House of Assembly: Vol107 - FRIDAY 21 APRIL 1961

FRIDAY, 21 APRIL 1961 Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 10.5 a.m. QUESTIONS

For oral reply:

President of Germany’s Press Club and the South African Information Service *I. Mr. E. G. MALAN

asked the Minister of External Affairs:

  1. (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Cape Times of 12 April 1961, that the president of Germany’s Press Club had cancelled a programme arranged for him by the South African Information Service;
  2. (2) what were the details of the programme that had been arranged;
  3. (3) whether any reason for the cancellation was given; if so, what reason; and
  4. (4) whether, as reported, the Director of the Information Service had made any comment to the visiting journalist about an interview he had given to a Cape Town newspaper; if so, what comment.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

This matter was fully discussed when I dealt with my Vote two days ago, and I have nothing to add to what I then said.

Filming of Protest Marches by the Police *II. Capt. HENWOOD

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) Whether members of a branch of the South African Police took any films or photographs of a march of protest against the Union’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth held in Pietermaritzburg during March 1961; if so, (a) how many (i) cameras and (ii) cine cameras were used, (b) how many operators were employed and (c) for what purpose were these films or photographs taken; and
  2. (2) whether any action has been taken or is contemplated against any persons who took part in the march; if so, what action.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1) It is not considered in the public interest to furnish this information.
  2. (2) Falls away.
No Instructions to Officials to Identify Persons in Protest Marches *III. Capt. HENWOOD

asked the Minister of the Interior:

  1. (1) Whether any instructions were given to any department of the Public Service for officials to identify and take the names of or to take any any action against persons taking part in a march of protest against the Union’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth held in Pietermaritzburg during March 1961; and
  2. (2) whether any action has been taken or is contemplated against persons who took part in the protest march; if so, what action.
The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR:
  1. (1) No instructions of this nature were given by me.
  2. (2) Falls away.
Resignations in the S.A.B.C. *IV. Capt. HENWOOD

asked the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs:

  1. (a) How many officials of the South African Broadcasting Corporation have left the service of the Corporation since I January 1959;
  2. (b) what was (i) their remuneration and (ii) the average length of their service; and
  3. (c) for what reasons did they leave the service of the Corporation.
The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

I have no access to the information asked for, but according to the Press a total number of four senior members of the staff of the S.A.B.C. have resigned in recent months and one of them has since withdrawn his resignation.

Capt. HENWOOD:

Arising out of the hon. Minister’s reply, as this has caused great public concern, will the hon. the Minister not place the information at the disposal of the public? The Broadcasting Corporation …

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member cannot make a speech now.

Capt. HENWOOD:

I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he does not consider this of sufficient public interest to make a full statement on the position that has arisen?

Mr. MOORE:

Arising out of the hon. the Minister’s reply, I should like to ask him whether he obtains his information about the S.A.B.C. from the Press or directly from the S.A.B.C.

*The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:

I think it is high time that the hon. member should acquaint himself with the Act governing the South African Broadcasting Corporation….

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order!

Certain Convicted Policemen Not Employed by Department *V. Mr. MILLER

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) Whether any non-commissioned officers of the South African Police who had been sentenced by the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court to terms of imprisonment for culpable homicide, are at present employed by his Department: if so, (a) how many and (b) in what capacities; and
  2. (2) whether the appointments are of a permanent nature.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1) No.
  2. (2) Falls away.
Classification of Malays, Singhalese, etc., under Group Areas Act *VI. Mr. HOPEWELL

asked the Minister of the Interior:

  1. (a) Under what group, in terms of sub section (2) of Section 10 of the Group Areas Act, are (i) Malays (from Malaya), (ii) Singhalese, (iii) Indians, (iv) Pakistanis, (v) Chinese, (vi) Goanese, (vii) Egyptians and (viii) Sudanese classified; and
  2. (b) for what reasons are they so classified.
The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR:

I wish to refer the hon. member to Section 10 of the Group Areas Act No. 77 of 1957 and Proclamation No. 28 of 1961 which appeared in the Government Gazette of 3 February 1961.

