House of Assembly: Vol107 - WEDNESDAY 29 MARCH 1961
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for House to go into Committee of Supply and into Committee of Ways and Means (on taxation proposals) to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Minister of Finance, upon which amendments had been moved by Mr. Waterson and by Mr. Williams, adjourned on 28 March, resumed.]
Mr. Speaker, I hope you will not take it amiss if I also make some brief reference in the course of this debate to the Budget and to financial matters. [Laughter.] There has been even less financial criticism in this debate than we had in the past few years. In previous debates financial criticism was as scarce as roses in the month of July. This year, however, one has had the greatest difficulty in finding the needle in the haystack. But for the fact that we recently acquired an electronic microscope we would have had great difficulty in finding and dealing with points of financial criticism of this Budget. I imagine that hon. members on the other side must be very grateful for the diversion provided by the constitutional happenings of the past month. I daresay it was as welcome to them as rain in the Kalahari. However, there were a few points of financial criticism, or what was supposed to be criticism, with which I should like to deal.
Let me say first of all that in two respects this debate followed the old pattern as far as the Opposition is concerned; that is to say, it had two characteristics, to which we have become accustomed. The first is that hon. members on the other side represent our economy in as weak a light as possible this year and then come along next year and criticize the Minister for having been too pessimistic, for having underestimated, because, involuntarily perhaps, he heeded their pessimistic prognostications, and that is held against him then! We have heard here from the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) “ that the worst is still to come ”. He talked about South Africa as the “ sick man of Africa ”. He rolled his tongue around that phrase as though it was a sweet wine!
The second characteristic is that hon. members on the other side, as on previous occasions, again emphasized all the unfavourable factors as far as our economy is concerned and suppressed all those factors which give us reason for confidence and which give the outside world reason for confidence, and then went on to complain that we were not enjoying the confidence we ought to enjoy. But to a large extent they themselves are responsible for that state of affairs because they do not even try to mention the favourable factors in our economy and in our finances. As far as our economy is concerned, I know, as I stated in my main Budget speech, that there is no bed of roses ahead of us, but nor is there any reason for pessimism. Let us compare their attitude for a moment with the attitude that hon. members on the other side adopted in May last year when we dealt here with the Appropriation Bill. I introduced the Budget last year at the beginning of March, under circumstances which gave one cause for a good deal of optimism. We know what happened subsequently. We had the disturbances and the state of emergency. What did they have to say about our financial position in May when we dealt with the Budget introduced in March? Once again we had the prophets of doom and the pessimists on the other side, and they have been put to shame by the Budget which I have introduced this year and which is based on last year’s figures in particular. Let me quote a few of the statements made by hon. members on the other side in May last year. The hon. member for Green Point (Major van der Byl)—whom we always find very entertaining—said that that was the last opportunity to speak freely, the last opportunity to warn the people.
Where is he now?—in gaol, I suppose.
It almost reminds one of “ Vote for the right to vote again ”. And what did the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) say on that occasion? He said that there was a widespread fear as far as our export trade was concerned; that orders were being cancelled. And how did our exports of 1960 compare with our exports the previous year? Our exports increased considerably. He said that local markets were collapsing. He said that there was a certain company which had been paying dividends for years and which was now unable to pay any dividend. He then proceeded to issue his warning about our gloomy prospects for the future. What happened? Recently a survey was made of the average profits of more than 200 companies listed on the Stock Exchange. It was found that the average profits were 10 per cent higher than during the previous year. But according to him our internal markets were collapsing. He stated that factories would be obliged to retrench employees. He painted this picture in May; and what is the actual position for the year in respect of which he painted such gloomy prospects for us in May? This is what the Reserve Bank says—
But in May last year we had these prophets of doom, as we have again had them this year and as we will always have them, I suppose.
I want to repeat what I said when I introduced my Budget. What has happened in the constitutional sphere does not affect my Budget. This great outflow of capital was taking place while we were a member of the Commonwealth. On the assumption that we would remain a member of the Commonwealth, I anticipated that the net outflow would still continue, and I said so in my Budget speech. We must not become alarmed therefore if there is a net outflow. It will have nothing to do with this subject. We anticipated it. There are other circumstances which are responsible for this. In the financial sphere there is no reason to make any change in my diagnosis of the position or in the prognosis given by me or in the remedies recommended by me. I said that we must remember that South Africa is the biggest gold producer in the world. As the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs stated the other day, our gold production amounts to 62 per cent of the world production, and that fact alone makes South Africa a much desired partner or client. There are many people who would be only too glad, since we are in this position, to be linked up with us financially in some way or other. As far as boycotts are concerned, the position is that our goods were being boycotted while we were a member of the Commonwealth, and the lead was taken by fellow-members of the Commonwealth! In that respect the position is going to be no different. I doubt whether they can take more effective action than they have taken in the past. My Budget was designed to provide ways and means to encourage savings and investment, and those ways and means remain the same; the necessity for them still exists. There is no reason to meddle with them. As far as trade prospects are concerned, my colleagues have already dealt fully with this matter. I just want to emphasize, as far as the formal bilateral agreements are concerned, that those agreements are backed by the word of honour of the nations concerned. As far as our informal trade relations are concerned, these will be investigated. But let me assure the House that I am not spending sleepless nights about the outcome of those investigations because South Africa is in a particularly fortunate position. We possess those important strategic minerals which are so necessary in all parts of the world, in the West and in the East— very important strategic minerals which form a large part of our exports—and we have at our disposal a very ample import figure. Ours is one of the highest in the world. Our imports amount to about one-third of our gross national production. We have to import almost one-third from other countries, and those countries are all competitors for those orders which are so necessary for them. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, in one of his processes of jumping from subject to subject, also dealt with the question as to what we are likely to lose in respect of the preferential tariffs that we are enjoying to-day in the Commonwealth for our fruit. I do not want to argue at length with him, but one can see why he mentioned it. In all probability he is fully aware of the fact that there is going to be a by-election at Swellendam.
And very worried.
Perhaps he is worried about it and now he wants to create a little uncertainty and suspicion in the minds of the wine- and fruit-growers. Let me deal with this just briefly. I want to say at the outset that the hon. member must remember that there is another de Villiers Graaff, and that other de Villiers Graaff is not only an economist but also a big fruit-grower. Not only is he a big fruit-grower but he also has interests in the canning industry.
Now you are slightly confused.
I am not referring to this de Villiers Graaff; I refer to somebody who is more qualified to talk about this because not only has he the training for it …
You have overlooked the fact that there is a third de Villiers Graaff, not only two.
In any event it is not this De Villiers Graaff! He lacks the economic knowledge and the practical experience of fruit-growing and of the canning industry.
There are just a few aspects which perhaps I should mention in passing. The preferences that we enjoy are undoubtedly of great value, particularly in respect of certain imported articles, but it must be remembered that that value is declining and has been declining for a considerable time. The increased prices and the increased tariffs have caused a great drop in the value of the specific preferences that we enjoyed, preferences which are expressed as a percentage of the value of the goods. It is estimated, for example, that the value of the preference on apples has dropped from 28 per cent in 1932 to 4½ per cent at the present time. In the case of wine, the import duties on our wines, both heavy and light, were only one-half of the import duties on foreign wines in 1932; to-day the import duty on our wine is 85 per cent of the duty on foreign light wines and 61 per cent of the duty on heavy wines. Expressed as a percentage of the f.o.b. value plus import duty, the preference on light wines was 60 per cent in 1934; at the present time it is only 13 per cent; the import duty on heavy wines was 62 per cent, to-day it is 40 per cent.
But we must also bear in mind that the percentage of our exports to the United Kingdom has declined, while the percentage to other parts of the world has increased considerably—without preferences. In 1934 our exports to Great Britain amounted to 75 per cent of our total exports; in 1960 it was only 29 per cent. In spite of the fact that we have enjoyed no preferences, our trade with countries outside of the United Kingdom has increased enormously because the value of the preferences has gradually diminished.
Many of the preferences that we enjoyed in 1932 have already been wiped out as a result of the negotiations that have taken place in terms of G.A.T.T. and the European Free Trade Association, and we must remember that this process of wiping out the value of preferences will continue as a result of the efforts to bring about closer economic integration in Europe. There is a notice on the Order Paper at the present moment in regard to one of the preferences that we are voluntarily wiping out in respect of our exports to Great Britain.
But now I come to an important aspect. The hon. member, in this brief excursion into what is unknown territory for him, referred to the value of the preferences enjoyed by the Union in the markets of Great Britain. But he said nothing about the preferences enjoyed by the United Kingdom in the markets of the Union. The latter preferences cover a very wide field and a great variety of goods, goods in which there is keen competition with other manufacturing countries and all of which are on an ad valorem basis, in some cases as high as 10 per cent. The preferences which Britain enjoys in respect of those goods are as high as 10 per cent. In 1960 our exports amounting to R101.6 million enjoyed preferences in the British market, but British exports to the Union to the value of R101.6 million similarly enjoyed preferences.
To a certain extent, however, this is an academic matter. I cannot understand why hon. members on the other side should still want to create any doubt about the continued existence of our preferences in the British market. The British Government has already stated very clearly in the House of Commons, through Mr. Erroll, Minister of State at the Board of Trade—
For how long?
It is a fixed contract.
I suppose subject to six months’ notice.
Does the hon. member want to suggest that this contract is going to be broken? If it is broken, does he want to suggest that the United Kingdom would be so stupid as to sacrifice the preferences which she enjoys in a competitive market in South Africa simply so as to be able to give members of the Opposition the satisfaction of being able to say, “I told you so! ”?
For a Minister you are being very childish.
Here I have another quotation—and this happened only the day before yesterday—
Like our membership of the Commonwealth.
Where could one get clearer language than that? The hon. the Leader of the Opposition dealt with this matter for a moment, with a certain object in mind, but I am afraid he will not succeed in that object.
I want to deal now with a few of the points which I did discover in the haystack of words built up by hon. members here. The hon. member for Constantia began by criticizing the reduction of expenditure on Loan Account; he said—
That is a strange argument coming from the hon. member! It is entirely in conflict with their criticism in the past that Government expenditure was too high. What did his colleague, the hon. member for Johannesburg (North), say? He criticized the expansion programme of Iscor and of Sasol and of the S.A.B.C. Let me explain this elementary economic principle to hon. members on the other side: The reduction in Government expenditure on Loan Account means that more money is left to the private sector for capital development—something for which they have always asked in the past.
The hon. member for Constantia also wants to know whether these foreign loans of R49,000,000 that we either have to repay or renew, are held in London; he wants to know what the position is of our stock over there; whether in the future it will still be regarded as “ trustee stock ”. I just want to give him the assurance that of these oversea loans amounting to R49,000,000 that we have to repay, nothing at all is held in London. The position with regard to “ trustee stock ” is being investigated at the present moment. The hon. member is also afraid of higher interest rates. He says—
It is quite true that certain financial magazines and institutions apparently expect a further increase in interest rates, but it is difficult to see on what grounds this expectation is based. In the past year the Reserve Bank’s rate of interest pattern has already been increased by ½ per cent in respect of medium-term and ⅜ per cent in respect of long-term loans. The supply of savings available for investment by financial institutions has not diminished. On the other hand the demand for loans by the Government and other public authorities and utility companies has not increased, particularly when it is borne in mind that the Government is not going to make a net withdrawal on the capital market in 1961-2. But it is true, as the hon. member says, that unduly high rates of interest may retard development and it is to be hoped—and I hope that in this respect the hon. member will help us—that the financial institutions will co-operate with the Government to make further increases in our rates of interest unnecessary. I want to express the hope that those financial institutions who have advocated this in the past will become the friend of the South African economy generally rather than the agent for money-lenders only.
I want to come to the hon. member for Johannesburg (North). He wants to know how the expansion programmes of State corporations like Iscor and Sasol are going to be financed. He said, “ Where is the money to come from for the expansion of these State enterprises?” I can re-assure him too. It is anticipated that Iscor itself will be able to a large extent to finance its own programme, that is to say, from accumulated reserves. No decision has been taken yet with regard to the final details, but Iscor itself will be able to do this from its own funds for a considerable time to come. Sasol will be able to finance its programme itself until 1963, and thereafter short-term loans will have to be negotiated up to a maximum of R21,000,000 in 1964, which ought to be paid back by 1967. In other words, it is anticipated at the present moment that no State funds will have to be used for these programmes of expansion.
The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) also raised the question of short-term debt. He has done so frequently in this House, and in the days when he was still Auditor-General he also did so, and I think he asked the Select Committee on Public Accounts to pass certain resolutions in that regard. But the point that escapes the hon. member is this: He talked about the danger of “borrowing short and spending long ”. The point which he overlooks is that in the modern economy the Government can always rely on the fact that a certain minimum amount of short-term debt will not be called up—just as the banks are able to rely on that fact—and this amount will increase, particularly now with the development of the money market. As a matter of fact there have been times when the money market institutions have had to ask that more Treasury bills be made available to the money market than it was necessary for us to give them. Treasury bills, expressed as a percentage of the total public debt, will amount to approximately 6.7 per cent as at 31 March, compared with 14 per cent in the United States of America in 1960, 16.6 per cent in the United Kingdom and 5.9 per cent in Australia, where the money market is much less developed than the money market in South Africa. In those days when the hon. member queried this before the Select Committee, the average figure was approximately 16 per cent, I think. It has now been brought down to 6.7 per cent which is a very safe figure, and in view of the fact that it is anticipated that during the present financial year the total amount of Treasury bills issued is going to be reduced by R60,000,000—an exceptionally big reduction—it is reasonable to expect that the money market will be able to absorb additional Treasury bills during the next financial year in the sum of at least R25,000,000.
The hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) wants to know what dividends Iscor pays. He said—
Iscor is paying the State 6 per cent on its A shares and per cent on its B shares, a total of R3,762,000, over and above taxation. It is true that considerable amounts are being ploughed back, but that very fact ought to enable Iscor to finance its new programme of expansion without requiring much money from the State.
The hon. member asks why no concession has been given to the gold mines. He would like the formula to be changed; he would like it to come down gradually to the tax that ordinary companies pay. Sir, gold mines have received many concessions in past years—I mention just a few—in respect of deep-level mining, and even the formula rate—I do not know whether the hon. member knows this—is 5 per cent lower to-day than it was in 1948 under the United Party Government, whereas the rate of taxation on ordinary companies is 20 per cent higher to-day than it was in 1948. Furthermore, it must be remembered that the gold mines are going to score considerably as a result of the new staggered programme for uranium, and although these arrangements are also in the interests of the country as a whole, they are going to cause the State and the Treasury considerable problems in the shape of a reduction in income tax and a reduction in foreign exchange receipts over the next four years. I think in these circumstances one can scarcely regard this as an opportune time for a further concession to the gold mines. The hon. member has complained about the excessive ploughing back of profits. But in the case of public companies which have been exempted from the undistributed profits tax, the shareholders must decide for themselves what dividend should be declared and how much should be ploughed back into the company. I have already announced that I am considering an amendment and a tightening up of the definition of “ public company.
The hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) has asked that the British system of company taxation should be introduced in this country. I do not want to go into details. This is a system which would cause us many administrative difficulties. It would create difficult problems in South Africa particularly, seeing that so many of her shareholders live abroad. But I want to tell the hon. member that neither the Steyn Committee nor the Diederichs Commission were in favour of this system nor was the Viljoen Commission prepared to make a definite recommendation in this regard.
This is the criticism which hon. members opposite have put forward. There have been one or two constructive proposals but may I say at once that the constructive financial proposals have come from the Government side. I want to refer to one or two. The hon. member for Pretoria (Central) (Mr. van den Heever) has asked whether the 5 per cent rate of interest on tax-free Treasury bonds is not too high. The interest rate is generous but the amount which each person may invest is limited, and in addition the rate is relatively less favourable than it was two years ago because in the meantime the ordinary rates of interest have risen. The hon. member asks whether the annual contribution to the Sinking Fund should not be increase. For many years past the amount has been R1,300,000. When large amounts were transferred annually from Revenue to Loan Account, this question was an academic one. But we can now reconsider the matter. When the contribution to the Sinking Fund was originally introduced in 1926, it was intended to eliminate the unproductive debt, that part of our public debt which was unproductive. The idea was that this regular annual contribution should wipe out our unproductive debt. That object has long since been achieved. We no longer have any unproductive public debt.
The hon. member for Standerton has also made certain representations. He wants a lower rate of tax to be levied on company income when it is ploughed back. Apparently there is a misunderstanding. The 3 per cent rebate does not mean the tax which was previously 30 per cent now becomes 27 per cent, but it is a discount on the 30 per cent on the tax. The hon. member has apparently mis understood the position. The hon. member’s proposal would mean, however, that the general rate of income tax on companies would be reduced but that dividends would have to carry additional taxation. Probably this latter taxation on dividends would have to be considerably increased to yield the same total revenue for the State. Under the circumstances I feel that the general shareholders would not take kindly to this suggestion and I am not considering it.
He has made a very important proposal that tax concessions should be made to exporters who increase their exports. I should very much like to do so, but there are practical difficulties. I see that the Australian Government has recently devised one or two methods whereby this can, in fact, be done, and that position is now being investigated. I think that that is all I can say about the purely financial aspect of the debate.
I now come to the other aspect. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition has covered a very wide field in his speech. He has used many words, but he has not uttered any great thoughts. He has fluttered from one branch to another like a bird. Just like a bird which is seeking a place to rest its feet, so he has fluttered from one point to another to find a resting place for the hollowness of his arguments. He mentions a point, he submits it to the House and, before one can become properly interested, away he goes! But there are two points in particular to which I want to reply, not so much because of what he has said, but because I consider them to be important because of the mentality they reveal, the state of mind which they expose. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition rejects what the Prime Minister says, and accepts what Mr. Sandys says. I say that this reveals a certain mentality. If the hon. the Leader of the Opposition should say something and Mr. Gaitskell should say something else, the reverse, then I would not even refer to the matter. But if I wished to do so, I would certainly, with all respect, accept the word of the hon. the Leader of our Opposition before that of the Leader of the Opposition in England. I therefore say that this reveals a state of mind which I simply cannot reconcile with what one expects, and with what one regards as a proper South African attitude. This is not a South African approach.
The other point which the hon. member has mentioned here also betrays an equally unfortunate attitude. I have already referred to it. He has been at pains to say what we are going to lose if the preference tariffs fall away. But not a word about what Great Britain will lose if this preference system falls away. He has spoken, and this is what I hold against him, as though the preference system is merely a question of favours being granted by the British Government to South Africa; as though we in this country have to live like a poor relative on the crumbs which fall from the table of Great Britain. He pays no regard to the simple truth that preference tariffs and trade agreements are bilateral and to the mutual advantage of both parties. They are not entered into because of any particular love, but because the parties concerned realize that they will be of some value to them. I must say that I am now sick and tired of this attitude which the Opposition always adopt, namely, of disparaging everything South African. Our achievements must be concealed, and they want to prove our almost total dependence on the outside world. Can they not take pride in what is their own? Can they not for one moment also emphasize the achievements of South Africa? I am sick and tired of these small South Africans. I am convinced that the people of South Africa are also becoming sick and tired of this un-South African attitude.
Just as sick and tired as we have become of the argument that we would not leave the Commonwealth.
During this whole debate we have had a flood of words. I do not want to discuss all the arguments, but I want to say that much has been said on this subject, and not only by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. But amongst all this flood of words I consider that there has only been one issue, one crucial point which has stood out during all the discussions, namely, this crucial issue: must we allow the new Afro-Asian member states to prescribe our domestic policy to us, yes or no? That is the simple issue. The question is not whether that policy is right or wrong, but whether South Africa must decide whether it is right or wrong, or whether the other Afro-Asian countries must decide whether it is right or wrong.
We say no.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, who is now so courteously turning his back to me, says that all the Commonwealth countries condemn this policy of ours. The hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) confirms that. Why is that the position? I shall discuss this question later, but I just want to say at this stage that they did not accept this policy, but condemned it while we were still a member of the Commonwealth, and the establishment of a republic has made no difference to that position. That is not the reason why we have been forced out of the Commonwealth. If we were to change our policy under this pressure which is being brought to bear on us, we would have to continue changing our policy until Ghana and company were satisfied, and fully satisfied. And that would only be when there was general political equality in this country. They would not make that demand at once, but gradually they would tighten the screw until there was full integration: one man one vote, and complete political equality in one parliament. Until the White man committed complete suicide in South Africa! Once we give way before this pressure, even if only to a very limited extent, the results would be the same as when one gives in for the first time to the demands of a blackmailer. Do not think that he is finished. He says this is the last demand that he will make on one. But do not believe it. The United Party, and perhaps the Progressive Party as well, are naïve enough to think that the position would be different if there was a change of government. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition has been to UNO and it seems to me that he heard the stories which were being spread in the lobbies to the effect that the expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth was only intended to shock the South African voters to such an extent that there would be a change of government! It was not really seriously meant! It was merely being done so that the United Party could come into power, and it seems to me that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition was naïve enough to believe these stories. But when he walked around in the lobbies and listened to the people who told these stories, he should also have heard these same people saying that they were not interested in concessions. They were not interested in that; they only wanted absolute equality! These are the same people who say that they only want to give the electorate in this country a slight shock. We therefore say that if it is correct that, once we give way before this pressure, it will be repeated again and again, then there is only one answer which this Government and any other government can give, namely, that we shall not tolerate interference, that we shall decide upon our policies ourselves, and that we shall not allow the Afro-Asian countries to do so for us.
Now you are saying exactly what I said.
I must say that the hon. member has a wonderful way of saying that if that is what he meant. Allow me just to dwell for a moment on the question of the future of the Commonwealth. I know that great politicians, men like Mr. Menzies and Sir Roy, have their doubts in this regard. Others again are more optimistic, such as Mr. Sandys and all the Afro-Asian countries. I do not know whether the optimists are correct. If I was certain that the Commonwealth would in future be what it was in the past, namely, a voice for peace in the world, a bulwark, a bastion of anti-Communism, I might be able to share in that hope. But I get rather strange ideas when I see that there are countries in the new Commonwealth which are flirting dangerously with Communism.
Are you implying that the Commonwealth is going communist?
Let us have clarity on this point. When we consider the future of the Commonwealth we must remember that the Afro-Asian countries have now tasted power, that they have, figuratively speaking, smelt blood. They will not easily be able to restrain themselves in future, now that they have become aware of their strength and their influence in the Commonwealth. Now that we have had a repetition at the Prime Ministers’ Conference of what has been going on for years already at UNO, we have been given confirmation of what Mr. Harry Oppenheimer said in this House in 1957, namely, that even if these people have adequate intellectual ability and the necessary educational qualifications, even when one has overcome those obstacles, there are still very good reasons why one cannot allow them to rule the country. I just want to quote Mr. Harry Oppenheimer’s words—
Which he says they do not yet have—
Why are you giving it to them in the Bantustans?
I have quoted the words of Mr. Harry Oppenheimer, and that is what will happen in this instance. Once they have gained a dominant position in the Commonwealth, then one must expect them not to use that dominant position to further the general interests of the Commonwealth as a whole, but to exploit it in their own interests. This is the warning for us in South Africa as well. Once the Bantu gain control, then it is idle saying that “ merit ” and “ merit alone ” should be the sole test. They will not look to merit and merit alone, because then they will be disqualifying 80 per cent of their own people. Once they have got the power into their hands, it will not be the interests of this multi-racial country which they will strive to further, but the satisfaction of their own Black nationalism. That is the danger facing us. That is the danger facing the Commonwealth—whatever other doubts there may be in this regard.
But I now want to come back to the question of why it is that the White Western countries are so opposed to our policies. I want to say at once that it is for the simple reason that under present circumstances South Africa is merely a pawn on the chessboard of the world, and in the international contest which is taking place, these Western nations feel obliged to follow these tactics. I want to say at once that it is not moral considerations which are forcing them to adopt this attitude towards our policy. And here I want to pay tribute to the Leader of the Opposition. When he was overseas he made it clear that whatever they might say about our policy, it was not immoral. I thank him for that. This was at least a sign of clear thinking on his part. I repeat that it is not moral considerations which are forcing them to do so. Then they would after all have acted quite differently in respect of the events in Hungary. They would after all not have sat back and allowed events to follow the course they did. They would furthermore have acted quite differently in respect of the murders and the raping of Whites which are taking place in the Congo. But because of this world struggle, their moral consciences were silenced in the case of Hungary by the fear of Russian reaction and, in the case of the atrocities in the Congo, by the possible effect on the Black States of Africa. These are the considerations that are stopping them. The same reasons do not exist in South Africa’s case. Hon. members will not claim for one moment that the United Kingdom and other democratic countries are satisfied with the domestic policies of Ghana. But there are other considerations which have nothing to do with moral considerations. Mr. Willem van Heerden recently said: “ The era in which we find ourselves is one of the great turning points of history.” This is what the hon. the Prime Minister has also said. There are many reasons for this position. It is the net result of a combination of a number of circumstances, all of them beyond our control. It is not necessary for me to refer to them. There is this subtle infiltration of the communistic concept which is aimed at destroying colonialism, at destroying the White man; there is this too rapid surrender of colonial authority in undeveloped countries which are not yet ready for it; there is this competition between the East and the West for control of Africa—these are all factors which have contributed to this position and the result is what Dr. A. J. van der Merwe has recently described as an “ almost pathological prejudice in favour of the Black man ”. That is the world position to-day. We know that years ago there was a French Revolution under the fine slogan: “ Liberty, equality, fraternity.” What crimes were committed in the name of that magnificent slogan! But this was a tide in world history. It too passed over. For that reason it is so important that we should stand firm here.
I now turn to a reproach which the Opposition have put forward, namely that we were so certain that we would retain our membership of the Commonwealth. If we were so certain on that point, then I just want to say that we were in very good company. At his Press conference Mr. Menzies expressed the same opinion. Think of the statement which Mr. Macmillan made. He thought “ it is in the bag”. Everything was ready. Think of all the expectations which were expressed in the Press. All the indications were that there was going to be no difficulty. Everyone who accepted that, did so because they believed, and sincerely believed, that the Commonwealth was still what it had been in the past and was still a responsible body with a sense of tradition, of precedent and of logic; that it had an unwritten constitution which would be honoured. We all believed that Britain’s leadership would still be accepted as it had been in the past. But we were all wrong. Tradition, precedents, logic were summarily thrown overboard. This is what Mr. Macmillan has said in his statement—
We expected that as in the past it would be regarded as a constitutional matter. We were all wrong. It is no longer Great Britain which provides the leadership. The Afro-Asian countries have taken over the leadership. The old Commonwealth as we knew it simply no longer exists. Sensible people accept this fact and are trying to adjust themselves to it. I know there are those who were very attached to the Commonwealth which we knew, with which we have grown up and as we have experienced it. But I ask to-day: Who is there, no matter how attached he may have been to the old Commonwealth, who wants South Africa to continue sitting in an intimate circle with members who are taking the lead in declaring economic war on South Africa, who are offering asylum to refugees from South Africa from whence they can launch attacks on South Africa, with member states who are waging an incessant vendetta against South Africa, who would interfere to an ever-increasing extent in our domestic affairs and who would want to prescribe what our policies should be, and with members who in one instance are already leaning over dangerously towards Communism? I ask the House: Who of us still wish to sit in an intimate circle with these fellow members? I do not believe that the greatest friend and admirer of the Commonwealth would have the same affection for the new Commonwealth under these conditions, an affection which if he should persist in it, would only entail humiliation for himself and his country. I do not believe, no matter what the feelings of hon. members opposite may be, that the proud, self-respecting South African citizens, whether they speak English or Afrikaans, feel that that want to associate on an intimate footing with such members under conditions of dishonour. Those who do wish to go on sitting with these people under these conditions, are people who are merely being guided by blind hatred or people who are prepared to place politics above their national pride.
When did the Commonwealth change?
Let us rather co-operate, let us rather stand together in strengthening relations with members of the old Commonwealth, countries with which we have ties of blood and with which we have been linked over the years. Let us rather stand together in retaining these members of the old Commonwealth as our friends, and do not let us do things which will cause them difficulties.
I now just want to say a few words about the mandate which the Prime Minister had. This was not a mandate to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth under all conditions, but it was a mandate to try to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth with honour. The two words “with honour” are words which were not present at all in any of the speeches of the Opposition to which I have listened over the past four days.
Nor were they in your speeches before the referendum.
