used in all cases to determine whether it is a case where the person concerned will be particularly severely affected thereby?
In such cases the Minister will not delegate his powers. If the Minister is so foolish as to delegate powers relating to cases on which he must decide himself, then it is his affair. But there are thousands of matters in respect of which there is clarity, and which can be disposed of with the least possible delay. The hon. member should surely know that; after all he is someone who does at least know something about administration. The Minister would be very foolish if he were to delegate his discretionary powers. Then he is doing so either because he is stupid or because he is lazy. Well, I may be stupid, but I am at least no lazy. Now that the hon. member has warned me, I shall also try to keep my stupidity under control.
Question put that the words “or an officer of the Public Service” in lines 11 and 12, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the clause,
Upon which the Committee divided:
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: Z. J. de Beer and C. W. Eglin.
Question accordingly affirmed and the amendment negatived.
Clause, as printed, put and the Committee divided:
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and A. Hopewell. Clause, as printed, accordingly agreed to.
On Clause 16,
I wish to move the amendment standing in my name—
I won’t repeat the arguments which were advanced during the second reading debate in any detail. Briefly this clause lays down a new procedure for proclaiming group areas. Previously at the time of the proclamation the evacuation date was set out—whether it was in one year’s time or three years’ time or five years’ time, in some cases even seven years’ time. Now a group area will be proclaimed but the evacuation date will not be laid down at that time, or it need not be. Instead at any time after the lapse of one year people may be moved on three months’ notice. From the hon. the Deputy Minister’s point of view there is a clear advantage in that, in that he can move people out—he can even move an individual out—as alternative accommodation becomes available. But looking at it from the point of view of the person who has to be moved, it does create further uncertainty. Previously he knew more definitely the date when he had to move. Now at any time after the expiration of a year after the proclamation he is subject to three months’ notice. We submit that it is completely unsatisfactory to leave people under the threat of being moved after three months’ notice. Mr. Chairman, if we on these benches had our way we should not move people from their properties at all. Because we have moved this amendment it must not be thought that we approve of this clause—far from it. I have moved this in an attempt to alleviate the hardship which may be suffered under it, or which will be caused under it. We therefore propose that in the case of residential properties the person shall be given at least six months’ notice and where the person is to be moved from his business premises he shall be given at least one year’s notice.
I shall be glad if the hon. the Deputy Minister would explain these words in (c) “… any land which has ceased to be Native Trust land”. I am not quite clear what the position is there and I shall be glad if the hon. the Deputy Minister will first of all explain why it has become necessary to insert this and whether it only applies to land which has been excised from Native Trust land or hostels or locations.
I wish to move the amendment standing in my name—
The consequence of this sub-section is that all those group areas which have been proclaimed but in respect of which the evacuation date has not yet arrived will be affected. Members of this House are aware of the fact that many of the group areas that are proclaimed have a period of grace during which the affected persons may remain in occupation of their property and those dates vary in length of time from two years up to seven years from date of proclamation. I have in mind recent cases such as the proclamation of 25 November dealing with Sea View which gave a three-year period of grace in respect of one area, in respect of Greenwood Park five years, and in the case of Red Hill five years. Then a little later in the case of Westville certain areas were given a period of grace of five years and more recently on 3 February there was a proclamation in respect of Wellington giving a period of grace of five years and on 10 February, Wynberg, where certain areas were set aside for evacuation within a period of two, five and seven years and in the case of Paarl, three, five and seven years and at Durban in the case of Queensborough under a proclamation dated 10 February, a period of five years was given. Now, Sir, the effect of this sub-section is to cancel all those evacuation dates and to place all affected persons under three months’ notice, provided that 12 months have elapsed from the date of the proclamation. I believe that these extended evacuation dates were an act of humanity to affected persons, and I believe that it was very much appreciated by those persons, and I do hope that the hon. the Minister will see his way to agreeing to this amendment which will have the effect of allowing all those unexpired evacuation dates to stand. It seems to me that the introduction of this clause at this stage, particularly within a matter of weeks of these proclamations, is an unnecessary piece of heartlessness. I am not accusing the hon. the Minister of inhumanity, or deliberately adversely affecting affected persons, but I do think that he should appreciate the point of view of people who have been affected, who have been given these notices of extended periods within which perhaps to make other arrangements and who are now faced with having a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads and the prospect of being ordered out of their homes on three months’ notice. It does not follow that because this sub-section is accepted by the House in point of fact people in the affected areas will actually be evacuated any earlier, but it may well happen, and in any case it creates uncertainty which the hon. the Minister can avoid. So I plead with him to make a gesture to the people in the recently proclaimed areas. I am not suggesting that in respect of any future proclamation, after the passing of this Bill, he should not adopt the practice set out in Clause 1, but I do believe that by allowing proclamations to stand where evacuation dates have not expired, he will be making a very sincere gesture of humanity to many people affected, and I believe it would do a great deal to introduce a far better atmosphere into the whole of the question of the application of this contentious legislation. Therefore I hope the hon. Deputy Minister will seriously reconsider this matter.
I am sorry that I cannot accept the amendments moved by the two hon. members in their present form. Actually the two amendments are contradictory. The two hon. members must settle that between themselves. But I cannot accept them as they stand. What I am prepared to do is to insert in lines 42 and 50, respectively, after the word “three ”, the words “or in the case of business premises, 12”. I therefore move as an amendment—
I think the hon. member has made out a case that, in the case of businesses, we should allow a reasonable period in which to make the change. I now just want to tell the hon. member that this whole clause is based on the principle that we can only establish group areas if we are prepared to provide the necessary housing. Without discussing the matter of housing in undue detail, I think we have reached the stage where we can, in fact, give attention to housing those persons who are affected. During my second-reading speech the other evening, I said there were three ways in which we could provide the alternative accommodation. In the first place, there are persons who can build for themselves. These persons have 15 months during which period they know they must leave. The Development Board is also there to help in the exchange of such properties. In the second place, there are persons who are found mainly in the middle classes, and who can enter into individual loans with the Housing Commission. The Housing Commission also goes out of its way to help people, and I am not only referring to Whites. I want to assure hon. members that many non-Whites are entering into individual loans with the Housing Commission. The hon. member will also be interested to know that our experience is that, as far as these individual loans are concerned, the Housing Commission has not yet suffered any losses. These people try to meet their obligations in a very exemplary way. In the third place, there are the economic housing schemes, and in the fourth place, there are the sub-economic housing schemes. I must say that, to an ever-increasing extent, we are finding that local authorities are prepared to take steps to improve their housing position. I have referred to what has been done in the Peninsula, for example. That is to be welcomed. No Government, which is in its right mind, will allow people to be ejected without alternative accommodation being provided, and this Government has already shown that, in this regard, it acts sympathetically. We have shown so in many instances, and we recently did so once again in the case of Sea Point where people came to us; although their period had expired, we extended the period and, when the year which they were granted expired in turn, we once again extended it. But I think we should rather adopt a different approach, namely, that we should provide the houses either with the assistance of the Housing Commission, through the local authorities, or by means of direct loans. When we are sure that we have the necessary housing available, we can go ahead on a systematic basis. That is why we are taking the power to be able to tell 20 people that they must now move because 20 houses are ready. On the next occasion there may be 100 such cases. In this way we are trying to implement the principle of group areas systematically. That is the underlying object in this case. But no one who wants to make a success of group areas—and we are in earnest in wishing to make a success of this principle— would tell 100 families that they must move without alternative accommodation being available. That is absurd. I am, therefore, sorry that I cannot accept the hon. member’s amendment. Let me just add one further reason. I have already stated during the second-reading debate that closer liaison had been established between the Development Board and the Housing Commission as a result of the interdepartmental committee which we had appointed. Further steps may still be taken to bring about this closer liaison. Because group areas do not affect the Coloureds or the Indians. Group areas also affect the Whites. It is not merely a question of providing accommodation to one section of the population or of removing one section. But it is difficult to determine in advance whether 100 houses will be ready on a specific date. That is why, when the Group Areas Board must lay down a date in terms of the present legislation, the board finds it so difficult to say that the period must be three years of five years or seven years. It cannot say approximately what housing will be ready. In other words, it simply has to guess. That is why it is far better to provide that at least a year must elapse, and then three months’ notice can be given. I give the assurance that it is our intention that the board should bear in mind the availability of alternative accommodation before it advises the Minister, as the Act already provides. Because we cannot say how many houses will be available on a particular day, we want to make the period that which is provided for here. But, as regards businesses, I feel that a concession must be made, because there we are faced with specific difficulties, and that is why I have moved this amendment.
May I just tell the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) that Clause 16 (1) (c) is consequential to the amendment which is contained in Clause 5 (d). The object is merely to ensure beyond all doubt when an inquiry is to be held, that such areas which are actually excluded, can be included for the purpose of the inquiry, so that the whole picture can be obtained. It is sometimes necessary to include such an area in an advertisement relating to an inquiry to be able to establish the correct boundaries in the area concerned. We have always considered that we have this power, but there is a measure of doubt, and that is why we are providing here that, for the purpose of an inquiry, we can include such an area in an advertisement, so that, when the inquiry is held, a proper picture can be formed of how an area should be demarcated.
May I say that we are glad that the hon. the Minister has been prepared to meet us in relation to the notice to be given to a person who has to remove his business, but we are sorry that he is not prepared to meet us in regard to the increased notice to people who have to move for residential purposes. Even if one accepts everything that the hon. the Deputy Minister has said, that he wishes to synchronize the moving of people with the availability of new houses, I still feel that the hon. the Minister should know six months in advance when houses are going to be available, and he should be able to give the person to be moved six months’ notice. If he is not able to know exactly to the day or to the month when the houses will be available, then rather let those alternative houses stand empty for a month than to leave all these people who have to be moved perpetually under three months’ notice. Take, for instance, the case of the people who are affected by the recent proclamation in Cape Town, some 30,000 or 40,000 people. In terms of the proclamations which were issued, many people were given five or seven years to move. So one can deduce from that fact that the hon. the Deputy Minister anticipates that they will only be moved after some five or six years, when houses will become available. If that was not anticipated by the hon. the Minister, then I find it very difficult indeed to understand why these different periods were given.