Poundage Increased on British Postal Orders *VII. Mr. E G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs:

  1. (1) Whether the poundage on British postal orders has been increased since decimalization; if so, (a) what is the increase and (b) why was the increase made; and
  2. (2) whether British postal orders will be obtainable after 31 May 1961.
The MINISTER OF POSTS AND TELEGRAPHS:
  1. (1) Yes;
    1. (a) on an average five-sixths of a cent per order, and
    2. (b) primarily because of the undesirability, for accounting purposes, of including fractions of a cent in poundage rates; a reduction in the poundage groups from five to three to correspond with the simplified South African postal order poundage structure; and for ensuring that that portion of the poundage on British postal orders which accrues to South Africa at least equals the decimal poundage on our own inland postal orders.
  2. (2) Yes.
Bantu Persons Moved in Zululand in Connection with Afforestation *VIII. Mr. HOPEWELL (for Mr. Mitchell)

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

  1. (a) How many Bantu kraals (i) were moved from the area put under timber plantations in Zululand and (ii) have been or are being moved from the area reserved from immediate afforestation, (b) how many persons are or were involved in these removals, (c) in what areas have these Bantu families been resettled and (d) how many Bantu kraals are situated in the remaining area suitable for afforestation.
The MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:
  1. (a)
    1. (i) None.
    2. (ii) The owners of two kraals are still to be approached in regard to moving elsewhere.
  2. (b) Two families. The number of persons is not known.
  3. (c) If agreeable these families will be settled in an area five miles to the south of the sites presently occupied by them.
  4. (d) The number of kraals have not yet been determined as all efforts are being concentrated on the area to be immediately afforested.
Profit on Afforestation to be Paid to Zululand Territorial Authority *IX. Mr. HOPEWELL (for Mr. Mitchell)

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

Whether it is proposed to pay the net profits from the afforestation of Bantu areas in Zululand directly to the revenue account under the control of the territorial authority in Zululand; and, if not, why not.
The MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:

Yes.

Cases of Suicide Investigated *X. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) How many cases of suicide were investigated during 1959, 1960 and 1961, respectively; and
  2. (2) whether any steps have been taken or are contemplated to enlist the aid of any social welfare agencies in reducing the number of suicide cases; if so, what steps; and, if not, why not.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1) Owing to the enormous amount of work, time and expense that will be involved in obtaining particulars it is regretted that the desired information cannot be furnished.
  2. (2) No—such steps are not considered necessary.
Posts Occupied by Women in Police Force *XI. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1)
    1. (a) How many posts in the South African Police are occupied by women, and
    2. (b) what is the nature of the posts; and
  2. (2) whether he has considered establishing further posts for women; if so, what posts; and, if not, why not.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1)
    1. (a) 491.
    2. (b) Clerical, typists and wardresses.
  2. (2) Yes. Administrative posts. The employment of women police on a small scale is also being considered.
Increase of Number of Citizen Force Ballotees *XII. Mr. OLDFIELD

asked the Minister of Defence:

  1. (1) How many youths will be
    1. (a) eligible and
    2. (b) required by ballot to commence training in the Citizen Force in 1962; and
  2. (2) whether he has considered increasing the number of ballotees required to undergo training; if so,
    1. (a) by how many and
    2. (b) for what reasons; and, if not, why not.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1)
    1. (a) 35,625.
    2. (b) 10,232, as announced in Government Gazette No. 6664 dated 14 April 1961.
  2. (2) Yes.
    1. (a) 5,932.
    2. (b) To build up the strength of the Citizen Force.
Thefts of Weapons and Ammunition *XIII. Mr. E G. MALAN

asked the Minister of Defence:

  1. (1) How many cases of theft of weapons and ammunition from
    1. (a) school cadet detachments,
    2. (b) Citizen Force detachments and
    3. (c) stores and other places under the control of his Department occurred during 1960;
  2. (2) how many items of each category were
    1. (a) stolen and
    2. (b) recovered in each case; and
  3. (3) what precautions are being taken to prevent a recurrence of such thefts.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
  1. (1)
    1. (a) Three cases.
    2. (b) Twenty-two of which twenty-one occurred at the residences of individual Citizen Force members.
    3. (c) Six cases of which one occurred at the residence of a Permanent Force member.
  2. (2) Cadet detachments: (a) Stolen: .22 rifles, 24; carbines, 164; .22 ammunition, 15,000. (b) Recovered: .22 rifles, 4; carbines, nil; .22 ammunition, 1,700.