He could have kept South Africa in the Commonwealth, but then it would have been with dishonour, humiliation and shame! It might have been a diplomatic victory, but under those circumstances it would have been a national defeat. For, Mr. Speaker, what will it profit South Africa if she gains the whole of world opinion and loses her own national soul and continued existence? The Prime Minister has made the only possible choice. So says Mr. Macmillan and so says Mr. Menzies. And whatever the Opposition might say, I am convinced that the great majority of self-respecting South Africans, no matter to which language group they may belong, will agree enthusiastically that the choice which the Prime Minister made under these circumstances was the correct one.
What must we now do? The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) has raised a very important point and has said that it is a question of sentiment. I agree with him—to a large extent it is a question of sentiment. We must bear in mind that for many of our fellow citizens this has been a tremendous shock. We must not under-estimate that. This is not the first shock which they have experienced. Their first tremendous shock was the Macmillan speech of last year when they discovered that the people who had always been the shield and buckler of the White man in Africa could no longer be relied on. In parts of this country and in parts of Africa there was a feeling of disillusionment and of disappointment. This was the first shock. It was only this shock which made it possible for them to accept the republic. For many of them it alleviated what would otherwise have been a second shock. Now they have had this third shock. We must not expect that it will immediately penetrate to their minds that the Commonwealth we have to-day is merely a shadow and a caricature of the old Commonwealth. We must be patient and we must accept that it will take time. We must approach this matter with understanding for the feelings of these people. That is the attitude which I ask my friends on this side of the House to adopt, an attitude of understanding for this mental struggle in which many members of the other language group are involved at the moment. Let us treat them with understanding.
Why then did you apply if it is such a bad thing?
And then, Mr. Speaker, I want to mention a second point, if the hon. member for Green Point will just forget about himself for a moment. It is that we should read and listen to the official British statements with a proper understanding. We must remember that in some countries the official statements of a government are conditioned to a large extent by its Opposition. We must remember that what is said in public is not the barometer of the feelings of the ordinary citizen in England. The hon. the Prime Minister has hundreds of letters, etc., proving that this is not how the ordinary man in the street feels. When we read what has happened in the House of Lords and the speeches which have been made there, we see that the private feelings of goodwill of the ordinary man in the street in England towards South Africa have never been warmer than they are to-day. Let us rather nourish this confidence and do not let us take too seriously the official statements which are being issued.
Britain has doubts about our policy. We too have doubts about Britain’s policy. There is no question about that. But if it is necessary—and it is sometimes necessary with a view to internal policies or to international developments—that we have to discuss these matters, then I say that such discussions should be held in restrained terms on both sides. If we feel that we are obliged to discuss Great Britain’s policy—and we do not agree with her Africa policy; we do not think that this is a policy which is calculated to promote the orderly development of Africa—and if we do not agree with her Protectorates policy, then we should say so in restrained terms. If Britain is not satisfied with our policy and she has her doubts in that regard, let her also express those doubts in restrained terms. And if we do not want to let the position deteriorate, let us also make certain of our facts. We should show a proper respect for accuracy. If people want to discuss what happened at the conference, they should in the first instance refresh their memories by studying the “ Summary of Record of the Conference ”. If they then want to speak, let them be correct in what they say. If we want to remain on a friendly footing and if we do not want to endanger existing relationships by possibly saying hurtful things to one another, we should take these elementary facts into account and we should try to do so, because it will be to our mutual disadvantage if we do not do so.
And now, Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude. I said at the outset that it is not an easy road that awaits us. If I may use another metaphor, then I want to say this. A ship is not built to remain moored peacefully on the calm waters of a harbour. Nor does it drop anchor at the first gale warning. It is in fact built to cross the restless seas; to weather the storms, great and small, which it may encounter. The same applies to the ship of State. It must also move across the restless seas which we see around us to-day. It must be prepared for storms, but it must also be able to weather these storms. Everywhere in the world to-day we see ships of State which are being threatened by political and financial storms, and even by storms of riots and wars. We see that all over in the world. This has happened repeatedly in bygone centuries. For that reason it is so essential that our ship of State should be seaworthy and sturdy. I say to-day that our ship of State is seaworthy and sturdy. Let us think for a moment of the strategic importance of our position and of our mineral wealth. Let us think of the natural resources which we have available to build a sturdy ship. Think for a moment of all our industrial, commercial and financial leaders. Think of our leaders in the intellectual, spiritual and cultural spheres. Think of our farmers and our workers who are after all the greatest asset of any country. Think of our technical and managerial resources. Think of our enterprise. That is the type of ship we have. These are also our crew. But besides the character of the crew, there is also the spirit which inspires them …
And the ship must have a good captain as well.
And I just want to say that the spirit which inspires the crew, is the spirit of the Border farmer, the spirit of the Voortrekker. These are people who have been toughened by the struggles of life and who are not easily frightened by every small danger which may arise. These are the people who have steel in their blood and marrow in their bones. These are the people who are descended from the Settlers, and the Voortrekkers. These are also people who love their ship of State and have faith in its stability. With such a ship and such a crew we can venture out on the restless seas! And if gale warnings come, whether they be great or small, we do not have to lie down in abject fear. We can then rather, conscious of the dangers facing us, accept the storms which may come as a challenge and then weather those storms.
Allow me to tell the hon. members opposite that our crew should rather present a united front to the world. But what is still more important—because I regard the Opposition as part of the government of a country—let us show the world that the helmsmen of this ship of State are free of mutiny and free of disloyalty. Then we can proceed. If we are determined to bring our ship of State safely and unharmed through all these violent seas, then we can hope to do so. And for that, Mr. Speaker, we now have the opportunity. We have more than an opportunity—we now also have the responsibility.
I now want to make an appeal over the heads of the Leader of the Opposition and of the Opposition itself. I want to make an appeal to the people of South Africa to grasp this opportunity which has now been presented to us with both hands and to live up to the responsibility which now rests on them in such a way that they can earn the gratitude of future generations.
Question put: That all the words after “ That ”, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—76: Bekker, M. J. H.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villers, C. V.; de Wet, C.; Diederichs, N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; le Riche, R.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Malan, A. I.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Maree, W. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, J. E.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.j Scholtz, D. J.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van den Heever, D. J. G.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Niekerk, M. C.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vosloo, A. H.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. J. Fouché.
Noes—37: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Bowker, T. B.; Connan, J. M.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Fisher, E. L.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; Horak, J. L.; Lawrence, H. G.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R. P.; Raw, W. V.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Swart, H. G.; van der Byl, P.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.
Question affirmed and the amendments dropped.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
House to go into Committee of Supply on 5 April.
House to go into Committee of Ways and Means on 5 April.
Second Order read: Report stage,—Foundation Seed Bill.
Amendments in Clause 6, the new Clause 8 and the amendments in Clause 24, put and agreed to and the Bill, as amended, adopted.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES: I move—
That the Bill be now read a third time. More than two members having objected, Bill to be read a third time on 5 April.
Third Order read: Report stage,—Seeds Bill.
Amendments in Clauses 3, 6, 13, 15 and 30 put and agreed to and the Bill, as amended, adopted.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SERVICES: I move—
That the Bill be now read a third time. More than two members having objected, Bill to be read a third time on 5 April.
Fourth Order read: Second reading,—Precious and Base Metals Amendment Bill.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Mr. Speaker, this measure has already been approved of in the Other Place, with the exception of certain clauses which deal with financial matters. The Bill which is before the House does not deal with a contentious subject, but its object is merely to remove certain administrative difficulties. The Precious and Base Metals Act of the Transvaal of 1908, which is generally known as the Gold Act, is a most complicated Act. As a matter of fact, lawyers agree that it is one of the most complicated Acts on our Statute Book, if not the most complicated. That is probably true because it deals with a legion of divergent issues. The Gold Act can more or less be compared with an octopus with numerous tentacles. But nevertheless it is regarded as one of the best pieces of legislation of its kind in the whole world. At this stage I merely want to say that the Department has detailed three of its senior officials to revise the Gold Act and to re-draft it and to do it in such a way that in future it will be more understandable to those who are interested in it. You will, however, realize, Mr. Speaker, that the redrafting and revision of the Gold Act is a gigantic task which cannot be completed within a matter of months, it will take years to complete it. Fortunately it is not my duty to-day to explain the revised Gold Act to the House, but merely to explain a number of clauses, clauses which bring about certain essential and urgent changes.
In view of the fact that the nature of the amendments as contemplated in this Bill, is technical, I shall deal with the Bill clause by clause. As far as Clause 1 is concerned it is not necessary for me to explain that because it contains the usual definitions from which it will be clear that the Gold Act, as now amended, will also apply to the Orange Free State.
As far as Clause 2 is concerned, the importance of this clause lies in the section which deals with the voluntary termination of a mynpacht. This amendment will probably be best understood if I deal with it against the background of the problem which we are faced with to-day under the existing Gold Act. If I tell the House what inconvenience is experienced at the moment under the existing Act, I think the amendment which hon. members have before them will be clearer to them. In terms of the existing Gold Act, a person or a mining company who has been operating a mine under a mynpacht and which has reached a stage where it is worked out, cannot voluntarily terminate his mynpacht. He cannot do so, and, under the existing Act, such a person or group or company who has reached a stage where the mine is worked out, must first fall six months in arrear with his mynpacht moneys. The Mining Commissioner must then summons such a person or concern for those arrears. But that is not the end of the process of cancellation. The Mining Commissioner still has to advise the owner of the land and the owner of the mineral rights, as well as the mortgagee, if there is one, of the fact that such a person or mining company has fallen in arrear with his mynpacht moneys; and to aggravate the embarrassment of such a concern, the Mining Commissioner has to publish a notice in three consecutive issues of the Government Gazette to the effect that the person or company has fallen in arrear with the mynpacht moneys. In other words, Mr. Speaker, such a concern which is no longer interested in working a mine which is still held under a mynpacht-“ brief ”, must first receive publicity as a nonpayer before it is legally possible for him to get rid of the mynpacht in which he is, in any case, no longer interested, because it is only three months subsequent to the first publication in the Government Gazette that the Minister may cancel such a mynpacht. You can well understand, Sir, that mining companies of repute do not like this procedure as provided for in the Gold Act and, because of that, mining companies have for years been pleading with the Department to change this involved procedure which causes them embarrassment. Clause 2, therefore, complies with this reasonable request. According to this amendment, the holder of a mynpacht may in future, at any time, advise the Mining Commissioner in writing that he wishes to terminate the mynpacht or portion of it, so that it may be cancelled.
I now come to Clause 3. In the first instance there has been uncertainty as to what may be regarded as a “ public purpose ”—this is now being cleared up. As the Gold Act reads at the moment, the Governor-General may, subject to certain provisions, consent to proclaimed land being used for the erection of schools, churches, locations and similar public buildings. In the past there has been doubt as to whether the definition “ public purpose ”, or as the Afrikaans text reads “ openbare doeleinde ”, includes all the activities of the State, a provincial administration and other public bodies. The amendment contained in Clause 3 (1) (a) now places it beyond any doubt that “ public purpose ” includes all activities by the State or provincial administrations, with its municipal and suburban ramifications.
The second important matter which Clause 3 clears up is the matter of compensation payable to such a mining company or such an owner of proclaimed land. As the law stands at the moment, only the Railway Administration is legally compelled to pay compensation for the use of proclaimed land, but it was never the intention of the legislators that all concerns, because of the Governor-General’s consent to them to use such proclaimed land, should have the use of such land free of charge; and, because that was never the intention, the Department has hitherto always succeeded in persuading such concerns who have been granted permission to use proclaimed land, to pay the necessary compensation to the mining companies. Land-owners, however, now wish to have legal protection as far as compensation arrangements are concerned, arrangements which have in the past, to a large extent, always been concluded successfully, but which are not provided for in the Act. Land-owners now wish it to be clearly laid down in the law that they are entitled to compensation, and that protection is being granted in Clause 3 (1) (c).
Clause 3 applies to land which has a mine on it, and Clause 5 likewise makes provision for compensation in the case of vacant proclaimed land; that is to say, land that has been proclaimed for mining activities, but upon which no mining activities have been commenced, or upon which such activities are not taking place at the moment.
I now return to Clause 4. This clause simply removes one of the annoying and unnecessary obligations which the Gold Act places upon the Minister. Section 70 (1) (b) of the Gold Act provides that the Minister has to confirm the decision of the Mining Commissioner if the latter should decide that a piece of mining ground may be fenced in. The irony of the situation is that the Gold Act empowers the Mining Commissioner to give final approval for the erection on proclaimed land of production works and compounds, but when it comes to a lesser important matter such as the fencing of proclaimed land, the final decision does not rest with the Mining Commissioner. In that case the Minister has to confirm it, even if it is merely a matter of fencing off a dangerous hole on that mining land, or the fencing off of an open shaft which is a danger to life. As a result of this provision in the Act, the position in the past has been that thousands of files have had to travel between the office of the Mining Commissioner and the head office of the Department of Mines and Cape Town, when Parliament is in session, in connection with any such matter. The Department does not know of a single case during all these years where the Minister has refused permission to fence. The existing provision, therefore, only caused delay, something which this amendment puts right.
Whereas Clause 6 brings about a number of lesser important administrative improvements, Clause 7 provides for something to which I want to draw the attention of the House, namely, this, that in the past an appeal could be lodged to the Minister against the decision of the Mining Commissioner in regard to the granting of residential or business rights on vacant proclaimed land. In terms of Section 78 of the Gold Act the Mining Commissioner may grant a site to a White person for residential or business purposes on vacant proclaimed land. Business lots on such land are sometimes of considerable value, and it was felt, therefore, that an objector should have the right to appeal to the Minister if he is not satisfied with the grant. As hon. members know, this does not refer to concession shops, because they fall under Act 13 of 1910.
Clause 8 only deals with the conversion to the decimal system. Those in short, Sir, are the amendments.
This Bill has obviously been inspired by the necessity to make some technical amendments to this very complicated Act. It is the type of Act which, when it does come up for amendment, usually does so because of problems which over a period of time have become so evident to the Department that it has been found necessary to try to introduce the necessary amendments. It is difficult to discuss the second reading of this Bill because it hardly touches on the general principles of the Act, which I think are far too well entrenched for us to deal with in the form of an amending Bill. One appreciates what the hon. the Deputy Minister has said with regard to the revision of the Act which will in due course enable this House to consider the consolidation and possible amendment of the Act. But we do propose, however, to deal with the matter in more detail in the Committee Stage, because I think there are certain aspects of the amending clauses which possibly will require some further investigation and discussion and perhaps further information from the Minister who has, I think, endeavoured to cover all the relevant facts. I will not repeat some of the points he has made. They have been very evident to those of us who studied the Bill. But I trust that in the Committee Stage we will deal with it at greater leisure.
I just want to ask one or two questions in connection with Clause 2. In terms of Clause 2 it will in future be easier for a mining company or any individual to terminate his mynpacht and to close a mine that has become worked out. From the point of view of the other people concerned with that mine, the employees of the mine and the business people and other people who live in the vicinity of the mine, I want to ask whether the necessary precautionary measures have been taken and whether they will receive the necessary protection to ensure that such a mine is not closed at short notice. Is there a time limit after notification of the closing, and can the Minister investigate the position to ascertain whether it is necessary to close the mine or whether it is closing for a fictitious reason such as speculation, etc.? We know that once a mine has become worked-out, it can no longer be operated, but we are also aware of the fact that it sometimes happens that a mining group discovers metals somewhere else more profitable and that it is in its own interests therefore to close a mine temporarily, but in the meantime private people have invested huge sums of money in businesses. I just want to know whether the Department has made the necessary arrangements to prevent mines from closing unless the interests of the surrounding towns and individuals are protected.
The complicated nature of this Act has been further complicated by these amendments. There is no doubt that many aspects of the Act will have to be clarified and altered with the establishment of the new mines of the Free State and the new methods of mining, as opposed to the old type of mining on the Rand. However, I am sure that the Minister will in time get a Select Committee or a commission of inquiry to go into this new type of mining and see whether or not it is not advisable to re-write the whole of the Act. I think the time has come to revise the whole of the Act and to bring it up to date. These small amendments which have been before us to-day are not sufficient because they only touch on those problems which have cropped up from time to time during recent years.
In Clause 3, where proclaimed ground can now be used for public purposes there are one or two problems which we are not altogether satisfied about. If I understood the Minister correctly, the proclaimed ground can now be used for public purposes, and whether they be schools or markets or abattoirs or other types of buildings or institutions which may be built by public companies or municipalities or corporations, in such cases I would like to know from the Minister whether there are any regulations which will prohibit certain types of buildings from being built on proclaimed ground. The question will soon arise whether or not ground, e.g. in the City Deep area, is suitable for the erection of a market or an abattoir. There is at the moment a Select Committee sitting on air pollution. This Committee is busy investigating the possibility of the control of dust from slimes dumps on mine property and the disposal of certain water and gases which may come from the property. Until such time as these gases and waters and dust have been disposed of properly, I wonder whether it is a good time to allow institutions or public bodies to build on such ground. I am sure that the Minister will take these points into consideration, e.g. I do not think it is a good thing to build a school next to a slimes dump. On an August day on the Reef it is almost impossible to see 50 yards ahead of you, because of the dust coming from the dumps. If such places are going to be made available for the erection of markets or abattoirs or meat or vegetable disposal depots, I think the Minister must first make sure that such areas are suitable from the health point of view. Schools, e.g., should not be built there until dumps have been properly covered, because what is worse than to have a school on that type of property with the classrooms continually full of dust. I am also a little perturbed about what happens to caving ground on mine property which is left open. I have seen that there has lately been a tendency for dumps to be removed, to be levelled off, and I do not know whether caving ground is allowed to be covered and buildings are allowed to be erected on it. Perhaps the Minister may enlighten me on these points. Otherwise this side of the House has no objection to supporting this Bill. We hope that in the Committee Stage we will be able to discuss the various clauses at greater length, and we will wait with interest to see whether the Minister will introduce a Bill consolidating and amending the whole Act.
Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the matters which have been raised. I want to start by setting the mind of the hon. member for Randfontein (Dr. Mulder) at rest as regards the concern he has expressed. He is worried about mines which may perhaps close down for other reasons and that their employees will be thrown on to the street. This provision in regard to the voluntary termination of the mynpacht-“ brief ”, however, remains subject to another provision of one of the Gold Acts, viz. Act No. 52 of 1926. I want to read the relevant provision in Section 8—
In other words, the holder of a mynpacht-“ brief ” cannot terminate it for certain reasons, if he still has 500 people in his employ, because in that case he is subject to that provision and the Minister can give the matter his attention and inquire into his reasons.
As far as the matters raised by the hon. member for Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher) are concerned, I want to say in the first place, that the re-drafting of this Gold Act is a gigantic task. The three senior officials who are busy with it at the moment are not introducing any new principles, but because the Act has been amended and changed so often during the years, the work they are doing at the moment is really of a mechanical nature, of linking all the divergent points with one another. It is only when that task if finished that they can start considering the representations which have been made by the various interested bodies, such as the Chamber of Mines, etc. for certain amendments in principle. It is at that stage that the plea of the hon. member in connection with new mines and their problems, will receive serious consideration, but it cannot be done at this stage.
The hon. member was also concerned as to what could be regarded as “ public purpose ” and what control was exercised. As the law stands at the moment the Government mining Engineer can give his opinion in the case of an application involving a “ public purpose ”. The hon. member mentioned abattoirs and schools. Such cases will have to be considered thoroughly by the Government Mining Engineer and the law requires him to make a recommendation. Secondly, the law provides that land which is granted in such cases shall be granted in consultation with the owner and the holder of the mynpacht-“ brief ”. In the first instance there has to be an agreement between the applicant and the owner or the person who holds the land as to the purpose for which the land is to be used. In the second instance it is left to the discretion of the Government Mining Engineer. The matters raised by the hon. member will receive the serious consideration of the Government Mining Engineer together with any representations which may be made by the public in the area concerned. I think, therefore, that the hon. member may rest assured that proper control is being exercised in the granting of such land.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time; House to go into Committee on the Bill on 5 April.
Fifth Order read: Second reading,—Dairy Industry Bill.
At the moment the Dairy Industry in South Africa is controlled under two different Acts. The first Act was placed on the Statute Book in 1918 and provided for the registration of premises where butter and cheese were manufactured and dealt with other matters appertaining to the industry. This Act, with subsequent amendments, was consolidated in Act No. 63 of 1957. In 1930 the Dairy Industry Control Act (Act No. 35 of 1930) was passed, which not only provided for the establishment of a Dairy Control Board but also contained further provisions for controlling the dairy industry. It also effected further amendments to Act No. 16 of 1918. There are two Acts to-day, therefore, which control matters relating to the dairy industry. With the lapse of time some of the measures have become redundant and obsolete and new developments demand new legislation. We are now availing ourselves of this opportunity of consolidating Act No. 63 of 1957 and that portion of Act No. 35 of 1930 which does not deal with the Dairy Control Board as such. The obsolete provisions are being omitted and new provisions inserted. Since 1930, this is the first time, as far as my Department is concerned, that the legal provisions relating to the dairy industry will be found in one volume.
The following is a résumé of the more important provisions which are being omitted and the new ones which are being inserted.
Within the framework of the accepted principles, this Bill has been further simplified in that certain matters which are more often subject to changes than others (as for example the composition of the products which are listed in the Act to-day) will in future be governed by regulations.
As the dairy industry has developed over the years, certain products are no longer used and certain matters are no longer of any concern; improvements have come about. All reference to farm dairy butter has been deleted from the legislation because that product is no longer manufactured. The standard in respect of ice cream, and the power to promulgate regulations in that respect have also been omitted from this Bill because local authorities and the Department of Health control these aspects. It is undesirable and would lead to confusion if a product like ice cream were to be subject to requirements as laid down by regulations promulgated in terms of two Acts of two different Departments. Furthermore it would lead to a duplication of work if the officials of the Department of Health and those of my own Department exercised control over ice cream. The quantity of butter fat used in the manufacture of ice cream is only in the region of 2,000,000 lb. per annum, whereas it is even much less in the case of the frozen products which is made without butter fat. The sale of such products, therefore, cannot be regarded as a serious threat to the dairy industry. In any case nothing will be achieved by placing ice cream under the Dairy Industry Act because that will not prevent any factory which manufactures a frozen product which does not contain butter fat, from operating.
Another legacy from the past is that it is permissible to add preservatives to cream and butter. Although this is no longer done in practice, the law still allows it, In view of the fact that South Africa is faced with surpluses in respect of some dairy products, my Department and the Dairy Control Board are trying to find bigger markets. The right to add preservatives to butter may very well influence buyers in a strong competitive market to buy their butter requirements elsewhere. A prohibition on the use of preservatives in respect of dairy products (except margarine) will give buyers greater confidence in the quality of the South African product. Whereas it is still permissible to add boracic acid and boracic binding material to margarine, the latest medical information is that these ingredients have an accumulative effect on the nervous system, kidneys and liver of the consumer. This Bill does not allow the addition of boracic acid and boracic binding material to margarine but the manufacturer of margarine is allowed, as in the case of West Germany, for example, to add benzoic acid or sodium benzoate to their product. A maximum concentration is, however, laid down.
Although whey is skimmed off in all cheese factories, no butter factory in South Africa makes whey butter. Whey cream is graded according to quality and used in the preparation of creamery butter of various grades. Whey butter as a separate product is therefore omitted from this Bill because it is not manufactured in this country. Any reference to distinctive markings has been omitted from this Bill. The Dairy Control Board registers butter wrappings according to the Marketing Act and the registration of distinctive markings by the Department has become redundant.
The wording in the Afrikaans text “ botter-surrogaat ” in the existing Act is very confusing seeing that it means “ substitute ” and refers more in particular to margarine. In actual fact it is butter which has been re-processed and for the sake of clarity the words “ process butter ” are used in the Bill instead of the words, butter substitutes, renovated butter, milled butter, milk blended butter and artificial butter. At the moment there is no factory which makes this “ process butter ” but with an eye to the future it may become necessary or advisable to manufacture process butter for special markets or for specific purposes. For this reason this Bill retains the provision for the registration of such factories.
Since 1940 the Dairy Control Board has been registering people who deal in milk, cream and skim milk and who manufacture cheese, butter and other dairy products. A new Clause 6 (2) has been inserted in this Bill which provides that skim milk power factories, butter factories, cheese factories, condensed milk factories, milk powder factories, milk depots, cream depots, process butter and process cheese factories, in other words, all the factories over which the Dairy Control Board has control, may only be registered by the Department provided the owners of the premises have also been registered by the Dairy Control Board. This provision has been inserted in conformity with the procedure which has been followed during recent years and in conformity with the rationalization policy of the Dairy Control Board. For the same reason sub-section 3 (4) of Act No. 63 of 1957 has been omitted because in terms of that section any person may apply for registration of premises (even if it is not demanded of him) provided such premises conform to the requirements. This section served a good purpose before 1930 when there was no Dairy Control Board as yet. When control was introduced and because of increased production, the Dairy Control Board had to ensure that the balance between the various manufactured products was maintained. Such balance can only be maintained if the Board can limit the erection of factories manufacturing certain products. In that way it cannot easily happen that there is a surplus in respect of the one dairy product and a shortage in respect of another. In terms of the existing law a farmer may register his premises if he processes more than 75 gallons of milk per day. Such registrations can upset the registration policy of the Board. The new legislation is more specific and provides that if a farmer makes cheese and processes more than 75 gallons of milk per day, he must apply to the Board for registration. The Department will then register the premises if the applicant has been issued with a licence by the Board. The provision which limits it to 75 gallons per day as contained in Section 2 (3) of Act 63 of 1957 has been transferred to the definition clause in this Bill. Provision is made for the registration of factories which manufacture skim milk powder, but according to legal advice this registration does not include factories which manufacture skim milk powder only. For this reason my Department has never been able to register factories which manufacture skim milk powder. In view of the fact that there is a surplus at the moment of skim milk powder, it has become necessary to give more attention to the quality of the product. A greater quantity of this powder is to-day being used for human consumption and it is necessary to promulgate regulations laying down the minimum requirements to which factories have to conform in order to produce a product of a good quality. Provision is now made for the registration of factories which manufacture skim milk powder. In the past milk depots have been registered as cream depots and seeing that milk and cream are handled differently, it caused a certain amount of confusion. It is also confusing to register a process cheese factory which does not our chase any milk, as a cheese factory. This Bill makes the position clearer and provides for the separate registration of milk depots, cream depots, cheese factories and process cheese factories. The Dairy Control Board has received complaints that conditions at some premises where farm cheese is manufactured are not always as hygienic as they should be. In order to protect the public, and to promote consumption, the Board requested my Department in 1956 to lay down certain minimum requirements in respect of equipment and buildings. Registration by the Board is subject to compliance with these requirements but it has been impossible hitherto to incorporate them in the regulations. This Bill now empowers the Governor-General to promulgate regulations laying down the minimum requirements to which a farm cheese factory has to comply. For the rest provision is made for two new types of registration, namely premises where milk is sterilized and farm casein factories. The necessity to register in these two cases does not come into immediate effect and adequate notice will be given to the people concerned, as soon as the necessary requirements have been compiled in co-operation with bodies such as organized agriculture and the casein trade.
The South African Agricultural Union took the lead and asked that control be exercised over the marketing of sterilized milk. It is desirable to build the sterilized milk industry on a sound foundation and all factories, whether they be situated in cities or on the platteland, will therefore have to be properly equipped before they will be registered. In this way the manufacture of a high quality product will be promoted.
Since the beginning of the Second World War casein has been manufactured in South Africa. Particularly those farmers who found it difficult to market their skim milk profitably concentrated on the manufacture of casein or powder when on their farms. A fairly large quantity of casein is to-day being manufactured in the Northern Cape but the supply is greater than the demand and the surplus has to be exported. Because the quality of the product varies greatly, South Africa does not obtain the best prices on the overseas market. The object of registering the factories which concentrate on the export market is to introduce a system of grading so that casein may be exported according to grade and quality, as is already being done in the case of South West Africa. The best prices can only be obtained if the buyer knows exactly what he is buying and if the product is graded according to quality. The registration of factories which manufacture and grade casein is the first step towards placing the trade and the exportation of the product on a sound basis.
The provision contained in the First Schedule to Act 63 of 1957 that no one may import margarine into the Union unless he has a permit from the Minister, has been transferred to this Bill and omitted from the regulations. The section has however been qualified to enable the Minister to grant or refuse the permit as he thinks fit. The Dairy Act has been further consolidated, broadly speaking, so that all legislation which relates to the control of the industry has been consolidated into one · Act. For the rest this is a simple piece of legislation and without affecting the broad principles, certain things which have to be changed and improved have been omitted from the Bill and transferred to the regulations. Sections which have become redundant with the lapse of time have been omitted and new sections added to keep pace with the development within the industry. The specific reference to the Superintendent of Dairying which appears in the previous legislation has been omitted from the Bill and the relevant powers have been conferred on the head of the Department.
