House of Assembly: Vol107 - FRIDAY 17 MARCH 1961

FRIDAY, 17 MARCH 1961 Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 10.5 a.m. VACANCY

Mr. SPEAKER announced that a vacancy had occurred in the representation in this House of the electoral division of Piketberg on account of the resignation of Mr. H. A. Rust, which was received yesterday.


For oral reply.

Identification Numbers for Policemen *I. Mrs. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of Justice:

Whether he will re-institute the wearing of identification numbers by members of the South African Police Force.


Yes, the matter is already receiving attention.

Conference of Regional Native Labour Committees *II. Mrs. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of Labour:

  1. (1) (a) How many regional Native labour committees have been established under the Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act, (b) in respect of which areas do they operate and (c) what are the names of the members of these committees;
  2. (2) whether a conference of regional committees has been held; if so, (a) where and when was it held, (b) who attended the conference and (c) what subjects were discussed at the conference; and
  3. (3) whether he will lay the report and minutes of the conference upon the Table.
  1. (1)
    1. (a) 10.
    2. (b)
      1. 1. Magisterial Districts of Johannesburg and Heidelberg.
      2. 2. Magisterial Districts of Boksburg, Benoni, Brakpan, Springs, Nigel and Delmas.
      3. 3. Magisterial District of Vereeniging.
      4. 4. Magisterial Districts of Roodepoort, Krugersdorp, Randfontein and Oberholzer.
      5. 5. Magisterial District of Germiston.
      6. 6. Magisterial District of Pretoria.
      7. 7. Magisterial Districts of Durban and Pinetown.
      8. 8. Magisterial Districts of East London and King William’s Town.
      9. 9. Magisterial Districts of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Albany.
      10. 10. Magisterial Districts of the Cape, Wynberg, Bellville and Simonstown.
    3. (c)
      1. 1. C. L. L. Matloporo, J. J. Musi and S. S. Mahlangu.
      2. 2. I. Makau, J. M. Mohlala and J. Benya.
      3. 3. J. Nale and J. Matlhaku.
      4. 4. G. Gobo and A. S. Mohohlo.
      5. 5. J. W. Makula, M. Potse and R. Nhlapo.
      6. 6. D. Mathole, A. Sehloho and J. Masemolo.
      7. 7. A. R. Ntuli, C. Mtyali and J. K. M. Kambule.
      8. 8. T. Panyana, J. N. Meki and T. B. Lujiza.
      9. 9. B. J. Mnyanda, A. Gunguluza and J. J. R. Jolobe.
      10. 10. P. Zuma, E. Tsopana and H. M. Lapahlela.
  2. (2)
    1. (a) Cape Town, 8 to 10 November 1960.
    2. (b) All the members quoted in reply to question (1) (c), with the exception of member I. Makau.
    3. (c) The discussions concerned the administration of the Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act and matters incidental thereto.
  3. (3) The discussions were held in private and it is not proposed to lay the report and minutes of the conference upon the Table.
Plans for Observation and Attendance Centres *III. Mr. EATON (for Mr. Oldfield)

asked the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions:

Whether his Department has established any (a) observation and (b) attendance centres as provided for in the Children’s Act; if so, when and where have they been established; and, if not, why not.


No. The establishment of such centres in the larger cities is, however, receiving the attention of the Department of Social Welfare and Pensions. In this connection I may state that arrangements for the establishment of centres in Johannesburg and Pretoria have already reached an advanced stage.

As these are new services which require careful planning and the co-operation of various authorities, some considerable time must necessarily elapse before they can be brought into operation.

Railways: Buildings Rented in Johannesburg *V. Mr. E G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Transport:

Whether the Railways Administration rents buildings in Johannesburg; if so, (a) which buildings, (b) which of them have been (i) occupied and (ii) vacated since 1 January 1958, (c) what is the estimated average rental per square foot and (d) how many employees of the Administration work in offices rented in Johannesburg.


Yes; office accommodation is rented in certain buildings.

  1. (a) Birchleigh House, Trans-Africa House, A.T.K.V. Building, Sasbo House, at 14a Fraser Street, Transvalia Building, Safric House, Maritime House, Nataid Building, Salstaff Building, Gloucester House, Sandvelt Building, Amaleng Building, African City Building.
  2. (b)
    1. (i) Amaleng Building, African City Building.
    2. (ii) Bosman Building, Federated House.
  3. (c) Ten cents.
  4. (d) 1,738.

—Reply standing over.

Trade Unions Registered and Deregistered Since 1956 *VII. Mr. EATON (for Mr. S. J. M. Steyn)

asked the Minister of Labour:

  1. (1) How many trade unions have been (a) registered and (b) deregistered since the promulgation of the Industrial Conciliation Act, 1956; and
  2. (2) (a) what were the names of these unions and (b) what was the date upon which the registration or deregistration was effected in each instance.
  1. (1) (a) 21, (b) 18.
  2. (2) (a) and (b)

Names of unions registered and dales of registration:

Kimberley Municipal Coloured Workers’ Association


Hottentots-Holland Liquor and Catering Trades Union


Blanke Bouwerkersvakbond


Furniture Workers’ Industrial Union (Cape)


Association of Cape Furniture Workers


Port Elizabeth Tramway Officials and Salaried Staff Association


Western Province Building Workers’ Union.


Western Province Building and Allied Trades Union


Lichtenburg Bouwerkers Industriele Vereniging


Natal Taxi Drivers Employees’ Industrial Union


S.A. Pyrotechnical Workers’ Union.


Laundry Cleaning and Dyeing Workers’ Union of S.A.


Postal Employees’ Association of S.A


S.A. Association of Dental Mechanicians Employees


Motor Industry Coloured Workers’ Union


S.A. Airways Engineering Association.


S.A.R. and H. Coloured Staff Association (Southern Areas)


Professional Staff Association of the City Engineers Department, Durban.


S.A.R. Indian Staff Association (Natal Area)


National Union of Furniture and Allied Workers of S.A.


National Association of Furniture and Allied Workers of S.A.


Names of unions deregistered and dates of deregistration:

Western Province Building, Electrical and Allied Trades Union


Furniture Workers’ Industrial Union (Transvaal)


Worcester Boubedryf Vereniging


Twine and Bag Workers’ Union


Eastern Province Hotel and Club European Employees Union


Match Workers’ Industrial Union (Natal)


Paarlse Tekstielwerkers Vereniging


Industrial Council Officials and Staffs Association


Food, Canning and Allied Workers’ Union


Bloemfonteinse Vleiswerkers Vakvereniging


Industriele Hout -en Bouwerkers Vereniging


Northern Cape Liquor and Catering Trade Union


Howick Rubber Workers’ Industrial Union


Association of Mine Clerical Employees of S.A.


Cap and Doll Workers’ Union


Bag Workers’ Union


Metal Workers’ Union (NonEuropean)


Natal Dairy Workers’ Union


Facilities for Coloured Students in the Transvaal and Natal *VIII. Dr. D L. SMIT

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science:

  1. (1) What facilities for higher education for Coloured students, other than correspondence courses under the University of South Africa, are provided in the provinces of Natal, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State;
  2. (2) how many Coloured students took correspondence courses under the University of South Africa during 1960; and
  3. (3) whether any financial assistance is given to Coloured students residing in these provinces to attend the University College of the Western Cape.
  1. (1) None;
  2. (2) 127; and
  3. (3) a number of bursaries are available.
Classified Costs of “ Panorama ” and “ Digest of S.A. Affairs ” *IX. Mr. COPE

asked the Acting Minister of External Affairs:

  1. (1) What were the costs in respect of (a) editorial, (b) printing and (c) management and distribution of (i) Panorama and (ii) Digest of South African Affairs, during the latest year for which figures are available; and
  2. (2) (a) What is the total circulation of each publication, (b) what proportion of the circulation consists of free copies, (c) what staff is employed on each journal and (d) by which firm is each journal printed.
  1. (1)
    1. (a)
      1. (i) Nearest figure appears on page 127 of the Report of the Controller and Auditor-General, 1958-9, namely £7,087. Staff whose salaries are included also perform other duties connected with the normal activities of the South African Information Service.
      2. (ii) No separate records are kept of editorial expenditure.
    2. (b)
      1. (i) £51,825 for financial year 1958-9.
      2. (ii) £14,585 for financial year 1959-60.
    3. (c) (i) and (ii) Impossible to ascertain. Management and circulation are being handled by general circulation section of the South African Information Service.
  2. (2)
    1. (a) South African Panorama: 55,000.

      Digest of S.A. Affairs: 22,000.

    2. (b) South African Panorama: Approximately one-fifth.

      Digest of S.A. Affairs: Entire edition.

    3. (c) South African Panorama: 5.

      Digest of S.A. Affairs: 4.

    4. (d) South African Panorama: Voortrekkerpers Beperk.

      Digest of S.A. Affairs: Hayne & Gibson, both under contract for which tenders are called for by the Government Printer through the Tender Board.

Compilation and Purpose of “ Overseas Press Comment ” *X. Mr. COPE

asked the Acting Minister of External Affairs:

  1. (a) What procedure is adopted in compiling the duplicated report on “ Overseas Press Comment ”, (b) how many copies are distributed and (c) to whom and (d) for what purpose are they sent.
  1. (a) At Head Office, Pretoria, from reports received from Information Officers abroad.
  2. (b) 210 (monthly).
  3. (c) Mailing list includes Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and South African newspapers.
  4. (d) For background information.
No Removal of Prison from the Fort Johannesburg *XI. Mr. COPE

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) Whether further consideration has been given to the question of removing the Central Prison in Johannesburg from its present site at the Fort to a new site; and, if so,
  2. (2) whether he will make a statement in regard to the matter.
  1. (1) The removal of the Fort is not envisaged within the foreseeable future.
  2. (2) Falls away.
Total Number of Bantu Outside the Reserves *XII. Mrs. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of the Interior:

  1. (a) What is the total number of Bantu in the Union, outside of the Bantu reserves and
  2. (b) what is the average income per head of this population.
  1. (a) Approximately 6,600,000.
  2. (b) This information is not available.
Report of Committee on Family Allowance Scheme *XIII. Mr. WILLIAMS

asked the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions:

  1. (1) Whether the committee appointed to in quire into the advisability of introducing a family allowance scheme for Europeans has completed its investigations; and, if so,
  2. (2) whether it has reported; if not, when is the report expected.
  1. (1) No.
  2. (2) The evidence obtained is at present being studied by the committee with a view to the drafting of a report.

—Reply standing over.


—Reply standing over.

Complaints about Bantu News Broadcasts *XVI. Mr. EGLIN

asked the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs:

Whether complaints have been received about Bantu news broadcasts; and, if so, (a) what was the nature of the complaints, (b) from whom did they emanate and (c) what reply was given to them.


No, I have not received such complaints; and (a), (b) and (c) fall away.


Arising out of the reply of the hon. the Minister, may I ask whether he is aware whether the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs has received any complaint about the blatant party political propaganda put out over the S.A.B.C. in connection with the Union’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth.

Amounts Spent on Improvement of Agriculture in the Reserves *XVII. Mr. VAN RYNEVELD

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

What amounts were spent in each year since 1955 on improvement of agriculture in the Bantu reserves.












Foodstuffs Produced in the Reserves *XVIII. Mr. VAN RYNEVELD

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

What was the average annual production of foodstuffs in the Bantu reserves during the past five years.



3,029,717 bags

Winter cereals

72,661 bags


621,808 bags


161,923 bags


4.585,847 lbs.


—Reply standing over.


—Reply standing over.

New Ministerial Residences in Pretoria and Cape Town *XXI. Mr. E G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Public Works:

  1. (1) Whether a ministerial residence is under construction in Pretoria; if so, (a) where is it situated, (b) what will be the total estimated cost of the residence, (c) for which Minister is it intended and (d) what was the purchase price of the site; and
  2. (2) whether a property in Cape Town has been purchased to serve as a ministerial residence; if so, (a) where is it situated, (b) what was the purchase price of the residence, (c) for which Minister is it intended and (d) what is the municipal valuation of the property.
  1. (1) No, but tender documents are being prepared for the service which appears on the estimates.
    1. (a) the residence will be erected on land between Government House and Colbyn.
    2. (b) R44,000.
    3. (c) This has not yet been decided.
    4. (d) The site is Government-owned; based on the purchase price of the land of which this site forms a part the purchase price for the latter would be R1,370.
  2. (2) As several properties have been purchased in Cape Town over the years to serve as official residences for Ministers, it is not known which one the hon. member has in mind.
New Buildings for Immigration Offices in Durban *XXII. Mr. EATON (for Mr. Oldfield)

asked the Minister of Public Works:

  1. (1) Whether it is intended to build new offices for the Chief Immigration Officer in Durban, if so (a) where will the offices be erected, (b) when will building operations commence, (c) when is it expected that the building will be completed and (d) what is the estimated cost, and
  2. (2) whether other Government Departments will be housed in the building, if so, what Departments.
  1. (1) Yes.
    1. (a) The building will be erected on the site bounded by Cato and Stanger Streets and the Esplanade (opposite the Custom House).
    2. (b) If nothing unforeseen occurs, during the second half of 1961.
    3. (c) Approximately three years after commencement of building operations.
    4. (d) R810,000.
  2. (2) Yes.
    1. Census and Statistics

    2. Electoral Office

    3. Port Health Officer

    4. District Surgeon

    5. Social Welfare and Pensions

    6. Group Areas Board

    7. Circle Engineer, Water Affairs

    8. Bantu Education

    9. National Housing

    10. Rent Control

    11. Road Transportation Board

    12. State Veterinarian

    13. Coloured Affairs.

Police Officers Promoted to Rank of Commandant *XXIII. Mr. EATON (for Brig. Bronkhorst)

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) Whether any police officers were promoted to the rank of commandant since 1 July 1960; if so, (a) how many and (b) how many of them served with the Union Defence Forces during World War II; and
  2. (2) whether any officers with the rank of major were superseded by these officers; if so, (a) how many and (b) how many of them served with the Union Defence Forces during World War II.
  1. (1) Yes.
    1. (a) 30.
    2. (b) 5.
  2. (2) Yes.
    1. (a) 35.
    2. (b) 15. These 15 were promoted to lieutenant in 1945 without competing in the prescribed police promotion examination and thus superseded a large number of other members of the force. At the time of promotion to commissioned rank some of them had not attained any rank and were only constables.

For written reply:

Contracts Placed by State Departments for Uniforms, Clothing, etc. I. Mr. S. J. M. STEYN

asked the Minister of Public Works:

Whether any contracts for the manufacture of uniforms and other items of apparel were placed for his Department during the financial years 1958-9, 1959-60 and 1960-1; and if so, what was the amount of orders place with clothing factories in the municipal areas of Johannesburg and Germiston, respectively during each of these financial years.



Johannesburg Municipal area:







Germiston Municipal area: Nil.

II. Mr. S. J. M. STEYN

asked the Minister of Justice:

Whether any contracts for the manufacture of uniforms and other items of apparel were placed for his Department during the financial years 1958-9, 1959-60 and 1960-1; and, if so, what was the amount of orders placed with clothing factories in the municipal areas of Johannesburg and Germiston, respectively, during each of these financial years.



Johannesburg factories:







Germiston factories:








asked the Minister of Transport:

Whether any contracts for the manufacture of uniforms and other items of apparel were placed for the Railways and Harbours Administration and the South African Airways during the financial years 1958-9, 195960 and 1960-1; and, if so, what was the amount of orders placed with clothing factories in the municipal areas of Johannesburg and Germiston, respectively, during each of these financial years.





1960-1 (to date)

Johannesburg Municipal Area




Germiston Municipal Area




IV. Mr. S. J. M. STEYN

asked the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs:

Whether any contracts for the manufacture of uniforms and other items of apparel were placed for his Department during the financial years 1958-9, 1959-60 and 1960-1; and, if so, what was the amount of orders placed with clothing factories in the municipal areas of Johannesburg and Germiston, respectively, during each of these financial years.


Yes; and during the financial years 1958-9, 1959-60 and 1960-1 orders of R36,768, R4,032 and R4,219, respectively, were placed with clothing factories in the municipal area of Johannesburg. During the same years no orders were placed with factories in the municipal area of Germiston.

V. Mr. S. J. M. STEYN

asked the Minister of Defence:

Whether any contracts for the manufacture of uniforms and other items of apparel were placed for his Department during the financial years 1958-9, 1959-60 and 1960-1; and, if so, what was the amount of orders placed with clothing factories in the municipal areas of Johannesburg and Germiston, respectively, during each of these financial years.


Yes, contracts for the manufacture of uniforms and other items of apparel were placed as follows:




R 97,010,00








For written reply:

Customs and Excise Duties on Petrol, Diesel Oil, Lubricants, Motors, etc.

The MINISTER OF FINANCE replied to Question No. I, by Mr. E. G. Malan, standing over from 10 March.


What amounts of customs and excise duties were collected during the financial years 1958-9 and 1959-60, respectively, on (a) petrol, (b) diesel oil, (c) motor vehicles, (d) motor spares and (e) lubricants and lubricating oil.


* Article

Amounts of Customs duty collected

Calendar Year 1958

Calendar Year 1959

Calendar Year 1960

(a) Petrol




(b) Diesel oil


R 3,587,841

R 4,050,824

(cj Motor vehicles

R 7,556,740

R 5,061,336

R 5,825,948

(d) Motor spares

R 2,992,963

R 2,838,222

R 3,372.815

(e) Lubricants and lubricating oil

R 771,462

R 716,042

R 670,890

* Particulars of Customs duties are not readily available for financial years and the requested particulars are furnished for calendar years to avoid delay.


Amounts of Excise duty collected

Financial Year 1958-9

Financial Year 1959-60

(a) Petrol



(b) Diesel oil

R 416,276


(cj Motor vehicles



(d) Motor spares



(e) Lubricants and lubricating oil




I move—

  1. (1) That Government business shall have precedence on Fridays on and after Friday, 14 April;
  2. (2) that on Tuesdays, on and after Tuesday, 18 April, the proceedings of the House shall be suspended at Half-past Six o’clock p.m. and resumed at Eight o’clock p.m.; and
  3. (3) that the House at its rising on Wednesday, 29 March, adjourn until Wednesday, 5 April, at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.

I second.

Agreed to.


I move—

That this House is of the opinion that the diversion of surplus waters of the Orange River to the valleys of the Fish and Sundays Rivers is not only a matter of urgency for the irrigators concerned but is essential to safeguard the general economy of those areas.

Since 1949 I have been regularly introducing motions to this House advocating the use of the surplus waters of the Orange River for extension of irrigation and development purposes both inside and outside its watershed. Never has this motion been introduced under more tragic circumstances than to-day. The Union of South Africa is about to launch out on uncertain seas with a divided crew. If ever there was a time that the Government should embark on revolutionary developments, it is now, and I appeal to the hon. the Minister to accept this motion or, if he is not able to do so, to use his influence to see that the motion comes to a vote to-day. We on this side of the House will curtail our speeches, as much as possible, so as to make this vote possible.

Sir, the Orange River is the Union’s greatest river. It rises in the snow-clad Maluti mountains in Basutoland near our eastern border. It traverses our whole continent and empties into the Atlantic Ocean, annually, something over 4,000,000 morgen feet of water. Not only this, but the Orange River watershed and adjoining territories embrace the most productive stock-raising areas in the Union. It is also an area that is subject to our severest droughts, and the heaviest stock losses are periodically experienced there.

This motion is introduced in order to arouse the Government from its lethargy and to urge the Government to rise to its responsibilities regarding the conservation and the use of the surplus waters of the Orange River, and, by doing this, to save an area the future of which is in jeopardy. I will endeavour to prove that this surplus water is considerable and that it can be spared. This Government has now been in office for 13 years but it has done nothing towards conserving this waste of water and putting it to economic use. One has only to think of what is done on the Vaal River; the Vaal River with its 1,700,000 morgen feet of water provides all the water needs for the mining and industries on the Witwatersrand, for Pretoria, for Johannesburg and for the Vaalharts scheme. It supplies water for Kimberley, for the Northern Free State mining area and for many other users. When one thinks of the measure of development there and realizes that there is almost twice as much water in the Orange River, it is clear that we are neglecting our responsibilities. This is a matter which demands the Government’s immediate attention. It is not a question of whether a wealthy country like ours can afford to pay for diversion schemes, but whether we can afford the waste of millions of morgen feet of water into the sea annually. The measure of the flow of the Orange River by the Irrigation Department, excluding the Vaal and the Caledon Rivers, is 2,300,000 morgen feet per annum. I claim that this is an underestimate because these waters will also be supplemented from the run-off of the lower reaches of the Caledon and the Vaal Rivers. Of these Orange River waters, approximately 150,000 morgen feet are used annually to irrigate approximately 30,000 morgen of soil on the Orange River Valley, which means that not even 10 per cent of the waters of the Orange River are used to-day for irrigation and other development purposes. Ninety per cent of the waters of the Orange River is being lost to us, and this country, with its great water scarcity and most precarious water supplies, cannot afford it. In Natal where we have waters flowing to the east there are limited areas that can be put under cultivation. Even at Pongola there is a limited area of soil that can be brought under irrigation. But here on the Orange River there are soils available for the use of all its waters, if the Government will only embark on major irrigation schemes and get away from their limited ideas of small dams and small conservation works which periodically land the irrigators in difficulties. I think that, where we can launch out and establish permanent water supplies for assured food production in this country, we cannot afford to ignore these opportunities, and we, as a people, must undertake this work.

Mr. Speaker, if all the soils on the Orange River and its tributaries such as the Brak River and the Sak River, which amount to something like 250,000 morgen, were put under irrigation, it is still estimated that there would be a surplus of 895,000 morgen feet of water for diversion outside the Orange River system.

This motion is introduced to-day in order to make the case for a diversion of a portion of the surplus waters to the Fish and Sundays Rivers valleys, and to rehabilitate an area where hundreds of millions of rand have been spent on irrigation and urban development. I claim that the cost to do this will not be excessive, and that it will be economic, because it will not only safeguard the development of the area as regards irrigation and food production, but it will stabilize an urban community. It will also safeguard the people of a vast area from ultimate ruin, the possibility of which leaves no room for doubt, and with which I will deal later. Neither is there any doubt that this Government should make provision for areas like the Fish and Sundays Rivers development, so that there can be the necessary primary production required for the increasing population in the South-Eastern Cape. I have a book here on the Sundays River Valley written by Jane M. Meiring, which gives the history of the fortunes spent and the ruin brought to many early irrigators in the building of what was a flourishing valley in recent years. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick spent a fortune on the development there. The Sundays River Company spent something like R1,000,000 on development in the area. And if you visualize the evidence of the depleted orchards, unproductive lucerne lands, empty dams and outstanding debts, it seems almost unnecessary, for me, to justify the motion before the House to-day. In this book which I have there is evidence that on the liquidation of the Cape Sundays River Settlement Company, which initiated the major development in this area in 1924, the Government took over the assets of the company which had cost them £500,000, for a mere £100,000. Then later, on the supplementation of the water of Lake Mentz, the Minister who opened these works, the late Mr. J. G. Strijdom, said that the Orange-Fish-Sundays River scheme would only be undertaken when other more pressing work had been completed. He did not, however, believe that it would be embarked on during his life-time. But what I wanted to stress is that the Government has given every inducement and has fathered the development of the Sundays-Fish River irrigation scheme.

It is not difficult for me to present a case to this House for the Fish and Sundays Rivers irrigators. They were led up the garden path with advice and Government assistance, and the hon. the Minister knows that, when our soil conservation scheme in the Karoo comes to completion, these rivers will only run during times of periodic floods. The Government continues to waste money on matters of expediency, paying millions of rand for relief and assistance to farmers; just building debt up against them. The Government of the late General Smuts undertook to build a dam at Allemanskraal on the Fish River at an estimated cost of £800,000, and when the present Government came into power they withdrew that decision.




The hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) asks why. Well, I also say why, because that proposition was promised as the first step in implementing the of the Sundays, Fish and Orange Rivers scheme. When this Government withdrew that scheme it was withdrawing the first implementation of the Sundays, Fish and Orange River scheme. The Minister then withdrew the undertaking of the previous government that the Orange, Sundays and Fish Rivers scheme would be put in hand, and the hon. member asks why. Let me say that what this Government did with that vote was to build a canal from Kommando Drift to the Fish River Valley at a cost of something like £800,000—if not £1,000,000— and it was from a dry dam. That canal was from a dam that has been dry almost ever since. Almost £1,000,000 was spent to convey water from the Kommando Drift Dam, and yet the hon. member for Somerset East asks me why. I ask him why.


I will tell you why.


Why was that expenditure undertaken when we all knew the very limited catchment area above the Kommando Drift and Lake Arthur Dams? We all knew how very rarely those dams are likely to be filled with water, and that the Government was implementing a soil conservation scheme that would prevent water running, from the dry Karoo, for conservation. Despite that the hon. member asks why.


Order, order! The hon. member should not allow himself to be upset by these interjections. The hon. member must continue with his speech.


Mr. Speaker, I would rather continue with my speech, and I appreciate your guidance. As you indicate, this matter is one that must be brought before this House in a calm and reasonable manner, and I will attempt to do so. Our intention on this side of the House is that we will co-operate with all interested parties in the House in trying to implement the use of the waters of the Orange River.

Sir, what really does worry me is that the hon. the Minister is contemplating buying ground from the farmers under the Fish River Irrigation Scheme; he is contemplating taking over their properties. Farmers are so desperate as a result of their need for water that they are most anxious to sell their property. But I regard this with serious misgivings because it will mean the denudation of our rural population. I am reminded of the lines by Goldsmith which are so applicable here, in which he says—

A bold peasantry the country’s pride,

When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

I would like the hon. the Minister to read that poem of Goldsmith’s, “ The Deserted Village ”, and he may think twice before he buys up territory, which will depopulate a productive area, by removing an industrious community.

The diversion of 500 000 morgen feet of surplus water to the Fish and Sundays-Orange River Valleys is a mere fleabite when one considers the volume of water in the Orange River. On an estimate of even 600,000 morgen feet annually, if the annual run-off of the Orange is diverted, it will place the Fish-Sundays River areas under a supply of permanent water. That would save an established community in an area where over R200,000,000 has been spent on development, and where revenue returns justify this Government expenditure, quite apart from providing for the irrigation of these soils by a permanent water supply. These waters, diverted to the Fish and Sundays River Valleys, would establish a wealthy consumer population, and the irrigators would build up a permanent fodder bank which could save the millions of cattle and sheep that die during our periodical droughts. The established citrus, milk and dairy production would flourish, and we could even build up a remunerative export trade in lucerne hay, quite apart from the export of citrus from that area.

I am told that over 20,000,000 citrus trees have been planted in the Sundays River Valley. When I spoke of R200,000,000 being spent on development there, and one compares it with the cost of 20,000,000 citrus trees and realizes that it would cost at least R5 to rear one of those trees and bring it to production and provide for the irrigation and planting and levelling of land then, on the citrus industry alone, one realizes the producers have invested over R100,000,000. Mr. Speaker, if you could have seen what I saw in the last drought, you would have been shocked. Thousands of trees were dying and, later, these trees were being rooted out, pushed out by bulldozers. It was heartbreaking. The Government at that time did endeavour to help the farmers with water and pumping, but in many areas the water was brak and the trees could not survive.

The hon. the Minister has furnished me with the following estimates regarding the proposed diversion scheme. This information—which I appreciate having been given—is that plans were prepared and an estimate made of the costs of the diversion of the surplus waters of the Orange River into the Great Fish River system as late as 1959. That was at an estimated cost of R35,000,000, which is £17,500,000. Of the above amount the diversion scheme at Bethulie is estimated to cost R9,000,000, that is, £4,500,000. And the 51mile tunnel is estimated to cost R26,000,000, that is £13,000,000. Now, Mr. Speaker, the dam at Bethulie, besides being necessary to divert the waters of the Orange River to the Fish and Sundays River Valleys must be built to supplement the needs of the lower irrigators on the Orange River by the supply of permanent water. The hon. the Minister says that the dam at Bethulie would meet the requirements of the present riparian owners on the Orange River, and would provide something like 2,300 cusecs of water. I am very interested in the hon. the Minister’s figures, especially as regards the assured supplementation of water supplies to the lower irrigators of the Orange River. I want to say that the costs of this Bethulie Dam—this R9,000,000—should not be debited to the future Orange-Fish-Sunday River scheme. It has to be built, in times of need, from the Vaal Dam, and the late Minister of Water Affairs informed this House that this could not continue for much longer. It must be remembered that these irrigators on the lower reaches of the Orange River have an entrenched right in that Vaal water. If that water is denied them the Government must supplement it from the Orange River, and the Government must build this dam. And then, I say, the Government should not debit its cost to the diversion of the Sundays River irrigation scheme.


You want it for nothing.


The hon. member for Somerset East says “ You want it for nothing ”…


Order, order! The hon. member should not allow himself to be diverted from his speech.


Mr. Speaker, we do not want it for nothing. We would also agree if the hon. the Minister would …


On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I object to the hon. member saying that I said that he wanted it for nothing. I did not open my mouth.


I apologize to the hon. member for Somerset East. I think he is now in a much more co-operative state of mind, and I have always known him as a co-operative man. He and I both have at heart this matter of the diversion of the surplus waters of the Orange River into the valleys of the Fish and Sundays Rivers, and we both have very initimate experience of that area.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this scheme, I say, is a must. It must be put into operation. Great Government personalities including the late General Smuts, the late General Hertzog, the late Mr. Havenga and the late Mr. Strijdom were all agreed on this. I actually received a personal letter from the late Mr. Strijdom saying that the lower irrigators must have patience, that their needs would be supplemented and that it was far better to have patience than to apply to him for another dam on the Fish River. I have statements here made by that hon. gentleman which, I think, I should bring to the attention of the hon. the Minister. The hon. J. G. Strijdom, the then Minister of Irrigation, in the debate on 21 March 1950, said this—

I agree with hon. members that we shall eventually have to utilize all the waters of the Orange River, and that this scheme will have to be tackled sooner or later even though it is carried out in stages.

Then, when a representative deputation from the Orange-Fish River Development Association waited on the Ministers of Finance and Lands on 1 February 1951, the hon. Messrs. N. C. Havenga and J. G. Strijdom, they told the deputation that they were preaching to the converted. Then the hon. Mr. Justice Hall, Chairman of the Water Laws Commission, declared publicly, after the Commission had taken evidence in the Great Fish River Valley, that this scheme was the only solution to all the water problems of the valley. And the present Minister of Finance who, I am sure, the Minister of Water Affairs will find on his side, stated at a public meeting in Cradock on 9 October 1951 that the Government was aware of the dire necessity of this scheme.

Mr. Speaker, is this generation not to honour the pledges on which the population of the Fish River Valley staked their all? That is the question I would like to ask this hon. House. Those people staked their all on those pledges. Are we going to let them down? I think that that is something we should consider very seriously. It would take at least ten years to bring this scheme into operation, and at the present estimated cost it would not be more than R40,000,000, which would need a vote of only approximately R4,000,000 per annum to be passed by this House. The Government knows, and everyone knows—and the hon. the Minister of Water Affairs knows—that an annual vote of R4,000,000 to bring into being a major irrigation scheme of this nature would present no difficulty in financing. For this project which is similar to that of the Snowy Mountain scheme in Australia, I have no doubt that, if necessary, money could be found overseas. We could create interest in this great development. We would be doing something revolutionary. It would attract more tourists to the country. And much of our economy depends on the tourist trade to this country. When we think that some of the countries of this world have become wealthy as a result of their tourist trade, we realize how much more can be done in this country. I claim that South Africa as a tourist attraction stands above any other country in the world, and we should do everything possible to excite interest in South Africa and induce people to come and see us, to come and learn to understand us and our difficulties. I think that if this scheme were to be undertaken it would be a considerable contribution towards our tourist attractions.

I am not going to keep the House very much longer, Sir, and perhaps I may end this earnest appeal in a humorous vein. The tragedy regarding the irrigation development and the ruin it has brought to the early pioneers on the Orange and Fish River Valleys, and the purchase of farms by the Department of Water Affairs brings to one’s mind certain verses in Lewis Carroll’s book, “ Alice in Wonderland ”. I think the House may be interested if I read a few verses from that book before I sit down, in order to illustrate the position of the irrigators in the Sundays River Valley. I therefore read this verse—

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead—
There were no birds to fly.

That, Mr. Speaker, gives the picture. Then it goes on—

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“ If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”
“ O Oysters, come and walk with us! ”
The Walrus did beseech.
“ A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

I will not burden the House with very much more. We know how all these oysters mustered and followed the advice of the Walrus and the Carpenter. Then the poem goes on—

“ It seems a shame,” the Walrus said.
“To play them such a trick.
After we’ve brought them out so far.
And made them trot so quick! ”
The Carpenter said nothing but “ The butter’s spread too thick! ”

He thought only of himself—

“ I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“ I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size, Holding his pocket-handkerchief Before his streaming eyes.
“ O Oysters,” said the Carpenter, “ You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again? ”
But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd, because They’d eaten every one.

I commend this walrus and the carpenter to the hon. the Minister, who should, perhaps, think of his association with the Government as the carpenter, and think of what is happening with the Fish and Sundays River Valleys to-day. I think that, if he takes that to heart, he will do as I have said, either accept this motion or use his influence to have it brought to a vote in this House to-day. I move.


I second. In doing so, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) for again bringing this matter before the House. We know that the hon. member’s scheme has often been lightheartedly referred to as a hardy annual. However, I do think that all those who are interested, particularly our farmers and hon. members representing farming constituencies, view the position very much more seriously, and that they, like me, feel that we can congratulate the hon. member for Albany for again bringing this matter before us. I think it is much to his credit.

In this House this matter has been debated on many occasions, and very many schemes have been put before us. But as I view it, and in terms of the motion now before us, our premier claim is made for the diversion into the Fish and Sundays River Valleys of surplus waters in order to redeem and bring back, and even to vastly increase, the productivity of this area. This is an area which has already been developed at a cost of millions of rand, both by the Government and by private enterprise. We have to-day in those areas—and I do not want to burden this hon. House with a lot of details, but I think the hon. the Minister will be interested—we have large dams which have been paid for, practically all by the Government. I think many hon. members are conversant with that. We have large agricultural developments which, over very many years, have cost private enterprise a tremendous amount of money. We must not lost sight of the fact that it would be a great disaster if, at this stage, we do not recognize the great necessity of trying to save from further depreciation all these tremendous assets. I would here like to say that, as a representative of Port Elizabeth, the hinterland of which is formed by so much of the area referred to, we are very interested in this matter. As a great industrial city, Port Elizabeth is very interested indeed in this development. I would say that it can be claimed that Port Elizabeth, through its businesses, its commerce and industry, has played a very big part in the development of this particular hinterland. It can be said that, before the Government made assistance available to the producers during times of severe drought and water shortages, our farmers could rely upon support, financial and otherwise, from our city and its business men. But I think it is equally fair and correct to say—and I am very happy to do so—that the development in our city, both commercially and industrially, has also been very largely supported by the fact of having as our hinterland this vast area to which we are now referring. It therefore seems to me only correct that, as a representative of Port Elizabeth, I should give my wholehearted support to the plea so ably made by the hon. member for Albany.

I feel it is known to all those who are interested in this matter that already Port Elizabeth as a city has advanced industrially to a very considerable size. There is every evidence that, in the very near future, our development will be of such a rate that we will be creating a very large market for all the products which the farmers may be able to produce. I do not want to refer in detail to that area which is so close to Port Elizabeth, and in which so much money has been invested by our farming community and by others, but we all realize that the export of citrus has played a very big part over the last decade. And we know, too, that while present prices have somewhat receded, a very substantial amount of foreign exchange is brought in from that limited area. And with the possibility of so much more development taking place, one can quite appreciate what amounts of extra income and development can be brought about once the water—which we feel is available and is so necessary—can be diverted into these respective areas.

As I said earlier, Port Elizabeth is destined to become one of our great industrial cities chiefly on account of the availability there of adequate water and power resources and the excellent facilities it has for heavy rail traffic flowing out to the north on a low gradient of one in 89. The Minister of Transport himself confirmed the views expressed that Port Elizabeth would become a great factor in the economy of our land. At a recent census taken, the population of Port Elizabeth was found to be 280,000, and it is interesting to note that, as recent as 26 January 1961, in a statement published in the Press, the Town Clerk of Port Elizabeth said that a sum of R20,000,000 would be spent on municipal undertakings during the current year alone. That gives us some idea of the volume of the development which is taking place at Port Elizabeth.

When a scheme such as that which we are proposing to-day is undertaken, it is well to know and to satisfy oneself that, should the area become a large fruit-or meat-producing area, one would be assured of a great consuming population in that area. We know that there have already been very many congresses at which farmers have stated their case to the Minister; there was support from the many varied industrial and business associations; but it is tragic to find that, notwithstanding all these approaches, supported by facts and figures, the vast asset constituted by the surplus water of the Orange River continues to flow into the sea.

In supporting this motion, I would like to appeal to all members to give it their full support also and to do everything possible to bring about the introduction of this scheme.

*Mr. G. F. H. BEKKER:

I know that my friend, the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker), means well, but it is just such a pity that he always drags a little politics into this matter. As we have said before, water means everything to us in South Africa; it means even more to us than our gold. And I want to tell him that as far as we are concerned nothing will stand in the way of the development of our country. In this regard we are very glad to see an excellent spirit which prevails in England, that is to say the spirit of Mr. Macmillan. I just hope that our opponents will emulate that spirit and reveal the same spirit that Mr. Whitehead and the Prime Minister of Australia have also revealed. Then I shall be satisfied that we shall develop and prosper in this country.

Mr. Speaker, I view the question of water in a far wider perspective. I do not want to talk politics, but I regard water as being the life-blood of South Africa. When we remember the statement made by the hon. the Minister last year in this House, we realize that this Government is in fact developing the Orange River scheme as a whole. The Fish River and Sundays River schemes are bound up with that larger scheme. I, therefore, want to move as an amendment—

To omit all the words after “ That ” and to substitute “ this House is of the opinion that, as a matter of urgent public importance, the Government should consider the advisability of—
  1. (a) immediately proceeding with schemes for conserving all the surplus waters of the Orange River at as many places as possible in order to develop the full potential of the river; and
  2. (b) simultaneously giving preferential attention to the related Fish and Sundays River Valley schemes ”.

I consider that this amendment presents a far wider case than the motion of the hon. member for Albany. I do not want to criticize him for the way in which he has described conditions there, because conditions in those areas are very much as he has told us. However, we can only achieve something in South Africa if we co-operate; in isolation we cannot achieve anything. We are asking for something which, when taken as a whole, may be too expensive or even impossible. In the first place I want to discuss the first part of my amendment, that is to say the part dealing with the damming of the surplus waters of the Orange River. We must not forget that this water belongs to different sections of our population; there are the Free State and parts of the Cape Province, etc. For that reason we must bring together all these people who are interested in that water. That is what we have already done and by his efforts the Minister has already gone a long way to remove the old differences which existed because he realizes that the one group cannot force anything on the other. For that reason there is excellent co-operation to-day and we can make progress Under this scheme we shall undertake water conservation in South Africa on a very large scale. This means that we shall have to co-operate with the Free State, with the riparian owners and with parts of the Fish River and the Karoo as a whole. For that reason we must give our scheme a far wider basis which will also provide a far cheaper scheme for the Fish River and Sundays River.

I was gratified by the speech which the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) has made. Port Elizabeth will definitely be included because if these valleys are not developed. Port Elizabeth will suffer For that reason I am also glad that we have the support of Port Elizabeth. In the first instance I want to confine myself to the Orange River as a whole. As I have said, the Free State is also entitled to a share of the water and there is no longer any doubt that by 1965 Bloemfontein will not have sufficient water for its own requirements. I hope that wherever the river may be dammed it will be dammed so high up that it will be able to supply the water requirements of Bloemfontein, of the southern part of the Free State and even of those dams which require water to-day. We do not want to take anything from the Free State which is its due; nor do we want to take anything from the Orange River riparian owners. They, of course, have first claim on the water but there is enough water for everyone—there is even enough to provide water to Vaalharts which will also be experiencing a shortage within ten or 12 years. We want to make provision for all these people and we do not merely want want to establish this scheme for the benefit of one group. We want all the people who have a claim on this water to be provided with water. There is no doubt that there will be sufficient water for approximately 350,000 morgen and for the southern part of the Free State as far even as Welkom; 100,000 morgen in the valley and 80,000 morgen below the Fish and Sundays River scheme. We must move in that direction and we must not try to deprive one section of its rights in favour of another section. We realize, too, that the whole northern Cape is becoming a desert and that the vegetation is withering away. Whereas originally there was very good grass and whereas the southern Free State had fine vleis of red grass, these have now disappeared and have been replaced by steekgras. We realize that these people must be provided with sufficient water to enable them to overcome their difficulties.