We did not anticipate the headway we would be making with housing schemes in the Peninsula.
Then why were these people given seven years’ notice?
I have explained the position just now.
No, I don’t understand it. These proclamations were issued last month. At that stage the hon. the Deputy Minister knew more or less what headway he was making in regard to housing. Yet he chose to give those people seven years’ notice. Surely, therefore, he anticipates that those people will, in practice, be left there for about seven years. Otherwise I find it difficult to understand why a period of seven years was laid down in a proclamation as recently as six weeks ago.
Between the time that the Group Areas Board reports to the Minister and the publishing of the proclamation, a considerable period elapses. I do not know whether the hon. member is aware of that.
How much time?
Sometimes it is a very long period because, after the board has drawn up its report, a considerable period elapses: It is first submitted to the Administrator; then it must be submitted to the Surveyor-General, who must indicate certain points on maps. Sometimes months elapse and, in the meantime, negotiations are also undertaken with local authorities. In the past, when an inquiry has been held and the board has considered the report, it has been practically impossible to say, even approximately, what the position will be. That is why most of the periods which have been laid down have been guesswork. We do not want to make people unhappy. In many of these areas there are complications, and we do not want to make them feel that we want to uproot them immediately. That is why we are now adopting a different approach, and we are. to an ever-increasing extent, adopting the attitude that people can only be removed if alternative accommodation is available. The hon. member must not infer that, if a proclamation appeared last week, the period was decided upon the previous day. Things simply do not work like that.
But over the last few months.
Yes, months, and in a few months’ time much can happen; for example, as a result of negotiations with local authorities aimed at initiating schemes and solving difficulties which may exist. That is precisely why we want to insert these provisions, so that we can act more quickly when certain problems have been solved. Local authorities are sometimes faced with tremendous difficulties. I do not want to mention names, but in our immediate vicinity there are local authorities which were faced with tremendous problems and these first had to be faced and solved. Transit camps may have to be established; provision has to be made for all sorts of matters. The hon. member has now referred to the vast numbers, but the hon. member must at least tell the public that many of these people are living under terrible conditions in the places where they now live. I can only explain that the object is to expedite and to facilitate this task by the provision of alternative housing.
I want to take the last point the hon. the Minister has made and I want to protest against it.
You are always protesting. You are protesting too much.
I am protesting on behalf of the people whom I represent. The hon. Minister has indicated that he wants to accelerate the implementation of the Act. Apparently the hon. Deputy Minister has been too kind to the Coloured people and there must have been some objections from his party, from people who have told him that he is moving too slow, that he should amend the Act and get rid of the Coloured people. Because that is the implication of what the hon. Minister said. I want to say that the hon. the Minister cannot expect the Coloured people who have to be moved to go into some of the houses that are being built by the municipality. The hon. Minister cannot expect Coloured people who come out of decent houses and who have the right to live in decent homes to go to any odd housing scheme. How can the hon. the Minister expect them to leave their good houses and go to any house under a housing scheme? The hon. the Minister must also remember that only last month the Government raised the interest in respect of economic housing, increasing the rentals of some of these economic houses.
We are now discussing housing loans.
The hon. the Deputy Minister says that he wants this amendment so that he can within a shorter time move Coloured people when housing schemes are ready.
Not only Coloureds. Group areas are not just for Coloured people and the removal of Coloured people.
All right, any racial group. The proportion is one to ninety, but if the hon. the Minister wants it that way, I will try to please him.
That is not a correct statement you are making.
If the hon. Minister wants me to say that he wants to move White people, Brown people, Black people, Chinese people, or people of any colour, good and well. But does the hon. the Minister not understand that the Coloured people are not willing to be moved from decent homes into sub-economic schemes or other houses which do not measure up to the standard of the houses in which they have been living? Now the Minister wants powers to accelerate the removal of these people because he wants areas to be cleaned up as soon as possible. It is all wrong. The approach of the hon. the Minister is all wrong. He should rather lengthen the period, because he knows that there is a tremendous back-log of housing for Coloured people. Now the hon. Minister says: Give me the power, after 12 months, to put into the proclamation that within so many months people will have to go to alternative houses. Let me tell the hon. the Minister that he does not know the Coloured people as I know them. They do not want to go to any type of house. The hon. the Minister laughs. They want to go to a house of their choice.
What about the slum areas?
I am all in favour of slum clearance, but you have the Slums Act to act on that. It is not necessary to declare a group area. You can use the Slums Act to clear people out of slums. Anyway, I read the hon. Deputy Minister’s speech in the Other Place, and I can only say that he has given a very poor explanation of and very poor reason for this amendment. I would like to draw the hon. Deputy Minister’s attention to line 64 where it says that he can give notice “by despatching the notice by registered post in an envelope addressed to the occupier at such land ”. I do believe that it is quite wrong to send a registered letter to a man addressed to a piece of land that he owns. It surely can never be delivered to him.
You are offside.
I am perfectly right. It says here—
- (b) by despatching the notice by registered post in an envelope addressed to the occupier at such land …
Whether he owns it, or whether he occupies it, you cannot despatch a registered letter to a piece of land. It cannot be delivered there. I must say that the hon. the Minister’s explanation of the amendment is completely unsatisfactory and I will not vote for it.
When I was interrupted, I was dealing with a particular point. In answer to the hon. Minister’s explanation may I say this: If circumstances should change between the time when the Board considers an area and the time when the proclamation is actually made, I should think that it would be an easy matter to change the period allowed. But be that as it may, the main point with which I was dealing was this, that in many cases a long time will elapse before these people can be moved. The hon. the Minister must know that. In many instances, particulaR1y here in Cape Town, a long time must elapse before all these people are given three months’ notice, and I think it is unfortunate that over a long period they should be subject to three months’ notice. I think it would be quite possible to give them six months’ notice. The hon. Minister says that alternative accommodation will be available and therefore it is no hardship. I cannot accept that argument. As the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) has said, the hon. the Minister may think that many of these people don’t mind whether they live at point A or point B, as long as they have a decent house. But many people do in fact regard it as very important to be able to choose where they want to live. There are all sorts of considerations coming into the question. Their children may be at school in the neighbourhood, they may be near their work. We do not accept the attitude of the hon. the Minister that it is merely a question of having an alternative house available somewhere, which is a reasonable house, without giving choice of area where the people want to live. Seeing that the hon. Minister has chosen the example of Cape Town and the progress which is being made in Cape Town in housing, may I ask the hon. the Minister whether he can give some information about the question of providing proper sewerage facilities.
Surely that is not under discussion now.
I merely mentioned this to substantiate the point that the mere fact that you are giving a person a house in another area, is not sufficient and the hon. the Minister must not on that account feel that he is doing these people a favour. In fact considerable hardship is caused to people in many cases when they have to move to another area. Even within what the hon. Minister wishes to do, he could in every case give six months notice. As little hardship as possible should be placed on the shoulders of persons who have to move. May I just deal with one other point. The hon. Minister said that he had replied to the hon. member for Durban (Berea) (Mr. Butcher). I don’t think he did take the point raised by him. The point is that the hon. the Minister has decided on a new procedure which is to be followed in future proclamations. Apart from that, the effect of subsection (2) of this clause is to cancel all the existing proclamations. Now we believe that the hon. the Minister should leave the existing proclamations alone. As my hon. friend has said, where people have actually received notice recently that they are to have three, five or seven years to move, we feel that they should be left. If the hon. the Minister finds that alternative housing becomes available, and he feels it desirable to move people earlier, then we would prefer him to deproclaim and then reproclaim in terms of the new procedure in order to ensure that these people get proper notice. Many of these people are definitely under the illusion that they have three years or five years or seven years in which to move. I feel that this amending Bill may well go through without those people realizing that the procedure has been changed and that they are subject to three months notice provided the year has elapsed. I feel it will be far more satisfactory if the hon. the Deputy Minister publicly deproclaimed by announcement in the Government Gazette, and then reproclaimed in terms of the new procedure which is to be followed. And we would be happier still if the hon. the Minister were to allow all those years of grace which have been published to remain so that these people are not moved in advance of that time.
Mr. Chairman, we cannot even think of deproclaiming and then reproclaiming, because that would give rise to a vast number of difficulties. It has been considered. There is only one way of approaching this matter. The full Board has considered this Bill, and I think we should at least accept that those aspects of the matter have been considered. I do not think that we can move in that direction. It will land us in difficulties. We shall be faced with all sorts of claims which will only cause difficulties. No, the areas we have proclaimed, must remain proclaimed.
In cases where areas have been proclaimed and a time limit has been laid down, will it be possible to notify the public that that time limit will not act to their detriment and that there will not be any removals until alternative accommodation is available?
Mr. Chairman, that is exactly what I said during my second reading speech. The previous Minister said so as well. It has been repeatedly stated on behalf of the Government that people will not be moved unless alternative accommodation is available. If it were to be otherwise, where would these people go? I do not want to discuss other clauses now, but at a later stage we also make a concession to these people as far as removal orders are concerned. In other words, the whole spirit in which we are acting is in accordance with that principle. I just want to tell the hon. member for Durban (Berea) (Mr. Butcher) that if I were to accept his amendment, we would not even have to amend this provision. Then we could simply leave it as it is and it would then be quite impossible for us to continue providing housing at the rate at which we are doing so to-day, because we would then have to enforce that period. I ask the hon. member: Whose interests would then be served? The hon. member must remember that in many of these proclaimed areas, the housing and living conditions of the people concerned are very poor. Let us just take the example of the Indians. The hon. member is concerned about them. But is he in such close contact with them that he knows how many poor Indians complain to the Group Areas Board that they want housing? Is the hon. member then unaware of the miserable conditions existing in Durban, where as many as ten, 12 and 15 families are clustered together on one plot? If he wants us to allow this period to remain, then the Government definitely cannot undertake this task.
They can move if they want to do so.