I think the hon. the Minister has given us a fairly satisfactory and comprehensive explanation of the provisions of this Bill and I want to say at the outset that this side of the House does not intend opposing this Bill in principle. As the Minister has said this is mainly consolidating legislation which consolidates into one Act the Act of 1918, as amended by the Act of 1957 and the Act of 1930 in so far as the sections which do not deal with the establishment of the Dairy Control Board are concerned. I do not think anybody will object to that. I think the time is long overdue that the various laws dealing with the dairy industry, except the general legislation under the Marketing Act, be consolidated in one measure and for that reason I am somewhat sorry that the hon. the Minister and his Department have thought it fit at this stage to introduce a consolidating measure, and that they are not consolidating the 1930 Act, the 1918 Act and the 1957 Act into one measure, together with those measures which provide for the establishment of the Dairy Control Board; had they done that we would have had everything in one measure. However, I am not saying this in a spirit of criticism, but it is always so much easier when you look for anything in regard to a certain subject, if it is embodied in one measure. We will now still have to look under two Acts, the 1930 Act—the section which deals with the establishing of the Dairy Control Board—and under this 1961 Act which regulates all other aspects of the dairy industry.
It is not my intention to deal with this Bill clause by clause. I think it is a good piece of legislation, and although we do not want to say much about it, we will raise a number of objections in the Committee Stage, particularly as far as Clause 16 (3) is concerned, where we think the hon. the Minister ought to meet us. We will also ask him to explain Clause 4, particularly sub-sections (2) and (3).
At this stage I merely want to say that the dairy industry is going through a very difficult period in this country and I think it is just as well that the Minister and his Department attend to it and modernize legislation dealing with the dairy industry and bring it as up-to-date as possible. The position of the dairy industry, particularly from the point of view of the producer, is fairly disturbing. During the last two or three years there have been surpluses in respect of fresh milk, powder milk, butter and cheese. Large quantities of butter and cheese are being exported at a loss and it is being exported to countries such as Great Britain and Europe where, as I see the position, as a result of artificial insemination which is practised there on an increasing scale, particularly in Britain and in Europe, there will no longer be a market for our butter and cheese, because within the foreseeable future those countries themselves will be faced with surpluses. The big danger which I envisage for the dairy industry in this country is that there will not be a market for the surpluses which we have to export, as a result of artificial insemination practised in those other countries which produce dairy products, countries which offer a fair market to us to-day, and which will be faced with their own surpluses. That is something which I should like to bring to the notice of the Minister and his Department. I do not know whether the “ dairy ” division which used to be a section of the Department falls under this Minister. I presume that it falls under the hon. the Minister of Agricultural Technical Services. During the years that division has deteriorated. In the past that division has rendered valuable service in the shape of advice and research work, etc. as far as the dairy industry and milk producing industry are concerned, services which I have always appreciated, but the activities of the “ dairy ” division under the former Department of Agriculture has deteriorated through the years because of shortage of staff, with the result that I do not think sufficient attention is always given to research as far as the production side of the dairy industry is concerned. I want to ask the hon. the Minister please to convey my remarks in this connection to his colleague. I think most dairy farmers in the country will appreciate it if that division of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services could be strengthened. It rendered valuable service particularly during the time when the dairy industry of South Africa found itself in a predicament because of an over production of fresh milk, powder milk, butter and cheese. In these circumstances it is essential for the farmer to bring down his production costs, because the production costs connected with the dairy industry are fairly high. Dairy farming is a specialized type of farming. You have to be tidy in that type of farming. It is a branch of farming which requires some knowledge and brain—a fair amount as a matter of fact. It is a branch of farming that has to be conducted in the most hygienic manner. There are a number of diseases attached to it and it is essential that the “ dairy ” division of the Department is strengthened so that it will give the necessary advice and do the necessary research work in that respect. I do not think the solution of the problem lies in a decrease in production, because from the nature of things, particularly in the north, in the maize triangle of South Africa, the solution to the problem of mono-culture which has been practised there for years, lies in mixed farming. You, Mr. Speaker, know the parts of the Free State where the farms have been sub-divided into small holdings. There the obvious solution to the farmers’ problem lies in mixed farming in which dairy production should play the most important role. If they did that it should not be a question of producing less dairy products, it should rather be a question of producing more dairy products, and that is why it is so important that more research work should be undertaken than has been done hitherto as far as the dairy industry is concerned.
Then there is the question of artificial butter which falls under the jurisdiction of this hon. Minister, and I know the hon. the Minister is worried about this problem. Artificial butter, or margarine, is competing with butter, whether we want to admit it or not. Margarine is essential, I admit that, because it is a cheaper product, and the lower-paid sections of our population cannot afford the more expensive product, butter, and you will always have this clash of interests between the consumer and the producer as far as margarine is concerned. The Minister and his Department will have to attend to this and see to it that they do not benefit the one at the expense of the other, considering this problem of mono-culture which must be stopped in certain areas of the country where the farms have become smaller. Dairy farming should form an integral part of mixed farming.
Mr. Speaker, I have nothing further to say. We, on this side of the House, give our blessing to this Bill; when we come to the Committee Stage we will have something to say on certain of the clauses.
Mr. Speaker, we approve in principle of this Bill as a consolidating measure, but in the Committee Stage we will press the Minister for further information, and we may have to move some amendments. In a way we will question some of the powers which the Minister has provided for in this Bill for himself. We think that the Minister should not have complete discretion as regards the limitation of licences and the limiting of competition, and that powers of this nature should only be provided with the approval of the Dairy Control Board or the Marketing Council. We think it is dangerous for the Minister to have the power to limit licences for industry. We imagine, too, that if these powers are not exercised with discretion, it may lead to actions in our courts in which the exercise of the Minister’s discretion may be regarded as ultra vires. Sir, what disturbs me to-day as regards the limiting of competition in industry is that to-day we have competition, through permits given by the Transportation Board, from areas where there are surpluses in milk, for instance, in the manufacture of ice cream. Areas which have surpluses are given permits to transport their surplus products hundreds of miles, and they compete to their advantage with people in areas where surpluses are not available. When we go into the Committee Stage, therefore, I will have some further questions to put to the Minister, and, if necessary, we would want to have some safeguards as regards the powers which the Minister seeks in connection with the issue of permits to industry.
I am pleased that in general hon. members welcome this Bill subject to a few provisos. I want to say to the hon. member for Florida (Mr. H. G. Swart) that all the Acts dealing with the dairy industry have now been consolidated in one Act. Before the Marketing Act came into operation the Dairy Control Board operated under another Act. At the present moment the Dairy Control Board operates under a scheme which was established under the Marketing Act, with the result that it is not necessary to define the functions of the Dairy Control Board in this legislation.
At this stage I do not wish to reply to the other questions asked by the hon. member, questions which are not really connected with this measure. The object of this measure is more specifically to create hygienic conditions in the dairy industry and to establish certain standards in respect of quality and registration.
The hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) objected to the powers which the Minister takes under this Bill. The only power which the Minister takes under this Bill is to register the premises. He has not got the power, for instance, to refuse to register premises because it would lead to over-trading. He only has these powers in order to give effect to the provisions of the law. If the premises comply with all the requirements of the law, the Minister has to register them, otherwise the person can bring in a court action against the Minister. When, however, application is made for the registration of premises and the Dairy Control Boards finds that, if a factory was erected, there would be over-trading, to the detriment of the industry, the Minister can refuse to register them provided the Dairy Control Board agrees. The Minister is not taking any additional powers. The powers to which the hon. member for Albany has referred, are more specifically powers which are conferred upon the Minister under the Marketing Act. If hon. members wish further details in this respect, I will give it to them when we come to the Committee Stage.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
House to go into Committee on the Bill on 5 April.
The House adjourned at
I move as an unopposed motion—
First Order read: Third reading,—Foundation Seed Bill.
Mr. Speaker, the position is that this side of the House has accepted this Bill. We are very pleased to have it on the Statute Book. However, I sincerely hope that the hon. the Minister is going to take due note of what we said to him during the second reading in respect of the employment of his own Department in trying to develop these foundation seeds from our own mother-stock in this country; foundation seeds that are going to be so essential for distribution in South Africa at some future date. As I indicated earlier, he has seeds from the various grasses that grow in this country, and I would ask him to pay due attention to that particular item. Another extremely important one is the type of plants that can be used for the rehabilitation of our soil. We have many of them, and I sincerely hope the hon. the Minister is going to give due attention to those and that he will develop them at the earliest possible opportunity and through his own organizations. There are two types of seeds which are so essential to the country that they are the main ones which need to be developed, because seedsmen will only be concerned with seeds out of which they can make a reasonable profit.
The Bill has our blessings and I hope the Minister will take due note of the points we have put to him throughout the discussions of the Bill.
Now that this Bill will become law once it goes through the third reading, having already gone through the Other Place, I would like to tell the hon. the Minister that I am very disappointed that he did not make provision for the board to be elected in the manner which I moved in the Committee Stage.
I know that I may not go back to that. But I was going to say, in relation to this Bill, that when it is proclaimed an Act, when does the hon. the Minister intend to put its provisions into practice and when does he intend calling for nominations? And, once this becomes law, will the hon. the Minister have sufficient technical personnel available to put it into full practice? Because if there are not enough qualified people to fulfil the objects of the Bill it will do no good at all, and may actually do more harm when put into effect than would be done if it were left open to private individuals to carry on as in the past. I would also like to ask the hon. the Minister this: Is it his intention to apply the provisions of this Bill to such things as tree seeds; in other words, seeds for afforestation and suchlike? I know the Minister has the power to do so, but he has not indicated his intention in that regard. Will he give us an idea of how far he intends to go in the initial stages, and in the foreseeable future, with regard to the type of seeds he intends to control? Will it be mainly grain seeds or grass seeds, or does the Minister envisage that he will bring under control seeds for afforestation also? I think it is very important to let these people who are propagating these seeds now know when they are likely to come under control. It may affect the financial implications for them and people may, at an earlier stage than they otherwise would, apply to the Minister and to the Department for details as to what they are doing and to make sure that what they are doing in the way of propagating these seeds is in line with the control that he intends to enforce in terms of this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to be able to thank hon. members on both sides of the House again to-day for having supported this Bill right throughout all its stages. I just want to reply briefly to the matters raised by the two hon. members who have just resumed their seats. I want to assure the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) that my Department will, as in the past, in future take steps to increase to the best of our ability but with even more diligence and speed, particularly when we have available more technicians, many of whom have been enabled by the bursary schemes of the State and of the various control boards to qualify for the service, our propagation within the Department of foundation seed of the highest quality suited to the various geographic and regional conditions in the country in regard both to types of grain and types of grass and possibly also in regard to certain types of trees.
In reply to the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood), I can merely say that all breeders of seed must register and they are allowed to hand over their breeder’s seed to this Foundation Seed Board now being established by this Bill. If they hand it over to the Board, the Board will see to its multiplication, and therefore if, in regard to tree types, there are private or departmental breeders of such seed or such plants derived from seed and who want to hand that seed over to a foundation seed association to be distributed to the public or to multiply it, they will definitely qualify for inclusion in the scheme. In other words, this scheme provides for the multiplication of all seed of a high quality which is produced, and it also provides that the quality of the multiplied seed, from breeder’s seed to foundation seed, will be maintained in an orderly manner. I believe that with the staff now available to the Department, together with what it hopes to have in future, we shall be in a position to apply this Act as widely as possible. If it is not possible to apply it on a Union-wide basis in the beginning, we shall do so as soon as circumstances permit.
Once again I want to thank hon. members very heartily, because I believe that this is a tremendous step forward towards improving our seed in this country.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a third time.
Second Order read: Third reading,—Seeds Bill.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill, although it applies entirely to commercial seed, is in many respects similar to the Bill we have just passed and I would like to ask the Minister, where he has to have a very much wider inspectorate for commercial seed, whether he has sufficient technical officials available to control the application of the Bill throughout the Union. We welcome the provisions of the Bill. Broadly speaking, the farming community was very anxious that such control of seeds of a high standard should be enforced, and now that the Bill is in its final stage we want to know from the Minister whether he intends to enforce it, and here again I would like to remind the Minister when he envisages that this control should come into being, and I want to ask him to what extent he wants to apply the control in the initial stages. So frequently in this country when things go wrong, whether it be seeds or roads or anything else, the Government of the day seems to think that by passing another Act they will bring ideal control into practice, but unless the law is enforced properly and you have sufficient qualified officials to enforce the Act as we envisage it here to-day, it does more harm than good. I ask the Minister when he expects to have sufficient staff to control the inspection of all the seed distributed, and when he intends to take complete control of all seed supplied to the distributors; because it is very important that when we do pass Acts to control things such as seed, it is absolutely essential that the Minister concerned should have the necessary trained staff to see that the Act is applied in the manner in which we would like to see it applied.
Like the last speaker, Sir, we welcome this measure, which is already long overdue and for which requests have been made in this House for many years. I want to assure the Minister that we are badly in need of immediate attention to the seed sold. At no time in our history have we had worse seed than we have to-day. We have just had a few days’ leave and we went back to the area where they planted winter feed and it takes five to six weeks to come into ear, after ordering a specific type of seed. We are sick and tired of that. The sooner the Minister gets these measures on the Statute Book and takes full control, the better, and I hope he will spare nobody. There are many items to which he has to apply his mind. There is the question of types and I hope he will tell the Wheat Control Board to remove a little item included on every application form, to the effect that they do not hold themselves responsible for any types or grades of a particular seed. The next matter is the cleaning, which is one of the biggest rackets we have had in the industry. It costs 7s. 6d. to clean a bag of oats, which is put through a winnower, and that is all loaded on to the consumer. That expense is becoming an overload on the producer.
Then there is the question of dodder in lucerne. Does the Minister know that it is permitted that lucerne seed shall be sold with dodder seed in it, and what does he intend doing about it? Lucerne seed can be sold while it has dodder seed in it. The Minister lives in an area where they produce lucerne seed and I think they produce a fair amount of dodder as well. If the Minister is serious about it, I hope he will see to it that no more lucerne seed is sold which contains dodder. We are pleased about this Bill, but we appeal to the Minister to enforce the regulations as early as possible and to spare nobody.
Mr. Speaker, as in the case of the previous Bill, I am grateful to have had the support of all hon. members. As we have heard, particularly from the last speaker, this is an important measure, and it is high time for us to take these steps. I just want to reply to the doubts expressed as to whether the Department will have its disposal the necessary staff and inspection services to apply this Act properly when it comes into operation. My reply to that is that over a period of many years the Department has built up a seed inspection service and consequently we have the technical staff. We rendered those services in so far as there was a demand for them, without legislation, but we have been anticipating this legislation for some years already and consequently we started training staff a few years ago already, and I believe that we have sufficient trained staff to render the services and to handle the additional responsibilities which will rest upon the Department when this Act comes into operation.
I may just say, being a lucerne seed grower myself, that it was news to me, and I am not prepared to accept it without further ado. I think the hon. members opposite are wrong. They may be buying lucerne seed infected with dodder to-day, but whether seed infected with dodder may actually be sold in terms of the regulations of the Lucerne Seed Board is quite a different matter, and I say no. But because lucerne seed is so scarce to-day, most people do not buy this seed from the Lucerne Seed Board but from private individuals without having the least guarantee that the seed is free from dodder. I can assure hon. members that seed infected with dodder is in fact being received by the Control Board, but the Board sells no seed which has not been cleaned by the most modern machinery in the world, and cleaned not only once but two or three times. I believe that when the Control Board sells seed as first-class seed, it is accompanied by a certificate to say that it is free from dodder. If only we had progressed as far in cleaning all our seed as we have progressed in regard to lucerne, I think we would have been much further already than we are now. But I want to give the assurance that my Department, seeing that weed control is one of our activities, has weed inspectors—perhaps there are not enough of them—right throughout the country, but even if we were to double or treble their numbers, unless we had the cooperation of the farmer as well, we would be powerless, or else one would have to take the farmers to court all day. But we are now applying the Act dealing with noxious weeds more strictly and I have given instructions to our weed inspector (e.g. in Oudtshoorn, particularly where it affects dodder in lucerne-lands used for seed production) not to be as lenient as in the past, but that after having served two notices on people to eradicate the weed, which have been ignored, to inform the Department which will then take effective steps. I am referring now to noxious weeds in the lands. But if it is alleged that the Lucerne Seed Board is distributing seed containing dodder, I say that is not so. I want to add that I do not think that there is a machine in the world which can be guaranteed to remove all the dodder from the seed. There may perhaps be four dodder seeds and they closely resemble lucerne seed except that they are slightly more round, and the dodder seed is removed by magnetic power or specific weight and it is very difficult to take it out. I am the last one to say that if the seed has gone through the machine three times one or more dodder seeds may not remain behind, but what in the world is absolutely perfect? This side of the House has been trying for 13 years to make hon. members opposite better Members of Parliament, but I do not think we have achieved 100 per cent success. [Laughter.]
Motion put and agreed to. Bill read a third time.
Third Order read: Third reading,—Group Areas Amendment Bill.
Mr. Speaker, we have made our attitude towards this Bill perfectly clear in the earlier stages and I think that the Minister has no doubt at all about our attitude towards it. He did in the earlier stages accept certain of our amendments and we believe that they will improve the Bill to some extent, but they certainly do not make the Bill acceptable to this side of the House.
During the course of the passage of this Bill, the Minister made it clear that in this Bill as we now have it before us he has made a number of concessions which he believes are of importance to the people affected, but I would like to go into these concessions, or some of them, which the Minister has put forward as concessions, because I wonder whether they are concessions at all. One of the concessions that the Minister has put forward as a concession is that in Clause 16 he has provided that no one should be removed under the provisions of this Act from his present place of residence unless first of all alternative accommodation is provided for him. The Minister says that is a concession, but of course it is not one at all; it is just the normal provision for housing people whom you are displacing. You cannot throw people out on to the street without making some provision for their housing, and therefore I contend that this is not a concession at all. It is just a provision which the Government should make in any case.
Then in Clause 8 the Minister said he is making a concession because now he allows agreements of sale subject to permit, whereas before this was not allowed; it was invalid if an agreement was made, but of course that is just the normal arrangement and there is nothing in the nature of a concession about it. The Minister has probably found in administering the Act that people have to dispose of this land anyway, for building or in the normal course of business, and the normal thing is to negotiate with the purchaser. If one has to do it under the lap, as the Minister has indicated, by antedating agreements, of course the normal business of the country cannot run at all and the Minister probably found that out during the course of administering the Act. So it is not a concession; it is just to enable people to do the ordinary business they do every day of the week by making these agreements subject to a permit being granted. It is not a concession; it is just falling into step with the normal course of business procedure.
Then in Clause 14 he says that he now gives a concession to protect the mortgagee, which allows the mortgagee to buy in a property subject to certain conditions contained in the permit to protect his investment, but here again the same remarks apply. This is no concession. It is just something which happens in the normal course of business, and when the Minister says it is a concession that is so much nonsense.
Then I come to the greatest concession of all, and that is that under Clause 12 the Minister has now conceded that people who are displaced can continue to trade under permit on the premises where they are trading at present, but they cannot reside there. I wonder whether this is a concession. The Minister said it was a greater concession than all the others put together, but he knows as well as I do that this Act is directed particularly towards the Indians and the Coloureds. He also knows that the Indian and the Coloured communities cannot exist amongst themselves; they are dependent to a large extent for their trade and source of income on the European and the Bantu populations. That has always been the position and I contend that in the years to come it will increasingly be so. The Minister knows that if he just stops these people trading in the areas where they are and puts them into areas where they can only trade with people of their own race, they will not be able to make a living, and he will have a problem on his hands which he will not be able to solve, because he will have converted a population of Coloureds and Indians who are at present more or less self-supporting into two communities which will be so dependent on the charity of the country that the Minister will have to devise ways and means of keeping them on a charitable basis. Therefore I contend that this is no concession either. It is just ordinary business procedure because the Minister has found out that it is not so easy just to wave his wand and to displace all these people without allowing them any visible means of support. We have an example of this. The Group Areas Board in Pietermaritzburg has now applied its policy to the central area, and I would like to read to the Minister a newspaper report in which one of the city councillors is appealing for a reconsideration of the administration of the Act which this Bill seeks to amend. In making this appeal, this councillor said this—
That is a very real appeal to the Minister. I do not know whether he hopes that with the passing of this amendment he can cure those ills. I sincerely hope that he can, but frankly I cannot see how he will. We have another case of an Indian in the Rondebosch area who has asked for leave from the local board to trade in a store he owns—I think it is in Rondebosch—and the Chairman of the Board advised him to go and find another place to trade so that at least he would know that he was settled there and could trade. That is against all the undertakings that the Deputy Minister gave us during the passage of this Bill through the House. He told us that this concession which I have just mentioned is one whereby he was going to allow people to remain in their trading places provided they did not live there. Here we have immediately a case which unless the hon. the Deputy Minister intervenes will prove the lie to that particular assertion which the Minister made. These people, I want to repeat, cannot be put out in townships or other areas which are being prepared for them to occupy and make a living for themselves and their families; they cannot exist amongst themselves. They are dependent upon the whole of our economic set-up. They are part of it and the hon. the Deputy Minister should know that. He knows, that one particular group cannot exist without the other and here he is trying to achieve the impossible by saying that he is making a concession to these people by allowing them to remain in their trading premises.
Let us consider the price that the hon. the Deputy Minister is asking in return for these concessions. I will deal with a few of them and I hope that other speakers will deal with others. First of all, let us take Clause 17, which deals with the question of buffer strips. In the past it has been the practice to try to establish a buffer strip where some natural boundary exists. Under this Bill the Deputy Minister wants the right to establish a buffer strip anywhere he likes, even if a natural buffer strip exists.
You do not know what you are talking about.
The hon. the Minister denies that. Sir, buffer strips at the best of times are not good things and the Deputy Minister knows that. They are a waste of ground to start with. They cannot be used for any useful purpose, because if they are used for playing fields or something like that, they bring together the very groups whom the Minister is trying to keep apart under this Act. Because of the fact that they are deserted they have become a hiding place for bad characters and criminals, and the Deputy Minister knows that too. Now he is not only going to create buffer strips where natural buffer strips exist, but he can create them anywhere; he can create them through the middle of two townships. And what is he going to do in this matter? He is going to introduce a hiding place for criminals. He is going to bring all the bad effects of buffer strips into the centre of built-up areas.
Now we come to Clauses 5 and 15, where the hon. the Deputy Minister delegates his powers to officials and takes upon himself the power to conduct investigations without notice. I know that he has explained that these notices are only in the cases of individuals.
What you are stating there is not correct.
Why is it not correct?
Because it is wrong.
The hon. the Deputy Minister is delegating all these powers to an official of the board. He goes further in, I think, Clause 7, where he is reducing the local committees so that he can make them committees of one member only. Sir, the hon. the Deputy Minister has acknowledged—it is no good his shaking his head—that he is delegating all the powers which he has to investigate to a civil servant.
Mr. S. F. KOTZÉ: All the powers?
Yes, the Bill says so. If the hon. member has any doubts in this matter, let him read the clause. He can delegate all these powers to an official. He is taking that power.
Of course he can.
A moment ago the hon. member said the Minister could not do so and now he says that he can. This sort of interjection serves no useful purpose whatsoever. Either the Minister can or he cannot. If he can, then he will if he wants, so it is obvious that the Minister is taking unto himself the power to delegate his powers to an official. Sir, this is something to which we object most strongly, that the lives, the whole future of people affected under this Act, people who become displaced, should be dealt with by an official. The Deputy Minister has told us that those people have the right to appeal to the Minister. We accept that, but how often is this right used? The hon. the Deputy Minister knows that in many cases he is dealing with the type of person who neither has the means nor the knowledge to know what right of appeal he has, and I believe that in dealing with human beings of the type with whom the Minister has to deal under this Act, he should take those things into consideration. It is all right if he is dealing with very smart people who know what they are entitled to do and what they are not entitled to do, but I think even the Deputy Minister will accept the fact that in this Act he is dealing largely with people who are ignorant of their rights and how to exercise those rights. Here he is introducing the principle of placing the future of these people in the hands of one official. We are not critizing the officials for that. Some of them will probably administer the Act very well and conscientiously, but the Minister has to rely upon a cross-section of civil servants, and he himself indicated at a previous reading that he could not give us any undertaking whether a first-grade clerk or a second-grade clerk or any other graded clerk would deal with these particular matters. He said he did not know. We object strongly to that.
Then, on the question of notice, we do not like a man’s affairs being investigated without notice.
Order! I shall be glad if hon. members will stop making interjections.
The hon. the Deputy Minister has said that the particular person he has in mind when he opens an investigation will receive notice. I accept that, but there might be other persons interested in this particular investigation and no notice will necessarily be served on them, because the Deputy Minister said it was going to be a question of public notice through the newspapers. These things do not make us any happier with the amendment to the Act. Then in Clause 12 we come to a particular amendment on which we could not get any satisfaction from the Minister. In Clause 12, for the first time in the history of this Act—and it has quite a history—the Minister takes upon himself the right to control the use of land or buildings. Sir, this is something entirely new and I believe that this, coupled with certain of the other amendments, is a complete admission by the Deputy Minister that the Act, as it stands, is impossible of administration through the ordinary channels through which these Acts are usually administered, and here he has had to take unto himself powers which have never previously been necessary—the power not only to say who shall occupy land or a building but the power to say to what use that land or building should be put. I think this is a very retrograde step indeed, if ever there was one. We asked the Deputy Minister earlier on to give us some idea of what would happen in the hypothetical case—it is hypothetical but we could quote him many actual cases— where a block of flats with shops below was proclaimed under this Act as a group area and the people occupying them then become displaced persons. The Deputy Minister’s eventual reply was that he was not prepared to commit himself before an inquiry had been conducted. I do not think it is quite good enough for the Deputy Minister to come here and to say that he is not prepared to commit himself. The number of properties which are going to be affected by this clause are going to be more considerable than the Deputy Minister thinks, and surely when he comes with an amendment such as this he must have some idea of what he is going to do in those particular cases. We have cited cases to him in the central area of Durban where he is going to find not one of these cases but many. We have asked him repeatedly what he intends to do with these particular properties. He is taking unto himself the power to direct that the person owning it must make alterations to his satisfaction to those properties, but he will not tell us what alterations he contemplates. We have asked whether he is going to convert them into halls or use them for other purposes, and I do not think anybody on this side of the House knows exactly what he does intend to do with these properties. He cannot expect the Opposition to agree to a clause such as this when they have no idea whatsoever what the Minister’s intentions are, first of all in regard to the people who are going to occupy these buildings or the people who own them. He is also taking unto himself this right which cuts across town planning. The hon. the Deputy Minister has put forward an amendment which partly meets the problem, but in the Committee Stage I put it to him that this meant that town planning will now be under the control of three authorities. I think the Deputy Minister appreciates that. He has conceded that he will consult with the administrator of the province first, and while that does to some extent meet the point, it certainly does not meet it entirely and I believe it is going to lead to a very complicated working of this particular clause because the local authorities issue licences. It might mean a change in licensing, a change to which the local authority is not prepared to agree. It might mean a different type of occupation to be carried on in those buildings and the Deputy Minister is facing quite a problem in dealing with these although he consults with the administrator of the province first. It is not going to be an easy problem and I believe that he will come back to us with another amendment to try to sort out this particular clause, which is a very intricate one indeed.
If it is necessary I will do so.
Surely to goodness it is better to get the thing right to start off with. That is half the trouble with this whole Act, that the Minister has to keep on coming back for amendments to the Act, because it will not work. If he is going to approach amending Bills in the spirit in which he has just indicated, namely that if necessary he will come back for another amendment, when is this measure going to work? The whole thing seems to be based on a spirit of “We will try this out as an experiment and see if it works, and if it does not we will come back for an amendment ”. Does the Deputy Minister realize that in these experiments he is dealing with human lives. He does not seem to realize that he is not playing around with objects now.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the third reading now.