For that reason we regard the Orange River as a whole. I concede that to-day only 4 per cent of the water of the Orange River is being utilized. There is therefore enough water to make it unnecessary for us to quarrel about whose water it should be; there is sufficient water for an equitable distribution amongst all these areas which require water.

I want to discuss the northern Cape with reference to the second part of my amendment. The first part embodies the over-all framework which the Minister is already considering and in respect of which he has provided funds to finance an investigation into whether various dams can be built. I want to say this: These dams must be constructed. Vast sums have already been invested in industries and we are thankful that that has been done because this has given our people employment opportunities and we can sell our products. We are very glad about the development of the gold mines because at the present stage our gold mines are of inestimable value. We should like to provide cheap food to everyone, and I hope the Minister will ensure that financial aid is provided to the farmers, particularly those farmers who are suffering so greatly, not through any fault of their own, but as a result of conditions. As far as the northern Cape is concerned, there is no doubt that those areas are changing into a desert. While the water table 40 years ago was 60 feet, it has now fallen to 200 and even to 400 feet. If additional sponges are not established along the Orange River in order to replenish our subterranean water resources—and this is why we are advocating the construction of more dams—we shall eventually find ourselves in the same position as northern Africa; we shall be a desert. There is no doubt that in the Karoo areas there is soil that is as good as one can find anywhere in the world. Lucerne can be grown there and any kind of stock can be fed. We can even export lucerne, and our lucerne is amongst the best in the world because it has a protein content of from 18 per cent to 24 per cent. For this reason it must be our task to provide sufficient fodder for our animals. The figures which the hon. member for Kimberley (North) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) gave the other day give us cause for concern. Figures have been quoted to show what losses our farmers have suffered as a result of the drought—approximately R200,000,000. These losses are already sufficient to build a couple of Kariba dams, and I hope that something will be done to counteract these losses in the northern Cape and elsewhere. We are concerned about the water position as a whole; we do not only want the Orange River to be developed, but we want to see our water resources throughout South Africa being developed. The Americans say “ water breeds water ”; if there is no evaporation in the interior the humidity level falls, and if there are no dams to replenish our subterranean water resources, I am afraid that our country will be come a desert. The depopulation of the platteland has already gone very far. Take my own town, Steynsburg. Whereas previously there were 2,000 enfranchised voters, a college, a high school, two junior schools, etc., to-day there is practically no longer a college or a high school, and the number of voters has fallen to less than 1,000. This shows one that something must be done. I think the time has come for us to tell the Government that, while all this development has taken place in the north—it is not that we want to be provincial—we feel that similar developments should start in the south as well. Here I include the southern Free State and the whole Fish River valley and the whole Karoo. There are many ways in which water could be supplied to the interior—by pumping and by canals. Water must be brought down as far as Port Elizabeth, because, as a result of its great industrial development, there will not be sufficient water in the near future. The water must be taken through the Karoo to De Aar, and even as far as O’kiep. We therefore ask the Government to help these people. Give these people something to live for once again and something to look forward to in the future. We have wonderful soil; we have the water. Give the stock farmer water and one need not do anything more. He will then produce the results. We have already seen what has been achieved with water conservation elsewhere. First help our own people before people from abroad are helped. To-day that part of the country is changing into a Black platteland because the Whites are leaving, and this is only because sufficient attention has not been given to these areas which have, perhaps, produced the best brains of our country. I, therefore, say: Construct these dams and give the Orange/Fish River scheme priority. I want to tell the House a little history. Originally it was a flood scheme. Two dams were built, namely Lake Arthur and Grassridge. At that time, when there was still a good run-off, the dams did receive a certain amount of water, but even in 1938 there was a shortage. The Government then wrote off the debts on those dams. Everyone was thankful that it did so. Then the Vlekpoort scheme was established, and is any hon. member opposed to schemes for the reclamation of what we have lost; that is to say, erosion schemes? We all want such schemes. Wonderful work is being done, but the run-off to these dams has definitely fallen away. For that reason these valleys which have been inhabited by some of the best people in the country, have retrogressed to the position in which they find themselves to-day. Although we are all sorry that the people in those areas find themselves in such a position that they are having to leave or that the Government has to buy them out, I do want to say this: We must not blame anyone else. These farmers asked for it themselves. There are some of these people who can almost not afford to enjoy a decent meal. We have already advocated in this House that these people should be helped as quickly as possible. There are some of these people who cannot wait, and we hope that this scheme will be tackled in the near future and completed as soon as possible. We realize, of course, that it cannot be done overnight because large works will have to be constructed. I therefore realize that it will still be some years before the water is available, but in the meantime these people are in difficulties. There was no longer any basis on which they could obtain credit; no one could tell them what their land was worth, and that is why this scheme was established, with the object of at least making these people credit-worthy. It was not undertaken in order to force them to leave their land. It was introduced to make them creditworthy, and it is a great thing which the Minister has done. The land will remain and, when the Orange/Fish River scheme is carried out, the land will be there waiting to be used. Once these valleys have been developed, a farmer, even if he is 100 miles away, should be allowed to own a piece of irrigation land, where he can build up his own fodder bank to tide him over periods of drought. If we work in this direction, Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that these dry areas will be resuscitated. What has the drought not done to these people! When one sees them coming to ask for a piece of veld one feels that one’s heart bleeds for them. There are people amongst them who, three years ago, were still well off, but no one could have foreseen that the drought would continue for three, four and five years. The result has been that these people who, three years ago, were prosperous, to-day practically cannot obtain any credit. For this reason we welcome the plan of the Minister of Finance, namely to take steps to rehabilitate these drought-stricken areas. But I am certain that the droughts will come again, and, if we do not have the water, and, if we do not have fodder for our animals, exactly the same position will arise once again. The time was never more opportune. There is unity in South Africa as far as water conservation is concerned. We all say this problem must be tackled. We welcome the money which is being spent on other undertakings such as the Railways, Iscor, industries, etc., but the question is where will they find food if there are no longer any farmers to provide that food, or if a larger population is desired, no one dares say that these areas should no longer be developed.

Mr. Speaker, I think I have put my case as best I can. My seconder will enlarge further on the matter.


I second the amendment. When the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) moved his similar and annual motion in this House last year, I moved an amendment which embodied a request to the Government to develop the Orange River and to utilize its waters in its own valley as well as in other valleys because, due to serious droughts, there was not sufficient water for the various irrigation schemes. On that occasion I did not refer specifically in the amendment to the Fish and Sundays Rivers but in my speech I did emphasize that a great water shortage existed in those areas. The fact that I moved an amendment, even though it was only an amendment which dealt with the matter on a wider basis than the motion of the hon. member for Albany, was interpreted at that time as meaning that I was opposed to the diversion of the waters of the Orange River into the Fish and Sundays River valleys. I want to say that in moving this amendment that could not be further from my thoughts. I shall give my reasons why I support the amendment and not the motion of the hon. member for Albany.

In passing I just want to express my disappointment with the hon. member for Albany. No matter how well he may mean he nevertheless does not let any opportunity pass, and this has also been so in the past, to try_ to make a little political capital out of his motion. Inter alia he has said that the Government of General Smuts decided to build the Allemanskraal Dam, but that when this Government came into power that plan was dropped. The interpretation which he has attached to the Government’s motives was that the Government did not have sufficient sympathy with the irrigators. By way of interjection I then asked him: “Why?” and he tried to make a great fuss about that, while hon. members know as well as I that the Department stated at that time that if the Allemanskraal Dam were to be built on the upper reaches of the Fish River with a very limited flow, and that dam provided the necessary compensatory water to the already existing irrigation land, only two inches would have remained for further irrigation in the valley. That is why the Allemanskraal Dam was abandoned. At the time, the irrigators approached the late Minister Strijdom, who was then Minister of Irrigation, and said that General Smuts had made a promise to them. The late Minister Strijdom admitted that such a promise had been made and said that he, the late Minister Strijdom, would carry out that promise by constructing the Kommandodrif Dam, seeing that the Allemanskraal Dam would be uneconomic. Why did the hon. member create the impression this morning that the Government did not have the necessary sympathy for the irrigators in that area? No, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will do far better if he will drop the political aspect from his annual motion; then we shall co-operate better with him.

I now turn to the motion which the hon. member has moved this year, and I want to repeat what I said last year, namely, that there are dangers inherent in this motion as he has worded it. He says that he wants to divert the surplus waters of the Orange River into the Fish and Sundays Rivers. What does he mean by surplus waters? There is a definition of “ surplus water ” in the Water Act of 1956 which for his benefit I want to read in English so that he will understand it more easily—

Surplus water in relation to a public stream is public water flowing or found in that stream other than the normal flow.

In other words, it is water which does not form part of the normal flow. Let the hon. member listen to what “ normal flow ” is—

Normal flow in relation to a public stream and subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 53. means the quantity of public water actually and visibly flowing in that public stream which under a system of direct irrigation from that stream, whether by furrows or otherwise but without the aid of storage, can be beneficially used for the irrigation of land riparian to such a stream.

But I now also want to refer to what is excluded. I read sub-section (2) of Section 53—

A public stream shall not be deemed to have a normal flow unless a portion of the actual and visible flow is derived from springs, seepage of any kind including return seepage from irrigated land, melting snow, steady drainage of swamps, vleis, natural or indigenous forests or other like sources ol supply.

Sir, what I am trying to show is that when we analyse the position correctly, there is in reality not a significant normal flow in the Orange River and its flow must be regarded as surplus water. The hon. member for Albany now proposes that we should divert the surplus waters of the Orange River, and I should welcome it, into the Sundays and Fish River valleys.


I want to ask the hon. member whether he does not realize that when I referred to “ surplus ” waters, I meant water which was surplus to the requirements of the irrigators along the Orange River itself.


The hon. member may have meant what he regards in his mind as surplus water, but he must not forget that we are dealing with the public which considers surplus water to be what it is defined as being in the Water Act. It is in the Water Act that the public will seek the defintion of “ surplus water ” and not in the thoughts of the hon. member for Albany.

The position is that if we should lay claim to the surplus waters—all the surplus waters, as the hon. member has in effect put it—then we shall have a counter-agitation by the interested parties in the Orange River valley, and that is what we have always tried to avoid. That is why the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) has moved this amendment. That is the point I have tried to make over the years. There is sufficient surplus water in the Orange River valley, if we dam it or conserve it, to supply the irrigation needs of the Orange River valley, as the Minister showed us last year with figures, to the extent of 100,000 morgen. But then there will still be sufficient surplus water for a further 250,000 morgen outside the Orange River valley. That is why we are saying that while there is sufficient water for an additional 250,000 morgen, provision must also be made for the irrigation of the 80,000 morgen in the Sundays and Fish River valleys. Mr. Speaker, that is the standpoint I want to submit, and that is also why the standpoint of this side of the House is that we should not accept as it stands the motion of the hon. member for Albany to the effect that the surplus waters should be diverted to the Fish and Sundays river valleys, and that is why our standpoint is that the water of the Orange River should be utilized and that its utilization will mean that the requirements of the Fish and Sundays River valleys can be met as well. Sir, I am not trying to save my own skin— it is fairly tough—but I shall be glad if the attempts which are being made to place me, the hon. member for Cradock and the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Dr. Jonker) under suspicion when we move amendments and the attempts which are being made to create the impression that we are opposed to the waters of the Orange River being diverted to the Fish and Sundays river valleys would cease. Hon. members will not gain any ground by making these attempts.

While we are discussing this motion and while in our amendment we ask for preferential attention to be given to the Fish and Sundays River valleys which we describe as related schemes to the Orange River scheme, I think it would be appropriate on this occasion if I were just briefly to outline the position in the Fish River valley to-day. There are 22,000 morgen of irrigable land in the Fish River valley which are served by three dams, the Kommandodrif Dam, Lake Arthur and Grassridge. With the existing waterworks it has been calculated that 13 inches of conserved irrigation water should be available for those areas annually. I may say that over the years this figures of 13 inches per annum has been exceeded occasionally but there were also many years in which it was not reached. For the 21year period ending in 1945, the average amount of water available was 11 inches per annum. The hon. member for Cradock has rightly said that there have been years when there was a shortage, as in 1938, but nevertheless the average was 11 inches, that is to say two inches less than the estimate. To a large extent this met the irrigation requirements of those areas. I must just explain that it was 11 inches in the area served by Lake Arthur— at that time the Kommandodrif Dam had not yet been constructed—and 8.82 inches in the area served by Grassridge. We then entered another period. I cannot exactly say it was a dry period, but it was a period during which the idea of soil conservation took root. We now find that during the period 1946 to 1956, that is to say the next decade, Lake Arthur no longer had its average of 11 inches of water available for irrigation, but only 7.30 inches, while Grassridge had 6.67 inches. In the last three years of this period—that is to say from 1953 to 1956, Lake Arthur only had 5.81 inches available and Grassridge only 2.29. But conditions have continued to deteriorate still further. During the years 1957 to 1960 the position was as follows: Lake Arthur 4.87 inches, and Grassridge 3.11 inches. The figures for 1959 were: Lake Arthur 4.57 inches and Grassridge 2.20 inches. This was the amount of water which was available for irrigation during those years. The House will appreciate that if only 2.20 inches was available during that specific year, 1959, what the position was in the following year, that is to say, 1960. The position was then as follows: Lake Arthur only had 2.58 inches and Grassridge 3.64 inches. In other words, over a period of two years there was only a little more than four inches of irrigation water available for those schemes. Can hon. members therefore appreciate what the present position is? These scheme simply ceased to be irrigation schemes; this became a dry area—I cannot describe it in any other way.

This position compelled the irrigators to approach the Government and they compelled us as their representatives to approach the Government with them to seek assistance. As the House will see from the figures I have given, this position is getting worse and hon. members will realize to what extent the position of the irrigators in these areas has retrogressed. We have made proposals to the Goverment and the Government was sympathetically inclined and received us sympathetically. Seeing that these people were being forced into beggary, the Government undertook to buy these people out at a reasonable price. They asked for this step to be taken and we asked for it with them, but, Mr. Speaker, can you appreciate how painful it was to make such a request to the Government? At the moment the Department of Lands, through the Land Board, is negotiating with the irrigators who are selling their land to the Government. We shall probably hear soon what offer the Department of Lands can make. But I prophesy that it will cost some millions or rand to buy out these irrigators. The position does not seem so serious when one says: “ Yes, but the Government is sympathetically inclined; the Government is to buy out these people.” But, Mr. Speaker, does the House have any idea of what the actual position is? Do hon. members know that the financial position of every man who is being bought out and who has suffered hardship for ten years has deteriorated to such an extent that he is burdened with Land Bank loans which he must pay back with the money he receives for his land? And if our expectation that these farmers will receive a reasonable price for their land, is realized, they will, nevertheless, only keep a few thousand rand, if as much as that, out of the transaction after paying their debts. And these are people of advanced years, who have children who must be educated and clothed. Where are they to go? No matter how grateful we may be to the Government for being prepared to alleviate the hardship of these people by buying them out, we must realize that a family which has been bought out creates yet another problem for the country. The problem always remains.

Sir, I just want to refer to the social consequences of such a development, and I am not even mentioning the organizations which have already died out in those areas such as the United Party. The National Party may also die out if the population continues to decrease at such a rate. I want to tell the House with the utmost seriousness what has happened as far as the churches are concerned. I want to put the position to the House. Just as all other congregations have developed and expanded, so the Somerset East congregation developed and expanded. Eventually the Fish River congregation was established as a new congregation and this congregation includes the railway depot cookhouse. They became active; they called on a minister to serve them; they built a manse and they were on the point of building a church. Tenders had already been called for and plans had been drawn up, but as the result of this position which has developed, that church council decided last week not to continue with building the church but to wait and see whether this congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church would be able to continue in the future. I am not playing on the sentiments of hon. members, but that is the position which has developed in the Fish River Valley.

I want to outline to the House the position in the Sundays River Valley, and the hon. the Minister is aware of the position. He has already visited that valley with me. The trees stood there with scorched leaves and shrunken fruit, but the people brought water in, they dug holes and they tried to save their trees. Last year they succeeded in reaping 75 per cent of their normal crop by using the little irrigation water which was available from the Mentz lake. This does not have much to do with the Department of Water Affairs as such, but we all know that last year the bottom fell out of the citrus market and that the citrus growers along the Sunday River had to sell their crops for next to nothing. However, they still have all their normal expenses; they must maintain their canals with a view to the time when water will once again be available—as is now the position—because these canals must be ready for use; they must pay their normal levies, they must keep their children at school; they still have all their obligations to meet; but they do not have any income from their crops; crops which were only 75 per cent of the size of normal crops. At the beginning of February there was a slight improvement in the position. The people irrigated their trees and the position now looks a little better, but the estimate is that this year’s crop will only be between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of last year’s crop, which was only 75 per cent of the normal crop.

I was there on 4 February and at that time the citrus orchards from one end of the Sundays River Valley to the other were covered with white blossoms. There are probably hon. members who are acquainted with the citrus industry and they will know what it means if a citrus tree is white with blossom in February. Time will show what the eventual effect is going to be of this difficult period which the citrus farmers have gone through, and whether or not there will be a crop next year. Sir, can you appreciate why a feeling of hopelessness and depression exists; can you also see why there is despair because these people simply cannot go on making a living in either the Fish or the Sundays River Valley?

I have just said that the position to-day is a little more hopeful. I just want to read a news report which I think is of importance. The report appeared in the Eastern Province Herald on Tuesday, 14 March—

Soaking rain brings hope to Sundays Valley:

That is the heading—I am not going to read the whole report, but. inter alia, it states—

Farmers have already had about a halfturn of water from Lake Mentz, which, is at present more than 27,000 acre feet. The dam’s capacity is 184,000 acre feet.

The report makes this statement after describing the previous position. Twenty-seven thousand acre feet is only 9 per cent of the dam’s capacity, but according to the latest figures I have obtained from the Department, the dam now holds 14 per cent of its capacity. And this after “soaking rains” have fallen. We only have this quantity of water after good rains which we have not had for years past. The report continues—

At Cradock where 1.50 in. fell during the weekend, Mr. Billy Rayner, secretary of the Great Fish River Irrigation Board, said Lake Arthur gained very little. The level of the water rose only three inches. The dam was still almost empty. It has a capacity of 26,000 acre feet. The Commando Drift Dam with a capacity of 56,000 acre feet, had about 1,100 acre feet of water in it at present, Mr. Rayner said. The level of water in the dam had risen only 30 inches. Another dam in the Cradock area, Grassridge, with a capacity of 44,000 acre feet, had only 681 acre feet of water, Mr. Rayner said. Mr. Rayner said irrigators in the Cradock area had little rain at the weekend, although more than an inch fell in the town.

Although the position has been relieved in a large part of the country and the position in the Sundays River Valley is a little better, the position in the Fish River Valley is unchanged.

And now we have this motion before the House to-day. I do not want to anticipate any statements by the Minister. I have tried to outline how difficult the position in those areas is; I have tried to outline what despair prevails amongst the people, but I just want to say this, Mr. Speaker: If these people were to hear to-day that there is any hope of their getting more water, they will continue eating mealie meal and doing without other facilities; they will cling to their land which they love and cherish. Does the House know that there are cases where four-five generations have farmed on the same piece of land? These people attach sentimental value to their land and they want to try to retain it, if at all possible. These are hardy farmers who can continue with the struggle; these are farmers who have good soil. Do you know, Sir, that fertilizer is practically unknown in that area, unlike the position in other areas; this is fertile and good soil. We have good farmers, but we do not have water.


You are fortunate.


In this respect we are not fortunate; we are most unfortunate. We do not have any water.

Our standpoint is that more water must be made available to these valleys; this disruption cannot continue. The Fish River irrigation scheme is drying up completely and the Sundays River is going the same way. I ask the Government and the country not to allow these areas to become deserted. They are worth saving for the future. Give us more water. In asking for more water, we want to thank the Government for what has already been done. The Government has been sympathetic. The Commando Drift Dam has been built and the Scanlan Canal has been built at a cost of approximately R3,000,000, if not more. The wall of the Mentz Lake has been raised by 19 ft.; funds have been made available for the cementing of canals; the Government has been sympathetic, but these catchment areas do not offer any solution. It is pointless continuing to construct storage works and other works in these areas—the run-off is simply not available.

I want to call in a certain person to testify to the truth of what I have said. I am referring to a previous regional officer who was stationed at Queenstown. I understand that he is now in the head office of the Department of Soil Conservation. An hon. member says he has retired. I am referring to Mr. Langenecker. I am only mentioning his name because he is someone who can speak with authority. Three years ago he was already saying that if we continued erecting soil conservation works on this basis and if we continued applying improved farming methods in these catchment areas, in ten years’ time there would no longer be any run-off in those valleys. More water must therefore be made available and when we ask for more water, I say there is not sufficient water in those catchment areas; more water cannot be found in those areas themselves. We must tap this source of water which annually sends 3,000,000 morgen-feet of water into the sea, and we must make better use of it. Mr. Speaker, we are not asking for this with any selfish objects in mind. We are not asking for something which belongs to other people. Let the people in the Orange River Valley get what is their due and what they need, but seeing that we are assured that there is sufficient water to meet our needs as well, we therefore ask that the Fish and Sundays River Valleys should also share in this source of South Africa’s wealth.

We want to point out that from time to time the Government has found it necessary to give our economy an infusion, as it has done in the case of our industrial development by establishing Iscor and Sasol. I now put this question to the House and the country: Has the time not also come that a similar infusion should be given to our agricultural industry? Our agricultural development is lagging behind our industrial development. I know that industrial development is important but our agricultural industry is lagging behind and I ask the Government to give the agricultural industry this infusion as well. And do not let us shed tears if it is a little expensive; the expenditure will be justified. We shall save communities which have flourished in the past and which we have watched retrogress with a feeling of melancholy. We shall keep these communities on that land, we shall be able to establish new communities and we shall create new courage and new development in those areas.

For this reason we on this side of the House support the amendment moved by the hon. member for Cradock in which we ask that the water of the Orange River should be conserved but that preferential attention should be given to the requirements of the Fish and Sundays River Valleys.


I think the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) should be congratulated on persisting with his request to this House to develop the Orange River waters in the interests not only of the Fish and Sundays River Valleys but wherever that water may be required.

This motion has given my friends opposite an opportunity to juggle with words, because what they ask in their amendment is precisely what we want on this side of the House. We want the development of all waters that is possible to develop in this country and as the hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) said, agriculture is dragging behind and why should it be allowed to drag behind?

I want to avail myself of this opportunity to support those two hon. members in what they have said, namely that they want all waters developed in South Africa for the better conduct of farming in the country. May I say that neither do I want localized schemes. May I suggest at this stage that when the hon. member for Albany spoke about surplus water all of us in this House knew what he meant by surplus water. Those two hon. members were present in this House when we put through the Irrigation Bill; we know what is meant by surplus water. We know full well that in order to get that surplus water we have to dam it up somewhere and the more dams, as indicated by the hon. member for Cradock, the better we would like it. So, Sir, on the first occasion in this House we find ourselves agreeing with those hon. gentlemen on that side of the House. I for my part welcome their amendment and I am prepared to accept it and I hope they will use their persuasive powers to get the hon. the Minister to get on with this job as soon as possible.

There are a few items with which I would like to deal. One is that the predecessor of the hon. the Minister indicated some years ago when he was talking to his own constituents at Oudtshoorn, that in the not too distant future atomic power might be employed for the purpose of getting water from the one side of the Outeniqua mountains over to Oudtshoorn. May I put it to the hon. the Minister that those things are not outside the bounds of possibility now. Sir, there are men suffering in the Sundays River and Fish River Valleys that must have water between now and the time of maturity of this scheme. They must be saved. I want to put it to the hon. the Minister: Are there no prospects of employing some water from somewhere to assist those men and keep them on the land? I hope that that is not outside of the bounds of possibility. But one thing is certain: The hon. Minister has got to see to it that we supplement the waters of the Sundays River and Fish River at the earliest possible moment to save those men. Sir, that is some of the most highly productive land in the Union of South Africa. It is a most intensely developed area for various products in the Union of South Africa, and in the interest of those people, the hon. the Minister is in duty bound to do something in that respect. May I say this, that I sincerely hope that the hon. the Minister is not going to lend an ear to the purchase of that land, as has been indicated. I am one of the last in this House to see farmers go off the land, and I think it is the main duty of the hon. the Minister at this stage to see that those men are retained on the land, whatever the cost.

In view of the amendment having broadened this debate, I want to suggest to the hon. the Minister that the Government should pay special attention to this problem and that at no far distant date the hon. the Minister should visit many of those areas that are also pleading for minor conservation that will bring about the greatest production. In saving that, I want to remind the hon. the Minister that that Eastern Cape area, including the Border area, carries very nearly half the sheep population of South Africa; it produces certainly more than half the wool of South Africa. Moreover you have the citrus production from 20,000,000 trees, and that will indicate to the hon. the Minister what contribution that makes towards our export and the foreign currency that we so urgently require. It produces in dairy products alone more than half of what is produced in South Africa. It has a cattle population of more than half the cattle population of South Africa. And while there are not extensive areas that might be employed for irrigation, I want to assure the hon. the Minister that there are areas there capable of the greatest production if it is only possible to augment the supplies of water by small conservations. And when I say “ small conservations ”, I am talking in terms not of millions but of thousands and sometimes tens of thousands. The hon. the Minister has the reports in his office in regard to a minor scheme costing some £30,000 to £40,000, which would provide water not only for the Railways that are using large quantities of our water, but would conserve sufficient of the surplus water, the flood water, to make it possible to step up production in those parts very considerably.

Sir, at this stage, these very farmers that I asked him to assist in the Sundays and Fish Rivers Valleys, provide the only fodder bank in the Eastern Province and the Border. It is one of the most essential things that that should be maintained, because why should we have to go to Upington and Kakamas and those places for our lucerne, and then stand a chance of not getting any? The hon. Minister does not seem very interested, but we are faced with the position that it costs us in many instances almost as much in transport as the cost of the lucerne itself to get it to those parts where it is badly needed. I have told the hon. Minister what we can produce in that part of the country, and in the interest of all concerned, I think the Minister should give his greatest attention to try and maintain that part of the country with its fodder bank; because it is from that area that the hon. the Minister is hoping to feed South Africa. I have told the hon. member for Cradock that we are prepared to accept his amendment. I want to say how glad I am that at last that side of the House has been persuaded to accept something for which the hon. member for Albany has pleaded for all these years. We are extremely grateful to him and his seconder for juggling with words to give us precisely what we want on this side of the House.


I think we are all pleased that the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) said that they accepted the amendment moved by the hon. member for Cradock and I take it, therefore, that they will withdraw their original motion and that this House will therefore have only one motion before it, namely the amendment of the hon. member for Cradock. I am sorry that he found it necessary to add that this side of the House has ultimately realized that the suggestion of the hon. member for Albany was a good one. It is a pity, because that is not true. The hon. member for King William’s Town ought to know that what he said was not true, because year after year the hon. member for Cradock and the hon. member for Somerset East have pleaded for this and ever since I have had the opportunity of representing Fort Beaufort, I too, immediately after the election, have thrown in my whole weight in pleading for this scheme and similar schemes and in bringing the matter where it is to-day. Without patting ourselves on the back, I want to say to the hon. member for King William’s Town that had it not been for the efforts of the hon. member for Cradock and of the hon. member for Somerset East and myself and others, this matter would not have reached the stage which it has reached to-day, and I think, therefore, that we have not earned the insult which the hon. member for King William’s Town has levelled against us to-day. I am particularly pleased to notice that he has realized that the circle in which they have moved and in which they are moving, is far too small and that our vision should be wider and that we should cover a wider field if we wish to place this matter on a proper basis.

I want to speak this morning as someone who was born and bred in a part of our country which at that time even more so than to-day, was subject to serious droughts from time to time, namely that part of the western Transvaal, of the north-western Free State and of the north-western Cape Province, that part of the country which has, perhaps more than any other part, become a dust bowl and a partial desert. It is in those parts that I as a young boy got the impressions which I recorded at a later stage in a short story “ Droogte ” and I want to say this that nobody who has not seen this with his own eyes and nobody who has not lived with those farmers who have to make their living in those areas and fight for their future, can possibly realize what it means to a farmer to be without water. I think therefore that I can speak on this subject with feeling, that I can speak not only in respect of one part of our country, and not only about the development and the water position of one part. The opportunity is there for so many areas alongside the Orange River, areas which are partially dry areas, to use the waters of that river, and that is why I feel so strongly that this question should be tackled without any further delay. The Orange River comes from a part of the country where there is plenty of water and it runs through a part of the country where the soil is fertile, very fertile, both to the north and to the south, but where there is no water. Geologists estimate that the actual layer available for the production of vegetation on which man is dependent for his food, is generally no more than six inches. But in these parts that are so often stricken by drought, that layer is not only six inches deep but in many parts it is 60 feet and more and it is of the best soil to be found anywhere in the world. However, it is also a part which is becoming depopulated to-day, an area where the constituencies are becoming so big that it is practically impossible for one representative to look after the interests of the whole district. I am referring to the northwestern Cape Province, I am referring to the south-western Free State and I am referring to the eastern Cape Province where the population has become smaller and smaller for the simple reason that in spite of that fertile soil, there is no water to enable anybody to make a living there. As has been rightly said that part of our country is really the part which should produce the food for South Africa. If those people have the necessary water they can produce more than sufficient to feed a population four times and five times our present one. That is why it was so sensible of the hon. member for Cradock to widen the field in his motion and not to limit it to the Great Fish River and the Sundays River, although we ask that preference be given to those parts. This part of our country that we are talking about and that we are pleading for and that I have mentioned, is the area which for the greater part, practically exclusively, falls within the area known as White South Africa. Only a very small area in the south-western Transvaal is a Native reserve. The area which is being ruined by drought, which is becoming depopulated because of a lack of water, is the part of the country where White South Africa has to make a living. Some people maintain in season and out of season that only a small percentage of the surface of South Africa is allocated to the non-Whites of this country. They omit to add, however, that those areas which are occupied by the non-Whites, occupied by the Bantu, are mainly the areas where the rainfall is the highest in the whole country and that these areas that we are pleading for and in respect of which we are asking for water, are the areas which constitute White South Africa. I think we should look at this matter from this angle that where we are prepared to spend millions and millions of pounds on the development of the Bantu homelands, we should at the same time, particularly to-day spend similar millions and more millions on the development and rehabilitation of those areas of our country which are being ruined by droughts.

I think it is fitting in this debate to point out that South Africa has reached a stage in its history where we have to prepare ourselves as never before to stand on our own; to be independent. We are accused of having lost our friends in the world. That should indeed, at the same time, inspire us to do everything in our power to maintain and develop White South Africa in the industrial and in the agricultural fields, so that we can, on our own strength, guarantee the future of our country. We can do that as far as those areas are concerned, but we can only do that in respect of the essential food of our nation if we accept the motion which has been so well presented to us and so well enlarged upon by the hon. member for Cradock and his seconder. I want to say this to the hon. the Minister: He knows what the conditions are in the Sundays River Valley and in the Great Fish River Valley. He was there with us. He travelled through that area at a time when it was practically a physical impossibility for him to do so, but a journey which he nevertheless undertook and I can assure him that the people in that area still have the highest regard for him to-day for that sacrifice. It is not necessary for me to tell him what the conditions are in those parts of the country, how the people have persevered for years and years and have waited for some relief, that there will be more water. It is not necessary for me to tell him what it means when children of two or three years old, before they can remember, have to wait until they are eight or nine years old before they realize what it means when water drops from the sky; children who do not know rain until they are in their teens. It is not necessary for me to paint a picture of the frustration and the despondency and the dejection that must inevitably rise in the soul of the most brave-hearted agriculturist in the country when he has to wait year after year but the water is not there.

I want to return, however, because I know other hon. members also wish to say something on behalf of the areas they represent, and say to the Minister that in this book which I wrote so many years ago, the story about our droughts, I quoted a poem by Dr. Boutens, and I want to ask the Minister that, before that position arises, he and his Department should rise on the horizon as the lifesaving cloud, because the clouds in the heavens no longer bring the necessary relief to those areas. The clouds in the heavens bring rain in those areas where they can use it, but if we do not take water to those areas of our country from somewhere else they will simply have to succumb. I want to read what I quoted at that time—

“ Dan eer leven Voor altyd verstart in Steenen wake, Eer alle hopen Verdroogt in den wortel, Eer Liefdes herinn’ring Zand en asch wordt, En Schoonheid beloften Minder dan rook, Eer stomme wanhoop Van vale lippen Hoorlooz Zichzelf vervloekt— O als een menshand, Klaart uit de heem’len Der goden genade, Een witte wolk.”

The white cloud brought relief in years gone by. To-day those people can only be saved, can only have hope, if the Department carries out the scheme about which we have talked such a great deal and which we have been pleading for for such a long time, namely, the development of the entire Orange River with the accompanying development of the areas where water is so urgently needed. Only then will hope arise in the souls of those people. I am pleased that the hon. members for King William’s Town and Albany have withdrawn their motion in favour of the wider amendment and I hope from the bottom of my heart that the House as a whole will support the hon. the Minister and the Government and will ask that this matter be no longer delayed, but that it be tackled as soon as possible.


It almost seems to me now as though the mover of the motion and the mover of the amendment have reached agreement. Once again we have before us “ Bowker’s hardy annual ”, and it seems to me that he is now also being supported by those people whom he expected would oppose him. On behalf of the north-west I must say a few words on this matter because, I am sorry to say, I have serious doubts in this regard. In 1959 the hon. member for Albany asked for an inquiry into the potentialities of the Orange River as far as irrigation, the generation of hydro-electrical power and industrial development were concerned. Not specifically for the Eastern Province, but for the country as a whole! We on this side of the House thought that this was a very useful motion. Unfortunately in the debate which followed the hon. member never touched on his motion, but concentrated exclusively on the sectional interests of the Eastern Province. We criticized him because, as I told him that day, he “ could not see the wood for the trees ”. We then proceeded to move an amendment which would have remedied the position. That was in 1960. Last year the hon. member bluntly asked for the diversion of the surplus waters of the Orange River to the Eastern Province. It appeared that the information which he submitted to the House regarding the quantity of water available was quite wrong. He based his arguments on the false presumption that there would be 2,500,000 morgen feet of water in the Orange River after making allowance for the water of the Vaal River and the Caledon River. I see this morning that, despite the figures we gave him last year, he still persists in that submission. I shall come back to that later. This led the hon. member tp believe that there was 1,000,000 morgen feet of water in the Orange River which he could simply take, as he said, for irrigating 100,000 morgen in the valleys of the Fish River and the Sundays River. I think it was the hon. member for Queenstown (Dr. Steytler) who supported him and he even maintained that 150,000 morgen could be irrigated over and above the area already under irrigation. And when the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West) entered the debate, in our imagination we could see the waters of the Orange River happily flowing into the Eastern Province as far as Grahamstown, East London and Port Elizabeth. The amendment moved last year was aimed at putting the position in its correct perspective, and it read: “ That the waters of the Orange River should first be utilized in its own valley.”


Not “first”.


The hon. member says that it did not say “first”. It would then have read: “ That the waters of the Orange River should be utilized within its own valley and on it being proved to be economically practicable also in other irrigation valleys.” I supported, and I was able to support, this amendment, and I pointed out that after making allowance for the water of the Vaal and the Caledon which we all agreed had eventually to go to the Free State and the Transvaal, 1,500,000 morgen feet of water would remain and not 2,500,000 morgen feet. I should now like to quote from Hansard, 1960, Col. 3356. At that time I read certain extracts from the report which the Department of Irrigation submitted to the conference which was held at Colesburg in 1951. I should like to read certain extracts from that report. In this report the Department of Irrigation says-

The mean run-off is 2,500,000 morgen feet. It then goes on to say—

A further study of the run-offs showed that the average amount that could be made available for use regularly is between 1,500,000 and 1,750,000 morgen feet per annum. The difference between these figures and the mean annual run-off of 2,500,000 represents the amounts which cannot be caught during exceptionally wet years. To increase the amount available for use beyond 1,500,000 morgen feet would require an excessive and uneconomical amount of storage. The balance of 1,000,000 feet per annum represents the waste which occurs in years of very large run-off, such as for instance in 1924-5. It is quite uneconomical to store these huge amounts since they occur only at long intervals.

The Department then came to the conclusion that 1,500,000 morgen feet of water, and not 2,500,000, were available in the Orange River. Despite this, the hon. member has once again maintained that there are 2,500,000 morgen feet of water available in the Orange River. Let us assume that 1,000,000 morgen feet of water are diverted to the Eastern Province. Then 500,000 morgen feet of water remain. This is just enough to irrigate 100,000 morgen along the Orange River, of which 25,000 morgen are already under irrigation. For the rest there will not be one drop of water available in the Orange River for any other purpose. I further pointed out by using the lion, member’s own figures that what was urgently required in the valleys of the Fish River and the Sundays River was additional supplementary water for 13,000 morgen of land in those areas. His argument was that there were 21,000 morgen available in the Fish River valley, of which 14,000 could be irrigated from the already existing dams, and there were 17,000 morgen in the Sundays River valley of which 11,000 morgen could be irrigated from the already existing dams. In other words, 13,000 morgen. However, 65,000 morgen feet of water are required for 13,000 morgen, and not 1,000,000. But assuming that these dams dry up completely so that there is no water at all in those valleys, one still only has 38,000 morgen which must be provided with water and for that purpose one requires 190,000 morgen feet. That was my argument and it still stands. What does he want to do with the remainder of this 1,000,000 morgen feet of water? In this year’s motion we are given clarity in that regard. Here the hon. member states that the diversion of the surplus waters of the Orange River to the Fish and Sundays Rivers has not only become a matter of urgency for the irrigators concerned but is essential to safeguard the general economy of the areas concerned. Here we have the answer. This is in line with the idea held by many people in the Eastern Province that industries in that area require an infusion through the medium of the waters of the Orange River. What then of the Karoo and the North-West? Apparently the hon. member does not consider that aspect to be relevant. Does the hon. member and his friends really expect us in the North-West to be satisfied with the position, seeing that only 500,000 morgen feet of water will remain in the Orange River for the irrigation of the 100,000 morgen which they maintain are available in the valley of the Orange River and not one drop will be available for other future purposes?

What is “ surplus water”? The hon. member for Somerset East has quoted the definition of surplus water, of normal flow, etc., from the Act. That is not relevant here because the Government has never controlled the Orange River. All it can mean and should mean is the water which is surplus after one has met all the requirements of the North-West and of the Karoo, through which the river flows. That would be surplus water.

That is the only meaning which it can have in this regard. How is one to determine what the requirements of the North-West are in this respect? In the first instance, let us take irrigation. At the Colesburg conference mention was made of 100,000 morgen along the Orange River, of which 25,000 morgen were already under irrigation. That is to say, there are an additional 75,000 morgen available. Minister Sauer, at that time Minister of Water Affairs, discussed this matter in Optima of December 1956. I should like to read what he has said. From this we can see not only the number of morgen which are actually available, but also the amount of water which is available in the Orange River, according to the then Department of Irrigation. Minister Sauer wrote the following—

The Orange has a known irrigation potential in its own valley, as far as soil is concerned, of some 70,000 morgen, including some 22,000 morgen already under irrigation, plus a further possible area roughly assessed at 90,000 morgen. The exact extent of this latter possible area may, however, have to be revised considerably on closer investigation, which it is hoped to carry out in the near future. If it is assumed that the 600,000 morgen feet mean annual run-off of the Caledon River, the main tributary of the Orange River in the Union (excluding the Vaal), will eventually be used in its own valley and in the Orange Free State in general, the net mean annual run-off available in the Orange River will amount to 2,400,000 morgen feet. It is estimated that, after allow for flood peaks and years of abnormally heavy run-off, which cannot economically be stored, only approximately 1,400,000 morgen feet per annum of the above balance of 2,400,000 morgen feet will be capable of beneficial storage and diversion.

