House of Assembly: Vol107 - TUESDAY 14 MARCH 1961

TUESDAY, 14 MARCH 1961 Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 2.20 p.m. QUESTIONS

For oral reply:

Representations in Regard to Removal Orders *I. Mr. WILLIAMS (for Mrs. Suzman)

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

  1. (1)
    1. (a) By which official are removal orders reviewed annually; and
    2. (b) to whom should representations be made for the release of Bantu persons on whom removal orders have been served.
  2. (2) Whether any assistance is given to the dependants of persons whose movements are restricted under removal orders; if so, (a) on what scale and (b) to whom should application be made for such assistance.
  1. (1)
    1. (a) The Secretary of my Department, who consults me after receiving reports from the officials concerned.
    2. (b) No particular person has been designated by law or administratively for the receipt of representations of this nature and the ordinary procedure when approaching Government Departments in regard to matters administered by them may be followed. For the hon. member’s information I may add that some representations have been received through the Bantu Affairs Commissioners concerned, while others have been made direct to me or to the Secretary of my Department and that all received the same careful and sympathetic attention before submission to the Governor-General.
  2. (2) Yes, if they are in needy circumstances.
    1. (a) Each case is considered on its merits.
    2. (b) The hon. member is referred to my reply to 1 (b) above.
Removal Orders: Medical Attention to Persons Concerned *II. Mr. COPE

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

  1. (1) Whether any provision is made by the Government for medical attention for persons against whom removal orders are of effect; if so, what provision; and
  2. (2) whether medical attention was given to those persons who died while removal orders were of effect against them; if so, what medical attention.
  1. (1) There is no regular medical examination but Bantus suffering from ill-health generally or particular complaints are treated by District Surgeons, on whose recommendation further treatment, including hospitalization and examination by specialists where necessary, is arranged.
  2. (2) Yes, except in cases of sudden death. The nature of the treatment was as stated in the reply to (1) above, depending on the circumstances of each case.
Employment of Persons under Removal Orders *III. Mr. COPE

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

  1. (1) Whether any persons against whom removal orders are of effect are in employment at present; if so (a) how many and (b) what wages are paid to them; and
  2. (2) whether the Government finds employment for such persons.
  1. (1) Yes. (a) and (b) The hon. member is referred to a reply to a question on 22 March 1960. I wish to repeat that I have from time to time furnished in this House all reasonable information required in respect of removals, and that I feel that the amount of work involved in extracting from individual files the information now required cannot be justified. I also refer to the reply to part (2) of this question.
    If the hon. member is concerned about an individual case, the information will gladly be furnished to him.
  2. (2) Every endeavour is made to find suitable employment for a Bantu who has been removed.
Group Areas Proclaimed in Oudtshoorn *IV. Mr. HOLLAND

asked the Minister of the Interior:

  1. (1) How many (a) Whites, (b) Coloureds and (c) Asiatics will have to leave their place of residence in terms of the group areas proclaimed for Oudtshoorn; and
  2. (2) what are (a) the names and (b) the total extent of the areas demarcated for occupation by each race group.
  1. (1) No Whites and 220 Coloureds.
    21 Indians can stay where they are under permit.
    I wish to add for the hon. member’s information that apart from the number of persons who will have to be removed as a result of a group areas proclamation there are also other considerations such as the availability of suitable alternative accommodation, provision of services and the financial implications which have to be considered. The financial implications must be duly weighed since the State and ultimately the taxpayer cannot be burdened with expenses which can be avoided. The fact that there are cases where more non-Whites than Whites must be removed, must also be attributed to the economic structure of the country in accordance with which Whites ordinarily are financially stronger than the non-Whites and therefore reside and own properties in the more expensive and permanently established areas. It is obviously impossible to supply housing for persons in areas where the costs in connection therewith are beyond their means.
  2. (2) No names are given to group areas. The proclamation deals with recognized areas which have been defined in the schedules to the proclamation and the extent of these areas can be obtained from the Surveyor-General.
Appointment of Retired Permanent Force Officers Under Prisons Department *V. Brig. BRONKHORST

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) Whether any officers recently retired on superannuation from the Permanent Force have been appointed to posts in his Department; if so, (a) what are their names, (b) to which posts have they been appointed, (c) what qualifications do they have for these posts and (d) what remuneration will they receive in their new posts; and
  2. (2) whether any officers in or recently retired from his Department were available or qualified to fill these posts.
  1. (1) Yes.
    1. (a) Combat-General Zinn and Major van der Spuy.
    2. (b) As non-official members, on a fulltime basis of the Transvaal and Cape Prison Boards, respectively.
    3. (c) Both are experienced officers of long standing and are considered eminently suitable for the posts which are of advisory nature.
    4. (d) The fixed salary for permanent members of the boards is R2,400 per annum.
  2. (2) Serving officers do not qualify for appointment to non-official posts. Appointments are made by selection.
Bodies Used for Dissection in Medical Schools *VI. Mr. DODDS

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science:

How many bodies of (a) White and (b) non-White persons were used for dissection at medical schools in the Union during 1960.

  1. (a) 21 and (b) 258.
Authorized Strength of Citizen Force *VII. Mr. ROSS

asked the Minister of Defence:

What is (a) the authorized establishment and (b) the 1961 strength of each Citizen Force unit.

  1. (a) and (b) It is not considered to be in the public interest to disclose the information.
Shortage of Accommodation in Industrial Schools *VIII. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science:

  1. (1) (a) What is the total number of industrial schools for Europeans in the Union and (b) what is the total number of (i) boys and (ii) girls accommodated at these schools at present;
  2. (2) whether there is a shortage of accommodation at any of the industrial schools; if so, (a) at which schools and (b) what steps are being taken to alleviate the shortage; and
  3. (3) whether any further industrial schools are contemplated; if so, when and where will they be established; if not, why not.
  1. (1)
    1. (a) 16.
    2. (b)
      1. (i) 1,404;
      2. (ii) 661.
  2. (2) Yes.
    1. (a) Wolmaransstad; Ladybrand; Die Vlakte; Standerton and Oudtshoorn.
    2. (b) The school at Wolmaransstad is being extended to house 108 pupils instead of 50 while the extension of the other schools is still in the planning stage.
  3. (3) Yes, a new school at Utrecht as soon as the planning has been completed and a further school at a place still to be determined, as soon as it is possible to undertake the planning.
New Technical High and Apprenticeship Schools for Durban *IX. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science:

  1. (1) Whether his Department intends to establish (a) a new technical high school and (b) an apprenticeship school in Durban; if so, (i) where will they be situated, (ii) when will building operations commence, (iii) when are the buildings expected to be completed, (iv) what will be the maximum number of pupils for whom accommodation will be provided and (v) what is the estimated cost; and
  2. (2) whether provision is to be made for hostels at these schools; if so, what will be the maximum number for whom accommodation will be provided at each hostel; if not, why not.
  1. (1)
    1. (a) Yes.
    2. (b) Yes.
      1. (i) The Technical High School at Brickhill Road and the Apprenticeship School in Congella between Franks Avenue and Jameson Crescent;
      2. (ii) at the beginning of July 1961;
      3. (iii) the Technical High School at the end of 1963 and the Apprenticeship School at the end of 1962;
      4. (iv) 750 at the Technical High School and 400 at the Apprenticeship School;
      5. (v) Technical High School R694,000 and Apprenticeship School R292,000.
  2. (2) Yes, hostel for 60 pupils at the Technical High School.
Sale of Aircraft by South African Airways *X. Mr. HOPEWELL (for Mr. E. G. Malan)

asked the Minister of Transport:

Whether any aircraft of the South African Airways have been sold since 1 January 1952; and, if so, what was (a) the make of the aircraft, (b) the selling price and (c) the name of the buyer in each case.


Yes; 14 aircraft.

  1. (a) Two DC4 Skymaster and 12 Lodestar aircraft.
  2. (b) and (c) The two DC4 Skymaster aircraft to U.A.T. at R291,710.35; six Lodestar aircraft to Interstate Aircraft Co., U.S.A., at R52,000; one Lodestar at R7,500; two Lodestars, including certain accessories, at R50,000, and one Lodestar (fuselage with certain accessories) at R2,308.53 to Commercial Air Services, Johannesburg; one Lodestar at R9,000 to D.E.T.A., Lourenço Marques; and one Lodestar at R10,500 to Aircraft Operating Co. of Africa Ltd.
Air Fares Concessions to Staff of South African Airways *XI. Mr. HOPEWELL (for Mr. E. G. Malan)

asked the Minister of Transport:

  1. (1) Whether staff of the South African Airways receive a concession on air fares in respect of (a) internal and (b) international services; if so, (i) what concession and (ii) when was it introduced.
  2. (2) whether the concessions apply to mem-of the families of staff; if so, in what respect; and
  3. (3) (a) how many journeys at the reduced tariff have, according to the latest available figures, been undertaken since the introduction of the concessions on (i) internal and (ii) international services and (b) what was the total estimated value of these concessions.
  1. (1)
    1. (a)
      1. No, but annual holiday free passes, valid between two air terminals, are granted to staff in the Airways Department instead of annual holiday free passes by rail.
      2. (i) and (ii) Fall away.
    2. (b)
      1. Yes;
      2. (i) 90 per cent in respect of the Springbok Service.
      3. (ii) On 8 October 1949 to aircrews and servants stationed outside the Union on the Springbok route, and on 8 April 1959 to other servants in the Airways Department and Sales Promotions Officers.
  2. (2) Yes, the same concession in respect of the Springbok Service is applicable to their wives and dependent children living with them.
  3. (3)
    1. (a)
      1. (i) Falls away.
      2. (ii) Figures in respect of the whole period since the introduction of the concession are unfortunately not available, but since April 1959, 224 such journeys have been undertaken.
    2. (b) The estimated value of the 224 journeys is R121,617.
Mr. RAW:

Arising out of the reply given by the hon. the Minister, may I ask him whether there is any restriction on employees of the Airways accepting concessions from other airlines if offered?



Costs of Poliomyelitis Immunization Campaign *Mr. MILLER

asked the Minister of Health:

  1. (1) What will be the estimated (a) total cost of the proposed poliomyelitis immunization campaign, (b) cost of the vaccine and (c) cost of administering the vaccine to the public;
  2. (2) whether local authorities will be required to bear any proportion of the cost; if so, what proportion; and
  3. (3) whether local authorities have been approached in the matter; if so, how many have indicated their willingness to bear a share of the cost.
  1. (1) (a), (b) and (c) As, in addition to the administration of the Department of Health, that of many other interested bodies will be involved in conducting the campaign, it is not possible to estimate accurately what the total expenditure will be. It is, however, estimated that the additional cost to the Department, including the cost of the vaccine, will not exceed R600,000;
  2. (2) apart from the administrative costs which will be borne by those municipalities which conduct their own campaigns, local authorities will not be expected to bear any proportion of the cost except minor incidental expenditure. Experience of the limited campaign carried out last year indicates that their wholehearted co-operation can confidently be expected; and
  3. (3) falls away.
Future of Lady Frere and other “ White Spot ” Towns

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT replied to Question No. *I, by Dr. D. L. Smit, standing over from 10 March:

  1. (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a letter published in the Burger of 1 March 1961, by the Mayor of Lady Frere, in which it is suggested that Lady Frere should be converted into a Bantu town and that the Government should purchase all immovable property in the town and authorize the Bantu Authorities to take over the town;
  2. (2) whether any discussions have taken place between the Town Council of Lady Frere and the Chief Bantu Commissioner in regard to the future of the town; and
  3. (3) whether he will make a statement setting out the Government’s intentions with regard to the future of Lady Frere and other towns similarly situated.
  1. (1) Yes.
  2. (2) Yes, discussions have taken place between the Town Council and an official of my Department but no finality has as yet been reached and the matter is being pursued.
  3. (3) My predecessor and I have both on previous occasions in this House dealt comprehensively with Governmental policy in regard to the so-called “White spot” towns of the Transkei and Ciskei. Those policy statements still stand and I do not, therefore, regard it necessary to make any further statement.
Application of Makatini Maatskappy in Native Reserve No. 16

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT REPLIED to question no. *III, by Mr. E. G. Malan, standing over from 10 march:


Whether applications have been received to trade or to erect buildings in the area of the Pongola Poort Scheme situated in Native Reserve No. 16; and, if so, what is (a) the name of the parson or body and (b) the nature of the business or the purpose of the building in each case.


One application has been received, (a) Makatini Maatskappy. (b) General dealer, butcher, baker. No buildings have as yet been erected.

Training of Non-Whites in Engineering, Law and Dentistry

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE replied to Question no. *XV, by Dr. Radford, standing over from 10 march:

  1. (1)Whether any non-Whites are at present receiving training for the professions of (a) electrical engineer, (b) civil engineer and (c) advocate; if so, how many and where; and
  2. (2) whether any facilities exist for training non-Whites in dentistry; if so, what facilities.
  1. (1) Yes;
    1. (a) at the University of Cape Town, where there were four in 1960 but registration for 1961 is still taking place, and 2 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg;
    2. (b) at the University of Cape Town, where there were three in 1960, and 5 at the University of the Witwatersrand and
    3. (c) at the University of Cape Town, where there were 21 in 1960, of whom one obtained the LL.B. degree, 5 at the University of the Witwatersrand, at the University of Natal, where there were 25 in 1960, and 4 at the University College, Western Cape.
  2. (2) Yes: for a number of students at the University of the Witwatersrand, made possible by the new facilities for maxillo, facial and oral surgery at the Baragwanath non-White teaching hospital. Thus far the Department has received no applications for admission from prospective students.

For written reply:

Railways: Electrification of Eerste River-Strand Section I. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Transport:

  1. (a) When is it expected that the electrification of the Eerste River-Strand section will be completed and
  2. (b) what will be the approximate minimum running time of an electric express train between Cape Town and the Strand?
  1. (a) 1963.
  2. (b) Approximately 46 minutes.

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for House to go into Committee of Supply on Estimates of Expenditure from Railway and Harbour Fund, to be resumed.

[Debate on motion by the Minister of Transport, upon which amendments had been moved by Mr. Russell and by Mr. Butcher, adjourned on 13 March, resumed.]


Mr. Speaker, up to now eight hon. members on the Government benches have participated in this debate, the last speaker being the hon. member for Malmesbury (Mr. van Staden), in the closing stages of the discussion last night. I will leave his speech on one side for the moment because I wish to make a specific reference to what the hon. gentleman had to say. Of the other seven hon. members, I think their speeches can be roughly divided into two groups; those hon. members who appear to have forgotten that 12 months have passed since a Railway debate took place in this House in 1960, and who seem to wish to continue the debate of those days. The other hon. members appeared to vie with one another in the degree of praise that they could offer to the hon. the Minister of Transport. Hon. members forget that we on this side of the House have a barometer whereby to gauge the reactions of the speeches of praise for the hon. the Minister of Transport, because we can see the Minister’s expressions and we can judge the degree to which that praise pleases the Minister. I do not want to make hon. members on the Government benches feel uncomfortable by describing the varying expressions of the Minister, but let me say that that is the broad classification of the discussions as far as the debate has proceeded.


I thought I had a poker face.


If the hon. the Minister wants a classification, let me tell him it is a delight to watch the expressions of pleasure and the smiles on his face as hon. members such as the hon. member for Bloemfontein (East) (Mr. van Rensburg) rise to their feet. The hon. the Minister claps his hands and there is a broad smile on his lips at the words that fall from the hon. members who praise him.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

He is not a poker face but his face is as red as a poker sometimes.


The one speech that falls into a separate category is that of the hon. member for Malmesbury who, let me remind the House, is one of the political organizers of the Nationalist Party. The speech of that hon. member amounted to nothing more nor less than a political diatribe. What was so shocking about it was that he made himself guilty of what is now known as McCarthyism in the worst possible taste. The hon. member saw fit, in the course of his speech, to attack a highly respected member of the Railway Administration, a president of one of the most important staff associations. The hon. member for Malmesbury likened the speeches and the actions of the President of the Artisans’ Staff Association, Mr. Liebenberg, with those of a certain Mr. Solly Sachs, who is now abroad. He said he saw no difference. And what is the implication? The implication is that the hon. member was trying to label Mr. Liebenberg, because he is fulfilling his functions and performing the duties with which he is charged by the executive of the Staff Association, as being a leftist and, in fact, indulging in communist activities. What is the purpose behind that? It is sheer political intimidation and nothing else against a member of the Railway staff. I would go so far as to say that I challenge the hon. member for Malmesbury to go to any one of the main railway centres such as Touwsrivier, Klipplaat or Germiston, and make that same statement on a public platform. If he were to do that I prophesy that the hon. member would leave those centres tarred and feathered by the railway workers of South Africa. And let me say that as far as I am personally concerned I will never cease to attack the hon. member for the type of political intimidation he tried to employ in this House to bring into disrepute a respected leader of the railway workers. I can leave the hon. member there because there was nothing else in his speech to comment on.