Where must they go? But listen to the hon. member; this is the party which calls itself the Progressive Party. The poor Indians are being exploited by the rich Indians on a vast scale and the hon. member knows it.
But then build houses for them.
The Government is carrying out its housing programme better than any of its predecessors, and when the Government takes steps of this nature in order to expedite matters, it does not behove the hon. member to act in this way if he really wants to further the interests of those people.
I fully appreciate the point of view put forward by the hon. the Deputy Minister, but I want to put another point of view to him and that is the point of view of an affected person. In the first place, when a proclamation is issued it comes as a tremendous shock to persons affected. Moreover, in those proclamations the following statement is made—and this statement was made in the proclamation relating to Westville and again in respect of the Indians in Queensborough. It states—
Surely that is an undertaking by the Minister. All I am now asking him is that in respect of those areas which have been proclaimed recently, before the introducing of this amending Bill, the Government will honour their undertaking. If they are not prepared to do so, what faith can anybody have in any statement that they make? I ask the hon. the Deputy Minister to look at it from the point of view of affected persons. The fact that an affected person is given a promise of a five or a seven year period is regarded as a tremendous advantage to him because it gives him time in which to move. Surely if, despite that time period, people wish to make a move eaR1ier, then all they have to do is to go to the Group Areas Board and say so. But in respect of those people who attach significance to the five or seven year period, I ask that those proclamations be allowed to stand.
At the second reading of this Bill I made my attitude towards the Group Areas Act very clear, and I do not want to discuss that aspect again to-day. During that debate I also said that I am faced with this type of thing every day.
The hon. member must come to the clause; he cannot discuss what he said on that occasion now.
I am discussing the clause because this clause forms part of a general amending Bill consisting of many clauses, and my attitude towards a certain clause may be quite different to my attitude towards another clause. When the principle of this legislation was discussed, I stated what my attitude was towards the principle embodied in this legislation.
Mr. Chairman, allow me to tell the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark (Dr. de Wet) that the time for making jokes about this legislation is past. The hon. the Deputy Minister knows that he has to deal with these cases every day and he also knows what I have done to create goodwill between the Whites and the Coloureds, as regards the provisions …
Will the hon member now discuss the provisions of the clause?
Mr. Chairman, I am discussing the clause. The aspect of the clause which I want to discuss is the question of the time limit. No aspect of the Group Areas Act has caused more uncertainty, more frustration and more bitterness than this time limit. There are other Coloured representatives in this House. I am not an attorney and certain of them are. But I wonder who has appeared before Group Areas boards on behalf of his voters in connection with the application of this legislation, and who obtained the firsthand information in the first instance on the aspects which the people fear. One sees the ignorance which exists in respect of this legislation. I can understand that the Bill provides for the delivery of a letter to a certain piece of land because these people do not have houses. In my constituency I have people who are living in areas where they have no houses. They pay rental for the ground, on which they then put up their own house or a shanty or some such structure, and one can see that the Minister must make the necessary arrangements so that he can deal with this position. My attitude towards this matter has been that, as I have Coloured communities in my constituency, I have taken them to the municipalities concerned and discussed the matter with the local authorities. The hon. the Minister also knows that this has happened in various places in his constituency.
There are good local authorities.
Yes, but the hon. the Minister will also admit that no one has done more than I to create goodwill between the Coloureds in these areas and the Whites in the local authorities. The attitude which I have put forward from time to time on behalf of my people, and which they have approved, is the following. I should like to know whether the Minister can give me an assurance in this regard. If this clause means that instead of the sword of Damocles hanging over the head of a community, the Act will now provide that a year after an area has been proclaimed a person can be given three months’ notice to leave his place of residence, can I then accept from the hon. the Minister that this three months’ notice will only be given if alternative provision has been made? Three months is the normal period of a notice. I can also be given three months’ notice because I live in a rented house, and the owner may want to occupy it himself. I therefore accept the three months notice in that regard. We are here dealing with more or less three categories of people. We are dealing with people who are homeless and people who are living in overcrowded conditions on plots of land. Then we are dealing with the lessees in the so-called White areas. Then we are dealing with the type of person who can buy his own land and can build his own home. Then finally we have the type of person who occupies his own property in a White area. Can I now accept from the hon. the Deputy Minister that those persons who are homeless or who are living in overcrowded conditions in one house, will not be moved until alternative accommodation is available?
In other words, as the Cape Town Municipality did in the pre-war years when they laid out Kew Town and Bokmakierie and those areas. In the second place, can I accept from the hon. the Deputy Minister that as far as the lessee in a White area is concerned, he will not be given three months’ notice to leave his rented home unless alternative accommodation is available for him in an area in which he can live?
In the third place, can I accept from the hon. the Deputy Minister that the Department will do everything in its power to encourage local authorities—I know this has been done in George—to obtain the co-operation of the Group Areas Board in demarcating areas or in developing areas as urban areas, where a man who can buy land and can obtain a loan by himself will be able to build?
That is our policy.
Then I come to the fourth aspect, and this is a bitter pill. Do I have the hon. the Deputy Minister’s assurance that a person who is occupying his own property in a proclaimed White area—I must add that if the first three steps are taken and the facilities are created, the person who occupies his own property in a White area is not a problem—will be able to remain there on condition that if he sells he must sell to a White, or if he dies his estate must sell to a White man within a year unless the executors of his estate obtain an extension.
Each case will be treated on its merits.
I can understand the hon. the Deputy Minister’s reply to my last question—the question of the executors asking for an extension and I can understand that each case will be treated on its merits. But in the first place, will it be the policy of the hon. the Deputy Minister that the person who occupies his own property can continue to occupy that property without a time limit being imposed and without running the risk that he will receive three months’ notice …
If he can prove hardship, he can always obtain a permit.
Mr. Chairman, here is the catch. I know very well what the hon. the Deputy Minister has in mind. I also know full well what the problems are with which he has become familiar since accepting his post. I also know that in the constituency which he represents, which forms part of mine …
The hon. member must discuss the clause.
Mr. Chairman, I am discussing the person who owns his own property, and that person is affected by this clause.
The hon. member was discussing the Minister when I stopped him. He may not discuss the Minister, but only the clause.
Mr. Chairman, I accept that, but I have tried to point out that I can understand why the Minister has worded the clause in this way.
The hon. member may proceed.
My problem relates to the last category to which I have referred. I cannot go back to my people and say that there cannot be any definite certainty as regards the position of the man who occupies his own property. We have cases like Van Hoeg in York Street, George, or MacKay in Mitchell Street. They are no trouble to anyone. Such people own their own property and they must not be subjected to the danger that a time limit will be imposed on them. Such a person should be able to remain there until he sells, on condition that he must sell to a White, or that his estate will sell to a White man within a year, unless his executors obtain an extension. Can the hon. the Deputy Minister give me that assurance?
The cases to which the hon. member has now referred are most exceptional ones. I do not think we should mention the names of those people, but the hon. member knows how sympathetic I am towards those people. But those are most exceptional cases. In such cases one can always use permit control to meet these people in a way which will make it possible for them to continue, without having to change our policy. But there are certain of these people who would grasp at an opportunity to move into a residential area where the higher-income groups are being given the opportunity to have their homes. In the case of one local authority which the hon. member has mentioned, an attempt is already being made to make provision for the better type of owner in their own residential areas. Then such a man would probably feel that he would like to be amongst his own people. But his case can be considered on the basis of granting a permit and such cases will always be treated in the most humanitarian way possible. The White public in such an area could not have any quarrel with such a person because they hold him in such high regard.
I want to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister this question arising out of his statement earlier about the Indians who are living under what he apparently describes as bad slum conditions. Has the Minister considered asking the Minister of Health to act in terms of the Slums Act, so that either those people could be helped, and the Minister would not use that as a means …
That has nothing to do with this clause. We are not discussing the Slums Act now.
The hon. the Deputy Minister said he wanted this amendment because he wants to accelerate the moving of the Indians living in slum conditions, and who are being exploited by the rich Indians. I am now asking whether he will not ask the Minister of Health to act in terms of the Slums Act …
Order, order! That is not under discussion.
With respect, Mr. Chairman, except the fact that the hon. the Deputy Minister used that as an argument for accelerating …
Order! The hon. member must discuss this clause or resume his seat.
With respect, Sir, the hon. the Deputy Minister said he wanted this amendment in order to accelerate …
This clause has nothing to do with the Slums Act.
I know that.
Well, we are discussing this clause.
The hon. the Deputy Minister said that he wanted this power in order to accelerate the implementation of the Group Areas Act because certain people are living in slum conditions and being exploited.
The hon. member can approach the Minister of Health.
Will you help me?
I quite agree with the hon. the Deputy Minister’s argument that, when there is a local authority which is developing an area where the financially strong person can buy, there will definitely be a tendency for such people, even if they own property in the White areas, to want to go and live amongst their own people in such a residential area. This is a development which we have seen over the years. But there will also be the person who is near retiring age, who has struggled over the years to pay for his piece of land and the house in which he lives, and whose economic position is such that he can live in a decent house. There will be many such cases where the persons concerned will not be able to sell because if they cannot get their price, they will be selling at a loss.
But the Group Areas Development Act applies to such cases.
Did I understand the Minister to refer to the Development Act and also to the Development Board? I want to ask the Minister please to leave that aspect out of it. I could mention cases where the Development Board valuations were the worst shock of all.
Does the hon. member not know that there are revision courts? The Development Board does not value itself. The valuations are undertaken by sworn valuators. They are not State officials.
What the Minister says is quite correct, but when this principle is applied in practice, these people, who cannot afford to do so, have to pay hundreds of pounds to advocates and attorneys in order to put their case. Unfortunately they do not pay me, and my salary here in Parliament is very meagre so that I have to suffer. I just want to bring the hon. the Deputy Minister back to this point. Can he not make a concession in this respect that the person who owns his own property in a White area, will not be subject to a time limit or to the threat that he may be given three months’ notice. If the Minister can do that, I can assure him that he will be introducing one of the biggest improvements into the Group Areas Act which has ever been contained in all the 130 or 140 amendments which have been introduced.