I am, with due respect, Sir. This clause, as the Deputy Minister has indicated, is being amended by way of experiment —he said so in the Committee Stage—and I am trying to remind the Deputy Minister that he is not in a laboratory experimenting with test tubes. He is now experimenting with human lives and the future of the people with whom he is experimenting might be damaged beyond repair in the course of these experiments, and I think that is very pertinent. The whole Act deals with human lives and their movements. We have one Indian in Durban, a school teacher, a man of some standing, who now faces the prospect of being moved from his home for the third time in Queensburg through the experiments which are being conducted with this Act. How would the Deputy Minister like to be faced with that proposition? I would like to remind him that even these people whom he is allowing as a concession to continue to trade on their existing trading sites, have no certainty of occupation under this Bill. They are trading there as a special concession from the Minister. The Deputy Minister nods his head; he accepts that. Sir, I wonder how the Deputy Minister and his friends would like to set up a business involving perhaps great capital and a life’s work at the pleasure of somebody else, whoever it might be? Is that a basis upon which trade and a stable life and stable economy can be built up? Of course it is not. The sooner the Deputy Minister recognizes those facts, the sooner he realizes the inhumanities of this Act, the sooner he will realize why it has made us so unpopular not only with our friends but with our enemies. He will then realize that it is clauses such as this clause which caused the hon. the Prime Minister such embarrassment during his overseas trip.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the third reading of this Bill.
Sir, I ask the Deputy Minister seriously to consider the whole working, the effect of this Act. If he is going to make concessions, this is a very fine time for him to do so, but he must not come here indicating that he is making concessions to people when he is doing nothing of the sort. He is just making a belated effort to try to make this Act work, and in making this belated effort he comes to this House and acknowledges that he is not sure about certain of these clauses and that he does not know what he is going to do, but he is going to experiment with them. He will experiment with the lives he is handling under those clauses and, if necessary, come back for a further amendment. Sir, I do not like this type of legislation at all. This is a Parliament that lays down laws that people have to accept and abide by and if the Deputy Minister is going to approach all legislation of this nature as an experiment, I say it is about time something was done about it. It is about time the Deputy Minister and his advisers got down to it and worked out a Bill that will work without all this repeated inconvenience, without a sword being held over the heads of all these people.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill and the third reading.
I conclude by saying that we do not support this amending Bill. We do not like it; we have made our attitude clear; we will vote against it.
The hon. member for Umlazi (Mr. H. Lewis) has not advanced any sound reason why this Bill should not be read a third time and be placed on the Statute Book. What did we get from him? Firstly, he repeated all the arguments which have already been used in a previous debate and to which the hon. the Deputy Minister has replied very thoroughly. Further, the hon. member referred to provisions of the Group Areas Act which are not provisions of this Bill. Many of the provisions to which the hon. member objects are provisions of the Group Areas Act with which this Bill is not concerned. Further, the hon. member tried to set up his own puppets and then to knock them down. He drew conclusions and then contradicted them, conclusions which were completely unfounded. I just want to mention a few. The hon. member argued as if this Bill would create border areas which would be the breeding places of evil and rascals, but that is not true. The provisions in connection with border areas are contained in the Group Areas Act, not in this Bill. All that this Bill does is to stipulate that border areas can now be proclaimed at the same time as the proclamation of group areas, which is a very big improvement on the Act. That is precisely the trouble with the hon. member. The amendments in this Bill will have the effect of bringing about many of the things which the hon. member desires; which bring about amendments in the Act which are improvements in all cases and which bring relief. The hon. member speaks about concessions which are not concessions. The hon. the Deputy Minister and we have never spoken about concessions. We spoke about improvements; we spoke about relief being granted in some cases, and that cannot be disputed. The hon. member says that for the first time now the power is being taken to determine the use of land or buildings, but also that is not true. It can be done and it is being done under the Group Areas Act. Here again, as I shall indicate later, relief in that connection is being granted in this Bill. I say that the effects of this Bill will definitely not be what they are alleged to be. On the contrary, it is being made easier for the people. The amendment to Section 20, Clause 16 to which the hon. member referred, will have the effect that no person will be instructed to move before alter native housing is available. Now the hon. member says that this is not a concession. He says it is a fact, that it is obvious that you cannot throw a person out on to the street, but that you must first provide alternative housing for him. But, Sir, was it not the hon. members opposite who have always maintained that with this Group Areas Act we were throwing people on to the streets and uprooting them? That has always been their argument and now they admit that this Government is not doing it. No, we first provide other housing. If we get that admission from the hon. members to-day then I say that we have made progress. Then they admit that this so-called cruelty about which they have always spoken is the greatest nonsense.
The effect of this Bill will also be that the Group Areas Act can be implemented more easily and more efficiently. Here we have several administrative improvements which will facilitate the implementation of the Group Areas Act. This is also a matter on which we are continually being attacked. By means of this Bill the hon. the Deputy Minister wants to take steps to implement the Act more efficiently, steps which are in the interest of all. Hon. members opposite complain about tifie implementation of the Act, as was done here this afternoon, but when powers are taken to facilitate the implementation of the Act then it is also not a good thing; then they also oppose it.
I want to deal with only one more point. The hon. member spoke about the special trading areas which will now be proclaimed, which will prevent some people in the large urban areas from having to give up their businesses. He says that it is not a concession. Mr. Speaker, relief is being granted here. Under the Group Areas Act those people can be compelled to give up their businesses. If a certain area is proclaimed for a certain race then the unqualified person must eventually get out. Not only may they not live there but they must also move their businesses, and here the hon. the Deputy Minister comes along with an amendment which will have the effect that they may retain their businesses in certain areas, which is an improvement and which grants relief, but it is being represented here as if it is a terribly oppressive measure. The Group Areas Act, as I said before, can prohibit businesses of certain races being retained in certain areas. This amendment will give relief to those people.
As I said in the beginning, I do not want to reply to all these arguments which have already been debated over and over again. The entire field has already been covered very adequately, but I just want to say this in conclusion. Hon. members opposite must admit that in this amending Bill there are big improvements and relief is being granted. The effects of the Bill will be that there will be relief in certain cases, that more efficient action can be taken, and that the implementation of the Group Areas Act is being facilitated.
I want to comment on one of the points made by the last speaker, the hon. member for Vasco (Mr. C. V. de Villiers) but I shall do so a little later in my speech. I want to say at the outset that we shall vote against the third reading, as we did against the second reading of this Bill. We stated then that the Bill did nothing to lessen the hardship which is caused by the principal Act, and we say that that remains true of the Bill to-day as amended in the Committee Stage. Sir, as the Deputy Minister himself said during the second reading debate and in the Committee Stage, there has been no change in policy. The same result which was envisaged before with the provision of group areas is now to be achieved in slightly different ways. From the Deputy Minister’s point of view the Bill will make for easier and more effective administration, but from the point of view of the persons to be moved, there is no corresponding advantage. On the contrary the new procedure for proclaiming group areas will increase the uncertainty of these people as to when the axe will fall. The new Section 16bis which enables the Minister to define areas for a particular purpose, was presented as a concession. We say that if it is a concession at all, it is a concession only in a very limited sense. It would become a concession only if there were to be a change in policy, and the Deputy Minister has denied that there is any change in policy. In any event, apart from the question whether it is a concession or not in its general purport, in its present form the section is unsatisfactory and further amendments to the Group Areas legislation will be necessary before the section can be used to any great extent. Elsewhere the Bill tightens up the principal Act. For instance, traders who until now have been able to continue occupying premises in controlled areas, which they occupied by virtue of verbal leases entered into before 1950, have lost their right to do so. This section will put many Indian traders in rural areas out of business. Then again, the amended Section 11 now prohibits the acquisition of property by disqualified persons in controlled areas, whereas previously only agreements to acquire were prohibited. I believe that this amendment will affect a very large number of people who entered into agreements to buy property on a hire-purchase system and are still paying off the purchase price. I hope the Deputy Minister will go into that question, the question of people who may now no longer acquire property in controlled areas. Previously the prohibition was only on the agreement to acquire. Where people entered into an agreement some years back to acquire property on a hire-purchase system, they may now be prevented from taking transfer. I hope the Deputy Minister will go seriously into that question. A third example of the Act being tightened up is that where previously disqualified companies were prohibited from occupying premises in areas in which they were disqualified, the prohibition is now on using those premises, which is a wider term. There are other loopholes which are being closed to which I shall not refer at this stage.
Finally the Bill enables the Minister to delegate many more functions than before not only to members of the Group Areas Board, but in some cases even to officials of the Public Service. In our view the right of delegation has been extended too far, as we argued at an earlier stage.
I do not intend to repeat the arguments that we have advanced during the various stages of this Bill. I think our attitude has been fully set out. But I do want to make one or two comments on major clauses and to make one or two new points. Firstly, in relation to Clause 16, which amends Section 20 of the principal Act—that is to say the clause which lays down the new procedure for proclaiming group areas—I want to say again that I think the period of three months’ notice which is to be given to people to move, is very short indeed. It is true that the hon. the Deputy Minister has met us in granting at least a year to people who have to move their businesses, but I am referring now to people who have to mover their homes. Sir, for a person who owns a house and is given notice to move, three months is extremely short. It may be quite impossible for him to dispose of his own house within three months at the price that he wants. It is true that there are provisions whereby the Group Areas Development Board may take it over, but I think the person selling his own house should have a longer time to explore the possibility of selling to other people. It may well be that he is unable to get his money within three months and how is he within that period of three months then to get alternative accommodation? It may be that accommodation is offered him by the Group Areas Development Board, but that will not happen in all cases. I think the hon. the Minister does not envisage doing it for the person who now owns a house. That person, he believes, is in a position to make his own arrangements to buy property elsewhere. But for that person a period of three months is totally inadequate, and although I accept that the hon. the Minister may in fact give longer than three months, nevertheless, in the law as it stands he is entitled to give only three months’ notice, and that period is far too short. Apart from the question of selling one’s house and getting other accommodation elsewhere, there are other things that have to be arranged. For instance, children of the owner may be at school in a particular area. If he is to be moved to another area far from there, he may not be able to send his children to the same school where they were before. There are many other arrangements which will have to be made and which make the period of three months very short indeed. A second point which has arisen from this Clause 16, is the question of the cancellation of the existing periods of grace. I have already dealt with this point in detail and do not intend to do it again. I merely wish to repeat that I think it is unfortunate that where people were given a particular evacuation date which allowed five or seven years of grace, it will now be cancelled by this clause and after the lapse of the initial year, they will be subject to three months’ notice.
I want to deal briefly with a related point, which is the effect of this section on people whose evacuation date has already arrived, but who have not moved, either because they have been granted a permit, or else because they simply have not moved as they should have done. Here a good deal of uncertainty has arisen since this amending Bill was introduced.
For instance, in Pietermaritzburg, I think, one area was given the evaculation date of 31 March.
In every case where there is no alternate accommodation, permits will be granted.
We are glad to have that assurance, but merely the provision of alternative accommodation for residential purposes does not meet the point. After all, it is only in the case of people who have to change their residences that alternative accommodation will be offered, but of far greater importance is the position of the businessman whose evacuation date arrives. I have mentioned an example where the evacuation date was March 31. The hon. the Minister is not prepared to provide alternative accommodation for the businessman. In any case, there is no provision in the Bill. I am particularly referring to the businessman. I think the hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) (Mr. H. Lewis) gave figures of businessmen who are to be moved from Pietermaritzburg in terms of the existing group areas proclamation, and I know that there are a number whose evacuation date was March 31. Those people in particular have been uncertain as to the effect of this amending Bill because they thought the Bill might be passed before March 31. In that case the evacuation date would have been cancelled and they would have been subject to three months’ notice, or in the case of businesses to one year’s notice. As it happens this Bill was not passed by March 31 and therefore the evacuation dates which were laid down in the relevant proclamations stand, and those persons if they have not got a permit, are now occupying their residential premises illegally. The point I want to make to the hon. the Minister is this: There has been uncertainty in regard to those people, and I hope the hon. the Minister will accept that fact and will grant permits to them and give them every kind of concession if they do in the end have to move.
As regards the new Section 16bis which is being presented as a concession, the hon. member for Vasco suggested that it was not a concession but something slightly different, and in fact a number of hon. members on that side said that this did not represent a concession. Nevertheless the hon. the Minister has presented it as an important concession, and I want to say that if it is a concession at all, it’s scope is very limited. It will not become a concession at all, unless the hon. the Minister is prepared to change his approach, in fact to change his policy, which so far he denies he is doing. The section will not apply at all in group areas which have been proclaimed or which still are to be proclaimed. That to start with limits the extent to which this clause represents a concession. Secondly, I would like to ask the hon. the Minister on this point what his intention is. At least two hon. members on the Government side said that this was merely a temporary measure. The hon. member for Parow during the course of the second reading debate stated as much. I refer to Col. 1774 of Hansard (English). He said—
The words I want to refer to in particular are the words “ in the meantime ”, to indicate that this new Section 16bis is only a temporary measure. That idea was repeated by the hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. van der Walt) during the Committee Stage when he again referred to this section as a temporary measure. I want to ask the hon. Deputy Minister what his attitude is? Is this only going to be a temporary concession? The object is to allow particularly Indian businessmen who live on the same premises where they have their businesses, to continue their business, although for residential purposes they have to move. Is it intended that this will only be a temporary measure and that ultimately they will have to move their businesses also to the group areas set aside for them? I hope the hon. the Minister will react on this point. Because if that is so, then all that is being done by this clause is to define certain areas and thereby make it unnecessary for the occupiers to get permits to carry on their business. Up to now permission has been granted to most of them to continue in their businesses by permit. Permits have been granted. Now it seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that if this is only a temporary measure, then all that is being done by this clause is that they will no longer have to get permits to remain, but the area will be defined for a particular purpose until such time as the hon. the Minister decides to change that and to make them move to the new group areas. We should like to have a clear indication of what the hon. Minister’s intention is. Is it that these people in due course will have to move in any case, as was the original intention? It would seem that that is the case, because the hon. the Minister says that there is no change in policy. Seeing that this has been presented as a concession, we would like to have a clear-cut answer on that point.
There are a number of defects in this new Section 16bis which we have pointed out in the earlier stages. There is for instance the question of compensation. We regard the provision as totally inadequate. In terms of the present Act, read with the Group Areas Development Act, there will only be provision for paying compensation to an owner whose building has been reduced in value because the purpose for which it may be used has been limited if the Group Areas Development Board buys up the building and possibly re-lets it to the previous occupier for business purposes. If that is not done, there is no adequate provision for the payment of compensation. The hon. Minister has said that he will go into the question in the recess. I want to repeat that as the clause stands at present, it is unsatisfactory. Secondly, there is no safeguard of alternative accommodation for people who may have to move out of a property which has been defined for business purposes. Where a group area is proclaimed, alternative accommodation has to be provided. The board which investigates the proclamation of a group area has to consider the question of alternative accommodation, as the hon. the Minister says. But if operating under this section it is not necessary for the board or the person who is investigating to consider the question of alternative accommodation for the people to be moved. Thirdly, we are not satisfied that sufficient thought has been given to the use of the storeys above the ground-floor or whatever floors are to be used for business purposes which up to now have been used for residential purposes. If a property is defined for business purposes, then those floors which were occupied for residential purposes until the proclamation, will no longer be able to be occupied for that purpose and the economic effect will be considerable. In our view no proper explanation’ has been given as to what it is intended to do with those floors of buildings which can no longer be used for residential purposes.
To sum up, as the hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) has said this new Section 16bis has not been sufficiently thought out. The hon. the Minister gave the impression that he regarded it as an experiment, and that if necessary, he would come with further amendments. We regard it as unsatisfactory that such a clause should be introduced. We feel certain that further amendments will be necessary and at this stage we regard the whole position which is brought about by Section 16bis as unsatisfactory.
I want to raise one point which has been raised continually during the debates on this measure and that is the allegation coming from hon. members on the other side of the House that the group areas legislation, including this amending Bill, applies equally to all races. In theory it is quite clear that it can do so.
Order! The hon. member cannot discuss that. He must come back to the contents of this Bill.
Yes, Sir, this is one of the effects. Clause 16 amends Section 20 of the principal Act and provision is being made to cancel the years of grace which have been allowed for instance in the Cape Peninsula, and that will have a serious effect on people who previously have been given five years grace or seven years grace. The hon. Deputy Minister gave figures as to the number of people involved in terms of the existing proclamation. The numbers in Cape Town were: 7,000 Whites, 69,000 Coloureds and 3,600 Indians. I want to ask the hon. the Minister: if his contention is that this amending Bill together with the principal Act applies equally to all races, how does he explain the disparity in the numbers of people to be moved as divided into different racial categories? The hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) has given figures relating to Pietermaritzburg which similarly show that a grossly disproportionate burden of dislocation and hardship has to be carried by the non-European groups. In fact the figures all round the country show the same thing, that the burden is being borne mainly by the non-European groups, and the disproportion is very great indeed. I hope the hon. the Deputy Minister will give an explanation as to why the figures are so strikingly disproportionate.
Our attitude to the principal Act is well known. We are strongly opposed to any person being removed on grounds of race alone from premises which he lawfully occupied.
Order! That cannot be discussed now.
We are totally opposed to that principle in the main Act. This Bill does not effect any improvement in the Group Areas Act, particularly from the point of view of the public. There may be advantages from the hon. the Minister’s point of view, but the other is a much more important consideration, namely how it will affect the people to be moved. In terms of this amending Bill not one of the drastic powers which was granted in terms of the principal Act, is taken away. On the contrary, the hon. the Minister has taken further alternative powers by which he may remove people from properties which they at present occupy. We remain totally opposed to the principal Act and we remain also opposed to this amending Bill.
I have said on a previous occasion that the effect of this Bill would be that the principal Act would be able to be implemented more practically and better. The purpose of this amending Bill is certainly not to depart from and to get rid of certain principles contained in the principal Act. One of the principles contained in the principal Act, to which the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) referred, is that the purpose of the Group Areas Act still remains—that is my allegation—namely, that eventually all the facilities must be provided for the racial group concerned inside their proclaimed area. Therefore this Bill is such an important concession. Where a person is now expected to move after a specified date, which will be announced by proclamation, and to settle himself in the area designated for him within a specified time, and where he must give up his business rights under certain conditions and give up his livelihood without an alternative livelihood being found for him, this Bill has the effect …
May I ask the hon. member to which clause he is referring when he talks about all the facilities which must be made available in the stipulated area?
I am dealing with Clause 12 of the Bill. The effect of this amendment is that a person who has a business in an area where he becomes a disqualified person as a result of a proclamation may now continue earning his livelihood in terms of the concession granted by the Bill. He is only expected to sacrifice his residence and to go and settle himself in the area stipulated for him. But the provisions of the Bill also contain another possibility, and to that I referred specifically in my previous speech, namely that not only can persons be permitted to continue with their business where they are practising it now but that they can also be instructed to give up that business undertaking in the specific area and that an alternative area can be designated for them in which to go and ply their business. For argument’s sake I want to mention a practical example. You have a town which is entirely a White town but where one Coloured or one Indian still has a business. The effect of this Bill is also that one can say to the Coloured: Look, you cannot carry on your business here any longer. But one does not want to deprive him completely of his livelihood, and so he is referred to another specified area, elsewhere in another part of the urban complex and he is permitted to go and trade there although it is not an area where he may also reside. He can be allowed to continue earning his livelihood there. Therefore I said that if it were not for the principles contained in this legislation it would in some cases have taken years to get rid of certain unauthorized persons trading and owning big capital in certain virtually cleared-up areas. For compassionate reasons one wants to make other provision for them so that they can still continue earning their living. But the point is that this principle of the principal Act, namely that all facilities must eventually be created for the race concerned in their proclaimed area is not being sacrificed. May I also refer to what the hon. member for Umlazi said. He said: “These people cannot live among themselves.” He indicated that they could not make a living among their own people. That is a peculiar argument. Whose fault is it that those people are dependent on other races?
Order! The hon. member is now digressing too far from the contents of the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, another point which the hon. member for East London (North) made was in respect of the short notice of three months given to people to go and live in other areas. I want to point out that 12 months must elapse before you can give a person three months notice to go and live in his proclaimed area. In other words, there will be a minimum period of 15 months. If a person possesses fixed property then he should realize on the day that the area is proclaimed that he will eventually have to get out of there and he should not sit and wait until he receives the notice that he has to move in three months time. He must not sit and wait until that date before trying to dispose of his property. The day on which the area is proclaimed he already knows what the position is and he must then try to dispose of his property because then he is a disqualified person in that particular area. It will be unwise of any person who owns fixed property to sit and wait until he receives notice to move in three months time. No, this argument does not hold water. It is not a question of only three months. He receives at least 15 months’ notice.
Twelve months at the most.
Twelve months plus three months.
After nine months three months notice can be given.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Umlazi said repeatedly that the effect of this Bill would be that the hon. the Minister was going to delegate all his powers to third-grade and second-grade and other clerks. We must again tell the hon. member that it is by no means the purpose of this amending Bill to empower officials, for example, to promulgate regulations under this Act. The idea is only to reduce the hon. the Minister’s burdens and that certain administrative duties may be delegated to officials, such as the issuing of heaps of permits, for example. It will always be the hon. the Minister who will lay down the policy and within the framework of that policy officials will be given the power to take over certain responsibilities from the hon. the Minister. But the hon. member stares himself blind at the letter of the Act and says that the hon. the Minister can delegate powers and that he will therefore delegate all his powers. That is ridiculous. The hon. the Minister will not delegate all his powers just because he has the right to delegate powers. That is by no means the intention.
Then I just want to refer to a final argument. The hon. member for Umlazi said that he does not consider the concession under Clause 16 as being a concession. He does not consider it a concession that a person can no longer be forced to leave his place of residence and go to his proclaimed area until alternative housing is provided for him. He does not consider it as being a concession. As I said before, there is a provision in the existing Act that a certain period is determined together with the proclamation of a group area and a person must vacate the area within that period of 12 months or two years or three years, unless he obtains a permit to remain there. That has resulted, in an endless stream of permits and the effects of this amending Bill will be that there will be far fewer permits, which was already a big improvement on the Act. But there was also endless confusion and uncertainty among those people because of the fact that local authorities and the people on whom the burden of making the provision rested did not fulfil their obligations and the hon. member knows that. They simply sat still and when certain incidents occurred …
Order! The hon. member cannot go into that now.
Yes. Mr. Speaker. Under existing legislation a certain amount of exploitation has taken place and that will now be stopped. I do not think the hon. members opposite are prepared to accept the principle of racial separation and therefore they are boringly grumbling about this matter. We believe that this Bill brings about considerable administrative improvements and that it will be easier for the department to apply the Act practically and realistically. I just cannot see the ghosts which the hon. members find in this amending Bill.
The hon. member who has just sat down I think gave us an indication that his whole approach concerning the Group Areas Act and the amending Bill before us is that of a small politician and not of a person concerned with the well-being of the people.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of the Bill.
I accept your ruling, Sir, but unfortunately that is the impression that the hon. member created. He spoke about 12 months plus three months, a total of 15 months, for any person who might get a notice to vacate the premises in which he is living, and the hon. member tried to justify that as ample. There you have a man with no experience whatsoever, without the vaguest conception of what goes on in the property market and what it means to acquire property or dispose of property, no conception of what it means to a person who has worked for 30 or 40 years and struggling hard has saved a little that he has invested in the property in which he is living, and where he expects to spend his old age. Now, with the implementation of the Group Areas Act he can be told that he has to get out within 15 months, and the hon. member gets up and justifies that. It is perfectly clear to me that the hon. member has got no experience of the process of implementation of the Group Areas Act and the ramifications under that Act. Furthermore, he contradicted the hon. member for Vasco (Mr. C. V. de Villiers). The hon. member for Vasco legitimately denied that this Bill contained any concessions whatsoever; what he said was that it was an amelioration. But the hon. member for Parow (Mr. S. F. Kotzé) maintains that this is a concession. He says that several aspects of the Bill are concessions. It is useless to endeavour in any way to make concessions under the Group Areas Act as it stands at the moment. The only real concession that could be made by an amending Bill is to scrap the whole thing, and if anything is to be done about it, it must be started from scratch again.
But we are not discussing the Group Areas Act now.
The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, the hon. member who has just sat down commenced his speech by saying that this Bill was a measure to make the principal Act practical and realistic. Surely if this Bill is designed to make the principal Act practical and realistic …
No, “ more practical Mr. HOLLAND: If this is to make the principal Act more practical and realistic then the principal Act is wholly and entirely involved as far as this Bill is concerned. There is hardly an aspect of this Bill that can be discussed as entirely divorced from the principal Act. The hon. member went further and used the example of a person and he said that Coloureds or Indians who lived in an area where they would now become disqualified persons—and this is the example he used—would be told “ Look, you cannot conduct your businesses in this area any longer, you will now go and conduct your businesses in another specified area which is not an area for your race or your class of persons, but as a concession you will be able to conduct your businesses there ”. Is that correct?
That is a fact.
It is perfectly clear to me that the hon. member has never taken the trouble to find out what this implies. He obviously has not owned a business or conducted a business himself, or earned his livelihood by conducting a business that way.
It is also obvious that he has not even taken the trouble to find out what is involved if a person conducts a business and earns his livelihood from it.
Order, order! The hon. member is now making a second reading speech.
Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, I am replying to the specific example mentioned by that hon. member.
The hon. member is talking about a specific hon. member and I want him to talk about the contents of this Bill.
On a point of order: With great respect, the other hon. gentleman was allowed to make his whole statement here and this hon. gentlemen is replying to him. Surely he is allowed to reply to him?
Order! The hon. member may continue.
The hon. member used an example. He illustrated that example by trying to explain to the House how a certain clause in this Bill will now work. My contention is that the example he used was absolute proof of the fact that he did not realize what was implied or what he was talking about; that he did not realize that you cannot take a human being or any person with the normal intelligence of a human being, whatever his age might be, of his standard of civilization and education, and tell him, after he has conducted his business for 30 or 40 years in a specific place and earned his livelihood there—you cannot take that person and tell him “ Now there is a law forbidding you to do it here but you can do it over there; but you are not actually permitted by law to do it over there so we will give you a concession to carry on there until such time as that concession is cancelled ”. But you stop him doing it here now. For what reason? That is what the hon. member has told this House. That is his interpretation of Clause 12 of this Bill. If that hon. member knew what Clause 12 consisted of, it is once more perfectly clear to me that he has not the slightest conception of what it means to play with the destiny and with the livelihood and with the very existence of human beings.
Order, order! Again the hon. member is criticizing another hon. member instead of talking about the contents of this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, apparently the contents of this Bill can bring about the effects which the hon. member has contended they will bring about. He was not refuted by anybody. His hon. colleagues said “ hear, hear”. Now, Sir, if this is what this Act can bring about, and if it can be put across in such a lighthearted and callous manner then, in these dark days and dangerous times in which we are living I can only say “ God help us and save us from legislators of this kind ”.
I want to come back and to continue with the effects of this Bill. This is a measure that will make the principal Act more practicable and more realistic, as the hon. member for Parow said. It is a matter that cannot be treated lightheartedly. It is obvious to me that hon. members who took part in this discussion this afternoon have tried to explain how well the Act will now work administratively as a result of these amendments; how fine the position is going to be with all the concessions or, as the hon. member for Vasco has said, the “ verligtings ” that are going to be brought about. But it is obvious to me that these hon. members have not gone into the effects of the principal Act and neither have they the vaguest conception of the effects of this amending Bill. Let me give an example. The hon. member for Vasco tried to ridicule what was said here by the hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) (Mr. H. Lewis) about buffer strips. It is perfectly clear from his own admission that the hon. member has had very little to do with the procedures and the processes of the implementation of the Act, with sessions of the Group Areas Board and the attitude of municipalities towards this very measure. I did intend dealing with that aspect but the hon. member touched on it first. As far as these buffer strips are concerned it is a waste of land, and the fears expressed by not one Group Areas chairman but at several sessions of the board that I attended, was the fact that this wasteland lying there is an unnecessary …
Order, order! That is not under discussion.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I want to make the point of order that buffer strips are introduced in the principal Act and are not dealt with in this amending Bill at all.
Certain aspects of the principal Act are now being amended by this Bill, which also affect the question of buffer strips. Is that not correct?
Clause 17 (b) of this Bill does refer to that. If it is dealt with in the Bill then surely it is now under discussion?
Well, the “bluffer strips” are.
Whether it is bluffer strips or buffer strips is another matter. But the fact remains that as far as these buffer strips are concerned it is a waste of land which creates tremendous complications. This is entirely unnecessary, especially when it comes to the smaller municipalities where the land can simply not be saved for it.