In other words, not even 1,500,000 morgen remain, but only 1.4 million morgen feet—

At a usage, including losses, of 5 morgen feet per morgen of land irrigated, the total assessed area of 160,000 morgen in the Orange River valley will absorb some 800,000 morgen feet of the net usable runoff, leaving a balance of 600,000 morgen feet per annum for other uses within or outside the Orange River valley.

In addition, we have recently had a report by engineer Shand. He puts the area of land along the Orange River which can be placed under irrigation at between 200,000 and 220,000 morgen. In other words, Mr. Speaker, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how much land is available in the Orange River valley, and in the same way there is uncertainty as to how much land is available in the Eastern Province. The hon. member for Albany speaks about 100,000 morgen, the hon. member for Queenstown (Dr. Steytler) talks about 150,000 morgen, and last year the hon. the Minister of Water Affairs had difficulty in reaching 70,000 morgen. There is also great uncertainty as to the quantity of water available, as is apparent from the quotation I have just read to the House from an article by the previous Minister of Irrigation.

I have discussed the need for irrigation. What about municipal requirements? There are towns in the Karoo, the development of which is coming to a complete halt because of a lack of water. They are becoming depopulated. Water will eventually have to be provided to those towns from the Orange River. What about industries and the exploitation of minerals in the North-West? To-day absolutely no development in that sphere is taking place. This is an area which, unlike the areas in the Eastern Province which have been the subject of debate this morning, is suffering because it is under-developed. Apparently the problem in the Eastern Province is one of over-development. Who is going to establish in advance how much water is required in the North-West for municipal and industrial purposes? In the meantime we shall be sharing the water out only to find later that we do not have any water left for the development of the North-West itself. I am afraid that the idea that water is only required in the basin of the Orange River for irrigation purposes and for no other purpose already took root at the Colesburg conference. At that time the Department of Irrigation inter alia stated the following in its report—

The demand for water for municipal, industrial and mining purposes in the North-west is negligible at present, and it is not anticipated that the demand will increase appreciably in the future, so that this demand need not be considerated at this stage.

Once the water has been given away, at what stage will attention be given to this aspect?—-

The only other demand is irrigation.

I shall not discuss the stupidity of such an allegation any further. But, Mr. Speaker, to remove all doubt, I want to repeat, and I do so on behalf of the North-west as well, what I said last year, namely that we appreciate fully the critical position in which the irrigators along the Fish River and Sundays River find themselves. We are prepared to admit that supplementary water is required to help the existing irrigators in that valley. We do not want to act as dogs in the manger. We are prepared to see a scheme established which will provide these people with supplementary water to serve the existing farms. However, we do not recognize any claims on the water of the Orange River by prospective farmers or industrialists. That is our standpoint. The water of the Orange River belongs, in the first place, to that part of the country through which it flows. This House must not have any doubt on that point. I know that, under the Water Act, the Government has the right to take water from one valley to another. But no matter for what purpose it requires the water, and no matter what its motive, any government must take care that it does not, as the old proverb says, rob Peter to pay Paul. We, in the North-west, will simply not tolerate it.

The hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) has moved an amendment which the hon. member for Albany has apparently now accepted. I have no quarrel with the first portion of that amendment. I support it, although I do not know why one has to make such play on this word “ surplus ”. I have already said what my own interpretation of “ surplus ” water is. The only difficulty is that once cannot determine it in advance. But the second portion asks for preferential treatment under any scheme which is undertaken …


Preferential attention.


Very well, preferential attention. That surely means that, when one has to choose between two schemes, preference will be given to the Fish River and Sundays River scheme. If words mean anything, it surely means that, if one is considering two schemes in connection with the Orange River, the one which will be given preference is the one which diverts the water into the Fish and Sundays River valleys. Mr. Speaker, another point which causes me concern is the fact that the amendment refers to the Fish and Sundays Rivers valley schemes. I should like to ask the hon. member who has moved this amendment, and the seconder, whether they are now referring to the old Conroy Tunnel scheme? Because I do not know of any other scheme. Have we now reached such a stage? I do not think that, in his wildest dreams, the hon. member for Albany thought that he would gain agreement for this type of thing.


Does it matter whether the water goes through a tunnel or a pipe?


We can take it through a pipe, but then it becomes the Conroy pipe scheme! I think I have been honest and clear regarding our standpoint…. [Interjections.]


The hon. member need not pay any attention to interjections.


I have said quite clearly what our attitude is towards this whole matter. We cannot, under any circumstances, support this request for preferential attention for the Fish/Sundays Rivers scheme. What is more, we must oppose it with all the methods at our disposal. The North-West will not tolerate it. I have already asked what scheme we are actually discussing. I repeat that we only know of this one scheme which was drawn up at the time, namely the Conroy Tunnel scheme, and I ask whether this is the scheme to which my friends are referring. I do not know. In any case, it proposes a scheme which will take so much water from the Orange River that we, in the North-West, cannot even consider giving our support to such a suggestion. The furthest I can go—I want to repeat this—-is to say that I am prepared to support the idea that supplementary water should be made available to the existing farmers in those valleys. We, in the North-West, are completely dependent on the Orange River. With a rainfall in that area of not more than 5 inches or 6 inches in the far west, and of about 7 or 8 inches up to Prieska, while there is a rainfall of 15 inches to 20 inches in the Eastern Province, we simply cannot afford to give more water away than they really need.


Mr. Speaker, the views of the last speaker, the hon. member for Prieska (Mr. Stander), when compared with those of the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker), make me think of the muddy waters of the swirling rivers of our country as against the clear mountain streams about which we heard from the hon. member for Albany.

The reason why the hon. member for Albany persists in dealing with this particular aspect of our water difficulties in South Africa is that he is, like many of us, tired of the protestations that we constantly hear from hon. members such as the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker), the hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) and the last speaker, who protest merely as to the schemes which they think might be useful, without doing something to jog the machinery of government into action. And that is all that the hon. member for Albany wants.

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

Afternoon Sitting


Mr. Speaker, when the House adjourned I was dealing with the fact that the hon. member for Albany had, in fact, rendered a service by endeavouring to jog the machinery of government into action in this very important subject which he introduced into the House to-day. I was a little perturbed by the remarks of some of the speakers on the cross benches, one of whom said that the hon. member for Albany should not take credit to himself but that, in fact, he—I think it was the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Dr. Jonker)—had thrown his whole weight into the support of this scheme. So also, he said, had the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker), the hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo), and others, otherwise the matter would not have stood where it is now. I find myself wondering where the matter does stand now. Because this amendment, although it has been accepted, does not in a sense really go sufficiently far if these hon. members are boasting of the enormous amount of work they have done in order to hasten along the development schemes of which they are talking. In the amendment they ask that the Government should “ consider the advisability ” instead of using what I think is a very much happier term and a more positive one, that the Government should “ consider ways and means ”, However, I will not spend any more time dealing with what I consider to be a rather childish effort to take credit away from an hon. member who, year after year, has tried in his quiet but nevertheless direct and positive manner to get some action on this very important question.

One of the main arguments used by the hon. member for Albany was that it was essential that, to embark on these development schemes for the Orange River, the water should be dammed and the surplus used for the Fish and Sundays schemes as well. He is aware— as all of us are aware—of the fact that the waters of the Vaal River will not be able to serve the lower lying areas beyond the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers. He knows very well from the many reports which we have read that the waters of the Vaal will be required more and more and to such an extent that there will be very little available for use at its extremity in the North-Western Cape. We know, for instance, from a very interesting report by a gentleman named Mr. D. F. Roberts, given in an address delivered at the monthly general meeting of the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1954 that this is the case. He there draws attention to the fact that by the year 2000 the requirements in the Vaal complex will be approximately 1,000,000,000 gallons per day. In 1980 the demand will be 735,000,000 gallons per day. In fact, one is quite easily able to visualize this very quick process of the use of water when one realizes that in the Rand Water Board Complex, which has domain over approximately 250,000,000 gallons of water a day, the daily consumption in 1956 was 126,000,000 gallons per day. But in 1960 it had already risen to 155,000,000 gallons per day and, in fact, the maximum consumption during 1960 was 200,000,000 gallons in a day. Over the last few years many millions of pounds of public money raised under the aegis of a public utility body of this nature have been raised to build additional storage schemes whereby it can now make available nearly 200,000,000 gallons per day if required. In fact, I think the capacity at the moment is the ability to turn out 180,000,000 gallons per day as against some 30,000,000 or 40,000,000 less five or six years ago.

We have only two important water-sheds in this country, the Drakensberg Range and the Witwatersrand, and it is our job to develop our water resources as fast as we can, because we have very few perennial rivers. Most of our rivers are swift flowing, and a considerable portion of the country has a very low annual rainfall. We have large areas of land which can be considered to be almost desert, and soil erosion, as we all know, is assuming frightening proportions. One of the ways in which this question should be tackled, and tackled promptly, is, I think, to follow the examples of other countries of the world which were faced with this particular difficulty, and that is to go immediately for large capital loans specifically for this purpose. Other countries have accepted, as we should, that water is the life blood not only of the agricultural side of our country but also of the industrial side.

This author Mr. Roberts has said, for instance, that the quoted estimated cost of all the major schemes that are likely to be built during the next 50 years exceed £100,000,000, based on the prices of 1954. But he said, in 25 years’ time the estimate for the same work could quite easily be £200,000,000. So whilst it is all very well to have planned schemes and to have had reports on schemes, and to have visualized what we should do, the time has now arrived for action, not so much for asking a Government to consider the advisability of the scheme, as for asking for action. We have had numerous reports over the last 10 or 15 years on what is required to be done, what value it can serve and what it can achieve. We have been busy obtaining proper assessments of the water resources of the country, in order to enable us to strike a better balance between the water required for agricultural purposes and the water supplies which are to be secured for industrial purposes and for use in our urban areas throughout the country. The key to the expansion of our country’s industries and agriculture lies in water. We have a duty to our future generations to ensure that these problems are dealt with on a national basis as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to record, for example, that the population the Rand Water Board serves is that on the Witwatersrand, Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Welkom; and also the many industries in those areas. It also serves a general agricultural area over a distance of over 550 miles, covering an area of 4,310 square miles at this stage. And the population it serves is just on 3,000,000. The assessed figure is 2,825,000 people. It is reckoned that the water resources of the Vaal River could serve a population of some 4,000,000 people in the Witwatersrand and the general Vaal Basin Complex. Now, to serve 4,000,000 people is a very big undertaking indeed, and it will require all the resources of the Vaal River to ensure that this population is adequately served in all its various facets, agriculturally, economically and domestically. For that reason it is, I think, a very courageous effort on the part of the hon. member for Albany to continue year after year bringing this matter before the House and to lay stress upon it.

Our whole trouble with this water problem has for years been the fact that we talk too much about it and do so little. I think the hon. the Minister, whilst obviously having some achievements to his credit, should be able to say to this House at this stage what the Government’s plans are and what he intends to carry into execution. Many other countries of the world have received enormous loans of money for the development of water schemes. We have only to look at the Kariba scheme, which was undertaken for industrial power and for domestic use, to see what can be done. There a sum of £80,000,000 has already been spent, and when the scheme is complete £120,000,000 will have been spent. Now, Sir, up in the northern regions of Africa other governments are contributing millions of pounds in order to develop big water schemes for all sorts of purposes. But here in South Africa, where water is vital to us and where we have only two large water-sheds and no other source, we have not given the attention which we should have given in a practical way to try to resolve this problem and to conserve our water.

What we must take into account is this fact, that it is not sufficient merely, as the hon. member for Prieska (Mr. Stander) has said, to satisfy the needs of only the riparian owners and the other people who find themselves alongside the waterways of the Orange River as it flows on its way towards the sea. It is necessary to take into account this considerable wastage of water. I understand that this river is dry in some parts for half of the year but if proper damming took place at its source and all along its course through the country, we will be able to conserve water and distribute it for irrigation purposes on an unprecedented scale. We would be opening up a completely new vista to the farmers of our country which will give them hope and a sense of achievement instead of allowing them to remain dissatisfied and instead of allowing them to come to the Government and to plead for assistance. That is unfortunately what we resort to on every occasion that we have a discussion on this subject in the House. When we wished to open the gold mines of the Free State I think we needed approximately £200,000,000 to £250,000,000. That money was found, Sir. That money was found without much difficulty. Over a reasonable period of time that money was invested and that money paid dividends in the form of the development of the gold mines, it provided employment to thousands of people and it created a tremendous purchasing market in this country. It had a considerable effect on the development of the country generally, but particularly on that of the Free State. The same effect will be achieved, Sir, if we have the courage to spend big sums and not paltry sums for this purpose. So, therefore, the appeal is not that we should consider the advisability, the appeal is not for a small contribution, but the appeal is that something positive should be done and that action should take place.

I want to say this. The one water-shed that has been exploited is the Vaal River on the Witwatersrand. There we have the Rand Water Board, which is a public utility body with tremendous ramifications. We see the results quite patently, Sir. There is development in the industrial sphere; the gold mines have been developed; there is development in the agricultural field on an ever-increasing scale. There is no earthly reason why we should continue to neglect that other important water-shed, the Drakensberg which is the source of the Orange River, and lose ourselves in the maize of all sorts of small schemes on which we have report after report that they are not economic propositions, without something of a much wider nature being presented to the country and acted upon. Even if we were to embark on a 25-year scheme, we could do so in stages. Every five years something would have been achieved. We should provide for the millions of pounds to be spent over that period and ensure that year by year Parliament votes the proportionate sum to enable the scheme to move forward. Then, Sir, all those who represent the farming industry as well as the industrial sector will be making an important contribution in this direction.

I just want to leave one thought with the House, Mr. Speaker, and that is this that the Witwatersrand and the area which is controlled by the Rand Water Board are not jealous of its water reserves and they have no intention to refuse to share that water with the rest of South Africa. But we must not close our eyes to the fact that we cannot prejudice one part of the country for the sake of another because of our failure to develop that which lies in the other part of the country, dormant and latent. There is tremendous industrial development on the Witwatersrand; we have an enormous population to serve and while we are considering the re-use of water, I think nevertheless we must realize that every year that we delay this matter more than one year is lost in the development of our country, and considerable money is lost because of the increase in costs as time goes on. So my appeal to the hon. the Minister is that if possible he should tell us to-day, or at least some time during the course of this Session, what his views are on this matter. I hope he will be able to give us something more concrete and positive than what we have been accustomed to in the past.


I want to congratulate the hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Miller) on the speech he has just made. I was really surprised; he is a city dweller and yet he has displayed a profound knowledge of the use of water. I also want to congratulate him on the manner in which he has approached this problem and particularly on what he has said about the use of water for industries. I think water plays an important role as far as industries are concerned, but I will return to that in a moment. I do not think the hon. member understood the hon. members for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) and Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) correctly, because I do not think they tried to belittle the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) for having once again come with this request of his, a request in connection with the Orange River/Fish River scheme which he has been making to the Minister for years. On the contrary, we admire the hon. member for Albany for that. We admire him for his courage in repeating that request year after year. We also admire him for his magnanimity in accepting the amendment of the hon. member for Cradock in all its aspects. The amendment of the hon. member for Cradock puts it wider, namely, that we should not only use the water of the Orange River for a certain part of the country but that we should use it wherever water can be used, to put it that way. If some day in the future there is sufficient water to meet the needs of the Fish and the Sundays Rivers Valleys, I think that day will be the happiest day in the lives of the hon. member for Cradock and the hon. member for Somerset East. Those valleys fall within their own areas, areas which they know thoroughly and I do not think they will ever say a single word against the provision of water in those areas.

In discussing this motion we have all said something about the use of water, particularly with a view to the drought in the north-western districts. It has been suggested that smallholdings should be established along the Orange River and that sufficient fodder banks should be built up so that we may face future droughts with greater confidence. We are today in the throes of a drought but even if it does pass we shall again have droughts in future.

I want to associate myself with the remarks made by the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. I agree with him where he says that the waters of the Orange River should also be used for the establishment of industries. When I say that it does not mean that I am asking that the waters of the Orange River should be taken away from the platteland and used for industrial purposes. I should like to see the platteland retain it, but I do think we should have industries at places which are suitable to have them. In the northern Cape Province there is a place which is eminently suitable for factories. Various applications have already been made to establish factories there but the municipality has never in the past seen its way clear to grant those applications for the simple reason that they would not have been able to provide those industries with the necessary water. I have in mind one specific place where there is a network of railway lines from all parts of the country. Because it is the central point of all the railway lines in the country, raw materials can be conveyed there without any delay. The population there has doubled itself during the past ten years. This fact proves the strategic position of this town, namely De Aar, where you have the railway line from South West to De Aar, from Kimberley to De Aar, from Bloemfontein to De Aar, from Port Elizabeth, from East London, from Cape Town and from the far north. There is a network of railway lines. All the other facilities are there, such as electricity; all that is required is water.

We in the north-western districts, who are far away from markets, will welcome industries. Just think. Sir, what it will mean to the northern Cape Province if that area were to develop industrially; if an additional 10,000 or 12,000 people could be attracted there. If we could establish a good market there for our meat by an increase in the population, if we could get a good market for our vegetables, we would welcome it. The northern Cape Province has in the past more or less been treated like a step-child; I do not say this was done deliberately but it was because those areas are so far away. When I say they are far away, I mean that in terms of miles we are separated from the rest of the country. For example, if a farmer in the distant northwestern area wishes to send a truck-load of cattle to Johannesburg or Cape Town it sometimes takes as much as a week for those animals to reach the market. Do hon. members realize what it means for an animal to be on the train for a whole week before it reaches the market? It involves the meat producer in considerable losses and for that reason I recommend strongly that there should be greater decentralization in so far as markets are concerned. We should consider places in the platteland that are suitable for the establishment of markets, but before we can do that, Sir, we have to have water.

As the crow flies, the Orange River is at the most 60 miles from De Aar and think what it will mean to De Aar if it had the benefit of that water. Subterranean water supplies in the north-western districts are something of the past to-day. We can no longer depend on subterranean water supplies for the development of our towns. The Volkswagen people applied for the right to open a factory at De Aar but there was no water for such a factory. There would not have been sufficient water for the domestic use of those people. I want to go further therefore and say that we should use the water of our rivers in such a way that it will contribute towards the development of our inland towns. The necessary equipment, etc., should be installed, and in that connection the Government will have to assist us. The inland municipalities, particularly the smaller ones, cannot do so, on the other hand no municipality and no Provincial Administration can allow the smaller inland towns to disappear completely. Only yesterday at a big industrial show I heard of a certain little town called Burgerville that has disappeared completely. It has disappeared completely because the municipality of De Aar appropriated the water and that little town, which has been there for years, has fallen into ruin. For that reason I want to plead with the Minister that in future it should be made possible, particularly for smaller towns, to get water from sources other than their local sources. They can no longer depend on their subterranean water supplies to-day. Fountains which were strong in years gone by have dried up completely. As I have already said in this House, whereas in the past they could still obtain water by sinking deep boreholes, those pumps too are drawing air to-day, in spite of the fact that new pipes are continually fitted. We have exhausted our subterranean waters. That is why I am asking the Minister to give serious consideration to solving the problem of the platteland, the north-western districts in particular, by means of industrialization, especially with a view to the depopulation of the platteland. The platteland is running empty, Sir. And by the establishment of industries we will be discouraging further depopulation. If factories are established there the people will return; more people will come but in that event we must ensure that there is sufficient water, also for domestic use.


Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) for the amendment which he has moved to the motion of my hon. friend the member for Albany (Mr. Bowker). We should not hold it against the hon. member for Albany that he cannot think further than the Sundays/Fish Rivers. I want to say clearly to the House to-day that the Orange River, as a water source, is a national asset. It does not belong to a particular part of South Africa; it belongs to the whole country. It should be remembered that the riparian owners along the Orange River, as in the case of the riparian owners along any other river, have a prefer ential claim to that water. I think it would be stupid on the part of any Government, it would be stupid on the part of any country, to allocate its main water source—and we have so few of them in South Africa—to one single part or area. Hon. members opposite seem to be under the impression, to judge by the discussion we have had in this House, that the time has arrived that we took active steps. They want action not merely words. If we view the motion of the hon. member for Albany in that light, I want to say with respect, Sir, that I think his motion is completely superfluous. It was announced in this House last year that active steps had already been taken during the year—surveys and investigations, etc., had been made. Provision was made in last year’s Estimates for an additional amount of money to conduct further investigations and we are carrying on with those investigations. I want to say this to the country and to this House that I do not think there has ever been a two-year period in the history of South Africa in which any previous Government has taken more active and positive steps in the planning of possible development than my Department and this Government have taken over the past two years. I think, instead of expatiating on all the uses of water it will be better if I gave the House an idea of what we have achieved and what progress has been made and what we are busy doing at the moment. I may add this, that I gave an assurance on behalf of the Government, when the Pongola River scheme was announced last year, that the Government would develop the Pongola River and the Orange River simultaneously. That assurance still stands. “ Simultaneously ” obviously does not mean that we will start with the two schemes on the same day, but in any case “ simultaneously ” means that we will not start with the one scheme and more or less complete it, before we tackle the other scheme. I went further and said that before the normal 1963 election was due, a scheme somewhere along the Orange River will have been announced and commenced, we hope. Throughout the years, as a result of pressure which has been exercised or as a result of a need or an emergency that has arisen, various schemes have been investigated, information obtained and certain estimates made on a broad, vague basis. I refer, for instance, to the scheme to build that tunnel which is referred to so often. Before this Government came into power drilling tests had not even been made nor had any geological reports been submitted about the formation of the mountain range through which the tunnel has to go. The drilling was only done and completed in 1953. Costs cannot be calculated, and accurately calculated, until such time as you know the nature of the rock formation of the mountain through which the tunnel has to go. Those are things you ought to know, Sir. Because the Orange River is such an important water source, we felt that we could not just start with a scheme without having an over-all picture of what all the possibilities were or how that part of the country could be used. That is why we have been conducting investigations all along the Orange River over the past two years. To start with we drilled at all the places that appeared to be suitable for the construction of a dam in order to ascertain the nature of the rock formation, because if you wish to build a dam you have to be sure that there is a reasonable foundation; that the nature of the subterranean soil and the rock formation is such that it will offer a sound foundation for a proper concrete structure. Over the past two years my Department has therefore done the preparatory work at no less than six places, one of which unfortunately, is a very beautiful place. The storage capacity at this particular place is very high and that is what we want when we construct a dam in the Orange River, with due consideration of its silting properties. I may say that the particular place in respect of which there has been a lot of speculation as to whether it was not the most suitable, was found upon investigation to be quite unsuitable. But fortunately for us other places have been found along the river where the possibility of damming and storing of water is practically as big as in the case of the other place. In this way we have ascertained in six instances whether the foundation was such that a dam could be constructed. Once you have determined which is the most suitable place to construct a dam, you must at least determine its capacity and surveys are necessary for that. Once you have determined that, you must ascertain what the topography is of that part of the country which you intend to irrigate with the water from that dam. That means that aerial photos have to be taken so that you may determine where to construct the canals. Having determined where the canals have to be you have to determine how much land will be available for irrigation below those canals with a sufficiently high production potential. This is when you are dealing with agriculture, but when you carry out these investigations there are certain other factors and other circumstances that must not be lost sight of in regard to the country’s future development, and in regard to the future needs of the country for which provision has to be made. I want to give an example by way of explanation: We know it is a fact that because gold was discovered in the Orange Free State the towns in the Free State as well as Bloemfontein must of necessity develop further, apart from the normal development which is taking place to-day. We have to make surveys in order to ascertain what the potentialities are of such a developing city and what water resources it has at its disposal. Take the case of Kimberley for instance, to which reference has already been made. There are coastal towns which are very far away from the Orange River—Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage which is already a big industrial area to-day and which will develop even further in future; there are towns in the Karoo; I think of De Aar, Graaff-Reinet, Carnarvon, I can mention any number of them, even in the north-western districts. Over and above that there are areas where industrial development has already taken place. You also have to keep count of the data which other Departments have available. You have to keep count of the mining development which may possibly take place in various parts of the country, areas which will probably not be able to develop unless they are provided with water, because they themselves do not have the necessary water. Take the case of the Fish River and the Sundays River areas, and I go so far as to include the Riet River area and the lower Modder River area, to give the House a few examples, where agriculture is an established industry already, areas where there is a shortage of water and unless we can augment their water supplies those areas must of necessity become depopulated and the agricultural development which has already taken place must of necessity decline, apart from new and bigger developmental works within those areas themselves.

This whole picture is at the back of your mind, Sir, when you are responsible for designing the scheme under which the waters of this greatest water source, which has hitherto remained untapped in this country, namely the Orange River, will be exploited. This scheme involves a great amount of money. We talk so glibly about huge sums of money that are spent on one single scheme such as the Kariba—and this has been mentioned today—and we are told that we should not lag behind because the only satisfactory thing to do is to construct a big dam. In this connection I have on numerous occasions said in this House that the situation of the Orange River and the topography of the country in its immediate vicinity is such that it is no use building only one dam if you wish to utilize its waters properly. In other words there should ultimately be more than one dam before we will be able to utilize the biggest quantity of water properly. Before these waters can be utilized most beneficially, the hon. member will agree with me, Sir, that you have to have an idea of what the future holds in store for you. When you know that, you can think about your immediate needs, the needs that have to be met within a limited period and only then can a decision be made as to the order of precedence in which you have to work. I also want to say this, that I do not think it is possible to develop such a big river as the Orange River from the mouth to the source; the development should take place in the direction of the source to the mouth. I may say that the preparatory work and the planning has not as yet been finally rounded off but it has reached such a stage that that will take place this year. I trust the stage will be reached where I will be able to submit suggestions to the Cabinet for approval as to where a start should be made. According to the schemes which we are investigating at the moment, the costs of which we are still estimating, it would appear that under those schemes approximately 350,000 morgen of new land will come under irrigation, that is to say, land which has never been irrigated before, and in the case of 51,000 morgen of land it will be possible to irrigate on a more intensive scale, in other words, land which has been irrigated but where there has been sufficient water, apart from supplying water to towns for primary, tertiary and industrial purposes. Based on the present cost structure this will mean a capital outlay of R276,000,000 to R280,000,000. That should give hon. members an idea of the scope of the work that has to be done before we can even say that the scheme has been commenced, and before we can suggest which scheme should be tackled first. We have divided the entire scheme into six phases. The first phase that we have in mind will cost no less than approximately R80,000,000. However, these phases need not be accepted as we have divided them; the work may possibly be divided into eight or even ten phases. We can take it that the nation is prepared to pay increased taxation in respect of two services at least. The first service is in respect of overhauling the defence system of the country and I believe every good South African citizen will be prepared to pay increased taxation for that purpose. The second service is in respect of the conservation of water and the construction of dams. We are also prepared to pay increased taxation for that purpose.

I think the House will join me when I extend a word of thanks—and this has so far not been done in this debate—to the officials and the engineers, particularly to the Director of Water Affairs. The present Director, Mr. Jordaan, was appointed to this post for the first time last year. On behalf of all of us I want to thank those officials very much for their devotion to their duty and for the speed at which they are trying to complete the preparatory work that has to be done before we can decide which scheme to undertake first.

The motion deals in the main with the Orange River and because of that I do not want to say much about smaller schemes except this that where we are busy with big schemes one of our problems is that we cannot, we dare not, forget or neglect those smaller schemes which are being constructed either by the Government or by irrigation boards, because in comparison with the bigger schemes these smaller schemes are probably the more economical. For that reason I do not think that we should abandon what we are doing at the moment merely because we intend tackling something else. The Department of Water Affairs will in any case have to get a bigger allocation from Treasury in order to fulfil its duty properly.

Now that we know that it is the policy of the Government to use the available water as beneficially as possible with a view to the interests of the nation and our future, we ought to be satisfied with what is being done at the moment. I do not want to say anything further about the work that is being done at the moment because I hope the opportunity will present itself in the near future when I will be able to fulfil the wishes of everyone by announcing one or more specific schemes as far as the Orange River is concerned.


Mr. Speaker, I am sure that I am talking on behalf of everybody in this House when I express my thanks to the hon. the Minister for the information he gave us this afternoon. We are very grateful for it and I want to give him the assurance that I never got anything from the farmers for trying to convert him. We know that ever since he became Minister of Water Affairs he has devoted his serious attention to water conservation. But I do want to tell him that he should not blame us for repeatedly moving this type of motion and having these debates. If our country once again has to go through what it is going through now, the Government will also understand that it is dire necessity which drives the farmer to such an extent that he feels he cannot wait any longer.

The hon. the Minister has now told us how the investigations have to take place and we agree that one cannot just set to work haphazardly. We agree that proper surveys first have to be made. We realize that, but in this regard I want to repeat what I said the other day, viz. that if the staff the Minister has available is not sufficiently large to make these surveys faster, the Minister should not hesitate to employ the services of outside people.


We are already utilizing the services of outside firms in regard to planning and also in regard to the work itself.


We are grateful to the Minister for having, as it were, stolen a march on us here. This matter is very serious. I want to tell the House a little story which will probably amuse hon. members. It is just a pity that there was nobody to witness it with me. During the great drought in 1919 the Farmers’ Association of the Cape Province convened a congress at Queenstown. Mr. C. W. H. Kohler, the head of the K.W.V., was at that time the president of the Agricultural Union and the then Minister of Agriculture was Mr. H. C. van Heerder, or Uncle Harry as we called him. At that time my town delegated me to represent it at the Congress and instructed me to move a motion at the Congress, to ask that the Government of the day should investigate the possibility of damming up the waters of the Orange River in the vicinity of Donkerpoort, in the vicinity of Bethulie. When the motion was discussed, the late Uncle Harry immediately reacted by saying that he wanted to congratulate the person who had moved the motion, but that this person was a dreamer; he saw visions, because it was something which was impracticable. Now we can be grateful for the fact that what was regarded as a vision by the Government at that time has to-day become a reality. The whole country has been aroused and nobody dare say any longer that the cost is too high. The position of the country is such that costs can no longer be taken into consideration—if we can spend millions and millions of pounds in war-time— not that it is not necessary—but if it is necessary to conserve water for the welfare of the country then we should also spend millions and millions. We know that the Minister is alive to all these things, but like Oliver Twist, we ask for more. Mr. Speaker, it is often said that the farmers can never stand together but that they always quarrel amongst themselves, but that is definitely not true when it comes to water conservation in our country. On this point the farmers stand together like one man, and also the city dwellers, because if the farmer goes under what will become of the city dweller? He must be fed and the farmer must feed him, and the farmer can only do so if he has the support of the people in the city and if they help to make the necessary funds available. I am sure that the Cabinet and the Minister of Finance will not refuse to make available the funds requested by the Minister. I am so glad that the Minister of Finance is also in the House, so that he can hear what the needs of the farmers are. The old adage says that a word to the wise is sufficient. I am convinced that one word to the Minister of Finance is sufficient to persuade him to make sufficient funds available to the Minister of Water Affairs in order to supply this great need of South Africa.

The Minister has said that the conservations of water should not be for agricultural purposes only, and that we should also think of our industries. In this connection he mentioned the names of Graaff-Reinet, Koffiefontein. De Aar, Kimberley and others, but he did not mention the name of a most important town.




I am not surprised that hon. members mention Steynsburg, because it is a wonderful little place; it produced a president for the old Transvaal Republic. I can therefore realize that hon. members expect great things from that town, but the most important town in the whole Union in regard to its potentiality for industrial expansion is Warrenton. Warrenton and the northern Cape have an almost inexhaustible potential. One-seventh of the cattle population of the Union is in those areas and there are inexhaustible sources of raw material. Now I do not say that we should not also take the other areas into consideration. The Minister is of the opinion that water conservation should be tackled in the most effective way possible. That being so, surely attention should also be devoted to areas where the least capital need be spent in the initial stages if one wants to achieve the greatest results. With that object in view, there is no more suitable place in the Union than Warrenton. The water of the Orange River can even be brought to the Vaalharts. All the water required by Warrenton for its industrial development can be taken out of the Orange River, and the hon. the Minister will agree with me that that is so. I hope that will help the Minister to realize that he was correct when he stated that the development of the Orange River should start from the top. There is only one thing which worries me in this regard, and that is that I have never yet seen a building which was started at the top. I do not quite understand it, but I am not going to quarrel with the Minister about it because I know he will commence at the most effective point. We are confident that the Government will use the money in the most beneficial way.

I just want to ask once more that the Minister should do everything in his power. The country has been told for years that surveys are being made, but even at this stage there is no finality yet, and in the meantime the state of emergency is ruining the farmers. Now we hope and trust that the hon. the Minister will be able to arrange matters in such a way that a start will be made with these schemes soon, and we are particularly glad that perhaps more will be done than just to make a start. We look forward to the day when the first concrete blocks will be cast.

*Mr. J. J. FOUCHÉ (Jnr.):

I want to associate myself with those hon. members who expressed their heartfelt thanks to the hon. the Minister for the great attempt he is now making to make the waters of the Orange River available to the people of South Africa.


That is repetition.

*Mr. J. J. FOUCHÉ (Jnr.):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, one does not mind repeating matters when good things are being done. If there is one thing which our nation can never say too often and which no nation can say often enough, it is to offer thanks for good things which are being done. I would just like to differ from my hon. friend or, rather, I do not want to differ from him, but I just want to reply to him on behalf of the Minister. The hon. member for Kimberley (North) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) said he would like to know why the Minister had decided that a scheme should be tackled from the top and not from the bottom, because one starts building a house at the bottom and not at the top. There is no real difference between these two propositions. The Orange River scheme starts from the top, because the national economy has to be built up from the bottom. The position is that I heartily agree with the Minister that where a scheme of this nature is tackled, and in view of the fact that the Minister holds out the prospect that eventually there will be more than one scheme in the Orange River, the higher up one begins with the first scheme the better, for the simple reason that if one starts at the bottom it means that one confines the scheme to the scope of the lower scheme; whilst, if one begins at the top, the people lower down are not deprived of the privilege of getting water from that scheme, and the people higher up can also get water. If, however, one starts at the bottom, the people higher up are excluded until such time as we can proceed further with the development of the Orange River scheme. Therefore I am firmly convinced that the broad national interest will be served by starting as high up as possible.

I would like to associate myself with the mover of this motion, the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker), and also with the amendment moved by the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker). I am also glad the hon. member for Cradock moved this amendment, because I believe sincerely that in regard to a large scheme we should have a broad vision and also think big in connection with it. I want to say that agriculture needs this scheme very much. We urgently need this irrigation water. But in connection with this scheme I think we should have a broad outlook and there should be the necessary balance between the primary, secondary and tertiary use of water. Because the one thing flows from the other. In the first instance, if the farmers in that area can be given some of the water of the Orange River, they can produce, and that will assist them to fulfil their primary function, viz. to provide enough food for the people of South Africa. But on the other hand the farmers also need the markets to sell their products, and therefore I want to plead that this water should be used not only for primary and secondary purposes but also for tertiary purposes, so that eventually we will have the necessary balance in the utilization of these great schemes.

I should also like to say that seeing we have had this debate here to-day and that pleas were delivered for the speedy investigation of these various schemes, I heartily agree with those pleas. I am just afraid of one thing, and that is that in this discussion and in our enthusiasm that this matter should be tackled as fast as possible, that may create the wrong impression unwittingly, viz. that the hon. the Minister is not already doing these things we ask for as fast as possible. I want to make it clear that the Minister is speeding up this investigation. For example, provision is being made this year for the amount of R88,900 merely for an investigation in connection with the Orange River itself. In other words, the Minister has in fact taken the necessary steps to speed up the in vestigation, because this amount is provided merely for investigations. Therefore I think that we are acting speedily. Then I just want to revert to this question of the higher the better. I would like to direct the attention of the House to the fact that, as the hon. member for Kimberley (North) said, it is the policy of the Government that industries should be established in the border areas. I think that what is envisaged here is in the first instance the border areas other than the Protectorates—the borders of the areas which are really the reserves. In other words, it is the non-White areas under our control. In this regard I can think of no better place than the reserve which includes the Herschel area. If we look at the reserves and consider that industries have to be established on the borders of the reserves, then there is no better site for such industries to be established along the whole of the Orange River than the strip from Wepener, Zastron, Rouxville up to Bethulie. Therefore I particularly want to ask that this scheme should be commenced as high up as possible, because it will then be close to those areas on the borders of the reserves where industries can be established.


Mr. Speaker, after the statement made by the hon. the Minister, from which it clearly emerges that the Minister has his finger on the pulse and in which, inter alia, he mentioned the needs of Bloemfontein (City) and of the small-holdings around Bloemfontein, and the Kaffir River and the Riet River schemes, I really feel that we cannot do otherwise than to express our sincere thanks to the Minister for the work which has already been done and for this announcement he made in the House to-day. I can assure the hon. the Minister that we are all rejoicing, and we are grateful to him for the statement he made.

But, Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the actual motion. I support the amendment, but I would just like to draw attention to the implications of the motion moved by the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker), which reads as follows—

That this House is of the opinion that the diversion of surplus waters of the Orange River to the valleys of the Fish and Sundays Rivers is not only a matter of urgency for the irrigators concerned, but is essential to safeguard the general economy of those areas.

The implications of this motion are as follows. According to the Water Act, the surplus water of the Orange River is 96 per cent. Only 4 per cent of the water is already being utilized. In terms of this motion moved by the Opposition, it therefore means that they ask that 96 per cent of the water of the Orange River should be diverted to the valleys of the Fish and Sundays Rivers. I really feel, Sir, that this is a motion which certainly cannot be adopted by this House. I think that if hon. members realize the actual implications of their motion, they will surely withdraw the motion in favour of the amendment.


Mr. Speaker, it is a great privilege indeed for me to be able to reply to the debate on this motion. I would like to convey my special appreciation to the hon. the Minister of Water Affairs who has given his blessing to this amendment introduced by the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) and seconded by the hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo). This is a red letter day for me. It is the crowning of my endeavours over very many years regarding the development of the resources of the Orange River. The amendment introduced today has supported this endeavour, even though it is not actually in keeping with my motion, but it is an amendment that can be accepted by both sides of the House, despite, perhaps, the remarks made by the last speaker. It is quite unique for a motion to come before Parliament and to be so amended that both sides of the House can accept it. Nothing could please me better than to know that such a development could become possible and has taken place. This is an indication that when hon. members, although belonging to different parties, have in mind a subject which will benefit the country, they can work together in the closest co-operation as long as the desire to do so is there. I would also like to associate myself with the Minister’s remarks in expressing appreciation to the Director of Irrigation and his staff for the arduous and expeditious work they have put in to bring the plans for the development of the Orange River system to the stage that they have reached to-day. As the hon. the Minister was able to report to the Cabinet, those plans have reached a stage where a scheme for the supplementation of the Orange River waters and even, possibly, the use of those waters outside that area, is possible. I have no doubt that the hon. the Minister, with his ability, will be able to carry conviction to the Cabinet and that a new light will be shed over the Karoo areas of South Africa.

We realize that the Vaal River with its 1,700,000 morgen feet of water is a river which has made our mining development possible and which has made possible the great industrial development of the Witwatersrand. It is also the river that, as a previous speaker has said, is going to be able to support a future population of 4,000,000 people in that particular area. It is most encouraging to be able to visualize these things as they have been put forward during this debate to-day. If the Vaal River has proved to be the river that has provided the waters for the development of our mining industry and the development of the mining industry in the northern Free State, it is right to regard it as one of our most important rivers in that particular respect. The Orange River I regard as a river without great industrial potentialities. It is a river which, if put to the best uses for which it is suited will be put to use for the development of agriculture. This river passes through the most arid and waterless area of our country, but an area which is nevertheless very fertile and where there are huge stretches of country which can be put under irrigation and become a source of great production for the feeding of our ever-increasing population. We regard the Vaalharts scheme on the Vaal River as being the area which provides the food for the Witwatersrand, but when we realize that the population there may eventually be 4.000,000 people we realize the necessity for agricultural development in other areas of our country. We know that by the end of this century we will have 30,000,000 people in this country, and that alone I think, is a very good reason why the development work of waters like those of the Orange River becomes essential and requires almost immediate attention. Work of the magnitude as now visualized on the Orange River, the building of dams and the conservation of water is work which takes some time and which should be put in hand as expeditiously as possible.