I should now like to return to the Budget speech of the hon. the Minister. While, on the surface, the Budget appears to paint a fair picture of Railway finances, Government members in the course of this debate appear to have been drugged by the expenditure or globular sums of money and the presentation of increases as expressed in percentages by the hon. the Minister. But a close examination of the phrases used by the hon. the Minister in his Budget speech, when related to the facts that are actually available, and to statements made by the Minister on previous occasions, seem clearly to indicate that the actual picture is certainly not a happy one, neither for the railway users nor for the railway workers. This is a sort of hide and seek Budget. The Minister hides the true facts and we have to seek them out from these benches. The White Paper that the hon. Minister tabled has little of value in it. It is used as part of the bluffing game upon which the hon. the Minister seems to have embarked in the past two years when presenting his budgets.

Let me give an example of what I am referring to. No less than five hon. members on the Government benches, in the course of these discussions, have referred to page 16 of the White Paper where the so-called concessions to staff are listed, for what purpose? Those figures given on page 16 as representing concessions to the staff actually represent nothing in themselves. The only reliable information we have in respect of the present finances of the Railways is the Auditor-General’s report which, as the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) has pointed out, for the first time in railway history has had a qualified certificate. The Auditor-General does not present a happy picture, certainly not as happy as that presented by the hon. the Minister. Here, as in other instances in this Budget, the Railway Administration has also sought to withhold the information from public scrutiny, as contained in the Auditor-General’s report. That is a serious allegation. But let me give a few examples of how vital information in respect of railway finances has been withheld even from the Auditor-General who publishes a report for the information of hon. members of this House, and for the public at large in respect of railway finances. This report is dotted, practically from page to page, with the comment by the Auditor-General “ Still awaiting the reply of the General Manager’s Office to these inquiries ”. We have those comments from page to page. Let me give a couple of examples. On page 241, referring to the high rates of indirect expenses of mechanical workshops at Bloemfontein, the Auditor-General points out that the indirect expenditure for 1960 amounts to R375,000, and here is his observation: “ This represents 989 per cent of the total productive wages of R38,000.” The Auditor-General asks for further information as late as November, and this report has only recently been printed. But there is no further information in respect of this 989 per cent increase as far as productive wages are concerned, which is an important matter.

Let me give another example. On page 253, referring to diesel locomotives, the Auditor-General says this—

The cost of maintaining diesel locomotives exceeded the estimate of £96,000 by R100,000. The Auditor-General’s inquiries of September 1960 regarding this large increase is not yet replied to.

And this report was only printed as late as February of this year. In nearly all these instances where queries are raised by the Auditor-General in regard to the unsatisfactory position of a capital fund, whether it is the Renewal Fund, the Betterment Fund, the Higher Replacement Cost Account or the Reserve Fund (Stores), the same comment is made “Still awaiting the reply of the General Manager of Railways”. Surely it is right to ask why all this laborious effort at concealment? Why are the true facts withheld from the public gage? Surely that is the question we must ask, and I hope that when he replies the hon. the Minister will give us the answer.


You get all that information from the Select Committee.


The hon. the Minister is right. These issues are raised in the Select Committee. But we are dealing with the finances of the Railway Administration, and the report of the Select Committee only comes out at the end of the Session after we have disposed of the Budget. If we then have to raise them the following year we will be discussing outdated figures which have no bearing at all on the Budget of the Minister which we are now discussing. There is a further point: Why, in this particular year, have there to be so many delays to the replies to the queries of the Auditor-General made to the General Manager’s Office? This has certainly never appeared in past years.

But there is something more to this Budget. It is a Budget of excuses. It is an attempt to excuse the large surplus, to explain it away. It is an attempt to explain the surplus away in the light of the large increase in low-rated traffic and the proportionate drop in high-rated traffic. I want to remind this hon. House that whenever this hon. Minister has been faced with a deficit, he has used the stock excuse that the deficit is due to the decline in the high-rated traffic. He has based that excuse on the contention that Railway Revenue is very sensitive to changes in the ratio of high- to low-rated traffic. In his 1959 Budget speech the hon. Minister actually argued that a 2.64 per cent drop in high-rated traffic can represent a loss of some £8,000,000, of R16,000,000 in revenue. In spite of the hon. Minister’s contention that revenue-earning tonnages hauled in that particular year had increased, he made that excuse. He ascribed his surplus last year to an increase in the percentage of high-rated traffic. But he has not done so this year. The facts have proven him wrong, as revealed in his Budget this year.


You are wrong. The ratio is different but the increase is there.


Yes, the ratio is different. The ratio has fallen to 51.7 per cent.


But the increase in the high-rated traffic is there.


It has fallen to 51.7 per cent. The hon. the Minister has said that low-rated traffic is, after all, a paying proposition, whereas in the past he has argued that it is not a paying proposition. I have attacked the hon. the Minister in the past for this fallacious argument about the importance of high-rated traffic as far as railway revenues are concerned, but more particularly for the stultifying effect of this confined outlook of protection on the transportation development of our country as a whole. This Budget, if anything, proves that from the Minister’s own figures, namely, where he states that there is an additional 6,000,000 tons of traffic which has been hauled by the Railway Administration, of which only 210,000 tons represents high-rated traffic. That proves quite conclusively that his past contentions have been completely fallacious. What is really needed is a complete review of the actual role that rail transportation has to play in the country’s economy in relation to other forms of transportation. And we cannot consider the role of railway transportation without considering the end result and the impact on the future economic security of our country of the policy of this Minister of continuously spending millions of pounds of capital on capital work.

In a sense we in Parliament have to consider these matters in a vacuum. With all this capital expenditure, at least in the time of this hon. Minister, we have never been given the opportunity of debating the plans or the policies that give rise to this capital expenditure or, let me say, the soundness of the proposals that the Minister makes in respect of the development that is costing the country millions of pounds. Our difficulty is this, that no reports or plans are placed before us. The hon. member for Bethlehem (Mr. Knobel), in this debate yesterday, by his plea for more planning as far as the Railways are concerned, condemned the Minister by implication for the proposal in his Budget speech to downgrade the posts of the Head of the Planning and Production and Financial Managers. Surely, if all future development is based on the work of a planning council, which must be co-ordinated with financial policy, such should be placed before this House before we are called upon to vote the necessary money. Plans for the future are not shown in any of the reports available to members of this hon. House, whether they be the reports of the Railway Board, of the General Manager of the Railways, or even the Budget statements presented by the hon. the Minister. Surely hon. members of this House are entitled to discuss such matters as, for example, the necessity of regarding certain lines, electrification and possible extension of lines, the acquisition of additional rolling stock, the re-organization and improvement of working matters and new types of motive power.


You get the Brown Book, why do you not discuss it?


When we get the Brown Book these things are fait accompli, but we are never told the necessity for these things.


You can always ask.


Let me take the last item as an example, new types of motive power. We were presented in the Brown Book with a fait accompli in the purchase of condensing locomotives. This involved millions of pounds of expenditure, upon which the Railways are to-day called upon to pay interest. With the introduction of diesel traction and the further electrification of the Railways which we have had outlined to us, this expenditure can be described as virtually fruitless. Yet the Railways are saddled with an interest burden for this outmoded form of transportation. Why do we have this extensive electrification plan and the introduction of diesel traction and yet spend millions of pounds on the fruitless acquisition of condensing units? It is my contention that if, before the locomotives had been acquired, the plans had been presented to this House, the matter could have been debated and possibly a different picture presented in that regard.

As another example let me take the continuous expenditure of capital in the acquisition of new rolling stock. We are entitled to ask whether that is a wise policy in view of the possible introduction of nuclear power in the very near future. There may be a considerable saving in coal transportation, which may mean a considerable saving in capital expenditure for the acquisition of further rolling stock. I think one may fairly ask the hon. the Minister what motivates the plans of the planning section? On what assessment are these plans based? What is the appreciation of the situation on which they are based? As far as Parliament, and as far as the country is concerned, they remain a closely guarded secret. We are merely presented with something which has already been decided upon. In my opinion this makes a mockery of parliamentary control.


Parliament will have to be in session all the year round if I have to produce my plans to it every day.


At least we expect from the Minister when he presents a Budget, some picture as to how he sees the future development of Railway transport and how he intends to apply future development, and how it should tie up with the overall general economic needs of the country. But what is the result of this dictatorship by the Minister? In the past years the Minister has adopted the attitude “ I can do no wrong, you accept what I present because I have the majority behind me to apply it”. Let me remind this hon. House that in the reply to the Budget debate last year the hon. the Minister said this—

I took over at the end of 1954 and I set a target date at which the Railways must be in a position to transport all the traffic offered at the beginning of 1961.

Instead of achieving this at the target date of 1961, the target was reached 18 months before that. Let me say here that the target the Minister set himself was based on a five-year plan conceived by the Planning Council which his predecessor, Mr. Sauer, had set up. But we have never had any information, at any time, as to the plans that were conceived by that Planning Council. And what has this period meant during the time of this vast capital expenditure? It has meant years of deficits. It has meant years of tariff increases, shortfalls in traffic, sacrifices in the living standards of the workers, increased living costs for the public, and the virtual bankruptcy of the Reserve Fund. It has meant even more than that. With the Government majority in this House we have been called upon to approve of a capital expenditure programme totalling some R600,000,000 as at 31 March 1960. Mr. Speaker, one may ask for what advantage, for what dividend as far as our country is concerned has all this capital expenditure been? In the first year of office of this hon. Minister the Railways hauled 74,500,000 tons of goods. Without the Minister’s plans the Railways were still hauling 74,500,000 gross tons of goods per annum, of which the revenue-earning traffic amounted to 64,500,000 tons. For the information of the hon. the Minister, those figures are taken from the Auditor-General’s report and from the General Manager’s report. As at 31 March I960, some six yeas after this Minister came to Parliament with his capital works programme involving the expenditure of R600,000,000, the Railways hauled 82,000,000 tons of all classes of goods. That figure is based on the Minister’s own figure. And of that 82,000,000 tons only 69,500,000 tons represented revenue-earning traffic. What do these figures mean? They mean that the additional capacity, the additional tonnages carried per annum during the period of this hon. Minister, has increased by only 8,000,000 tons per annum. That is an increase of 11 per cent in the carrying capacity of the Railways. And at what cost? At a cost of R800,000,000. In other words, 100 per cent increase of capital expenditure in order to permit the Railways to carry 11 per cent more goods. And the picture is even more disastrous when related to revenue-earning traffic, which shows that the Railways carried only 5,000,000 tons more per annum against this expenditure of R800,000,000. There has been a mere 5 per cent increase in the carrying capacity of the Railways but the capital invested in the Railways has practically doubled. Three years ago, the hon. the Minister told us that the capital works programme had decreased, that the amount of non-revenue-earning traffic would decline, that the gap would close between revenue-earning traffic and non-revenue-earning traffic carried by the Railways. The fact is that, in spite of all the Minister’s claims that on the completion of this capital works programme all these things would happen, the Railways are in actual fact to-day carrying 2,000,000 tons more non-revenue-earning traffic than when the Minister first took over. In other words, Sir, the country has been saddled with a capital burden of some R600,000,000, arid taking into account present expenditure a total of R800,000,000, if we also take the expenditure for 1962 into account. I am, therefore, entitled to ask whether it has been worth it. Has it been worth the cost as far as national transportation policy is concerned? The Minister himself said in his Budget statement that—

An unfavourable ratio between interest on capital and depreciation on the one hand and operating expenses on the other hand will continue.

Let me point out to the House that the interest burden already constitutes approximately 20 per cent of operating costs. One may ask where we are heading. There seems to be no end, in spite of having been told last year that the capital programme was completed, we are now told in this Budget that there is still a backlog to be made up. One has the impression of the Railways, as represented by this hon. Minister, of being something like an economic Frankenstein, sitting astride the economic structure of our country and slowly strangling it to death. It is clear that we cannot afford to go on in this way much longer. It is abundantly clear that if the plans and policies had been conceived for the transportation needs of our country as a whole, embracing all forms of transport, of which the Railways would only be a part, much of this capital expenditure and consequent interest burden would have been saved. It is also clear that we cannot afford much longer to have a Minister of Transport with a split personality. Because, Sir, by the very nature of things, with this dual personality of the Minister’s, and with the Railway Board emasculated in its functions, the Minister considers national transportation policy only in so far as it affects the interests of the Railways. What we need to-day, Sir, is an investigation into the country’s future transportation requirements over the next decade as related to our country’s economic development in all fields.

I wish to say a few words in connection with the staff position, but before I do so, I would like to turn for a minute or two to the Reserve Funds. I want to put one or two very pertinent questions to the hon. the Minister to which I hope he will reply when he replies to this debate. The subject has already been covered by the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman), but what I want to ask the hon. the Minister is this: How far does he support the statement made by the retiring General Manager in September last year when he addressed the Handels-instituut Congress at Johannesburg? He is reported to have said—

The stringent savings policy will not be relaxed until the Administration has a reserve of R200,000,000 safely tucked away for the lean years to come.

Will the hon. the Minister tell this House whether this is the target he personally aims at as far as these reserves are concerned? Does the Minister agree with this amount of R200,000,000? Mr. du Plessis went further on that occasion and said—

Not until those funds had been stabilized could any consideration be given to the concessions called for by commerce, industry and agriculture to allow them free expansion.

Does the Minister agree with this statement? I would like to know, Sir. Because it implies or admits that the Railways has a stranglehold on the future economic development of this country. It implies that any plans for future industrial development and agricultural development must be made subject to the capital requirements of the Railways. I can hardly imagine that a statement of this importance would have been made by the retiring General Manager without prior consultation with the hon. the Minister. I hope that when he replies to the debate, the Minister will explain what was meant. In the time that is left at my disposal I should like to turn to the staff position. I wonder, Sir, whether the key to the whole debate as it has been pursued up to the present by members on the Government benches, does not lie in the speech of the hon. member for Bloemfontein (East) (Mr. van Rensburg). I shall be glad if the hon. member will pay some attention; I did him the courtesy of listening to him. The hon. the Minister asked in the course of his speech what would happen in the case of an election this year. Well, Mr. Speaker, we have been regaled by various members on the various advantages enjoyed by the staff since 1910. The hon. member for Kimberley (South) (Dr. W. L. D. M. Venter) went back as far as 1910. He cited the wonderful advantage that had flowed from the Railway college. I wonder if the hon. member knows that it was this hon. Minister’s predecessor who attacked Mr. Sturrock for even establishing the Railway college? I wonder if the hon. member realizes that all the wonderful advantages that he referred to in his speech were initiated by this side of the House when they were in power? The hon. member should do more homework before he makes that type of speech in this House, or he should at least consult the hon. member for Bloemfontein (East) or the hon. member for Vasco and hear what they have to say. We have been regaled by long quotations from the White Paper of monetary and other advantages to which I have already referred.