    Citizen Force units and individual members: (a) Stolen: .303 rifles, 51. (b) Recovered: .303 rifles, 30.

    Magazines and other places: (a) Stolen: .38 pistols, 4; .303 rifles, 1; other rifles, 4. (b) Recovered: Nil.

  3. (3)
    1. (i) Instructions have already been issued that all miniature rifles, carbines and .22 ball ammunition should be withdrawn for safe custody in command magazines. This matter is receiving priority.
    2. (ii) Breech bolts of weapons which must of necessity be kept in unit armouries are removed and where possible stored in separate buildings for safe custody.
    3. (iii) Only the prescribed scale of ammunition for internal security required by units in remote areas is held in unit armouries.
    4. (iv) The present arrangement is that all magazines and ammunition supply depots where ammunition and weapons are kept are guarded by guards and barbed wire fences are erected and other security measures taken.
Committee of Inquiry into Working of Bantu Authorities *XIV. Mr. COPE

asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:

  1. (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to Press reports of a statement made by the Commissioner-General for the Transkei to the Transkeian Territorial Authority that a special commission had been appointed to investigate and recommend improvements to the Bantu Authorities system;
  2. (2) (a) when was this commission appointed, (b) who are the members, (c) what are its terms of reference, (d) when will it begin with its work and (e) what procedure will be followed;
  3. (3) whether an opportunity will be given to all interested persons to submit evidence to the commission; and, if so,
  4. (4) whether facilities will be provided to persons who have been banned or whose movements are restricted to a particular area, to make their views known to the commission.
The MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:
  1. (1) and (2) Yes, but the newspaper report is not correct in all respects. Arising out of the report of the Departmental Committee of Inquiry into the recent unrest in Eastern Pondoland I have appointed a small committee of experienced officials, Bantu Chiefs and councillors to go into the question how certain changes in the working of the Bantu Authorities can best be effected for the whole of the Transkei, including Pondoland.
  2. (3) Bantu who desire to give evidence or submit memoranda should approach their local Bantu Affairs Commissioner.
  3. (4) There is nothing to prevent persons removed or restricted under legislation administered by my Department from submitting memoranda. Applications by such persons to proceed to particular areas for the purpose of tendering evidence in person will be considered on their merits.
Mr. COPE:

Arising out of the hon. Minister’s reply, do I take it from what he said that well-known opponents of the system will be given an opportunity to submit their views?

The MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:

Yes.

Salary Scales at University College for Indians *XV. Mr. WILLIAMS (for Mr. Butcher)

asked the Minister of Education, Arts and Science:

Whether the salary scales attached to teaching posts at the University College for Indians differ in respect of Whites and Indians; and, if so, in what respects.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE:

Yes; the salary scales attached to teaching posts for men at the College are—

professor:

White

R3,900 × 120 — 4,500

Indian

R3,200 × 100 — 3,700

senior lecturer:

White

R3,060 × 120 — 3,900

Indian

R2,500 × 100 — 3,200

lecturer:

White

R2,100 × 120 — 3,060

Indian

R1,740 - 1,800 × 80 - 2,200 × 100 - 2,500.

Mr. WILLIAMS:

Arising out of the reply, can the hon. the Minister tell us whether that salary scale has been sufficiently attractive to have a full complement of staff?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SCIENCE:

Yes, including three Indians.

*XVI. Mr. BUTCHER

—Reply standing over.

*XVII. Mrs. SUZMAN

—Reply standing over.

Publications Banned *XVIII. Mrs. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of the Interior:

How many books were banned in the Union during the periods 1938-48 and 1950-60, respectively.

The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR:

1938-48

7,721 publications.

1950-60

6,718 publications.

These figures include periodicals. It is not possible to furnish separate figures in respect of books.