Question put: That the words “not less than three ”, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the clause,
Upon which the Committee divided:
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: C. W. Eglin and T. O. Williams.
Question affirmed and the amendments proposed by Mr. van Ryneveld dropped.
The amendments proposed by the Deputy Minister of the Interior were put and agreed to.
Question put: That paragraph (b) of subsection (2), proposed to be omitted, stand part of the clause,
Upon which the Committee divided:
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: C. W. Eglin and T. O. Williams.
Question affirmed and the amendment proposed by Mr. Butcher negatived.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
On Clause 19,
I move an amendment to improve the English text as follows—
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 23,
I intend to move the amendment which stands in the name of the hon. member for Houghton (Mrs. Suzman) namely to negative this clause. We on this side have substantial doubts about this clause. I have not had sufficient time to go into the matter fully but I feel that it is dangerous to go to the extent of using the word “use It seems to me that the clause is now very wide indeed. It reads—
All that I can say at this stage is that it seems to me that the word “use” makes this clause very wide indeed in its effects. It seems to go much further than the word “occupy” and unless the hon. Deputy Minister can satisfy us that this is not an extension of the prohibition which is already contained in the Act, we remain opposed to the clause. It seems certain that the amendment is being proposed by the hon. Deputy Minister because of the decision in the case of Regina v. Ghoor, in the Cape Provincial Division of the Supreme Court, in which the terms “occupation” was considered. There have been different decisions in different provinces. It may be the intention of the hon. Deputy Minister to make it quite clear what it is intended to prohibit. Nevertheless, we feel that until such time as we have received a satisfactory explanation of the exact meaning of the word “use ”, we cannot support this clause.
Mr. Chairman, the group character of a company is surely dealt with quite cleaR1y in the principal Act. In any case, if this proposal were to be accepted, it would still be possible to issue a permit. The hon. member knows that the Government’s attitude is that when it is necessary to allow such a company into an area in order to develop that area, such permission will not be refused. But it is the Government’s accepted policy that companies which are disqualified in the case of a particular area, cannot operate through the medium of a representative or nominee and thus circumcent the law. That is all it means. As regards the hon. member’s amendment. I want to point out that if this amendment were to be accepted, the concession which we have made, namely that trading certificates are now to be abolished, will also fall away. I do not know whether that was the hon. member’s intention.
No, that was not her intention.
But then we cannot in any case accept the amendment. The sole object of the amendment is that we want to make very clear an already existing position, namely, that such a disqualified company, unless it has a permit, will not be able to operate through the medium of a representative or a nominee.
Clause, as printed, put and agreed to
On Clause 24,
I move as an amendment—
Sir, we have here a very drastic penal provision.
I am prepared to accept your amendment.
I appreciate the hon. Deputy Minister’s gesture in indicating immediately that he is prepared to accept this amendment. I would just like to say that we are dealing here with a very drastic penal provision, one in which there is really a confiscation of property. But I will leave it at that.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 28,
I move the following amendment to this clause, namely—
- (b) by the insertion after paragraph (d) of that sub-section of the following paragraph, the existing paragraph (e) becoming paragraph (f):
- “(e) prescribing the fees and expenses payable to a person summoned in terms of paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) of Section six;”.
I just want to add that this clause was originally contained in the Bill but under the Standing Orders it could not be adopted in the Other Place.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 29,
Mr. Chairman, I move the amendment standing in my name, as follows—
The object of this amendment is merely to improve the English version.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
Remaining Clauses and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; amendments to be considered on 13 March.
Third Order read: Report Stage,—Preservation of Coloured Areas Bill.
In Clause 4,
I have an amendment on this clause, namely—
I stated our reasons for opposing this clause when I moved a similar amendment during the Committee Stage of the Bill but owing to some confusion in the House when the Committee Stage was resumed on 1 March, this clause was passed before we were able to conclude our discussion on it. It is for that reason that I placed my amendment on the Order Paper so that it can be discussed at the Report Stage.
I do not wish to burden the House by repeating the arguments which I advanced against this provision during the Committee Stage except to state again that we are very concerned about the position of what is described as disqualified persons—Europeans, Indians and Bantu, whose properties or any real rights which they may possess in the Coloured areas proclaimed under Clause 3, are to be expropriated and vested in the Minister. I would like to read the offending paragraph because I do think that it is not fully realized what it contains—
We regard this provision as being an injustice and like the Group Areas Act, it outrages individual human rights. We appreciate the Minister’s action in moving an amendment to Clause 12 which improves the position of a disqualified person insofar as compensation is concerned but, Sir, you cannot compensate a man adequately in terms of Clause 12, who has been deprived of a home where he may have lived for many years or of a business which may be his only source of livelihood and which he may wish to pass on to his children. Under the Group Areas Act, Sir, a Native or an Indian will not be able to make a fresh start anywhere else. Even in the case of a European the same difficulty may arise. He may well have a Coloured wife and a Coloured family but because he is of a different race, he has to pack up and clear out. That, I say, is a heartless procedure for which there is no justification. I understood the hon. Deputy Minister to say in Committee that this was part of the deep-rooted policy of the Government. But surely, Sir, that point was considered by the Government when Section 20 of the Group Areas Amendment Act was passed only three years ago exempting the mission stations and communal reserves established under the Cape Act of 1909 from being proclaimed as group areas, In terms of Clause 2, the areas proclaimed as Coloured areas under Clause 3, will be administered under the same laws as the mission stations and they should, surely, be treated in like manner.
The hon. Deputy Minister has met a number of our objections to Clauses 3, 7, 9, 12 and 14 and but for the paragraph which is under discussion now, the Bill as it has emerged from the Committee, is a beneficial piece of legislation; and I hope the Minister will also show a little human feeling towards those unfortunate people whose future may be jeopardized if this sub-paragraph is approved. It can do no harm whatsoever, Sir, to their Coloured neighbours among whom they have lived, and this act of charity towards them, towards a few disqualified persons, will not endanger our Western civilization.
I have much pleasure in seconding this amendment moved by the hon. member for East London (City). I support it wholeheartedly. As has been stated, the effect of this paragraph (iii) is to deprive disqualified persons, be they Europeans, Africans or Asiatics, of their ownership of any property or any real rights in a proclaimed area. The hon. Deputy Minister has been in such a good mood to-night that he has accepted a few amendments proposed from this side, and I hope he will have the same kindly outlook on our appeal on this question.
Sir, we feel that this might have grave results or cause grievous injustice, particulaR1y in the case of a man who has set up a business in one of these areas or has resided there with his wife and family for a long period of time. The case of such a man would be bad enough if he was a European, but, if he is an African or an Asiatic, his chances of finding an area where he could re-establish himself are extremely scanty. It would be equally difficult for him to find an area where he would be able to re-establish his business. I ask, therefore, what is to become of these people? My hon. friend, the member for East London (City), has made a most earnest appeal, and I feel just as strongly as he does about the matter. I would like to ask the Minister whether he has any statistics to show how many people are likely to be affected by this provision.
There are no Asiatics.
Are there any statistics in respect of Europeans or Natives?
I shall be pleased to hear them when the hon. Deputy Minister replies. Anyway, we, on this side of the House, are strongly opposed to any potential injustices. Some of these disqualified persons— and this point was ably put by my hon. friend the member for East London (City)—may be married to Coloured women and may have Coloured families. The wife may have been married before and her children may be Coloured entirely. Then he and his family will be deprived of their main support. He might be aged, and it might, therefore, be very difficult for him to start all over again and establish himself in a new business, even if he could find an area where he will be allowed to do so. This, however, will be extremely difficult in the case of an African. If this provision is applied to the man whose family has to move into the area into which he has to move, where will they be able to live? If they are Coloured, they will not be allowed to live in a Native area. They will be moved to an area where they never had a home, and they will have to live amongst people with whom they were never associated before. This, Sir, is a typical example of the mess this country has got into by the stupid and unworkable ideology of the present Government. Now they have to perpetuate this type of injustice to get out of the mess.
Another point I wish to stress, and which I wish to stress most strongly, is one on which the hon. member for East London (City) has already touched. That is that the Group Areas Act is not applied to communal reserves or to mission stations which were proclaimed under the Cape Act of 1909. The hon. Deputy Minister may know that I have considerable knowledge of mission stations. I have lived within 20 miles of one all my life; my farm is situated within 20 miles of one; and for two decades I represented a constituency which had a mission station in it during a period when the Coloureds were still on the common voters’ roll. So that I should know what I am talking about. What is the reason for applying what amounts to a group areas proclamation to these new areas? That is the effect which paragraph (iii) (b) will have. I am glad that the hon. member for East London (City) expressed his appreciation to the Minister for accepting other amendments from this side, particulaR1y in regard to the limitation imposed by Clause 12 on the amount of compensation that should be paid to cases where a man’s property is vested in the Minister, but that does not remove our objections to the paragraph now under discussion. As I see it, it will be impossible to compensate a man adequately for the loss of his business, of his house or home, in places where it might be very difficult for him to find an alternative place in which to re-establish himself. But money is not everything. I wonder if the Minister realizes what heartbreaks are caused to people who spent their whole life building up a home, saving money to buy a house of their own, and having got to an age when it is not easy to start again, to be summarily turned out of their area even if they get full compensation. I do hope most sincerely that the hon. Deputy Minister will reconsider this very carefully and accept this amendment.
We, on this side, support the hon. member for East London (City) in his amendment. Our attitude was made clear during the second-reading stage and again during the Committee Stage. This sub-section of the Bill is one to which we objected more than to any other clause in the Bill. We remain opposed to the principle of removing any person, on the grounds of race alone, from properties which he occupies and owns quite legally. Therefore, we support this amendment. At the Committee Stage the clause slipped through before we could divide on it, but we shall certainly make our position clear now by supporting this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, this clause is of course the crux of the Bill because it deals with the various persons who will be affected when areas are set aside. For that reason the clause had to be so worded that it could cover all cases because the circumstances in each area differ and consequently the same pattern cannot be followed in every instance. The hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) has asked me whether I have statistics showing the number of persons who will be affected. I have already told him that there are definitely no Asiatics. There may be Bantu in one or two of these areas. I might refer here to the area of the Dunn’s in Natal. There the Department of Bantu Administration is already removing the Bantu in terms of already existing legislation; the Bantu’s rights will, therefore, not be affected.