I am not going back to 1910, Sir. I only want to deal with the concessions made to railwaymen during the time of office of this hon. Minister. After all, Mr. Speaker, it is his Budget and it is his policy as Minister of Transport that we are considering this afternoon. The pertinent question to ask at this stage I think is this: With the interest burden now representing such a high percentage of total operating costs, coupled to the warning contained in the Minister’s Budget statement, what will be the effect on future earnings of the railway worker? What have they had in the years of hardship under this hon. Minister? What hope have the railwaymen got of being able to take home more money in their pay packet to maintain a decent standard of living? All the talk by hon. members on the Government benches cannot hide this fact that the gap, for example, between the 12,000-odd White railway workers and the non-White workers in the higher grades has narrowed considerably, although there still remains a vast gap in respect of the standard of living of the two races. All this talk on the part of those hon. members cannot hide the fact that the Railways are becoming more and more dependent on the efforts of non-White labour and more and more dependent according to the Minister’s own statement on the non-White travelling public for its revenue. If that is the position, we want to ask the Minister what the over-all employment policy is of the present Administration. What is the Minister’s policy in regard to staff demands? The Minister himself stated that the non-White travelling public was getting more and more important in so far as Railway earnings were concerned. Conservatively, some £50,000,000 has been expended in the form of capital to provide additional facilities for the non-White traveller. I now want to ask the Minister whether in future non-Whites will be trained in train operations; will they become part of the running staff, seeing that they are now being trained by the Minister to fulfil those high positions in the clerical grades? What will happen to the standard of living of the White workers if the policy is followed of using non-Whites in train operation? I want to remind the Minister that with the establishment of the republic the old emotional appeals he was able to make in the past will disappear. The railwaymen will now assess this Minister on the basis of his Railway policy and its effect on their economic security and the maintenance of decent standards of living. This Minister, by exploiting the sentiments of a large body of railwaymen in the past, has considered that he could take a tough line with them. He has exploited their political sentiments; he has appealed to them to assist him over the various crises in which he has found himself. In 1958 he told them that he did not want to bribe them but if they returned the Government to power they would see what they would get from the hon. the Minister. Let me say at once, Sir, that I do not for one moment believe that the railwaymen were really helping the Minister when they made all those efforts and sacrifices over the past two years, they were helping themselves. They were slogging it out, Sir, so that by their own great efforts they would overcome the results of a short-sighted transportation policy as followed by this Minister. Let me tell the House and the railwaymen of South Africa the facts, not the facts as presented by the hon. member for Bloemfontein (East) and the hon. member for Vasco who quoted reams of globular sums and tried to make the House believe that they meant something. We have the White Paper, Sir, and when I look at the White Paper I do not look at the globular amounts appearing in that Paper, but I look at the meaning of those figures; that is the important thing to me. On page 16 a number of concessions are listed in respect of their earnings. I see the Minister smiles, because he knows what is coming. Let us see what has happened to the railwaymen as far as these concessions are concerned. Railwaymen’s pay benefits as listed in the White Paper during the régime of this Minister total R32,000,000 over a period of six years —roughly £16,000,000; those are the actual figures quoted in this White Paper. Let us take the R32,000,000 as representing the alleged advantages and concessions to railwaymen and relate it to their actual earnings. Related to the gross earnings of the railwaymen over the same period of six years, we find that the only benefit in terms of a cash concession as far as their pay packets are concerned that railwaymen have received during the régime of this Minister, amounts to slightly over 2 per cent. It amounts to slightly under 2 per cent in six years, Sir. When we relate those pay packets to the actual rise in their cost of living we will find that railwaymen in actual fact earn less to-day in the time of this Minister than they earned when he first took over office. I think one is entitled to ask therefore what the railwaymen get out of this surplus. What do the railwaymen get from this wonderful surplus that hon. members have praised in the course of this debate? They get nothing, Sir. For the year 1961-2, even though the Minister budgets for a deficit, R12,000,000 is being set aside for consolidation—consolidation which we on this side have pressed for for years. The hon. member for De Aar-Colesberg (Mr. M. J. de la R. Venter) said at that time that we were asking for something when there was no money, but for two years we have had a surplus under the Minister’s Budget of R35,000,000 but what did the railwaymen get out of that surplus? In terms of the White Paper tabled by the hon. the Minister, the railwaymen have received the paltry sum of R8,000. Now that the Minister budgets for a deficit in the year 1962, now only do the railwaymen get their rightly desserts. I want to ask the hon. member for De Aar-Colesberg who had so much to say on this subject, why did not he plead two years ago when the Minister was still budgeting for a deficit, for these pay increases which the railwaymen are asking for at the present time? What is more disturbing, Sir, is the statement made by the hon. the Minister in his Budget speech when he said that the consolidation that he has now agreed to was as the result of the recommendations of a committee that he appointed to investigate the facts and implications of consolidation. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister why he did not tell the House something else that he agreed to at the meeting with the Federal Consultative Council of Railway Workers? The Minister at that time also agreed to investigate the 5 per cent increase in railway workers’ pay but there is no indication in this Budget that they are going to get that 5 per cent increase which they have been demanding. The fact is, Sir, that while no railwayman will be taking a smaller pay packet home he will certainly not be taking any extra money home as far as his actual earnings are concerned. The fact remains, Sir, that the general impression left with railway workers as far as this Budget is concerned, is that they were led to believe in the past months that with this surplus they would get their just reward and that they would get what they had actually been demanding. But actually they are going home with a reduced pay packet. All railwaymen feel that an axe hangs over their heads. In June 1960 the hon. the Minister told the Federal Consultative Council that he had abolished 17,000 posts in the Railway establishment, and of these 17,000 posts 3,745 were occupied by Europeans. I assume for the sake of my argument that these were permanent posts which the Minister abolished. He can correct me when he replies to the debate. Now in March 1961 with this Budget we are told that the staff establishment has once again considerably been reduced during the year. It is obvious that the line of talk that we have had in the course of this debate, prompted by the hon. member for De Aar-Colesberg and the hon. member for Kimberley (South) who devoted their entire speeches to the benefits enjoyed by railwaymen has been adopted to bring the country under a wrong impression. We would like to know why the Minister says in his Budget speech that the staff establishment stood at 218,000 in April 1960—the same figure quoted in the General Manager’s report—and why in spite of this 17,000 reduction, we are told that in March 1961 the staff has been reduced to 214,000—a reduction of 4,000 of all races. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister what the true position is in respect of staff. It seems to be shrouded in mystery. Let me ask the Minister what the actual position is to-day in regard to permanent staff and officers, and secondly, what is the actual position in regard to employees, particularly those employed in a casual capacity. According to the Auditor-General’s report for this year, there is a total of 7,360 Whites and 43,742 non-Whites who are casuals. And I would like to ask the Minister what is his intention in regard to these casual employees? Are they also going to be sacked? [Time limit.]


Mr. Speaker, the louder the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) spoke, the more hollow his argument sounded to me and the more I gained the impression that there was no need to defend the Budget the hon. the Minister of Transport has introduced here. It defends itself. Nor does it need praise because it praises itself. Therefore I want to use the limited time at my disposal to take this debate literally to higher spheres. I want to discuss the South African Airways. I would like to direct the attention of the House to the steadily increasing role air traffic plays in the transport system of our country and in its economic structure, and the important place it already takes in this Budget.

According to the Minister’s Budget speech, it is expected that the revenue from Airways in the next financial year will amount to R26,279,000, which is R4,540,000 more than in the revised estimates for 1960-1. Taking that into consideration, and if we look at the Budget figures of the past few years, it is clear that the Airways has now very definitely stabilized its position as constituting the second most important item in the Budget. The time has therefore arrived, Mr. Speaker, when we should not talk only about the South African Railways and Harbours, but also about the South African Railways, Airways and Harbours. Since the establishment of the South African Airways 26 years ago it has grown from a single-motored, four-seater aircraft with a maximum speed of 100 miles an hour to the intercontinental Boeing which can transport 125 passengers at an approximate speed of 600 miles an hour. The progress of the South African Airways has therefore been spectacular in recent years. Capital expenditure on that service amounted to R18,355,000 as at 31 March 1960, in comparison with R2,982,000 in 1950, an increase of 515.6 per cent; 45,729 route miles are being exploited, and approximately 335,000 passengers are being transported over the various routes every year. The activities in the financial year 1959-60 compare favourably with those in the previous year. There was an increase in all the branches of the service, an increase in the number of passengers over all routes of 37,939; an increase in air freight of 1,144,033 ton miles; an increase in postal matter conveyed of 173,633 ton miles; an increase in the number of miles flown of 313,857; an increase in the route miles of 8,085; an increase in the number of flying hours of 209; an increase in the revenue of R2,167,020 —a surplus of R1,233,344 as against a deficit of R316,792 in 1958-9.

The Minister’s Budget speech also indicated that during the first nine months of the present financial year activities in regard to air traffic (except for postal matter) were considerably expanded. Ever since the establishment of the South African Airways it has always been the policy of the authorities to render only the best service with the most modern equipment. The DC7B aircraft which were introduced on the international routes in April 1956 rendered very good service under very difficult conditions. Apart from the fortnightly service to Australia, they will now be used on the inland routes, with the result that more opportunities for travelling by air will be provided in the country. Inter alia, it makes four extra services per week between Johannesburg and Cape Town possible. The Viscounts which were introduced early in 1959 on the inland services resulted in a great improvement in the finances of the inland and regional route services of the South African Airways. Research has shown that the flying cost per mile of the Viscount is lower than that of any other type of twin-engined or four-engined turbine aircraft. The Boeing jet aircraft which were introduced on the international routes to Europe in October last year proved to be a great success. It was, as the Minister said in his Budget speech, an important step forward as far as our Airways are concerned. In regard to air travel, we are living in the jet age, and the Boeing enables our Airways to compete with the best companies on the routes it serves. The Boeing has a great carrying capacity and a high speed. On their first 17 flights to Europe they conveyed an average of 100 passengers per flight. It was therefore possible since 1 October last year to introduce a fixed, economic fare to Europe which is R87 less than the usual return fare in the economic class. The capital expenditure of the Airways was increased by more than R12,000,000 as the result of purchasing the three Boeings, but it was well worth it. Faster and more efficient travel has become a prerequisite in post-war development. The proof of this is the fact that, as compared with the 866,500 passengers who travelled over the North Atlantic Ocean last year by ship, the number which travelled over the same route by air was almost 2,000,000. The decision to purchase the Boeings was a wise and well-timed one, which not only indicates that there is confidence in our Airways, but also that there is confidence in the future economic development of South Africa.

Together with the increase in capital expenditure, the running and maintenance expenses of the service also increased considerably. At the Jan Smuts Airport, for example, a flight simulator, costing R600,000, was installed with the object of training pilots in the handling of Boeing aircraft. The runway there had to be lengthened, and other accommodation facilities had to be enlarged at considerable cost. Increasingly more money is also being spent on radar and other navigational equipment, particularly to facilitate landings.

Mr. Speaker, the progress made by the South African Airways in recent years was just a reflection of a world tendency in the sphere of air travel. The development of air travel in the world was equally impressive. When jet aircraft appeared on the scene, the increase in air activities over the past two years became even more impressive and remarkable. Figures published early in 1960 by the International Air Traffic Association, of which South Africa is a member, show that capital investment in airlines has shown the remarkable average increase of 150 per cent over the past ten years. America alone spent R400,000,000 in one year on airways, an increase of 460 per cent as compared with 1946. Over the ten-year period from 1949 to 1959 air traffic in the world increased by 288 per cent; passenger traffic increased by approximately 500 per cent, air ton miles by 4.9 million, whilst passenger fares were reduced by 35 per cent.

The year 1959 was a particularly good year for the air lines. In 1959 the airlines of the world showed a joint profit of 0.5 per cent on a turnover of R2.8 million. As compared with that, their operational profit in 1959 was 3.1 per cent. In fact, in the year 1959-60 most airlines showed a profit. Central African Airways showed an appreciable profit as against a loss in the previous year. British Overseas Airways Corporation announced a record profit of more than R8.6 million as against a deficit of R4,000,000 in the previous year. British European Airways concluded their most successful financial year with a profit of R4.17 million. Tasman Empire Airways Ltd. showed a net surplus of R564,942. The traffic of the K.L.M. increased by 18 per cent, so that the company could pay an interim dividend of per cent to its shareholders.

Various factors contributed to a spectacular boom in air traffic, and the introduction of jet aircraft made a particular contribution towards this. There is a steady demand in the world for more efficient and more economic aircraft. Jet aircraft have a high carrying capacity, which, therefore, results in a lower cost per passenger mile. Towards the end of 1959 one-tenth of the world’s air traffic was conducted by means of jet aircraft. The Boeings alone, it is estimated, carry 32,000 passengers per day between the 100 cities in the 47 countries served by it. The Comet IV of the British Overseas Corporation increased the passenger traffic of this company within the first year by 47 per cent and increased its revenue by 32 per cent.

Lower fares is another factor which plays a very important role in the development and growth of international air traffic. The use of jet aircraft, with their high carrying capacity, made it possible for airlines to reduce fares. The representatives of 80 such airlines recently again decided to reduce passenger fares in various parts of the world. These reductions vary from 14 per cent to 35 per cent in some cases.

The transportation of goods by air is another factor which had an important effect on the boom in air traffic. Although we, Sir, are only in the initial stages in regard to transporting goods by air, this has made remarkable progress in recent years. Those who are in the know are convinced that this new development, namely the transportation of goods by air, will have an ever-increasing influence on world economy. Ten years ago the airlines of international companies transported only 2,500,000 ton miles of goods; in 1946, after the war, this was increased to 120,000,000 ton miles; in 1959 it had already reached 1,890,000,000 ton miles. Technical developments in connection with the carrying capacity of commercial aircraft was mainly responsible for this increase, but the attitude of consignors in respect of air traffic also changed favourably. The attitude in regard to air traffic, just like other things, is rapidly adapting itself to modern conditions. We dare not close our eyes to the fact that air traffic is more economical in some cases than other forms of traffic. A consignment of watches from Switzerland to Singapore costs 45 per cent less by air than by sea; a consignment of medicine from London to Mexico results in a saving of 60 per cent in the transportation cost if it is taken by air. There are many other advantages connected with air traffic, like simpler packaging, lower insurance premiums, fewer consignment documents, the better preservation of perishable goods, greater control over damage to and theft of goods, shorter periods during which capital is tied up and, consequently, lower interest rates, etc.

Safer air travel is another factor I want to mention in connection with the progress made in the sphere of air travel. The number of deaths amongst passengers has decreased by 75 per cent during the past ten years; the number of accidents in relation to the distance travelled by air lines over fixed routes in 1959 amounts to 1.49 per 100,000,000 miles. In spite of the appreciable increase in air traffic, the number of passengers killed was reduced from 5.77 per 1,000,000 in 1958 to 4.39 in 1959. This safety record can be ascribed to the better training of pilots, longer runways at airports, more detailed information in regard to weather conditions, better traffic control, inter alia, through the development of electronic methods, modern navigational methods, etc. That results in people who have never before been near an aircraft to-day boarding them fearlessly. This reminds me of a parson in a widespread congregation in Bushmanland who asked the elder to go house-visiting with him in an aircraft. The elder said: “ No, Dominee, ask me anything else, but I will not climb into this thing.” When the dominee said to the elder: “ But, brother, surely we believe that when one’s time is up, whether it is on land, at sea or in the air, it is up? ” to which the elder replied: “ Quite right, Dominee, but supposing we are up in the air and your time is up, what happens to me?”

Mr. Speaker, with a view to the further development of our own service in future, it is essential that specific attention should be devoted to a few aspects of the service. In this regard I am glad to see that, as the result of the re-organization of the management of the South African Railways, the Assistant General Manager (Airways) is being relieved of some of his responsibilities, so that other more important aspects of our air service may receive more attention from him. The decision that the Assistant General Manager (Airways) will also be directly responsible to the General Manager is in consonance with the importance of his post.

Goods traffic is another aspect which should be further developed in regard to our air services. The hon. the Minister said in his Budget speech that increasing use is being made of goods traffic by air. That was the main reason for the increase in the freight ton miles of 14 per cent during the first nine months of the financial year. The Minister also mentioned certain articles which were being transported by air, and I would like to deal with this briefly by pointing to the following matters: Two South African Skymasters last year transported 55,000 bales of 60 lbs. each of karakul pelts from Upington to London for a special auction which was held there on 11 July. If the pelts had to be transported in any other way they would not have arrived in time for the auction. The Boeing service has already resulted in new markets being developed for perishable products. The transportation by Boeings of the Transvaal Early Dawn peaches to London in the beginning of the last season was a great success. In the same way the transportation of groups of schoolchildren during short school holidays from the larger centres to the rural areas, the transportation of parties of big-game hunters and anglers, chartered flights with the object of taking sports enthusiasts more speedily to important sporting events, special vacation flights to popular holiday resorts in the season, as well as other undertakings, have already in practice proved to be very successful financially and otherwise. Special flights and chartered flights gave the Airways an income of R162,213 during the past financial year. The benefits to be derived from these special and chartered flights should be investigated further.