We also appreciate that although the Vaal Dam has been of tremendous assistance to the lower irrigators of the Orange River by supplementing their water supplies in times of shortages, this cannot continue indefinitely. The water from the Vaal Dam has to run a distance of something like 400 miles, and one can just imagine what a tremendous loss there must be in waters that have to flow from the Vaal Dam to places like Kakamas and Upington; the water must lose half of its volume in transit, and that is a very serious matter. That means that half of that water is wasted. For many years I have stated that we cannot afford to waste water in this country, and, for that reason alone, it is now expedient that an early commencement should take place as regards, at least, one of the dams on the Orange River so as to ensure, the irrigators and the riparian owners on the lower reaches of the river, a permanent water supply. The reason why we feel so urgently about these irrigators on the Orange River is that they are, to a great extent, the fodder bank of South Africa to-day. They produce our lucerne for milk production in this country. Not only that, but I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that, during the recent drought, lucerne supplies from the Orange River saved the lives of thousands of cattle and sheep.

We are also indebted to the hon. the Minister of Transport, in this matter, for reducing the railway rates so as to make it economic to transport lucerne hay to the drought-stricken areas. He, too, has made a very welcome contribution to the farmers in time of need.

Mr. Speaker, in earlier years the Fish and Sundays Rivers were areas from which we used to be able to draw fodder supplies in our dry periods. But on account of soil conservation work, and for other reasons, these irrigators have not been able to produce this lucerne hay in recent years. It has really only been made possible through the Vaal Dam supplementary water supplies to the irrigators on the lower Orange River that they have been enabled, to any extent, to meet our requirements. The public generally do not realize how much fodder is required in times of drought. There are farmers in the Calvinia and Carnarvon Districts, who have been forced to spend £400, £500, and £600 a month, on fodder alone, in order to keep their sheep alive. And at times it was so difficult to obtain fodder that they had to hammer mill sticks, or any kind of stuff, to mix with their maize to make it possible for their sheep to take full advantage of what is contained in the maize. Animals cannot live on maize alone any more than man can live on bread alone, but it is very much worse in the case of animals because they must have something to supplement their maize rations. And the irrigators of the Orange River have produced this to a marvellous extent, although they have not been able to produce nearly sufficient supplies to meet the requirements of the country.

I imagine that greater use of the Orange River will stabilize our cattle and sheep industry in this country. I have no doubt that we could double our sheep population in the Union, we could double our cattle population and assure milk supplies for everybody; we could wipe out diseases like tuberculosis which are brought about by people not having a balanced diet. That could all be done if this area could give us the fodder which we require for our stock. And there is no doubt that, in the near future, the country will need more cattle and more sheep.

I very much appreciate the sympathy that has been expressed for the irrigators of the Sundays and Fish River valleys. I also appreciate that, although the hon. member for Prieska (Mr. Stander) was very much against releasing any waters of the Orange River for any area outside the Orange River Basin, he still felt he could not be a dog in the manger and, with his true Afrikaner hospitality and generosity he said he was quite satisfied that those in the Sundays and Fish River valleys, who were in need, should have their supplies supplemented. I appreciate that gesture very much indeed. Some people would say that he was rather like a dog in the manger, that as they could not use all the water in the valley why not allow a certain portion to be deviated. But, as I have said, he reacted as a true South African and, if I may say so, I think that that has been the general feeling, throughout this debate. One is always jealous of one’s water supplies. All riparian owners are jealous of their rights to the waters of their rivers, and they do not like those waters to be diverted to areas outside of their particular watershed. But, as the hon. the Minister said to-day, we have to take a much broader view of the matter. The waters of this country belong to the nation and the nation must allocate the waters as they think best. I am very pleased that the hon. the Minister has taken up that strong attitude and that the people of this country realize that water is an asset that belongs to the nation as a whole. The Government has the power to attend to the proper distribution of that water and can see that it is allocated to the best advantage of the nation. I think that is one particular advantage which flowed from our new water legislation, that people were made to realize that one could not be selfish with our water supplies. We know how our future development may be limited by lack of water supplies and we realize that we may even have to draw on the ocean for future supplies, one day, by use of atomic power if that atomic power is as effective as people say it will be. We may have to draw on the ocean and de-salt its waters for the use of people in our coastal areas.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I would like, through you, to thank the hon. members of this House who have been so co-operative on the subject of this motion and who have brought this question of the uses of the Orange River to a stage at which we can all agree. Thank you.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Motion, as amended, accordingly agreed to, viz.:

That this House is of the opinion that, as a matter of urgent public importance, the Government should consider the advisability of—

  1. (a) immediately proceeding with schemes for conserving all the surplus waters of the Orange River at as many places as possible in order to develop the full potential of the River; and
  2. (b) simultaneously giving preferential attention to the related Fish and Sundays River valley schemes.

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

The Senate transmits to the Hon. the House of Assembly the Kimberley Leasehold Conversion to Freehold Bill passed by the Senate and in which the Senate desires the concurrence of the Hon. the House of Assembly.

By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Kimberley Leasehold Conversion to Freehold Bill was read a first time; second reading, on 20 March seconded by Mr. J. E. Potgieter.


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

The Senate transmits to the Hon. the House of Assembly the Dairy Industry Bill passed by the Senate and in which the Senate desires the concurrence of the Hon. the House of Assembly.

By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Dairy Industry Bill was read a first time; second reading, on 20 March seconded by Mr. J. E. Potgieter.

It being 3.55 p.m., the House in accordance with Standing Order No. 41 (3) proceeded to the consideration of Orders of the Day.


First Order read: Second reading,—The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (Private)



I move—

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa is in essence and in fact and for all practical purposes a church. In its form, however, and in the eyes of the law it is not a church but a company. The object of this measure is to remove that anomaly. For that reason, therefore, the two main provisions contained in the Bill are that the company under which The Apostolic Faith Mission is incorporated shall be dissolved and that at the same time the Mission should be incorporated as a church.

There are good reasons for this step, and I would like to tell hon. members briefly what they are. As the result of the preaching of a certain John G. Lake and others, who started preaching on the Rand in 1908, these preachers had gathered so many followers around them by 1913 that two things became necessary for them. In the first place, it became necessary for them to provide for the proper control and management of the Mission. In other words, they had to provide a constitution for the Mission. In the second place, it became necessary for them to provide for registration in the name of the Mission itself, as distinct from the names of the individual members, of all properties which were required to be purchased for use as places of worship or as parsonages. In other words, it became necessary for them to clothe the mission with a legal personality. In those days, in 1913, their numbers were still such that The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa was not generally regarded as a church, and for that reason those preachers did not feel that they could approach Parliament with the request that it should be incorporated in a statute. In the circumstances they did the second-best thing, possibly as a result of legal advice they obtained, or possibly at the suggestion of one of the founder members who was himself an attorney. In any case, they sought refuge in the Companies Act. Thus it happened that in the year 1913 The Apostolic Faith Mission was incorporated under the Companies Act as a company with unlimited liability, without any share capital or profit motive. So in this way they acquired a legal personality in terms of the Companies Act in the first place, and in this way a constitution was embodied in the statutes of this particular company.

Mr. Speaker, as the result of the fact that The Apostolic Faith Mission was registered under the Companies Act, two important consequences to the Mission resulted. The first was that all its professing members became members of the company—or to put it more simply, they became shareholders in the company. The second consequence was that The Apostolic Faith Mission became subject to the provisions of the Companies Act.

Now I just want to mention certain provisions of the Companies Act affecting the Mission. The first provision was that the Companies Act required them to submit a balance sheet every year to the Registrar of Companies, showing the assets and debts of the Mission, together with the names of the officials, principally the secretary, and also of the accountants. Secondly, the Companies Act required them to keep a register together with a proper index giving the names and addresses of all professing members of the church, who were also at the same time members of the company. In the third place, they were compelled to comply with the requirements in regard to annual meetings, like other companies, and special meetings when some particular matter had to be considered, but mainly the Act applied to them in this respect, that when a resolution was taken by their church body, established in terms of the statutes of the company, all such resolutions had to be approved at an annual general meeting or at a special general meeting of the company. If a resolution is adopted by their highest church body, the General Workers’ Council, then that resolution again had to be ratified at a special or general meeting of the company. There was a provision that in case it was desired to amend the constitution of the church, which now forms the statutes of the company, in such a case there must be a quorum of 25 per cent of the baptized members or of the members of the company. In view of the fact that at an early stage already it was found that the company form or organization is not most conducive to the spiritual interests of the Mission, and it also clashed with the piousness of their members, it must be stated that in the beginning it was not difficult for the Mission to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act. In the first place, the requirement that an annual balance sheet had to be submitted was merely a petty matter, because their assets and liabilities were small. It was not impossible for them to keep a register of the members. To tell the truth, I can imagine that it was a matter of pride to them to see how the name of one baptized member after another was added to the register. Nor was it difficult for them to hold an annual meeting or a special general meeting, because they were a small community and to a large extent they were localized in the one area, principally on the Rand. But that was in 1913 and the years which immediately succeeded it. Since those years The Apostolic Faith Mission has experienced considerable expansion and growth, so much so that according to the latest figures available The Apostolic Mission now takes ninth place amongst all religious denominations. In numbers of White souls it is exceeded only by the three Afrikaans Churches, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics and the Jewish Church. It is the fourth largest Afrikaans Church. I also want to mention that its numbers have increased to such an extent since 1913 that to-day there are 70,000 White people belonging to the Mission, and amongst the Coloureds it has 7,000 adherents, 2,000 amongst the Indians and 100,000 amongst the Bantu. Its congregations are spread throughout the length and breadth of South Africa and even in Rhodesia and Kenya, and there are altogether 200 congregations. Its charitable and social welfare work is at the moment being done by 207 welfare societies which are responsible for the collection of funds. It takes care of its orphans in Johannesburg where it has an orphanage housing 200 children, which is registered and certified by the Department of Social Welfare. It cares for its aged in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, where it has an old-age home housing 30 aged people, and a second one which will house 50 is being built. It also provided for the special care of the aged in Bloemfontein, where it purchased 32 erven in Hospital Park with the idea of building units there, small houses where old people can look after themselves without needing assistance from anyone else, except financial assistance, and where they can be housed. Its assets throughout the country amount to R3,500,000 and its annual revenue from all the congregations is estimated at approximately R1,000,000. It is generally recognized as a church and even the State and State institutions recognize it as such. The State recognizes it as a church by appointing its pastors as marriage officers, and in regard to transactions in immovable property it is exempt from transfer duties, like other churches. For its clergymen also it is granted special railway concessions. The Broadcasting Corporation recently also gave the Mission its turn for a Sunday sermon.

Now it is understandable that in view of the tremendous expansion which has taken place a very large number of resolutions have to be taken by the church every year, and in view of the fact that the General Workers’ Council is its highest legislative body, on an equal footing with the synods of other churches, these resolutions are discussed there, but when a resolution has been discussed and approved of by almost 500 to 600 delegates who are present there, in order to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act and with its own constitution, all these resolutions again have to be submitted to a general meeting of the company. That is where the difficulty arises for The Apostolic Faith Mission. There is no interest on the part of its members in the company aspect or the company transactions, because the members feel that everything has already been satisfactorily dealt with by the General Workers’ Council. For that reason the annual meeting of the company has become a farce. In cases where there are suggestions that the constitution should be changed, for which the Companies Act and the constitution itself makes provision, a quorum of 25 per cent of its baptized members is required, and the position has just become impossible because the baptized members to-day number more than 30,000. As I said, they are spread over the length and breadth of the country, and even in Rhodesia and Kenya, and to get together 7,500 people for the purpose of confirming a resolution already discussed and approved by the church body is simply impossible. Therefore I feel that in view of the difficulties being experienced by the Mission in complying with the Companies Act, and in view of the fact that the Companies Act is not conducive to its proper work and obstructs its spiritual objectives, and because it clashes with the feeling of piety of these people, but particularly in view of the fact that the Mission is already for all practical purposes a church which in essence and in fact is already being recognized as a church by everybody including the State, I have the temerity to ask all hon. members for the support for this measure, in order to enable the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa to preach God’s Word and to do what they feel moved to do according to their lights and the guidance they receive from above.

Coming to the Bill itself, it surely is not necessary to explain the provisions in detail, and I merely wish to refer to them briefly. Clause 1 contains the usual definition. Clause 2, which is really the main provision, dissolves the company and incorporates the Apostolic Faith Mission as a church, whilst Clause 3 makes the new church a corporate body with perpetual legal succession. Clause 4 merely provides where the headquarters of the church would be, viz. 40 Ameshof Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, or such other place as it might decide on later. Clause 5 grants the incorporated church the power to amend rules and regulations to the benefit of the church and for the promotion of its objectives at its discretion. Sub-section (2) of Clause 5 provides that the present constitution of the Apostolic Faith Mission which is attached to the Bill as a schedule will remain in operation until such time as the church decides otherwise and amends it according to its own rules. Clause 6 transfers all the rights of the company to the church, and similarly the church assumes all the obligations the company formerly had. Clause 7 provides that all the property of the church, movable as well as immovable, shall be transferred from the company to the church, and then there is special provision that the deeds of transfer on fixed property shall be endorsed by the various Registrars of Deeds when they are submitted to them to the effect that it no longer belongs to the company but to the church. There is also provision that where such immovable property is mortgaged, the mortgage bond will accordingly also be endorsed by the Registrar of Deeds. Clause 8 refers to the officials. They remain in office until such time as their term of office is concluded under the new constitution or the church makes other provision. I want to refer again to Clause 5, which gives the Mission or the new church the right to change its own constitution for the benefit of the church and to promote its aims. This clause is very important because I believe that it will have to be invoked and that the church will surely proceed to amend its constitution as soon as it has the right to do so in terms of this measure.


As hon. members will have seen, there was no opposition to this Bill when it appeared before the Select Committee. Opposition to a Bill of this kind would of course be unthinkable. We associate ourselves with this great effort of the Apostolic Mission to become the Apostolic Church. In doing so, I should like to pay tribute to the founders of this Mission, whose names appear in the schedule. Many of the names are familiar to me. They were men inspired by a very deep faith. I understand there are only two of them alive to-day and I should like those two in their old age to realize what has been achieved by this great undertaking. There is another body to whom I should like to pay tribute, one with which I am familiar, although I am not a member of the Mission. I refer to the great mission work that is being done, especially by the Bantu themselves among their own people. The mission work done by this church over a period of years is in many ways exemplary. They have tackled this work, have received support from their own people, and have carried it out remarkably well. There have been people who have supported them financially, but they have received very little financial support. They also were inspired by a great faith. There is only one clause that we had to amend, as hon. members will have noted, and that is Clause 7, the clause which regularizes mortgages on certain church property. The building societies and other interested persons have asked that this amendment should be included. It was accepted readily by the Apostolic Mission, and the measure, as far as we know, is agreed to by everybody. I have great pleasure in supporting the motion of the hon. member for Klerksdorp.


I think we are all aware that the members of the Apostolic Faith Mission have greatly increased in numbers in recent years. In so far as its spiritual and social services are concerned, the Mission has always done its duty faithfully. This Mission has proved that it has become a permanent institution in our national life. For that reason I wish to support this Bill. What is important is that the Apostolic Faith Mission has been accepted and regarded by the public and the State as a church, because its aims are those of a church and it functions like a church and not like a company. It is my view that we should free this Mission from these restraining and restrictive provisions of the Companies Act under which it has had to suffer for so many years, and that we should grant it recognition as a church, with all the advantages that will accompany it. I feel that they have proved that they are entitled to it.


I too would like to say a word in support of this measure, because I think all hon. members on all sides of the House will agree that it is unthinkable that a church that has reached the proportions that the Apostolic Faith Mission has reached in preaching the word of God should continue to be treated as a private company subject to the normal law of private companies as we know it. May I also say that perhaps one of the greatest factors in a democratic society is the complete religious freedom that it offers to the individual citizen. And I think the introduction of this Bill and its acceptance by the House can stand as a memorial to that great fundamental factor of religious freedom in a democratic society.

Having said that, I want to turn my remarks to one point made by the hon. member for Klerksdorp when he introduced the Bill and that is in regard to the observation that he made in respect of Clause 5 that the provisions and the rules and regulations that govern members of the Apostolic Church and their worship can be altered by a resolution or decision by the various governing bodies of their own accord. One of the difficulties that the Apostolic Faith Mission experienced in the past was that as the church as a mission expanded and its adherents grew, when it came to the necessity of changing its constitution it was faced with all the difficulties that any other company may have to face in changing its articles of association and memorandum of agreements. It is for that reason that I would like to have the comments of the hon. member for Klerksdorp in respect of three particular provisions of the articles of association included as a schedule to the Bill and I refer to Articles 2 and 65 (b) and Article 60. They are important articles because they govern the missionary activities as far as the Apostolic Faith Mission is concerned. Article 2—

The non-European, that is to say, the Indian, Coloured and Bantu adherents to the teachings, doctrines and practices of the Mission shall be governed by separate policies and instructions formulated and drawn up for the aforesaid communities by the executive council in consultation with the Missionaries in Council and approved by the General Workers’ Council.

Then Section 65 (b) says—

A Council of Missionaries … shall be convened annually for the purpose of discussing matters concerning work in the missionary departments and advising the Executive Council and General Workers’ Council on missionary matters, referred to in Article 2 hereof.

Now quite rightly the hon. member for Klerksdorp referred to Clause 5 as a most important clause in that it deals with powers and the constitution of the church. Now in view of the great expansion of the Mission work and the large number of non-European adherents to the Apostolic Faith Mission, I would like to hear the hon. member’s comments upon the relationship between the two sections. Is it correct that only the European members of the Mission were members of the company? For the rest I wholeheartedly support the second reading of this Bill.


The hon. member for Klerksdorp dealt with the Bill very satisfactorily and there is no necessity to make any further comments on the contents of the Bill. I want to associate myself with the remarks made by the hon. member for Kensington. We will support this Bill.


I just want to thank hon. members for their support of this measure. It proves that freedom of religion is in fact being enjoyed in this country when a measure like this can be passed with the unanimous support of all the members in the House. Concerning the question put by the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant), it is correct that at the present moment only the White baptized members are members of the company. It is also correct that all property purchased was purchased in the name of the company, and that property purchased for the use of the Indian congregation or the Coloured congregation and the Bantu congregation is held in trust. However, I have no instructions in this regard and therefore cannot say to what extent the rules will probably or possibly be amended.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

House in Committee:

Clauses, Schedule, Preamble and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.

House Resumed:

Bill reported with amendments.

Amendment in Clause 3, the omission of Clause 7, the new Clause 7 and the amendment in the Preamble, put and agreed to and the Bill, as amended, adopted.

Bill read a third time.


Mr. SPEAKER announced that Dr. Johannes Cornelius Otto was to-day declared elected a member of the House of Assembly for the electoral division of Pretoria (East) in the room of Dr. H. Muller, resigned.

The House adjoured at 4.33 p.m.

MONDAY, 20 MARCH 1961 Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 2.20 p.m. NEW MEMBERS

Mr. SPEAKER announced that Mr. Gerhardus Paulus Kotze was declared elected a member of the House of Assembly for the electoral division of Gordonia on Friday, 17 March 1961.

Mr. SPEAKER further announced that Mr. Frederick Johannes Niemand was declared elected a member of the House of Assembly for the electoral division of Pietersburg on Friday, 17 March 1961.

Mr. F. J. NIEMAND, introduced by Mr. J. E. Potgieter and Mr. Faurie, made, and subscribed to, the affirmation, and took his seat.


I move—

That the petition of J. C. Troskie, of Somerset East, Chairman of the Great Fish River Irrigation Board, presented to this House on 14 March 1961, praying for remission of the Special Reserve Fund Rate until such time as sufficient water is available to supply irrigators, be referred to the Select Committee on Irrigation Matters for consideration and report.

I second.

Agreed to.


First Order read: House to resume in Committee of Supply on Estimates of Expenditure from Railway and Harbour Fund.

House in Committee:

[Progress reported on 16 March, when Head No. 1.—“General Charges”, R6,262,234, was under consideration, upon which an amendment had been moved by Mr. Eaton.]


Just before you put this Vote, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that we are all very sorry to hear of the accident to the former Minister of Railways, the Acting Prime Minister and Leader of this House. It was with a sense of shock that we read of the accident. We trust that the hon. the Minister of Transport will convey our very best wishes to him and to his family and that he will recover very speedily and will be able to return early to this House.

Before we go on, I think it would be just as well if I just very briefly indicated that this amendment was moved to high-light the fact that as far as the United Party is concerned, the statement made by the Minister in his Budget speech in regard to the manner in which payment for overtime is to take place, is one which the United Party cannot support. We on this side of the House feel that if overtime has to be worked, it should be worked on the basis of the rate per hour plus an enhancement. At the present time it is time and a third and double time for Sundays. We would like that arrangement to continue, and it is because this change has come about as a result of the Budget, I have moved for a reduction of the Minister’s salary to indicate our disapproval of this new scale.

Amendment put and the Committee divided:

Ayes—39: Barnett, C; Basson, J. A. L.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; de Kock, H. C.; Durrant, R. B.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Lawrence, H. G.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Plewman, R. P.; Ross, D. G.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; Swart, H. G.: Swart, R. A. F.; Tucker, H.; van der Byl, P.; van Niekerk, S. M.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.

Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.

Noes—74: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; de Villiers, C. V.; Dönges, T. E.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Fouché, J. J. (Jr.); Froneman, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Heystek, J.; Hiemstra, E. C. A.; Jonker, A. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotzé, S. F.; le Riche, R.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, D. J.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van den Heever, D. J. G.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Niekerk, M. C.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D.M.; Viloen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.

Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. von S. von Moltke.

Amendment accordingly negatived.

Head No. 1.—“General Charges”, as printed, put and agreed to.

Heads Nos. 2 to 34 put and agreed to.

The Committee proceeded to consider the Estimates of Expenditure on Capital and Betterment Works.

On Head No. 1.—“ Construction of Railways ”, R4,250,176,


It is with considerable pleasure that I am able to get up and say a few words on the Estimates of Expenditure on Capital and Betterment Works for the year ending 31 March 1962. This is the first occasion that I can remember where the Committee has got to the stage of discussing what is known as the Brown Book. I think it is a good thing that we should do so in the time that is left under the Committee Stage of this particular measure. The first question I wish to ask the hon. the Minister is in respect of Duff’s Road. Could the hon. the Minister give us some sort of a progress report as to how this work is proceeding. I see that the total estimated cost is R1,142,512 and that this year we expect to spend something like, R255,400. It is a very necessary project, and I am quite sure that as far as the residents of Durban are concerned, it will be a good thing when this line will be completed so that the present congestion and the delay in the transportation of workers from the Duff’s Road Township to Durban will be alleviated. Could the hon. the Minister give us some indication of how this project is proceeding?


I see that in the Estimates provision is made for the new railway line between Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa. There have been quite a number of rumours in regard to this line, as to whether it will be built from Hoedspruit or from Mica. Has final decision now been reached as to the place from where the line will be built, and what are the prospects in connection with the completion of the line? Will a start be made immediately in building that line?


Here we have an item Newcastle-Utrecht—new connecting line from Newcastle station to a point on the Utrecht branch line at 3 miles 41.06 chains. I would like to know from the hon. the Minister whether any representations have been made to him in regard to taking over the rest of that line. I think that line is about 27 miles in length. Does he not consider that it will be in the interest of the Railways itself to take it over, seeing that the rolling stock used there belongs to the Central Government and the staff also falls under the Central Government? Is it not in the interest of the Railways to take over the whole line in the near future? Will the hon. the Minister be able to tell me when that will perhaps happen?


In reply to the hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton), I can only inform him that delivery of rolling stock will coincide with the completion of the line. That will be towards the end of 1962.

*In regard to the hon. member for Nelspruit (Mr. Faurie), I have to inform him that complete finality has not yet been reached in regard to the junction. Negotiations with Foscor are still in progress in regard to the guarantee. We hope that the negotiations will be completed within the next month or so, so that we can start building the line.

I can only tell the hon. member for Drakensberg (Mrs. S. M. van Niekerk) that at the moment there is no plan at all to take over the Utrecht line. I gave the reasons for this on a former occasion, viz. that it is not in the interest of the Administration to take over that line at this stage.

Head No. 1 put and agreed to.

On Head No. 2.—“ New Works on Open Lines”, R65,542,263,


I want to deal with Item 23: Clairwood-Port Shepstone: Permanent Bank Protection, Umpambinyoni River Bridge. R30,000 is made available for expenditure during 1961-2. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister whether the Department is giving sufficient consideration in regard to this work to the constriction of the space allowed to the river in flood time to flow to the sea. We had a big flood in May 1959, and the river banked up because it could not get out to sea, it flooded the sugar mill, that is approximately one mile up the river, it flooded a school, and all the low-lying lands. But it flooded particularly the sugar mill where the water had never come before because the river was virtually banked up by the works at the lower end of the estuary, towards the sea. The work comprises not only the railway bridge, but the road bridge as well, and the approach to the road bridge was very badly breached by the river. Fortunately, the damage to the railway embankment was very small, because it stood the strain. But there was a flood again on the Umpambinyoni only a week ago, and once more precisely the same thing has happened. I am very worried about this, because it is quite clear that there might be heavy claims for damage against the Railways and the Roads Department in respect of damage higher up the river if those works are so constructed as to narrowing up the waterway until water simply cannot escape. Is that taken into account?


I want to deal with a matter under the sub-head “ Relaying and Strengthening ”. We are called upon to vote here a sum of R1,750,000 in toto for the various works set out in the Brown Book. Now a number of new items are included under this Head, and I wish to ask the hon. the Minister one or two questions in regard to the general principle, and the general policy applying to these items as a whole. I ask the question. Sir, because the current General Manager’s report makes reference to new schemes for permanent way maintenance. I refer the hon. the Minister to page 82 of the General Manager’s Report, where he states this—

New forms of systematic maintenance by length gangs, have been devised, whereby maintenance of the track itself can be carried out on an almost completely systematic basis, making it possible to measure up completed work, for labour control and incentive purposes, quickly and easily. Eight length-maintenance gangs are working in the neighbourhood of Johannesburg in accordance with the scheme to test out its practical implications and to determine the administrative implications of labour control and incentive schemes for permanent way maintenance. Regarding mechanized maintenance, two sets of improved equipment for the lifting gangs working ahead of the heavy ballast tampers are being manufactured following development by work study of better methods.

This is quite an important issue, because in the first instance where this new system is put into force, it becomes a more systemized and mechanized operation of re-sleepering and relaying.


You don’t mechanize re-sleepering.


No, but the further operations after re-sleepering are mechanized, for tamping and for laying the rails. The amount is a large one, but as far as my memory goes it seems less than in former years, and I, would like to know if this lower expenditure is a direct result of these new systems that are now being introduced, and also whether it is also due to the mechanization of these operations on the Railways.


I would like to have a little more information from the hon. the Minister in connection with the purchase of land for departmental housing under Item 3. Can the Minister give us any details as to where the land will be bought and for how many dwellings? Then I also want to ask the hon. the Minister in connection with Item 433: Ladysmith-Harrismith: Deviate line at Danskraal. The hon. the Minister will know that this matter has been discussed several times in the House, viz. that when the trains from the Free State enter the station at Danskraal the heavy coaches are in front, and then shunting has to take place before it can depart to Durban. I would like to know from the Minister whether it is in this connection that the line is now being deviated. Then in regard to Items 713 and 714, the remodelling of the flash-butt welding depot, and the workshop for signal fitter, also at Danskraal, I would like to know how far that work has already progressed, when it was commenced and when he expects it to be concluded.


I want to ask the hon. the Minister a question in regard to Item 34: Pietermaritzburg-Franklin: Replaced bridge over Inkonzo River. According to this Brown Book most of the money has been spent, but in the ensuing year R2,400 has still to be spent. When will that bridge come into operation and the change-over to the new bridge take place? Then I refer to Item 57: Boughton-Umbulwana: Doubling of line and improvement of curvature between Boughton and Merrivale. The amount to be spent this year is considerable, and some RIO,00 will be spent in future years. When does the Minister think that this work of the doubling of the line between Boughton and Umbulwana will be completed?


The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) is not reading his Brown Book correctly. As far as the doubling of the line between Boughton and Umbulwana is concerned, there is no money to be spent in future years, and J am surprised that the hon. member does not know what is happening in the environment of Pietermaritzburg. As a matter of fact I opened the long tunnel there nearly a year ago, and the double line has been in operation for more than a year. These are merely belated debits coming in.


But R10,000 will have to be spent in subsequent years.


No, that is R10,000 out of the Renewals Fund. The hon. member must look at the heading of the column. The hon. member has travelled over the doubled line continually. The work is completed. The same applies in regard to Item 34. This amount of R2,400 is the last amount to be spent. The bridge has been completed and is in operation. There is no money to be spent in future years, but it very often happens that, after a work is completed, some belated debits come in. In other words, all the debits did not come in before the end of the previous financial year. To a very large extent it is only a book entry to close off the accounts.

* The hon. member for Drakensberg wants to know, in regard to Item 3, how much land has been purchased and how many houses have been built. This amount is not for a specific place. Every year a globular amount is voted by Parliament, it is used by the Administration to purchase land when land has to be purchased. The hon. member will see that practically every year a globular amount is voted. It is not a specific amount. As it becomes necessary during the course of the year to purchase land, not only for housing but for other departmental purposes, land is purchased if it is available. It depends on what becomes necessary in the course of the year. In regard to Item 432, I should have thought that the hon. member would know what the position there is.


I asked a question in regard to Item 433.


The hon. member asked a question in connection with the trains coming in from the Free State, did she not?


I asked the question in connection with the deviate line at Danskraal, Item 433.


Yes, that is what I am referring to. As the hon. member correctly said, the trains from the Free State has always entered the station with the locomotive in front, but when the train moves out to Volksrust or wherever it goes, it must proceed in the opposite direction, and that causes delays. But the hon. member is such a regular visitor to Danskraal that I should have thought that she would have known that that line has been in operation for a long time already. This new line has been in operation for more than a year already. It seems to me the hon. member is beginning to neglect her duty. She is not visiting Danskraal as often as she did in the past. Now that all her complaints in connection with the cabins for the shunters, etc., have been acceded to, she is no longer interested in Danskraal. The hon. member should visit Danskraal once again, then she would see that everything is in order. As I say, Items 713 and 714 have both been completed already. The hon. member will see that this year the money spent will be rounded off, and she will see that no provision is being made for next year. Everything is being completed now.

The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) is concerned about the lower expenditure on maintenance. As the hon. member knows, no uniform amount is spent every year on maintenance; it all depends upon the requirements of the permanent way. Mechanization, of course, does result in a saving, that is why we have introduced the mechanization of the track and we are extending that gradually. It means that the lengths can be lengthened and the work can be done so much quicker with less personnel. Mechanization does result in the reduction of expenditure on the maintenance of the permanent way.


Is that the reason for so many new items?


Well, it all depends. There is a certain time in the life of the track when it has to be re-ballasted or re-sleepered. It all depends upon the condition of the track. When the track reaches a certain condition then it must either be re-ballasted or re-sleepered or re-railed. Of course, there is no uniform time when that happens. It is examined by the civil engineering department who submit their estimates for the ensuing year on the basis of what they will require for the maintenance of that particular track. But mechanization definitely does result in a saving. It increases the productivity and shortens the time occupied in the maintenance of the track.


What about these specially trained gangs to which the General Manager refers?


Those are the mechanized gangs. I do not want to hold a long discussion on the matter now because we do not have too much time, but as a result of a shortage of gangers and platelayers, a few years ago we reorganized the lengths for which platelayers and gangers were responsible, and as much as possible we concentrated that personnel at the nearest towns so that they could have schooling facilities for their children. We also gave them bicycles for the patrolling of the tracks. This has been in operation for quite a time now and it has resulted in reduced expenditure.

I do not know whether the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) is referring to the same matter as that about which he corresponded with me.


No, most of our correspondence was over the Umzimkulu. I am talking about this one at Scottborough.


In regard to the matter about which we corresponded and which the hon. member still wants to discuss, as he knows, that was inquired into by the engineers after he wrote to me. Their report was that the way the bridge was being built was quite satisfactory, and I can say no more about that. The particular matter he has now referred to, I do not know about and I will have it inquired into.


As the hon. the Minister will inquire into this Item 23 and let me know about it I will then deal with Item 30, the one in respect of which I corresponded with him, and that is the bridge over the Umzimkulu River at Port Shepstone. As the hon. the Minister quite rightly says, he wrote to me and explained that his engineers had been into the matter, they were satisfied that the bridge was being built on proper engineering principles and that it was safe. I accept that the hon. the Minister cannot turn round and say that his engineers are not competent or able to give a proper judgment. The same difficulty arises here, but from a different angle, as at the Umpambinyoni, and that is that the bridge over the Umzimkulu is banking up the water when it comes down in spate. The plans for the lay-out of the marshalling yards on the old level of the wharf shows that that gets flooded; that is because the embankment of the bridge is acting as a dam and banking the water up. I see that under this item there is also a question of deviating the line from 75 miles 53 chains to 78 miles 1 chain. However, I am not certain how far down that goes, whether it goes through the actual railway yard at Port Shepstone, where it is taken as a broad gauge through the actual yards at Port Shepstone to the marshalling yards south of the present railway station. However, I do not expect the hon. the Minister to have all these details in his head so I will simply say to the hon. the Minister at this stage that we are all very concerned indeed, and that includes commerce, industry and the farmers, as to what is to be the precise lay-out now in view of the construction of the bridge and the back water created which has flooded the area set aside for the marshalling yards as we anticipated it. Would the hon. the Minister be prepared to make a statement telling us what is anticipated for the development there as a result of the completion of the bridge and the relaying of the line particularly in regard to the marshalling yards and the tie in with the narrow gauge railway to Harding?


I will have this inquired into and I will advise the hon. member.

Mr. GAY:

I wonder if the hon. the Minister could give us some information in regard to five items altogether. Three of them are on page 6, Items 44, 45 and 46, and then there are two items on page 76, Items 1099 and 1100. Although they are not quite the same, they have a general bearing on the question I want to put. Items 44 and 45 deal with the development of relief lines to the new Native townships whereas it would appear that Item 46 and the two items further on deal with general improvements to the system as a whole. In regard to those five items, I have lumped them together because they cover general improvements to the transport services to the southern end of the Peninsula. From the figures before us it would appear that although a fair amount of this work has been completed there is still an appreciable amount now being provided for and which still has to be done. I want to ask the hon. the Minister if he can give us any idea as to what extent it would be possible to improve the services to the southern end of the Peninsula, particularly from the time point of view. The one item provides for quadrupling the line between Diep River and Retreat. We have already carried out fairly extensive improvements of a similar nature towards the Cape Town end. One wonders to what extent it would be possible to cut down the time of the overall journey to the more distant stations such as Muizenberg, Fish Hoek and Simonstown. I think that one of the factors which to some extent mitigates against the use of the Railways suburban passenger service is the time factor because as a result of the present arrangements so many trains cannot be express, they have to stop at all the stations.

Like the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), I do not expect a detailed reply to each of these points but could the hon. the Minister give us a general idea of what overall improvements can be expected, particularly in regard to the time factor and also, if it is possible to do so, can he give us some estimate of when he thinks the work will be sufficiently advanced to bring about such improvements in that service?


Under Item 718 on page 54 —Durban Harbour: Acquisition and Improvements to Buildings, Salisbury Island, may I raise certain points. There are two particular aspects of this which I should like to take up with the hon. the Minister. The first one is this: I believe that the buildings mentioned here will include the buildings in which the present Indian University College is now situated. I would like, if possible, to get some information from the hon. the Minister as to what arrangement has been made and whether those buildings are being sold …


That has nothing to do with this item.


Well, it is the acquisition of buildings on Salisbury Island and improvements to those buildings.


Those are merely sheds on the island acquired for the storage of timber.


Well, it does not say so here. It merely says buildings. Are they the wrong buildings?




So that this does not cover all the buildings taken over from Defence?




There is another aspect I would like to take up with the hon. the Minister. But I do not know whether this question has been covered because obviously arrangements have been made and all the buildings on the island, to the best of my knowledge, belong to the Railways. Could the hon. the Minister enlighten me on that point?


Only part of the Salisbury Island buildings are going to be used for Railway purposes, and this amount is for the purchase of those sheds that will be used for the storage of timber. I have nothing to do with those utilized for the establishment of the Indian college.


The other question is this: Some of the buildings on the island which do belong to the Railways are, I take it, included here and have been given by the hon. the Minister on short lease to certain yachting clubs and the like, and they are very grateful to the hon. the Minister for that. But they have a very big worry at the moment, and that is the question of how long their occupation is going to last. As a result of this action by the Minister some very fine clubs have been built in the area, and the facilities and amenities made available to them are being used by many thousands of people to very good purpose indeed. It will be a very good thing and it will be very much appreciated if the Minister could give them some idea of some sort of permanency of occupation on a longer basis than they can see at the moment. As the hon. the Minister knows they are there on a month-to-month basis. They have put in a lot of improvements of their own and these people are very, very keen. I think if the hon. the Minister could see his way clear at this stage to give them some idea as to what is going to happen in the future so that they can perhaps make further improvements and build still further facilities, it will serve a very good purpose. They are providing an outlet to the bay for sailing, for Sea Scouts and the like and for many thousands of people from the whole of the southern suburbs of Durban. As the hon. the Minister knows the Esplanade area is not convenient to these people. There are no parking facilities for them there, but this has proved to be ideal. If the hon. the Minister could see his way clear to extend to these people some site which they can call their own, or know that they have some reasonable permanancy of occupation, I can assure him they will appreciate it very much.

The other item I wanted to mention was Item 148, a marshalling yard. I take it that is the bay head marshalling yard and that this possibly provides for the completion of it. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister whether, with the completion of this marshalling yard, he is going to make any land available to the Durban City Council for the carrying out of their road plans. I know that for some considerable time they have wanted to put a free-way through part of the area of the old Congella marshalling yard to serve the fast-developing southern suburbs and the South Coast, and because they are awaiting developments in the marshalling yards and to see what facilities are available these plans have not come to finality to the best of my knowledge. But with the completion of this scheme I would like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he is going to make land available bordering Maydon Road for the completion of this scheme?


I would like to discuss Item 800, Komatipoort: Fruit shelters, platform and road transport depot. Already in 1958 it was indicated that these improvements would be made. In the Estimates last year an amount of R77,200 was voted, and now an additional amount of R27,100 is being asked for. According to these data, it is expected that by the end of this financial year the sum of R20,960 will already have been spent.


The black figures indicate what will be spent this year.


The estimated expenditure for 31 March 1961 is R20,000. What I want to mention further is that as far as I know, no work has yet been done. In any case, when I left the constituency a start had not yet been made in providing these improvements. I I just want to point out that the traffic at Komatipoort has increased tremendously. Much more traffic in perishable products is being offered to be transported by the Railways. The existing fruit shelters are quite inadequate. Then there is also a much increased traffic on the Selati line, of which Komatipoort is the junction, and where the traffic has to be transferred. The platform there is so inadequate that the work cannot be done conveniently. Then we also have there a whole convoy of lorries with trailers conveying particularly sugar and molasses from Swaziland. It is often very difficult to handle all the traffic at those stations, as the result of lack of space there. We would like to urge that the work should be tackled as soon as possible and be completed speedily in order to bring relief there. Then I also want to mention Item 808, Ten Bosch: Goods shed and fruit shelter. Quite a few years ago already an indication was given that that fruit shelter would be built. In that area quite a lot of perishable products are produced and offered for transport. There are no facilities for loading these products. We should appreciate it very much if a start is made with regard to this item immediately. One realizes, of course, that so many extensions are expected that it is sometimes difficult to tackle them all, but I still think that these matters deserve particular attention in order o relieve the traffic difficulties which exist there.


I should like to refer to Items 958, 959 and 960 on page 67: “ Blaney, Amabele, Toise River and Cathcart: Improve water supply.” I would like to know from the hon. the Minister what he is intending to do in that respect because the lower riparian owners from which he is drawing that water are extremely concerned about the excessive supplies that are now being required for Railway purposes.