In discussing this measure at an earlier stage I was grateful to the hon. the Deputy Minister for the opportunity he gave me in particular, and for the way in which he allowed me to discuss it. In discussing the matter the hon. the Deputy Minister in terms of the amendment introduced by this Bill, gave the undertaking that the Group Areas Act, as amended by this Bill, will be implemented in certain stages and that alternative accommodation will be assured in every respect. But there is one category that has not been finally dealt with and on which he did not reply to me to my satisfaction—and when I say to my satisfaction I can assure this House that as far as my personal satisfaction in the matter is concerned it may not count for very much. And it is not necessary that it should count for very much, but what is at stake here are the fortunes of many thousands of people in South Africa who, by dint of saving and by the sweat of their brows have acquired their properties but who are in danger of being evicted from those properties. Whatever methods the hon. the Deputy Minister might have in mind in implementing the Act, as amended by this Bill, the fact remains that the root causes of the bitterness and the frustration resulting from the principal Act were the uncertainties created in every respect. Here we have a position where, if an area is proclaimed, there will no longer be a time limit of five or six or seven years. The disqualified person in that area will have 12 months, and after that he may receive three months notice to vacate. There is an improvement in this sense, that the Sword of Damocles will not now hang over an affected person for a fixed period of three, four or five years. But can the hon. the Minister not give the assurance to this House that when it comes to the implementation of the Group Areas Act in a certain area, that when the homeless and the overcrowded and then the tenants or the people who can afford to buy and build, have been provided with alternative accommodation, those who remain and are owners of property in which they live, will be given an undertaking that they will not be evicted from those properties? Can he not undertake that they will be able to live there on condition that if they sell they are to sell to a person for whom the group areas is proclaimed or, if they die, their estate must sell to such a person? I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that if the Act is implemented in this way, when the ideal stage is one day reached when only the people who own property and live in it themselves in a certain area are allowed to remain, they will constitute no problem. They have never yet constituted a problem anywhere. The problems arising from overcrowding, homelessness and so on are legion, but they can be solved. The person who lives in his own property is no problem, and the concession should be made that those persons may live in their properties subject to the proviso that if they sell they must sell to a White person or to a person for whom the area is proclaimed or, if they die, their estates must sell to such a person. The people finding themselves in that position are in a terribly difficult situation. An hon. member on the other side of the House light-heartedly spoke of the 15 months in which a person can sell his property. But if there is not a market, if there is not another person of the specified group who is in a position to buy that property, the seller cannot sell. And if he cannot sell that property and the law is going to compel him to quit that property, he must dispose of it. To whom must he sell?
The Group Areas Development Board.
Now comes the answer “ The Group Areas Development Board But wherever people have been in this position and the Group Areas Development Board has stepped in, the valuations of that board have come as an absolute shock. I can mention areas that the hon. the Deputy Minister knows very well, where hardly any of these valuations amounted to more than one-half to one-third of what everybody, including the property market, thought the property was worth.
The valuation is done by sworn appraisers.
Mr. Speaker, I am talking about a very serious matter concerning thousands of people, and the interjections of that hon. member are quite irrelevant.
Do you know that the Group Areas Development Board evaluators are completely independent of the board?
Why do you not stand up and ask your question properly?
Whether those evaluators are independent people, or whoever they may be, the fact remains—and I can mention the area to the hon. the Minister, an area which I think he knows about—that in some areas valuations were far lower than the property market valuation was thought to be. I know of a case where the valuators went to a White neighbour of a Coloured man owning a certain property and asked what he thought that property was worth, and that man gave a figure at which he was willing and in the past had endeavoured to buy that property. Yet when the official valuation came in it was £1,000 less. How does that come about? Then the owner of that property is in the position that if he sells to the Development Board it will only pay him 80 per cent of its own valuation. The point is, if he does not sell to the Development Board, or if he is not satisfied with the valuation of the board, he can appeal. But what is the result? You have people who have worked very hard for the little they possess. They find themselves in this position and the only recourse they have is to run to an attorney, and in the end they pay more on attorney’s fees than they would have lost had they perhaps sold the place out of hand. This is suffering on the part of people who have worked for what they have got, people who did not go and steal, who did not go and contravene the law in order to go and live where they were and to acquire their property. I ask, in heavens’ name, can we not be reasonable. If this Act stands on the Statute Book and has to be implemented, can we not be reasonable and try to meet these people in some better way? Those people bought their properties at a time when they were permitted to live there and to possess them.
The hon. the Deputy Minister listened to me in a most reasonable manner in previous discussions. I am grateful for that and I can assure him that it has brought a great deal of relief. But there is still this one aspect on which the people are not only worried but completely frustrated, because they are now in the position that if the Group Areas Development Board places a valuation on a property, they can be compelled on three months’ notice to vacate the property and go elsewhere with no assurance whatsoever that they can acquire anything of the same kind at the price they are getting for their existing property.
I want to come to one other aspect of this Bill, and that is with regard to the effect it is going to have on people of Indian origin or of Indian racial group. It has been contended by previous speakers that this Bill is applicable to all races. I do not want to belabour that point. Figures were given in this House, and the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) also dealt with the matter. But if it is applicable to all races, I can tell the hon. the Deputy Minister now that the people whom I represent have suffered, are suffering and will suffer most as a result of this Act and the amending Bill. In the Cape, for the purposes of politics and economics, the Indians were always regarded as part of the Coloured population. Now we find that under the Group Areas Act as amended by this Bill, the Indians are being treated as a separate racial group. I do not want to go into the racial origins of these people, but we have this position, that as far as the Indians are concerned a very large percentage of them are Moslems by religion. We have a fairly large percentage of our Coloured people in the bigger cities who are Moslem by religion, popularly referred to as the Cape Malays. There has been intermarriage between Indian families and Coloured families in the Moslem religion. And these endeavours to draw a line and to segregate these people results only in frustration, bitterness and heartache. It is a question of playing with emotions, with the very souls of human beings.
Order! That is not discussed in this Bill. The hon. member must talk about the contents of the Bill.
With respect, Mr. Speaker, this Bill, if I read it correctly, makes provision for the Minister to have the power to allow a person of one racial group to conduct his business in a certain area but to prevent him from living there.
Yes, but the classification of races is laid down in the principal Act and not in this Bill. The hon. member has just been speaking about the classification of Indians.
With great respect, Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ, it would be wonderfully interesting if I would speak on race classifications. But I have not spoken on that, I was merely pointing out that this amending Bill affected the Indians, and I was trying to point out that these people have been taken, to a very great extent, as part of the Coloured population. But now they are being classified into a different racial group. The Act is being amended by this Bill in such a way that those people will suffer very great hardship. And in pointing that out I merely said that those people were not animals or mechanical instruments, but were human beings with souls. I submit, with the greatest respect, that it is this sort of thing that is causing the bitterness, the discontent and the hatred that we have in South Africa to-day. And I was endeavouring to plead with the hon. the Deputy Minister that in the implementation of this Act he will take into account the fact that to a very great extent there is common religion and intermarriage amongst these racial groups, and you cannot at this stage segregate them into different races and apply this Act in so far as their businesses and their residences are concerned.
If one reads the Bill it appears perfectly clear that by certain administrative measures —which have been lauded to high heaven by the hon. member for Vasco and the hon. member for Parow—a concession is now made or, according to the member for Vasco, amelioration is brought about to the extent that these people will not now be required to leave their businesses in an area but they can be compelled to leave their residences. I wish to submit that in terms of this Bill we are interfering with the traditional livelihood and the way of life of a certain class of people in our community. If one has any experience of these people you will know that they conduct their businesses in such a way, that they eke out their living in such a way, that they can make it a paying proposition by living on the premises. And that has been done for years under their personal supervision. There are very many cases where a person can afford to live seven or eight or nine miles away from his place of business, in the area set aside, for instance, for Indians in the Cape Peninsula. But equally there are the majority of cases where these people simply cannot make a living out of their businesses if they have to purchase property nine or ten miles away and buy a motor car in order to get to their place of business and back every day. This sort of thing has led to a great deal of abuse and underhand dealing and unfairness. I venture to say that there are cases where it has led to corruption, not on the part of Government officials but corruption amongst representatives of other racial groups who imagine that they will have a chance if they can get a person out because he is of Indian origin, regardless of the fact that his wife may be Coloured as in the case of one family I know regardless of the fact that his children go to a Coloured school, but because he holds an identity card saying that he is Indian—and I am sorry if you think I might be off the point in mentioning identity cards, but at a Group Areas Board hearing the officials concerned go according to the identity card held by the person concerned. I have had ample experience of that. That person holds an identity card to the effect that he is an Indian. Had he foreseen what might come he might have applied for another racial classification, but he now holds an identity card which technically makes him an Indian …
Order, order! To which clause is the hon. member referring?
I am on the clause under which the hon. the Minister will have power to permit a person to carry on his business in an area in which he is disqualified, but his residence must be changed. That is Clause 12. In such a case that person is in the position that he has to go. I know of cases where members of another racial group imagine that if that man is out they can take over his business and make the living that he made. And most unfair evidence is being brought before Group Area Board hearings, and most unfair methods are being adopted. This is the sort of thing that never existed before. And that is a spirit which is being fostered amongst the racial groups of our country, indirectly, by administrative measures and provisions such as Clause 12 of this Bill. It is no use coming to this House and sneaking as an authority at the third reading of a Bill of this kind without knowing what you are talking about. That was amply proved here by previous speakers. That was exemplified by an interjection from the hon. member for Vasco. I have given examples showing that the hon. member did not have the foggiest idea of the meaning of certain provisions of this Bill.
That is applicable to you.
That might be, but it was perfectly clear that this sort of thing is being discussed here on the basis of small town politics. I anneal to the hon. the Minister that in the implementation of this Act, as amended by this Bill he will bear in mind that he is dealing with human beings whether they be Coloureds or Indians or White; irrespective of their race or colour, those people are human beings. This Act has caused untold human suffering. My appeal to the hon. the Minister and the Government is that they will not come to this House with Bills of this kind. The principal Act is beyond redemption. This Bill cannot redeem it and for that reason I will vote against it.
Mr. Speaker, in dealing with the contents of this Bill the first fact that emerges is that in a period of under four years 27 clauses of the 45 clauses of the Act are being amended. I think that is a matter which must cause grave concern not only to this House but to all those persons who are affected by the Act, and more particularly because of the amendments which are incorporated in this Bill. I very often find myself forced to the conclusion that neither the hon. the Deputy Minister nor his predecessor, nor members of the Government have any idea of what the effect of these amendments are going to be, because they have a lesser idea of the effect of the Act itself. One is therefore tempted to pay a compliment to the hardworking officials of the State who are obliged to struggle with the complicated intricacies of this Act and, more particularly, the amendments and who try to bring some order out of what appears to be the chaos of the group area structure.
We were startled this afternoon to hear a further interpretation, another version of the large number of versions or interpretations from the Government side. The interpretation of Clause 12 which the hon. member for Parow (Mr. S. F. Kotzé) was at pains to explain as not only a concession but an alleviation of the difficulties of the Act, was something new. He said it was an effort to make the Act workable, that the effect of Clause 12 was really something entirely different; that its effect was to indicate to an individual who was trading in a town like Parow, for instance, that he might be allowed to continue there under permit for a while, but to prepare him for the termination of that permit he would be advised that there was an opportunity for him to continue to trade in another area to which it is hoped he will eventually go, such as, for instance, Cape Town or Worcester or Johannesburg, or anywhere at all.
The hon. the Deputy Minister was at great pains to state that his purpose was to enable existing defined areas where disqualified persons were carrying on businesses, to remain as business areas and to be occupied by those disqualified persons. He said that was the purpose of the amendment and that would be a great concession which would bring relief to people whose fear in terms of this Act was that their livelihood would be affected. The explanation that the hon. the Deputy Minister gave to the House was that he was satisfied that under the Act as it stood there was no question, as was so carefully pointed out by the hon. member for Vasco (Mr. C. V. de Villiers), that by one stroke of the pen he, the Minister, could disqualify a complete community of traders and so deprive them entirely of their livelihood, and in order to meet that situation he wanted to move this amendment. That was an entirely different picture from the one painted by the hon. member for Parow, and therefore one is very suspicious now of what is the intention of the Deputy Minister. Is the purpose of the amendment in this Bill— brie of the main features of the Bill, as he pointed out—perhaps to provide a trading group area for a certain race group, or is it merely in order to enable the Act to be workable, and is it his intention temporarily to allow a certain race group to have some sense of security and thereafter, having sorted out his difficulties under this very complicated piece of legislation, to remove them to distant parts where they will be compelled to take in each other’s washing because there will be no one else to trade with but that small restricted community to which they belong? That is a very serious danger and I submit that it is now the duty of the Minister to explain what the hon. member for Parow intended to convey. Was he giving us the true picture, or was he, in common with many other of his colleagues on that side of the House, giving a further varying interpretation of a clause of which he knows very little and cannot understand, and which very few people indeed understand because of the nature of the legislation? I think there is a heavy responsibility on the Deputy Minister now to explain in whose favour this concession is, who benefits by it and what is the value of it.
Some time ago when the Bill originally appeared before this House and the Deputy Minister had made his introductory speech at the second reading there was an objection reflected in the Press of this country to the contents of the Bill and to the effect of the amendments. The objection was that the so-called concession was not only valueless but in effect created further dangers, which can be interpreted in this manner, namely, that this Act, which has hitherto kept people in a suspended state of uncertainty and insecurity, will continue to accentuate that sense of insecurity. If there is an intention to make a concession and to preserve the means of livelihood of a certain race group, surely it is easy for the Deputy Minister to state categorically that his purpose is for a group area to be declared for the purpose of trading by a specific race group; that occupation in terms of this Act would become occupation for trading purposes in a certain area and occupation for dwelling purposes in another area. But then there must be either that categorical undertaking by the Deputy Minister, or much more clarification of these amendments with which we are dealing to-day, and which we are examining in order to visualize their effect, as part and parcel of the Act, when this Bill becomes law.
The other factor which one must take into account is this, that the amendments to 27 clauses of the Act are obviously brought before the House because, despite the fact that the Act was originally passed in 1950 and that we have had amendments year after year until 1957 when the Act was consolidated, it is still impossible to give effective operation to this Group Areas Act even though some years have elapsed to test its workability after seven years of constant amendment. That indicates immediately that there is something mightily wrong with the basis of the whole Act and that these amending clauses in fact do not go far enough or are not sufficiently clear to enable anyone here to visualize how practical and effective this Act can be. Now, in order to bring that about and in order to enable an amending Bill to give some practical workability to the Act, the Deputy Minister must bring amendments which are clear, lucid, unequivocal and unambiguous, or he must give a categorical interpretation to this House of his intention, so that not only the legislators in this House but also the public at large are fully aware of what the Deputy Minister wishes to bring about. I maintain that that is not reflected in his amendments and still less in the discussions we have heard and in the support he received from the members on his side of the House. One must bear in mind a very important statement which was made originally by the present Minister of Finance, who at that time was the Minister of the Interior and who introduced the principal Act, in which he said this, in Col 7434 of Vol. 73 of Hansard.
How is that relevant?
I do not wish to discuss the original Act, but I just want to say what the Minister of the Interior said as to the purpose of the Act when he introduced it. He said this—
That is what we want from the hon. the Deputy Minister. We want him to make clear to the House the simplicity of the amendments and the effect and of his purpose, and not to be faced with the contention of the hon. member for Parow, which is an entirely different interpretation of Clause 12. That is a very vital fact in this whole matter. Then the hon. member for Vasco goes to very great lengths to say that giving people housing is a concession. The point I want to make to the Minister is that in effect there is a clause in the principal Act which states that one cannot proclaim a group area unless and until alternative accommodation is provided. If the Deputy Minister says that these amendments will facilitate his purpose we know where we are, but he should not come to the House and have his viewpoint supported that he is making a concession when after all the whole basis of the Act, according to the Minister who introduced it, was that it was founded on a sense of justice and fairness.
I want to make this further point. The Deputy Minister was presented some years ago with a plan by the larger local authorities of this country whereby they made provision to do exactly what was originally suggested when the Act was introduced, and that was that we should try to preserve as far as possible the traditional settlements of the various groups in this country and not to disrupt their economic life where it can be avoided. These larger municipalities took areas where certain race groups had lived ever since the town was founded—I refer, e.g., to Johannesburg—where these people had established businesses over 60, 70 and 80 years and where there was very little mingling from other groups and where they had become part and parcel of the communal structure of the city; and it was suggested that in so far as their means of livelihood was concerned, in so far as their dwelling was concerned, that area should be preserved. That, Sir, was entirely discarded. When another local authority, because of this unfortunate precedent, refrained because of its objection to the principles of the legislation, from providing a scheme to the Group Areas Board, the Deputy Minister, when he signed the proclamation not long ago with regard to the Cape areas, maintained that he did so because the local authorities were not prepared to assist him in the matter.
How is that relevant?
The point I am trying to make is that the Deputy Minister should not confine himself to an explanation of the amendment and describe it as a concession, but that he should rather tell the House exactly what he wants to do.
Did you not hear my second reading speech?
Yes, I did, but it makes no contribution to the clarity of this Bill.
Well, I have nothing to add to it.
It is often wondered why this side of the House is not prepared to vote for this amending Bill, when the Deputy Minister has said that he is trying to improve it; but I do not know that he can ever, by amending legislation, improve bad legislation. One can only improve something which is basically sound.
Yes, but the principal Act is not under discussion now.
Yes, I agree, but the Deputy Minister said that the amending clauses improved the Act and I maintain that it is no improvement at all. I think the Deputy Minister is under an obligation to us to tell us clearly what these improvements are, and whether he is correct in his interpretation or whether the hon. member for Parow is correct, or the hon. member for Vasco, particularly when one observes the chiding by the hon. member for Vasco of the hon. member for Parow for committing himself to a point of view which should perhaps at this stage not be dealt with in detail, in giving his viewpoint of Clause 12.
I just want to say a final word about the buffer strips referred to in this Bill. A very serious change has taken place. In order to avoid the loss of valuable land there was a provision, to which an amendment is now being sought, that natural barriers should be taken into account, but now this amending clause will deny that principle and will set aside such buffer strips as it may deem desirable in order to bring about the group area required. The Deputy Minister should assure us of one thing, and that is that in this very expensive machinery which we find incorporated in this amending Bill—because if it is expensive in the Act it must be even more expensive in the Bill—every effort will be made to enable these buffer strips to be put to better use than merely being artificially set aside in order to satisfy a group area proclamation, because that will result in a waste of valuable land. Unless the Deputy Minister can assure us that he will be guided by the advice of local authorities and other public bodies, we cannot afford to throw away such large areas of land which are 500 yards in width and extend for miles along the boundaries of a proclaimed group area this clause is a very serious one and can result in considerable financial loss not only to local authorities but to public bodies. Now, I do appreciate one point, that if the Deputy Minister is going to continue to rely on his hard-worked officials to interpret this amending Bill, as he has relied on them to interpret the Act, he must realize one thing, namely, that he will have to come back with more and more amendments because he cannot compel an administration to administer a law which is in effect an impracticable one and which cannot, bearing in mind the beacons they have set for themselves of justice and equity, be effectively administered in that spirit for the benefit of the people concerned. Therefore, as far as we on this side of the House are concerned, we will have no hesitation in opposing this Bill and we will continue to oppose it for all time until something sound and sane is introduced in this complicated form of ideology which this Bill represents.
Mr. Speaker, in anticipation of any ruling you may give, I do not intend to make a second reading speech, but I merely want to indicate to the Minister that this amending Bill has some very revolutionary effects on the principal Act. I intend to deal very briefly with just one or two of these new clauses. I do not intend to go through the whole Bill because that would take too long. I want to draw the attention of the Minister to certain clauses in this Bill which have brought consternation and surprise and uncertainty to many of the Coloured people not only in the Cape but throughout the country.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill. We are not concerned with consternation now, but with the contents of the Bill.
The consternation is brought about by the effect of Clause 16 particularly. That clause provides that the Minister may now 12 months after the date of proclamation or three months after that do certain things, whereas in fact up to now the time allowed in certain areas has been as much as seven years. The consternation has been brought about by the fact that the Minister may within 15 months, rather than a period of five or seven years as was the case before, do certain things. That has upset a lot of people who have made arrangements and plans in regard to the property affected. I was hoping that the Minister might clarify the position and allay the suspicion and fears of people by saying that he will not in those areas where the old Act has given five to seven years in any way interfere with that period. I think he will allay a lot of suspicion if he does that.
Clause 12 has been fully dealt with. I want to say again to the hon. the Deputy Minister that if he regards Clause 12 as a concession, it is one which is not appreciated by the people because they cannot possibly carry on a business if they do not have the right to reside on the premises to look after the business.
Order! That is a point which was made in the second reading debate.
Well, it is a good point. [Laughter.] I am glad that other people have the same intelligence that I have. I will make another point now by drawing the attention of the Minister to the effect of this Bill, in regard to putting right what apparently was a mistake when we considered the Act in 1957, and to draw attention once more to the fact that many people have acted in terms of the Act of 1957 and have received permits to reside in a certain area, from the Group Areas Board, only to find now that under this amending Bill those permits which were granted by the Government will be of no force and effect. Surely, having lulled these people into that sense of security that they could acquire property under those permits, they should be allowed to continue to hold that property. Those people should not be prejudiced because of a mistake made by Parliament. The point is that these people acted bona fide in terms of the law and I hope the Minister will consider treating these people very sympathetically. I will give him the details and even the names of the people if he wishes. There is also the case where under the principal Act, which we now understand was a mistake, many people bought property on hire purchase. They paid their deposits and have continued to pay their installments, only to find now that those contracts will not be valid and you can understand, Sir, to what extent these people may suffer because the people to whom they originally paid the deposit may have spent the money; they may not get their money back, and they may not get the properties they purchased. These are some of the effects of the Bill and I want to make a very strong appeal to the Minister not to use this Bill to affect those people who, under the old Act, bought property only to find now that those contracts will be illegal. Sir, it is very hard on them. Many people have come to me and asked me to appeal to the Minister. I do so publicly now and I hope the Minister will respond to it.
I do not intend to deal with the question of the valuation and how property is acquired, but I only want to draw the attention of the Minister to it and to express the hope that it will be put right. When property is valued by an independent valuer and you lodge an appeal, you find that the court of appeal consists of the very people who valued your property.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Will you please permit me to correct an impression the Minister gave the public by that interjection.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the contents of the Bill.
I do not intend to say much more because the Coloured people have made representations, and very strong representations are going to made to the Minister in regard to the Act, and I do not intend saying anything which might prejudice those negotiations which I hope will be fruitful in the interests of the Coloured people. I hope that the appeals I have made will be considered favourably by the Minister.
Mr. Speaker, with the exception of perhaps one or two points, all the arguments we heard this afternoon were the same as those we heard in the Committee Stage and in the second reading, and detailed replies have already been given to all these points. Now hon. members want me again to give those replies, but they might just as well go and look it up in Hansard.
Only one new point has been raised, and I regret to say that the hon. member who raised it did his side of the House no service. I refer to the hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Miller). He should keep in closer contact with his fellow party members in the Other Place He referred to the buffer strips and the powers we are taking to put it beyond all doubt that the investigation of a buffer strip can take place simultaneously with the investigation of a group area, and he really objected to the proviso in the clause. When this Bill was introduced in the Other Place we omitted this proviso, but because the hon. member’s colleagues there insisted on it we put it back again, and now he objects to it. How is one to understand an Opposition like that? This point was never raised during the second reading or in the Committee Stage, but now he had to look for a new argument and he forgot to consult his colleagues, and now there is trouble. I want to advise the hon. member to discuss the matter with his colleagues. What we were interested in was to ensure beyond any doubt that the investigation of the buffer strip would take place simultaneously with the investigation of the group area, and there was doubt in this regard because of the way in which the proviso was worded. The proviso was then deleted, but then the hon. member’s colleagues insisted on having it, and in order to meet them we put it back and now he objects to it.
The hon. member wanted a further explanation from me. I have to state unequivocally whether all the interpretations and meanings given to Clause 12, and even those that were not given to it, are correct or not. In my second reading speech I explained what was envisaged in this clause. I explained how this clause would be interpreted by the Board, but now hon. members opposite keep on talking about concessions. Here I have my second reading speech and not once do I find the word “ concession ” used in it. I did not refer to concessions. What I said in fact was that after years of experience we had come to the conclusion that we should now take certain steps to facilitate and speed up the operation and the application of the Act and that we do so with a view to speed up the establishment and implementation of group areas. Hon. members wanted to put the word “ concession ” into my mouth. They put up their own “ concession ” ninepin and tried to knock it down all afternoon. If they derive pleasure from doing so, I do not begrudge it to them, but then they should not try to put that word into my mouth. I said the following in regard to Clause 12 in my second reading speech—
That was the explanation I gave.
That is not good enough.
The hon. member says it is not good enough, but nothing that comes from this side will be good enough for them, because he wants to destroy the principle contained in this Bill and the results which may flow from the Act, and I cannot help the hon. member there; there is an unbridgable gulf between us.
I now want to refer to a few other points which were raised here. The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) referred to the evacuation period, and he was followed by other hon. members. He asked this question, which is quite a reasonable one: In view of the fact that we adopt the attitude that the Group Areas Act affects all sections of the population and that it is not discriminatory against one section only, why is it that in certain cases larger numbers of Coloureds are affected and smaller numbers of Whites and also larger numbers of Indians? He then connected that up with these periods for evacuation, the basis of which we are now changing in order to enable us to give three months’ notice. His objection is that in this way we will now affect larger numbers of the population adversely, differently from others. I now want to explain to the hon. member why this is done. In the first place, the Coloureds generally occupy houses which are inferior to those of the Whites …
… not as a result of the Group Areas Act or of this Bill but as the result of conditions which have evolved throughout the years, and from the point of view of capital expenditure and better housing one would necessarily choose that group where one can in the first place effect improvements and at the same time clear up slum conditions and where one’s capital expenditure is not so great. That is the first reason, but in the second place that section of the community has not sufficient capital to buy houses in the more expensive areas. In order to illustrate it to the hon. member, I want to ask this question: Would the Coloured community be able to buy Constantia Valley if we were to proclaim it as a Coloured area? Does the hon. member think that this is within the reach of the Coloured community? But instead of ascertaining the facts in regard to this matter, what we get here is a tirade, a lot of reproaches in connection with hardships, inhumanity and repression, whereas the Coloured community is not able to buy up those more expensive areas. It is no use holding up the moon to these people and to say the moon is made of cheese and that it is within their reach when that is not the case. One has to deal with these people and make available to them that which is within their reach, because in the group area the Coloured can own his own property. That is the reason why more of them are affected. But let us tell that to the Coloureds and then we will have less hatred and suspicion and less trouble between the races.
But that they do not want to do.
The hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) also raised this point. That hon. member suffers from a disease; he protests against everything. He referred to the deputation which is supposed to come to interview me. I do not want to anticipate it but I just want to say that many of these deputations and explanations will not be necessary if hon. members of this House would themselves give the public the correct facts instead of talking all the time about the so-called hardships and the difficulties caused by the Act. The hon. member asked whether concessions could not be made to these people to whom he referred. Let me tell the hon. member that the offices of the Group Areas Board are open to these people in order to serve them. It is not necessary—and I want to state this publicly to-day —to run to little attorneys in connection with every matter in regard to which the Coloureds land in trouble. I want to emphasize that there is grievous exploitation of these people who have to pay tremendous fees in regard to matters in connection with which they would be treated with the greatest goodwill if only they would go direct to the offices of the Group Areas Board. I hope that they will accept this warning as being in their interest, that it is not necessary to spend their savings on attorneys’ fees in connection with so-called difficulties caused by the Act, difficulties which do not really exist.
Are you now attacking the legal profession?
No, I am not referring to all attorneys; they are not all unscrupulous. There are many honourable people amongst them, but there are also unscrupulous people amongst them and those are the ones I am referring to.
Then the hon. member for East London (North) referred to Clause 8, viz. the question of agreements. People who have entered into hire-purchase contracts and who have paid installments but have not yet taken transfer can apply for a permit. Each one of these cases will be dealt with on its merits and they will be granted permits if they can prove their case. In that way we will meet them. There is no restriction in this Act and no measure of control in regard to which provision cannot be made by means of the permit system to eliminate cases of hardship and hon. members ought to know it. All possible means are adopted to eliminate such cases.
Then objection was raised again to the delegation of powers.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) has lately got into the habit of keeping up a running commentary so that it becomes impossible to devote attention to one’s speech. He has been sitting mumbling here the whole day. If he had had the courage to get up and take part in the debates, one would have been able to put him in his place, but we know him as one who lacks moral courage.
Which you do not have.
The hon. member should learn to behave himself.
You should keep calm.
I will always remain calm, but not when a blowfly walks across my nose.
I dealt with the objection hon. members have to the delegation of powers in the Committee Stage and in the second reading, and I told them that in respect of each of these delegated powers it would be done in terms of this provision, viz. that the Minister would lay down the conditions under which it would be done. In the second place I said that in respect of each of these delegated powers there was the right of appeal to the Minister. Thirdly, I said that the Minister could be held responsible in this House for his actions in respect of all these matters. Fourthly, I said that these delegated powers were necessary to eliminate delays and to facilitate the implementation of the Act. I cannot say more than that. The hon. members again repeated it to-day and now they again want assurances in this regard.