Another aspect to which I want to refer is the available freight capacity on our services. Last year it was estimated that of the freight capacity available on our services, only about 60 per cent was utilized. In the case of the Wallaby service, it was 40 per cent before the All Blacks tour. The indications are, therefore, that, in so far as the air transportation of goods is concerned, there is quite a lot of scope for development.

The recruiting of more passengers, particularly on certain routes, is another aspect of our Airways to which further attention should be devoted. Now that we have increased to a very high level the carrying capacity on international, regional and inland routes by means of high capital expenditure, it is essential to recruit more passengers and to obtain more traffic.

Another important matter which, I think, requires attention by the management is the establishment and development of feeder services. This type of service should either be undertaken by the Government itself or by private initiative in consultation, and possibly with the assistance of, the Government. The Government has already decided to allow private South African airlines to establish feeder services as long as those services do not compete with the national service. Local services can link the rural towns with the cities, where they can connect up with the national air routes. That will help to make people in the country districts more air conscious, which, in turn, may attract passengers to the regular services. It will also mean that the national services will get more freight and, at the same time, the industrial development of the country may benefit from it. Extensive local feeder services will also speed up the receipt and delivery of goods at the international airport Jan Smuts, and, in that way, eliminate the piling up and delay of goods there. Mr. Speaker, such local feeder services will not only be in the interest of the public, but it may be a tremendous stimulus to the economy of our country and to the South African Airways.

A further aspect to which I wish to refer is that systematic efforts should be made to eliminate delays. According to a report in Railway News of July 1960, a special task force has already been established by international airlines with the object of determining how passengers and goods can be handled more speedily at the main airports and urban terminals. That also applies to our own airports and terminals. In some cases it takes almost as long to travel from the urban terminal to the airport as to travel to one’s destination by air. There is a tremendous amount of delay on busy roads to and from the airports during certain hours of the day, and that plays a very important role. Special attempts should be made to convey passengers and goods more speedily from the urban terminals to the airports, even though helicopters are used. The elimination of these and other delays should, with a view to the time factor which is the most important factor in air traffic, receive more attention from the authorities! I want to conclude by quoting a paragraph from the report of the General Manager with regard to the South African Airways—

It is a pleasure to mention that the South African Airways has built up an excellent reputation in so far as readiness, efficiency, safety and a high level of service are concerned. That enabled it to hold its own in spite of intensive competition on the international routes to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Since yesterday we have been listening to speeches from both sides of the House, but what surprised me most, was the amendment moved by the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell), more particularly the third portion of it in which he asks this House “ to co-ordinate the transport needs of the country with the demand of modern progress I do not know what the hon. member’s reason is for moving such an amendment; neither do I know what benefit he can derive from it. It ought to be clear to everyone that the Railways have already reached that stage which the hon. member wants them to reach. I could still have understood the position had the hon. member moved his amendment prior to 1948, because it was essential and necessary then, but since this Government has taken over, it is certainly no longer necessary.

Neither does the hon. member want to accept the fact that the Railways are to-day in a position to convey all the traffic offered, because hon. members opposite are still pleading the cause of private initiative. They do so in a veiled manner but nevertheless it amounts to this that they ask that more certificates for road transportation should be granted. Why else should they do that? It is because hon. members opposite realize that the Railways are making progress to-day and that the railway workers stand solidly behind the Government. They are now trying to sow suspicion as became clear from the speech of the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) when he referred to the Minister’s refusal a few years ago just prior to a general election to grant an increase in wages to the railway workers because he would have regarded that as bribery. But that was never the actual position although that was the position according to the rumours which the United Party spread at that time. They spread those rumours in my own constituency; they went from house to house and said that if they were returned to power they would grant the increases whereas the Minister had allegedly refused to grant it. And what did the railway worker do? He simply rejected the United Party with the contempt it deserved, because the railway worker still remembered what he had had to endure when the United Party was in power. The speech of the hon. member for Wynberg would have been very fitting during the time when they were still in power. He was a member of this House at that time; why did he not throw in his weight at that time and fight for the interests of the worker? Furthermore, the hon. the Minister is being accused of having painted a false picture last year by saying that there would be a deficit of £3,500,000, whereas he comes forward with a surplus to-day. What is strange in that, Sir? Even during the régime of the United Party it happened that one year they had a deficit and a surplus the following year, while they were prepared for a deficit Surely that is nothing new.

What I should like to see on the part of hon. members opposite is that they will come forward with constructive criticism but what have we had so far? The Railways cannot achieve anything with the assistance of those hon. members. They belittle everything that has been done. The hon. member for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje) tried to get away from the weak policy which his Government followed in 1948. He as much as denied that there was anything wrong and now he accuses the hon. the Minister and says that the railway worker has to be satisfied with crumbs. I think that is far-reaching because if what has been done for the railway worker since 1948 is described as crumbs, I myself should like to gather some of them. No, I want to assure the hon. the Minister that the railway worker is appreciative of what has been done. You will remember, Sir, that a few years ago the hon. the Minister staked his career by saying that if he should fail in lifting the Railways out of the morass in which they were he would give up his public career. I now want to say to the Minister that he has succeeded admirably in lifting the Railways out of the morass. We are all very satisfied and we say “ thank you Whereas private vehicles had to go on to the road previously to assist in conveying goods, everything can be conveyed by rail to-day. In addition we have this wonderful surplus of R19,700,000. That is a great amount of money, Sir. Hon. members realize that the Minister is now meeting the worker by means of consolidating his cost-of-living allowance with his basic wage. Hon. members opposite call that crumbs. If R12,000,000 is regarded as crumbs, then they do not know the value of money.

Mr. Speaker, the barometer of the country’s economy has always been the South African Railways. If things go well with the Railways we know that the economy of the country is sound. We are convinced that that is the position to-day. Let us consider the progress which the Railways have made over the past 50 years. In 1910 only R181,000,000 was invested in the Railways in the form of capital; in 1960 that amount was R1,485,000,000. That indicates the progress that was made. As far as revenue is concerned it was only R28,000,000 in 1911-2 as compared with R401,000,000 in 1959-60. This is the progress which the United Party is belittling to-day, Sir. I think it is scandalous for anyone to try to harm an undertaking in his own country by trying to make political capital out of it That, in the long run, Sir, is the only object they have in view, namely to make political capital out of it.

An undertaking which employs 214,000 people must be a gigantic undertaking and we are pleased to find that at the end of this financial year the financial position is as favourable as it is because the bread and butter of those 214,000 employees depend on that success. I want to assure the Minister that the railway workers—and I represent at least 3,000 of them—support the Government. The few odd ones that possibly supported the United Party in the past, are with us to-day; even the few odd ones that supported the Progressive Party are with us to-day.

I think the Minister said that the Administration had all the workers it required to-day, except shunters—I hope he will tell me whether I am right. I want to ask the Minister whether that is not due to the fact that the wages of the shunters are too low? Is it not possible to offer more attractive wages to shunters so as to attract more people to that grade? In that event the Railways will also get the right type of person. It is a wellknown fact that shunting is one of the most dangerous jobs on the Railways and that many workers have either been killed or have lost one or other limb.

I also notice that an amount of £5,685,000 has been set aside in the Estimates for the acquisition of vehicles and equipment. Of the 7,742 vehicles which were in use during the past financial year, 1,829 were built in the Railway workshops; 5,200 by local firms, while 143 were imported. I want to refer to these 143 vehicles that were imported and ask the Minister whether it is not possible to manufacture all our requirements locally. If the Railways themselves are unable to do so, surely there are private firms in our country that can do so. Why should we import them?


We cannot manufacture the engines.


Import the engines, yes, but let us manufacture parts here.

I also wish to congratulate the Minister on the decrease in the number of accidents. You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that this House passed an Act last year, Act No. 41 of 1960, in terms of which a fund was established for the elimination of crossings and to which the Administration, the Provincial Councils and local authorities, etc., contributed. I notice that provision is made on this year’s Estimates for an amount of R500,000 as a contribution to that fund for the elimination of crossings. We are pleased about the progress that has already been made with the elimination of crossings because the number of accidents has already been reduced from 387 in 1958-9 to 351 in 1959-60. Because of that the claims have decreased from R897,902 in 1958-9 to R710,835 in 1959-60. This proves that it can be done and that accidents can be eliminated on a large scale. Something else that will help to avoid accidents in future is the training which students receive at Esselen Park to-day. When we inspected Esselen Park, I found it enlightening to see how the students were being trained, even as far as safety measures in the service are concerned. During the past financial year no less than 67 railway crossings have been eliminated. Twelve crossings were done away with by the Roads Department of the Provincial Council and local authorities. As a result of road diversions and bridges across roads eight have been eliminated. Apart from that 47 were eliminated as a result of bigger schemes. That means that 67 crossings altogether have been eliminated and if we continue in that way, I am sure it will not be long before all the crossings shall have been eliminated.

I now want to deal with housing and in this regard I want to bring something which is alleged outside to the notice of the Minister. I do not think anything can be done about it, but I want to bring it to the notice of the Minister. The Railways have a scheme under which departmental houses can be sold to employees. It is alleged now that people who have only ten or 12 years to go before they reach the retiring age, find that it does not pay them to purchase a house because the monthly installments amount to approximately R50, whereas these are people who only receive about R100 per month. They now maintain—and this is the point I am making —that younger men are buying these houses from before their very noses, in spite of the fact that they have spent years of labour, money and time on making those places attractive laying out gardens and looking after them. It is alleged that these young men make the rounds, see which house is the most attractive, which one has been best cared for and then they buy that house and the occupier has to leave. It is true that the occupier has the first option to purchase, but I have already said that it was not a paying proposition for him to do so because the monthly installments in his case were too high. There are not many such cases, but they do occur and those few people feel very dissatisfied about the position.

In conclusion I just want to refer to the sum of R114,404 which appears on the Estimates this year for enlarging the goods shed at Langlaagte. The Minister knows all the facts. There is a small shed there to-day. The money has been voted but we find this small amount on the Estimates for this year and nothing much can be done with that. I want to ask the Minister please to see what can be done and whether the work cannot be undertaken as soon as possible.

Mr. R. A. F. SWART:

Mr. Speaker, it seems almost a pity to say anything which might detract from the obvious joy with which the hon. member for Langlaagte (Mr. P. J. Coetzee) reviewed the entire Railway service, and this Railway Budget in particular. Although one admires his enthusiasm and his loyalty to the Railway service, I am afraid that in many respects I cannot agree with the sentiments he has expressed.

I want to deal again with the amendment moved yesterday by my colleague the hon. member for Durban (Berea) (Mr. Butcher) and to say that this amendment which stands in his name on the Order Paper was designed to focus attention on the need for a bold and new approach to our transport undertaking in South Africa. Year after year when we consider the Railway Budget and matters pertaining thereto, we are faced with the same attitude of timidity in regard to transport administration. Year after year we have the same sort of attitude: If there is a deficit then the Railway Funds are raided to make it up; if there is a surplus then some of that surplus is paid back into the Railway Fund, and one always has the impression that the South African Railways are becoming accustomed to living from hand to mouth in regard to the financing of the Railway undertaking in South Africa. They profit here by fortuitous increases in exports and imports, they suffer there by fortuitous fallings-off in some or other aspect of the South African economy. All in all, the picture which one gets is of lack of planning, of a hand to mouth existence in regard to the financial administration of the South African Railways. It is for that reason that we on these benches have moved an amendment which, we realize, is a far-reaching amendment but one which, we believe, if accepted, might have the effect of giving the South African Railways an opportunity to place their undertaking on a very much sounder financial basis.


You must make representations to the Minister of Finance. I will support you.

Mr. R. A. F. SWART:

I am very gratified to hear the hon. the Minister’s interjection, and certainly, if we on these benches can assist him in any of the representations he is making to the hon. the Minister of Finance, we shall be very happy to do so if the effect is going to be to assist the country and the Railways and place them on a sounder financial basis.

Mr. Speaker, we know that there are normal budgeting hazards which any administration would have to put up with. In the case of the Railway Administration one sympathizes with the hon. the Minister, because the hazards with which he has to deal are totally unfair and unreasonable when one has regard to the capital structure of the South African Railways and the tremendous burden which the Administration has to carry in that regard. It is against the background of an understanding of this position that one is able to understand that the hon. the Minister finds it impossible to come with anything but a dull and unimaginative Budget each year. So we find that the hon. the Minister is for ever haunted by the specter of a deficit and finds himself restricted when it comes to long-term planning. It is for that reason, as I have said, that we on these benches have moved the amendment standing in the name of the hon. member for Durban (Berea). We realize that the South African Railways carry an enormous responsibility to South Africa. We realize, in the first place, that in an expanding economy our transport services, and the South African Railways in particular, should be in the van of development, that our entire industrial development depends upon the Railways to carry goods as quickly as possible and at the most economic rate. From the point of view of our industrial expansion, we realize that the Railways carry a great responsibility.

Secondly, as the hon. the Minister so often tells this House and told this House again the other day when introducing these Estimates— the Railways, we know, is the greatest single employer of manpower in South Africa. For these weighty reasons there is every justification for this House and for the hon. the Minister, and for the hon. the Minister of Finance considering the far-reaching basis of reform which we on these benches have advocated and which is contemplated in the amendment which we have moved. We are dealing with an undertaking of the utmost importance to South Africa, and it is therefore essential, in the interest of all concerned in South Africa, that the Railway Administration should be given the best possible chance of making a success of the tremendous task with which it is confronted. We realize that while recognizing these patent difficulties with which the South African Railways have to contend, we are disturbed when we listen to the speech made by the hon. the Minister in introducing these Estimates, we are disturbed by the lack of evidence in that speech of any long-term planning for the future. One wonders whether the South African Railways are to continue functioning on this hand-to-mouth basis. If the hon. the Minister has a plan of long-term development, or if he has a future five-year plan, then we would like to hear it, and so would people outside this House.

There are certain specific questions with which I would like the hon. the Minister to deal when he replies to this debate. In the first place, important reference is made in his Budget speech to the re-organization of staff, re-organization which has taken place on the top level. The hon. the Minister has told us, for example, that in so far as senior executive officers are concerned, there are now to be two Deputy General Managers. He has also told us that the post of Assistant General Manager Finance and Planning falls away and that that is now going to be divided into two parts. In regard to both of these posts this is probably a move in the right direction, and one hopes it will give these two senior officers of the South African Railways an opportunity of planning in the respective spheres for which they have been appointed.

I want to deal specifically with the post which has been created as a separate post of planning and productivity. I wonder, when the hon. the Minister replies, if he will give us details as to the duties of the officer in charge of this post and how he will operate? One would like to see a top-level planning council set up, not a departmental planning council. One would like to see a planning council set up which could go into the future plans of the South African Railways in liaison and in conjunction with commerce and industry in South Africa. In another sphere the hon. the Prime Minister has appointed an Economic Advisory Council. He has set the precedent in that instance …


We are members of that.

Mr. R. A. F. SWART:

… of drawing upon people from outside. Acknowledging that the Railways may be members of that, I would like to see the Railways set up a similar top-level council which could draw on people from outside the railway service who have knowledge of South Africa’s transport requirements. I think that that would show that the Railways are in earnest in regard to the future planning of their activities and their programme in South Africa.

I would then like the hon. the Minister to give us further information as to how this senior official who is now going to be in charge of planning and productivity in the South African Railways, is going to carry out his duties and on whom he is going to lean for advice in regard to the important tasks that have been given to him.