Departmental Publication on Job Reservation *XIX. Mr. EGLIN (for Dr. de Beer)

asked the Minister of Labour:

Whether his Department has published a booklet on job reservation; and, if so, (a) for what purpose, (b) what is the cost of the publication and (c) to whom has it been issued.

The MINISTER OF LABOUR:

Yes.

  1. (a) To explain to the public the history and object of, the reasons for and the procedure followed in connection with work reservation, and to furnish particulars of the work reservation determinations that have already been made.
  2. (b) The final printing cost is not yet available but is estimated at R1,456.00.
  3. (c) To all Senators, Members of Parliament, members of provincial councils, registered employers’ organizations and trade unions, and other bodies who asked for copies.
Irrigation Works Damaged by Floods

The MINISTER OF WATER AFFAIRS replied to Question No. *III, by Mr. E. G. Malan, standing over from 18 April:

Question:

Whether any works erected by his Department were damaged by the recent floods in the Union; and if so, (a) which works, (b) where are they situated, (c) what is the estimated damage in each case and (d) what steps are being taken to repair the damage in each case.

Reply:

Yes;

  1. (a) certain canals on the Olifants River Government Water Scheme (Van Rhynsdorp) were silted up and damaged,
  2. (b) the scheme is situated in the Division of Van Rhynsdorp and the damage occurred at the lower section of the canal system,
  3. (c)

removal of sand from canal

R5.000

repairs to approximately 2,000 feet of damaged concrete lining

R5,000

Total:

R10,000

  1. (d) repair gangs have been effecting the necessary repairs since 9 April 1961.
Increase in Number of Convictions for Murder

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE replied to Question No. *V, by Mr. Barnett, standing over from 18 April:

Question:
  1. (1) Whether there has been an increase in the number of convictions for murder since 1955; if so, what increase; and
  2. (2) whether he will appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate (a) the reasons for the increase, (b) the failure of capital punishment as a deterrent and (c) the advisability of abolishing the death sentence and of substituting more humane and effective methods of treatment.
Reply:
  1. (1) yes, convictions for murder since 1955 were as follows: —

    1955— 378.

    1956— 625.

    1957— 807.

    1958— 754.

    1959— 678.

    1960— 646.

    Only a small percentage of this number was sentenced to death.

  2. (2) No.
Extension of “ Place of Safety and Detention ” in Durban

The MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS replied to Question No. *XI, by Mr. Oldfield, standing over from 18 April:

Question:
  1. (1) How many European (a) boys and (b) girls are at present accommodated at the Place of Safety and Detention, Durban; and
  2. (2) whether additions to the buildings are contemplated; if so, (a) when will building operations commence, (b) what will be the nature of the additions and (c) what is the estimated cost of the additions; and, if not, why not.
Reply:
  1. (1) (a) 11 boys and (b) 13 girls.
  2. (2) The matter is under consideration but a final decision has not yet been arrived at. In this connection I may state that the present building does not readily lend itself to extensions and it may be necessary to acquire a more suitable building elsewhere.
ACTING DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES The MINISTER OF FINANCE:

I move as an unopposed motion—

That Mr. Petrus Cornelius Pelser be appointed to perform the duties of the Deputy Chairman of Committees during the absence owing to illness of MR. D. J. Scholtz.
mr. J. E. POTGIETER:

I second.

Agreed to.

PUBLIC HEALTH AMENDMENT BILL

First order read: Report Stage,—Public Health Amendment Bill.

Amendment in Clause 1 put and agreed to and the bill, as amended, adopted.

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

Second Order read: House to resume in Committee of supply.

House in Committee:

[Progress reported on 20 April, when Votes Nos. 2 to 4 and 10 to 20 had been agreed to and Vote no. 23—“ Police ”, r38,396,000, was under consideration.]

Mr. TUCKER:

Mr. Chairman, I want to raise with the hon. the Minister the question of promotions which have recently been taking place in the Police Force and the adjustments in pay also announced recently. I would like, in the first place, to come back to a question which was raised yesterday by the hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst), viz. the promotion of certain officers and the supersession of certain other officers, and I should like to refer to a reply given by the hon. the Minister to the hon. member for North-East Rand to a question on 17 March. The question was—

Whether any police officers were promoted to the rank of commandant from 1 July 1960; if so, how many; and (b) how many of them served with the Union Defence Forces during World War II?