Item 959, the Gasela-Amabele is part of the Kubusie scheme and I would like to ask the hon. the Minister, in view of the fact that he now has a consultant working on the Kubusie River what he intends doing about it and whether the negotiations with the Stutterheim Town Council for a source of supply from them has broken down completely.

Then finally, Item 960 “ Kubusie: Replace and electrify pumping plant ”. We experienced quite an extraordinary happening when the hon. the Minister laid the pipeline from Kubusie to Gasela. He had a 6-inch pipeline and he replaced it with an 8-inch pipeline. That 6-inch pipeline was found, when removed, to have a 10-foot long by 4-inch wide log of wood in it making it impossible to get the water through to Gasela. He is now replacing this section of pipeline between Gasela and Amabela with an 8-inch pipeline. I would like to know whether tests have been made to see that that line will not also suffer from the same difficulty as were experienced with the original line.

*Mr. G. H. VAN WYK:

I wish to pay tribute to the Minister and the Administration for Item 762. I want to pay tribute and say that it is not only the Nationalists but the United Party and every other party that will benefit by this. I am referring to the flush sanitation that has been installed at the town of Elandsfontein. We struggled for years and had great difficulty with the old system. We also know what difficulties there were in regard to the connection with the Germiston Municipality and we are pleased that such progress has been made that the Railway Administration have seen their way clear, in conjunction with the Municipality of Germiston, to solve this problem. The people of Elandsfontein which is a town in my constituency are grateful to the Minister and to the Administration for what they have done.


Over the week-end we again read in the Press of another unfortunate incident at the Faure level crossing near Cape Town. I am discussing this matter under Crossings and Signs, Items 452 and 482, inclusive. A very unfortunate accident took place over the week-end, in which a young mother, travelling by car, was killed at that level crossing as a result of a collision with a train.

Mr. Chairman, I do believe that the hon. the Minister should take this Committee into his confidence and tell us a little more of what he intends to do with the sum of R2,860,000 which appears on the Estimates in respect of the balance of last year’s allotment and this year’s allotment. Admittedly, he has made provision for R3,622,572, in respect of which he gives details of a proposed expenditure of R762,572. I think that we should know a little bit more of what he intends to do with the balance, because the whole country is perturbed about this question. The hon. the Minister knows that, and he has taken the necessary steps to meet the situation by putting a law on the Statute Book and by making provision for yearly allotments of moneys to deal with this work. Nevertheless, we should like to know exactly what he intends to do. I know that last year it was apparently impossible to spend the money, because there was not sufficient time to deal with it. The Act only appeared on the Statute Book last year, the allotment was made in pursuance of it, but the various committees were dealing with lists and orders of priorities, and there was no time to take the matter further. But this year I think we are entitled to know exactly what is taking place.

There is another aspect to which I think the hon. the Minister might give some attention. I do know that the Act does not permit him to deal with the improvement of signs in so far as level crossings are concerned, because the moneys allocated are to deal only with the actual work of the elimination of level crossings. But I do think that the representations made by organizations such as the Automobile Association and other bodies which have studied this matter very carefully, not only here, but also overseas, should not only receive the attention of the hon. the Minister, but I think the Minister should give us some idea as to whether, pending the elimination of this vast number of level crossings, other immediate steps might not be taken to endeavour to alleviate the seriousness of the situation. I do not want to stress unnecessarily that seriousness, because it has been stressed for many years, and it is a problem that is very much to the fore in the mind of the public, not only in the town areas, but also in many of the remote platteland areas of the country. It is on behalf particularly of those far-flung platteland areas that I feel an appeal should be made. Now, in the actual estimates, provision is made for, I think, four new projects. The other moneys are in respect of projects already planned and commenced, in respect of which some expenditure did take place last year. But when one totals up the new projects together with those started, it amounts to just about R750,000, and the other vast sum of money of nearly R3,000,000 is money which, I hope, the Minister will be able to tell us will definitely be spent this year. I hope the hon. the Minister will be good enough to tell us also in respect of what projects that will be spent, so that the public and the country as a whole may feel assured that, whatever money may be available, it will be fully used. We did have a statement from the Minister at one time when the figure of R1,500,000 was questioned as the amount to be allotted annually, and the Minister stated he did not think he could spend more than that in any one year. I would like to suggest to him that he might perhaps enlighten this Committee as to the possibility of obtaining a little faster with this most important problem outside assistance to enable him to proceed that is facing the country. In this particular year that will enable him to spend the amount of money that is still available and might possibly enable him, when he sees how it can be spent, to seek means of providing more money, possibly, in the following year, either by an amendment of the Act or by some other means, so as to undertake a very much larger number of works than have been possible heretofor, and presently contemplated.


Mr. Chairman, I notice something under Head 2, “ Additional Railway Lines ”, which runs like a thread through these Estimates. I do not want to ask the Minister for anything at this stage. I just want to draw his attention to something. We have here a figure of about R100,000,000 which is the total estimated costs mainly in respect of the doubling and the electrification of new railway lines. Practically every item contains some or other expenditure in connection with the doubling of railway lines. It is naturally done with a view to greater speed and the prevention of delays, etc. This, coupled with the large-scale electrification programme and the introduction of diesel tractive power over long distances where water is scarce and where coal has to be conveved, is an encouraging sign to me that we will, within the next few years, have greater speed, greater economy, punctuality and increased capacity on our railway system. I want to ask the Minister this: Is this sum of R100,000,000, which represents the total estimated costs, the initial stage, the embryo, of a general policy of doubling lines wherever possible? Does it mean the doubling of sections between stations only, or is the policy to double longer sections as we go along and thus, and coupled with electrification and the introduction of diesel tractive power, to bring about a complete reorganization in so far as greater speed and increased carrying capacity in respect of the railways are concerned? I merely want to know whether this is the beginning of a general policy? We welcome the principle which glimmers through this whole Brown Book, under Head 2, in so far as additional railway lines are concerned. We are pleased and feel encouraged to note this principle.


I refer to Item 125, “ Sydenham: Three dead ends ”. Mr. Chairman, I must confess that that has rather an ominous sound. I know it is a new item, but it does not look as if it is going to last very long. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister, although it is a new item, to assure us that we will not have any more items of this sort, and that work will be continued in this area. I am sure that every hon. member of this House will agree with me that they would not like to see items of that nature in respect of their constituencies.


I can set the hon. member’s mind at rest. It does not mean that in regard to railway development at Port Elizabeth we have reached a dead end. The three dead ends there are merely provided for traffic purposes. The dead ends are really provided in a yard. It might be a neck or a line off a main line or for siding purposes. It might sound ominous, but the hon. member’s mind can be at rest.

*The hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) asked me whether it was our general policy to double railway lines. No, the doubling of lines has been taking place all the years. Before a line is doubled certain other improvements can usually be effected, for example, it may be decided to electrify the line in order to increase its carrying capacity, or diesel tractive power may be introduced in order to increase its carrying capacity, and so that more traffic can be conveyed along that line. It may be decided to introduce centralized traffic control as in the case of Postmasburg, which also increases the carrying capacity of a line, because the doubling of a line is very expensive. For that reason the doubling of a line is the last resort, because, especially in cases where the lines run through difficult territory, the costs of doubling are very high. But when a line has reached its maximum carrying capacity and it may be uneconomical to introduce electricity or centralized traffic control, it is doubled. That has always been the policy of the Railways, and that will be the policy in future.

The hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Miller) wanted to know what our plans were with regard to the elimination of crossings. The hon. member knows that the Act setting up the Permanent Advisory Committee was passed only last year. That committee has already compiled a list of crossings which will receive priority. Obviously as many crossings as possible will be eliminated by the building of road bridges or subways during the course of the year, but the building of a subway requires some planning and also negotiations with the local municipality, and that takes time. I can give the hon. member the assurance that it is a matter which I consider to be of very great importance and that everything possible will be done to expedite the elimination of the railway crossings with the funds available. We also make use of outside contractors to build these bridges. We do not build them ourselves. We call in the assistance of outside contractors to build the bridges and the subways, and we will build as many as possible during the course of the year.


Would the Minister be good enough to give the assurance that, as and when he is ready to commence work and is not embarrassed by negotiations with regard to expropriations, he will make statements from time to time and give assurances to the members of the public?


I do not think that giving assurances will reduce the number of accidents. We are mainly concerned with the accidents actually taking place, and not so much with assuring the public. We try to reduce the accidents. Usually, when a person runs into a train, he will not be there to read any statement afterwards, so it will be of no benefit to him. The hon. member also knows that the Railway Administration is responsible for crossing signs and flashlights. That expenditure does not come out of the Level-crossing Fund. If the hon. member looks at the Brown Book he will see that quite a large amount is being spent in that regard. That is, of course, the intermediary stage, until such time as the crossing becomes so dangerous that a bridge must be built.

The matter raised by the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) in regard to the test to be made about the pipe-line—I will have an inquiry made and give the reply to him in writing.

*The hon. member for Nelspruit (Mr. Faurie) quite rightly said that the work at Komatipoort had not as yet been commenced. The reason for that is that, after it was decided to start with the buildings, the improvements, it was found that a revised scheme would have to be drawn up, and that, of course, took time. The hon. member will also notice that we are asking for more money than originally asked for. However, I will ask the management to expedite the matter, and that a start be made during the ensuing year.

The same applies to Item 808. I will ask that special attention be given to this in order to expedite the matter.

In regard to the roadway to be allocated to the Durban Corporation to lead to the marshalling-yard …


To Congella.


No, I thought it was the road that the Municipality wanted to build through the Bayhead marshalling-yard. There were negotiations with the Municipality and as far as I can remember we were prepared to give them this road, but I am speaking under correction because I do not have the papers before me. The correspondence with the Municipality was conducted some years ago.

Then in regard to the lease to the yachting clubs, obviously the requirements of the harbour must receive priority and as long as those sites are not required for harbour expansion the yachting clubs will have the privilege of using those sites and the leases will not be terminated. It is extremely difficult to say whether they will be required for harbour purposes within two or three years, but they are assured of a reasonable security of tenure for some time to come, until such time as we require the sites.

The hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) wanted to know whether it was possible, after improvements had been effected, to speed up the trains. There are many problems one has to solve before trains can be speeded up, especially suburban trains. There is a very dense traffic at peak hours. Unfortunately many of the trains have to stop at all stations, which takes up time. I can only give the hon. member the assurance that wherever possible the trains will be speeded up. Especially, the introduction of the new rolling stock will make the speeding-up much easier.


What happens as the result of deviations—and there are many here—where in most cases there is a shortening of the line between one station and another? How soon after the shortening of the line and its being open to traffic is the mileage measured again so that the cost in regard to tariff rates can be accurately calculated? There appears to be a time-lag and I wonder whether the Minister can tell us what the period is.


I have two points here. The first is on page 43, Item 507, the installation of centralized traffic control between the Natal border and Union. I want to ask the Minister whether he will allow this traffic control also to go south of the Natal border until the N.G.R. takes over. I realize that it is difficult for the S.A.R. to control the traffic on the N.G.R. side, but until that comes, would not the Minister perhaps allow his centralized traffic control to operate also south of the Natal border?

Then there is Item 354 on page 30. It is the re-sleepering and replacement of sand ballast by stone for three miles between Port Shepstone and Harding. I see there is quite a lot of money still being spent and I want to ask the Minister in regard to this re-ballasting by stone what procedure is adopted to obtain stone without a very long haul? In this case I do not know where the stone will come from. It is quite possible that it might come from just outside Durban. I would ask the Minister what the position is. Is he giving the local quarries a chance to provide stone so as to save a long haul?


I refer to Item 468. If I remember correctly, this item has been appearing in the Brown Book for a number of years and I notice that a large amount of money has still to be spent in order to eliminate the railway crossing at Biccard Street. Can the Minister tell me how long that will take because it is a very annoying crossing?


There is just one point. I notice that the Minister said that we could not get a new station in Durban until the mechanical workshops had been removed, and I see he has an item here for three workshops, so I take it that immediately they are completed we will be getting our new station. The point I want to raise is under Item 1119, the provision for electrical workshops at Umbilo. I would like to ask the Minister whether he could perhaps have electrical shunting as soon as that workshop is functioning properly, in the Congella yards As the Minister knows, we have a peculiar problem in Durban of temperature inversion, and the smoke emitted from these yards contributes to a large degree to this problem from which we suffer. I have been given to understand that it is because of the lack of repair facilities for electric units that electric units have not been used for shunting already, and if the Minister could give us the assurance that they will be used as soon as these workshops are completed I would be pleased.


The completion of the electric shed is not tied up with the provision of electric shunting units. Hon. members know that all the lines in the marshalling-yards will have to be electrified before electric units can be used, and all the lines are not electrified yet, but once they have been electrified, and, of course, the suburban lines in Durban also require electrification, which will eventually come, all the steam shunting engines will probably be replaced by electric units. Otherwise, what I intend doing in future is that where it is impracticable to use electric shunting units we will use diesel units, because we want to eliminate the smoke as much as possible.

*The hon. member for Drakensberg (Mrs. S. M. van Niekerk) asks why it takes so long to complete this bridge. I will get the information and let her know. I do not have the information at the moment.

The hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) wanted to know whether C.T.C. would be introduced also south of the Natal border. The intention is to introduce it from Newcastle to Volksrust and probably from Glencoe to Danskraal. The planning is at present taking place. The hon. member knows that C.T.C. is designed to raise the capacity of the line. No certainty has been reached yet with regard to the introduction of C.T.C. between the Natal border and Union. That matter is still being inquired into, although there is provision on the Estimates, but the planning is taking place with regard to its introduction south of the Natal border.


You have no objection to Natal having that link with the Union?


Well, if Natal has to break her link with the Union and stand on her own, I am afraid she will become nothing else but a Native and Indian location and they will not have any use for adequate rail facilities to the Union.

In regard to reballasting, the practice is to obtain the ballast stone from the nearest available quarry, and if there are no quarries we often establish our own quarries. I do not know where this ballast will come from, but I will make inquiries and advise the hon. member.

The hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton) asked how soon after lines had been shortened the mileage table is amended. That does not frequently take place. It is only when the works have been completed on the whole of the main line, say from Durban to Johannesburg, that new mileage tables are compiled. The line has been considerably shortened between Johannesburg and Durban and I think the mileage tables will be revised in the near future.


May we now move from one head to another as it does not seem as if we will have time to discuss the remainder of the important heads? I wonder whether I can jump the Minister to Head 5 and ask him some questions about the Table Bay Docks tanker berth in particular? It is on page 88, Item 1311. This new tanker berth is being constructed in Cape Town docks and we are very grateful for it. It will greatly facilitate the handling of inflammable fuel, but what is more important, it will increase the safety factor enormously. In 1950 I led a deputation from the Chamber of Commerce to the Minister and we then called for the immediate provision of a tanker berth of this sort to reduce the fire hazard. If I might quote what was then said—

As to the fire hazard from tankers under the present arrangements for berthing, we believe that only the grace of God has so far spared Cape Town a tragedy as great as has struck many other ports of the world.

That is true, and I think the Minister knows of the hazard that existed. I would like to ask whether in fact the tanker berth itself will cause ships to be isolated and not put heel to toe, or stem to stern, with other ships in the basin. It is isolation that matters more than anything else. With the constant stream of tankers that we have coming into our ports and the dangerous loads they carry, I think it is very important, not only that they should be separately berthed, but that they should be isolated from any possibility of accidental fire spreading to other shipping in the same harbour. There have been suggestions that they should be moved right out of the harbour altogether and that petrol and oil should be pumped ashore at Woodstock beach. May I say to the Minister that the tanker berth in Table Bay, coupled with Items 1312, the widening of Duncan Dock, which I understand will be completed in two years’ time, shows a ministerial generosity that is almost more than Cape Town can bear. Seriously speaking we are very grateful.


I want to refer to Items 1321 and 1324 in connection with the provision of a marine repair basin in Durban Harbour. I am one of those who for some years have believed that in considering a system of reorganization of the Railway Administration attention should be given to the necessity for giving greater recognition to our harbours by appointing a Deputy General Manager of Harbours, and I regret that the Minister has not taken the opportunity to do so this year. I believe that if that had been the case we would not have had the position which arose recently in connection with this marine repair basin, because there has been a history of lack of co-ordination in completing the work. The work consisted first of all of dredging the basin, then in building the jetty, and then in equipping the jetty. I must congratulate the Minister on the speed in dredging and building and equipping the jetty, but although we have almost reached completion of that work I think I am correct in saying that the necessary 40-ton floating crane and the ten-ton portal crane which was specified for the work have still not been ordered and will not be available to this area for another year or so. I also complained of the delay in the provision for reclaiming the area for the marine repair engineers, because I notice that this amount has only just been placed on the Estimates and the work may not be completed for many years. So although the jetty is there, the equipment is not there, and the area for marine engineers to erect their machine-shops is also not available. I record also that although there has been excellent despatch in the building of the outlet culvert for the waste water from the power station, the filling in of the drain at the back of the repair basin has not yet been completed. It also seems to me that the Administration is looking for a lot of trouble by dumping wood pulp, sawdust, iron filings and all sorts of other unstable materials for the reclaimed area. It will add considerably to the problems of any marine engineer who leases that area and has to erect buildings suitable for heavy machinery on such unstable foundation.

But the most important respect in which the Administration is failing the marine engineers lies in the fact that they still have not finalized the terms on which the areas adjoining the marine repair basin will be made available to engineering companies. This matter was brought up by me in the debate a year ago and yet in spite of that the Administration still has not decided on the terms of the lease. No marine engineering company can possibly make forward plans and decide to move its workshops there until it knows the terms on which land will be available. There is considerable anxiety in Durban that the terms of these leases will be unduly onerous and I might say that the companies concerned have in mind the treatment meted out to the Maydon Wharf leaseholders. Everybody knows that when the Administration was anxious to fill that area, most attractive terms were offered to prospective lessees, and once the area was completely leased, the Administration proceeded to eliminate all the attractive features one after the other. Anybody who had any part in those negotiations knows how the Railway Administration acted, and when lessees were not prepared to accept alterations to their leases, the Minister threatened to put through legislation and have the leases altered. So in respect of the terms of the lease, the rentals and the revision periods, there is considerable anxiety that the Minister may ask for excessively onerous terms which may in turn render the prospect of moving from established quarters elsewhere to these sites, an extremely unattractive proposition. So much of the future of the marine engineering industry in Durban depends on whether the Minister and his advisers are far-sighted enough to see that the whole of the future of that industry depends on his ability to give security and reasonable terms to marine engineers. Unless he is prepared to do so and to cast aside the traditional policy of trying to make as much money as possible out of the leaseholders, the industry will be hamstrung from the day it starts. So I urge the Minister to expedite the finalizing of the terms of the leases and I ask him also for an assurance that the terms will not be unduly onerous and that they will be made on such a basis as to make the marine engineering industry in Durban a highly competitive proposition which will bring inestimable benefits to South Africa.

Mr. GAY:

I want to ask questions in regard to a number of items dealing with the extension of berthing facilities in the ports. In each of the ports we have a large number of dead and derelict vessels occupying berthing space which could well be used for the very purpose for which we are being asked to vote money. These vessels are dead and derelict. They occupy berths and pay a particular low rate for these berths. When I say they pay it usually means that they pay only after long court proceedings. We have had several such instances lately. I wonder whether we could not assist in meeting demands for extra berthage by making a survey of our harbours and rejecting, like any other landlord would do, any unsatisfactory tenants which occupy valuable space while the taxpayer has to spend more money to provide additional space. I think it is of value to the country when live ships carrying cargo come into berth; they are a far greater asset than these derelict vessels. We are looking for means of saving money and it seems to me that here is one avenue which might well be explored.


I wish to raise with the Minister certain items under Head 3, rolling stock, but before I do so I wish to say this. The Minister is aware that from year to year the Select Committee deals with comments by the Auditor-General in regard to the guarantee moneys which lie over in respect of contracts the Railways have entered into with suppliers. A great number of these items have in the past dealt with rolling stock. It has been revealed that in almost every instance the specifications for the type of rolling stock or locomotive where guaranteed money has been withheld has actually been designed by the Administration’s own engineers. The specifications are laid down for fulfilment by the overseas contractors. This year there are two items on the Estimates, in page 84, Item 1232, where in respect of electric locomotives we are called upon to vote the amount of R50,000 for the strengthening of bogie frames. If my memory serves me correctly, these locomotives revealed these defects in the past.


Not the 3E. They have been in service many years. The 4E gave trouble.


The frames had to be strengthened due to some defect in the specifications.


It was not the fault of the specifications, but the locomotives developed that fault after they were taken into service.


Now we have a similar item where we are called upon to vote R118,000 to alter these bogies, and this 3E class has been in operation for quite a long time. Why is it necessary to alter the frames now?


The older they get, the more replacement they require, just like a human being.


That is a fine argument, but these things are made of steel. It talks here about the strengthening of the frame and not alteration. I should be glad of some information, because it is not the only item of that nature. There is also Item 1281, on page 86, where the amount we are called upon to vote is a very much larger sum, the sum of R610,000.

On the conclusion of the period of seven hours allotted for the proceedings in Committe of Supply, the business under consideration was interrupted by the Chairman in accordance with Standing Order No. 105.

Head No. 2.—“ New Works on Open Lines ”, as printed, put and agreed to.

House Resumed:

Estimates of Expenditure from Revenue Funds reported, without amendment, and the Estimates of Expenditure on Capital and Betterment Works reported, without amendment.

Report considered and agreed to, and Estimates of Expenditure adopted.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT brought up a Bill to give effect to the Estimates of Expenditure adopted by the House.


By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Railways and Harbours Appropriation Bill was read a first time.


I move, as an unopposed motion—

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I second.


During his reply to the Budget debate, the Minister had the temerity to say this: “ South Africa’s exclusion from the Commonwealth will make no difference to my estimates.” I wonder what makes him so sure of that? He will have seen the immediate effect of the withdrawal of the Prime Minister’s request to be accepted in the Commonwealth as a Republic, on the stock market, for example. Within an hour losses between 15 per cent and 20 per cent took place. This may be a temporary trend, but the Minister should remember that within half an hour some R50,000,000 had to be written off the value of market leaders alone. As I have said, that may be a temporary trend. The market will, no doubt, recover in time. We all sincerely hope, for the good of this country and our economy, that it is so. But, Sir, here is a barometer of business and investment which no Minister of Railways dare disregard entirely. It shows the sharpest set-back we have had since Sharpeville. It is true that, in his reply, the Minister went out of his way to praise the strength of our economy. We should not panic, for our economy is, indeed, strong. It must be strong if it could survive the onslaught of the mismanagement of this Government over a period of 13 years. Although we may be resilient enough to recover, it is certain that it would be a great mistake on our part and on the Minister’s part to expect the recovery of confidence to be quick; especially to expect quick recovery of overseas confidence in investments and in our country.


It seems to me that you do not know what is going on.


We must ask ourselves, and so must the Minister, what will be the possible effect of our exclusion from the Commonwealth, brought about by 13 years of Nationalist mis-rule, on our national finance and on railway revenue. Did the Minister take into any account at all this new development? Did he consider its possible effect, indeed its probable effect, on railway finances? Why is he now so confident that “ loss of membership of the Commonwealth will certainly not have a detrimental effect on our economy ”? This is a very surprising and sweeping statement. I am surprised at his moderation, astonished that he did not suggest it would actually improve railway revenue. Sir, everything will be dependent in future on the capital position. During last year our reserves dropped by some R132,000,000, compared with a rise of R80,000,000 in 1959. There was a net capital outflow of some R162,000,000 which we can compare with R78,000,000 in 1959. The Minister must be aware of the fact that there will most definitely be a further flight of capital as a result of the Prime Minister’s dismal failure in his mission overseas to the Prime Ministers’ Conference.


Order! We are dealing with the Railway Budget now.


You ought to be ashamed of yourself.


If this is so, are our reserves strong enough to stand the strain? Will not drastic counter-measures have to be taken?


Why don’t you leave the country?


Like our capital? Last year’s buoyant railway revenue coincided with a time when imports increased by some R133,000,000 over the previous year. If shortage of capital and fear of a drain on our resources causes the Minister of Finance to change his mind and to do what he said he would not do, that is, “ drastically intensify import control ”, what will happen to the high-rated traffic of the Railways which means so much to their revenue? The Minister may well have to revise his ideas and his estimates, or does he know that he has so grossly under-estimated his revenue that he will be safe even from a calamity such as I have outlined? Is this the reason for his confidence? The Minister in his reply to the Budget debate said with reference to the Prime Ministers’ Conference in London—

There is not the slightest doubt that even if South Africa had decided to remain a monarchy, certain members of the Commonwealth would have made our position quite untenable.

That is a matter of opinion. It is the opinion of somebody trying to see over the horizon. I do not think we would ever, indeed I am positive that we would never, have been thrown out. I am quite sure that if we had stayed as we were or even if the Prime Minister had hung on at this Conference, we could have remained, in permanency, a member of the Commonwealth Association of Nations, a comity which helps our trade and fosters our profits so greatly.


You are living in a fool’s paradise.


The dire and dreadful results of the policies of this Government would not have been visited upon our heads if only the Prime Minister had surrendered his ill-timed republican projects.


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


I am dealing with the remarks made by the Minister. Sir, I must remind you that the Minister went on to say—

No country in the world with any pride or self-respect would tolerate that impudent interference in our domestic affairs.

May I reply in passing to that remark of the Minister’s? He must not identify South Africa with the Nationalist Party. It is his tendency always to identify the good of the Railways with the good of South Africa, and there one excuses his railway enthusiasm. But he must not identify the good of South Africa with the good of the Nationalist Party. South Africa was not in the “ dock ” at this Conference. It was Nationalist “ baasskap-apartheid ”, of a brand intensified by the Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, that was up for trial. Thanks to him alone we became the world’s polecat and the Commonwealth’s reject.


What does Menzies say to that?


Menzies says the same.


Before I get on to other subjects, I will say something more at this sad but most important juncture in our history. My indignation may have temporarily got me off the railway rails, but may I say that the Minister should be conscious of the fact that economic retrogression, as a result of this unnecessary and unfortunate happening, may set in with dire effects on the Railway revenue. Considered from that aspect alone, he should think seriously, and think anew, over the problems created. The Minister should know that if our trade is affected, his revenue is affected. I ask him whether, as a basis for his assertion that “expulsion from the Commonwealth will have no effect on Railway revenues or on my Estimates ”, he has received any official assurance to that? Does he know of any official assurances coming from Britain, either by way of Mr. Macmillan or Mr. Dun can Sandys, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relation, or Mr. Maudling, the President of the Board of Trade? Has our Government received official guarantees that trade relations will continue normally in the future or that bilateral trade agreements will be renewed on a permanent basis? All we know is that they will not be terminated automatically. Even in the case of Canada they will require at least six months’ notice if indeed there is any intention to terminate …


That is what you are praying for.


Nonsense! I wonder whether either the Prime Minister or the Minister of External Affairs has been given any definite assurance that our withdrawal from the Commonwealth will make no difference to our trade relations not only with the Commonwealth but with Great Britain.


Who was expelled from the Commonwealth?


All we know is that Mr. Macmillan said—and he said it most sincerely: “ there will be many sad people in South Africa, our friends, our relations who have lived there for several years, apart from those who have recently gone out.” Referring to trade he adds this—and I wonder if the Minister had it in mind because it is the only assurance of which we know.… In the House of Commons on 16 March he said—

The Prime Minister of South Africa has said that he hopes to co-operate in all possible ways with all those members of the Commonwealth who are willing to maintain good relations with South Africa. He also said that South Africa would remain a member of this sterling area. We for our part welcome the statement and intend to co-operate fully in matters of common interest.

Sir, it needs a strenuous stretching of those words, “ intends to co-operate fully in matters of common interest ”, in order to make the assured statement that the Minister does. I hope he does not make it just on the basis of a guess; I hope he will be able to tell us in reply to this debate that he has some definite assurance that he can pass on to us. Perhaps some guarantee was given outside the Conference room. The Prime Minister or the Minister of External Affairs may have received some subsequent assurance? We are all most anxious to know. We hope that he Minister himself is sufficiently “ in the know ” to be able to tell us. If so, contrary to the suggestions made opposite, it would be good news indeed for South Africa —news in which we would all rejoice. We are also certain that all our fruit farmers and wool farmers and industrialists and commercial men who use the railway system; all our exporters and importers; our Railway Administration and our railwaymen, too, will rejoice if this is so …


Have you read this morning’s Cape Times?


Sir, with us South Africa comes first; above party affiliations. Certainly it is more important to us than the dignity or the “ kragdadigheid ” of the Nationalist Party or the Prime Minister who comes back in artificially created public triumph after a tragic, deplorable diplomatic failure, brought about by a rejection of his policies by the Commonwealth.


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


Sir, if the Minister were wise, he would consider the effect of our changed economic condition on Railway revenues. He himself has said—

The Railway revenue is absolutely dependent upon the country’s economy and is very sensitive to economic fluctuations.

He proceeded to give an example in his Budget speech of 1958 and said—

In 1958 when I presented my Budget there was no indication that South Africa would enter a slight economic recession, but we did and that had a disastrous effect on Railway revenues.

We know that he ended up with a deficit of R16,000,000. I call your attention, Sir, to these key words, “ when I presented my Budget there was no indication that we would enter upon a slight economic recession ”.

A “ slight economic recession ” had a disastrous effect on our Railway revenues because it cut down our high-rated traffic drastically. Is he sure that the present position holds no threat of a similar occurrence? I sincerely hope that, for the good of the Railways and for the good of our economy, we will not have even a slight recession. For it may have disastrous financial results for us. This year the Minister said in his Budget speech—

I consulted, as usual, industry and mines and agriculture. Every possible body and organization that could give information as to our prospects for the ensuing year were consulted.

Did the Minister ask them what their estimates of our future economic state would be, what the future prospects of the year would be on the basis of our being excluded from the Commonwealth? Perhaps the answer would have been a less optimistic estimate than the Minister received from them under the conditions in which he asked them.

Sir, I broached this subject to-day merely to sound a note of warning; to ask the Minister to reconsider the new facts which have come suddenly to light so tragically since he introduced his Budget. I had hoped that he would be prepared to take these new circumstances into account; that he would be able to give me some assurance that my apprehensions are far too seriously expressed. Sir, in the course of the Budget debate we dealt, adequately, I think, with finance. I have now dealt with the new problems caused by the present circumstance of our tragic withdrawal from Commonwealth membership. We also made representations for the welfare of the staff and particularly in relation to the method and manner of the consolidation of their cost-of-living allowances with basic wage. Sir, I described consolidation as one of the “ crumbs ” that fell from the rich managerial tables. Some unduly sensitive members took exception to that expression. It was suggested that, when the Railways were giving away between R11,000,000 and R12,000,000 to the railwaymen, I was using insulting terms in mentioning the word “ crumbs ”. I would remind the Minister that, in the new and most up-to-date translation of the Scriptures, in the new translation of the Bible, the word has now been translated from the Hebrew as “ scraps ” and not “ crumbs ”. Perhaps “ scraps ” implies something larger, and fits my meaning better, because I certainly did not mean that consolidation was a worthless gesture. It is something for which we have asked for years, something that the railwaymen welcome and something that will really advance their eventual welfare. But, Sir, we have very serious objections to the manner both in which the negotiations were carried out and the method by which the Minister proposes to introduce consolidation. There are many aspects of its implementation which will run contrary to normal trade union principles. The manner in which overtime and Sunday time will be paid is repugnant to trade unionists generally throughout the world as well as in South Africa. The usual and accented and time-honoured system of paying the rate for the hour plus an enhancement—one-and-a-half times the hourly rate for ordinary overtime and double time on Sundays—should have been adhered to. We feel it is necessary to move an amendment to reiterate our interest in this matter and to restate our views. We do not feel that the Minister is correct or fair when he says we are prejudicing present negotiations. As he knows, owing to no fault of their own the Artisans Staff Association were not present at that final interview which the Minister had with many other staff associations when, according to his Budget speech, he came to a “firm arrangement and understanding ” with certain groups of the staff. He knows that the artisan staff saw him on separate but previous occasions and asked for other benefits which I think, now that he has shown this big surplus, he might well have given them. They were in a state of dispute with him when he had this final conference with the other staff associations and could not be present at those negotiations. I believe that before he made this firm agreement, as he says he did in his Budget speech, he should have left the door open to negotiate with the Artisans Staff Association. He should have left the door open before coming to final arrangements. He should have left himself free to negotiate with them on the manner of the consolidation. I know he is meeting them next Thursday and I am certain he will be the first to admit that nothing that has been said in this House can be calculated to upset the negotiations, however delicate they may be. Sir, I think I, without any axe to grind, should remind the Minister of the principles of trade unionism. He was once a firm trade union member himself. I think we should see that the long-established principle of enhanced payment for overtime worked by railway workers, as well as by other workers, should be adhered to. The Minister unfortunately has not answered the series of questions put to him by the hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton). He has not told us what arrangements he has for adjustments regarding sick pay and leave pay and things of that kind, with his consolidation plans. He has failed to answer those questions. Maybe it is because of impending negotiations? But I think we would be more satisfied if we got something other than nonchalant indifference from the Minister. At least he could tell us that these aspects were in his mind and would be adequately considered by him and discussed with the trade unions.

Lastly—because there are many other members who wish to take part in this debate I will now close—we feel that the Minister is guilty of very sad neglect in not giving some relief to pensioners. We feel he could well have afforded to do so. He has had two successive surpluses, but that is not the point. The real point is that the Superannuation Fund now stands at some R138,000,000. It is growing by about R20,000,000 a year, and the annual interest alone is enough to pay each year’s benefits. This fund has been built up largely by the railwaymen’s own contributions. I know that consolidation will help future pensioners, but it is the old ones we are thinking of; those who are in the age of the sere and yellow leaf; those who have done their best work and now deserve a more fitting award. Especially are they entitled to it as their funds could well afford it. Last time, when partial consolidation was carried out, it was made retrospective for seven years, and in terms of those days a man retiring just a few days after the financial year ended could, by making back payments, derive the benefit. I ask the Minister whether he intends giving similar concessions on this occasion to the railwaymen. I do not propose to say anything more. These matters have been well enough canvassed and well argued, and, in any case, I know that my seconder will examine them in greater detail. I move—

To omit all the words after “ That ” and to substitute “ this House declines to pass the second reading of the Railways and Harbours Appropriation Bill because the Minister has, inter alia
  1. (a) concluded an agreement with certain groups of the staff thus prejudicing the interests of the staff as a whole;
  2. (b) departed from the long-established principle of enhanced payment for overtime worked by railway workers; and
  3. (c) failed to provide relief for pensioners”.
Mr. GAY:

I rise to second the amendment of the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell). Sir, it has become almost a national characteristic in our country, when we come up against anything that is a little bit difficult to explain, to claim it as being in accordance with the traditional South African way of life, and I would think that in dealing with this Appropriation Bill which is now before us, it is a term which might well be applied. It has certainly become traditional Railway practice in its specialized form of switch-back budgeting, which we have seen over the past number of years, budgeting where we provide for a small deficit and at the end of the year, with almost a look of pained surprise, produce a spectacular amount which is erroneously described as a working surplus. Sir, the hon. the Minister entered the year 1959-60 with a surplus of about R16,000,000. He showed some lack of confidence in the ability of the country to maintain that pace of development and he budgeted for a deficit of £3,500,000. Despite a very difficult year—widespread droughts as well as other limitations—he came out of that with a glorious surplus of something like R19,000,000, a total increase, if you take into account the estimated deficit, of something like R23,250,000 over the estimates. Sir, on the evidence of the past year, it can be considered with justification that the budget we are dealing with here, the type of appropriation that we are dealing with to-day, is to a large extent a calculated system of planned surpluses, by which the transport system of this country can be utilized as a taxing machine in order to produce the money required for capital expenditure which the Government finds it difficult to raise by other means. It is becoming quite apparent that that is the method to which the Minister resorts. When the Estimates are framed it might well appear that we are just going to struggle through, but at the end of the year we come out with another astronomical surplus. Apart from its bad effects on the country as a whole and apart from its very bad effects on the Railway administration, two particular groups of people have to pay for that type of budgeting—the rail users who pay more than is necessary for fares and railway rates and other services and the Railway staff and workers who have to submit to a pattern under which they are compelled to forfeit what they might consider as justifiable increases in their emoluments and pensions, until the Minister can no longer resist the pressure that builds up amongst them and then hands out some sort of increase to keep them quiet for another lengthy period. I must say in passing, Sir, it reflects the greatest credit on the staff and the personnel of the Railways that they have so loyally accepted these conditions over the past ten years. Sir, this Appropriation we have got now before us maintains the same penalizing feature to which we have so consistently objected and continue to object to-day, as has been made clear by the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) in the movement of his amendment. The hon. the Minister has at last accepted the soundness of our United Party policy and advice and in this Appropriation provided for the consolidation into basic and pensionable emoluments, the total cost-of-living allowances which have hitherto been paid. He has also provided to meet in consolidated basic salaries and wages the cost of any increased pension contributions consequent upon this consolidation, so that, as the hon. the Minister has put it in his Budget speech, nobody will be worse off than he was prior to consolidation. To cover the cost of this consolidation, this Appropriation provides plus/minus R11,000,000, but once again, running right through it, although taking the forward step that consolidation undoubtedly is, the hon. the Minister could not resist the opportunity to impose as a condition applicable to that consolidation, which introduces a new and in our opinion very dangerous feature into the structure of railway salaries and wages. Using the hon. Minister’s own words in his Budget speech, he announced this fundamental break-away from the Union’s basic salary and wages structure by stating “ that the agreement reached between the Administration and the staff in the acceptance of this scheme is, to a large extent, due to the willingness of certain groups of staff to accept restrictions on miscellaneous extra earnings, such as overtime payment at the new consolidated scales merely in respect of actual time worked and payment for Sunday time at the present scales”.

Sir, it is a world-wide principle, accepted by employers and employees alike, outside of the communistic countries, that any man called upon to work beyond his statutory working hours is paid an extra bonus over and above his basic hourly or daily rate of pay. That has been built up and accepted as a principle over the ages. The amount naturally varies from industry to industry, or from case to case, according to the circumstances appertaining to a particular job. The rate at which a man is paid, whether he is a seven-day week man or a 42 or 44-hour week man, all these things have a bearing on it.

Then the other principle which has been universally accepted right throughout the working world is that whereas the normal overtime bonus ranges from time and a third to time and a quarter or time and a half, again dependent on the duration of the overtime, etc., Sunday time as a general rule has been based on double pay for the time worked, double the rate of the basic pay for each hour of work. That basic principle is enshrined in practically all South African legislation dealing with wage determinations and hours of work in the various industries. And amongst other things, the object of making overtime more expensive, based again on world-wide experience over the years, is to impose a limitation on the working of overtime by making it more expensive and in that way assisting in enforcing the statutory working hours which are laid down for the various industries and trades, and thereby making a fairer spreading of the amount of work available over a greater number of working people possible. Instead of concentrating the volume of work amongst a smaller number of people and paying them extra overtime for getting the work done, you give employment to a greater number of people, and that is the basic reason why the extra pay for overtime was adopted in the first place. Now the hon. the Minister has been unable up to now to give any satisfactory assurances in regard to the numerous questions we put on this side and also made it clear that only certain sections of the staff have up to now accepted his proposals. I would remind the hon. the Minister that the South African Railways, on his own figures, on his own showing, to-day employ approximately 214,000 persons, of whom, again according to his figures, approximately one-half are Whites. With the mining industry, the Railways are the largest employers of labour in this country, and there cannot be the slightest doubt that any pattern of this type of remuneration set by the South African Railways, any such pattern set for the payment of overtime work adopted for the Railway staff, will set a general pattern for the country as a whole, and will cut right across long-accepted principles, long-tested principles, both as regards pay and eventually through pay the working hours of the people concerned. It is inevitable. You cannot stop it once you start a thing like that. It is no good the hon. the Minister, as he did in his reply to the Budget debate a little while ago, blustering that by raising this issue we are doing a great disservice to the staff. I wonder what the hon. the Minister really means by this contention that we are doing a great disservice to the staff. Sir, that by implication is a veiled threat. Does he imply that if the staff require the accepted principles of overtime payment to be adhered to, they will not get consolidation? Because that is the direct implication of what the hon. the Minister told us, and that seems to be the only implication we can attach to it. If salaries and wages are consolidated, as they are to be, the new rate becomes the new basic pay, and it should not be tied up with any dangerous condition which undermines the long-accepted principles of the salary and wages structure, or standard working hours. To us it appears a much greater disservice to the staff, and not only to the railway staff, but to the working people right throughout this country, if we as an Opposition were to sit quiet and allow a matter of such high principle to go through without any discussion. Then we would be doing a much greater disservice to the people concerned than we are likely to do by raising the issue and by recording our strongest objection to the use of a Railway Appropriation for such a dangerous undermining of the security of the workers. That is the motive underlying the amendment, or part of the amendment, which has been moved by the hon. member for Wynberg, and which I had every satisfaction in seconding. The objection will be amplified by later speakers, but I have endeavoured to cover the general grounds as far as it is possible to do so.