I want to conclude by correcting one thing for the sake of the record. I am now referring to a point raised by the hon. member for Outeniqua (Mr. Holland). It is not really relevant to this debate, but the hon. member said something which cannot be left there, viz. that the valuers who make the valuations do it in such a way that these people suffer tremendous loss, and he intimated that the Development Board was really the body which specifically set out to keep these valuations so low. But the hon. member ought to know better. He ought to know that the Development Board makes use of independent sworn valuers who are not in its employ, and he ought to know, further, that there is the right of appeal against their decisions and that there is a court of revision of which an ex-magistrate or an ex-judge is the chairman and that those courts of revision have proper control over those valuations, and that the valuations can be argued before them. Why now create the impression that people are being robbed of their property in this way? It is irresponsible, and it is untrue.
But that is the position.
If the hon. member says it is so I cannot help him, because then he wants to publish an untruth to the world.
But surely you know it is so.
It is not true. Then in the second place he asked—I do not know what his object was—what would happen to these people who have their properties in White areas and who cannot be taken out under the ordinary housing schemes. But surely the hon. member knows that as soon as an area is proclaimed then usually the Development Act immediately applies to that area, and then the valuations are made and if that person cannot find a buyer he is able to sell the property to the Board. If the Board does not want to exercise its right to purchase and he cannot find another purchaser he can apply for a permit. Not a single one of these people has ever been treated unfairly. But what is more, the hon. members knows that at the moment we are busy in respect of each of these group areas practically adopting measures to demarcate areas for the more well-to-do class of non-Whites where they can go and live in the better areas if they do not want to live in the sub-economic housing schemes. What is wrong with such areas being demarcated and better residential areas being established, and if a person is then left alone until that area has been demarcated and is then told that he can go there? I think that they will be delighted to go there. But every one of these cases is dealt with in the most sympathetic manner and most humanely. To make an issue of this is simply to sow unnecessary suspicion and to cause unnecessary trouble.
Motion put and the House divided:
Ayes.—62: Badenhorst, F. H. Bekker. H. T. van G.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, I. I;Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Wet, C; Diederichs, N.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Greyling, J. C.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek. J.; Jonker, A. H.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; le Riche, R.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Malan, A. I.; Marais, J. A.; Maree, W. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Sadie, N. C. van R.: Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Smit, H. H.; Steynn, J. H.: Strydom, G. H. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van den Heever, D. J. G.; van der Walt, B. J.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter. W. L. D. M.; Verwoerd, H. F.: Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; von Moltke, J. von S.; Vorster, B. J.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. J. Fouché.
Noes.—40: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Cope, J. P.; de Beer, Z. J.; Dodds, P. R.; Eglin, C. W.; Gay. L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; Horak, J. L.; Hughes, T. G.; Lawrence, H. G.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R. P.; Ross, D. G.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steyn. S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; van der Byl, P.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: H. C. de Kock and A. Hopewell.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
Bill read a third time.
Mr. SPEAKER: My attention has been drawn to the proposed new Clause 6 inserted in the Constitution Bill by the Joint Committee. This clause provides that the National Anthem of the republic shall be “ Die Stem van Suid-Afrika ”.
The Bill was referred to a Joint Committee after it had been read a second time in the House of Assembly and although the proposed new clause is relevant to the subject matter of the Bill, it introduces a new and important principle not contemplated by the House at the second reading. Such an amendment in my opinion can only be inserted in the Bill on an instruction from the House and the clause must therefore be omitted from the Bill before the Committee Stage is proceeded with.
Fourth Order read: House to go into Committee on Anatomy Amendment Bill.
House in Committee:
On Clause 4,
I move as an amendment—
I think it is essential that this clause be stated clearly. I do not think it is wrong to ask the hon. the Minister to accept this amendment for the simple reason that if such a person had expressed the wish that after his death his body should be placed at the disposal of a school of anatomy, he should have done so not merely in the presence of two adult witnesses but that those two adult witnesses should as far as possible be either relatives or bona fide friends of his or hers. I think that when a person provides in his will that his body should be placed at the disposal of such a school of anatomy and that will is signed, in nine out of ten cases it will be found that the witnesses were relatives or friends of such a person. Such a person will not come to such a decision unless he has first of all informed his own family of his intentions. For that reason I think that when it comes to the case of a person who did not execute a will but who merely expressed such a wish in the presence of two adult witnesses, it is not more than right that those two witnesses should be relatives or bona fide friends of his. If one uses one’s imagination Sir, you visualize such a person lying on his death bed in those circumstances he may not even be completely conscious and such a person may then express the wish that his body should be handed over to such a school of anatomy. If he expresses such a wish in the presence of two adult witnesses, for example two nurses, it is legal. After his death his family comes along and they may doubt that wish. That may give rise to a great deal of unpleasantness*. I do not doubt that those two adult witnesses do not act in a bona fide manner but nevertheless I think we are leaving the door open for rousing a great deal of suspicion on the part of such a person’s relatives or friends. That is why I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister to accept this amendment. I do not think it will in any way hinder the administration of this measure. I merely feel that this will be an improvement and that it will remove any possible suspicion that may arise. Later on, in the same clause, in (a)bis, the precedent is already being created that such a relative, for example, may express the wish that the body of a still-born child should be donated. It is not anybody who will decide on that, but members of the family.
I am not moving the amendment standing in my name but I should like to move the following amendment in its place—
- (d) by the insertion of the following proviso at the end of the said paragraph (a):
Provided that unless the body has been left by last will, the surviving spouse or nearest adult relative may, within 24 hours after death, claim the body for burial.
I think this amendment will remove the difficulties raised by the hon. member who has just sat down. This amendment, which was originally moved by the hon. the Deputy Minister, still provides for bodies to be made available to medical schools and schools of anatomy. I think the House should accept this clause with this amendment. I think it is a well-known fact that schools of anatomy have a great problem to-day in obtaining sufficient bodies for dissection. It is absolutely essential that more bodies be made available particularly because of the increase in the number of medical faculties in South Africa during the last couple of years, and in the long run the basis of the entire training rests on dissection and the study of the anatomy of the human body. May I in passing just say this that in my opinion the training which is given in this country compares favourably with the best in the world. For that reason I welcome this amendment to the clause but I should like to see the addition which I have just suggested, namely, that where a person has donated his body in the presence of two adult witnesses the proviso should remain in force that the surviving spouse or nearest relative may claim the body within 24 hours. I think that ought to solve the problem of the hon. member and I think in that way we are offering ample opportunity to the relatives to claim the body if necessary. I want to refer to another point. Where such a person has expressed the wish that his body should be given to a school of anatomy we should not place too much power in the hands of his relatives to thwart that wish of his. You know, Sir, a person does not think that his body may be valuable for the purposes of research until such time, perhaps, as he lies on a sick-bed, for instance, or finds himself in hospital and when he makes such a decision at that stage, I think we should take it that the two adults in whose presence he has expressed that wish, will be persons with a particular sense of responsibility—it will in all probability be the medical practitioner attending the person or the sister in charge of the ward. In other words, there is not much danger that the wish will be expressed in the presence of irresponsible persons.
I want to move the amendment standing in the name of the hon. member for Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher)—
I want to ask the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark (Dr. de Wet) to accept the time limit proposed by Dr. Fisher in his new amendment. I do not want to go into the merits of the case again but he suggests that instead of inserting “ twenty-four hours ” we should insert “ seventy-two hours ”. That will give relatives or next-of-kin time to claim the body if they wish to do so. It gives them sufficient time to hear that such a person has died and I think it is good to extend the time. I want to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister, without in any way detracting from his Bill, to give the relatives more time to claim the body.
I want to say at once that I accept the amendment moved by the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark. I agree with his argument that it will to a great extent remove the objections raised by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West) (Mr. Streicher). But apart from that, there is a very good reason why I cannot accept the amendment of the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West), although I sympathize with his attitude. As a matter of fact, I said quite clearly during the second reading debate that in no circumstances did we wish to take the body of a person against the will and wishes of his relatives or even that of his friends. That is the basis underlying this Bill and I want to adhere to that at all times. But apart from the arguments advanced by the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark, there is another very good reason why I cannot accept the amendment of the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West) and it is this, namely, that the person whom we expect to donate his body in the circumstances which have been referred to, namely in the presence of two adult witnesses, will pre-eminently be the very person who has no family. We expect, therefore, that it will be the person who is alone in the world and who feels that he will not harm anybody, that he will not shock anybody’s feelings by giving his body to a medical school for a very good purpose. We would be nullifying this if we provided that the witnesses should be relatives or friends. If he has friends or relatives who object to his making his body available, that is covered by the amendment of the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark and it cannot happen. As far as the amendment moved by the hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) on behalf of the hon. member for Rosettenville, is concerned, I wish to point out that it is not necessary to accept that amendment because in practice we have to do with two periods. In the first instance we have to do with a period of 24 hours and thereafter with a period of 14 days and the hon. member for Durban (Central) (Dr. Radford) assured us that in no circumstances is anything done with those bodies (except in one specific instance with which we will deal at a later stage) before the lapse of 14 days. I want to assure hon. members that the attitude of the medical schools remains that they do not wish to retain any body against the wishes of friends or family and even if that period were to lapse and his people claim the body, no inpediment will be placed in their way to obtain the body. The schools will not keep it against the will of those people. That is the whole approach of this legislation and I can assure hon. members that if they accept this clause we will be serving the purpose which we wish to serve without hurting any individual or without shocking the religious feelings of anybody, and without placing any member of his family or even a friend in an invidious position. I will, therefore, appreciate it if we left it at that and accepted the amendment of the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark which in my opinion covers the whole position. In that way I shall also be giving effect to the undertaking which I gave in the Other Place that in respect of this Clause I shall try to bring about a change.
Amendment proposed by Mr. Streicher put and negatived.
Amendment (by Dr. Steenkamp) to the amendment proposed by Dr. de Wet, put and negatived.
Amendment proposed by Dr. de Wet put and agreed to.
During the course of the second reading debate the hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) asked a question in regard to this clause to which I still wish to reply. I refer to Clause 4 (d) (a)bis. The hon. member said that he could not understand what was meant by it. As I have already said the basis of this legislation is that we do not wish to keep the body of any person against the will and wishes of anybody, and as far as the last few words to which the hon. member has referred, are concerned, they simply mean that the surviving spouse may decide to give the body to a medical school. If the children do not approve of this they may refuse to give their consent. That means that the children can object to it in spite of the fact that the surviving spouse feels differently about it. But even if the surviving spouse and the children feel that they want to give the body a friend may come along and claim that body in order to give it proper burial. If the hon. member views it in that light, he will see to what extent we have made assurance doubly sure that no body will land in an institution if there is a member of his family or a friend who is in the slightest decree sufficiently interested in him to claim his body. Is that clear?
This is as they say in English: “ as clear as mud ”. I whole-heartily accept that the aim is as explained by the Minister but I again want to ask him to ask his legal advisers to change the wording. I think the hon. the Deputy Minister will agree with me that this clause is not clear. The first part does not refer to a “ bona fide friend ” although the second part does. I think from a language point of view it can be stated much clearer. However, I leave it at that, but I hope the hon. the Minister will go further into this matter and amend it in the Other Place.
Reading it superficially it does seem as though this is incorrectly drafted but I want to analyse it for the information of the hon. member. It says here—
In other words, if the surviving spouse or relative hands over a body they may impose certain conditions which have to be complied with. It may be that during his lifetime a person has stated clearly that after his death he does not wish his body to be handed over to a school of anatomy. In that case the clause goes further and says this—
Such a person may not donate the body if that person during his lifetime had said that he did not wish that to happen. If it becomes known that such a person had expressed the wish that it should not happen, that cancels the act of the surviving spouse or of the relative. If he had not expressed such a wish, the surviving spouse is free to cancel the act of a relative. Reference is also made to a relative or bona fide friend who may cancel the act of the surviving spouse, as the case may be. I think it has been correctly drafted and that in this way we are making it absolutely sure that no body will be donated if the person himself did not or a relative or a friend does not wish that to happen.
I understand that the Other Place has already disposed of this Bill and consequently it cannot be changed but I repeat that it appears to me that the latter part from “ unless ” is redundant. If, for example, the Minister had said “ the body of any deceased person whose surviving spouse or nearest available adult relative or bona fide friend has agreed in writing ” it would have covered the whole point.
But what about the case where the person has said during his lifetime that he did not wish that to happen?
But you contradict yourself in your clause: “ The body of any deceased person whose surviving spouse or nearest available adult relative has agreed in writing … unless that person or his surviving spouse or any of his relatives or bona fide friends have expressed a wish to the contrary.
Order! The hon. member must move an amendment otherwise he cannot proceed in that vein. Hon. members cannot have a loose discussion on the matter.
To me there is a contradiction, but I do not wish to go into it any further.
I wish to draw the attention of the hon. the Deputy Minister to the fact that reference is made in the Afrikaans text to “ ’n persoon se langslewende eggenoot ”, That does not make sense in Afrikaans in my opinion. It ought to be “ ’n persoon se oor-lewende eggenoot ” (a person’s surviving spouse). If you refer to “ ’n persoon se langslewende eggenoot ” you presume that there was more than one spouse. I think the present wording is in contravention of the Marriage Act.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 6,
I move as an amendment—
Section 9 of the original Act defines the duties of a superintendent of such an authorized school of anatomy in respect of bodies other than those dealt with in sub-section (6) of Section 6 of the principal Act. In other words, it may include the body of a person who during his lifetime was not prepared to provide in his will that his body should be made available for such a purpose. It may therefore include a person who did not express that wish in the presence of two adult witnesses. Consequently this may happen to any person. As the amendment of the hon. the Minister reads at the moment it means that any part of the body may be removed and kept separately and preserved if the superintendent thinks it necessary for purposes of dissection. As I indicated during my second reading speech, I think this will undoubtedly shock some people, but I do believe that if this were done with the approval of a relative or a bona fide friend, where the person had not expressed the wish, the Minister and the Department are properly safeguarded by my amendment. The hon. the Minister has stated quite clearly that he does not wish to hurt the religious feelings of anybody and I think that on religious grounds many people— certain sects and people who may have peculiar ideas about life—will certainly not approve of the amendment as it stands at the moment. But if a relative or a friend also expresses the wish, I do not think there can be any objection to it and the hon. the Minister and his Department will be properly safeguarded and protected against any criticism which may be levelled against them because they had hurt the religious feelings of some people. As has been stated in Section 9 of the original Act may apply to the bodies of people who did not express the wish that their bodies should be used for that purpose. It may also apply to people who did not provide in their wills that their bodies should be made available to a school of anatomy. Once again it is only necessary for you to use your imagination, Sir. A relative or friend of such a person will undoubtedly be shocked if he finds that after the lapse of a certain period, according to the wishes of the superintendent of such a school of anatomy, dissection had already been commenced without that person having expressed such a wish. I definitely do not think that this clause will serve its purpose. If it had also given that friend or relative an opportunity of expressing a wish I do not think anything could be wrong. I think the hon. the Minister, who does pot wish to hurt the religious feelings of anybody, should accept this amendment. It will also leave a good impression that they want to leave it to the nearest relative or to his friends to decide so that nothing will be done without taking the personal feelings of the people concerned into proper consideration.
I am sorry but there are very good reasons why I unfortunately cannot accept the amendment of the hon. member. I want to repeat that I sympathize with is attitude and I want to go so far as to say that to some extent there is some substance in his amendment but there are three reasons why I cannot accept it. In the first instance I wish to point out that this Bill was published a long time ago. It was discussed in Another Place, a discussion which was widely publicized in the newspapers and no objection was lodged from any quarter to the provision as it stands. In the second instance, there is very good reason advanced by the hon. member for Durban (Central) (Mr. Radford) during the second reading, namely, that nobody will be shocked at the way in which it is done. The hon. member will remember that the hon. member for Durban (Central), who is an authority on this subject, explained to us how it was done. It is done in such a way that from the nature of things nobody can be shocked at such removal.
Then I come to the third and the most important reason why we should leave the clause as it is. I cannot do anything about it, neither can the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West), nor anybody else do anything about it, namely, that we must have certain material for our medical schools, as for example, the brain, and that has to be removed from the body within 24 hours otherwise it is useless. If you wish to use it for this purpose you cannot remove it at a later stage. In view of the fact that it is necessary for our students and future medical practitioners to receive the proper training in this respect, it is also absolutely necessary that our medical schools should have the material available. I want to go even further. I fully understand that the hon. member wishes to bring the relatives and friends into the picture. I too should have liked to bring them in if I could, but there are two very good reasons why we cannot do so. If they are present at the time of death or immediately thereafter they can claim the body and nothing will happen. If they arrive at a much later stage no purpose will be served by removing material, such as the brain, at that late stage, because that has to be removed within 24 hours. In other words, at the time when the brain is removed there is no relative or friend to be consulted. Had they been present the body would have been handed over to them or they could have given instructions regarding the body. But it is because of the very reason that they were not present that you have to act in the meantime, within 24 hours, because you cannot wait longer than that. I take it the hon. member sees my point and realizes that his amendment will create an impossible position as far as this is concerned. For that reason—no matter how anxious I am to do so and no matter to what extent I appreciate the substance of the hon. member’s argument—I unfortunately cannot accept the amendment.
One does not like to be unreasonable in regard to the hon. the Minister’s argument. But what one must clearly understand here is that we are dealing with different people from those mentioned in Sub-section 6 of the clause. It includes any person. I can quite understand, if a man is prepared to donate his body by will, or he has expressed the wish, as is provided for by the last clause we discussed, that this can be done. That one can follow. But the clause we are now discussing applies to any person.
Only persons mentioned in the Act.
It reads as follows: “ The superintendent of an authorized anatomy school who receives a body other than that referred to in Section 6 …” It is therefore a different body from the one mention in Section 6. Section 6 deals, inter alia, with people who have made a body available by way of a will or, as it has now been amended, by way of a wish expressed in the presence of two adult witnesses. This is my argument, that the whole matter is so vague. One would like to assist, but one also feels that one does not want to shock the family of such a person. They perhaps suddenly discover that the body of a friend or relative has been received by the superintendent of such a medical school, before there was any opportunity tö take any steps to recover the body, and when they get there they find that parts of the body have already been removed. That would undoubtedly be a shock to such people. As we know the South African people, and I think the hon. the Deputy Minister knows them just as well as I do, if not very much better, we know that the ordinary South African would be shocked if something like that happened to a friend or a relative. Therefore I merely ask that we should just say that such a part of the body can be removed and preserved unless a relative or friend expresses a wish to the contrary.
Mr. Chairman, I just want to remove a misapprehension. The hon. member is now referring to bodies which land up in the school. It is obvious that not every body will land in the school. Supposing a person is involved in a motor accident and is killed, his body does not land there. The body of a person who suddenly dies in the street does not land there. The body of a person who dies in the hospital does not land there. It is only the persons mentioned in the Act, viz. certain types of paupers who have no family or friends, whose bodies land there. In other words, it is the type of person in regard to whom one is sure that during his lifetime there was nobody to look after him or who was interested in him or at all concerned about him, and who in addition was a person who did not have the necessary means to provide a living for himself. In other words, it is a person who for all practical purposes lived quite alone and died alone. That being the position, one can take it for all practical purposes that after his death, if nobody was concerned about him whilst he was alive, if they did not try to keep him alive, what chance is there that they would suddenly become concerned about him after his death and then still incur expense in burying him? I think the hon. member will agree with me that these possibilities do not exist, and that the person concerned here is the one who throughout his life, or at least for the greater portion of it, stood alone and had no friends or relatives. We have the assurance—the hon. member can take it from me—that this is not a question of mutilating the body. The hon. member for Durban (Central) (Dr. Radford) and other hon. members have stated quite clearly that the same sort of thing is done when there is a post-mortem examination in the case of any body; and that it is done in such a way, e.g. where the brain is removed, that in the unlikely event of a friend or relative turning up, it can be replaced without mutilating the body, or at least done without those people being aware of it. I also honestly believe that those people would be the last to be shocked or to reproach one for having done it. We have the assurance of the medical men that it is done in such a way as to shock no one, and even in such a way that people do not realize it has been done. But I want to make it quite clear that this cannot happen to any person who dies, but only to the specific person mentioned in the Act.
Amendment put and negatived.
Clause, as printed, put and agreed to.
Remaining clauses and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Amendment to be considered on 6 April.
Fifth Order read: Second reading,—Public Health Amendment Bill.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This is a very short Bill which really consists of only one material clause. And it is non-contentious so I hope it will be welcomed on all sides.
Every person has rights, but no one has an absolute right. All our rights are limited. That also applies in the case of a man who owns property. He must use his property so that he does not injure the rights of others. For instance, I may not allow rats to multiply on my property and spread disease to my neighbour’s property. I may not allow puddles of water to develop on my property, in which mosquitoes may breed. I may not allow the sewage effluent from my property to flow on to my neighbour’s land. I may not allow dirt to accumulate on my property. The rights of every owner of property are, therefore, limited to the extent that he must always take into consideration the nuisance he might create to his neighbours.
The bodies which are entrusted with enforcing the principle that a man must never allow a nuisance to be committed on his property, are the local authorities; the city councils, the town councils, the health committees and divisional councils. It is their duty to see that no man allows a nuisance to arise on or from his own property. The Public Health Act of 1928 empowers local authorities to notify property owners to remove or to abate nuisances on their own property. If the owner then fails to remove such a nuisance and it is not a case of urgency, the public authority can then go to court and obtain an order to compel the owner to remove the nuisance. In the case of the owner failing to obey that order of the court, the local authority may itself remove the nuisance and sue the owner for the costs. Now it may happen—and it does happen occasionally—that the owner becomes insolvent; he is unable to pay his debts, and he is unable to pay the local authority which has gone to the expense of removing the nuisance from his property. In a case like that the local authority loses either the whole of its costs or a portion thereof.
It is only fair that the local authority should be able to reclaim from the estate of the owner the amount that it has been compelled to expend in removing urgently, in the interests of public health, a serious nuisance. The object of this Bill, therefore, is to enable local authorities to recover the amounts they have expended in removing such nuisances from the estates of insolvent persons. In legal phraseology one speaks of allowing the rights of the local authority to rank in priority to other debts, or, of the rights of the local authority being a first charge against the estate. That is really all that this Bill consists of. I may just mention that the Bill has been brought forward at the request of the United Municipal Executive.
First of all, Mr. Speaker, let me express my appreciation to the hon. the Minister for introducing the second reading in English.
There has been an unduly long interval between the first and the second reading of this measure. The long period has, however, enabled critics of this Bill to raise the objections, but I am not personally aware of any objections made to this particular Bill. The hon. the Minister stated the reasons for the introduction of this Bill and made reference to the question of limited rights of property owners in local authority areas. He also referred to the rights of the local authorities. Obviously there is a certain limitation on the rights of property owners or tenants in urban areas in that they are restricted, to a certain extent, by the operation of local by-laws, particularly in so far as health measures are concerned.
I am glad to know that this Bill was prompted by the United Municipal Executive, obviously due to the difficulties of getting claims settled against insolvent or deceased estates, where the local authority has incurred an expenditure. One is aware of these conditions. There are occasions where the local authority, acting in terms of the Public Health Act, asks a tenant, an occupier or an owner to remove a nuisance or, possibly, to effect certain improvements because the conditions appertaining to that property are injurious to health. It so happened that the person concerned on some occasions—fortunately very rare occasions—does not carry out the instructions of the local authority. Then, as the hon. the Minister has pointed out, the person may become insolvent, or it might become a deceased estate. The result is that the local authority having no priority for their claim, has not been able to recoup the expenditure incurred in carrying out these improvements or the removal of a nuisance. This Bill provides that the local authority, in cases of this nature, should have a priority claim, and one feels that that is only reasonable and just. After all, the expenditure incurred by the local authority is on behalf of the citizens in whose interests they are removing the nuisance or some other condition which may be injurious to health. In the incurring of that expenditure the local authority is, in a sense, handling trust funds as represented by contributions from the citizens in the way of rates and taxes.
When this Bill was debated in the Other Place, there seemed to be an element of doubt as to the priority to be given to local authorities in respect of these claims. The doubt centred round the question of the rating of a mortgage bond. My interpretation of the Bill —and the hon. the Minister can clarify this—· is that, in the rating, the claim of the local authority is given priority over that of the existing mortgage bonds. But in this very short clause there is provision to make applicable Section 89 of Act 24 of 1936, namely, the Insolvency Act, the provisions of which have higher priority than the claims of a local authority. It would appear that higher priority is given to administration costs and local authority taxes on that particular property. That is how I interpret the Bill; perhaps the Minister can indicate whether that is a true reading of this clause or not.
There is nothing more to say on this Bill. It is a reasonable Bill. It is a Bill that has been requested by the United Municipal Executive, as was pointed out by the hon. the Minister; and in view of the fact that it is a non-contentious measure we, on the official Opposition side, will support it.
I should like to clear up the one small matter raised by the hon. member; the question of priority over mortgage bonds. The priority of the claim of a local authority in this case is higher than the claim, of a mortgage bond, but only in urgent cases. Not in ordinary cases.
May I ask the hon. the Minister what he would describe as an urgent case?
A case when the local authority acted without going to Court.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
That the House do now resolve itself into Committee on the Bill and that Mr. Speaker leave the Chair.
More than two members having objected.
House to go into Committee on the Bill on 6 April.
Sixth Order read—House to go into Committee on Precious and Base Metals Amendment Bill.
House in Committee:
On Clause 2,
Clause 2, according to the explanation of the hon. the Deputy Minister, has been introduced in order to make the abandonment of a mynpacht lease a very much easier and simpler matter. In that sense I imagine that any action to amend the Statute to simplify the procedure should normally be quite welcome. But I do recall that during the course of the second reading of this Bill when dealing with this particular clause, the hon. the Deputy Minister did say that it was necessary to introduce this simplified form of voluntary abandonment because certain companies of standing felt embarrassed when the previous method was employed, whereby the matter was gazetted that they had defaulted in their payments. Actually their only intention was to default in order to allow the matter to die a natural death whereby their rights would be abandoned. This simplified procedure enables the Minister, after the notice in the Gazette and after the expiry of certain periods of time—with which no one will cavil —to declare the mynpacht lease cancelled. I wonder whether the hon. the Deputy Minister would re-explain that situation? I was not sure whether that was really what he had in mind. Whether it was merely to assist some particular companies, or whether it was generally a good amendment in the interests of owners or parties generally, and not just to help specific financial interests. It does not seem entirely correct that an Act should be amended to help only a specific section or interest in a community. Unless there was some glaring anomaly, one would imagine that the purpose was to do something which was generally in the interests of those who have some stake or vested right in this type of mining right.
This is applicable to all registered holders of a mynpacht. As I explained in my second reading speech, as the law stands to-day, the difficulty is that when a mynpacht holder has reached a stage at which it is no longer useful to continue mining operations, the people concerned are not in a position to notify the Mining Commissioner that they intend stopping mining operations and therefore desire to get rid of the mynpacht. They have to follow the procedure described in the Act. They have to get in arrear with the mynpacht moneys for six months, then the Mining Commissioner must notify different interests. He must tell them that the mining company as the holder of the mynpacht has become in arrears. After that procedure he has to advertise it in three editions of the Government Gazette. Then, after that, the Minister may cancel that mynpacht. The mining companies, as well as other holders of mynpachten, have complained about this cumbersome procedure in the past and have said it is unnecessary. If they have reached a stage where they simply cannot continue with mining operations, why must they be advertised as defaulters before they react to cancel it? That is the real reason; it is merely to assist these people that we are introducing this amendment.
Clause put and agreed to.
On Clause 3,
In this clause an amendment has been brought about in order to widening the scope of the authorities in whose interests certain uses can be provided on mining ground in terms of Section 69, by including provincial administrations, the Railway Administration and the Government. Originally, if I am interpreting the section correctly, it appeared as if it was solely in favour of a State or Provincial authority, and particularly the railway authorities. But now the intention is to widen the scope of it. At first I was under the impression that the amendment did not give a similar right to other bodies which were registered under the Welfare Organizations Act, such as aged homes, boys’ hostels, or other similar bodies.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
When Business was suspended, I was discussing this clause. I have had an opportunity of considering what the Minister said when he introduced this Bill. I merely want to have clarity on one other issue, and that is whether the words at the end of Clause 3 (1) (a), “ or any council, board or other body established by or under any law or ”, would include any organization registered under the Welfare Organizations Act so as to enable this mining ground to be used if necessary for the purpose of a boys’ hostel or any other kind of hostel or an aged home or any type of amenity which might find itself well situated on an area of land somewhere off the beaten track of busy main roads. If I could have an assurance from the hon. the Deputy Minister on that point I would be glad.