The Minister’s answer to that was that 30 had been promoted, that five of them have served with the Union Defence Force. He replied, further, that 35 officers with the rank of major were superseded, and that, of the 35, 15 hadserved in World War II. The hon. the Minister then added the following information gratuitously—

These 15 were promoted to lieutenant in 1945, without competing in the prescribed police promotion examination, and thus superseded a large number of other members of the force. At the time of promotion to commissioned rank some of them had not attained any rank and were only constables.

It is obvious that the promotion of those persons was a result of their experience and service in the army during the war, and it is also obvious that their appointment to commissioned rank which they had obtained had been justified for, having originally been appointed as lieutenants, they had been advanced to the rank of major since their original appointment.

The hon. the Minister, I submit, by that reply makes it quite clear that the reason that was taken into account in the fact that these officers were superseded, was the fact that they had been appointed lieutenants in 1946, having served in the war. The hon. the Minister must be frank with this House. If he had said that others had been promoted over their heads, that they had been superseded on merits, it would have been a different matter. But the hon. the Minister makes clear what the reason was for these officers being superseded, for he gives only one reason. I submit that that reason is not a justifiable reason. I do put it to the hon. the Minister that it is about time that we forget things to which we objected that happened in the war some 15 years ago. I do not think he did any service by dragging this matter into the question of these appointments.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

I am only quoting a precedent.

Mr. TUCKER:

That may be so, but it is about time that persons should not be prejudiced by their war service. I submit that the hon. the Minister in his reply made it clear that the reason they were prejudiced was not a matter of merit, but because of something which had happened some 16 years ago. Clearly these persons had been efficient, because they had been advanced from the rank of lieutenant to that of major.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

That is not correct. It is on merit. I will reply to that.

Mr. TUCKER:

I am attacking the Minister on the basis of his own reply to this hon. House. He is now thinking up other reasons, but he himself introduced this latter portion which I quoted, that they had been appointed lieutenants in 1945. That was not a direct answer to the question put by the hon. member; it was something which was dragged in quite gratuitously by the hon. the Minister.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

It is very usual to quote precedents.

Mr. TUCKER:

I now want to deal with other questions arising out of this. There have been a large number of promotions, and I assume, for the sake of argument, the hon. the Minister will be able to tell us that those have all been on the basis of merit, and I have no information to the contrary. But I do wish to deal with one particular question, and that is in relation to sergeants. I would like to submit to the hon. the Minister that injustice appears to have been done, particularly to the 1st class sergeants. The position is that a number of these have been promoted to head-constable. It would appear that something over 350 of, them have been advanced to the rank of head-constable. But, of course, the hon. the Minister has done away with the rank of 2nd class sergeant. The difference, as I understand it, between a 1st class sergeant and a 2nd class sergeant was that a person could only become a 1st class sergeant after having passed two examinations. 2nd class sergeants who have been promoted—or at least some of them—have not passed those examinations. The result of this is that, in spite of the upgrading of pay in the Police Force, the 1st class sergeants who have not been promoted are, I understand, in the position that their increase in pay is a mere pittance—an amount of 8s. 10d. per month. At the same time they have had brought up to their rank persons who have not the same qualification.

There is a very clear onus on the hon. the Minister to justify that step to this House. I do submit that where there has been a general upgrading of pay, it seems utterly wrong that a particular class, namely, 1st class sergeants, has been discriminated against, as appears to be the position. The hon. the Minister will also know that a number of constables have been advanced from the rank of constable directly to that of 1st class sergeant. I should like to know what the policy of the hon. the Minister is; whether he is still going to require the examinations which were customary before a person was promoted to 1st class sergeant? On the face of it, it appears that an injustice has been done, and it appears to be an injustice which requires remedying. The position now is that persons who were 2nd class sergeants have been advanced very substantially, but many 1st class sergeants have not been advanced at all and have had only a minute increase in pay. That seems to be quite unjustified. There is apparently a difference of only some £60 between the pay for a sergeant and the pay of a head-constable. I do think that there is a case for the consideration of the advancement of all of those 1st class sergeants who were worthy of promotion to the rank of head-constable. It would make very little difference to the cost of establishment, and it would eliminate a grievance which, on the fact of it, appears to be very well justified.