I want to refer to another important feature in this Appropriation and that is that growing use of the Railways by non-White passengers and their valuable contribution to the Railway revenue. The hon. the Minister in his introductory speech, very rightly, linked this increase of something like 17,500,000 third-class passenger journeys for the year, about 12 per cent of the total, to the various settlement schemes for Africans in the various parts of South Africa. That is undoubtedly the position. But to put it more clearly, and I think this needs clarification, it simply amounts to the fact that under this particular type of legislation, under its policies with regard to group areas and Colour legislation and the Natives Resettlement Schemes, the Government is compelling huge numbers of these people to live further out of the towns, forcing them therefore to travel longer distances to and from their work, and that consequently means that their fares must naturally be a larger factor in the build-up of passenger revenue for the Railways. But, Sir, I think one of the things the hon. the Minister forgot to explain when he dealt with that matter, was to say that due to the many millions of capital required to build these Native railways to the resettlement areas and the long journeys which are entailed to and from their work, the Native passengers to-day find it impossible to pay an economic fare to cover those rail journeys. That loss to the Railways, which is reflected in its revenue, is now made up by a subsidy paid in accordance with legislation passed and paid by the taxpayers through general revenue. In other words the general taxpayer of the country to-day subsidizes rail transport of the non-Whites from and to the resettlement schemes and therefore contributes pretty substantially to the revenue. I think that should be made clear to the public. It has not yet been possible really to assess the amount of that subsidy, but as far as it has been done in respect of the two years, this year and the previous year, that it has been in operation, a sum of something like R4,000,000 per year has been contributed by way of that subsidy towards this non-White passenger service. So it is not only the use of the rail service by the non-Whites that they are contributing to revenue, but the more they make use of that particular type of service the greater the loss and the greater the revenue will be through the ordinary taxpayer’s subsidy in respect of uneconomic railway services. That is a feature that has to be considered when dealing with the Appropriation before us, that in order to carry out Government policy, we are assisting the Railways by subsidizing that type of traffic. In regard to that particular matter, I want to refer to something rather strange that happened during the last few days, because it does seem to me that the Cabinet is speaking with two voices with regard to this type of rail transport. I want to refer to a statement by the Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration and Development. We had the hon. Minister’s Budget statement and he gave us facts and figures, backed up, I think, by a realization of what lies ahead of us. But I want to quote a statement made by the Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration and Development in the course of last week when he spoke at Bellville on 13 March, as reported by the Cape Times of 14 March. He was addressing the Afrikaanse Sakekamer and said that if a calamitous clash between Coloured people and Africans were to be averted, the Africans must gradually and systematically be withdrawn from the Western Cape. He went on to quote figures showing the number of African workers registered in 1958, 1959 and 1960, showing that in 1958 there were 48,000-odd and in 1960 there was a decrease in plus-minus 2,000. He ended on the note that the flood has been stemmed and “ may the ebb begin ”. I want to ask the hon. the Minister of Transport in view of that speech by his colleague, who after all, speaks with the authority of the Cabinet on behalf of his own Minister, who is right and who is speaking for the Government? You see, Sir, in the Appropriation which we have before us and the one we had before us last year, and undoubtedly will have before us in subsequent years, we provide very large sums running into millions of rand, for the provision of these resettlement Railways, and many more millions are provided on other Votes, which I cannot deal with now, for the resettlement areas as such. But if the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development is correct in what he says, that the only answer is for an eventual clean-out altogether of the Natives, and that they must be withdrawn from this area, then it seems to me that we are appropriating millions of rand to-day for what eventually will become dead railways serving ghost cities. Because if they are all going to be withdrawn, what is going to happen to the assets that we are creating to-day? Who is right? Who is speaking for the Government? It is merely another example of the completely inadequate discussion which takes place between the various sections of the Cabinet and of the speaking of the Cabinet with so many voices. It is almost as bad as the Muizenberg railway clock which shows a different time on each face—it is not going, but still if you look at the clock you see a different time on each face. Here we also get it from the various members of the Cabinet. I have no doubt in my own mind that the hon. the Minister of Transport himself is correct in what he is placing before the House. He, as an old United Party member, has accepted United Party policy to the effect that the urban Native is essential to the nation and that as they are going to stay he is providing the facilities to transport the Natives back and forward to their work. But it does seem strange that the country as a whole must get these conflicting statements and that when we are being asked to pass budgets containing many millions of pounds for these railway lines we are faced with these conflicting statements. Can the hon. the Minister in his reply tell us as to who in this case is correct, the hon. the Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration and Development at Bellville, or what we see on paper before us here in this Appropriation.

The Appropriation before us includes approximately R13,000,000 for work in connection with harbours and shipping, an increase of just over R750,000, particularly in connection with harbours. In the introduction of his Budget, the hon. the Minister referred to certain new works, including the provision to provide sites at Durban for the construction of small vessels. The Minister used the words “ small vessels ”. I want to ask the hon. the Minister: Who are the technical advisers who guide the Minister’s decisions in regard to the development of these sites, and this harbour development work? I want to urge with all the sincerity at my command that any such facilities to be provided must from the very outset provide for rapid expansion, to be not only for small vessels, but to permit the construction of large sea-going vessels, which will very soon be well within the capacity of the shipbuilding industry of this country to build. Any small development plan which is envisaged today, is going to be another serious blunder in the development of our ports, and one which is going to produce a very real headache in the future, quite apart from stultifying the development of shipbuilding, which is making tremendous progress. You see, Sir, the shipbuilding industry in this country to-day is very much more advanced than the Minister appears to be aware of, and certainly, from recent evidence, very much in advance of what his technical advisers appear to be aware of. Given encouragement and the necessary facilities with regard to developing berths and slipways, this industry can very speedily take its place among the major industries in the Union. Therefore, I would urge the hon. the Minister that this matter be given, not only most serious consideration with regard to sites, but also most urgent consideration with regard to the very early provision for the necessary facilities. I would also ask that, when he comes to the allocation of such sites, the sites be not only confined to Durban, but that other ports be taken into consideration also. Cape Town, for instance, has also a very alive and progressive and satisfactory shipbuilding industry. But there is another port along the coast, East London, one of the little backwaters, but which, by its natural layout, is a sheltered port with a deep berthage close up to the shore and with a bank immediately adjoining that deep water. It is a natural shipbuilding harbour, where, given the necessary encouragement and facilities, a very fine shipbuilding industry could be built up. I believe the time has arrived when the whole of this question should be examined in its broad perspective, both with a view to speeding up the provision by the State, of the necessary facilities and the security which the firms require, and the provision of these facilities themselves. The hon. the Minister is a Minister with a reputation, I think rightly earned, of being able to think big as far as the railways are concerned, and as the railway development is coming to a climax, I would ask him to think big now in regard to harbour development. You, see, Sir, South Africa has not yet experienced anything like the real crux of the shipping giants, especially the tankers, which is the trend in modern shipbuilding. Any harbour development which fails to take full cognizance of that factor in regard to the shipping berths we are providing and the other facilities which are to be provided, is again going to be a blunder as far as the development of our ports are concerned. Our ports have had a good reputation, and the hon. the Minister now has the opportunity to continue that reputation, and to now provide these facilities, not only in the berthage, but also in the equipment, and the wherewithal necessary for the quick discharge and turnabout of ships and the handling of the cargo once it is ashore. They must be able to make the fullest use of modern equipment and modern appliances, so as to maintain the good name of the harbour, and to encourage the development in South Africa of a shipbuilding industry which, in its ramifications, must inevitably be a most valuable secondary industry to our basic industries up in the north on the Rand, where basic materials are manufactured, which lend themselves so well to this particular type of industry. It would form a most valuable market for them.

I want to touch on the portion of the amendment dealing with pensions. Sir, the staff pensions appropriation before us provides for anticipated increased expenditure on pensions consequent upon consolidation. That I think is an important factor, because it is going to be quite a substantial factor when it comes to the individuals concerned. But I want to ask the hon. the Minister what action he proposes to take to make the increased pension benefits after consolidation applicable to those age groups who are now nearing their pensionable age? I know it is customary in these matters to fix a date, a certain period from which they can pay back, five, seven, ten years, whatever date is fixed, from which they can pay back their arrears on the new scale and thereby benefit from the increase in pensions. But whatever date is fixed, you, unfortunately, come up against a deadline, whereby people just over that deadline can no longer enjoy those benefits. As the hon. the Minister will well know, we have had last year and the year before, considerable discussions over this very issue when it came to discuss increased bonuses which were granted to pensioners. I would ask the hon. the Minister to give consideration now, in whatever final arrangement is reached, to these age groups. Would he endeavour to work into this system some form of relief, either by way of a cost-of-living bonus or some bonus increase, so that the people who are just over that particular age, and just passed that particular time ban, but who have served the Railways faithfully and well, during a long period in which they were actually receiving the same emoluments, cost of living, etc., which will now become pensionable, but would lose the benefit of those payments for pension purposes. Will he try and ensure that they will also receive some benefit, some relief? Possibly it may not be the same as the pension, but would he consider some commensurate relief for those people to enjoy in their old age? I would ask the hon. the Minister to give that position his most sympathetic consideration and afford whatever relief is possible to that particular group of persons who certainly deserve well of the Administration and of all of us.

I want also to touch on one other particular matter. We are dealing with an Appropriation to-day under circumstances which, I suppose, have never been paralleled in the history of our country. The financial stability of the Railways and the transport services in general is of the highest importance to every person in South Africa. It can be classified as a national barometer on which the financial stability of the country as a whole and the individual well being of all South Africans can be assessed. Now I think it is correct that never in the history of South Africa has either the Minister responsible for the production of the Budget on which this Appropriation is built, or Parliament which is asked to agree to the Appropriation, been called upon to agree or approve of an Appropriation of plus/ minus R500,000,000, under circumstances such as exist to-day, and which, in fact, if you examine them carefully, would completely justify the withdrawal and the recasting of the entire Railway budgetary proposals. The only sound basis on which such budgetary appropriation can be built and judged must be a realistic appreciation of the probable development, the probable trade prospects and financial trends that lie ahead for the year to be provided for. Yet since the very day on which this Budget was first introduced and placed before Parliament, the entire foundation upon which it has been constructed, has been completely destroyed. The Minister himself is in the position to-day that in effect he has produced what he at the time, on the evidence available, felt was a sound Budget, and now has had his feet kicked from under him by his own Prime Minister. That is really the Budget’s position. The adverse effects on our trade and finances, as the result of the loss of Commonwealth membership, have yet to be assessed, and have yet to be faced in the year covered by the budgetary appropriations with which we are dealing. The man who caused that complete change in our financial position according to the Press is to be granted a hero’s welcome. I wonder what sort of welcome he would have had if we had stayed in. It makes one wonder. The figures in the Appropriation given to-day are ample evidence of the natural hazards which have to be faced in a country such as ours; natural hazards like droughts, fires, storms, floods, all the things which nature brings upon us. But this year, in dealing with the Budget in addition to those natural hazards, we have to face a new, unknown and completely unnecessary hazard, namely, the disaster brought about by the intransigent attitude of one man, who, by his refusal to accept well meant and sound warnings, has exposed the country to the position where those who wish to do so could attack us, has put them in the position which in no other way they could have achieved without his approval and without his active support, by raising the issue that he did. Sir, the adverse effects on our trade and finances, as a result of our loss of Commonwealth membership, have yet to be faced in the year before us, and I want to say that it does make it very difficult indeed for one to attempt what should be a rational survey, knowing full well that as a country we are going out into a void, we are going out in what one could almost call a vacuum, into a situation never contemplated by the hon. the Minister when he framed his Budget, a situation which quite likely can end in a calamity for this country, and which can throw the whole of this appropriation completely to the winds.

It is on that note that I want to conclude that, in facing the position to-day as a responsible Opposition, we are being compelled to face a position of which no man in this House is able to judge the outcome, not even the man who is flying back to Cape Town to-day. We will have to wait until the end of this year to realize how right or how wrong this particular Budget has been, and that is a shocking thing, a shocking state for a country to have to face up to when dealing with an Appropriation of plus/minus R500,000,000 for running your transport services. Sir, it is a thing right out of the realm of normal finance. It is almost what one could well call the Jules Verne’s type of fiction. But it is the position we are forced into by our own Prime Minister, and on that note I will conclude.


The last speaker as well as the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell), have contended that the Railway Budget has not taken into account the fact that in the year ahead South Africa will be a republic outside the Commonwealth as against a republic within the Commonwealth. The hon. member for Wynberg who is the supreme prophet of doom in the United Party, has described the fact that we shall be outside the Commonwealth as a “ cataclysm ” and has added that the Budget is now of absolutely no value at all. Mr. Speaker, I want to say at once that the fact that South Africa will be outside the Commonwealth is not a “ cataclysm ”, that this is by no means a day of doom. On the contrary I believe that this is the beginning of a new period of glory in the history of South Africa. Seeing that South Africa is now outside the Commonwealth, we shall be able to enter into trade agreements with all the states of the world, but particularly with the great friendly powers of Europe, such as France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Germany. These countries are anxious to establish trade relations with South Africa. But in the past they have always regarded South Africa as an area where Great Britain and the Commonwealth had preference, which was in fact the position. These states will now feel more free to do business with us as a country outside the Commonwealth. I just want to indicate to the House what the continental reaction has been. Mr. Speaker, you will remember that last week under the influence of panic-stricken minds like that of the hon. member for Wynberg, who regards our non-membership of the Commonwealth as a “ cataclysm ”, as a day of doom, a foolish and injudicious fall occurred in prices on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. But let us examine the reaction of the European continent. I read a Sapa-Reuter report of 17 March from Paris, i.e. last week, which appeared in the Cape Times

French investors yesterday refused to join in panic sales of South African gold shares.

In this regard I also want to pay tribute to Mr. Fergusson, the president of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, who has warned against the attitude of such panic-stricken people as the hon. member for Wynberg, and who has said that it will not affect our financial and economic position and that it will certainly not affect our Railway Budget either. Mr. Sneaker. I want to discuss this matter in detail because the allegation which the last speaker has made, cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged because it will create concern amongst our railway workers. To-day we only find these panic-stricken elements in the United Party. Else where the panic has been of short duration. The hon. the Prime Minister wasted no time in stating that we would remain a member of the sterling area and Mr. MacMillan also soon made it apparent that it was also the United Kingdom’s desire to maintain our reciprocal economic links.


What does that have to do with the railwaymen?


The hon. member should put that question to the hon. member for Wynberg because it is he who said that for that reason this Railway Budget was of no value at all. Because, he said, the position will now be quite different as we shall be outside the Commonwealth. Mr. Speaker, last Friday evening the Cape Argus correspondent was already reporting from Johannesburg—

Many South African investors made fools of themselves yesterday when they rushed to sell in early dealings at prices which compelled Mr. A. J. F. Fergusson, the President of the Rand Stock Exchange, to urge them not to panic … To-day as the recovery movement was extended, they must have regretted bitterly that they had, in Stock Exchange parlance, sold their country short.

In the hon. member for Wynberg we have had an outstanding example this afternoon, of a “ man selling his country short ”. That is why he has expressed doubts about this Railway Budget. He has no confidence in his country. He is panic 1-stricken. Mr. Speaker, there is one comfort for the hon. member, namely, that the local English Press has not let him down and that the Cape Times and the Cape Argus are both trying to encourage this panic. But neither the Cape Argus nor the Cape Times have any grounds for their attitude. I just want to give one example. The Cape Times has said that there will be “ serious economic consequences ” for South Africa because she will now be outside the Commonwealth, and consequently the Budget we are now discussing is no longer in line with facts. It then quoted two foreign correspondents, namely, the Daily Mail and the Manchester Guardian. The Daily Mail said—

That Britain is South Africa’s best customer and it is inconceivable that the Union will leave the sterling area.

This is the only criticism the Daily Mail had The Manchester Guardian said—

That in terms of trade South Africa is not likely to suffer drastically as a non-member of the Commonwealth.

Even the Cape Times has already undergone a change over the week-end. Over the week-end it recovered from its fright. On Saturday its financial editor was still writing in the following terms—

Having announced its intention of withdrawal from the Commonwealth as constituted at present, South Africa is faced with many uncertainties. These are less of an economic nature—at the moment, where treaties can still be adapted between friendly nations—as of a psychologic political kind.

It is clear that the economic ties between South Africa, and the United Kingdom can be maintained in every respect. I can once again quote a report by the Cape Times London correspondent of what Mr. Eric Louw has said, namely, that he has already been in contact with the British Minister of Economic Affairs and that they would do everything in their power to allow the present position to continue unchanged. He wrote as follows—

There is, I learnt last night, a close understanding between Mr. Macmillan and Dr. Yerwoerd about future relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom. South Africa is expected to assume a relationship mid-way between that of Eire and the United Kingdom, and that of a Commonwealth country and Britain.

In other words, still closer to Great Britain than Ireland. Even the Commonwealth countries who are not friendly to South Africa— and here I am referring to Canada—are prepared “ to continue to extend Commonwealth preferential tariffs to South Africa after 31 May ”. This appeared in a report which emanated from Ottawa last Friday. Mr. Speaker, I must point out that the major proportion of our trade, that is to say 52 per cent, is with Commonwealth countries. But only 2.2 per cent of our trade is with Commonwealth countries which are not friendly towards us. Only 2.2 per cent of our exports, that is to say, of the 52.2 per cent of our trade with all Commonwealth countries goes to Nigeria, India, Malaya, Pakistan, Ghana and Canada. Mr. Speaker, the unavoidable conclusion to which I come is that our leaving the Commonwealth will have no or very little influence on our economic prosperity, as far as the Commonwealth countries are concerned. As far as countries outside the Commonwealth are concerned, the position is quite different. As I have already said, the countries outside the Commonwealth are anxious to trade with us.


What does this have to do with the Railway Budget?


Don’t cry because you are now being punished and because you are now hearing how the hon. member for Wynberg put his foot in it. Together with this reciprocal trade which we shall maintain with the countries of the Commonwealth, both friendly and unfriendly, I also prophesy that we shall increase our trade with the non-Commonwealth countries who are anxious to trade with us. But the hon. member for Wynberg says that there will be a recession or a depression.


I did not say that.


He said that the probability that there would be a recession was great. I now want to state emphatically this afternoon that if a recession comes in South Africa, it will be an artificial recession which the United Party and the people who think like them and particularly the capitalists who are under their influence will have engendered and created.


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


Mr. Speaker, I come back to the Bill and I want to state that I stand by the statement of the hon. the Minister of Transport that our membership or otherwise of the Commonwealth has absolutely nothing to do with this Budget—it will not add to or detract from it, with the possible exception, I should like to add, that this position will result in the surplus being far greater than we expect at the end of the year.

I now want to turn to a second matter which hon. members opposite have raised, and I just want to refer briefly to this because there are other speakers who will discuss this matter more fully. The hon. member for Wynberg has stated that this consolidation of the cost-of-living allowance with the basic wage constitutes “ crumbs from the managerial table ”. This afternoon he has said that “ it is scraps from the managerial table ”. He describes this R12,000,000 which is being voted to help the railwaymen of South Africa as “ crumbs and scraps ”. Has there ever been a South African government which has put R12,000,000 into the pockets of the railwaymen in one single year?


Yes, more than that.


I challenge the hon. member to quote me one example.


I shall do so.


In 1945.


They have no criticism on this point itself. All he says is “ the manner in which the negotiations were carried out was wrong”. Must we disapprove of something because a different method has been used to achieve an object which he claims he too wants to achieve. He then discussed overtime and Sunday time and said that a different basis would be used in paying for such overtime. But the railwayman is no worse off. He will be in exactly the same position as he is to-day, except that he will receive a bigger basic salary and wage.

I come to another point which the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) has raised. He has said that it is wrong to subsidize the losses incurred on transport of Bantu to the resettlement areas. He has criticized this principle and stated that this is a system aimed at keeping an insolvent railway system solvent by taxation. This is the allegation he has made. I maintain that that is not the position at all and that it is a very sound policy, based on the general national policy, to compensate the Railways when they suffer losses as a result of that general national policy. I actually want to advocate an extension of that principle this afternoon, and this is why I have risen. The Opposition have criticized the rating policy of the Railways and have stated that it does not encourage industrial development in our country. I say that to a certain extent this is true, but that it is not the fault of the Railways nor of the Government. It is solely and simply due to the historical development of South Africa as an agricultural country. Up till the end of the previous century and even as late as 1925, South Africa’s main revenue was derived from her agricultural production, and everything was, and is still to-day, aimed at achieving the maximum possible agricultural production. And seeing that the prosperity of our agricultural industry was dependent on foreign markets, South African agricultural products had to be, and still are, conveyed as cheaply as possible to the various harbours. That has always been what the South African economy has required. But, Mr. Speaker, now that we have become an industrial country, this system is resulting in anomalies which were not foreseen at the time. One of these anomalies is that the final form of the agricultural product —or let me rather say the processed agricultural product—costs far more to convey by rail than the unprocessed agricultural product. The result is that the locally processed agricultural product cannot compete with the agricultural product which is processed near its market. Because this state of affairs has a particular importance as far as the development of industries in the border areas is concerned, I want to devote myself particularly to this aspect of the matter this afternoon.

Mr. Speaker, because the Bantu at this stage of his development can only contribute his labour to South Africa’s industrial development, and seeing that it is our aim under our policy of separate development to keep the Bantu rooted in his homelands, it is obvious that industrial development in the border areas is the most important factor as for utilizing Bantu labour in those areas and keeping the Bantu labour rooted in the Bantu homelands are concerned. Industrial development in the border areas must therefore really be seen against the background of the development of the Bantu areas themselves.

If this policy of separate development is to succeed, the tempo of industrial development in the border areas must be accelerated, and one of the main contributions which can be made is that which the Railways as the greatest single undertaking in the South African economy can make. This is one of the great undertakings which can accelerate that tempo of development.

The basis of South Africa’s overall industrial policy is and remains that the establishment of industries rests with private enterprise, while the authorities only promote that development by providing basic services. The Railways constitute one of these basic services. Industrial development in the border areas must also take place on this basis, and consequently a climate favourable to the establishment of industries must be created, in which process the Railways as one of the basic services provided by the authorities can play a decisive rôle.

Because this attraction exercised by the markets for industrial products plays a particularly important rôle in determining where industries are established and because these markets are found in our large cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria, our industrial goods are produced mainly in our cities. The establishment of industries in the border areas requires that we should provide more than merely compensating attractions in the border areas. The authorities will deliberately have to favour these industries in the border areas. The rating policy of the Railways will therefore have to be designed to achieve this object. It has always been the policy of the Government to bring about the establishment of industries in the border areas as well as in the Bantu homelands in such a way that it causes the least possible disruption in the overall industrial development of the rest of the country. It is therefore obvious that the adjustment of the Railways’ rating policy to encourage border industries must not have a disruptive effect on the remainder of the country nor on the Railways themselves.

There are four requirements for the establishment of industries: Raw materials, capital, labour and basic services. All the raw materials are available in the border areas. The agricultural raw materials are all available; stock, dairy products, wool, hides or skins, vegetables, citrus, tobacco, oil-seed, grain, fibres, and sugar-cane. The timber raw materials are also available, that is to say, timber and timber by-products. There are minerals such as lime, granite, asbestos, coal and various types of clay. These are all raw materials which are to be found in the border areas. But these raw materials are not being properly utilized and where they are in fact being utilized, they are conveyed to the great industrial centres such as Johannesburg, Vereeniging and the harbour areas. The utilization of these raw materials at the source of supply is most essential for the development of industries in the border areas. As I have said, the present Railway tariffs are to a certain extent responsible for this position and I want to give one or two examples. The fact that the Railway tariffs on fresh vegetables is lower than the tariff on processed vegetables has resulted in a canning factory in the Eastern Transvaal which cans vegetables and fruit in the form of chutney, tomato sauce, etc., ceasing its activities because it is cheaper to convey the unprocessed vegetables to Johannesburg and Pretoria, to process them there and to sell them on those markets, than it is to process the vegetables at Kaapmuiden and then to convey them to Johannesburg and such markets for sale.

The second example I want to give is the following. It is cheaper, for example, to convey 100 lb. of fat 713 miles from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg than it is to convey that fat from Port Elizabeth to Vryburg which is 100 miles nearer. But fat is one of the products which is processed in the Vryburg area. The fat can be produced where the stock is bred and sold. The hon. member for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje) has mentioned the example of the cotton gins in Johannesburg as an example of this process. I concede to him that the position is in fact as he has put it. It is true that the cotton ginning concerns at Barberton maintain that they would save 16s. 7d. per ton if their factory had been established in Johannesburg. The difference between the tariff for conveying fibre and that on the processed sacks and rope has also resulted in factories being established in Johannesburg and elsewhere for processing fibre. The contention that Railway tariffs discourage the processing of agricultural raw materials in their final form at the source of supply is also true of the timber industry. As examples I want to give the following. The Railway tariff on unpainted hard-board favours the establishment of a factory at the market instead of where the raw material is available, to the extent of 5s. 7d. per lb. If the hardboard is painted, the difference is 1d. per lb. According to a saw mill at Sabie, the difference between the tariffs on sawn timber on the one hand and the processed products on the other hand, such as doors, frames, floor-boards, etc., is 13s. 4d. per ton.

Minerals are also conveyed more cheaply than the processed product. Thousands of tons of ore are conveyed at very low tariffs from the north-western Cape to our harbour cities, while the source of those ores is located near the border areas.

The establishment of most of our industries near the marketing centres, that is to say the Southern Transvaal and our harbour cities, has undoubtedly been encouraged by our Railway rating policy in the past. It is here that our Railway comes into the picture as one of the basic services. Mr. Speaker, I now ask: What is the solution?

It is definitely not the solution which the hon. member for Jeppes has suggested. The hon. member has suggested that there should be a general revision of the rating policy so that the tariffs on manufactured goods will be generally lowered. Mr. Speaker, that would throw our whole Railway machine out of gear; that would be heading for insolvency. Seeing that the development of industries in the border areas is the general national policy and seeing that the Railways cannot change their general tariffs, it is unfair and unjustifiable to expect that the Railways should suffer losses as a result of a general national policy. The establishment of these industries in the border areas should be encouraged by the payment of a subsidy similar to that now being paid to the Railways in respect of the losses which they suffer on the transport of Bantu to the resettlement areas. This is in line with the whole pattern of our national policy. The establishment of these industries in the border areas is also in line with our national policy and this is the only way in which this object can be achieved. It cannot be achieved in the way in which the hon. member for Jeppes has advocated, namely, by a general revision of tariffs. Mr. Speaker, with this I want to conclude. Two points have been made this afternoon; I can say that there were two points in the weak speech of the hon. member for Wynberg. The one was the fact that we have left the Commonwealth and the other that the correct method has not been adopted in giving the railwaymen benefits. The way in which the Opposition have criticized this Railway Budget shows that they have no answer to a Railway Budget which is of an unprecedented standard.


We have had the privilege of listening to the pros and cons of this debate and allow me to say at once that it was an easy task for the pros to ward off the attack of the cons. When the debate was opened on behalf of the Opposition by their shadow Minister of Transport, the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell), one expected blood and tears to flow.


Coming events cast their shadows before them.


We knew in advance that the whole Budget was unassailable, and we on this side have felt at ease all the time. We have known that we would get words and yet more words and arguments from hon. members opposite, but it was no effort, nor was it a difficult task for members on this side of the House to disprove these arguments one after the other. I do not intend devoting my time to the Opposition. They have submitted criticisms and they have talked about criticism, but if one wants to be honest towards the Opposition, who have the right to raise their voices here and to criticize constructively, then one really does not know in which respect one can give them any points. They have stumbled about in the administrative sphere; they have stumbled about in the agricultural sector; they have stumbled about in the labour sphere and in all the spheres which this debate has covered. They have stumbled about as far as Railway and transport matters are concerned. They have even stumbled about in discussing farming matters as far as the Railways are concerned, and we have been told about station-masters who have been at dances while two trains loaded with livestock waited. All these petty little matters have been mentioned and no one can possibly regard this as constructive criticism. This is what one would normally describe as rubbish. The Opposition have failed hopelessly in every respect and as far as I am concerned that is as much of my time as I can devote to them.

I want to congratulate the hon. the Minister sincerely on what we can justifiably describe as a masterly Budget. We think back to a few years ago, and our friends opposite are witnesses to this, when the hon. the Minister, in effect, entered into a contract with this House by forecasting and by promising this House that in five years’ time he would have remedied the Railways’ position. And we have experienced this pleasant year. That is the position to-day as far as the Railways are concerned. We congratulate the Minister wholeheartedly. I am pleased to do so, not only on behalf of our railwaymen who have been through these difficult years with the Minister, but also on behalf of the farming community who are really the most affected by our transport system, something of which we have heard very little hitherto in this debate. I not only want to congratulate him but I also want to thank him for the services which the Railways have provided to agriculture in general. We remember the difficult years when we could not have our fertilizers and fuels conveyed. It was during these years that the Minister entered into a contract in this House and promised to put everything right. In addition to the Minister I should also like to thank the staff most sincerely on behalf of agriculture and my constituency in particular for the good faith which they have revealed in helping to achieve the heights which the Railways have reached this afternoon. I also want to address a few words of thanks to the recently retired General Manager. He has gone through very difficult years but he has been able to get his staff to render service which has yielded these great results. In his place I welcome the new General Manager. I should like to tell him that he is now taking over a very difficult post. The mantle of his predecessor, who achieved tremendous heights, now falls on his shoulders. Climbing the heights is not as difficult as remaining there once one has reached the top. We offer him our good wishes and we hope sincerely that things will also go well with him.

I also want to convey a special word of thanks to the Minister and Railway staff on behalf of the farmers in general. We remember the severe drought. We are still faced with this position, but we remember particularly this time last year when thousands of head of stock had to be transported and we remember how faithfully and helpfully the Minister and his staff stood by the farmers in their time of need. This is something for which every farmer is grateful. Even the United Party farmers in my constituency are not complaining. If the Opposition were to make these allegations at Lichtenburg, they would be laughed to scorn, and this applies to anywhere in the country. We cannot accuse the Railways of not having sympathy for the farmers nor can we claim that the assistance which they required was not forthcoming. All of us as farmers, both United Party supporters and Nationalists, are grateful for this great service which we received from the Railways during these difficult years.

On behalf of my railway constituents, I also want to convey a particular word of thanks to the Minister for the increased pensions and for the consolidation of the cost-of-living allowance for which this Budget provides. I have telegrams here which I shall show to the Minister and which express appreciation and thanks.

I now want to proceed to discuss one or two matters affecting my own constituency. In the first place I just want to remind the Minister that a few years ago he received many deputations which asked for the establishment of a railway link between Lichtenburg and Mafeking. I have once again been instructed by all the main organizations in my constituency to bring this matter to the notice of the Minister and to urge that the necessary action be taken. In view of the proposed establishment of industries on the borders of the reserves, the possibility that factories will be established in those areas has become still greater which will still further increase the railway traffic.

I want to bring another matter to the notice of the Minister, namely the erection of a grain elevator at East London. If a grain elevator could be erected at East London, to serve the mealie farmers in the interior particularly, it would make a considerable contribution to lowering our costs of production. On behalf of the mealie farmers, I just want to urge that the Minister, in co-operation with the Department of Agriculture, should give this matter his serious consideration, because this is something which would make an inestimable contribution towards lowering our costs of production.

Then there is the Lichtenburg station building. We have brought the Kimberley system manager to see that station on two occasions. He has attended a conference of all the public bodies concerned and has admitted that there is no other platteland station which yields a greater revenue than Lichtenburg. At that meeting the system manager admitted that the station building was not at all commensurate with the status of our own town and that the accommodation was quite inadequate. On the instructions of all these organizations I just want to bring this matter to the notice of the Minister and to urge that he should give it his serious attention.

Then there is the great need for housing for our railwaymen at Coligny. Furthermore, I also advocated last year that the subsidy to private flying clubs should be restored this year and I obtained some sort of promise from the Minister—he held out the prospect that this would be done.


Order! That is not relevant at the moment.


I have finished. I just wanted to mention it and I hope that the matters which I have brought to the notice of the Minister will all enjoy his serious consideration.


Mr. Speaker, listening to the hon. member for Lichtenburg (Mr. M. C. van Niekerk) one was tempted at times to think that one was attending a thanksgiving service, but it was nice to hear that he also had some constructive suggestions to make in regard to East London which we support. It seems that the suggestion the hon. member made about the provision of a grain silo at East London goes hand-in-hand with the suggestion made by this side of the House that the Cape Eastern line should be re-graded so as to provide better facilities for connecting the Free State maize-fields with the coast.

I want to return to a remark I made in the debate regarding the lack of any future planning. When the Estimates were debated, there were so many limitations that it was impossible for me to deal with it in great detail, and therefore I now want to concentrate on one important aspect relating to harbour development. The matter has already been referred to briefly in this debate by the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) and I want to elaborate on the case he put up, and that is in respect of the prospects for the development of shipbuilding. It has already been established that the hon. the Minister of Transport, by reason of the fact that he controls harbours, is responsible for providing all those facilities which can reasonably be expected of a harbour organization. That was established in the case of the provision of the marine engineering basin in Durban, in regard to which there was an argument which carried on for some years as to whether it was the responsibility of the Railway Administration, of Defence or of Commerce and Industry. I suggest that as that was settled at a Cabinet meeting, we should now proceed a stage further and discuss the question of the building up of a shipbuilding industry in South Africa as a natural corollary to provision of the marine engineering repair basin at Durban. It has been quite obvious for many years that the development of marine engineering was the logical precursor of shipbuilding, particularly in Durban and Cape Town. For many years, particularly during the last war, it has been demonstrated that our marine engineers are so highly developed that there is virtually no marine engineering work or even shipbuilding work of which they are not capable. I am not going to repeat what was said in a previous debate on the Loan Estimates in regard to the building of a research vessel which was given to Japan, but the hon. member for Simonstown gave us some details of the remarkable achievements of marine engineers in Durban, particularly in keeping the Allied Navy and convoys afloat, and towards the end of the war constructing and floating a 10,000-ton floating dock. During the war and even before that marine engineers in Durban and in Cape Town pleaded for Government support in constructing facilities for shipbuilding. Initially, of course, they had in mind only small craft, but ultimately the idea was to proceed gradually to build larger ships. It is unfortunate that these appeals fell on deaf ears and nothing was ever done either in Cape Town or Durban to assist marine engineers to take this further step forward. In Durban for many years marine engineers worked under considerable difficulty with the restricted and limited facilities available by reason of the fact that the T-jetty was uncompleted. It was only due to the completion of that jetty and the fact that the marine engineers had to make way for the new passenger terminal that the Administration agreed to the advances made by the engineers, and provided the marine repair basin at the head of the bay.

Of course, the war was the perfect opportunity for this country to start shipbuilding, because then economics did not enter into the matter at all and there was a fantastic demand for small craft like escort vessels, minesweepers, landing craft of various types and harbour craft, and had a start been made at that time all our deficiencies in regard to supplies of steel and engineering requirements would undoubtedly have been made good by the U.S.A. Yet the Government gave no encouragement to the industry and a glorious opportunity was lost. On the other hand, in countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada full advantage was taken of the opportunity offered by war conditions and there a start was made, first of all, with building small craft and a flourishing shipbuilding industry was built up. They proceeded from small craft to large craft and in Australia they are turning out frigates and destroyers and merchant ships. There is no reason why we should not do the same, but a start must be made, and I suggest that this is the proper time to make that start. One would have thought that the Defence Resources Committee would have seen to it, in the light of their experience during the war, that the establishment of a shipbuilding industry was an urgent necessity. It is, therefore, unfortunate that 16 years after the end of the war these facilities are still not being made available. Yet despite that lack of encouragement a shipbuilding industry has started in Cape Town without any subsidy whatever. A tremendous tribute must be paid to marine engineering firms, particularly in Cape Town and also in Durban, who have been responsible for the construction of small craft under extremely difficult conditions, particularly due to the lack of suitable launching sites. Here in Cape Town the Globe Engineering Company have achieved wonders on a site which was originally set aside, when the Duncan Dock was constructed, for boat-building. Because of the restricted space of water and the limited facilities, it is necessary there to launch ships sideways and vessels are limited in length to approximately 280 feet. Moreover, by reason of the limited space it is not possible to construct more than one small craft at a time. To-day the Globe Engineering Company has sufficient work on their books to keep them busy for two years in Cape Town, and had they the facilities in Durban, through their associated company, Gilbert Hamer and Co. Ltd., they would start building ships in Durban also. Quite apart from this, there are excellent facilities for building small craft in East London. There is a slipway which can take vessels of up to 204 feet in length and 40 feet in beam, and I believe that the slipway has been constructed in such a way as to lend itself to the construction of such craft of up to about 1,000 tons.

At this stage I want to deal with developments that have taken place all over the world since the war. There has been a fantastic development of shipbuilding in numerous countries. It has not been confined to the traditional shipbuilding countries such as Britain, Germany, Holland and Sweden, but quite a number of other countries have come into the field including the Argentine, Brazil, Pakistan, India, Ghana, and even smaller countries than that. It is also a fact that there has been a tremendous increase in the number and tonnage of ships launched mainly to replace the damage during the war years, and also to take account of the tremendous growth in international commerce since then. But some of these countries that have built ships have done so rather as a manifestation of their self-sufficiency, which one expects from small nationalistically-minded nations. I am not suggesting that South Africa should follow that example. I do not believe that we should establish a shipbuilding industry simply to show that we are an independent nation and should therefore be self-sufficient. On the contrary, I believe that the economic aspects and the defence aspect establish an irrefutable case for the establishment of a shipbuilding industry now, and I ask the Minister to consider the following points which I think prove the case I am putting up.

In the first place, let me remind the Minister that we have technically trained men in the marine engineering companies in South Africa to-day to do any work that might be required in connection with shipbuilding. It is a fact that in recent years large numbers of highly skilled shipbuilding technicians and artisans have migrated to this country from Indonesia, Holland, Germany and elsewhere in Europe, and that they have found occupation with the marine engineering companies. Even if it were not a fact that we have adequately skilled people, it is a fact that many of the marine engineering companies are associated with well known shipbuilding firms overseas. I have in mind the case of James Brown Ltd. in Durban, which is associated with Vickers Armstrong, and there are others as well. Quite apart from the trained men in the engineering industry itself, we also have a well-known company, the Naval Architecture and Research Organization Ltd., which has been established as shipbuilding consultants, which not only has the technically trained men but also the resources for research into the designing of ships. So the resources in respect of technically trained men are available. I may also say that both in Cape Town and in Durban the marine engineers have all the technical equipment required to do all the work that it is possible to do in this country at present. So we not only have the men and the equipment, but we also have many years of experience.