Secondly, I should like the hon. the Minister to tell us in his reply what co-ordination there is between his Department and other Government Departments. This, again, appears to be imperative if we are to consider the future of the South African Railways and the part which it is going to play in South Africa. It seems incredible that in his Budget speech the hon. the Minister completely ignored major policy statements which have been made by his colleagues in the Cabinet in regard to matters which must have a very real and serious effect upon the Railway Administration. I refer in the first instance, to the question of border industries and to the policy of separate development which has been so enthusiastically announced by the hon. Minister for Bantu Administration and Development. The hon. member for Durban (Berea) dealt briefly yesterday with the question of border industries, and he referred particularly to the area around East London and bordering on the Transkei. He referred, also, to the proposed development which one hopes will take place in the Province of Natal, in the Tugela Basin. He asked the hon. the Minister to give this House some information as to what part the South African Railways would play in that proposed development, and I think it is important that the Minister should do so. We are treated so often to speeches by his colleague, the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, suggesting all these developments, but it is obvious to anyone that none of the developments can take place unless it does so in conjunction with adequate transport facilities being provided. One would like to know what coordination there is between this hon. Minister and his colleagues in the Cabinet in regard to matters of this kind. It is paradoxical that this hon. Minister who is a member of a government which is dedicated to disintegration in South Africa and to separate development, presents a Budget which reflects all the advantages of integration and which is completely silent in regard to the duties which must fall upon the South African Railways in regard to the policy of separate development in South Africa I think the hon. the Minister should tell this House what the plans of the South African Railways are going to be in order to meet up with the requirements which will flow from the policies announced by his colleagues in the Cabinet. It is not only a question of border industries. That is important by itself, and obviously any development in that field must be linked with adequate transport facilities. But it goes deeper than that. What part will the South African Railways hope to play in the development of the Native Reserves in South Africa? We have had all sorts of far-reaching schemes suggested to us by the hon. Minister of Bantu Administration and Development as to what progress is going to be made in the reserves, as to how the economy in the reserves is going to be built up. But I think it is a fact that no single South African Native reserve at the present time is served by adequate railway facilities. Clearly, if the hon. the Minister’s colleagues are to be believed, if this sort of development is going to take place then the South African Railways are going to have to take a very big share in the responsibility for that development, and one would have thought that at this stage this hon. Minister might have given the House an indication in his speech the other day as to what part he envisages the South African Railways will play in this proposed development. Because it is impossible to develop any of these areas without adequate transport facilities. Even in regard to the Native reserves, if one has regard to the possible future economic parts of the Native reserves as being based upon an agricultural economy, it is obvious from our own experience in the rural areas of White South Africa that it cannot succeed unless backed up by a proper transport facility. So one hopes that when the hon. the Minister talks about future planning he will be able to tell us that there is co-ordination between his Department and other Government Departments in regard to matters of this kind.

Then, also on this question of co-ordination, last year the hon. the Minister’s colleague, the Minister of Water Affairs, made an announcement in regard to development which will take place in connection with the Pongola Dam again, one wonders whether the Railway Administration has considered the effect which that development is going to have on the transport facilities serving that area. The hon. the Minister of Water Affairs told this House last year that when the Pongola Dam scheme has been completed there will be a population of something like 100,000 people, Europeans and non-Europeans, living within the complex of that dam. Again, one asks: Has a scheme of this kind been embarked upon without consultation with the South African Railways, or was it embarked upon after consultation? And what part does the hon. the Minister envisage the South African Railway Administration will play when that development has taken place? And one comes back immediately and naturally and logically to the question referred to yesterday by the hon. member for Berea, the question of providing the rail link between Natal and the Transvaal through Piet Retief. The hon. the Minister knows that this matter has been discussed ad nauseam in this House, that a few years ago there appeared to be a real likelihood of such a link being built through Swaziland. The Minister, at that stage, announced that the Administration had been compelled to drop the scheme. In view of the enormous development that is promised for Northern Zululand, we would like to know whether the hon. the Minister has any intention of reconsidering that proposed link which many people regard as being absolutely essential if that part of South Africa is to be adequately developed.

These are all matters upon which, I think, we are entitled to more information in regard to the future planning of the South African Railways. Then there is another matter with which I should like to deal in the short space of time at my disposal, and that is the question of what the future is going to be in South Africa for our first class passenger services. Every year when the Railway Estimates are presented, we get a picture of the first class passenger services running at greater and greater loss. I think we are entitled to know from the Railways whether they have abandoned any idea of making that first class passenger service pay in the future. It is important, again in regard to this matter, that the Railways should produce new ideas in order to make the passenger service pay. We know that there is a public relations department in the South African Railways, and we know that to a limited extent they do a good job of work. They advertise freely in the newspapers and endeavour to boost the South African Railways. But I think more is required than simply public relations. It is necessary, in the public relations field, to have a good product to sell, and I think that very often in regard to passenger services, and first class passenger services, what the public relations department of the South African Railways is selling is a product which is at least 20 years old, when you think in terms of comfort in so far as passenger travel is concerned in this country. Very few changes have been brought about in the travelling comfort of first class passengers over the past 20 years. It is true that there have been air conditioned dining saloons fitted to trains; it is also true that there have been minor modifications, but if one looks at the accommodation which is provided to-day for the passenger public, there has been very little change in the normal train services over the past 20 years on the South African Railways. It seems that again in this instance there is a need for a real investigation to be undertaken to try to learn something from developments which have taken place m other countries in regard to passenger travel, and to try to provide the travelling public in South Africa with something new in the line of passenger travel. I think that here again we are entitled to an explanation from the hon. the Minister as to whether the Government is serious in trying to increase its passenger public in South Africa in so far as the Railways are concerned.

These are all things which, in our view, need greater investigation on the part of South African Railways. These are all improvements which we believe can be effected in order to allow the Railways to play a greater part in the development of South Africa. But we realize that so long as the present system of financing has to be adhered to by the Railways it is likely that these matters are going to be overlooked. It is for that reason that the hon. member for Durban (Berea) moved his amendment suggesting that the Railways and the Minister should be given greater freedom of movement, certainly for a period of years, in order to examine all aspects of our Railway policy and to endeavour to put the South African Railways on a sound financial basis, a basis on which they can make a far greater contribution to the economic development of our country.


Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who has just sat down chose the easy way out by merely criticizing without making any constructive suggestions. For example the hon. member repeated the accusation, as contained in the motion of the hon. member for Berea (Mr. Butcher) that the Railways have got into the habit of living from hand to mouth. Does the hon. member not know that although the Railways is an institution which has to carry itself financially, it is not imbued with the profit motive. We have the Rates Equalization Fund which is supposed to be a stabilizing fund in the first instance. If the hon. member wishes to complain that that fund is too small, he should tell this House whether the hon. the Minister should increase the tariffs or whether he should decrease the salaries and wages of the staff, so that he can pay that money into the fund. In that case the hon. member should also be prepared to face the consequences of such an act. I do not think the hon. member need worry himself unduly about the role which the Railways will play in the development of the Bantu areas. I think that just as in the past where demands were made on the Railways and on our transportation system, similarly on the basis of uni-racial development, when the Bantu areas are being developed, the Railways and our transportation services will be ready to meet the demands made on them.

After the hon. the Minister of Transport had made his Budget statement last Wednesday I made it my business to talk to various Railway officials in order to hear what their views were. J want to tell the Minister that there are two matters in particular with which they are very pleased. In the first place it is the announcement that cost-of-living allowances are to be consolidated with the salaries and wages of the Railway staff; and apart from all the disparaging remarks that we have had from the Opposition we want to assure the hon. the Minister that the railway staff is exceedingly pleased about that. As the hon. the Minister has already said in his speech, and as is obvious, it means an increase of something like 40 per cent to 60 per cent in the pension benefits of some railway workers. The hon. member tor Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) is only concerned with the pay packet which the railway worker takes home on a Friday evening or at the end of the month. That is the only thing he is concerned about. I want to tell him that it is obvious that he is courting the railway worker’s vote and that it is a blatant insult to the intelligence of the railway worker. When it comes to a general election that is not the deciding factor that counts with the White man of South Africa when he goes to the polling booth to record his vote for the election of a government for his country. That is not his first consideration, and the railway worker is no different from any other person in this country and a different yardstick is not applied to him. He goes to the polling booth to make his cross fully convinced that what he is about to do is the right thing. That is why I say it is a short-term policy and a short-term scheme to give these people something additional just for the time being. I think if we regarded the position of people who are retired to-day, not only those who have retired from the Railway service, we will find that they are pleased that they had the opportunity during their working years to build up a pension which enables them to live a decent life to-day that they are retired and no longer able to earn anything; that is the time when a higher pension means a great deal to him. It cannot be regarded as crumbs off the Minister’s table when the railway worker’s pension is increased from 40 per cent to 60 per cent. This is being very well received.

I say, Mr. Speaker, that it is obvious that they are courting the railwayman’s vote in this to 60 per cent. This is being very well received.


Did you people never court?


It is not a question of whether we courted or did not court. The railway worker has accepted this Government as his friend and protector a Government which also cares for him because he renders a service to the country and to the Government. It was in the South African Railways that it was discovered that work was noble. The railway worker does not work solely for the sake of the money. Naturally he has to be rewarded for the work which he does, but he does that work because of the love he has for the organization which he serves. I regard that as a laudable characteristic of any railway worker. He may have grievances and he may feel dissatisfied, but do not touch the Railways, because then you touch the railwayman and he will defend the Railways. He is loyal towards the organization which he serves and we can only hope that in this respect the railway worker will set an example to other employees and other organizations. He also has reason to be proud or the fact that he is part of a mighty organization such as the South African Railways. Mr. Speaker, allow me to repeat this. I say that any railway employee, from the most humble labourer to the General Manager, has reason to be thankful for and proud of the fact that he is part of an organization such as the South African Railways.

In the time at my disposal I will endeavour to prove this statement of mine. For that reason I am sorry that there has not been a word of appreciation on the part of the Opposition in regard to this matter, particularly at this stage, this centenary year of the Railways —a centenary year in which the footlights will be focused on so many outstanding achievements in the history of the Railways, and a year in which the Budget of which the Minister introduced last Wednesday, is the crowning glory and represents yet another achievement in this centenary year. When we look at the growth and development of the South African Railways over the past 100 years, we find that this organization which started in a very small way, was subject to a great deal of criticism initially. They did not get much encouragement and there was even open hostility on the part of some concerns towards the establishment of a government transportation scheme because it was alleged that that would kill private initiative and because the private haulier—and we are not unaware of the romantic side of it when we say this—with his ox wagon, the man who did the transport riding in the past, would be eliminated. There was a great deal of opposition to the establishment of such a government transportation scheme. Fortunately as was the case throughout the history of the Railways, there were men with faith in those days, men of vision, with power of perseverance and with unshakeable determination, men who knew and believed that it was necessary, for the sake of the development of South Africa to establish such a transportation scheme. I make bold to say that the Railways are the forerunners of industrial development in South Africa to-day. The South African Railways are one of the two legs on which our country’s entire economy stands. The South African Railways have become one of the two legs on which our entire national economy stands. The South African Railways have made agricultural development in South African possible. When we think of the remote parts of our country, remote parts but parts which are nevertheless excellent cattle breeding areas, where stock raising was not possible in days gone by because the farmer or the prospective farmer could not get his products to the market. We realize that it was the South African Railways who introduced their transportation services to those areas and made it possible for those people to embark on stock breeding because their stock could then be properly marketed. Due to the introduction of road transportation services it was possible to convey cream to the creameries and dairy farming became possible in places where it would otherwise have been impossible. In that way the South African Railways have become the forerunner of industrial development in South Africa and the pace of our industrial development depends on the carrying capacity of the Railways. Another fact to be borne in mind is the fact that ours is a vast country which is thinly populated. The topography of our country is such that in many parts of it is more costly to build a railway line than in any other part in the world. Our South African Railways have to cover long distances.

I should also like to say something about the South African Railways as an employer. Reference has already been made to that in certain respects, in some respects with pride and in other respects in a sneering manner. I am now going far back. On 31 December 1910 there were 27,751 White people and 24,732 non-White people in the employ of the South African Railways, a total of 52,483. In 1920 there were 40,669 Whites and 42,669 non-Whites, a total of 83,338. I shall not deal with all the periods, but in the year 1940 there were 69,500 Whites and 53,500 non-Whites in employ, a total of 90,560. To-day, as has already been mentioned by the hon. the Minister in introducing his Budget, the South African Railways employ 109,939 Whites and 108,010 non-Whites, a total of 217,949. We cannot talk about the Railways as an employer of labour without considering the role which the South African Railways have played in the socio-economic field in awakening the feeling of nationhood in the people of the country and the role it has played in our growth into nationhood. I remember the days when the South African Railways literally picked people out of the gutter, uplifted and trained them, made artisans of them and offered them employment where they could render productive service to South Africa instead of remaining useless where they were. That has been the position throughout the years and to-day the position is still that the South African Railways employ thousands 9f workers who are unfit for any other work in the labour market. The South African Railways have, therefore, more or less rendered a social service to those citizens of South Africa some of whom have big families. Men have been trained and they have been able to make a living worthy of a human being and those people have ultimately played their role in society. In this way the South African Railways have, in the course of the past 100 years, rehabilitated thousands and tens of thousands of families in South Africa, more particularly Afrikaans-speaking families and provided them with a foothold in life. We cannot talk about the employment of labour on the Railways without paying tribute to the South African Railways for the fact that not only have the Railways employed the father but in many cases his children have also found employment on the South African Railways; they have become proud citizens and made their contribution towards the development of this big organization. One is tempted to say as N. P. van Wyk Louw said when he spoke about the woman “ Die vrou—wat geslagte aan geslagte bind, die vrou ” (woman—who binds generations and generations together—woman). Thus the South African Railways, economically speaking, bind generations and generations together, and there are families in South Africa who have built up a railway tradition for themselves in this country, a tradition of which they need not be ashamed, but of which they have reason to be proud. In connection with the socio-economic role which the South African Railways have played I cannot neglect to say that, long before the Central Government appointed social workers, the South African Railways appointed them. I do not wish to mention any names but some of those people are sitting in this House to-day and they occupy some of the highest positions. Evening classes were arranged for some of these people in order to train them so that they could render more efficient service and render service in higher spheres.

That brings me to the cultural role which the South African Railways plays in the national economy. This training and these evening classes have led to the establishment of the first training centre at Kroonstad where the staff receives training, and to-day there is, what I would call, a railway university at Esselen Park, established at an estimated cost of R5,457,900. Of this amount an amount of R5,315,900 has already been spent. This railway university at Esselen Park offers courses in the following duties: Permanentway inspector, station foreman, conductor, driver (electric as well as steam), station accounts, time calculation and pay sheets, checker, manager (road transport), apprenticeship, and South African Police recruits are also trained there.


Nothing for Members of Parliament.


I think it is a good idea for some Members of Parliament who take part annually in the Railway Budget debate to attend a course at the railway university at Esselen Park; we will then have more constructive criticism from members opposite.

The number of students who have been trained at Esselen Park is as follows: In 1956-7 the number was 1,889 at a total cost of R636,502 in that year, that is to say R337 per student. At that time there were 64 instructors. In 1957-8 there were 2,088 students; the total cost was R656,000, cost per student R314; 59 instructors. In 1958-9: 2,402 students, total cost R672.600, cost per student R288; 64 instructors. In 1959-60: number of students 2,393, total cost R558,600, cost per student R234 with 60 instructors. You will, therefore, see, Sir, that the South African Railways play a very important roll in the educational field. This college exceeds the one in Britain. It is regarded as a model employees’ training institution for which the South African Railways deserve much credit. It is hardly necessary for me to say that wonderful results have been achieved in regard to the training of railway-workers. I may add that the decline in the accident rate on the South African Railways is attributed to that. The South African Police receive training there for six months. It brings about greater efficiency and it provides the Railways with better material; that is the big task which the college performs. I also want to refer to the bursaries which are made available by the South African Railways for fulltime study. During the academic year 1960, 14 bursaries were awarded to officials to study for their B.Com. degree, on a full-time basis, at the University of Stellenbosch. Included in that is a two-year course in transportation. Further bursaries will be made available in future. Free bursaries of £300 per annum are available for study in engineering in order to encourage servants of the Administration and young men from outside to take up engineering I cannot over-emphasize the importance of these bursaries which are available to encourage young people to study engineering. You know, Sir, how we have to go overseas time and again for technicians because the young people in South Africa have perhaps too long exclusively been forced into an academic direction because we lacked the facilities to train them in other directions. The South African Railways play an indescribably big roll in the educational field. What is more, as far as this matter is concerned, if ever an organization has assisted in introducing bilingualism in South Africa it was the South African Railways. The South African Railways insist on its officials being bilingual and considering the fact that one-tenth of our population is dependent on the Railways to-day, I think there are very few institutions employing labour that have done more to promote bilingualism than the South African Railways. I want to mention a final point in connection with the educational side: In conjunction with the language section of the South African Academy of Arts and Science the South African Railways have published various volumes in regard to trade terms, motor terms, locomotive terms, passenger coach and truck terms, and a list of menu terms of what we can offer the ladies. We are very grateful to the language bureau of the South African Railways for its contribution as far as the translation into Afrikaans of trade terms is concerned.