I hope that the hon. the Minister will be prepared to be quite frank with this House in regard to these promotions, because it is absolutely essential that we should have a satisfied Police Force. I would go further. I will tell the hon. the Minister—and I think he knows this himself—that a number of his recent promotions have caused a great deal of heartburning in the Police Force. At a time when this force is carrying a tremendously heavy responsibility, it is absolutely essential, not only that the force should be efficient, but also that there should be no justified grievances left behind. But on the face of the facts, as I know them, it appears that there are many. I believe that in the case of some majors at least and others who have been superseded, they have a real justified grievance. And certainly in regard to the 1st class sergeants, I can see no justification for the basis on which the hon. the Minister has dealt with those persons who were in that group and who have not had promotion.

*Mr. KNOBEL:

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my great appreciation of the excellent services rendered to the country by the South African Police. We all know that they are our first line of defence. We know that if trouble arises, or there are riots, they are on the spot, and then it is usually they who suffer the greatest loss of life, before further reinforcements arrive, because they are the men who are on the spot when trouble arises. To-day we have 12,516 White policemen and 13,789 non-Whites. But in expressing my appreciation for the work of our White police, as other hon. members have also done, I also want to express a special word of thanks and appreciation towards our non-White police. We who know the Bantu, and know that they still believe in magic and witchcraft and are still superstitious, do not always realize what it means to those Bantu constables to render these important services. They are continually suspected by their own people, and therefore I want to extend a special word of appreciation to them for what they do.

I also want to thank the Minister and the Commissioner of Police for the new arrangements and the new procedure now being followed when medals are given to the police for good service. In the past these medal parades were always held jointly at the police stations. A few years ago I was invited by the Captain of Police to attend a medal parade for Bantu constables which took place in the location at Bethlehem at the Municipal Offices. I thought it was a very good arrangement not to hold those parades jointly, because in the first place it distracts attention from the Bantu constables who deserve that honour, in view of the fact that attention is directed to the White constables—something which they of course deserve. But when these parades are held separately everyone individually gets the honour due to him. On that occasion the Colonel, the Chief of the Police in the Free State, could not be present. The Major in charge of the Bethlehem area was present, and then the Captain asked me whether I would issue the medals. Do you know, Sir, that I felt most affected when I learnt that I had to award a Native constable the Queen’s Medal for bravery. Do you know what the brave deed was which he had committed? He had pursued an escaping criminal. This escapee came to the Wilgerrivier which was in full flood and jumped into the water. After he had swum about 15 yards he was on the point of drowning. Then this Bantu constable jumped in and risked his life to save the life of this criminal. I really found that to be a very touching incident. The Queen then awarded him the highest honour any police official in South Africa can receive. He received the Queen’s Medal for bravery. This medal is equivalent to the V.C., which is the highest medal a soldier can earn in war-time. Now this medal is going to disappear, and therefore I want to make an appeal to the Minister this morning that instead of that medal, which is the highest award for bravery —there is also a second medal for distinguished service; there are two Queen’s Medals —to put some other medal in the place of this one which will now automatically disappear because we are now no longer a member of the Commonwealth. I want to suggest that the State should issue a President’s medal to these police.

Mr. Chairman, I do not think that the public always realizes to what extent the police risk their lives almost every day to protect us. I do not think that we as citizens of South Africa sufficiently appreciate the police, nor do we appreciate the non-White police enough. We farmers are in the habit—I do not know what the city-dwellers do—that when the police officer goes on patrol, usually accompanied by a non-White constable, when the peaches are ripe the White police officer is given a box of peaches, and it is also our custom to give the Bantu constable his box of peaches too. I want to make a special appeal to the city-dwellers to-day. I know that they no longer have that traditional hospitality which we farmers still have, but I just want to tell them that when a police official, White or non-White, comes to their homes they should invite him in and give him a cup of tea. He will appreciate it. I do not know whether the people in the cities do that, but on the farms we do it. I feel that we should show more appreciation for these people who render these important services.