In the second place, I suggest that initially, if we make an advance into shipbuilding, on a scale which will enable us to build considerably larger vessels than we have been constructing so far, a start should be made in Durban, because there we have adequate available space, which not only adjoins the marine engineering basin but it is also in close proximity to the South African Railways and Harbours fitting basin and their workshop No. 24, and to the graving dock which is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Moreover, this site, which is almost unlimited in extent, and certainly more than adequate for anything we may require in the next 200 years for shipbuilding, is a very suitable place for building ships. I am given to understand that the Moffat Commission reported that the area adjoining the marine basin should be set aside for shipbuilding, and it has this tremendous advantage, that the area can be very economically and quickly reclaimed because it has the advantage of having deep-water access from the Maydon Channel. I want to say that the cost of providing these facilities by reclaiming this land is a cost which could be spread over a considerable number of years, because for the first two or three years our requirements in the way of slipways and an adjoining area of land will be comparatively small, and therefore the reclamation could be spread over several years, and thus the financial burden on the Administration could be eased. I would suggest that initially what we require are slipways to take small craft, and such slipways do not have to be equipped with expensive cranes and equipment because all the work required to be done on craft up to 1,000 tons or so can be adequately catered for by mobile cranes instead of the extremely specialized and expensive cranes normally associated with larger ships. That could come at a later stage. I do not suggest that this development should for all time be confined solely to Durban. I believe that eventually there should also be similar facilities provided in Cape Town, but it is very hard to see that those facilities can be provided until an additional basin has been provided for Cape Town Harbour, which would give the adequate space and room to manoeuvre which a shipbuilding industry requires.

The third point I want to make is that quite apart from the technical men and a suitable site, we also have a highly developed steel industry. I believe that shipbuilding is the natural sequel to the development of our steel industry. Those who have the necessary technical experience say that our steels are second to none and can compete in price with steel produced in any other country. It therefore seems folly to ignore the possibilities of using our own steel to develop our own industries when we have these facilities available. Not only would shipbuilding give a tremendous impetus to the demand for South African steel, but it would also give tremendous encouragement to other industries, because it is quite obvious that in shipbuilding there are innumerable other industries which are interested. There are iron and brass foundries, the alloy industry, the pipe industry, the paint industry, the glass industry, the shopfitting industry and dozens of ancillary industries which will also get this tremendous stimulus if shipbuilding were developed on any scale. Initially, of course, we would have to import certain specialized equipment like engines, navigational equipment and radar. But unless we make a start the necessary engineering industry required to manufacture these articles will never start at all. I believe that once we get the industry started, engineering industries like the Vanderbijl Engineering Company, James Brown and others would soon find it an economic proposition to start tendering for the manufacture of engines and other specialized equipment on licence from overseas patentees. I believe there is a unique opportunity to help a tremendously large cross-section of South African industry and also at the same time to encourage the growth and development of those specialized skills and techniques which are inseparable from the building up of a highly technical industry like shipbuilding. After all, the motor car industry started from small beginnings, simply assembling parts made overseas. We can start shipbuilding at a much further advanced stage than that. I believe that very much earlier than the motor car industry cap build a complete motor car in this country, the shipbuilding industry will be building complete ships. Sir, I appeal to the Minister to take this opportunity of making use of these fantastic resources that we possess in South Africa.

The fourth consideration is whether we have in point of fact sufficient demand to warrant expenditure on shipbuilding yards. This opens a field on which I am not technically equipped to speak with any great authority, but I do want to place certain facts before the Minister because it is apparent that there is a growing demand for craft of all sorts in South Africa. In the first place there is the fishing industry and here let me remind the Minister that in the last four years the Globe Engineering Company of Cape Town have either built or have taken orders for the construction of no less than 20 vessels of a total value of R1,500,000, and that without any subsidy at all. That surely shows that there is this growing demand from the fishing industry. We have also had two research vessels built here already, and possibly there may be a growing demand for specialized craft. Then, on top of that, we have a very flourishing coastal shipping industry. African Coasters Ltd., operating from Durban operate 11 coasters, many of them over 1,000 tons dead weight. Thesens Coasters operate nine ships, Smiths’ Coasters operate five ships and there are others as well. These ships have either been built specially to order overseas or they have been chartered or they have been bought second-hand. But the point I want to make is that if one studies the figures which the Minister gives us year by year of the tonnage handled by coasters, one is struck by the fact that every year since the port to port rates were abolished, the tonnage handled by coasters has steadily increased, and therefore it is reasonable to suggest that this is a vital and a growing industry and that there will be a growing demand for ships that can quite easily be constructed in South Africa. Furthermore, we have in South Africa a comparatively small merchant marine. The outstanding, of course, is Safmarine which is very largely financed by the I.D.C. They operate, I believe, seven ships and have seven other ships on time charter. I understand that of the seven ships of their own, a number are due very shortly for replacement, and I am informed—and I stand open to correction—that they have on their books a programme for the replacement of no less than ten merchant vessels. Surely, Sir, this is a golden opportunity for the Minister, in conjunction with industry and the Treasury and with the I.D.C. to investigate the possibility of those ships being built in South Africa. There are other lines. There is the Springbok Line which is registered in South Africa although the capital is wholly overseas capital, but it is possible that other South African lines may start in the near future. I see also that recently a company entitled the International Petroleum Transport Company, backed by the Stanvac-Mobil International Organization has formed a company registered in Durban with a capital of R2,000,000 to buy tankers to carry oil between the Persian Gulf and Durban, and with the building of a third refinery, the Caltex refinery, either at Durban or Cape Town. It is becoming apparent that more and more tankers will be operating between South Africa and the Persian Gulf with no intervening ship repair basin to resort to and therefore it is reasonable to expect that they will be making increasing use of South African marine engineers. This surely holds out the prospect that we may eventually be able to start building tankers for our own trade in this country. Apart from that I do not have to remind the Minister of his departmental requirements of specialized harbour vessels such as tugs, pilot vessels, dredgers, colliers and barges. I would suggest that in his own interests in order to swell harbour revenue, he should encourage the building of these small craft in South Africa. Furthermore, of course, there is the growing demand of our Navy for small craft, because the South African Navy is a navy of small craft. It must obviously be a matter of tremendous security to South Africa to know that many of these small craft could in point of fact be built in this country. I am quite certain that with our defensive alliances with the Western nations the greatest possible assistance would be given in respect of armaments and all the specialized equipment that go on these naval vessels. But surely with the growth of the demand for mine sweepers and corvettes and other specialized items which do not require very highly technical equipment, we could provide for our own requirements in South Africa. With these growing demands, there is surely ample justification for believing that we could keep our shipyards busy once the necessary facilities are made available. I suggest that initially, because we would be faced with the added expense of importing engines and such technical equipment, such as navigation equipment and radar, etc., not yet manufactured in this country, our construction costs will be abnormally high, and, therefore, the Treasury should contemplate some system of subsidizing shipbuilding so as to keep these yards busy. In the first place the Administration should have the slipways made available— and there, I think, the Minister has a case to go to the Minister of Finance and ask for financial assistance without the burden of interest. I believe he has a very good case for that. I accept his point of view that his function is to make the Railways pay, and if he is expected to operate non-profit making activities, then he should receive assistance from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. But when one compares the advantages to be obtained with the smallness of the amount of the outlay in building a ship, then surely it is not an excessive demand to make on Treasury, particularly when the Government itself is contemplating vast schemes for expanding Sasol and Iscor and Foscor and all these other vast public utility companies.

In the second place, I suggest that the Minister of Finance could very easily be persuaded to hold out inducements to shipowners to have their orders for shins placed with South African shipbuilders by offering either a cash subsidy or else by special taxation provisions entitling them to write-off the cost of the vessel in a very short time or some other inducement to make it worth their while, without even having to outlay any cash subsidy. I believe it should be possible to do that. Furthermore, as far as naval vessels and Railway harbour vessels are concerned, the Government should be prepared to subsidize building to the tune of at least 25 per cent. After all, recently the Railway Administration placed an order in Italy for seven small tugs and pilot vessels, and I think it is well known that the Italian Government subsidized the building of those vessels to the extent of 15 per cent. If we are going to buy craft from overseas from countries that subsidize shipbuilding, why should we not subsidize the building of our own ships with our own material by our own men in this country? After all, virtually every shipbuilding country in the world to-day, with the exception of Great Britain, subsidizes their shipbuilding yards and if they do it why should we not do it here, and benefit the whole country’s economy in so doing?

I also want to make this point that the very fact that in recent months two well-known overseas shipbuilding companies, including the Nederlandsche Dock Company, have been out here investigating the potentialities of shipbuilding in South Africa, shows that other people are aware of the potentialities for shipbuilding in South Africa. What the results of those inquiries are I am unable to state, but the very fact that these inquiries are being made, shows that people overseas are watching the position here. I would therefore urge the Government to accept the principle of adopting a policy of directly assisting and encouraging the old-established companies in this important industry. I believe that this is a case where a far-sighted encouragement of an industry could pay very handsome dividends to South Africa. After all, the I.D.C. could well assist the Administration in creating the necessary facilities. I believe that they would be fulfilling the objects for which their organization was formed very much better than they are doing at present by negotiating for the purchase by an Afrikaans finance house of the controlling interests in a large chain of retail shoe shops. I believe that this is far more the sort of occupation that the Government had in mind when the I.D.C. was originally founded.

Finally, Sir, let me suggest that there is no time like the present for a start. We cannot afford to wait for the next war; it may be too late then. So let us make a start now and let us also remember that whether we are Afrikaans-speaking or English-speaking, we both come from nations with traditions of the sea in our blood. I believe that by developing this industry we would be true to our traditions I appeal to the hon. the Minister to give this matter his careful consideration.


Just as in the Budget debate, the Opposition is revealing the same lack of criticism in regard to the management of the Railways. The question of the effect of the consolidation of cost-of-living allowances has again been brought up for discussion. Mr. Speaker, I ask myself: Why does the United Party try at this stage to discuss the details of the consolidation of the C.O.L.A. when the Minister gave them the assurance that in regard to the question of overtime and Sunday time no finality has yet been reached between him and the staff associations? They are now trying their utmost to stir up trouble between the Minister and the staff associations, or what else are they trying to do? Do they actually think it is in the interest of the Railways and in the interest of the staff to try to cause trouble between the Minister and the staff, or what precisely is their object in wanting to discuss this matter at this stage? It is very irresponsible of them. I want to accuse them of trying to cause trouble deliberately between the Minister and the staff associations in regard to this matter. It is not in the interest of the staff to take over the duties of the staff associations. Hon. members opposite say that they also believe in the principle of collective bargaining, but they are now doing their utmost to weaken the force of collective bargaining. I am sure that the staff will seriously blame them for trying to interfere at this stage and trying to cause trouble.

In the second place they are acting neither in the interest of the railway user nor of the country as a whole, because they are trying to cause dissatisfaction amongst the staff in regard to a matter in connection with which consultations still have to take place between the Minister and the staff. I want to ask the Opposition, and particularly the United Party, in this connection at least to try to act responsibly sometimes in regard to these matters.

The hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) objected to the train services for non-Whites in the resettlement areas being subsidized out of the pocket of the taxpayers. But it has always been the policy of the United Party that the losses on uneconomic services rendered by the Railways in consequence of Government policy should be paid for out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. That was said in the House only last year. Have they now run away from this part of their policy also, just as they have run away from their tariff policy? Or does the hon. member for Simonstown object to the subsidy now being paid as a result of Government policy, in other words, that the Bantu should not live amongst the Whites, which is the policy of the Government, and that separate residential areas should be provided for them? As far as I know, it has always been United Party policy to have separate residential areas in South Africa. Why then object if subsidies are paid out of the pocket of the taxpayer in respect of a service the Railways have to undertake in order to implement the principle of having separate residential areas in South Africa? I simply cannot understand the hon. member for Simonstown in this connection.

There really remains very little criticism for me and other speakers on this side to reply to. As I said the other day, when we were busy with the Budget debate, what is of importance is not what is contained in the amendment moved by the United Party, but the things which were omitted from it. In the past we had much criticism of the so-called inefficiency of the Minister and of the management. Every member in this House still remembers the words of the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell), “ managerial and ministerial inefficiency”.


Then it must have made some impression.


What is the reason why this year we have heard no more about this managerial and ministerial inefficiency? Since 1958, when the hon. member for Wynberg became the chief critic of the United Party on railway matters, the amendment he moved every year always stated that the House refuses to go into Committee of Supply because of managerial and ministerial inefficiency. The hon. member has now run away from that accusation also. I want to ask him whether the Minister and the management have now become efficient in the space of one year?


A little more.


I think that the truth of the matter is rather this: that the hon. member for Wynberg and the United Party are really admitting this year that there was no substance in their accusations of ministerial and managerial inefficiency. The view of the United Party was—and the reason for it is understandable—that only the staff was efficient. How the hon. the Minister and the management, who stand at the head of affairs and control the finances and all the activities and the staff of this huge undertaking, play no rôle in the efficiency of the staff is something which only the hon. member for Wynberg and other hon. members opposite can understand. Surely the facts are that the Railways to-day, thanks to the initiative of the Minister and the great expansion programme he tackled in 1954, when he became Minister of Railways, is successfully carrying out its duties as the transport system of the country to-day. There is no piling up of traffic; there are no transport crises; all the traffic offering is being transported, and there is even a surplus capacity. Even organized commerce and industry, which, in the past, were quick to complain about inefficient service, have no complaints any longer. I think that if we want to look for another reason as to why the hon. member for Wynberg to-day no longer talks about ministerial and managerial inefficiency, we should seek it in the fact that commerce and industry in the country no longer have any complaints about the progress as such. It is clear that the Railways is now beginning to derive the full benefit of the expansion programme which is nearing completion.

Let me show, by way of comparison, what tremendous progress the Railways has made during the past 21 years in regard to more efficiency than it ever had before. I take the year 1939, because that was the year the Second World War started, and because the demands made on the Railways ever since then as a transport system has been increasing since that year. During the war years the Railways developed a backlog because, due to the war, no attention could be devoted to its expansion. After the war an unprecedented industrial development took place in the country, and the Railways was placed in the position that, apart from the backlog from the war years, with which it had to catch up, it also had to keep pace with the tremendous industrial development after the war, which, under the Nationalist régime, rose to unprecedented heights. It was an almost impossible task, but, seeing that we are now on top of the hill, we can look back and determine how difficult that task actually was. During the period of 21 years, from 1939 to 1960, the number of train miles increased by 67 per cent; the number of locomotives increased by 36 per cent; passenger vehicles by 34 per cent; goods trucks by 107 per cent; and the staff increased by 73 per cent. Whereas train miles, rolling stock and the staff increased during the past 21 years by percentages varying from 34 per cent to 107 per cent, passengers, on the other hand, increased by 159 per cent, and goods traffic by no less than 234 per cent. I think that is a wonderful achievement on the part of the Railways, and this comparison also shows what progress the Railways has made in regard to efficiency. Whereas the average percentage increase in the staff, the train miles and the rolling material was 63 per cent, the increase in traffic was approximately 191 per cent. It was interesting, during a recent tour made by the Select Committee on Railways, to learn that suburban passenger journeys on the Rand increased from 16,000,000 in 1931 to 150,000,000 in 1960. Although it is hard to believe, 831 trains pass through Johannesburg station every day, or a train almost every two minutes. During the peak hours of every working day, i.e. from 4 a.m. to 8.30 a.m., 65 passenger trains from the Bantu residential areas enter the Johannesburg station bringing 100,000 non-Whites to their work. I mention these figures because it is not always realized that it demands organization and planning on the part of the Administration to ensure the smooth running of these services, particularly in the urban areas.

The achievements in the financial sphere are equally impressive. The capital investment on the Railways has been increased by 290 per cent since 1939. As against that, the revenue has increased by 435 per cent over the same period. Since the war tariffs were increased by 65.7 per cent, in comparison with an increase in wholesale prices for locally manufactured goods of 108.7 per cent. So, also, in the financial sphere the Railways to-day derives full benefit from the programme of expansion launched by no less a person than the present Minister.

Hon. members opposite complain about the treatment meted out to the railwayman. I just want to make this comparison: The average earnings of the White railwayman in 1936 amounted to £229 per annum; in 1948 it was £439; and, in 1960, £842. The average earnings of the White railwayman, in other words, was nearly doubled during the past 12 years from 1948 to 1960. The hon. the Minister and his Management, together with the staff, deserve the thanks of the country for having, with efficient guidance and teamwork, expanded our transport system to a more efficient undertaking than ever was before in its history. The hon. the Minister will, however, be the first to admit that there is still room for improvement. In fact, this Budget submitted last week is evidence of that because in it so much attention was devoted to efficiency in the service, and in view of the splendid progress made. I just briefly want to mention these achievements.

Firstly, almost 6,000,000 tons more goods were transported by the staff, which had decreased by 4,000; there was efficient planning and implementation of the programme of expansion. The scheme was implemented sooner than was originally estimated and planned. In the third place, there was greater efficiency as the result of the institution of a development course for administrative officials. Furthermore, steps were taken to make all grades of the staff conscious of efficiency and costs, something which certainly contributed largely to the reduction of expenditure in recent years. Attempts were made to increase the efficiency and productivity of non-White workers. The abolition of posts as the result of the efficiency campaign resulted in various types of work now being performed by fewer staff. Although a larger amount of traffic is being transported, that was done at a lower cost, and lastly, there was the institution of more effective financial measures of control. I say that this can really be called an efficiency Budget, which is evidence of a series of achievements in the sphere of efficiency, drafted by an efficient Minister and an efficient Management, assisted by an efficient staff, which has made the Railways an efficient transport undertaking. A huge undertaking like the Railways can surely never attain maximum efficiency, but I still think that the foundation for it was built soundly in recent years, so that in the years to come we can continue building on that foundation. I definitely want to say that it is due to the initiative, guidance and tenacity of the Minister and the Management that the Railways to-day is the efficient transport undertaking it is. It is equally true that the staff through teamwork and by making great sacrifices and through devotion to duty without any doubt made an important contribution, but any person must admit that without the necessary guidance and control of the Minister and his Management, the sacrifices and hard work of the staff would have been in vain. No undertaking can attain these achievements, however efficient the staff may be, if the persons at the head of affairs apply the wrong policy and do not exercise proper control.

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

Evening Sitting


The high principle of the security of the worker is one that every Government must take very seriously indeed, but unfortunately we on this side of the House have found that the security of the worker has always been the plaything of Ministers under this Government and especially of the Minister of Railways. They have used the railwayworkers to serve the country. When they were in difficulties, they have called upon the workers to do their best, they have adopted the slogan “ to keep the wheels turning ” and at all instances they have told the workers that whatever happens, they must not fail South Africa. The workers of the South African Railways have done what the Minister has asked them to do. All the Minister’s efforts and all the efforts of the managerial section would have been fruitless, if the staff had not been motivated by this very high ideal. We must take into consideration that there are 217,000 employees on the Railways, of whom 124,000 are White. Mr. Speaker, I have said that most loyally has the railway-worker done his bit. The railway-worker has displayed loyalty that has been unsurpassed. Deficits arose and their overtime was cut; there have been personnel shortages all through the years, yet loyally they have carried on, urged year after year by this side of the House to do justice to those people who have served them so well, what happened? We have urged the Government to do justice to the 10 per cent of the people of South Africa who are employed on the Railways. This year the Minister has come with certain announcements. He has announced a consolidation of the total cost-of-living allowance into salaries and wages. He has said that basic salaries of workers will be increased to cover increased pension contributions, and he has said that the increased pension contributions will bring increased pensions to the staff. He has also said—

The agreement reached between the Administration and the staff in the acceptance of this scheme is, to a large extent, due to the willingness of certain groups of staff to accept restrictions on miscellaneous extra earnings, such as overtime payments at a new consolidated scale merely in respect of actual time worked and payment for Sunday time at the present scales.

And then he went on to say what, to us, shows very clearly indeed how little this concession really means to the railwaymen—

Under this scheme, married and unmarried servants at present in the service will never be worse off than would have been the case had consolidation not taken place.

I say that the apologetic tone of the Minister himself shows that there is, indeed, very little being given to the railwayworkers. The workers appreciate fully the advantages of the consolidation of the cost-of-living allowance, and they fully appreciate that their pensions will be higher. But that is not what the worker wants. The worker wants an improvement in his basic salary which he is getting to-day. His pay packet which he is going to take home has not been enlarged at all. He is going to take home exactly the same money as he did before 27 February, when the hon. the Minister announced this new scheme. I have said that he wants an improvement in basic salaries. He wants a part of the newfound riches of the Railways, of the newfound wealth, because, first of all, the worker has for years suffered a pegging in the cost-of-living allowance. While the cost of everything that he needed was going up, from the price of a house to the rent of a house he was renting from the Administration, to a pair of shoes for his child, for a pound of steak for his dinner table, whilst everything was going up through the years, his cost-of-living allowance was pegged. I have said that he is going to be as short as he was last year. Last year, wherever I went in the area where there were lots of railwayworkers in my own constituency, the legal men told me that hire-purchase agreements had been cancelled, that they were taking back the things, the motorcars, the household goods that had been bought by railwayworkers on the hire-purchase system, and that the railwayworkers were in a very bad position indeed. I want to say to-day that that position has in no way been changed.


Of course that is not correct.


I will deal with the hon. member presently. It happens all too often when one discusses the position of the railwayworkers that we hear from the other side that what we say is not true. I will come to a particular case just now. I have said that they appreciate the fact that their pensions are going to be higher. But even their pensions are not going to be as high as they should be. Had the cost-of-living allowances not been pegged, and had the proper cost-of-living allowances been incorporated into their salaries, their pensions to come, would be much higher. But there are many other things that worry the railwayworker. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister how many men are there who are well in their 40s to-day, who are sitting on a maximum scale? I would like the hon. the Minister to tell me whether he is giving attention to this matter. I would like him to give this honourable House the statistics, telling me how many people are in the various grades in the salary posts, and how many of these people are well in their 40s, sitting on their maximum pay. I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether the grading is everything that he thinks it should be or is it hopelessly bad? We have heard that there has been a cut of some 4,000 in the railway staff. I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether that cut of 4,000 has not brought hardships with it? What about the clerical staff, people on the stations who have no overtime? I am told that some of these people have to work until they are on the verge of collapse.


Where is that?


I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether this cut of 4,000 in the staff has not brought drastic suffering with it for the people working on the Railways? Only clerks who work in shifts are paid overtime when called upon to do so, but the ordinary clerical staff working on the stations and in the depots are not paid overtime. There has been an abolishing and a regarding of certain posts on stations and depots. Has this not dried up the avenues of promotion? Is the chance of promotion not much smaller than it used to be? Certain benefits have been given to the railway staff this year, but I object to the manner in which this was done. We know that the Railway Artisan Association have for a long time been fighting for a rise in their pay of 3d. per hour and a reduction of two hours in 46 working hours. They have also asked for the incorporation of the cost-of-living allowance. To this the hon. Minister’s reply was a flat refusal. When a petition signed by 10,750 artisans was submitted to the Cabinet, no notice of this was taken at all. And that is always the way, Mr. Speaker, whenever representations are made in this House in regard to the working conditions of the people, working on the Railways and in regard to their salaries. Just now an hon. member said to me that that is not true when I was speaking of the hire-purchase system, and I was sketching the position in which the people were finding themselves. Mr. Speaker, you will remember that last year and the year before that and the year before that and the year before that, I spoke in this House about working conditions at Danskraal.




Mr. Speaker, I like to hear that noise. The word “ Danskraal” stands very high indeed under the names of the nation from which I stem, and if those people hold it in contempt, then I can just say that I am very sorry, but I am very proud indeed to speak about Danskraal. I have only one regret and that is that they are not calling me the hon. member for Danskraal to-night. Mr. Speaker, this was said by the hon. member for Bethlehem (Mr. Knobel), after I had spoken in this House, and his was also the tune “ not true ”. He said—

Die Raad is al siek en sat van mev. van Niekerk se aanhoudende gekla oor toestande by Danskraal. Nadat hy navraag gedoen het, het hy vasgestel dat haar klagtes ongegrond is. By die depot waaroor sy kla, word spoorstawe aanmekaar gesweis. Elke stuk word dan sowat 500 vt. lank. Hoe wil sy nou hê daar moet ’n gebou opgerig word waarin die sweisers moet werk. Hy het ook, verneem dat die spoorlyn by Danskraal verlê gaan word sodat dit onsinnig sou wees om nou permanente geriewe vir die werkers te verskaf.

This is from the Transvaler that was sent to me by the flash-depot workers from Ladysmith as I hold it up here, and attached to it there are three pictures here which I would like hon. members to say are not true and which they can come and see after I have finished speaking.


Pass it round!


Mr. Speaker, I will not deal with the impudence of that hon. member.


He is only a baboon.


On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, may an hon. member refer to another hon. member as a “ bobbejaan ”?


Order! That is not parber for Turffontein say that?


Mr. Speaker, is one not entitled when referring to the intelligence of an hon. member to refer to him as a “bobbejaan ”?


Order! That is not parliamentary.


I withdraw that the hon. member is a “ bobbejaan ”.


At the time when the hon. member for Bethlehem, who is supposed to be one of the senior members on the Select Committee of Railways and Harbours and one of the senior speakers on that side on Railway matters—he is not here tonight, he is probably attending to the wants of the railwayworkers at D. F. Malan—but at the time when he was saying this, there was a sum of £50,000 on the Order Paper that had been approved and part of which had been spent on the installation of a new flash-butt welding machine, runways for welded rails, cables and sub-stations for added electricity, all at Danskraal and, Mr. Speaker, you will notice that the hon. member for Bethlehem stated that he had heard that the railway line at Danskraal was going to be shifted. That is the way hon. members deal with railway matters. It will interest hon. members to know that this is what these people say about the hon. member—

The workmen treat this article with contempt and most heartily disapprove of what has been stated as having come from “ good authority ”, in that Mr. Knobel, M.P. for Bethlehem, had no ground whatever to discuss Danskraal depot and showing his ignorance of what has been taking place in Danskraal and the appalling working conditions.

That is the habit of hon. members on the other side whenever anything is brought to their notice regarding the workers and their working conditions, they either shout that it is not true or they say that one is ignorant.


That is why they vote for the National Party.


Mr. Speaker, this has been signed by the flash-depot workers there. Their signatures are here for everybody to see. These people at Danskraal have sent a full memorandum and they point out that they were on bonus-time work. Now I want to bring to the notice of the honourable House that the General Manager in his report said—

Gedurende die jaar is ongeveer 1,936,000 bonusure gewerk; 21 persent van al die werk op bonuswerkvoorwaardes is gedoen teenoor 40 persent in aanlegdepartemente.

And these people, Mr. Speaker, have been working on the bonus conditions, and they say the following in regard to a depot that was referred to by the hon. member for Kimberley (South) (Dr. W. L. D. M. Venter) who is also not here to-night—

The depots referred to in the article, as you are aware, namely, Kimberley and Elandsfontein, have ‘better and improved working conditions with overhead cranes, etc. It has been suggested that the shop stewards be given facilities to visit sister-depots to view and discuss working conditions.

These are now the people from Danskraal who suggest that the depots at Kimberley and Elandsfontein should be visited—

Simple examples in the difference in handling material can be pointed out: (i) Lattice bridges, Elandsfontein: These are set up, tacked and welded in an electrically driven jig; (ii) corners fabricated for buildings, Elandsfontein: These are set up, tacked and partly welded in a rotating jig. Large structures for buildings turned and handled by overhead cranes, with a slinger and crane-driver in attendance. All this work at Danskraal is manhandled by Bantu labour. Yet the bonus schedule remains the same.

These people have been working for years under the bonus schedule, and whilst the building is completed now, according to the hon. the Minister, the other facilities are not all there, although a big number are on the Estimates this year. They say further—

Working conditions are not the only cause for dissatisfaction in this depot, but lack of adequate supervision. This statement is no reflection on the present supervisors: We wish to prove that the supervisory staff for the size of the depot is inadequate. Bonus vouchers that should be given to the bonus worker before starting an allocated job of not exceeding two days after commencing the job (according to the bonus work agreement section) are usually given to the workmen in some cases, weeks later. Time sheets to date, month ending 15 March, are outstanding by two to three weeks. The supervisors cannot cope with the present situation.

They go on—

Artisans, who are qualified fitters with a full-time occupation of fabricating essential spares and fabricating parts for the improvement and remodelling of this depot and keeping all machines in proper and safe working order are only being paid a miserable shop average as a monthly bonus. This bonus is less than the bonus earned by a third-grade machine man although they have the full essence of production to be kept fully maintained. Surely there could be no dispute that qualified fitters with such responsibility should be paid a compensation bonus of at least 33½ per cent.

An hon. member said to me just now “ that is why all the railway workers vote Nationalist ”. How does he know? I thought the voting was secret. In any case let me tell them that as far as the railway workers in Natal are concerned, they do not vote Nationalist according to the majority. But whenever we speak about the legitimate demands of the railway workers we meet with ridicule. The hon. the Minister is a party to it. He does it by giving fantastic figures of what it will cost to give the railway workers the things that we say should be given to them. But the Government must squarely accept the blame if they have not got the necessary funds, they must squarely accept the blame if there is a slow-up in expansion, in agriculture and in the industrial field, they must squarely accept if lack of capital is hampering expansion and therefore the Railways cannot get all the high-rated traffic they should get. We were told this afternoon by the hon. member for Heilbron, who is also attending to the railway workers’ needs at D. F. Malan Airport that the economic position would in no way change. We were told by him that the economic position of the railway workers was not going to be any worse than it is to-day. I have tried to show that it is bad enough as it is to-day, and that it is much worse than it need be. I have pointed out that the pensions are too small and that the salaries are not high enough to cope with the present high cost-of-living; and when hon. members on the other side tell the railway workers to-day that the economic position is not going to worsen, then I remember that the following pronouncements were made: On 4 September the Minister of Bantu Development said that we would remain in the Commonwealth; on 6 September the Minister of Justice at Florida said that we would be retained in the Commonwealth; on 9 September at Somerset West the Minister of Lands said that the White countries would not allow us to be kicked out; on 15 September the Minister of Finance said the same at Pretoria; on 29 September the budding politician, Dr. Carel de Wet, said the same. We hear from the hon. member for Heilbron that the economic position of the country is not going to worsen. Well, when I hear that, I indeed fear dire results in the future.


I want to tell the hon. member for Drakensberg (Mrs. S. M. van Niekerk) that if she wishes to know how the railway workers vote, she merely has to look at the number of members on this side of the House who represent constituencies where the majority of the voters are railwaymen. When I listened to the hon. member when she was saying how little the Government was doing for the railway workers I wondered whether the hon. member was speaking like that through sheer ignorance or whether she was doing it deliberately, as women sometimes do. When I deal with staff matters later on in my speech I shall revert to the argument advanced by the hon. member for Drakensberg in connection with the staff. Before I go further I want to deal with an argument which the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) advanced earlier this afternoon. The hon. member said there was division within the Cabinet ranks. He said that the Minister of Transport was building railway lines for the Bantu, that houses were being built for them and that it was the policy of other Ministers to remove the Bantu from the Western Province. I want to tell the hon. member that it is the policy of the Government gradually to reduce the number of Bantu here. It will not happen suddenly, but that is our policy. I also want to say to the hon. member that the railway lines which have been constructed through the Cape Flats run through an area which is fast developing also as far as the Coloureds are concerned. Railway lines have to be constructed there in future to keep pace with that development. It is contemplated to have large Coloured communities there, in the vicinity of the Bantu areas. Furthermore these new Bantu housing schemes are schemes that can easily be converted into housing schemes for Coloureds. It is no argument therefore to say that the Minister is incurring expenditure which, if the policy is correctly interpreted, is useless expenditure.


Which areas are you talking about?


I am talking about the railway line to Langa and Nyanga. In view of the fact that the United Party did not fare so well in the Railway debate because there was no real ground for criticism, they are now trying to divert the attention at this late stage from that subject. The hon. member for Wynberg and other hon. members now come along and misrepresent the position as to what effect our withdrawal from the Commonwealth will have on the Railways and on the economy of our country. It is a pity that the hon. member for Wynberg was so hasty and that he did not wait until he had all the facts before sending these misrepresentations into the world outside, and before trying to create panic. I do not want to say much in that regard …


You are scared.


That hon. member is the last person that I am scared of. It is not our membership of the Commonwealth that creates our economic problems and which will adversely affect the Railways. The problems which may confront us in the economic field and which may also affect the Railways, will not be problems that may arise from our non-membership of the Commonwealth, but from our refusal to sell out the White man in this country. We may have trouble because we wish to maintain White domination. I want to ask this question: Are hon. members prepared for the sake of the so-called economic benefits that they talk about, to follow a policy which will satisfy Ghana and the other African states? Is that what the hon. members of the United Party want? If that is the case then the South African Railways will suffer, then our economy will collapse and then the Railways will ultimately no longer be in the hands of the White man in South Africa.

I want to return now to a few arguments which will have been advanced during the past few days by the United Party. One of the points which they emphasized and on which they are quiet now, was the question of the Redemption Fund. Hon. members of the United Party in their wisdom thought that they had at last found a solution, a simple solution that nobody had thought about till to-day, to the problem of reducing the increasing capital and interest burden. But it is not as simple as all that, Sir. The hon. Minister pointed out what heavy additional expenditure was involved in the suggestions of the United Party not only in regard to the Redemption Fund but also in connection with further concessions to the staff. The United Party is asking for increased expenditure but at the same time they are not willing to allow an increase in tariffs, on the contrary they are still pleading for a reduction in tariffs. The hon. member for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje) stated once again that the tariff in respect of high-rated traffic should be decreased. On the one hand the United Party pleaded for increased expenditure, a Redemption Fund and concessions to the staff, and on the other hand they ask that revenue should be sacrificed. A redemption fund will be of no value unless considerable amounts are paid into it. In order to make a success of such a fund tariffs will have to be increased. When the Minister of Finance takes money from revenue for Loan Account the United Party objects and says that the taxpayer is being over-taxed. But as far as the Railways are concerned the United Party want to burden the railway users by establishing assets for future generations.

I maintain that sufficient provision is being made for depreciation by way of contributions to the Renewals Fund to replace those assets when necessary and to maintain them in good running order. Although there is a continual drain on this fund, the Renewals Fund to-day stands at over R63,000,000. Provision is made in the Betterment Fund for enhancing the value of these assets. These assets are not a burden therefore, as is sometimes alleged, because they get replaced when necessary and enhanced in value. I agree, however, that one is concerned about the increasing interest burden but the fact remains none the less that this capital investment as far as the Railways are concerned is paying satisfactory dividends to-day as I have pointed out during the Budget debate. When conditions are favourable provision can be made other than the establishment of a Redemption Fund to ensure the economic stability of the Railways, and one way is to strengthen the existing statutory funds of the Railways. The hon. the Minister has said in the past that if the position permitted it, that would be done. Considerable amounts are this year being paid from surplus revenue into the Betterment Fund and the Renewal Fund, which have become exhausted as a result of developmental works. We agree that if possible it is essential that a fixed amount be paid annually from the annual revenue into these funds. Hon. members of the United Party have, however, said in the past that the Rates Equalization Fund was the fund which had to be built up as a safety valve, as a guarantee, as they called it, also in respect of the staff. It is undoubtedly true that if a new fund were established the other funds would suffer. The amount which is available annually for allocation to the various funds, will not be increased if an additional fund were established. The amount will not be increased whether there is one or five funds. The amount available will remain the same unless tariffs are increased. That is to say if another fund had to be established less will be paid into the statutory funds. That is an important point.

The first step that can be taken to ensure the financial stability of the Railways is to strengthen these funds. But in the second place, if the financial position allows it, it is possible that revenue may be used in reducing the interest burden on capital, without creating a redemption fund for that purpose. That has already been done in the past. If we did that we would not be introducing a new principle because that has already been done in the past and it is being done. During 1954-5 an amount of R6,000,000 was taken from revenue for the construction of departmental housing. Had we not done that, interest bearing capital would have had to be used for that purpose. Also in 1955-6 R7,000,000 was used for the construction of departmental housing and for the establishment of certain facilities for the staff. That was taken from revenue. In 1957-8 also R4,000,000 was taken from surplus revenue for the same purpose. All those amounts were used in reduction of interest bearing capital.

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that this matter was discussed by the Select Committee on Railways and Harbours as far back as 1926. Because it covers the whole principle I should like to read to the House what happened at that time. This principle, which we have been applying all these years, namely, that revenue can be used to strengthen various funds and to reduce interest-bearing capital, was accepted as far back as 1926. I will not read the whole resolution; there was a difference of opinion as to whether revenue could be used for this purpose and the legal advisers decided that it could well be so used. The reply of the Administration at that time was as follows—

The Administration, in view of the opinion held by the law advisers, will continue to make contributions in reduction of interest-bearing capital …

The principle was therefore accepted at that time already—

… as and when revenue will permit, but does not contemplate raising rates at any time for the sole purpose of enabling contributions to be made, should the revenue at the existing rates prove insufficient.

It is not a redemption fund, therefore. The same purpose can, therefore, be served in this way as was also done in the past. It is not necessary to redeem old liabilities. The best way is not to incur fresh liabilities; in other words, to pay portion of the capital outlay in cash, or rather, from revenue. Once we raise loans we are involved in the costs connected with such loans, such as raising fees and administrative costs, costs which are eliminated if we pay for those works from revenue, as has been done in some cases in the past. It is useless therefore creating further funds in view of the fact that we are finding it difficult as it is to keep the existing funds financially sound under unfavourable conditions.

The United Party asked for greater concessions to the staff. As I have already said, they ask at the same time that heavier financial expenditure and greater obligations be incurred. My contention is that if these suggestions were accepted, there would be little hope that we would be able to do anything for the staff. To say that more should be done for the staff and then to ask in the same breath for increased expenditure by establishing a redemption fund and for less revenue as a result of a decrease in the tariffs, Sir, is nothing more than political eye-wash. It is a political game. I can tell hon. members that the Railway staff is wise to their game. As their so-called advocates, those hon. members have made themselves the laughing stock of the staff. The hon. members for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton) and Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) want the Minister to negotiate with them and to give them assurances as to how consolidation will be applied. They said that after the hon. the Minister had said that they were still negotiating with the staff. The hon. member for Turffontein held it against me when I asked them why they were not pleading for the lower-income groups as well. I want to give him the facts. What has happened during the course of this debate, Sir? The hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) and the hon. member for Umhlatuzana and others asked for wage increases for the artisan staff, apart from consolidation. That is the only group in respect of which they have asked for an additional increase.




I have the speech of the hon. member for Wynberg before me and, apart from consolidation, those are the only people to whom he has referred. I have in the past asked, and I ask again: Why should the artisan staff get preference above the rest of the staff? It has always been customary in the past that when concessions are made to the staff such concessions are divided equally amongst the entire staff and one particular section is not selected for those benefits.


That was not what we asked for.


We were asked to pay the artisan staff a certain amount more per hour. In the past when we negotiated with the staff associations, it was a principle to do so through the Federal Consultative Board of those staff associations. We find, however, that last year the Artisan Staff Association approached the Minister and negotiated with him on their own and I can tell hon. members that the other members of the staff are dissatisfied with that because they do not think that that was right. I want to go further and say that the rest of the staff would have been very dissatisfied had the Minister conceded to the demands of the Artisan Staff Association without at the same time doing something for the rest of the staff. It is not merely a question of what the hon. the Minister is prepared to do for the staff. Had that been all, we would all have said: Give as much as you want to. But surely the financial stability of the Railways should be taken into account. The question arises as to what you may allow and what you can give without disrupting the financial stability of the Railways. A concession of over R11,000,000 is being made in one year. This is a big concession which must have an effect even on future budgeting. It is also in the interests of the staff that the finances of the Railways be kept sound and that we do not act injudiciously and unwisely. It is in their interests that no bigger concessions are made than are in the interests of the Railways. The United Party is acting in an irresponsible manner. They lack a sufficient sense of responsibility. If the hon. the Minister did anything wrong and the Railways get into financial difficulties next year they will be the first people to blame the hon. the Minister.

The impression is being created here that the staff has been very badly neglected in the past and in this regard I want to return to the speech of the hon. member for Drakensberg. We have even been told that the staff had made sacrifices for years without having received anything in return. But that is not true, Sir. Not long ago, in 1958-9 concessions to the value of over R14,000,000 were made to the staff. [Interjections.] The hon. member for Turffontein must listen to this. During that year concessions were made to the staff to a value of over R14,000,000, and that is not a century ago. There is a long list, but the hon. member can look it up in the 1960 Hansard where the hon. the Minister replied to a question put by the hon. member for Wynberg. The hon. member will then see that during the régime of this Government more than R100,000,000 has been spent on the Railway staff in wage increases and other improvements in regard to conditions of service. What right have hon. members to say that the Government has not done its duty? The hon. the Minister has made concessions immediately prior to general elections; he has made concessions after general elections. He did not do so with the object of catching votes, as hon. members opposite are so fond of doing with their propaganda.