But you are not giving them other land.
I have already said that it has not yet been finally decided that they will be brought under this provision; it is still the subject of negotiation. The procedure which the relevant legislation lays down in respect of the Bantu areas has not yet been completed, and only when it is completed, can we tackle the matter. Persons who are affected in that sense are therefore covered by the legislation of the Department of Bantu Administration. We are therefore left with a group of Whites in one or two of these areas, Whites who will in fact be affected. For the sake of the record I now just want to say this: In the first place there are the areas which are used for purely communal purposes, such as the Opperman land; then there are the areas which are used communally but which are held in undivided shares which cannot be dealt with, such as Slangrivier. The hon. member for Outeniqua (Mr. Holland) will know this and he will not dispute it if I say that this community has already decided on several occasions that it would like to be brought in. In the third place there are the areas which are sub-divided under town planning schemes, such as Saron and Suurbraak. In the case of Suurbraak a number of such properties are also owned by Whites, as the hon. member for Green Point knows.
Sub-section (1) deals with the first and second areas to which I have just referred, namely those which are being used for purely communal purposes and those which are being used for purely communal purposes but which are not sub-divided. On the application of the Act, such land comes under the control of the Minister. In the former areas the persons concerned will lose nothing but we are being given the power to make orderly arrangements and no compensation is due to them In the case of the second type of area, those persons whose rights are transferred to the Minister will be compensated under Clause 6 and they can, after consultation, be given alternative compensation under Clause 7. This method of compensation also applies to areas affected under Clause 2 (3). Sub-section (2) deals with areas which fall under the third group. When sub-division under a properly planned township scheme such as Suurbraak has taken place, paragraph (b) comes into operation, that is to say, all owners of such town properties, irrespective of whether they are qualified persons or not, retain their properties which will be regarded as having been acquired under Act No. 29 of 1909. Although there may be disqualified persons amongst these owners, they may, therefore, as a result of the negotiations which are taking place and the conditions which are laid down under Clause 3, be allowed to remain there indefinitely or for a specific period. In this regard I just want to say that hon. members must differentiate between the two proclamations. The one proclamation is for the incorporation of the area. Only thereafter and provided if is necessary, is the second proclamation issued ordering the persons concerned to leave. They are not issued simultaneously. In other words, there is time for consultation and negotiation.
It is not automatic?
No, not necessarily automatic. If no such conditions are laid down, they can remain there undisturbed until a second proclamation is issued in terms of the third proviso to Clause (2) (iii). In that proclamation a specific period is laid down and this period may be extended. The Minister has the right to do so. During this period they must sell their properties to qualified persons. Only when that cannot be done, is the land given in trust to the Minister. If the third proviso should be deleted, the position would be that the Governor-General would still have the power under Clause 3 to lay down conditions governing their rights of ownership or occupation. He retains that right in any event. What is more, such an owner who is a disqualified person, will therefore have to rely on selling his property to a Coloured and consequently he will be relying on a limited right and cannot claim compensation. His market is limited as a result and he must then sell. It is therefore in fact for his own protection that we are retaining this provision in the clause. The deletion of the third proviso will also frustrate the objects of the Bill as regards retaining the land for the Coloureds. The hon. member has said that we are applying the provisions of the Group Areas Act. It has nothing to do with that. These areas are traditional Coloured areas, just as the already incorporated areas under the 1909 Act are traditional Coloured areas. The hon. member knows that. These areas are not being set aside for the Coloureds to-day; these are traditional Coloured areas and the actual position is that there is unjustifiable infiltration. It is, therefore, not a question of our wishing to apply the provisions of the Group Areas Act to those areas. History has set aside these areas for them and all we are now doing is accepting the consequences of this historical development and trying to develop these areas for the sake of the people for whom they have been set aside.
I listened to the hon. the Deputy Minister. I had thought that he would be able to justify this clause. Having listened to the hon. the Deputy Minister very carefully, I believe that what he has said has completely justified the amendment moved by the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit). The position is that the hon. the Deputy Minister could easily have asked for the inclusion in the law of a provision which would have entitled him to expropriate this property on the ordinary conditions if it were in the general interests of the public or of the community in the area so to do. But, Sir, I know of no precedent in our law for a clause which contains the provision which is included here. I would like to read the clause, Sir, and point out just how seriously these provisions are—
We must remember here, Sir, that, in spite of what the hon. the Deputy Minister has said, that is a person who has moved into that area and has acquired ownership in accordance with the law of the land. He is the registered owner of the property. Now that ownership shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the law regarding ownership—
Now, Sir, once that period has been fixed in the Gazette the guillotine has been set. The person concerned knows that unless he can come to terms, perhaps with a qualified person, and sell the property …
The second proclamation does not necessarily follow the first one.
No, that is so, Sir, but the proclamation nevertheless is intended, according to this clause, to fix an end-date. It is a penalty on ownership of a type of which I know of no parallel in the South African law. I do hope that the hon. the Deputy Minister will be prepared to accept the amendment of the hon. member for East London (City). There are other provisions by which this matter can be dealt with but, Sir, we must remember, in dealing with these very difficult cases of seeking, as the Government is seeking to do, to sort out the Coloured groups, that those who have acquired rights have acquired those rights in accordance with the law of the land. The rights which they have constitute one of the most sacred laws under Roman-Dutch law, namely, the law of the ownership of property. I do submit that it is quite wrong to have a provision of this nature in which the Minister can in the second proclamation—I do not care whether it is in the third proclamation—fix an end-date which in effect means this that, unless the person sells that property by that date to a person of the correct colour group, the price of his property will not exactly be increased. Then, without any further Act, that property automatically vests in the Minister, subject to compensation. I agree, Sir, that the compensation provisions have been improved immensely. But I do submit that we do not require provisions of this nature on our Statute Book, especially when we are seeking to deal with rights of persons who have acquired them in accordance with our common law and in accordance with our statute law. I ask the Minister to reconsider this and accept the amendment of the hon. member for East London (City).
Question put: That sub-paragraph (iii) of the proviso to paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) of Clause 4, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the Bill.
Upon which the House divided:
Tellers: J. J. Fouché and J. von S. von Moltke.
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and T. G. Hughes.
Question affirmed and the amendment negatived.
Amendments in Clauses 7, 9, 12 and 14 put and agreed to and the Bill, as amended, adopted.
Bill to be read a third time on 13 March.
Fourth Order read: Second reading,—Vocational Education Amendment Bill.
Mr. Speaker, in the nature of things this is a very short Bill and as a matter of fact the Bill does not embody any principles. The Bill merely provides for the insertion of the words “continuation class or classes” in Section 7 and Section 20 of the Vocational Education Act of 1955. Hon. members know that the 1955 Vocational Education Act provided that the State could take over State-aided vocational schools as full-fledged Departmental schools. At the moment there is doubt as to whether a continuation class is also a vocational school in the sense intended in this legislation. At the moment, apart from the ordinary State-aided vocational schools, we have 23 continuation classes in various towns and cities in the country. Three of these continuation classes also have full-time sections attached to the continuation classes. Hon. members know that the continuation classes normally consist of students who are studying after work. To make it clear beyond all doubt that not only full-time State-aided schools can be taken over, but that continuation classes can also be taken over, we are now amending Section 7 and Section 20. Certain of these continuation class schools—if I may so call them—such as, for example, the one at Tygerberg, have developed so rapidly as continuation classes that they have never even gone through the process of being converted into ordinary State-aided vocational schools. Tygerberg, for example, has simply been taken over by the State as a continuation class and has been run as a full-fledged departmental school since the beginning of this year with 300 students. Because there is this doubt to which I have already referred, this Bill provides that the Act shall be deemed to have come into operation on 1 January 1961. This is to meet the position of the Tygerberg Commercial School, a flourishing school, and to obviate any difficulties or problems.
This side of the House has no objection in principle to the Bill. Nor do we have any objection to the extension of the principle of continuation classes to industrial schools or institutions. As the hon. the Deputy Minister has said, this principle was already accepted in 1955, namely, that the State can take over vocational educational institutions, and I think it is no more than right that these sources of supply for our industrial schools, namely, the continuation classes, should be taken over when necessary. As the hon. the Deputy Minister has said, there are a large number of these continuation classes. I have had the honour to be connected for many years with one of the largest in the country. It served the Railways, and I am therefore speaking from experience in this regard. What I found was that these classes are comparatively sporadic by nature. They come and they go. One may have a class which works well. It depends on the number of the students in the area who wish to attend such evening classes.
There are one or two questions in respect of this matter which I want to put to the Minister and I hope he will reply to them when he has another opportunity to speak later in this debate. What is the norm which is applied when taking over such an institution? What conditions must be present before the hon. the Deputy Minister will proceed to take over such continuation classes? Which of these continuation classes to which he has referred is large enough to be taken over? The hon. the Deputy Minister has already mentioned the example of Tygerberg. He has said that it has over 300 students. When I examine this list of continuation classes in the country, I find that they are scattered through-out South Africa from Barberton and Brits to Dundee and Durban, from Durban to Grahamstown. King William’s Town, Cape Town; Louis Trichardt, Pinetown, Port Shepstone, Queenstown, Sasolburg, Virginia, Worcester, Welkom, etc. According to the list I have here there are 24 of them. What is remarkable is the type of tuition which is provided by some of them. Tuition is not confined to the normal subjects. I notice for example that in the case of Durban there is a nautical academy. I see that in Cape Town there is one for “advanced nautical training ”. It is interesting to examine what these various continuation classes are doing; Personally I consider that as soon as they are large enough and have taken on a permanent nature, as soon as they have become day or evening schools, it is the duty of the State, as I have said, to take over and to control their sources of supply, i.e. the larger continuation classes, seeing that the State has already taken over the industrial institutions and has accepted this principle. This side of the House therefore supports this Bill.