Reference has already been made to housing and I want to associate myself with the remarks made by other hon. members who have spoken with praise about housing. Seeing that this year is a family year, we cannot be too thankful for the fact that so many of the railway employees own neat and comfortable houses where happy families are reared. Thanks to the Railways thousands of our railway families are housed in proper houses.

Then a word of praise to the South African Railways which during the hundred years of it development and growth have taught us how to spend a holiday. I think of the model holiday resort of the Railways, Hartenbos and Natalia, along the South Coast. The Railways have taught us how to turn relaxation and holidaying, from mere loafing, into a creative cultural service. Let me say a few words in connection with the contributions made by the South African Railways during its 100 years of development in the cultural sphere. I think it behoves every honest person and every honest nation to pay tribute to sturdy forefathers such as ours, and I have in mind particularly the Voortrekkers. When we talk about the cultural contributions towards our national economy we think about that outstanding event, the greatest event of the past century, that festival when we paid homage to our forefathers. We think of the symbolic Ossewa Trek of 1938, and all the credit for that must go to the railwayman. The idea originated with the railwayman, the organization was planned and undertaken by him. In those days when the idea of a festival was born, there were also people who opposed it and poured cold water over the idea, but on that occasion as well there were men with faith, with vision and power of perseverance who planned that programme for the festival. The idea was born at Hartenbos in 1937. The idea to make an ox-wagon was born there; an old-fashioned ox-wagon, to load it on to a lorry and to take it through the country on the lorry. But the railwayman was not satisfied with that. It had to roll along roads, over the fields, over the mountains and through the ravines of our country on its own steel rims, and it had to touch at every town, at every hamlet and at every city in order to attract tens of thousands of people to celebrate those occasions. When we think back to those four months during which enthusiasm ran high in South Africa, then we as a proud country can only say that we are proud of our South African Railways which made it possible for South Africa to pay homage to our forefathers in the form of that festival.


Who was the leader?


The hon. member is tempting me. We all know who the leader was, and we want to thank that person, and I think it was there that he received much of the training which has enabled him to occupy the exalted position which he occupies in the House of Assembly. When we think of what this symbolic ox-wagon trek has meant to South Africa, I can only say that, during that ox-wagon trek, the Afrikaner was re-born, spiritually and culturally. We shall never forget that. It was a source of inspiration; it awakened ideals; it was a brilliant festival. With the earnestness which it demands, I want to say that the South African Railways played a very solemn and dignified role in conveying the mortal remains of the former Prime Minister from Cape Town to Pretoria; they also provided the train of mourning. I can only say that a grateful nation want to thank the Railways for their contribution on that solemn occasion, and for the dignified way in which they did it.

A great deal has already been said about the purchasing power of the South African Railways as purchaser and user of South African-manufactured products. We can only say that we are thankful that, in that regard as well, the South African Railways have set an example to many of our housewives and to many of us as individuals; they have taught us to buy South African and to be proud of that which is our own.

As far as our tourist traffic is concerned, it is the network of railway lines, our aeroplanes with their silver wings, our luxury motor buses and our roads which enable the tourist who visits South Africa to get to know our beautiful country and its people and to return to their own countries as ambassadors for South Africa. I am afraid my time has expired, Sir. I want to conclude by saying that, if we look at the big national contribution which the South African Railways have made towards our national economy as a whole, with all its branches, one is forced to be careful when levelling disparaging criticism and when one condemns this mighty organization which has contributed so much towards giving colour, character and lustre to our nation. I conclude by repeating what I said at the beginning of my speech: We, as a House of Assembly, are grateful for our South African transportation system, and every railwayman, from the humblest labourer to the General Manager, ought to be proud of the fact that he is associated with this wonderful organization.


Although this Budget has already been so thoroughly discussed, it is none the less not too late for me to associate myself with those who have congratulated the Minister and his managerial staff on submitting so excellent a Budget. This expenditure of approximately R12,000,000 which is to be used to improve the position of the Railway staff should meet with approval in all quarters. That is also the position, except in the case of hon. members opposite. I am surprised that a member like the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) can rise in this House and say that the staff associations are not all satisfied with the concessions which have been made to the staff. One should like to know where the hon. member has obtained this information and on whose behalf he has made such statements. Unfortunately he is not here at the moment, but I should nevertheless like to read to the House what Mr. Basson, the Secretary of the Artisans Staff Association, has said about these concessions, and I should like to point out to the hon. member that the Artisans Staff Association was the only staff association which was not present at the final negotiations last month. I read from the Cape Argus of the 10th of this month—

Mr. Basson said “ railwaymen welcomed the consolidation of cost-of-living allowances in the basic salaries. This step, which had long been advocated by the railway artisans, would result in improved pensions. The Minister’s assurance that no one would take home a smaller packet has also been noted with relief by all railwaymen”, said Mr. Basson.

I think that Mr. Basson can speak on these matters with greater authority than the hon. member for Turffontein and it may be a good thing if he wishes to make such statements again in future, for him first to make certain of his facts and to tell us where he obtained his information. Seeing that this additional concession has been made and that consolidation must now take place, we hope that the hon. the Minister, his managerial staff and the various staff associations will successfully carry out this most difficult task and that the scales will be adjusted on such a basis that there will be general satisfaction amongst the staff. One does not doubt for a moment that those concerned will in fact be able to do so, but I can already say to-day that the railwayman is waiting very anxiously to see how the scales will in fact be adjusted. We trust that those responsible will be able to carry out the difficult task awaiting them successfully.

I want to raise a certain matter to-day and I should like to refer briefly to the methods adopted by the Artisans Staff Association on certain occasions when they have submitted requests for improved conditions of service to the Minister. The way in which they sometimes set about submitting these requests makes many people suspect that they are unfortunately trying to make political capital out of the circumstances under which they submit these requests and the times when they do so. This can definitely not redound to the benefit of this staff association. I am not implying for one moment that a trade union should not further the interests of its members to the best of its ability whenever and wherever it can. On the contrary I believe that that is one of its main functions. But a trade union has other functions as well. The trade union can for example cultivate a very sound understanding by the way in which it acts during negotiations between the employer and the employee, and a sound understanding is essential for sound co-operation. They should also play an active part in furthering the interests of the undertaking which employs them. The more prosperous the undertaking, the better it is for the employees, particularly when the employer is the South African Railways, the continued existence of which is not based on the profit motive. What has happened in recent years? We are still left with the aftertaste of the somewhat distasteful statements and reproaches which were made as a result of demands which this Artisans Staff Association submitted just before the last election. I do not contend for a moment that they deliberately chose this time. But they chose a very undesirable and a very unfortunate time to submit such demands. The same thing happened in 1958. Mr. Speaker, you will remember that just before that election, this same trade union submitted demands and they even went so far as to threaten the Minister that if he did not grant their demands at that stage before the election, they would strike. Most fortunately nothing came of that strike. I say most fortunately because a strike does not benefit anyone, neither the employer nor the employee. The House will allow me to read a certain report to indicate what pressure was exercised on the Minister at that time in an attempt to persuade him to make concessions to the Railway staff at that particular time, i.e. immediately before an election. I am reading from a report which was drawn up after they had had an interview with the Minister—

Our Executive Committee is of the opinion that some form of concession must come. We feel that the delay until the end of March 1958 may result in controversies on staff matters in the midst and heat of the General Election. Such a position will of course be very bad for certain people.

This was stated by Mr. Liebenberg, the chairman of the trade union. Mr. Liebenberg went on to say—-

You said that you would consider the matter during April next.
The Minister: I am making the strongest objection if you say that I am making election promises. I am not doing anything of the kind. I am merely repeating what I told you during the past 12 months, namely, that I am prepared to give the matter consideration at the end of the financial year.
Mr. Liebenberg: One can only give a matter consideration with the object of improving it, and such an improvement will only come after the close of the financial year.
The Minister: What I have said was not an election promise. I have said it for months.

Well, these gentlemen still wanted to exercise pressure on the Minister and they then went further—

Mr. Liebenberg; I know what the attitude of the staff is going to be—they will regard it as an election promise. I would rather clash with you, but I cannot abide by your decision. It is for you to decide how you are going to deal with the matter, but I feel that it is far better to dispose of it now, if necessary, in principle. I do not know whether you as a person who has been in public life for a long time would be prepared to take some advice or would be prepared to negotiate with us, because I have not had any experience in that respect. But I want to suggest that we follow the course of discussing the problem and to see if we cannot come to some agreement. The Minister; I want to repeat that I have said earlier; namely, that what I told you to-day must not be regarded as an election promise. I will say it in public too. Five months ago I informed the Federal Consultative Council of my attitude in regard to matters of this nature, and that can definitely not be regarded as an election promise.

Sir, I am mentioning these things to show what pressure was exercised on the hon. the Minister to persuade him to make concessions to the railwaymen just before an election. As the hon. the Leader of the Opposition also stated at that time, it would have been tantamount to bribery. Nevertheless these people behaved in this way in an attempt to obtain these concessions from the Minister. We are very grateful to the Minister for what he has done because I believe that if he had made concessions, a tremendous storm would have burst loose over the heads of the Government at that time as a result of the Minister’s behaviour and the Government would have been accused—and rightly so—of bribery. I now want to make an appeal to the executive of this Artisans Association not to act in this way in the future. It places them as a trade union under suspicion in the eyes of a very large percentage of their own members and the public outside as well. I want to give the House another example. I want to go back to 1948 and give an example in which this same union was involved. I want to read to the House from the Artisans Staff Association’s monthly journal for May 1948. I read-—

Do you know what Christian Trusteeship means?

Then they go on and answer this question—

It means accepting guardianship over primitive and less developed races and treating them in the true Christian spirit of charity and honesty. It means leading these races by virtue of ability and example to higher spiritual and economic development. Political parties who refuse to act in the spirit of Christian Trusteeship are enemies of society. Don’t let racial and colour prejudice get the better of you. Keep your head about you. Vote United Party.

Mr. Speaker, I say it is very late in the day when a trade union allows such statements to appear in its monthly journal. We did _ not hear of the trade union raising any objections to this advertisement being placed in its journal. We know that the United Party raised no objection to a monthly journal of a trade union being misused in this way for political purposes. On the contrary, the United Party placed this advertisement in that journal. I should like to ask the hon. members opposite whether they agree. Does the hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton) who is a reasonable person, consider that this type of behaviour is correct; does he agree with this behaviour by his party? I hope he will help us in putting an end to this type of behaviour on the part of the Artisans Staff Association, for the sake of the unity of those workers. If the Artirans Staff Association or any staff association refrain from creating the impression that they may be activated by political motives, they will be in all the better a position to obtain for the people who belong to their trade union and whose interests they serve, those things which they would like them to have.

The concessions which are being made to the railway staff by this budget certainly do not represent the end of the concessions which will be made to the railwaymen. I believe that in the future, when the financial position of the Railways justifies it, other concessions will be made, whether the staff associations ask for them or not, and I believe that under a sympathetic Minister such as the present one, the railwayman can rely on his interests as being looked after at all times.

I now want to take this opportunity to ask that when additional concessions are made in future to the railwaymen, these concessions should take place on a family basis. You know, Mr. Speaker, the railwaymen, particularly those in the lower income groups, have large families. The position is that the railwayman in the lower income groups finds it difficult to give his large family a proper education. It is true that his children receive a free education, but those children must be clothed and fed. As I have said, these people find it difficult to clothe and to educate their families properly with the result that the older children leave school as soon as they can to help their parents to educate the other children further. Hon. members know that a boy or girl who leaves school at 16 years of age is in many instances not even semi-equipped to face life. The first job that is offered is accepted; either in a factory or some such place, and if there is a recession, such a young boy or girl may be dismissed. We who represent these constituencies are faced with many of these cases. We therefore feel that this position should be alleviated. I believe that the Minister and his management may be able to help eliminate this difficulty by paying a family allowance to such families. What is to happen to such a young child who is dismissed from his employment at 16 years of age? He is not properly equipped for life; he cannot find his way in life again and the result is that such a person often drifts into undesirable company and instead of being an asset to the State he becomes a liability. We are importing skilled workers into the country. I maintain that we have the material available to train far more of our own young people as skilled artisans. It is far better to train one’s own people so that they do not become a burden on the State instead of importing people from overseas for that purpose.

The hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) is not here; I should like to have referred to something he has said; but I shall let it pass. The hon. member for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje) is not here either, but that hon. member made one or two very irresponsible statements last night. I do not think I-ban allow those statements to pass unchallenged. Inter alia he has asked that coal, petrol and oil should all be conveyed at the same tariffs. Just imagine, Mr. Speaker, the tariffs on coal, petrol and oil should be the same! If the hon. member had rather asked that the tariff on cow manure and lavender should be the same, I would have been better able to understand it, because those two articles do at least have one thing in common, namely a smell—the one is pleasant and the other not. If he had asked for that, his argument might have had some substance, but I really did not expect such arguments from the hon. member for Jeppes. He is regarded as a great economist and someone who is familiar with the economic background of our country and I expected better of him. He made another very serious statement. He advocated the replacement of railway transport by private transport. If we were to allow that to happen, what would remain of the railways? He did not even lay down any limitations; he said that we should do so gradually over a period of five or six years until the railways were completely replaced by private transport. If we were to accept this suggestion, what would remain of the railways? If we should take such a step how does the hon. member propose that we should recover the millions of rand that have been invested in capital works? This statement by the hon. member for Jeppes, and I believe that he was speaking on behalf of his party—otherwise one of his party members would have contradicted him—must therefore reflect the policy of his party.

He has made another suggestion, namely that the thousands of White workers on the railways should be dismissed as the result of the dissolution of the railway service. This is what it amounts to because, Mr. Speaker, it is after all no secret that the United Party advocates the use of cheap labour on the railways. If therefore they can replace our railway transport services by private services, they will have the opportunity to employ non-White workers and they do not mind what happens to the White railway workers. But to this suggestion the National Party replies with a very definite “ no ”. We have a great responsibility towards the thousands of White workers and their dependants and we cannot, and we shall not, give in to the unreasonable demands of the Opposition that people should be thrown onto the streets.

Over the past few days we have heard a great deal of criticism—here and there has been a little sound criticism, but otherwise it has been the old story once again. How do the United Party want to make an economic undertaking of the South African Railways which they allege are in such a deplorable position? All we have heard, has been criticism and we have not been offered any solutions even by the wise hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant). In my opinion there are three ways in which this might be done. It could be achieved by introducing increased tariffs, but what then becomes of the continuous representations of the United Party that the railways should carry less high-rated traffic? Another method is to reduce wages, but what then becomes of their continuous and persistent advocacy of wage increases? The alternative is that the railways should use cheaper labour. And that, Mr. Speaker, would be one of the first steps which the United Party would take if they should come into power again. The White worker therefore knows exactly where he stands with the United Party. I can just tell hon. members opposite that the railwaymen cannot be bought by fine talk or promises or pleas which have no substance. As a matter of fact they regard it is an insult and as a reflection on their integrity and a denial of their ability to judge for themselves and to decide on their own and their dependants’ future. And that is why, Mr. Speaker, the railwaymen have repeatedly expressed devastating judgment on the United Party in those constituencies where large numbers of railwaymen are concentrated.

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Mr. Speaker, I cannot deplore strongly enough the reprehensible and unjustifiable attack which the hon. member for Uitenhage (Mr. Badenhorst) has made this afternoon on the Artisans Staff Association. He has accused this important organization of trying to make political capital during election time. Furthermore, he made a threat that this could not benefit that organization …


May I ask a question?

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

No, the hon. member can ask me a question at a later stage; I shall give him an opportunity.


You are distorting my words.


On a point of order …


Order! The hon. member for Uitenhage must withdraw those words.


Mr. Speaker, I withdraw.

