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.