We in this corner of the House also support the second reading of this Bill. We welcome the principle behind it. There are just one or two points that I should like to make in regard to this Bill. The first is this: The development of these continuation classes is a very good indication of the way in which private enterprise can bring off a pioneering educational effort. What usually happens in these cases is that private enterprise goes ahead. You notice this particularly in the southern Transvaal and in the new Free State goldfields where you get new community developments. To begin with a need arises for these continuation classes. It is often not possible for the existing institutions to set them going because there may not be such an institution, such as a vocational school, so private people get together, possibly retired teachers and others and they start these continuation classes. They provide a social need. Then at a later stage either because the classes get too big or for some other reason, application is made to the Government to take them over and if the State can do so it does take over these schools. That is not only in the case of the new developing areas in the Orange Free State but it happens in other areas as well. It is a logical development and it should be encouraged.
As far as I have been able to discover and as far as I know, the Minister’s Department has acted wisely and sympathetically. There is, however, a need for caution on one score. I hope that the Minister’s Department will always be very careful when taking over such classes, not to take them over in a sense of rescuing an institution that has got itself into financial difficulties but that the Department will always put the emphasis on the educational needs of the community. In regard to technical schools where the State has stepped in and taken them oyer, I know of one particular instance where it seemed to me very much like a rescue operation. I do not think that is the right approach. I am merely putting this out as a warning. I am not suggesting that this is happening in regard to continuation classes. I feel that the educational and social needs should come first.
The second point I should like to raise with the hon. the Deputy Minister is that wherever possible, when such a continuation class has been taken over and is being operated by the State, an attempt should be made to try to link it with a vocational school. It seems to me that such classes operate on a much better foundation and they are much happier when they are linked with a school. This should be done wherever possible. Sometimes, I know, the vocational school is too far away, but if it can be done, if there is a vocational school somewhere nearby, I am sure the hon. the Deputy Minister will always try to link such continuation classes with a school. I just want to repeat that we are very happy to support this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I thank hon. members opposite for their support. I have taken note of the remarks made by the hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope), and it is not necessary to say anything further about it. The hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) asked two questions to which I would like to reply. In the first instance he asked what our norm was when taking over these continuation classes. The hon. member has himself already given the reply to that question. He told us quite correctly that in regard to many of these classes it is a question of coming and going. In the first instance one must therefore first ascertain to what degree there is permanency. The position is of course from the very nature of the case that the first test is to ascertain to what extent these continuation classes have come to stay, in other words, whether they serve a purpose and whether they can serve a certain area if one later takes them over and changes them into departmental schools on their own. In the second instance the Department is guided by the number of full-time students emanating from such a continuation class. That brings me to the second question asked by the hon. member, viz. which of these 23 continuation classes is large enough possibly to be taken over by the Department. I have said that there are three of these continuation classes which have full-time sections, viz. the one at Barberton, the one at Virginia and the one at Welkom. It is the intention of the Department to take over the two at Virginia and Welkom because all the prerequisites I mentioned and which the hon. member himself mentioned are present in those cases, and those schools will probably be taken over by the Department shortly.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
House to go into Committee on the Bill on 13 March.
Fifth Order read: Second reading, Special Education Amendment Bill.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill is even more brief than the one we have just dealt with. If hon. members look at the Special Schools Act No. 9 of 1948 they will see that in terms of Sections 2 and 3 three types of special schools can exist. There can be the Union special schools, there can be Provincial special schools and then there can be subsidized special schools. The object of this Bill is to amend Section 16 of the Special Education Act by inserting the words “is admitted to a Union special school ”. That concerns the question of the collection of fees. We now just want to state it very cleaR1y that the school referred to in Section 16 is not a subsidized school, nor does it refer to a provincial school, but that it only refers to a Union special school. I do not doubt for a moment that this Bill will also be accepted by hon. members.
In so far as the difference which exists— hon. members might ask me this—between Union special schools and subsidized special schools is concerned, hon. members know that in both cases the teaching staff is paid exclusively by the Department. But when it comes to specialized staff, they are subsidized, in so far as subsidized schools are concerned, to the extent of two-thirds, i.e. the salaries of therapists and nurses. When it comes to the clerical staff, housekeepers and other servants, they are subsidized to the extent of one-half of their salary. Two-thirds of the capital requirements is provided by the, state and children can be subsidized to a maximum amount of £60 per annum, depending on the financial position of the parents. But we are not dealing now with these subsidized schools in Section 16; we are only dealing with Union full-time schools, and it is their position which this Bill seeks to remedy.
Right in the beginning the hon. the Deputy Minister indicated that this Bill was briefer than the previous one, but he spoke quite as long about it. I wonder what the reason for that is! We on this side have no objection in principle to this Bill. You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that when the principal Act was introduced in 1948 we raised no objection particulaR1y in respect of Section 16 to which the Deputy Minister referred. We always adopted the attitude that no parent, however well-to-do or however poor he might be, should be asked to pay for the services rendered to a deviate child. No parent should pay for the services rendered by the State to a deviate child. We always felt and still feel to-day that it is a national duty resting on the shoulders of all of us collectively to pay for the education, spiritually and otherwise, of these deviate children. In other words, in so far as this matter is concerned, we were always opposed to the means test. We are opposed to differentiation between the unfortunate children in our society, the deviate children. You will remember, Sir, that we adopted the same principle in Act No. 45 of 1960, to wit in Section 11. In that case we adopted the same attitude when the Minister provided that the parents of these children would have to pay for certain services. These services, such as, e.g. transport, boarding, medical and dental examinations, etc., we feel ought to be gratis. We still think that in regard to Section 11 it is wrong to demand of the parents that they should pay for these services in respect of these unfortunate children with whom we all have sympathy. Last year we also pleaded for it, as the hon. the Deputy Minister will remember. The Minister will still determine how much should be paid for the special services to which I have referred, e.g. accommodation and transport and medical and dental services and intelligence tests. The parents will still be responsible for these things in those schols which belong to the State, i.e. State schools for special education. The provincial schools for special education will in future be excluded, and also the subsidized special schools. That is a sound course to follow. The Act of 1960 referred to “any special school ”.
That was not the intention.
Yes, and I am glad that the hon. the Minister realized so soon after 1960 that we had made a mistake at the time when we included provincial and subsidized schools. These schools, I think received a globular amount from the State and it is no more than right that they themselves through their boards should decide what to do in regard to these services to which I have referred and to which the hon. the Minister also referred. That is no more than right.
But now I come to another matter and in passing I want to suggest that if the hon. the Minister again comes with an amendment in future—and I hope he will come along with an amendment soon, because there are only two of these schools left, both in KimbeR1ey, the Elizabeth Conradie School for physically deformed children, and then another smaller school for epileptics. Can the Minister tell us what the number of students at these two schools is? How many deviate children attend these schools? Has the time not arrived for us to go back to Section 16 of the 1948 Act and to give these deviate children and their parents the privileges again which they enjoyed in terms of the 1948 Act?
Order! the hon. member is now going too far.
Sir, Clause 11, which was the old Section 16, is now being amended, and it deals with transport and other services. Now the subsidized schools have been excluded but the principle remains in force. Therefore I am asking the Minister, when he comes along with an amendment again, also to accept the principle that no means test will be applied in so far as these children are concerned. It is a national matter and it is no more than right that the State as such should care for those children.
We shall support the second reading of this Bill. There was a lot of discussion on this Clause 16 when the Act came up in 1958, but as we read this particular Bill, it does not really affect the main objections felt by us on that occasion to the Bill which was then before the House. As we read this particular Bill, the main function that it will serve will be to cut a good deal of red tape and to make the payment of subsidies to parents who cannot afford to pay for their children very much easier and very much smoother. That we think is a very good thing indeed. As I see the situation under this Bill, what happened was that after the passage of the Act in 1958, when it came to the question of paying out subsidies, the whole procedure became extremely involved. The number of individual cases that had to go up to the Department for settlement must have meant a great deal of work and a tremendous amount of red tape for the Department and everybody concerned. As a result of the passage of this Bill, the responsibility for deciding many of these cases will be passed back to the principal of the institution or other approved officer, and the State will then accept a globular estimate of the amount involved. In other words, what the Department is doing is to rely to a great extent upon the institution itself to assess these amounts, and that seems to me a very good thing. It will make the whole procedure much simpler and will cut a lot of red tape.
I would like to take this opportunity of entering a plea to the hon. the Minister. I don’t think as a result of my experience that it will really be necessary to do this in a way, because I want to tell the hon. the Minister that since he has taken over this portfolio, so far as I have been able to discover from being in very close touch with a number of these institutions, he is handling the question of the special schools in a most sympathetic manner. I want it to go on record on behalf of at least one very big institution which has had recent dealings with the Department and the Minister, that they have found him and the Department very sympathetic and very accessible in regard to the needs of this unfortunate section of the community. I hope that that spirit will continue, and I should like the hon. the Minister to know that the manner in which he has been handling this subject is appreciated, certainly by at least two of the institutions with whom I am in fairly close touch. This is a very important section of the community, the cripples and all these handicapped people.
Another aspect of this work which I think is very important, and which I hope the Government also appreciates, is to allow maximum private enterprise in regard to this form of undertaking. In other words that the rôle of the State should be to stand as far as possible in the background with a helping hand and to interfere as little as possible in respect of these institutions which it is subsidizing. In that spirit a great deal can be done. There will be lots of co-operation from the public, and it seems to me that the whole situation is most healthy when the public is co-operating to the fullest possible extent. That is the only point I want to make. Otherwise we consider this Bill an improvement on the Act, and we give it our support.