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I particularly deplore the fact that an attack has been made on Mr. Liebenberg himself. I do not know what Mr. Liebenberg’s politics are; I am not interested in them, but what I do know is that he works hard and that he fights hard for his staff association and for the artisans of the railways, and for that reason I respect him. It is pointless referring to the artisans in the way in which the hon. member did when he said: “These people made such a fuss about their demands.” I do not know why the hon. member is so indignant because an advertisement appeared in the monthly journal of that Association. The Nationalist Party has every right to advertise in that journal as well. Why did they not do so? By so doing we at least made a financial contribution to the welfare of that staff association. The Nationalist Party could safely have done the same thing and it will be a good thing if they do so in future, instead of advertising in the Star and the Daily Mail as they did at the last election.

Mr. Speaker, allow me to say that as far as the railway workers and the railway officials are concerned, the United Party regards it as their duty to speak on their behalf as ordinary citizens of this country and when this Government harms their interests, we shall speak on their behalf. We are not doing so to catch votes; we are not doing so for political gain; we are doing so because we are concerned about the interests of those people and we also do so because there are hundreds of them who get in touch with us and ask us to raise these matters. To give you one example, Mr. Speaker, here is a telegram which I received about half an hour ago. It is a telegram which to a certain extent answers the statements made by the hon. member for Wolmaranstad (Mr. G. P. van den Berg) regarding the Railway Police. He has stated, and rightly so, that the Railway Police receive an excellent training. I admit that, Sir, but I say that the Railway Police are one section who have been very unjustly treated by this Government. Here is the telegram I have received—

Urgent: Please ask the Minister of Transport publicly in Parliament why there is such a tremendous difference between the salaries of Railway Police officers and officers of the ordinary South African Police, seeing that Railway Police under Section 57 of Act No. 7 of 1957 have the same responsibilities and functions as the South African Police. Great dissatisfaction exists amongst the Railway Police.

And this is signed by an important official in the railway service itself. The hon. the Minister has come here and after some years of poor financial performances, he can boast of a considerable surplus this year. I trust that in the course of time these Railway surpluses will become ever smaller. Surpluses of this kind, as we have seen this year, are simply being dished up to us after two important Railway funds have been exhausted and milched until they have enabled the Minister to show a surplus on the working of the Railways. We must see whether the financial position of the Railways is really so basically sound. Here I want to quote the words which no less a person than the hon. the Minister of Transport himself used when he addressed the Railway staff associations in October last year, that is to say, the Federal Consultative Council. Then the Minister who is now so proud of this Railway surplus said—

Our financial position as far as certain funds were concerned, was so poor that the Betterment Fund had not only been exhausted but £5,000,000 had to be taken from Loan Funds in order to strengthen the Betterment Fund.

And he added—

This was of course a completely abnormal step to take. There was simply no money available.

This is an admission made by the hon. the Minister of Transport a few months ago indicating how poor the financial position of the Railways was. He also said this, and we know that this is so—

The increased replacement costs section of the Renewals Fund is also considerably overdrawn—by more than £7,000,000. This position must also be corrected.

When we take all these aspects into consideration, then I am certain that if this Budget had given these Funds what they needed there would not have been a surplus, but a deficit of nearly £15,000,000, on the running of the South African Railways. Mr. Speaker, the railways exist to provide a service to the public of South Africa. They are of course there to provide for their own workers as well, but the main object is to provide an efficient transport service to the country and to keep tariffs as low as possible. For that reason I was shocked when I read these words of the hon. the Minister of Transport in connection with what is apparently the duty of the railways to-day towards the public of South Africa. Listen to the words used by the hon. the Minister when he discussed tariff increases last year. He then said—

I do not feel sorry for the businessman or the industrialist or the members of the public who will have to pay if tariffs are increased …

In making this type of statement the hon. the Minister has no sympathy for the ordinary public.


He was not as dramatic as you are.

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I do not think that the hon. the Minister of Transport was dramatizing the position but when he says that tariffs can be increased and the hardship to the public does not matter the facts are dramatic enough.

I should like to turn to the position of the railway staff. I am glad that the cost-of-living allowance is to be consolidated with basic wages. Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that it has come at such a late stage. The United Party has been urging for not one, but two, three, four and five years that the cost-of-living allowance should be consolidated with basic wages. Now at last it is to be done: Why is it being done at such a late stage; why was it not done sooner? The same applies to the increased pensions. Have we on this side of the House not pointed out year after year how the Superannuation Fund has been growing by tens of millions of pounds per annum until the interest alone could have covered all the pension payments? Have we not advocated this step year after year? And now at last the hon. the Minister has increased pensions. It is a good thing, but once again I ask: Why has he waited so long? Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that we on this side of the House will have to continue championing the interests of the railwaymen of South Africa, and we shall have to make further proposals to the Minister which I hope he will consider and which I hope he will accept next year and not once again delay taking action year after year. We ask that an important amended grading structure should be laid down for the salaried staff. I know that there have been discussions in this regard. Such discussions were held recently in February. We ask the hon. the Minister what the result of those discussions has been. Is he prepared to introduce these drastic changes into the grading structure in respect of the salaried staff? We must realize that 73 per cent of the salaried staff are earning a maximum of £660 per annum plus cost-of-living allowance and the overwhelming majority of them will never rise above that level. Something must be done for this group in view of the rising cost of living in this country. It is a pity that the hon. the Minister’s speech was so vague as to what exactly is to happen in connection with overtime and Sunday time. As far as I can see, it will continue to be paid on the basis of the old scales and if that is so it will in reality only make a very slight difference to the financial position of the ordinary railwayman. Mr. Speaker, I prophesy that when these consolidated scales are actually made known, the railwaymen throughout South Africa will be greatly disappointed. The salaried officials particularly do not receive recognition for the tremendous amount of overtime that they have to work. They tell us about the position daily. Sir, there is a Railway regulation which I should like to read. It is regulation 5 (2) (A) and it reads as follows—

Every servant must work such overtime over and above his normal hours of duty on week-days and such periods on Sundays and holidays as may be necessary for the requirements of the service.

The Administration repeatedly hides behind this provision to compel salaried officers and members of the Administration to work overtime in thousands of cases without their receiving any additional remuneration. I say that the position to-day has practically become a scandal on the Railways and the time has come for the hon. the Minister to give attention to this matter. A new system has been introduced on the stations and the station books are now sent to a central point where most of the accounting work is done. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister if this new system is working successfully because according to the information I have received from many parts of the country efficiency has not been increased at all by the introduction of this system. We find that certain members of the staff are being taken from the stations and being replaced by young men who have scarcely passed Standard VIII and that to-day inefficiency is being encountered to an ever-increasing extent on the stations of South Africa, instead of the reverse. Furthermore we are entitled to ask that improved leave conditions should be laid down for the railwayman. The fact that after 15 years the worker is only entitled to 22 days’ leave shows us that the leave arrangements are by no means what they should be. I am also surprised that in his Budget speech the hon. the Minister has not given an adequate and sound reply to the demand of the Federal Consultative Council for an overall 5 per cent increase. The increase which will be granted as a result of this consolidation will in actual fact be a very meagre one and in very few cases will it be 5 per cent. In most cases it will be well below 5 per cent. The hon. the Minister must also remember that he has promised to consider this request for a 5 per cent increase, and the impression was that he would consider it sympathetically.

The position of the Railways is by no means so favourable, particularly as far as the staff position in the lower grades is concerned. Of 15,000 clerks in the lower grades, no less than 2,000 resigned last year. Let us go higher up. We then find dissatisfaction increasing as we go higher up in the service. I want to say this afternoon that the system of promotions and increases on the Railways leaves much to be desired. I am particularly critical of the system of what is called “ tailor-made jobs ” whereby certain qualifications are taken out of the air and laid down for a certain post, simply so that that post can be adjusted to fit the qualifications of a certain favourite of the Administration and the Minister in order that he can be promoted. There are posts which have been advertised in this way. We find for example that a post is advertised once and the Railways ask for an applicant who can write 120 words per minute in English and Afrikaans shorthand. On another occasion the same post is advertised and then the Administration only asks that the applicant should be able to do ordinary typing; but on each occasion care is taken that one specific applicant is available who can obtain the post in this way. We can also go higher. I think the hon. the Minister owes this House an explanation as to what happened when the Planning Superintendent was moved from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein. He was moved from a senior to a junior post. The salary scale attaching to his new post is much lower than the salary scale attaching to his previous post, although he was transferred on a personal scale so that his actual emoluments were not reduced. Nevertheless he has been removed from an important post where he was doing outstanding work in connection with planning. Is it perhaps because at one time or another he appealed against the promotion over his head of someone who had only passed Standard VIII, while he himself holds the B.Comm. degree? Is that perhaps the reason? We should like to hear more from the hon. the Minister about such cases. This is not the only one. There are many of them and we shall remember them.

I now turn to the running of the Railways in general. We have heard much about centralized traffic control which was supposedly going to effect such great savings on the Railways in future. I should like to know what actual savings this system has brought about. I think it has been introduced between Kamfersdam and Postmasburg; it is being introduced between Springfontein and Hamilton and it is going to cost R2,700,000. As far as I can ascertain, the fact of the matter is that the increase in the tonnage being conveyed over those sections is very slight, and all the millions of rand which are being spent on this undertaking have in reality not reduced the costs of the Railways.

We think of the mistakes the Railways have made over the past years under this régime. We think of the failure to construct a railway link between Beit Bridge and West Nicholson, and the great opportunity which has been given to the Rhodesian Government to build a line to Lourenço Marques. A large part of the traffic which could have come through South Africa and yielded our country a profit is now being transferred to that route. We also think of the failure to establish a link from the north and South West to Rhodesia so that Rhodesia would have been connected to a port on the west coast via South West. At the moment the Portuguese are making rapid progress in Angola towards establishing a link between the west coast and Rhodesia. Once again hundreds of thousands of pounds will be lost to the Railways because we were too slow and too late in that instance. I am thinking of the tremendous possibilities of development in Northern Natal. I am thinking how Kosi Bay could have been developed if the necessary railway link had been provided. Perhaps the Minister can tell me whether I am correct when I say that I heard the other day …


You have made so many wrong statements that I would have to keep on talking if I were to deal with all of them.

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

The hon. the Minister will have his opportunity. I have heard an interesting story about Kosi Bay. It is said that it is such an excellent harbour that in November 1939, after the outbreak of war, the German battleship Graf Spee hid for more than a week in Kosi Bay. It would be interesting to hear from the Minister or the Minister of Defence whether that is true. I am merely mentioning that in passing. Instead of these important undertakings, we find that a station building programme has in fact been initiated. A station building programme has been undertaken instead of the construction of more railway lines, as I have indicated. It is strange that when a new Prime Minister takes over, we find a new station being erected in his constituency. It is interesting to notice that during the past 12 years Piketberg in the first instance was given a new station; shortly thereafter Nylstroom got a new station; and it was not long before Heidelberg got a new station. I wonder where the next new station is being planned? Worcester at one time had an opportunity but I am not certain what its chances are to-day. Will Maraisburg perhaps get a new station, or will it perhaps be Humansdorp?

Mr. Speaker, to give you an example of how money is being spent without any consideration really being given to the revenue which will be yielded by this expenditure, I want to mention the sum of £8,000,000 which the Railways have spent on the section Union/Volksrust. It was in fact necessary to construct that railway line and to effect improvements. But after the £8,000,000 had been spent, it was found that only a small additional tonnage per train could be carried on that section. I have been told by a person who knows the position that after this £8,000,000 had been spent scarcely 20 tons more per train could be carried on this section. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister how much of this money has been profitably invested. There is another example. In 1955 this side of the House pointed out to the hon. the Minister what had happened to the line which he had constructed between Kamfersdam and Beaconsfield in order to improve the transport of manganese ore. We pointed out that after hundreds of thousands of pounds had been spent on that line the grading was so bad that the poor trains were grinding to a halt and could not climb the hill. Now the Minister admits that that is the position. Now this section is being used for trains which are going downhill and he has had to construct a new section at an additional cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to convey the other manganese ore from Kamfersdam to Beaconsfield. I want to mention another matter to the hon. the Minister. What is the position regarding the two Blue Train dining saloons which have now been standing out of commission at Braamfontein for the past 18 months? They are the Zambesia and the Oranje. What has become of them? Will they simply lie there—they represent thousands of pounds of capital—or will something be done with them? The hon. the Minister is building a hotel at Jan Smuts Airport. We admit that this is a good idea, provided the hotel is planned as we consider it should be planned. But then I remember how we on this side of the House were criticized in the past when Minister Sturrock planned to construct railway hotels which would have played an important role in our tourist trade. Eventually, after 12 or 13 years, the Minister is admitting that the basic policy of the United Party was correct in this regard as well. But there is the example of the Railways’ failure to import diesel electric locomotives. We all remember the special committee which went overseas years ago—more than 13 or 14 years ago—and on which the previous General Manager of Railways served. He came back with the report: No, it is impossible to import diesels into South Africa; it would be unpractical and it would cost too much. For ten or 12 years South Africa had no diesels, but the Government eventually introduced them, and now they find that diesels are in fact an excellent innovation. What has happened with the report of the Moffat Committee, and what happened to the overseas mission that was appointed years ago?


Why are you making so many incorrect statements?

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Let the Minister then give us a little information. Mr. Speaker, do you know that in the hon. the Minister’s file there is a secret report which would shock the House if the facts were made known? It is a secret report which deals with inefficiency on an unprecedented scale on the Railways. The name of the report is the Joubert Report. Let the hon. the Minister lay that report upon the Table. Will he do so? I challenge him to do so. Let us hear about the case when 100 bags of cement were ordered and some official had a bright idea and added a nought making the total 1,000 bags; and the other 900 bags are still missing. Let us hear about the deficit of 20,000 bags of cement which existed at one time in South West Africa. Where is the hon. member for Wolmeransstad (Mr. G. P. van den Berg) now? Let us hear about the strange case of the two trains at Maqassi station. I think I should tell the House about it. One fine day a train arrived at Maqassi station and the signal was red against it. After a quarter of an hour a second train arrived. Once again the signal was red. The two trains stood there for a while and waited in the normal way; the drivers blew their whistles but nothing happened. The trains remained there and eventually half an hour and longer passed by. They then investigated the position and does the House know what had happened and why the two trains had had to stand there for so long? The responsible official was not on the station; at that very moment he was attending an enjoyable dance party. Let us be told of these things which have been dealt with in reports which the hon. the Minister has in his possession.

I come to another matter which is of particular importance to the staff, and that is the position as regards the suggestions and inventions scheme to which the hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton) has referred. I want to mention one or two figures in this regard, and I want to show the House how many sound suggestions have been made to the Railways as a result of this inventions scheme, but the staff do not receive adequate compensation for the good ideas they submit. In 1956, 1,800 suggestions were made and £603 was paid as a reward to the persons who submitted those good ideas. More than £9,000 was saved as a result of these suggestions. Four years later 2,000 suggestions were made as a result of which £36,000 was saved in that year, but only £350 was paid in rewards to the railwaymen who submitted those good ideas. When £9,000 was saved, £603 was paid out; when £36,000 was saved, only a meagre £350 was given as a token of recognition. This whole inventions scheme must be placed under a different system of control. I think the Minister should appoint a departmental committee of inquiry to find out what is happening in the case of that scheme. Provision must be made to compensate people who make sound suggestions. If they make sound suggestions and do not receive any reward, they should have the right in some way or another to appeal against the decision. It is pointless using the brains of the staff and not giving them any reward.

There is something else which has happened, as I notice from the annual report of the General Manager, namely that in future the bookstalls will fall under the Catering Department, I think, from 1 April 1961. Once this change-over has taken place I think the intention is that the Catering Department will in most instances hand these bookstalls over to private booksellers. The hon. the Minister can tell me whether that is correct. I have no objection to that. At the moment the ordinary members of the staff enjoy ample credit facilities at the railway bookstalls. When they buy newspapers, sweets, cigarettes, etc., they are given credit facilities by the railway bookstalls, and they can even arrange for their accounts to be paid by means of an ordinary stop order. Will the same or similar facilities be granted to railwaymen in future? I should like the hon. the Minister to tell me that.

I hope that this step affecting the Catering Department which is to be taken is not merely an excuse to give that Department a higher status so that the head of the Department can also be accorded a higher status. I understand that the head of that Department is a person who has an M.Sc. degree in Agricultural Economics. That is his one qualification; his second is that he was a tester at the K.W.V.; his third is that he is a nephew of the Governor-General. I do not know what weight these factors have carried. The hon. the Minister can tell us.