Give one example.


The hon. member can read the Hansard report himself, I shall give it to him. It is clearly set out there. I do not wish to say anything further about those benefits. I do say in all honesty that this Government and this hon. Minister have done their duty towards the staff and they will continue to do so in future. He has, however, also to keep count with the financial stability of the Railways and that is why he cannot act in a reckless and unwise manner, as hon. members opposite wish him to do. Those hon. members do not mind if there is a crisis in the Railways. They would welcome that because that would once again give them an opportunity of making propaganda. They would welcome another financial crisis in the Railways.

I want to conclude, Sir, by dealing with another argument which members opposite have advanced this year. They complain about tariffs and because the Newtown Commission’s report is not being implemented. It is always necessary for hon. members of the United Party to have some report or other to cling to. This committee reported over 11 years ago. The Railways have undergone vast changes since they conducted their investigations nearly 12 years ago. But for the next 10 or 11 years the United Party will still be clinging to that report. Furthermore, as we have so often said in the past, many of the important recommendations of that report have been carried out. I do not want to go into that but it is well known that many of the important recommendations have been carried out.

Mr. Speaker, this Budget that we have been discussing for days, is a sound Budget which takes all circumstances into account, which does justice to the staff and to the users of the Railways and which ensures that in future the finances of the Railways will remain sound.


I do not think that in the past ten years that I have sat in this House and listened to speeches by members on the Government benches has there ever been an occasion when there has been so little support given by Government members to the interests of the railway workers of South Africa. Neither do I think there has ever been an occasion when there has been such a weak reply given by a Minister of Transport to the legitimate criticisms offered by this side of the House in the interests of railway transportation.

In the closing stages of these discussions, let me give a few examples of the type of interest we have had. The amendment moved by this side of the House to the second reading of this Bill, is an amendment which is moved in the interests of the railway workers of South Africa, and is a sincere effort to make the hon. the Minister see that by his attitude in respect of the consolidation of basic wages, he is prejudicing the income levels of railway workers. Although that amendment is worded in parliamentary language, let me put it in the language of the man in the street, in a so-called colloquialism. What the amendment really is is a message from the Opposition to the many thousands of the railway workers of this country telling them that they should not be suckers and accept what the hon. the Minister has said in this Budget. We have had, for example, the incredible situation where, in a major debate, the first speech of the Opposition benches on this most important amendment is not handled as one would expect by the first major speaker on the Government benches, the Chairman of the Railway Select Committee, the hon. member for Vasco (Mr. C. V. de Villiers). Instead of that we had to listen to a comparatively insignificant member such as the hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) delivering a diatribe on the Railway finances and how he thinks they should be organized. A speech which he practically read from page to page. I am sorry that the hon. member for Heilbron is not here. He should be in this House if he had any interest in railway workers at all, and he should not be at the D. F. Malan Airport to-night. This is the type of observation we had from him, and I noted his words very carefully. He asked “ Has there ever been a Government that has granted such an increase to railway workers?” And he was referring to the R12,000,000 which is being made available for consolidation. But the hon. member for Heilbron was not the only member guilty of such an approach. Even the hon. member for Vasco runs away from our amendment. Not a single hon. member on the Government benches has dealt with the merits of this amendment in this sense: “ Is the railway worker entitled to the payment of overtime benefits such as he has had before and in the same ratio?”


The hon. the Minister handled that aspect.


The hon. member says that the Minister has handled it already. Let me remind the hon. member that the speech he has just made should properly have been made when we were discussing the motion to go into Committee of Supply, and not on this occasion. That was also handled by the hon. the Minister. But perhaps the hon. member for Vasco thought he could give a better reply than that of the hon. the Minister of Transport. The hon. member for Vasco is looking uncomfortable and cross, but let me give the facts to the railway workers of this country. The hon. member quoted page 16 …


No I did not.


A minute ago the hon. member referred to the increase in 1959 of some R14,000,000.


I quoted from Hansard.


The hon. member then obviously supports me in my contention which I made earlier to the effect that the White Paper was nothing more than a propaganda bluff by the hon. the Minister, because he himself does not want to quote the figures listed in the White Paper. But what are the facts? In answer to the statement made by the hon. member for Heilbron that the railway men have never had such benefits in their lives as they are now getting from this R12,000,000 in terms of pay consolidation, let me say this: quite clearly they are not taking any increased pay packet home. That is the first point. I took the trouble to look these things up because one or two other hon. members made the same contention as the hon. member for Heilbron during Committee of Supply. These are the facts. Under the United Party Government, in 1944-6 there were two increases granted to railway workers. There was an increase of 10 per cent in the tariffs in both of those years, and in terms of the Auditor-General’s report for 1946 there is confirmation of the fact that out of the increased revenues of that time, of some R45,000,000, the railway workers received R44,000,000 of the surplus for that year. R44,000,000 was given back to the railway workers by a United Party Government running the Railway. A United Party Minister of Railways showed a surplus of R45,000,000 and paid R44,000,000 to the railway workers. What are the facts now? In the past two years 1959 and 1960, we have seen a gross surplus of some R35,000,000 of which the railway men received a measly R8,000.


In what year was this surplus of R45,000,000?


In 1946. But when the Nationalist Government took over a couple of years later there were further surpluses declared but the railway workers received none of it at that particular time.

There are many examples, Mr. Speaker, of complete evasive tactics adopted during these discussions by Government members, and I want to give one perfect example of that. During my speech on the Railway Budget debate I referred to certain statements that were made by the retired General Manager of the Railways. I referred the hon. the Minister to a statement reported in the Press to the effect that the then General Manager had stated that in order to have adequate reserve funds in the Railways he considered that the Reserve Fund should be built up to a sum in the vicinity of R200,000,000. In his reply the hon. the Minister indicated that that statement made by the General Manager had been corrected in the Press. Now I do not want to do the ex-General Manager any injustice. The hon. the Minister was kind enough to show me that correction and I accept it. But in his reply to the Budget debate the hon. the Minister used that in order to avoid the very point which I put to him, because that statement made by the then General Manager, in September of last year, was a statement made to the Handelsinstituut. When one reads that statement in toto, the impression was clearly given by the then General Manager that he considered that adequate reserves had to be built up. He referred, for example, and I quote—

These included the strengthening of the Renewal and Improvement Funds which needed about £12,500,000 in September to defray the heavy interest burden on the loan programme.

The whole implication of that speech was that these reserve funds should be built up to adequate figures. I asked the hon. the Minister a direct question about this, but he used avoiding tactics in his reply. Let me quote from my Hansard—

Does the Minister agree with this amount of R200,000,000 … should be a target for an adequate reserve to ensure that we have stabilized reserves as far as the Railway Administration is concerned?

But the Minister ran away from that issue and gave no reply. I went further and quoted to the hon. the Minister another statement made by the then General Manager, and I will quote it now—

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

And I asked the Minister whether he agreed with that statement. I went further and I quote from my Hansard, and I would like to know what the Minister’s reaction is. I said this—

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.

But the hon. the Minister chose to ignore those particularly direct questions I put to him; questions which have never ceased to be the concern of organized commerce and industry since those statements were made.

I now ask the hon. the Minister whether, in his reply to this debate to-night he will give a clear statement of policy in respect of those particular observations? Is the development and the future expansion of commerce and industry in this country going to be entirely dependent upon the capital requirements of the Railway Administration?


I don’t understand what you mean by that.


Then the hon. the Minister does not understand his own General Manager. Must I quote it again?


Yes, please.


The General Manager said this—

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

If anything is clear that is. The hon. the Minister says he still does not understand, so that he must have misunderstood the General Manager at that time.

Now let me give this House a more important example. In my speech on the Railway Budget debate I referred to a statement made by the hon. the Minister when he met the Federal Consultative Council of Staff Organizations in September last year. The Minister stated to this representative gathering of railway workers that more than 17,000 posts on the Railways had been abolished, and of these 3,745 were filled by Europeans. He said —“the saving has been brought about by not filling vacancies as these occurred ”. Now the hon. the Minister has not denied this statement because I referred to it again in Committee and in an interjection the Minister said to me “ Over what period of time were these posts abolished?” Well, since those discussions I have had an opportunity of looking up the respective figures since the first year in which this hon. Minister was in his present office, and I find an extraordinary situation. I say to the hon. the Minister, as I said it in my earlier speech, that the hon. the Minister was misleading the railway workers. He was creating a false impression. In fact by this statement he was creating the impression that he was holding an axe over the heads of the railway workers and that wholesale axing was going to take place. He put fear into these railway men. And let me show why. In no single instance since 1956—and I take that date as being the completion of the first full year in office of this Minister—when I look at the figures of staff establishment as shown in the Auditor-General’s report and the General Manager’s report, I find that at no time has there been a decline in the total staff establishment of the Railway Administration anywhere near the figure 17,000.

I asked the hon. the Minister a direct question: How did he arrive at that figure? Because in the Budget figures of this year the hon. the Minister quoted a total staff establishment of 318,000 in 1960, and in March of this year he said that that figure had declined to 214,000. Let me give this House the exact figures. I assume that the figures quoted in the General Manager’s report are correct. In 1956 there was a total staff establishment of 221,775, of which 107,341 were White workers and 114,434 were non-European workers. Then, on the figures quoted by the hon. the Minister for 1960, the establishment was 218,992, of which 109,966 were White workers and 108,026 were non-White workers. Mr. Speaker, one sometimes feels that the hon. the Minister of Transport has no interest whatsoever in any observations made by this side of the House, because he is continually in consultation or having discussions with the Whips on the Government benches. What do these figures reveal? They show that between 1956 and 1960 there was a decline in the total complement of workers on the Railways, White and non-White, of something like 4,000 only in round figures. But the interesting thing about these figures is that whereas the non-White staff complement declined by some 6,000, the White staff complement in actual fact increased by some 2,000. I have tried to reconcile these figures, and I have also looked at the General Manager’s report for 1960. We find that there is a decline between the total staff complement of 1959 to March 1960. But there is no decline so far as non-White workers are concerned. The decline of nearly 4,000 workers is purely White workers, and those are not White workers employed on construction work or anything of that nature, they are White workers employed in the running of the Railways. It might have been a legitimate argument had we been told that as the capital development programme reaches completion there is a necessity to retrench temporary or casual workers. But that is not the position. These sackings have taken place amongst the workers concerned with the running of the Railways. The figures in table 41 where the table is given showing the breakdown of staff personnel employed in the Railways show that perfectly. I quote the exact figures on page 230 of the General Manager’s report, table 41 where it states that at March 1959 the number of workers employed on the Railways open lines—not construction work but the actual running of the Railways—was 102,140; by March 1960 that figure had declined to 99,151, which is certainly not commensurate with the decline of White workers employed on the construction works of the Railways.

One therefore asks oneself how it is possible that this can come about. The Minister does not deny that he went to such an important body as the Federal Consultative Council of Staff Associations and made the clear-cut statement that there had been a total reduction of some 17,000 in the establishment of the Railway Administration. I repeat, at no time in the period of office of this hon. Minister has there been any decline of any such proportion as far as the staff complement of the Railway Administration is concerned.

I have raised this matter because it has this significance: we were concerned and we are concerned about the future employment policy of the Railway Administration. We are concerned about their policy with regard to the employment of White workers on the Railways. The men who are most unfortunate in the Railway Administration are those who are classed as rail workers, and those are the men who are concerned here. What is the position in respect of the rail workers? In 1956 there were 13,208 rail workers employed by the Railway Administration. In 1960 there were 11,949, a decline of something like 1,200 workers. I raise the issue for this reason, that in the past we have had certain statements made by this hon. Minister and by his predecessor in respect of the interests of these lower paid and unskilled White workers, dealing with the policy of employment adopted by the Railway Administration. I can assure the hon. the Minister that the figures I have quoted are correct, if we are able to accept the veracity of the statements made in the reports of the General Manager and the Auditor-General. May I direct the attention of the hon. the Minister to a statement made by his predecessor in 1954 in his Railway Budget speech when he said this—

In the past the Administration has relied very largely on the rail worker group as a reservoir from which vacancies in graded positions can be filled. That group in itself is diminishing in numbers, consequently as our rail workers advance to the more skilled and higher paid occupations in the service, it is growing almost impossible to replace them.

Then the hon. the Minister went on and said this—-

If we do not solve our staff difficulties all the capital improvements will mean nothing and our railways will not work.

I want to ask the hon. the Minister this: Because of the narrowing gap between the employment of non-White workers and White rail workers in the lower paid occupations, what is the Minister’s policy with regard to the raising of the level of this class of worker? Is he to be given an opportunity to train for higher grades? Is he being given an opportunity to raise his income level in that he can be employed in some semi-skilled capacity?


Who, the non-European or the European?


I am talking about the White rail workers. It is clear that in respect of this class of worker, which probably comprises the lowest income group level as far as White workers are concerned in the Railways, this is a diminishing pool of labour upon which the Railways can draw. The figures clearly indicate a decline from year to year. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister if the income levels of these men are to be raised, are they being given the opportunity to train for higher posts and get jobs in which their income will be commensurate with their standards of living? And if that is to happen what is to replace the labour pool? We have had a statement from the hon. the Minister in the past in respect of the employment of non-Whites in semi-operative and semi-skilled jobs. Will it now be the policy of the Administration that non-Whites may undertake this type of employment at a lower level? Hon. members on the Government benches cannot run away from this fact, that the income gap between the semi-skilled non-White worker and the unskilled White worker is narrowing, but the White worker still has to maintain a considerably higher standard of living than the non-White worker. [Interjections.] You see, Sir, the sort of inane interjection one gets from the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) indicates the limits of his knowledge of Railway matters and his lack of interest in the railway workers. I have never yet heard a positive contribution from the hon. member as far as the railway workers are concerned. But I raise the issue because it is a matter of considerable concern to many thousands of railwaymen, and that is why I ask the Minister again what is his employment policy in regard to White workers? It is no use talking about millions of pounds of capital development, of centralized traffic control and new types of coaches and diesel trucks, because in the end it is the efforts of the workers which decide whether the transportation system is going to run efficiently or not, and if the staff is discontented and if there is a feeling of uncertainty in regard to their future and their security, whatever the Government may do in regard to capital development and technical improvements will be of no effect. That is why the amendment moved by this side of the House is of such importance. The Minister has perpetually throughout the whole of these discussions run away from the principle that has been stated by this side of the House, and it is a principle which is accepted in every single industrial agreement throughout the country, that where the worker is concerned, and the daily paid and the weekly paid man, if it is demanded that he should work over and above the statutory hours laid down, he should get additional compensation. This is an established principle that has operated for years, but the Minister is seeking to overthrow it and he says we must not discuss it here because it will embarrass him, and we are not working in the interest of the railway workers by discussing it. But what security has the railway worker other than this House, where their interests can be protected by free and open discussions? Parliament gives security to any State official or railway worker because it is in Parliament that his interests are considered and weighed in the balance, and it must be clear now to the workers that there are efforts being made by the Minister and the Government in order to overcome their financial difficulties to take it out of the pockets of the railway workers.




It is no use the hon. member saying it is nonsense. He made a political gamble in 1958 when he said he would not give an increase. The fact cannot be escaped that here a definite effort is being made by the Minister to strip the interest of the railway workers, to exploit their interest, to come to the stage of sweated labour and hold threats of dismissals over their heads by the introduction of improved methods, but it is no use the Minister rising again and saying: You are simply embarrassing us; I am carrying on negotiations with the railwaymen which are not finalized yet. The fact is that we do not know what the final conditions will be, but one thing stands out clearly, that as far as maintaining the interests of the railwaymen and the exploitation of labour is concerned, you have it in the proposition placed before us by the Minister, and I hope that when the opportunity occurs the railway-men will say to him: No longer are we prepared to be exploited; no longer are we prepared to have our Nationalist sympathies exploited and treated as suckers in the interest of the Nationalist Government.


Mr. Speaker, I do not want to react to what the hon. member for Turffontein has said. The Opposition has referred to the consequences of the Union leaving the Commonwealth, and in that regard asked what the position would be in regard to our Railway finances. I just want to say that our strategic position and our sources of raw materials are strong enough to allow us, after leaving the Commonwealth, to maintain the same position as we did before. We have plenty of goods for export and the world needs our goods, but certain countries need a little more honesty and less hypocrisy and falseness, and I think we should also export a little of those things.

In discussing the Budget, one would have expected the Opposition to confine itself to certain principles of policy, the financial structure, the conditions of work of the workers, traffic control, the carrying capacity of the Railways, etc. All that has been exhaustively discussed in the debate and I do not wish to repeat it. I just want to state certain problems and principles of policy affecting the Railways. I want to commence in the first instance with the composition of our Railways. I think that administratively and in regard to his policy our Railways is probably unique in the world, and it is subject to one centralized control, under one Minister. I say there is integration between the three sections, the Railways, road transportation and air traffic, and as a result of this integration we have the elimination of many problems with which other railways systems in the world are faced. I plead for the maintenance of our existing system on the basis of the following facts: Firstly, because as the result of this integration and close co-operation and the centralized control, the competition between road transportation and rail transport is controlled to a large extent. When we consider what tremendous competition there is in a country like Britain between road transportation and rail transport we realize what terrific problems are created by this competition for rail transport. We find, e.g., that the Railway Conversion League in Britain submitted suggestions to the British Transport Commission and said that the Railways in Britain should practically be abolished, and they made out a case for the expansion of road transportation, and they proved by statistics how undesirable it was to allow rail transport to be the dominating partner in the transportation system any longer.


On a point of order, is an hon. member entitled to listen in to the radio in this House?


The hon. member may continue.


On a point of order, would you instruct the hon. member for Rustenburg (Mr. Bootha) to stop listening in?


Is the hon. member listening in?


Not at the moment.


I can understand it because the speaker is so boring.


I say that the system of control, the policy of centralized control and of controlled competition which is being applied, in many respects keeps our cost structure very low. We find, e.g., that this low cost structure enables our Airways to compete favourably with overseas airlines. I wish to refer to a second matter. As the result of this, and unlike anywhere else in the world, our Railways is still the dominating partner in the transportation system in our country. In the beginning of the nineteenth century, as the result of the absence of this system, the British Railways was still the dominating partner in the transport system there, but to-day the ratio between road transportation and rail transport is 5£ to 1. That means that the capital investment in our Railways constitutes no problem to us. During the Budget debate I indicated that our capital investment is really a field of investment for the State, and that the capital borrowed by the Railways from the State is really an investment by the State as the result of which the Railways earn interest for the State and is a source of revenue to the State. In that way the State enables the Railways to play an active role in the production processes of the State, and by means of the various funds the Railways has established reserves in which these funds can be invested. Therefore we have no such problem as exists in Britain and elsewhere, that the Railways are burdened with too much capital investment as the result of the increased competition from road transportation.

The next matter is that the capital investment in our Railways is not coupled with the problem of competing with increasing road transportation. In Britain, e.g., as the result of the absence of centralized control the main roads are controlled by no fewer than 1,250 different authorities and that results in confusion and unnecessary competition, and forces the British Railways to incur tremendous capital expenditure. It is estimated that the British Railways will annually have to make an extra capital investment of £350,000,000 in order to cope with the increased competition by road transportation. The South African Railways, in spite of a dynamic economic system in which times have changed and new technical developments have come about which have made equipment and certain practices obsolete, have kept pace. We are reminded of the various efficiency measures which were applied, like the electrification programme, the dieselizing programme, the programme for doubling of the lines and the improved system of control and the elimination of uneconomic practices. In South Africa, more than in any other country, the Railways is faced with the problem of not being able to utilize its equipment to the full because the traffic offered cannot absolutely be regulated according to plan; it varies from time to time because it is subject to many factors. The fact that the Railways, without a State subsidy and standing on its own feet, could cope with the problem of the fluctuation in the traffic offered and the fluctuation in weights and the classes of goods offered for transportation, and the total absence of homogeneous traffic offered—that in spite of that, coupled with long distances, a sparse population and the peculiar character of our transportation problems, the Railways could keep its head above water, is due to our system of centralized control of transportation. If we take into consideration that in the past 25 years our cultivated soil has increased in volume by 86 per cent, that our horticultural production has increased by 135 per cent, and that cattle breeding has increased by 71 per cent and that our population has increased by 50 per cent, and we take that as the background against which to view the increased work of the Railways, and we take into consideration the small percentage of the population who have to bear that capital burden, it speaks volumes of praise for our Railway system and the success the Railway Administration achieved in solving those problems.


Thank the Minister now.


Hold your tongue! I want to say this in regard to our workers …


On a point of order, is it permissible for an hon. member to say “ Hold your tongue ”?


I have already told hon. members to address each other through the Chair.


I want to reply to the arguments used by hon. members opposite. There are no signs of an election yet. I do not know whether we will have an election, so hon. members’ plea is somewhat misplaced, but I want to pose this question. I know of no country in the world where there was such a total absence of strikes amongst railway workers as in South Africa. But I want to say further that I know of no country in the world where there was such splendid co-operation between the Administration and the Minister and his workers as we have had in South Africa during the past year. Therefore our financial structure, the control of the Railways, our financial control, our parliamentary control, the auditing of the accounts of the Railways, the fact that we can pay all our debts, the fact that the Railways has kept pace with developments, proves to me that our policy is correct. Contrary to what was suggested by the hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw), that there should be separation and that we should separate Airways from the Railways, I want to say no, I advocate the maintenance of our existing system of control under one Minister in order to enable us to cope with our problems in future as we did in the past, and the main reason for that success, apart from the effective administrative measures and control, lies in the system in terms of which the Railways is controlled.


On a point of explanation—I discussed it with Mr. Speaker—I find that on referring to my notes when I quoted certain figures about the Budget speech, I used the word “ surplus ” instead of the word “ revenue ” in referring to the excesses in the years 1944-6. My colleagues advise me that I used the word “surpluses”, but I intended to use the word “ revenue ”. If I may quote the figures again, I said that increased revenues of £22,500,000 and wage increases in those years exceeded this amount by the sum of £22,800,000. I just want to correct it.


Mr. Speaker, in the few minutes left before the time that this debate expires, there is just one point to which I would like to reply in regard to what was said by the hon. member for Bloemfontein (East) (Mr. van Rensburg) in connection with the views of this side of the House on collective bargaining. The hon. member said that in introducing an amendment of this sort we were interfering with the old principle of collective bargaining, that is employees on the one hand, the Minister on the other. I think the point we have to make here is this, that the employees are represented by their various staff associations, but who is the employer? Is it the Minister or the State? If it is the Minister, then the remarks made by the hon. member for Bloemfontein (East) is correct, but if it is the State, who represents the State? Are we not as Members of Parliament the employers of the railwaymen? Is it not our function to say to our representative, who happens to be the Minister of Transport, that we as the employers are not satisfied with the decision of the Minister?

On the conclusion of the period of four hours allotted for the second reading of the Bill, the business under consideration was interrupted by Mr. Speaker in accordance with Standing Order No. 105.


The hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) is getting a reputation as the prophet of doom. The hon. member usually makes the most dire predictions of what the future holds in store for us. It has become quite a habit and a very bad habit, because he always proves to be wrong.


I predict a happy future for you.


In 1958 the hon. member predicted a deficit of £10,000,000.


No, I did not.


I have a cutting of his speech and I will show it to the hon. member. I quoted it in the House last year, but that year ended with a surplus of £8,000,000. Last year the hon. member was also a prophet of doom; the reserve funds would never be rehabilitated, the staff would never receive any benefits, and as a matter of fact, when the Budget was under discussion the hon. member was even dissatisfied with the fact that there was a surplus; he said the books were manipulated and there was really a deficit. As I say, he has become a prophet of doom and he has always been proved to be wrong. This afternoon again he was a prophet of doom when he spoke about the cataclysm and what was going to happen to South Africa because we are no longer a member of the Commonwealth. He tried to paint a very dark and dreary picture of our future, and to support his contention he referred to what happened on the Stock Exchange. Well, there was a downward move in the price of shares on the Stock Exchange on Wednesday, only in the morning, but in the afternoon the market rallied again. I have taken the trouble to compare some of yesterday’s prices with those of 1958, and I find that a number of gold shares are higher than they were in 1958. I challenge any hon. member to disprove that. I will give them the names of shares. Shares such as Western Holdings and Free State Geduld, are actually higher than they were in 1958 and they are rising. But that is by the way. I would like to debate this matter with the hon. member, but I know the rules of the House will not allow me to do so. I only want to tell the hon. member for Wynberg that he has shown that he has very little confidence in his own country. [Interjections.]

Sir, there is very little to reply to. The hon. members managed to get hold of one thing where they thought they would get some support from the railwaymen, namely this question of consolidation. I must say at the outset that it is the easiest thing in the world when you are in the Opposition and have no responsibility to make the most extravagant demands on behalf of the staff. The Opposition can make the most extravagant demands because they know they have no responsibility, and this Opposition particularly knows they will never be placed in an opportunity to implement the promises they make. But the workers know precisely what value to attach to those promises and this touching concern for their welfare that hon. members of the Opposition are revealing. The railwaymen know that the United Party have been in office before and they are under no delusions as to what to expect if the United Party ever happens to come into office again. But that is one of those possibilities which is so improbable that one cannot even take it seriously. Now, in regard to consolidation and the amendment moved, the Opposition takes very strong exception to the fact that there will be a change in the rate of overtime payment, but what hon. members do not realize is this, that I have not forced anything on the staff organizations; they took the initiative; that this suggestion originated with the staff organizations without any pressure from my side. In fact, I was surprised that the staff organizations were prepared to make this concession. They were so anxious to obtain full consolidation. The staff organizations realized that if this concession was not made, full consolidation would be out of the question because it would be financially impossible. These staff organizations which hon. members opposite are doing their best to undermine …


That is not true.


It is true, and I will prove it. These organizations are the following: There is the Salaried Staff Organization, the Locomotive Engineers Association, the Running Staff Union, the Artisan Staff Association, the Employees Staff Union, Spoorbond and the Police Staff Organization. I do not know what politics the leaders of these organizations favour, but they are responsible organizations representing 80 per cent to 85 per cent of the White staff, and these staff organizations took the initiative and they made the suggestion in regard to the payment of overtime so that full consolidation could take place.


All of them?


Yes, all of them, without exception.


But one section was not represented.


That makes no difference. That section also made suggestions.


That is difficult to believe.


Is the hon. member suggesting that I am not telling the truth?


Order! Will the hon. member withdraw that remark?


I withdraw.


Now surely these staff organizations, whose leaders are men with a high sense of responsibility, are capable of looking after the interests of their members. I am quite convinced that the leaders of these organizations will certainly not thank the Opposition for doing their utmost to undermine their authority and to create distrust among their members. They have done nothing else during this debate and the previous one than to sow suspicion amongst the members of the staff associations and to create the impression that those leaders of the staff actually misled their members. Hon. members opposite have done nothing else but to try to create dissatisfaction amongst members of the staff.


That is not true.


It is the truth. The whole tenor of the arguments of those hon. members was to sow distrust and dissatisfaction amongst the members of the staff. [Interjections.] Sir, the whole tenor of this debate was nothing else but the creation of distrust and dissatisfaction and suspicion amongst the members of the staff. The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) said this. Now remember that this is a suggestion which came from the staff organizations and not from me in regard to the payment of overtime and Sunday time, but the hon. member for Turffontein had the impudence to say this—

Railwaymen must not be suckers to accept what the Minister offers them.

He was referring to this consolidation that they asked for, and he was just trying to sow suspicion. I am very pleased that the staff organizations through their leaders can see how much they can depend on the Opposition to maintain their authority and leadership. They realize now that these hon. members, in their efforts to catch the votes of the railwaymen, are quite prepared to sacrifice the leaders of the staff associations, and that now stands on record. I want to say categorically that more has been done for the staff during the last 6y years than during any comparable period in the history of the Railways by way of the improvement of working conditions, the position of housing, increases in wages and salaries, etc. That is the position and the staff know that. That is why I have received the support and the cooperation of all the railwaymen whatever their political affiliations might have been during the past years. Even during the most difficult time in 1954 I had the support and the co-operation of all the railwaymen irrespective of their political views, and I still have that support to-day and I have that co-operation to-day. The staff is thankful for this consolidation. I have received numerous telegrams from different parts of the country thanking me for having decided to consolidate the full cost-of-living allowance, in spite of the fact that the staff was prepared to make certain concessions in regard to Sunday time and overtime. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, the staff know that they have a sympathetic Minister who has in the past and will in the future look after their interests. So much as far as consolidation and the staff are concerned.


May I ask the hon. the Minister a question? When the Minister made his Budget statement, he said that certain sections of the staff were willing to accept the proposition in respect of overtime rate. What did he mean by “ certain sections ”?


I meant this: All sections of the staff do not work overtime and all sections of the staff do not work Sunday-time. It is only a small minority of the staff that is actually concerned with overtime. Is that clear?


It is misleading.


It is not misleading. If the hon. member knew anything about railway working he would have known that and it would not have been necessary for me to tell him.

*The hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) spoke about encouraging border industries. He suggested that we should make certain concessions in regard to tariffs. He is not here to-night unfortunately, but I promised to reply in his absence.


Where is he?


Where you also are.


Where they ought to be. My reply is that we cannot have any tariff manipulation. Encouragement will in fact be given to industries which establish their factories on the borders, but that encouragement will have to take another form. If it were to be decided to grant them a reduction in tariffs so that they can be in a competitive position vis-à-vis similar industries which are near to their markets, the Central Government will have to assume responsibility for it by way of a subsidy, and I think the hon. member agrees with that. He also referred to the difference in the tariffs on manufactured articles and those on raw materials. That is so. There are certain industries which are affected by it, e.g. industries which if they are established near the source of their raw materials have to pay such a high tariff on the manufactured article that they find it difficult to compete with other industries which are near their markets. It is, however, applicable only in exceptional cases and railway tariffs cannot be manipulated in such a way as to make concessions to each individual industry because it is established in a particular place. It will also be very unjust towards industries which have already been established near to their markets if another industry which is now established near the source of its raw material is to enjoy a lower tariff on its manufactured article. That would lead to unfair competition and therefore we cannot manipulate tariffs in this way.

The hon. member for Lichtenburg (Mr. M. C. van Niekerk) spoke about a rail link between Mafeking and Lichtenburg. This matter has repeatedly been investigated in the past, but it would be quite uneconomic to build that link. There is no industrial or mining development in that area, and the only traffic available will be agricultural products. After having investigated the matter in the past, it was found that the volume of traffic which would be available for transport over that connecting line would not be enough to pay the interest on the capital costs involved in building the line. Therefore I am afraid there is no hope that such a connecting line will be built in the immediate future.

In regard to the grain elevator at East London, I agree with the hon. member that it is very desirable that an elevator should be built there. It will facilitate the export of maize, and as he says, it is possible that it will also reduce the production costs of the farmer, because the ships will be able to be loaded so much faster when grain is loaded en masse instead of in bags. At the moment negotiations are in progress with the Department of Agriculture. I have informed the Department of Agriculture that I am prepared to build that grain elevator subject to certain conditions. That is still being considered and I have not received their reply yet.

The station building at Lichtenburg will not be able to be built this year. I do not know whether it will receive attention next year; it depends on what position it takes on the priority list. I shall ask the Management to go into the matter. Nor will the houses at Coligny be built at present. In comparison with other places, Coligny is still reasonably well off in so far as housing is concerned.

The hon. member for Berea (Mr. Butcher) spoke about shipping. It was really a pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to listen to an hon. member who has made a thorough study of his subject. The hon. member’s approach is quite different from the approach of the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell). The approach of the hon. member for Berea was one of optimism and faith in the future of South Africa which was just the reverse of the approach of the hon. member for Wynberg. The hon. member spoke about the development of the shipbuilding industry. I think the hon. member realizes that I cannot establish a shipbuilding industry; all I can do is to provide the necessary facilities. I think he should make the same speech when the Vote of my colleague, the hon. Minister of Economic Affairs, comes up for discussion, in regard to Government assistance and one thing and another. I can only give him this assurance that if the demand is there I will consider providing the facilities but you cannot very well provide facilities when there is no demand for such facilities. I know there are overseas firms interested in establishing shipbuilding yards in Durban. I have already had consultations with them. They want to do so in collaboration with a local engineering firm in Durban. I was very sympathetic and that particular firm is considering the matter as to whether they should establish a large shipbuilding industry in South Africa. I give them every encouragement and I agree with the hon. member that it is important and in the interests of South Africa that the shipbuilding industry should be developed in this country.

The hon. member for Drakensberg (Mrs. S. M. van Niekerk) had certain complaints. Sir, I really do not know what reply to give to the hon. member. She has received a little information here and there from people and from workers and my advice to her is this: Tell those railwaymen that they have excellent staff associations which will cater for their interests, and that those staff associations will do much more than the hon. member will ever be able to do, because they know the conditions and they know their people and they are there to look after the interests of their members. They do so very effectively, and they also know much more about these matters than the hon. member. I do not blame the hon. member for Drakensberg; she simply received a memorandum setting out these matters, and to someone who does not know precisely what is going on it is absolute Greek. But if the hon. member were to ask them to work through their staff associations, or if they cannot work through the staff associations, through the ordinary official channels of the Railways, they will achieve much more than by having these matters discussed over the floor of the House. This is very sound advice.


That will be the day!


The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) accused me of using evasive tactics in my reply. I do not think that I used evasive tactics. The trouble is, Sir, that that hon. member speaks such unutterable nonsense on occasions that one simply cannot reply to him. I do not think any other hon. member has ever accused me of trying to evade an issue. I am always only too pleased to reply if there is any sense in an argument. When the hon. member uses some common sense and makes good points I have always been and still am prepared to reply to him. Let me give you an example of the type of argument he advances, Sir. The hon. member spoke about the surplus of R45,000,000 and the R44,000,000 which the staff received. He realized that those figures were quite wrong, so he corrected himself and said that he had meant revenue. But even if he talks about a revenue of R45,000,000 that is still wrong. Here I have the report of the Auditor-General from which he is always so keen to quote. This is the report for 1944-5. The total earnings for that year in round figures were £58,000,000 for the following year, 1945-6, in round figures, it was £64,000,000, an increase of £6,000,000, and not £22,500,000 or R45,000,000 as the hon. member said. This is according to the Auditor-General’s report; so even those figures of his were wrong. And where did the hon. member get the figure of R44,000,000 from which he said the staff received? Figures in the hands of that hon. member, Sir, become very dangerous. I said on a previous occasion that figures cannot lie and the hon. member knows the rest.

The hon. member wanted to know whether I agreed with the General Manager that R200,000,000 was adequate for the Rates Equalization Fund.


No, I did not say that.


What did the hon. member say; I do not want to misquote him.


The hon. the Minister will recall I apologized for the fact that I had not noticed the correction. Then I put the direct question to the Minister as to what he considered was a satisfactory figure at which the Reserve Funds should stand. I asked him whether he considered that R200,000,000 would be a satisfactory figure.


Mr. Speaker, if it was practicable to build the Rates Equalization Fund up to a credit balance of R200,000,000 it would be a very good thing but it is quite impracticable. It is quite impracticable even to attempt to build up the Rates Equalization Fund to a credit balance of R200,000,000. It would require an annual appropriation over a number of years of a very large amount and on the understanding that there will not be any deficits during that whole period otherwise the fund would become depleted again.


I was not speaking about the Tariff Reserve Fund.


I am speaking about the Rates Equalization. That was the fund which the hon. member mentioned originally and when he quoted what the General Manager had said. I am coming to the general reserve funds. He wanted to know what I would consider an adequate amount in the Rates Equalization Fund.


I never mentioned the Tariff Reserve Fund.


There is no question of building up the Renewals Fund; depreciation is on a fixed scale and depreciation is not made by way of appropriation but only one section of it, namely the Higher Replacement Cost section—that is strengthened by way of appropriation. As soon as the debit balance of about R18,000,000 is wiped out and the appropriation is sufficient every year to cover the expenditure for the ensuing year that would be quite adequate. There is no purpose in building up a reserve in that Fund; it is simply not done. You do not build up a reserve in a Betterment Fund. You appropriate sufficient money for the ensuing year’s expenditure. I explained in my reply to the Budget debate that we never build up on the basis of future commitments. I do not see the purpose of the hon. member’s question. There is only one fund that can be built up and that is the Rates Equalization Fund, not the other funds, and if the Rates Equalization Fund can be built up to £20,000,000 I shall be perfectly happy. But whether it can reach that without making a fixed contribution, is impossible for me to say; it all depends on the finances of the Railways.


Did you say £20,000,000?


Yes— R40,000,000. I will be quite happy if we can build it up to that but that all depends on the finances.

The hon. member also said that not until such time as the Funds had been stablized should any concessions be made to commerce, industry and agriculture. That was the allegation he made.


The General Manager said that.


He said that and I agree with him. I am not prepared to make any concessions until such time as the debit balance in the Renewals Fund has been paid off, until the loan that is still outstanding in the Betterment Fund has been repaid and until I have an adequate reserve in the Rates Equalization Fund. That is quite right and I agree with the General Manager.

Then the hon. member also juggled with figures in regard to the staff position. What he hopes to gain by that nobody knows. These figures are easily obtainable. I can give the hon. member the figures in respect of the staff complement since 1948. In 1957 the staff in the Railway service numbered 234,000 in round figures and in 1960, 217,000 in round figures. That is a difference of just under 17,000, but that was the actual staff in service apart from posts which were vacant but not filled and abolished. That was how I arrived at the figure of 17,000. The hon. member spoke about the 4,000 White workers that had been “ sacked ”. I do not know what kind of businessman the hon. member is. Does he really expect, in spite of increased efficiency, in spite of mechanization, the staff complement to remain the same? What on earth is the use or raising productivity, what is the use of increasing efficiency, of introducing mechanization if we have to retain the same number of staff to do that work? If he asks any businessman on his side of the House he will tell him that that is just absolute nonsense. That is the purpose of raising the efficiency of the staff, but these men on the fixed establishment have not been paid off or “ sacked ” as the hon. member put it. It was only when vacancies occurred that we did not fill them. In the case of the casual workers we dispensed with the services of a number of them.

Then the hon. member also wanted to know what opportunity was given to rail-workers to improve their position. Every opportunity is given to railworkers to do so. Every encouragement is given to them to accept graded positions. As a matter of fact, a few years ago I appointed a special committee to contact the rail-workers, to make the necessary inquiries and to try to persuade them to accept graded positions but unfortunately the response was very disappointing. The overwhelming number of them prefer to remain railworkers, they do not want promotion to graded positions. We actually offered semi-skilled positions in Bloemfontein with housing facilities to a number of rail-workers in the Western Province but they refused those positions; they did not want to go away. They all have the opportunity to improve their position. Those who are fit and who have the necessary qualifications have the opportunity of being promoted to graded positions. It is entirely up to them. Those who are unfit and who lack the necessary qualifications will probably remain rail-workers. I am afraid that as a result of the concession that I have made, namely consolidation, which will result in an increase of up to 60 per cent in their pensions, the inducement to accept graded positions will be less than it was previously.


How do you replace the shortfall?


By Natives, of course, if we cannot get the White men. We have about 14,000 Bantu doing unskilled work to-day. Obviously if you cannot get the White men to do unskilled work you employ Natives. As a matter of fact, I would like to see all those European workers do semi-skilled work and allow the Bantu to do the unskilled work.

Question put: That all the words after “ That ”, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion.

Upon which the House divided:

Ayes—52: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; du Plessis, P. W.; Fouché, J. J. (Jr.); Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Heystek, J.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotzé, S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, A. I.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A, F.; Niemand, F. J.; Rall, J. J.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Niekerk, M. C.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Visse, J. H.; Wentzel, J. J.

Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. von S. von Moltke.

Noes—31: Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Connan, J. M.; de Kock, H. C.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Holland, M. W.; Lawrence, H. G.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Miller, H.; Moore, P. A.; Plewman, R. P.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steytler, J. van A.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; van Niekerk, S. M.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Williams, T. O.

Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.

Question affirmed and the amendment dropped.

Motion accordingly agreed to and Bill read a second time.

House in Committee:

Clauses, Schedules and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.

House Resumed:

Bill reported without amendment.

Bill to be read a third time on 21 March.

The House adjourned at 10.17 p.m.