I am very grateful for the support of hon. members opposite, and I particulaR1y want to thank the hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) for his friendly remarks in regard to the Department of Education, Arts and Science. I would like to agree with him that when we are dealing with these unfortunate children it is of cardinal importance that as much use as possible should be made of private initiative. Because we are dealing here particularly with that type of child, we need the keen interest of the parents who unfortunately have such children in those schools, and not only their interest but also that of the circle of friends in which they move. It is also from the very nature of the case the starting point of the Department that there should be very intimate and close co-operation with those people because there must be a sympathetic understanding of the position in regard to these schools, more so than in the case of any other school.
In regard to the hon. member for Hillbrow, I can only tell him that there are 461 children in the two schools in Kimberley to which he referred. I do not think it is necessary for me to say more about the other points raised by the hon. member for Hillbrow. We had that difference in principle and it still exists. We applied the Act in such a way, as my hon. Minister also told the House, that hitherto we have experienced no difficulty in this regard, and I can give hon. members the assurance that it is not in the least the intention to penalize people, but only to ensure that those people who can afford to pay will fulfil their obligations in that regard. We applied it in such a way that the fees collected from the parents amount to only about 30 per cent of the expenses incurred, and the rest is borne by the State. If one looks at the picture as a whole, it becomes quite clear that we are in fact applying the Act very sympathetically.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time; House to go into Committee on the Bill on 13 March.
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for Second Reading,—Foundation Seed Bill to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Minister of Agricultural Technical Services, adjourned on 2 March, resumed.]
It was really a pity in many ways that I was not able to reply to the debate in the good mood in which the House was and in which I too was when this subject was last discussed. By this time some of the good foundation seed which we were discussing, seem to me to have sprouted already. Nevertheless in concluding the second reading debate I consider it a privilege to be able to convey my heartfelt thanks to members on all sides of the House for their wholehearted support of this measure and also for their constructive discussion of the Bill. However, one or two doubts have been raised which I feel were to a certain extent due to misunderstanding. [Quorum.] I formed the impression that certain hon. members have forgotten that the object and function of the Foundation Seed Board is not to undertake research because hon. members wanted the Board to be enlarged and to be given additional functions and they wanted it to do a great deal in connection with research. Research and breeding will be undertaken by the plant breeders of the Department and individual plant breeders. This breeders’ seed is being handed over to this organization with a view to multiplication. This is practically the only function of this organization, namely to ensure that multiplication takes place on an orderly and controlled basis. Then the foundation seed which will thus be multiplied in quantities which will be sufficient for the trade, will be provided to the trade and to the farmers for breeding purposes. Other points which have been made show that there are doubts relating in particular to Clause 10 (2). Hon. members have asked whether it is necessary for the Minister to take so many powers in connection with the nomination of members of the Board. I want to say that these provisions are found in all the control board schemes, as well as in the Artificial Insemination of Animals Act, and I give hon. members the assurance that if the bodies which have the right to nominate members, act responsibly, the opportunity or the necessity for the Minister to use his powers, or to refuse appointments or to make appointments himself, will never even arise. But it may happen that these organizations which have to nominate members, may refuse to do so or fail to do so even after receiving a second notice. Then we must surely have the power to take the necessary action. The hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) has emphasized particulaR1y that we must ensure that specialists serve on this Board, people of great knowledge and people who represent not only the dealers, but the growers as well. I accept that it is the general expectation that all the interests which this Foundation Seed Board must serve, must be represented on the Board on a broad basis. It may easily happen that an organization may overlook certain of these aspects when making nominations and that it may for example appoint two persons who live right next door to one another as members of the Board. They may both be capable, but they may live next to one another. It may also happen that two members are nominated who represent only the vegetable seed breeders for example and that the breeders of grass seed, grazing seed and other types of seed are ignored and their interests not accorded representation. It is only under such circumstances that these powers may be exercised, although I do not believe that we need fear that this will happen very often.
I want to conclude by expressing the hope that the establishment of this Foundation Seed Board which will establish a scheme for the orderly and controlled multiplication of breeders’ seed will fulfil our expectations. There is only one other question to which I want to reply, a question which has been put by the hon. member for Florida (Mr. H. G. Swart). He has said that he cannot understand why the Board cannot introduce a certification scheme and why the Minister must do so. The position is that the Board does not have the necessary staff or organization, and it is felt that as the State does have the necessary facilities, the Department should fulfill this function because the certification organization forms part of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services. That is why the Minister must introduce this scheme, and read in conjunction with the other measure which we shall consider presently, hon. members will see that the necessary statutory authority is now being given for the certification scheme which has been in existence for many years past, but which has never had legal authority.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time; House to go into Committee on the Bill on 13 March.
Seventh Order read: Second reading,—Seeds Bill.
This Bill and the one which we have just read for the second time are in effect twins. The one we have just considered deals with the multiplication and the production of foundation seed and the one now before us deals with improved control over the breeding, distribution and quality of seeds. The Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Seeds and Remedies Act, No. 36 of 1947, is as can be inferred from its title, a measure which dealt with a number of unrelated matters. However, only one or two sections of that Act relate to seeds. In the first place it provides that no one may sell seed which does not comply with the requirements laid down by regulation in respect of purity, germinative power, packing, labelling and sealing; in the second place certain exemptions are granted, for example in respect of seed which one bona fide farmer grows himself and delivers to another farmer for seeding; seed which is only used for food; and seed which is sold to bona fide cleaners for cleaning and grading. In the third place it provides that seed can be held back at import ports and examined. These were the provisions of that Act which related to seeds. Although that Act gave my Department certain powers of inspection as regards seeds, it did not provide for the registration of cleaners and sellers of seed. This Bill is intended to remove these weaknesses. Bona fide farmers who deliver seed without advertising will be exempted, but all other sellers of seed will have to register themselves as sellers of seed. This should facilitate control and the honest seller of seed who always does his best to deliver a good product will be protected against other sellers who are not so careful and who can only be discovered by chance under the existing system. The Bill further provides that buyers who sell pre-packed seed in the original unopened containers, need not register. The reason is of course that the wholesaler who sells the seed to them must register. Ordinary shops of course sell very large quantities of seed in those containers and they will be able to continue with that type of activity.
Furthermore this Bill provides for the recognition of names of varieties once it has been established that they comply with certain requirements. These names will then be published in the Government Gazette and no one else will then have the right to sell another variety of the same type under that name. The object here is to protect the cleaners and dealers in seed who are particular about the quality of their seeds so that other people cannot trade under cover of their good reputations.
The last important provision embodied in this Bill is the clause which is intended to give legal status to the two schemes for the certification of seed which my Department already has. The first is the seed certification scheme. It has already existed since 1943 and my Department is proud of the fact that over the years it has built up an inspection service and a testing service which have not only gained membership of the International Seed Testing Association but which enjoy in every respect the confidence of the producers, sellers and users of seed in our country and even outside the Union.
I am convinced that this seed inspection service has made a contribution of inestimable value to the establishment of a sound seed industry in our country. I might just point out that during the year ending 30 June 1960 inspections were carried out on 9,640 morgen of land which were under seed crops. Twenty-one types of seed consisting of 129 varieties were involved and approximately 4,500,000 lbs. of seed were certified. Thirty-seven sellers and 913 breeders participated in this scheme last year.
Our plant breeders are gradually developing improved varieties of many types of plants. There are already new varieties of many types of plants which have done exceptionally well. The Foundation Seed Bill provides for the first phase, namely that of obtaining sufficient foundation seed from the breeders’ seed produced by breeders. The Bill we are now discussing deals with the production of certified seed, that is to say, the next stage. But the provisions aimed at establishing improved control in the trade are of equal importance because this is the final stage before the seed reaches the consumer and is the stage during which, as has already been said, things can also go wrong.
The second scheme, namely the export seed scheme, has already been in existence for a number of years, and the intention is also to give it legal status as well. For various reasons a large number of overseas dealers breed seed in South Africa from foundation seed which they provide themselves. In such cases the seed inspection service is usually not acquainted with or concerned about the quality of the foundation seed because that is controlled in the country of origin. They are sent here under contract, and are not for sale here. The whole crop is therefore subject to contract. I should like to emphasize that participation in the seed certification scheme as well as the export seed scheme are voluntary but that those who do participate will have to abide by the rules which are laid down.
In addition the Bill contains provisions dealing with the import and export of seed, advertisements, inspections, etc., but they are more or less in line with the existing legal provisions and do not require any explanation.
However, I want to take this opportunity to thank the seed trade for the services they have rendered our farmers in the past. One well-known seed firm was established as long ago as 1842, while two others started business in 1865 and 1890 respectively. They have built up a tradition in the seed trade of which we can rightly be proud and in many respects they have undertaken pioneering work and they have done much to promote agriculture. Their well-illustrated seed catalogues are found in homes in even the most isolated areas.
It is surely unnecessary for me to emphasize the importance of this measure any further.
While welcoming the principles contained in this Bill, principles that have been asked for by organized agriculture for many years, there are one or two observations I would like to make, because we are getting into the position in this country where whenever we have difficulties, we seem to pass another law. But it is no use passing this Bill if it is not going to be enforced propeR1y and if we are not going to have sufficient inspectors who are thoroughly trained to enforce the provisions of this Bill.
I wish to refer first of all to seed that is already under control and which up to the present has given great dissatisfaction to the farmers who purchase that seed and can only purchase it through the control board. I want to refer in particular to oat seed. Now seed oats are purchased by hundreds of farmers for the production of fodder for their stock, green fodder, and not for the production of oats as seed, and we have the greatest difficulty in obtaining first-grade oat seed which will grow oats true to type. That has been the position for the last seven or eight years at least. It is essential when planting oats for people like the farmers in Natal, who want to grow oats only for fodder purposes, that we get the right type for our area and for winter planting. We want to have it well grown for cutting in the early part of the winter, and we can only buy that seed through the Wheat Control Board, and I think the hon. the Minister will remember the last time he opened the Natal Agricultural Union Congress, there was a general complaint from one end of the province to the other among the people present at the congress that they were not getting the type of seed they were paying for. As a rule we want Winter Algerian, but there are also certain other types that are essentially winter oats. The spring oat is useless to us, and we ask the hon. the Minister if something could be done about it, because we are still having great dissatisfaction. I think in the Eastern Cape they are experiencing the same trouble. The Wheat Board just says: You have got to take what we send. In the old days our seed merchants used to guarantee the type of seed we bought, we paid for it, and we got what we needed. But since the Wheat Board has had control over that seed, we have had great dissatisfaction, and I think it has been to the detriment of the livestock industry of South Africa.