In reply to the hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Miller), the position will not be affected by this amendment. On the contrary, the effect of this amendment is not to narrow down the scope of the section but to widen it. In other words, as the original section reads, it can provide for locations for Coloured persons, schools, etc., and also for any purpose conducive to the promotion of health and recreation. So the welfare organizations which the hon. member has in mind will still be included in the section because the idea is to widen the scope of the section and not to narrow it. I hope that is satisfactory. I move the amendment as printed on the Order Paper—
- (c) by the substitution for sub-section (4) of the following sub-section:
“ (4) There shall be payable in respect of the use of any ground or the grant of permission to use any ground under sub-section (1), to the registered owner of such ground and to any other person whose rights in respect of such ground are affected by such use or the grant of such permission, compensation in such an amount as may in the absence of agreement between the parties concerned be determined by arbitration: Provided that any dispute as to the amount of compensation payable by the railway administration under this sub-section shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of the Railway Expropriation Act, 1955 (Act No. 37 of 1955).”
May I ask the hon. the Deputy Minister what the amendment means, and may I ask him whether he has had second thoughts about this amendment? Is it a good amendment or not? Why does the Minister want to move the amendment now? I think the Minister should explain why he is reluctant to go on with it.
Perhaps I can put the hon. member’s mind at ease. This was a clause not adopted by the Senate because it deals with financial matters. It is part of the original Bill, but it was not adopted by the Senate because of the financial aspect.
The hon. the Deputy Minister now says that this amendment was part of the original Bill which was not adopted by the Senate. I find it difficult to understand how he can inherit a part of a Bill which has not been adopted. Either it was adopted or not. If it was a fundamental portion of the Bill it would not have been before the Senate by way of this amendment, and I fail to understand the Minister’s explanation. But I have another difficulty. I have reservations about this proviso. I think the Deputy Minister, owes the Committee a much fuller explanation as to how this proviso came into the amendment, the proviso being the following—
I am not at all sure that the hon. the Minister of Transport would be agreeable to that proviso. There are many indications not necessarily in the proviso itself, which would show that if that particular proviso were to be part of the law it might raise complications in respect of administering the Railways according to business principles. I think that before he asks the Committee to accept this amendment, the Minister should give us a full, clear and unequivocal explanation.
I think I can also solve the problem of the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence). Firstly, the object of the provisions in regard to the Railways was to remove all uncertainly that only the Railways would pay compensation. As the measure reads at present, and as the law advisers interpret it, only the Railways have to pay compensation, but it was never the intention of the Legislature that only the Railways would have to pay for the use of proclaimed land granted by the Governor-General. The intention is that any person who obtains the right to use land granted by the Governor-General should pay compensation. Our Department has throughout the years succeeded by way of negotiation, in always persuading the other parties also to pay compensation for the use of proclaimed land. But now the owners of land and the holders of mining title have asked that there should be legal provision for the compensation they can obtain, and that is now being done in this clause. That is my reply to the hon. member for Salt River.
The hon. member for Transkeian Territories *(Mr. Hughes), who raised the other technical problem, now asks why it is not embodied in the measure. Hon. members of course have the printed Bill before them and they will see that the clauses with the black brackets around them are those which could not be approved of by the Senate because they deal with financial matters such as compensation. Because the Bill was initiated there, the Senate could therefore only approve those matters which had no financial implication. Even though this Bill was initiated in the Senate, it has to go back to the Senate for final consideration That is the only reason why this clause contained in the brackets now appears as an amendment, because it was not approved of in the measure which went through the Senate.
The problem that is concerning members on this side of the House is that this amendment having been made, a certain differentiation is introduced with regard to the payment of compensation. It says here—
And then there is the proviso—
That is what the hon. the Deputy Minister is being asked to explain.
It is really the Railway Administration which requested us to word this amendment in this form, to get clarity on the position, so that they would be on equal terms with the other bodies.
That does not answer the point. Does the Deputy Minister believe, after moving the amendment—and I assume he knows what it is all about—that if any person has to be compensated, then unless there is an agreement he is compensated by arbitration? Then there is the proviso that if the Railways is involved the compensation is in terms of a certain Act. If the Deputy Minister wants the amendment to be accepted, he should tell us why that is so, and why there is a difference between other persons and the Railways.
This is according to generally accepted custom as far as the Railway Administration is concerned. As I have said, it was introduced at the request of the Railways who asked us to put it clearly in these words. I can tell the House that this Bill was also laid before the Chamber of Mines and other institutions and they agreed to the wording of this amendment.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 5,
I move the amendment standing in my name—
That the following be a new clause to follow Clause 4:
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 7,
Here provision is made that where the Mining Commissioner makes certain allocations of stands on open proclaimed ground for business or residential purposes, and that allocation is unfavourable to any person that an appeal may be noted to the Minister, who in his discretion can confirm, reverse or vary it. The thing that now bothers me is whether the period of 14 days is sufficient. In these applications for the allocation of stands for business purposes, one usually finds a great deal of competition. Some of these privileges are very keenly sought after by people who believe that it is a good source of income because they do a considerable amount of trade with the non-White employees on the mines. It is quite clear that the amendment was introduced in order to meet certain difficulties which arose in the past. I would like to suggest to the Deputy Minister that he should consider amending the clause to provide for a period of thirty days. There is precedent for that in other legislation that was before this House recently, where it was felt that in the interest of the public one should give them as much opportunity as possible. I put that to the Deputy Minister. I think the clause is a very good one and it is very timeous because there were difficulties in the past, but the period might perhaps be extended to the advantage of both the Department and the public.
When one comes to the period allowed for appeal, one can argue ad lib that it should perhaps be longer than 14 days. I can understand that there are grounds for the plea that it should be 30 days, but the Department’s experience is that 14 days is sufficient, particularly in these cases, particularly if one takes into consideration that the people who perhaps want to appeal are those who did not get a business site on open proclaimed land, and they will react immediately. When a man has applied to open a shop on such ground and the application has been refused by the Mining Commissioner, and that person is aware of the law, I do not think he needs 30 days to think about his grievance. I feel that 14 days is enough if he wants to appeal to the Minister. The very fact that in this clause we grant the concession of allowing an appeal to be lodged with the Minister is already a very big step forward and it is evidence of our attitude of helpfulness to these people who have objections. Therefore, I trust that the hon. member for Bezuidenhout will accept this as a practical measure which I believe will work well in practice.
Clause put and agreed to.
On New Clause 8, *The DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES:
I move the amendment as printed—
8. Section 119 of the principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution in sub-section (3) for the words “ one penny ” of the words “ one cent Mr. LAWRENCE: I do not follow this because Clause 8 is deleted and the amendment of the Minister is simply to reimpose the section as deleted. I wonder whether the Minister will explain it.
It is for the same reason as in the previous case, because it deals with financial matters and the Senate could not adopt it. It deals with the conversion to the decimal system, which is regarded as a financial matter, and the Senate does not have the power to approve of it. It was not put to the Senate for approval, being a matter which deals with finances. So it was referred to this House for consideration and when we approve of it, it must go back to the Senate again for final consideration.
Clause put and agreed to.
Remaining clause and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
More than two members having objected, Amendments to be considered on 6 April.
Seventh Order read: House to go into Committee on Dairy Industry Bill.
House in Committee:
On Clause 4,
I move the amendment as printed—
The Minister here is taking upon himself the arbitrary power of registration of all people who come under this Act and I feel that he should include in subsection (2) of Clause 4 the words he has in sub-section (3), “ on the recommendation of the board ”. I feel that the Minister should not be the registering officer, which is what he becomes under this clause. I feel that there is a Dairy Board dealing with this product and elected under this Act to deal with all matters of trading and control and marketing of this particular product or products, under the Dairy Control Act. In the past the Minister has always acted on the recommendations of the board. I think this is a new departure in this Act, which is an Act to consolidate and amend, that the Minister is here taking more and more powers to himself and is bypassing the people who were elected to deal with the matter. If there is anyone who knows whether there is over-trading in dairy products, like the manufacture of butter or the registration of factories for dried milk, which now comes under this scheme, etc., the Dairy Control Board are the people charged with the whole of the marketing of this product; and if anyone should know the details as to whether there is over-trading, my opinion is that the Minister should act after consultation with the Board and the Marketing Council. Another thing that the Minister has not provided for here is that in this Clause 4 there is no provision for any appeal from the decision of the Minister in regard to registrations he grants against the recommendations of the Dairy Control Board. Here, again, we take away the right of the individuals to appeal to the courts. I think it is unfortunate that the Minister should have the final say and that there is no provision for an appeal by anyone, whether it be the person asking for the registration or those opposed to it.
It is clear that I cannot accede to this dealing here by the hon. member. We are dealing here with the registration of the premises, and if the premises comply with the requirements of the law the Minister must register it. Marketing has nothing to do with this matter. If the Minister refuses to register, the applicant who has been refused can go to court and say that he has complied with all the requirements of the law but that the Minister has refused registration. When it comes to granting registration of premises, Clause 4 (3) (b) is inserted here to the effect that before the Minister registers such premises which comply with the requirements he should first consult the Dairy Board as to whether there is not over-trading in the industry. In other words, then the Dairy Board enters into the picture. But here it is not a matter of the registration of a factory; it is only the registration of the premises which must comply with certain requirements, and that is why the Minister is the person who has to register it, because he is the one who has to administer the law.
In terms of sub-section (3) (b), where the Minister wishes to refuse registration of e.g. a margarine factory, he calls upon the Board and acts on the recommendation of the Board. Why does he do it in the one instance and not in the other? I am not talking about the appeal now, but about registration. This sub-section says “ acting on the recommendation of the Board ”. Why does the Minister not apply that to general registration?
I have stated it quite clearly. The registration to which reference has been made is merely the registration of premises on which certain things may be done and those premises have to comply with the requirements of the law and in that case the Minister has to register them. I now say that notwithstanding the provisions of the law that the Minister must register, he may refuse to register if the provisions of sub-section (3) (b) apply, in other words, if the Dairy Control Board advises him that there is over-trading in that industry. In that case the Minister may refuse registration and if is not necessary for him to register the premises. However, the registration of the premises has nothing to do with the actual trading. They have to comply with certain hygienic and other conditions which have been laid down. As far as the margarine factories are concerned it is for the Minister to decide in terms of subsection (3) (b) whether or not to register them. It is not the Dairy Control Board which approves or refuses registration of such factories. They have no control over margarine and that is why in the one case the decision rests with the Minister and in the other case it rests with the Minister in consultation with the Dairy Control Board.
This clause clothes the Minister with very wide administrative powers indeed, a matter which has given concern to the Legislature from time to time, and when the Legislature is asked to give additional powers to a Minister, against the exercise of which there is no appeal to a court of law, it seems to me that Parliament must scrutinize the matter very carefully indeed. Now it seems that the Minister is asking us to empower him with the right to register certain of these institutions on the recommendation of the Board. What I would like to know is this. It is quite obvious that this vests the Minister with the administrative discretion, behind which the courts of law will not go. The Minister might act in a perfectly arbitrary fashion, but unless it can be shown in a court of law that he acted mala fide or that he has gone outside the four corners of the statute, no court will interfere. I feel that I am entitled to ask whether in seeking to be clothed with these powers, the Minister has taken into consideration the interests of the consumer in such matters. He may act on the advice of the Board, but what steps has he taken to ensure that he does not refuse to register, e.g. a creamery or a cheese factory in a particular area which might be able to produce cheese or cream to the great advantage of the local consumer? The hon. gentleman should not think that because he has fallen into the butter he can arbitrarily dictate to the consumer.
Do you know how the Board is constituted?
The Minister is seeking very arbitrary powers indeed and if he wishes the Committee to grant those powers to him, he must make out a good case for it. I want the Minister to assure me that the interests of the consumer are safeguarded and that the Minister will not act arbitrarily.
The hon. the Minister did not really answer my objection, in regard to the registration of premises. Why still hide behind the statement that this is only the registration of premises? If he does not register the premises, how can a factory open? That is the point I was getting at. If you refuse to register a factory for making dried milk, they cannot operate. That is the point Mr. Chairman, that is the crux of the matter. The Minister is taking the whole of the registration under his personal control with no appeal to anybody and without necessarily consulting the Dairy Control Board or the Marketing Council. He can do so, if he likes, but he need not do so if he does not wish to. That is where this registration differs from the previous registration under the original Dairy Act where it was on the recommendation of the Dairy Control Board and after consultation with the Marketing Council. I know there is a reason why he wants to control it but it is not controlled here, it is under the Marketing Act and we shall deal with that, but this Bill has similar propensities in the refusal or not of registration of premises. I think the Minister should not take these powers entirely unto himself. As I said at the outset, in relation to margarine factories or in relation to the conditions governing the registration of a margarine factory, conditions that can be imposed as to the quantity they can produce, those same conditions should apply to a butter factory. A creamery for instance, may open in an area which, by its opening, will lead to over-trading in such a way that there is loss to the producers because too many licences have been issued in that area from which the supply is drawn. This was one of the reasons why the Dairy Industry Control Act was first introduced. It was to stop over-trading and to close down unremunerative factories which did not have an economic turnover to the producer and to the community as a whole.
I hope I will succeed in putting the case clearly so that hon. members will understand it. This Bill lays down certain provisions with the object of creating hygienic conditions in factories which manufacture butter or margarine or other products. Certain health requirements are laid down with which the premises have to comply. Somebody has to administer this Act and that is the task of the Minister and his Department. In other words, if application is made for the registration of premises the Minister is the person who has to agree or refuse to register. He must agree to register if the applicant complies with all the requirements laid down by the law. The Minister cannot refuse. In order to prevent the very position to which the hon. member has referred, we are now making an exception and we say that where registration of premises will lead to over-trading, the Minister may, in consultation with the Dairy Control Board—which has nothing to do with this Act; the Dairy Control Board was established under the Marketing Act—refuse such an application for registration. That is to say where there will be over-trading; but where all the requirements of the law have been complied with the Minister has to register the premises. Hon. members now say that this gives certain powers to the Minister, but where a person makes application and where he has complied with all the requirements of the law, and the Minister refuses to register such premises, such a person has the right to apply to court and force the Minister to register. Surely this is quite clear.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 11,
I am very interested to know how the Minister proposes to carry out these examinations referred to in sub-section (2) (e) and (f). There is no compulsory medical examination under any circumstances. It says here that the inspector may dismiss “ any person ” who “ is affected with a disease of an infectious or contagious nature and is engaged in such duties that dairy produce is likely to be contaminated …” Where there are Natives working in dairies or milk distribution depots and having infectious or contagious diseases I think it is absolutely essential that they should be medically examined. The Minister leaves it to his inspector. How is this inspector going to determine whether a man suffers from an infectious or contagious disease? It is a recognized fact among medical practitioners, Mr. Chairman, in the Native reserves that the prevalence of these diseases amongst the Natives varies from 5 per cent to 20 per cent, particularly in the case of tuberculosis. There are different stages of development but how does the Minister envisage his inspector to go around and seek out those who are infected? I will give the Minister a specific instance. A friend of mine proposed to enter into the dairy business. He thought by way of advertisement for his milk he would have all his boys examined. Five out of seven were infected with some or other infectious or contagious disease. Now if five out of seven on one farm were infected, you can imagine what the state of affairs can be in a creamery or milk distribution depot where 50 or 60 Natives are employed. How does the Minister propose that inspector to seek out a Native infected with a contagious or infectious disease? To me it is important that these people should be free of diseases. It is important to the consuming public. Hygienic conditions are more important in the dairy industry than in any other industry. I do not know how the Minister is going to give instructions under this particular clause to an inspector to dismiss or to see to it that an employee is dismissed because he thinks he suffers from an infectious or contagious disease. I shall be glad to hear the Minister’s observations on that.
The position is that the question of appeal is now applicable in the case of all dairy products and not merely in the case of cheese and butter as in the past. There has always been a right of appeal when such an agent was appointed.
May I put the hon. the Minister right. It is not a question of appeal. It is a question of how he intends to administer (e) in Clause 11 (2). Paragraph (e) reads—
must be dismissed by the inspector. As I said a few minutes ago, it is generally recognized that the prevalence of infectious diseases amongst Natives in the rural areas is from 5 per cent to 20 per cent, particularly tuberculosis. Many of the dairies in South Africa are employing dozens of Natives who are infected with tuberculosis in one stage or another. How is that inspector to enforce this provision? How must he detect these diseases?
The clause is perfectly clear, Sir. Sub-section (e) reads—
In other words, if the inspector is convinced that such a person suffers from some disease or other he may order that he be removed from the premises.
How is he going to determine that?
The hon. member wants to know how he has to determine it? Surely there are many ways in which he can determine it. It does not mean that in the case of all persons employed in such a factory you will be able to determine whether they suffer from the one or other disease and that you will be able to dismiss all of them, but if the inspector is satisfied that there are certain persons who suffer from a disease surely he should have the right to remove them.
I want to give the hon. the Minister all the powers necessary in order to rid this particular industry of anything that is likely to cause infection. I am not trying to ridicule anything in this clause but how does the Minister intend to apply it? When the inspector walks into a factory what does he think the diseased man looks like? That is what it amounts to. I say this cannot be carried out unless there is an inspection and examination of every Native employed in those particular factories or distribution agencies. Mr. Chairman, this is most important because this clause is quite ineffective unless you have a medical examination of those Natives. Personally I think that is essential.
The Health Department and the health officer of a municipality will to a large extent see to it that people employed in such a factory and who suffer from an infectious disease will be reported. Then the inspector must have the power to have such persons dismissed when such cases are brought to his notice. This Department does not try to implement the health laws; the inspector must just have the power, when there are such people in the factory, to force the owners of the factory to discharge them. That is what it amounts to, but it is the joint function of the Health Department and the health officer to see to it that the people employed in such a factory undergo medical examinations. When it is ascertained that someone has an infectious disease, the inspector should have the power to have such person discharged.
May I then ask the Minister whether he will consider introducing an amendment in Another Place whereby the inspector will be empowered to call in the District Surgeon if he has any suspicion that there are persons in the factory suffering from the one or other infectious or contagious disease. [Interjections.] Mr. Chairman, the position is simply this: In many cases the milk is produced in rural areas where there is no health officer and if one does come along he knows nothing about infectious diseases. You have to have a medical man to decide whether a man is suffering from latent or active tuberculosis or from some other infectious disease. I do not want to name them but there are many of them. I think it is essential that the hon. the Minister accepts a small amendment in Another Place to the effect that if the inspector is in any way suspicious that any of those Natives are suffering from a contagious or infectious disease he shall have the power to call in the District Surgeon for the purpose of examining those Natives.
Mr. Chairman, this section to which the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) has just drawn attention is the most fantastically worded section that I think we can ever expect to find on our Statute Book. First of all, as the hon. member has pointed out, an inspector has got to walk into a place and just assume that somebody is infected with some infectious disease. The section does not lay down any method of determining it and I cannot see how an inspector or even a medical man can just walk into a factory and Say “ that man has tuberculosis ” or any such type of disease. Let us assume that what the Minister says is correct. Clause II (4) reads—
Of course, that makes the thing completely absurd. I do not think that this House can in any circumstances agree to a clause of this nature going through; it is laughable. I suppose the inspector has to look into the man’s eyes in order to determine that he is suffering from tuberculosis, then he must consult the medical officer, if there is such a person, and quite frankly if you read the two together I think this makes the most peculiar reading that I have ever come across. I am not a medical man but to me it sounds absolutely absurd. I would like an explanation from the hon. the Minister.
It really seems to me as if hon. members are creating a problem which does not really exist because in every area there is a medical officer of health. If it is a local authority it has its own medical officer of health, or if it is a smaller municipality which cannot afford it, the district surgeon does the work. If it is outside the jurisdiction of the local authority, the district surgeon does the work. There is no single area in this country which does not enjoy the services of a medical officer of health. It really seems to me that hon. members are seeing a problem which does not exist.
I just want to say that Clause 11 consolidates the existing legislation. This wording is exactly the same as that of the existing legislation which is being consolidated. I just want to reply to the objection raised by the hon. member. The inspector who is being given the power to have such persons dismissed from a factory is not a medical official. If the inspector suspects that a person is suffering from an infectious disease, he must naturally consult professional people who can tell him whether the person is or is not suffering from such a disease. After all he cannot simply allege that the person is suffering from such a disease. For that reason he must determine in consultation with the Department of Health or the health officer of the municipality concerned whether such a person is suffering from one or other infectious disease and he can then dismiss the person. Or if it is reported that there are people working in such a factory who suffer from such a disease, there is no way in which they can be dismissed if the inspector does not have the necessary powers. Then the inspector has the power to have such persons dismissed from that factory. That is surely quite clear. The inspector himself is not a medical officer. He cannot decide whether the person really is suffering from an incurable disease. That is the task of the health officer and the Department of Health.
And if there is no health officer?
Then he can consult the district surgeon.
Mr. Chairman, I had no intention of participating in this debate. I was rather surprised to hear the remarks of the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) in so far as illnesses are concerned— he specified tuberculosis—and other conditions which are apparently left to the diagnosis of an inspector.
Are there no periodic medical examinations where persons are concerned in the handling of dairy products because there are certain conditions in so far as milk is concerned where it has been shown from time to time that infected milk can be the means of causing enteric or typhoid fever. Then again there is tuberculosis and other contagious diseases. It seems to me that this is a crucial point because obviously the consumer, as far as dairy products are concerned, should be protected at the factory itself by periodic medical examinations. Now I would like the hon. the Minister to elucidate that point and let the Committee know if that is the case and if the examinations are of a periodic nature, say, three monthly periods, because of the incubation period after no symptoms are evident which renders these conditions difficult to detect by an unqualified inspector. The hon. member for King William’s Town should be praised for raising what is a very important consideration in the handling of dairy products.
Hon. members opposite are living in the past. It seems to me that they are living in a Lumumba state. They do not know what is happening in South Africa. Do hon. members not know that health inspectors who are qualified persons carry out periodic inspections of all these places? The health inspectors carry out an investigation and then report.
Why then is this clause necessary?
This clause is an enabling clause which gives the inspector of the board the power to have persons who are suffering from infectious diseases dismissed on the advice of these health inspectors. After all South Africa has at least made such progress in the scientific sphere that there is no municipality or area in this country which is not served by qualified health inspectors or district surgeons, as the hon. member for Welkom (Dr. Meyer) has already said. Then we have the additional units who travel throughout the country. Hon. members are living in the past; they do not know what is happening in South Africa. This clause does not provide that such an inspector can certify that persons are suffering from tuberculosis or any other infectious disease This clause merely provides that he can take action and prevent products being delivered ii there are cases of infectious disease. And he will do so on the advice of and in consultation with a qualified person. I cannot see what objection hon. members have to this clause.
We know that all the fresh milk supplies to the urban areas are under control. We know they are properly inspected by health authorities but how many of the smaller depots that take cream from Native territories, from the Native Protectorates, are under control? We know under what conditions the cows are milked in Native areas. The cows stand in manure. Certain factories do not accept that milk but others do. Our milkers undergo annual blood tests apart from their regular medical tests because we are adjacent to and supply urban areas with fresh milk, but where the supply comes from Native territories can the hon. the Minister give us an understanding that those Natives who milk the cows are inspected? Of course they are not. Here we are dealing with rural factories that fall under the Minister and not under a local health authority. We are asking him what provision does he provide for satisfactory medical inspection especially of the non-European workers? People who have been concerned with the dairy industry over the years know that cream is to-day being drawn from Native reserves where there is no question of a cow barn, where the cows stand in manure when they are being milked by Natives who perhaps have a bath when it rains. When there is a good hard rain they will have a good bath and those Natives are not inspected. We ask the Minister: What is the position in relation to these rural factories or depots where butter fat is accepted for manufacture or other purposes. And the Minister does not reply to the question.
Clause 11 (2) reads—
- (e) any person is affected with a disease of an infectious or contagious nature and is engaged in such duties that dairy produce is likely to be contaminated.
An hon. member now tells us that these things were being done. I have been director of a creamery for 26 years and we take the necessary steps to have inspections carried out of our own free will and at our own expense, but in how many other cases is that done in South Africa? Mr. Chairman, you can take it from me that I know what I am talking about. Hon. members opposite do not know what they are talking about because the health officers under a divisional council system or under a local authority are not medical officers. It requires a medical officer to make an examination before he can definitely decide whether a man is suffering from an infectious or contagious disease. On the contrary he may have to go to hospital and have his chest X-rayed to ascertain whether he is suffering from tuberculosis or any other infectious disease. And this is not done, Sir. I am asking the Minister to insert a clause in Another Place which will make it compulsory for employees in the dairy industry to be inspected by a medical officer at a time to decide whether or not they are infected by an infectious or contagious disease. I think this is essential. It is more essential where you have milk distribution in the case of depots. How many of the Natives here in Cape Town who go from home to home to deliver milk are infected with tuberculosis or some other contagious or infectious disease? There are hundreds of them, Sir, and how many of them have been before a medical officer for examination? I still say that where you are dealing with perishable products, products that will absorb diseases, as dairy products will, there should be a periodic compulsory inspection of the employees handling those products, to see that those employees are free of the disease which I have enumerated.
I do not know how this legislation is going to be applied, but I really think hon. members opposite should be a little reasonable as regards what happens in practice. The hon. member has referred to milk which is delivered by persons suffering from venereal diseases. But the milk is pasteurized; the bottles are sealed. It is generally known that one can acquire these diseases in a far easier and perhaps more popular way than by drinking milk. I should like to show the House what the position is in practice. In the larger cities we have the health officers who are medical practitioners. A person is simply not allowed to work in such an industry unless he has been examined. On the platteland we have the district surgeon whose function that is. The object of this clause is precisely to enable the Minister to ensure through the inspectors that regular inspections take place. Hon. members have hold of the wrong end of the stick. It is not this inspector who must determine whether someone is suffering from a disease. The clause provides that when such an inspector carries out an inspection and he is of the opinion that one of the employees may be suffering from an infectious disease, he can suspend him. In other words, to a certain extent he can bring the operations of such an industry or factory to a halt. It works the other way round. It is not the inspector who must determine whether a person is suffering from tuberculosis, but because he has the power to suspend that person, the onus is on the employer to prove that the person is not suffering from tuberculosis. In other words, the employer must prove that the person has been examined. The onus is on the employer to provide adequate proof to the inspector that the person concerned has been examined by a medical officer and that he is not suffering from the disease in question. If he does not do so, that person is suspended. This clause in fact gives the inspector the power when he is of the opinion in the case of a dairy depot for example that a person is suffering from an infectious disease “ and is engaged in such duties that dairy produce is likely to be contaminated, to order the suspension of such persons from such duties ”, In other words he can say: “ This Native must now stop working ”, And then the onus is on the employer to say: “ He shall go to the district surgeon this very afternoon and produce written proof that he does not suffer from tuberculosis ”. This inspector has the absolute power to ensure that proof is provided that such a person is not suffering from an infectious disease. The inspector does not make the diagnosis but if he forms the impression that such a person is in fact suffering from one or other infectious disease, he asks the employer whether he can give proof that the person concerned is not suffering from such a disease. If the employer does not want to do so, the inspector says: “ You now have two alternatives: You either provide me with written proof that this person is not suffering from an infectious disease or I shall suspend him ”, That is the meaning of this clause. [Interjections.] Mr. Chairman, these people cooperate. They are only too anxious to ensure that such a person is not suffering from tuberculosis or some other infectious disease. I want to make the point that it is not the inspector who makes the diagnosis. The inspector has the power to ensure that the employer takes the employee concerned to the district surgeon, the medical officer or the health officer and provides proof that he is not suffering from an infectious disease. But it goes still further. The inspector goes to such a factory and the employer submits proof that the person is not suffering from an infectious disease but the inspector sees that the person has an infected finger. Then the inspector still has the right either to suspend the person or to order the employer to prove that the person concerned is not suffering from an infectious disease. Through the inspector the Minister has full powers to ensure that there are periodic inspections, but I do not think the Minister intends going so far and to make the position as difficult as the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg District (Capt. Henwood) has proposed.