Order! The hon. member must not bring in the name of the Governor-General. Will the hon. member withdraw that.

*Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I shall certainly do so. Mr. Speaker, when we examine these factors it is quite clear that the praise which we have heard emanating from the hon. members opposite, that the paean of praise which the hon. member for Wolmeransstad has sung about the Railways, that the fulsome praise and thanks which the hon. the Minister has been given—that all these things really mean very little when we see them against the background of reality; when we see them in the first place against the background of the critical position of the Railways’ finances, bearing in mind particularly what has happened to the various funds; and when we see them against the background of the deplorable conditions under which many of the staff still have to live to-day. Hon. members opposite say that much has been done as far as consolidation is concerned. I have already pointed out that in reality this will result in a very slight change in the basic wages. What difference will it make to the pension scales of the ordinary railway pensioner who has already gone on pension? His cost-of-living allowance is not being consolidated with his pension; there is nothing of that nature. I hope that it will be announced that an increase of at least 7½ per cent will be granted to the railway pensioners and that this will be done in the near future. Mr. Speaker, I conclude by saying that against the background of all these facts relating to what has happened to the finances of the Railways, of what has happened to the staff and what the Minister himself has done through his attitude and his actions—against this background the position of the Railways is not so rosy and the time has come for a drastic and fundamental change to take place in die Railways of South Africa, and the best place to start is right at the top with the hon. the Minister himself.


Mr. Speaker, in regard to the last speaker opposite, I just want to say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and the time is long past in this country when one could try to conceal knowledge by ignorance, and perspective by short-sighted politicking. That only fits in with the time to which the hon. member referred when he tried to tell us the story about “ Once upon a time ”. I must say that it is unfortunate that in favourable circumstances such as we are dealing with in discussing this Budget one heard so little specific criticism, particularly with a view to developing our policy for the future and its progressiveness, if there can be more of that in the Railways. References were made here and arguments were advanced which really bore no relationship to each other. There was reference in vague terms to millions of pounds of capital expenditure—a completely unmotivated standpoint; no positive recommendations were connected to it. There was also reference to discussions about planning and the lack of policy—also quite unmotivated and a vague general statement. There was reference to a dictatorship, which was not motivated either. Then we had the generally vague pleas that a stop should be put to the heavy capital expenditure. I would like to controvert a few of these vague statements and allegations by submitting certain facts to the House.

In regard to the lack of planning and the necessity for planning, we ascertained from the hon. the Minister quite a few years ago that he had a five-year plan and that he personally took the responsibility for the success of that plan. That is now the general lack of planning on the Railways! Coupled with the alleged lack of planning, the allegation was made that the Railways had not done enough to find passengers. That is not in accordance with the facts. The fact is that special attempts were made by the Railways by adopting measures like excursion tariffs or tour trains in order to recruit passengers; then vacation and excursion tariffs were also reinstated, resulting from the staggering of school holidays. Mr. Speaker, I cannot see how such an allegation can be made responsibly and honourably by people who try to criticize the Minister, his policy and his Budget.

The best proof that the hon. the Minister and his staff have planned properly and have a proper policy is that up to now we have still had no specific attack in regard to any section of the railways which does not work efficiently. Can one put up a better defence than that? Not a single bit of proof was adduced to the effect that a single section of the railways was operating inefficiently. On the contrary, it was tacitly acknowledged and also officially recognized by commerce that the railways to-day is in a position to handle all the traffic offered. Commerce and industry have mentioned that fact with gratitude. Where then is this lack of policy? Is not the test of policy that one should be able to cope with the requirements of the time? And here the admission was made that the Railways, through its policy, can handle all the traffic offering. Sir, I repeat that such an allegation proves that it was just cheap politicking and that there was a lack of insight and an attempt to conceal knowledge by ignorance. The allegation was made here and the insinuation made, inter alia, by the hon. member for Zululand (Mr. R. A. F. Swart) is: What proof is there that there is good co-ordination between the Railways on the one hand and the other Government Departments on the other hand? We have the proof that during this time of crisis due to the drought in the north-western Cape the Railways played its role and made its contribution in this regard. Does that not prove that there is co-ordination and co-operation, or what does it prove? There was reference to the co-ordination which ought to exist between the Railways and the establishment of industry. That coordination has existed for a long time already as the result of the fact that the Railways is represented on the Permanent Committee for the Establishment of Industries and Regional Development, and because the Railways is represented on that committee, the management is fully au fait with all the plans and the possible developments in that sphere. The allegation was made here: Where does this unexpected surplus come from? It is also evidence of a lack of control in regard to the framing of the Budget and a lack of internal control! The hon. the Minister made it quite clear that the surplus is really due to the increased traffic. For example, during the first eight months of the year 5,000,000 more tons of goods were transported than during the corresponding period the previous year. As against that the increase in the previous year was 2,200,000. His Budget was based on that rate of increase. The attitude adopted in that statement was quite logical and based on facts. But in spite of that hon. members dared to accuse the Minister of lacking policy.

Mr. Speaker, I say one feels unhappy if one gets evidence in a House like this of unfounded and vague allegations, whereas one would expect recognition and thanks for the service rendered to the public, in which we are all interested, services rendered by an enormous organization like the South African Railways. I want to mention a further example of sound and proper co-ordination with other departments by the Railways. Reference was also made to what is being done in regard to providing facilities in connection with our Bantu reserves and the possible developments there. I have the information before me that at the moment in the Native areas of Germiston and Benoni—this is in connection with the removal of the black spots—Kaalfontein, the environs of Pretoria and here in Cape Town, no fewer than 180,000 passengers are being transported per day to and from those areas. Already an amount of no less than R55,500,000 has been put on the Estimates for the provision of facilities for those people. The potential transportation of these passengers has been estimated at 538,000 per day. Then there is still talk of lack of co-ordination and co-operation in connection with our whole national economy as viewed from the angle of the Railways. Mr. Speaker, that proves that there is a lack of knowledge and a poor attempt to conceal knowledge and facts by ignorance and short-sighted politicking.

Finally, I want to confine myself more particularly to one standpoint, namely a sinking fund and a capital loan fund for the Railways. In this regard I just want to give my personal opinion, namely that I would rather see an attempt being made and a policy being adopted which is of such a nature that the loan capital of the Railways should be frozen. My standpoint is that the average rate of interest paid by the Railways on loan capital is approximately 4.8 per cent, and seeing that this loan capital can be obtained at such a low rate of interest it is my personal opinion that it should be considered that the surplus capital which is available at the end of every year should rather be used to buy new capital works. In practice, it amounts to this, that if I can rent a house for £10 a month there is no sense in paying £5,000 for such a house. This is a simple economic law which, in so far as policy is concerned, should receive consideration. I think the time has arrived for us to react in this sense also to the arguments in regard to the policy of the Railways. It is economically correct and true, and I would prefer to see attempts being made to limit the estimates of the capital loan amount because the average rate of interest is so low, and that any further funds, after provision has been made for the Betterment Fund, the Renewal Fund and the Tariffs Reserve Fund and the concessions to the staff— that the surplus capital should be used to buy new capital works with a view to making greater profits and achieving greater efficiency on the Railways.

I want to conclude by heartily congratulating the hon. the Minister on this shining example he has set of devotion to duty and an honest interest in his responsibility and his duty to the country and of service to the community and the citizens, and also to express sympathy with him for the hopeless, inefficient co-operation he gets from those on whom he is entitled to call for assistance in regard to positive, constructive and progressive ideas to carry this great responsibility of his to further heights in future.


There is a great deal in this particular Budget which has come in for criticism, and I think very sound criticism, on the part of the Opposition, and I have no doubt that the hon. the Minister has paid very great attention to some of the matters that have been raised, because quite obviously it is the duty of the Opposition, something which the hon. the Minister should appreciate, to criticize in the constructive way in which they have done so, this important Budget which has been presented to the House. One obviously discounts some of the facetious statements that do come from speakers on the Government side who try in some way or another to negate the criticism that has been levelled at the Budget. No doubt we would be failing in our duty if we did not dissect and analyse the various phases of the Budget in order to give the hon. the Minister every opportunity to meet criticism which has ranged over a very wide field and which has dealt with certain important matters in the affairs of the Railways.

There is one aspect of this particular Budget to which I would like to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister and that is the question of the elimination of level crossings. Last year an Act was passed which established a fund and which laid down certain bases on which this fund should be funded from moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, from the Railways and Harbours Administration Fund and also from funds of the National Transport Commission. This provided for a total sum of 1½ million annually in order to create the pool that would be necessary to meet the expense of the elimination of crossings enumerated on a list which was to be prepared. Just recently a very interesting report was published by the Automobile Association drawing attention to certain aspects of this matter, and I have no doubt that the horn the Minister has seen this report. But in addition to that, this question of the elimination of level crossings has been a very stormy and difficult problem m the life of this country over many years and I do believe that the Administration should try and hasten the process of the of these crossings. Some of the facers that have to be taken into account are firstly of course the number of accidents that occur, and we find that over a period of eight years for instance, between 31 march 1951, and 31 march 1959, no less than 524 people were killed and 1,211 injured approximately 2,500 level crossings accidents involved vehicular traffic. The figures year by year continue to mount up and when one reads the annual report of the General Manager, one finds the Statement that such accidents are attributable mainly to negligence on the part of road users I believe that this is a very light way in which to dismiss what is obviously very serious toll of loss of life, South Africa as it is suffers sufficiently from the very aggravated incidence of road accidents and unnecessary and purposeless loss of life which mars the general social life of the community. To have that aggravated by something which I feel could be eliminated at a greater pace, should receive more attention of the Administration. In fact, many people regard this as urgent and as national a matter as any of the other factors which arise, any of the other problems which have to be solved by the Administration in the course of its work. One of the excuses that has been given in past years is the difficulty in being able to cope with the tremendous amount of work which is necessitated in the elimination of these crossings, and the thought which I would like to pass on to the hon. the Minister is whether the time has not arrived when we should call in outside engineers and outside engineering consultants in order to assist in this problem. It has been worked out that if there is an elimination of approximately 25 level crossings a year, it will take no less than 46 years to eliminate the number of level crossings which should be urgently dealt with, which out of a total of 3,500 number 1,160. In other words, unless we can hasten on this process, unless the policy of the Administration can be directed to this acute problem, we will find that this problem will continue to aggravate itself and it will take a considerable number of years, far beyond what we can foresee, to clear this problem. It is estimated that on this basis of 46 years, we will lose in lives alone at least another 3,500 persons and over 7,000 persons will be injured, some of them probably very seriously. I well remember, Mr. Speaker, being nearby a level crossing in the Eastern Transvaal some years back where a school bus carrying school-children …


Do you know the facts?


I know the place, and they have actually put up a monument to commemorate that unfortunate event. I give this example to the House in order to indicate the importance of eliminating such crossings. The thing that struck me in this particular Budget is that although there is provision for this further RU million, the Rif million initially allocated last year—because the effects of the Act came into operation on 1 April 1960—have not yet been spent. A very small sum of money has been actually spent. In addition to that the number of new crossings that are initiated in this Budget, I think only number three or four, and in respect of the others already commenced, only a sum of about R750,000 has been provided to deal with this particular matter You have therefore, with the accumulated amount, nearly R4,000,000. Now it does not seem to me possible to spend that money according to the reports and the Budget as at present framed, unless the hon. the Minister can indicate to us a list that he has in preparation for the spending of that money and also for the planning stage of additional crossings. One realizes it takes a fairly considerable amount of time to commence such an important undertaking. A lot of preliminary work has to be undertaken and that very often takes some years. But in order to try and make a serious inroad, or serious incision into this aggravated problem, I believe that it would be important to use a lot of the money that is allocated for the purpose of planning. Once we have the plans prepared and the planning stage behind us, the hon. the Minister can come back to this House in two or three years’ time and ask for additional moneys, or recommend to the House another system whereby funds can be built up on a larger scale in order to commence a number of additional projects. I believe that this is an important matter for the whole community, and although efforts are being made on the part of local suburban authorities to provide the underground pedestrian subways, I believe that it is over our far and wide open spaces where this problem is an important one. I do see that on some of the national roads an effort has been made to eliminate some of the crossings, but I agree with the hon. the Minister that it takes some two, three, sometimes five years before the project is completed as from its initial stage. I am talking for instance of one on the Golden Highway from Johannesburg to Vanderbijl where an overhead bridge has been built just near that very big aviary, alongside the main road. But if the money is used for the planning stage, we may reach a stage in our development where we may have a dozen projects proceeding at the same time in respect of important crossings where time has enabled us not only to do the planning and the preparation, but actually to ensure that the funds are provided. If it is necessary for those funds to come from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in order to assist the level crossings fund, then the money must come from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for that purpose, because I believe it is an important problem in the life of the community. This is one particular aspect where I feel the hon. the Minister should try and enlighten this House when he replies to the Budget debate. I may say that I raise it in the course of this debate and not in the Committee of Supply Stage because this matter was dealt with firstly in 1930. It was regarded as sufficiently important to place an Act on the Statute Book last year. It has been the cause of a great deal of heart-burning throughout the country; it has been a thorny problem in the side of the Administration for many years. I don’t level an accusation that they have closed their eyes to it, but I do feel that in this whole gamut of railway services, this particular aspect deserves attention.


Budget Speech:

In Col. 2998, line 35, insert the following passage, inadvertently omitted:

I drafted the Budget on two assumptions. I he first was that South Africa would remain a member of the Commonwealth. The second was that if South Africa were to be expelled it would not necessitate my Estimates having to be changed. The slight measure of uncertainty which still exists in regard to our membership makes it necessary for me briefly to explain the second assumption. The briefest explanation can perhaps be given in the words to a well-known economist. He said—

If one asks what the economic consequences would be of South Africa becoming a republic and severing all Commonwealth bonds, the short answer is that there would be none at all.

The name of this economist is de Villiers Graaff Dr. Jan de Villiers Graaff.

For those who desire a more detailed explanation, I must say that the matter is fairly complicated, both from an economic and from the legal standpoint. One thing, however, is clear If we are no longer going to be a member of the Commonwealth, it does not mean that any of the trade agreements which are or interest to us will automatically lapse, the preference agreement with the United Kingdom (by far the most important of the agreements concerned) is, for example, a contractual, bilateral agreement which holds benefits for both sides. This agreement will not lapse automatically—just as little as the preference agreements between the United Kingdom and Ireland and Burma lapsed—and its continuation is not in conflict with G.A.T.T. either. Will the United Kingdom, in view of the importance of its export trade to South Africa and the steadily increasing competition from other countries, be prepared to endanger this trade by withholding the preferences we enjoy at present? I leave the reply to the judgment of this House.

Then there is the question of the inflow of capital. South Africa is a member of the sterling area and as such there is no restriction on the flow of capital from the United Kingdom to South Africa. For the past few years the net flow of capital was in fact in the other direction, i.e. from South Africa to the United Kingdom, but nevertheless membership of the sterling bloc can hold certain benefits for south Africa, just as for the other members However, membership of the sterling bloc has nothing to do with membership of the Commonwealth; non-members of the Commonwealth, such as, e.g. Ireland, are members of the sterling bloc, whilst Canada, a member of the Commonwealth, is not a member of the sterling bloc.

My conclusion, therefore, is that our expulsion, if that should take place, need have no actual appreciable effect on our trade and financial relations, and therefore it does not necessitate any amendments of my Estimates or proposals.

I said that this Budget was an historic Budget.


With reference to what the hon. member has said, I just want to say that he creates the impression that the Minister should accept full responsibility for all the accidents occurring at railway crossings. I feel that we should say a word to the public also in connection with this matter. People who do not look where they are driving and who are careless and who do not heed the warning signs must bear the consequences, and I think it is high time that the public should also be warned to be more careful and to pay attention to the warning signs. I must honestly say that I do not believe that there is a single railway crossing in South Africa where sufficient warning signs have not been erected.

I do not want to deal further with what the hon. member said. I have quite a lot to say, and I would like to do so on a later occasion, seeing that my time is very limited. Consequently I now move—

That the debate be now adjourned.

I second.

Agreed to; debate adjourned until 15 March.

The House adjourned at 6.19 p.m.