Now it is no use bringing in control of seed if the enforcement of the control is not going to be satisfactory, if we are not going to be able to get the seed we paid for and which we require. It is essential to get the right type of seed. I am not going into the varieties of maize and other seeds which are under control or the Maize Board. I want particularly to deal with this matter in the interest of those farmers who wish to grow green fodder for their cattle in the winter in the form of oat seed. The complaint is general.
Then I want to refer to imported seed. When all seed was under import control, we felt that some years the import certificates were issued so late in the season that it was quite impossible for our seed merchants to purchase for instance choumoullier seed. We have not yet produced a satisfactory choumoullier seed in South Africa, but it is a fodder crop grown on a large scale in South Africa. I hope the hon. Minister will take note of it that when this Bill becomes an Act and permits are issued that those permits are not going to be delayed so that we lose the opportunity of purchasing first-grade seed from overseas in that particular line. Pretty well the same applies to cauliflower seed, for those who produce cauliflowers. But certainly in regard with choumoullier seed we have the greatest difficulty in getting import permits in time and there are general complaints from seed merchants all over the country. I personally interviewed Mr. Havenga on several occasions on behalf of seed merchants because of the delay in import permits.
The third point I want to make is that when regulations are published, I hope the hon. the Minister will see to it that those regulations before they are enforced, are submitted to the S.A. Agricultural Union Commodity Committee for consultation to see that they are reasonable and that the farming community are behind the Minister with the type of regulation that is going to control the importation and the distribution of seed. As I said before, it is no use having laws unless they are carried out properly. They must be properly enforced, and if we have not sufficient trained inspectors to see that the provisions of the Act are complied with we must get them. We do not want a hit and miss scheme. It is essential that our seeds should be pure, that we get what we pay for and that we get a fair deal in the purchase of seed which is so important to the producer of South Africa.
The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) has already said that this side of the House will not oppose this legislation. We welcome the Bill. I just once again want to make a point which I have already made during the discussion of the previous Bill. The hon. the Minister has not yet given me a conclusive reply as to why these two Bills, which he has described as twins, could not have been submitted as one Bill to the House; especially seeing that in discussing the first Bill I said that the Minister was giving all the powers under the foundation seed scheme to the Foundation Seed Board, except that he was retaining for himself the right to establish a foundation seed certification scheme. Seeing that he now says that the main object of this Bill is to give legal status to the existing seed certification scheme and the existing export seed scheme, and seeing that he is therefore retaining control over these two important aspects for himself and his Department, I still cannot see why these provisions could not have been contained in one Bill. I should be very glad if the Minister will give me a further conclusive reply as to why this Bill is necessary in the case of seeds. Mr. Speaker, whether it is foundation seed or ordinary seed or export seed, it is seed, and I cannot see why we cannot combine all the provisions relating to seed into one Bill. We could then have adopted one consolidated Bill which would have controlled all aspects of the seed trade, i.e., the production, the distribution, the cleaning and the selling of such seed. Under Clause 2 of the Bill the Minister can instruct an officer of his Department to register cleaners and sellers of seed. I hope he will appoint a very responsible official to undertake this work. It is an important task to undertake the registration of the cleaners and sellers of seed. These are old established concerns which have been cleaning and selling seeds commercially for many years past. They have invested large amounts of capital, particularly in Johannesburg and the mealie triangle, and I trust that the Minister will appoint a very responsible official so that these people who have invested their money over the years in these branches of our seed industry, the people who have been engaged on this work for all these years, will have confidence in such an official as well as in his discretion. I am also glad that in Clause 6 the hon. the Minister has left the door open so that those people who are affected can appeal to him, if the decision of a registering officer is disputed. I think it is essential that this clause which provides for the right of appeal should be included.
Clause 14 provides for a seed certification scheme and an export seed scheme. The Minister has also said that one of the main reasons why he has decided upon the introduction of this Bill is because he wishes to give legal status to the schemes which his Department has already administered for years past—both the ordinary seed scheme and the export seed scheme. I think that the seed certification scheme and the export seed scheme of the Department as they have functioned for all these years, have done good work. I have worked in collaboration with them a good deal, and I must say that they are rendering good service to the farmers of our country. I think that to a large extent it is due to these schemes that the farmers of South Africa have become seed conscious and have come to realize that it is essential to plant good seed and clean seed if they want good crops. I should like to join the hon. the Minister in thanking his Department for this service which they have rendered to the farmers over all these years.
Clause 14 also provides for the establishment of an organization which shall be responsible for the administration of the scheme. Hitherto, over all these years, the Department has administered these schemes itself—both the seed certification scheme and the export scheme. Now this clause provides that an organization can be designated to administer these two schemes. One sub-section also provides that such an organization can be the Department itself. I should now like to ask the hon. the Minister what his object is in providing in Clause 14 that these schemes can be administered by some other organization than his own Department. Does he perhaps intend eventually placing the seed certification scheme and the export seed scheme under the control of the Foundation Seed Board, so that all three these schemes—the foundation seed certification scheme, the seed certification scheme and the export seed scheme—can be administered by one organization, namely the Foundation Seed Board? Or conversely is it the hon. the Minister’s intention to place the foundation seed certification scheme and these two schemes all under his Department in the future? I personally think that during the initial stages, until the Foundation Seed Board has found its feet, it will be a good policy if the hon. the Minister provisionally places all three of these schemes under his Department until the Foundation Seed Board which he is to appoint, has prepared its organization and has perhaps appointed its own technicians. Seeing that the hon. the Minister has said that in the previous Bill he has also retained the right to establish the foundation seed certification scheme, I wonder whether it will not be best if all these other schemes are administered by his Department and the Foundation Seed Board then undertakes all the other work, including certain functions for which provision is made in later clauses of the Seeds Bill.
I have no further remarks to make on this Seeds Bill. We give it our blessing and in the interests of our farming community and particularly of the agricultural industry in South Africa we trust it will be a success.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank hon. members opposite for the support they have given this Bill. I am glad that it is generally realized and generally accepted that these are steps in the right direction. I want to tell the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) that in launching these schemes the Department is fully aware of the fact that it will have to improve its seed certification service and its export seed testing service. I think we can give him the assurance that as this scheme develops we shall at all times be in a position to train the necessary officials. It does not take all that long. Then we will have the officials available for this work.
He has referred to difficulties which they have experienced in the past with certain types of oat seed. The fact that we have two Bills before us, that is to say this Seeds Bill and the Foundation Seed Bill, which we have already adopted, does not mean in my opinion that we can think that all the problems encountered by the farmers as regards obtaining the right type of seed will simply disappear overnight. The fact of the matter is that the right type of oat seed is available, but, seeing that there will now be compulsory certification and registration of people in the seed trade, I hope that this Bill will make the public realize that seed which carries this certificate, in other words, seed which has been certified as to quality, is the type of seed for which they must ask and that it will also have the result that the sellers of seed and the seed trade will meet the various requirements of the public. I should also like to see the small seed scheme of the Wheat Board for example gradually being handed over to the Foundation Seed Board. That is what I envisage because they will certainly not want to do the work themselves if there is a statutory body or board which can undertake this multiplication for them because if that Board were to take over this work, it would be under proper departmental control which is not the position to-day in the case of the cultivation and breeding of all seeds, even in the case of the Wheat Board which is doing so to-day to the best of its ability. I hope that we shall gradually be able to meet the real needs of the farmers to an ever-increasing extent.
Then the hon. member has also asked that, when laying down regulations controlling the sale of seeds, the handling of seeds, etc., we should please ensure that the Act is not simply an Act in name, but that the regulations are applied and carried out. I assure him that we intend doing so because otherwise it is pointless our having this legislation and it will merely remain a poor attempt which will not mean much to the farmers.
I want to thank the hon. member for Florida (Mr. H. G. Swart) for his remarks, for his speech and also for his support. He says that I have not yet given him a satisfactory reply as to why we could not combine the Bill dealing with foundation seed and the Foundation Seed Board and this Seeds Bill into one Bill. I am afraid that he and I think along very similar lines in this respect. But an inter-departmental committee was appointed, which co-opted representatives of all the interests in seed trade, such as the South African Agricultural Union, the seed trade and the sellers of seed. They formed a strong committee which went into all aspects of this matter. When I asked them why there had to be two Bills instead of one, they told me that if I knew how they struggled to answer that question and how they could eventually only reach unanimity by provisionally separating the two, I really would not tell them: Go back and try to draw up a consolidated measure. They have now been trying to do so for months on end, but various interests which were represented on the committee, saw the position differently and that is why they do not want to do so at this stage.
It is quite correct that this represents a fresh start for our whole seed industry, and for the time being the Department of Agricultural Technical Services with its inspection services is the organization which should ensure that this registration and certification and other steps are and will be carried out. But in the course of time, as things develop, it may be found that it will be better to consolidate the functions which the Department will now fulfil in terms of this Bill and to transfer them to another organization—for all I know it may be the Foundation Seed Board—or perhaps certain of the Foundtaion Seed Board’s functions can be transferred to another organization—and I think it is for that reason that this opening has been left by not stating definitely in the Bill that the Department of Agricultural Technical Services will always have to carry out these functions. It may be found that a separate organization has been established, possibly by private enterprise or by the seed trade and the other organizations concerned, and that they may consider that they can undertake this work better. They may then take it over from the Department; or it may be that there may be such development that we can no longer cope with the work and that we have to establish a separate body to do so. That is why this opening has been left so that that can be done if such circumstances should arise.
Mr. Speaker, I hope I have now answered all the questions which hon. members have put, and I move.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time; House to go into Committee on the Bill on 13 March.
The House adjourned at