The position has after all been made quite clear. It is not the object of this legislation to place the onus on the Department to carry out these investigations. Hon. members opposite are surely aware of the fact, Mr. Chairman, that cream cans, milk cans, etc. are periodically opened by the police and they then take a sample which they seal. [Interjections.] Sir, hon. members are now merely advertising their ignorance. I say that it is a well-known fact that the Department of Health provides these services and has already been doing so for years past. The hon. member now says, “ Oh, oh ”. He already looks like an O, and that is why he is talking such nonsense. That is the task of the Department of Health. It is not the object of this legislation to place that onus on the Department. That is not the intention at all. The hon. the Minister has after all made that point quite clear and now hon. members are trying to make a fuss about something which does not exist at all. The object of this legislation is to consolidate what has been the practice in the past. It is after all laid down quite clearly in legislation how the health of the nation is protected by the Department of Health and that is the duty of the district surgeon, the police and the officials of the Department itself. They periodically take samples from the milk and cream cans. [Interjections.] That is the position, Sir; it is pointless hon. members arguing because that is the law and if they knew anything about it, they would not talk such nonsense. An important aspect which has not been mentioned at all is that the Department of Health subjects the product itself to periodic tests and if a supplier’s milk does not comply with the requirements of the law, the supplier is immediately prosecuted. And when one makes an interjection to help the House in considering the matter, one is criticized by people who are apparently very ignorant and know nothing about the matter. The position is simply that the Minister is taking the right to register or to refuse to register certain premises for dairy purposes. It is essential that he should have that power and he lays down in this legislation how this will be done and how these inspections will be carried out. But the important point is that we are here considering a consolidation of existing legislation and we do not expect the Minister in this legislation to take powers which are already embodied in other legislation and which fall under the scope of the Department of Health. That is nonsense!
To help the hon. the Minister in respect of this clause, I want to submit that the previous clause, namely Clause 10, gives us an indication when we analyse it, of what the appointment of analysers, bacteriological experts and inspectors means. Consequently when we come to Clause 11 and we find that it sets out the duties and powers of these people, we realize that we are dealing with highly trained people, bacteriologists, micro-biologists, etc., who must do this type of work for the Minister. But what these people have undoubtedly not been trained to do, is to determine whether a person is suffering from an incurable or infectious disease. But paragraph (e) of Clause 11 refers to “ any person who is affected with a disease of an infectious or contagious nature ”, and as the Bill reads at the moment, it seems as though it is the duty of the inspector to deprive such a person of his employment. If there is a person whom he suspects is suffering from such an infectious disease, he can, as the Bill reads at the moment, suspend him from his work. I think that the simple solution will be for the Minister to insert somewhere in the clause these words “an infectious disease as diagnosed by a medical practitioner”. That would solve the whole problem. But the clause now reads, it seems as though that will be the duty of such an inspector whose task in the main is to examine whether dairy products are being correctly packed and to carry out certain other investigations, but who cannot diagnose a human disease. It is not the police as the hon. member for Pretoria Central (Mr. Schoonbee) has said, who must institute that investigation, it is the inspectors and one cannot expect them to be able to make a diagnosis.
May I ask a question. Will the hon. member deny that the police do in fact take samples of milk and have them analysed?
They can do so, but it is not the duty of the police to analyse the samples they take and to determine whether they contain dangerous germs. That is the task of the inspectors. But as paragraph (e) of the clause now reads, it seems as though the inspectors will also have to determine whether an employee in such an undertaking which produces dairy products is suffering from an infectious or contagious disease.
What do you want?
It is going altogether too far to expect that. The easiest solution for the Minister is to insert an amendment to the effect that a medical practitioner must diagnose the disease and then the inspector can carry out his duties. Then the legislation will clearly provide that the obligation rests on a local medical practitioner to determine whether such an employee is or is not suffering from an incurable disease, and it will not be the duty of the inspector to make the diagnosis.
The clause reads as follows—
in other words, the inspector must, after inspection, if he is of the opinion …
Is he qualified to take such a decision?
His decision is not based merely on what he sees there. He can ask the health officer to institute an enquiry; he can tell the factory that they must call in a doctor to have their workers examined. It is quite clear that the Department of Health has the necessary powers, and it is clear that we cannot embody the same powers in yet another Act. The Department of Health has all the powers required to carry out medical examinations in industries which are working with food. We cannot give these powers to another Department in another Act. These powers are only being given to the inspector to enable him to take action if he finds that people who are employed in such factories are suffering from infectious diseases so that they can be suspended. Those are the only powers the inspector has. It is not for him to decide whether such a person is suffering from a certain disease. There are many ways in which he can do so. The Department of Health has the necessary powers and they must exercise those powers.
The Minister’s difficulty is the determination as to whether a person is affected with a disease. But surely the clause here provides that nobody who is suffering from any disease shall handle dairy produce; and no utensil, vehicle or anything else that is used for the production of dairy produce shall be so used unless it is in a clean state. Now the hon. the Minister says: “ I have no power to inspect.”
He never said that.
The Minister says that these matters fall under the control of the local health authority, but in the purely rural areas the position is different. What arrangement has been made that all employees of factories or anybody who handles milk or produces milk for the manufacture of butter or dairy products is healthy and allowed to handle these products? What inspection can be carried out there and on whom does the hon. the Minister rely? Does it mean that only when the products are under control in a local authority area, or where there is some concentration, there will be inspections? We want to ask the hon. the Minister to tell us clearly what the position is. The hon. member for Pretoria District says that the local health authorities are responsible, but I have yet to learn that the Union health authorities, and the Minister can tell me if I am wrong, have inspectors who go out to carry out inspections in regard to the dairy industry. Do they do that in the rural areas? Do they do that in the Native reserves? As far as the Native reserves are concerned, I think they could bring the Natives there under control in our own areas. But I referred to the production of cream and dairy products in the protectorates and the territories adjacent to us from where cream is brought into the Union for production. What inspection takes place? Are we then to force our own people to enforce cleanliness and to place them under the necessary health control, whilst other people are allowed to produce these products not under inspection and without health control? The hon. the Minister should tell us what health inspectors he has to deal with the areas from which our dairy supplies come.
Order! That does not fall under this clause.
Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, we are dealing here with the protection of the production of dairy produce.
The hon. member is asking questions in regard to the personnel in the hon. Minister’s department and that does not fall under this clause.
Mr. Chairman, how can you enforce cleanliness and inspection of employees, if we cannot discuss the question of personnel to do the work? How do we know that the personnel is available to carry out these provisions? I think that is very germane to the question and the Minister should tell us what inspectors he has to enforce the regulations. What is the use of this House passing legislation to protect the health of a nation if we do not give the Minister the powers to control the whole question of health of the people who handle such produce?
This Bill is after all not a health measure. It has nothing to do with that aspect. All the matters which hon. members opposite have discussed fall under the Department of Health. Provision is made for all these matters in our health legislation. The hon. member now asks what the position is in the rural areas. I said just now that there was a medical officer of health in every area. Some municipalities have their own health officers; others again make use of district surgeons. The divisional councils have their own health officers. On the platteland the district surgeons automatically fulfil this function and all the examinations and inspections are carried out regularly by the medical officers who fall under the Department of Health. The inspector to whom this Bill refers will not make diagnosis. He is not expected to diagnose correctly whether or not a man is suffering for example from tuberculosis. That is not the intention at all. But let us assume that there is a medical officer of health. He may visit a factory and the day after he has done so, a sick person may be taken into employment. Then there will quite probably not be another inspection for a long time as far as the medical officer of health is concerned. But this clause now makes it possible when the inspector visits the factory and he finds someone who appears to him to be ill and he is of opinion that there is something wrong, he can take immediate action by suspending the person and notifying the district surgeon that he is of opinion that the man is suffering from some disease or other. Then the district surgeon can immediately give his attention to the matter.
What if the man is suffering from ’flu?
This clause is in fact intended to assist the health officer when something like that happens during the interim period. I think hon. members are wasting ä lot of time. This is an every day matter with which we are faced all the time and this is the way in which it iá done in the various towns and districts.
I should like to come back to where I started. Hon. members opposite have expressed various opinions. One hon. member tells us that the police open cans to see whether there are any diseases in the milk. He knows full well that the police open those cans and bottles to detect whether there has been any pollution of milk or cream, or to find out whether anything has been taken out of the cans en route. We all know about that. The hon. member for Odendaalsrust (Dr. Meyer) has exactly confirmed what I said. He has gone so far to tell us that this is a health matter and should not fall under the Department of Agriculture. Let me read the clause again—
Now who diagnoses? It is not the Minister of Agriculture’s inspector?
The Minister’s inspector sees a sick man and he has the power to bring in a medical officer if he is of the opinion or suspects that a worker is suffering from an infectious disease.
How is he going to determine that?
The position is that an inspector of the Department of Agriculture makes a diagnosis. He comes to the conclusion that a man is sick, suffering from one or other disease. He can then call in a medical officer to confirm what he has diagnosed.
If there is one about.
Quite. I still say that he singles out one Native who appears to him to be sick. What about the other 25 who don’t look sick?
That is Ihe work of the Department of Health.
Then I ask the hon. the Minister, in view of the dangers attendant upon the handling of dairy produce by employees who may carry diseases, to insist that there shall be an inspection of those people. Is he prepared to accept that?
I want to point out to the hon. member that it is the intention to give those powers to this inspector to suspend people where he suspects that a man is suffering from such a disease.
If an inspector visits a factory, a milk depot or a place where milk is being handled, and he suspects that there are people who are suffering from certain diseases, he can call in the health officer or a doctor to diagnose what diseases those people are suffering from and he then has the power on the basis of that diagnosis to dismiss these people. But the Bill goes further and says that if he suspects that they are suffering from some disease, he can suspend them and he then reports his action to the Department of Health.
Will the Minister not make the position clear by inserting a few words because he must admit that it is most obscure as the Bill now reads.
I am not prepared to accept that suggestion because our health legislation makes provision for the necessary powers and we cannot embody the same powers in two Acts. The health legislation is intended to ensure that when food is being handled in factories, there will be supervision over people who are suffering from infectious diseases. This Bill is merely giving the inspectors the power when they inspect factories and they suspect that there are persons suffering from infectious diseases, to suspend those persons and they must then report them to the inspector of health. The position is after all quite clear. The hon. member now wants to withdraw this power and give the inspectors less powers. The hon. member does not even want the inspector to have the power to report such persons to the health inspector. The position is quite clear.
Para, (f) refers to livestock and it lays down that a State veterinarian must certify whether an animal is infectious or not and when the animal is free from disease, he can certify that the animal can be taken into production again. Why can the hon. the Minister not do exactly the same in the case of (e)? If the inspector thinks that a person is suffering from an infectious disease, his suspicion is after all not sufficient. A doctor should first decide that that is in fact the position before the inspector has the right to dismiss such a person. We all admit that the inspector should have these powers, and our whole argument is that here we have an inspector who has been trained to determine whether or not products have become infected with disease germs. He is not a medical practitioner who can say whether a man is suffering from tuberculosis or from any other infectious disease. In the case of the diseased animal the Minister and the legislation provide that a State veterinarian, a man who is qualified to do so and who can diagnose whether or not an animal is suffering from an infectious or contagious disease, will certify accordingly. But in the case of a person, a human being, the inspector who has been trained to decide whether a milk container is suitable or not, is now being given the power also to say whether an employee is suffering from a specific disease or not, although he has not received any training whatsoever to do this work. As para, (e) stands, it provides that if “ any person is affected with a disease of an infectious or contagious nature and is engaged in such duties ”, the inspector can order the suspension of the person concerned. Consequently, the duty rests on the inspector in the first place to decide whether such a person is suffering from an infectious disease.
That is not the position.
If that is not so, then I just ask the Minister to make the same provision as applies in the case of para, (f) applicable under (e).
What the hon. member is now asking, is already being done in practice. No one will deny that the ordinary district surgeon comes and that the municipalities then notify the suppliers that their milk boys must go to the district surgeon for examination.
Where is that done?
That is the practice. Any municipality worth its salt would take that action under the health laws because if the municipality does not do so and a typhoid epidemic, for example, were to break out in a town, the municipality would be responsible. For that reason adequate precautionary measures are in fact taken. The hon. member for Odendaalsrust (Dr. Meyer) therefore hit the nail on the head when he said that the municipalities had their health officers or else they used the services of the district surgeons and in this way a watchful eye was being kept on the distribution of milk. For that reason inspections are carried out from time to time and the inspector can demand of such a factory owner: Where is your certificate showing that the people working in your factory are free of infectious diseases? This happens in practice and hon. members are now arguing about matters in respect of which we are in full agreement. To me it seems rather as though they are being obstinate, or else they are revealing absolute ignorance.
Are you accusing us of obstruction?
Never mind, the Chairman will not call me to order. In the Lower House obstruction is something of which an obstinate Opposition can make use, and I am not out of order. The hon. member for Salt River knows that full well. It is done in practice and the inspections are carried out. There is close co-operation between the inspector who must fulfil this function and the district surgeon. In this way the best results are achieved.
I am surprised at the intervention of the Chief Whip and particularly the manner of his intervention. This Committee has been discussing a matter of supreme importance, a matter affecting the public health of this country, and what the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) sought to do when he initiated this discussion, was to get an explanation from the hon. the Minister as to what he intends to do by seeking the powers under this particular clause. In the resulting discussions we have had one explanation after another from hon. members on the opposite side. More and more members got up to try and extricate other hon. members who got into difficulties, and I must confess that I am extremely surprised at the efforts of the hon. the Minister himself. The hon. the Minister has now committed himself to this doctrine that he is asking powers for an inspector to be able to suspend an employee on the suspicion that he may be suffering from an infectious disease or a disease of a contagious nature. Now I want to follow up the point made by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West) (Mr. Streicher) because if the hon. member is correct, then the hon. Minister has committed himself to a very serious breach of the law of contract and he may be making the position of those carrying on dairy farming extremely difficult and almost intolerable under certain circumstances, because the hon. gentleman has said that his inspectors in terms of this clause can dismiss people. I do not believe that it was the intention of this clause that they should be able to do so on mere suspicion. I want to know what the Minister’s views actually are. He has said that an inspector in terms of this clause may suspend an employee merely on the suspicion that he is suffering from a certain disease. By all means do that if there are good grounds for believing that such is the case, but the hon. the Minister has not told us how an inspector is going to come to that conclusion. It has been pointed out by speaker after speaker on this side of the House that an inspector will not have the necessary knowledge himself to carry out such tests. He is not an expert.
He can ask for a test to be made.
That is true, but that is not what this clause says.
Of course that is the position.
No, the clause says that if after making an inspection under the Act, an inspector is of opinion that a person is affected with a disease of an infectious or contagious nature … such a person may be suspended. I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he is serious in saying that such a decision can be made without evidence from a competent source that the person is in fact suffering from an infectious disease. Does he not realize that he may be saddling the employer with a liability in respect of a contract of service? The discussion to-night has been in respect of Bantu employees, but it may be a foreman who is suspected. The hon. Minister says that an inspector can go round and on suspicion he can suspend a European foreman. What is the liability of the employer if it should be found that instead of suffering from an infectious disease, the person is just suffering from a headache, from a hangover and that the inspector was misled when he came round? It might easily happen. The hon. Minister must not trifle with this matter when he seeks to give these powers to his inspectors. That is why I deprecate the intervention of the Chief Whip in this debate. This is a matter dealing with the health of the people in this country. This is a serious debate in which we are trying to ensure that the hon. the Minister is adopting practical means to ensure that our dairy products are safe for consumption. We are trying to seek information from the hon. the Minister and hon. members on the opposite side instead of supporting the hon. member for King William’s Town, instead of taking the national view, are treating this matter with indifference. I really think that the Minister who started by misreading the clause as it stands, should now get down to the realities of the situation and try to meet the hon. member for King William’s Town and accept his suggestion that he should consider the insertion of a suitable amendment in the Other Place.
It is evident that the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence), a previous Minister of Justice, does not know what the duties of the police are and were when he was Minister. I want to come back to the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren). In the bigger centres, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, milk is supplied from hundreds of miles apart and that milk is periodically held up. The police draws samples which are not tested by the police but by the Department of Health, and they prosecute if there is something wrong with the milk or with the cheese. That is what hon. gentlemen opposite do not want to understand. The hon. member for King William’s Town surely knows what the law is. As a director of creameries, he should know what the position is and the discussion has been really ridiculous.
However, I want to come back to what the hon. gentlemen opposite want. They want the Department of Agriculture now to take over the services of the Department of Health.
Sir, a policeman who draws a sample from a milk can, does not test the milk. It is sent to the Government Department dealing with that matter, the Department of Health. Nobody knows it better than the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) that that is the position. Why waste the time of this Committee, as the hon. member for Salt River is doing, whilst he knows nothing about the subject?
I should like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Dairy Industry Control Act up to the present did not touch fresh milk as such. The hon. Chief Whip on the Government side and the hon. member for Pretoria (District) keep on saying that people here know nothing about the matter, but fresh milk did not fall under this Act up to now. All fresh milk supplies came under the control of the local health authorities in the area in which the milk was sold. When I supplied milk, everyone of my milkmen was not only periodically inspected by a doctor, but they were actually tested for the various forms of venereal diseases including a Wasserman test or a blood test. That is all under control, but hon. members opposite are trying to pull a red herring across this whole discussion. We are dealing with industrial milk here, the supply of cream and dry milk and products which come from factories and depots, not with fresh milk at all.
The same applies.
I may say that when we had a fresh milk control scheme in operation in 1938, I was chairman of the fresh milk control scheme in my area, and I do know a little about the control of fresh milk, and that milk came entirely under the control of the local health authorities, not under the dairy Industry Control Board at all. Let us get that quite clear. When it is suggested that we are trying to make difficulties for the hon. the Minister in an unreasonable way, I would go back to what the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) has said. He asked the hon. the Minister about the inspection in terms of Clause 11 (2) (e). But somebody then went on to paragraph (4) which reads—
Now if the Union Health Department does have the control here why does the hon. the Minister not get up and say so? He knows there is no such control in the rural areas which are right away from the main centres. When I dealt with the cream supplies that came from the Native reserves and the Native territories adjacent to us, I realized that there was no control. There was no inspection. And there are no inspectors living in the area. I ask the hon. the Minister to tell us what safeguards there are for the health of our people. The hon. the Minister is a practical farmer and he knows that these Natives milk their cattle in open kraals, standing in manure, the cows are never washed or brushed and the udders are never washed. I am sorry to have to go into this detail but it seems necessary to try and tell hon. members on that side of the House about the practical difficulties that face us.
With all due deference, Mr. Chairman, when you pulled me up on the question of inspectorate personnel, I should like to point out that every one of these clauses covering two or three pages contain reference to an inspector who has to deal with these provisions. We asked the hon. the Minister what inspectorate he had; were they fully qualified, what was their standing and could they carry out inspections in all areas in which dairy products were produced? Were all the areas under inspection? Is he satisfied that all the milk that came into the industrial milk market came from people who had standards of cleanliness in regard to themselves, their utensils and the conditions under which the cattle were milked. Those were the questions we asked but we got no reply. Instead of that we had the red herring of the fresh milk supplies. I prefaced my original remarks by saying to the hon. the Minister that we know that fresh milk comes under the local authorities, under full inspection and control by qualified inspectors acting under a medical officer of health, and under veterinary surgeons who deal with the stock side.
In Clause 11 (2) (f) the hon. the Minister actually states that if any livestock are found—
Provision is there made for the health of the animal—if anybody comes across it and reports it, but we know that the bulk of the stock is never seen by a State Veterinarian or any veterinary surgeon. But here the hon. the Minister actually states who is responsible for this. Why can he not tell us who the inspectors are, that he has sufficient to ensure the health of all the production of the dairy products, and who is responsible for the health side of this service? It is as simple as that. But the hon. the Minister will not tell us. What does he do? He still has not answered this question on sub-clause (4). If there is no such officer, what does he do? That is the simple question.
I hope that this discussion will now come to an end. It is after all clear that the Department of Health must be sure in the case of any factory where foodstuffs are being processed that the people who are employed in that factory comply with the health requirements. I do not know what hon. members opposite really want. This legislation is giving the inspector powers which go still further than that. If after an inspection the inspector is convinced that there are persons suffering from infectious diseases working with these products in such factories, he can suspend them from further employment. He must then notify the health officer who will then undertake a further investigation. The hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) wants exactly the opposite of what the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) wants. Then he still says that the Minister does not know what the hon. member for King William’s Town wants. The hon. member for Salt River does not know what we are discussing because he is objecting to the powers which the inspector has, while the hon. member for King William’s Town wants the inspector to have additional powers. What do hon. members want? Under the Act the inspector has the power to ensure that the Act is complied with. When he is convinced after an inspection that certain of the employees of a certain factory are suffering from an infectious disease, he can order their suspension. Hon. members now ask why he has to call in a veterinarian in the second case. There are no laws which oblige veterinarians to inspect such livestock. In the first instance, which relates to people, there is legislation which obliges the Department of Health to ensure that the Act is enforced if there are factory workers suffering from diseases. If the inspector inspects a factory and he suspects that there are persons suffering from infectious diseases, he can suspend them, even though the medical health officer has not yet taken action aimed at determining whether such persons are actually suffering from such diseases. The aim is merely to ensure that when an inspector finds such a position, he will have the power to suspend the persons concerned and then, when the position is reported to the health officer, the medical officer of health can institute a further investigation. These are in fact powers which are being given to the inspector to cover the very cases mentioned by the hon. member for King William’s Town. There may be cases where the health inspector does not carry out regular inspections, but where the inspector does undertake regular inspections under this legislation. If he finds in such an instance that factory employees are suffering from an infectious disease, he can immediately order the suspension of the persons concerned or he can order an immediate investigation. He can say to the factory owner: Give me a certificate stating that the members of your staff have been medically examined. If the owner cannot do so and the inspector suspects that certain members of the staff are infected with a disease, he can immediately suspend them. These are far-reaching powers which he has.
What about the producers of industrial milk?
When he visits a place where milk is being produced, he has the same power under this Act to say that a certain person must be suspended until such time as he has been examined. Hon. members will understand that it is not all that easy to control this position. That is why we require legislation in which certain requirements are laid down which must be complied with and which provide that someone will be appointed to ensure that these requirements are complied with. It is after all obvious that the inspectors who must inspect these factories cannot all be medically trained persons. But they can always call in the assistance of the medical staff or the health officers to ensure that the health laws are complied with. That is after all quite clear and I hope hon. members will now understand the position.
Before I call upon the next speaker, I want to tell hon. members that they must now cease repeating arguments.
Mr. Chairman, apart from what has already been said, I have another difficulty with this sub-section (2) (e). Under this sub-section, the inspector can order any person to be suspended from his duties, and it is then provided that that suspension must be reported …
May I point out to the hon. member that that argument has already been used.
No, Mr. Chairman, may I just go a little further? It is provided that the suspension must then be reported to the nearest health officer. There is no time limit or provision in this regard. The sub-section does not say: “ As soon as possible,” nor does it say “ immediately ”. There is no time limit, This is a new point. The inspector can therefor order a person to be suspended, and he can then fail to make the necessary report.
Read Clause 3 just above.
I am coming to that. [Interjections.] We shall argue this point “ till the cows come home ”. The inspector can then fail to report immediately or within a reasonable time that such and such a person has been suspended. We could then have the position that the matter remains pending from a period of four, five or six weeks. I ask the hon. the Minister to give consideration to this aspect. It is not difficult to insert the required words in this provision. One could have the position that the inspector delays with his report. It is provided in sub-section (3) that—
These provisions do not tally. This sub-section says “ to the Secretary for the Department ” and not the health officer. The clause then goes on to say—
This means that under this provision it is not necessary for the Secretary of the Department —who after all is not a medical expert—to consult a medical practitioner before deciding on the matter. That is contradictory. This is a weakness in this clause and I hope that the hon. the Minister will consider it.
We have now spent a great deal of time on this clause. Hon. members of the Opposition have the same right as any member on this side to move an amendment and why do they not show the courage of their convictions and move such an amendment? The Minister has already repeatedly explained the position, which is quite clear. The Opposition are spending all evening arguing on this clause. Let them now have the courage of their convictions and move an amendment in this regard so that we can vote on it.
Clause put and agreed to.
On Clause 16,
Mr. Chairman, I should like to move the following amendment to this clause—
Provided that with the written consent of such inspector and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed, such dairy produce may be sold for any other purpose.
Clause 16 (1) (c) provides that all dairy produce condemned by an inspector as unfit for human consumption may not be sold. Consequently, if this clause is not amended, it means that such produce may not be sold for any other purpose. The object of the amendment which I have moved is merely to make it possible for such produce to be sold for other purposes.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 19,
I want to refer briefly, in passing, to Clause 19 (1) (b) in which it refers to these graders. It says—
I propose moving an amendment at a later stage that may affect this particular clause. We may regard one of these individuals as being negligent, incompetent or unreliable, and he may be so declared when, in fact, he is acting on the instructions of his employer. It is relative to that point that I wish to move an amendment in Clause 23, and I sincerely hope that the hon. the Minister will take due note of the amendment that is to be moved in as far as it affects Clause 19 (1) (b). In view of the fact that my amendment will be affecting this clause, I move—
That Clause 19 stand over.
On Clause 23,
I want to move the amendment notice of which I have duly given, as follows—
- “ (1) incites, instigates, commands or procures any holder of a certificate of proficiency in milk or cream testing or in cream grading to make, state or enter in the test book an incorrect test result or to classify cream in a grade other than that in which the cream should have been classified under this Act, or
- (m) incites, instigates, commands or procures any employee to make any incorrect entry on any receipt for milk or cream required to be issued in terms of this Act.”:
and in line 22, after “ fifteen ”, to insert or paragraph (1) or (m) of this section.
In moving this amendment I wish to state that I feel there are many youths who might be prejudiced in their futures as a result of convictions when they are merely carrying out the duties imposed upon them by their employers, their boards of directors or whoever is responsible for the running of that factory. It is distinctly unfair to those young men, who are compelled to carry out these duties, that they should be convicted for carrying out their instructions. The hon. the Minister is well aware that we are having produced for South Africa some of the most rancid, greasy textured butter for the tables of this country as a result of this upgrading of cream of an inferior quality. By this amendment we hope to put a stop to this development. For many years there has been a plea to the hon. the Minister that he introduce something of this sort. I would like to have gone further. I would like to have seen the registration of these people cancelled on a second or a third offence, but I am quite prepared to accept as much as I can get at this stage, and that is, for the first offence, a fine of R200 and for the second offence a fine of R400. If this state of affairs continues in which South Africa is going to be loaded with the type of stuff that the South African consumers are today asked to eat, then I think that this hon. House can be asked at a later stage to introduce another amendment to this Act asking for the cancellation of those registrations in the course of time.
I am prepared to accept the amendment as moved by the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren).
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to. On Clause 30,
I think the hon. the Minister is making a mistake in asking for power to delegate authority to other officials than the Secretary. This clause makes provision to—
We have dealt with the delegation of powers on numerous occasions in this House in connection with other measures. I think that generally speaking it is objectionable to delegate powers unless such powers are delegated to one official such as the Secretary of a Department who, we all know, is the administering officer who recommends to the hon. the Minister but does not administer the Acts on behalf of the Minister. The Minister usually takes their advice and relies on that advice in connection with the administrative side of the Acts. But I think it is becoming more common as time goes on for Ministers to ask for the right to delegate powers to other officials of their departments. I think that is a mistake and I think that this House ought to watch very carefully the delegation of powers to other officials in one department after another. I think it is a pity that this hon. Minister has asked for the delegation of that power unless he is prepared to specify the other senior officer or officers to whom that delegation is to be made. But this term is very broad, it refers to the Secretary or any other senior officer. I think that that is bad from a point of view of the administration of the law, when it comes to putting it into practice. I feel we should know to whom that power is being delegated before we accede to this. I would ask the Minister to reconsider this matter and have the delegation of power stipulated to the Secretary and possibly a technical officer administering an Act such as this.
Under the legislation as it stood prior to consolidation, these powers were entrusted to the chief dairy officer. We are now taking these powers from that officer and vesting them in the Minister together with the power of delegation I think it will be quite unpractical to amend this clause because the Minister remains responsible in any case and he will not lightly delegate his powers to someone who may abuse those powers.
Clause put and agreed to.
Schedule put and agreed to.
The Committee reverted to Clause 19 standing over.
On Clause 19,
May I just ask the hon. the Minister for his observations on the statement I made a few minutes ago in connection with the amendment to Clause 23? I do sincerely hope that these youngsters are not going to be penalized for carrying out the duties imposed upon them by their superiors.
May I point out to the hon. member that Clause 19 has nothing to do with Clause 23. Clause 19 relates to the holder of a certificate while Clause 23 relates to the person who incites the holder of a certificate to commit an offence. In other words, these clauses have nothing to do with one another.
Clause put and agreed to.
The Title of the Bill having been agreed to,
Bill reported with amendments.
Amendments to be considered on 6 April.
The House adjourned at