Mr. COPE:

May I say from this side of the House that we appreciate very much what the hon. member for Bethlehem (Mr. Knobel) has just said. I like the way in which he put his plea in regard to police medals. I liked his approach, and I am sure the hon. the Minister will meet him with regard to this. It is a pity that we should have reached a stage where we will have to alter our medals, if that is to be done. But I agree with the hon. member that it is necessary to have these medals, and I particularly liked his references to the non-European members of the force. As regards the friendliness between the police and members of the public in the towns, I can tell the hon. member that he is on good grounds there too. Obviously if the police can become known and friendly with the population it will be a good thing. I can also tell the hon. member that I do know that in a great many houses in the cities, when the police call they are received in a friendly way and are given a cup of tea or whatever is on the go when they happen to be there. So the hon. member is quite correct when he says this good country tradition should also be followed in the towns.

Mr. Chairman, I rose in order to say a word about one aspect of the reorganization plans that the hon. the Minister announced during the recess. I refer to the question of street patrols. In his announcement the hon. the Minister said that more police were going to be released for street patrols. I hope that this will apply particularly to the suburban areas around the cities. The crime situation, particularly in regard to housebreaking, and even robberies, appears to be worsening in many of our suburban areas. In my own constituency particularly, there is mounting concern over this situation. The hon. member for Durban (Berea) (Mr. Butcher) who unfortunately cannot be here to-day has asked me to say that in the northern suburbs of Durban which he represents, there is also grave concern over this problem. The hon. member tells me that in one township there is a street in which every single house has been burgled in the last six months, some of them more than once. In my own constituency, particularly in the Greenside area, not only is there a great deal of housebreaking, but particularly bad is the constant raiding of the shopping centres. There are three shopping centres and the raiding became so bad that in one particular centre further burglary insurance was refused to many of the shopkeepers whose premises had been entered three, four or five times. There is no doubt about it, the only effective way to meet this situation so far as police action is concerned, is by means of the foot patrol. There is a growing demand all over the country from people who are interested in this subject for more and more intensive foot patrols. Policing an area by means of flying squads does not meet the situation. The only way to do it is to have foot patrols.

The hon. the Minister has told us—and it was a very welcome announcement—that he means to experiment with men and dogs. I hope that means that more men are going to be put on foot patrols. We welcome these experiments so far as the dogs are concerned, and we will watch them with great interest. But what is needed is very much more intensive foot patrols.

In regard to the Greenside area, I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he will give consideration to the establishment of a local police station. There is great need for one there. The Government has a site, and this particular area which has been very extensively burgled in the past is very far from any police station. There is one at Parkview, but one is badly needed in the Greenside area which grew up very rapidly and has become densely settled over the past ten years. I ask the hon. the Minister to see whether it is not possible to place a police station there.

I now want to come back to the question which I raised yesterday. I want to tell the hon. the Minister that I am not a bit impressed with his show of indignation when replying to me yesterday in regard to the very legitimate question which I put to him. The request I made to the hon. the Minister was that he should give more personal attention to the activities of the Special Branch. The Special Branch is obviously a necessary branch of the Police Force for certain purposes, but it must not be allowed to get out of hand. It must not be allowed to harry people who should not be harried. And that is happening and the hon. the Minister cannot deny it. The Minister said I had not given him examples, but I gave him six examples in relation to the Press. And on previous occasions in this House I have given examples.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Those are prosecutions, are they not, the three you mentioned?

Mr. COPE:

Cases are not brought to the court unless the Special Branch has acted previously. And it is a curious thing when a certain type of case which has not been previously thought worthwhile tackling is now suddenly brought before the courts. It is all very well for the hon. the Minister to protest or to shelter behind the Attorney-General or the magistrate and say that only they can prosecute. What I object to even more than the cases that are now suddenly receiving attention and brought before the courts is the fact of the numerous instances where the Special Branch goes to completely innocent people and quizzes them, and so forth. I have given instances of this before. I have had many complaints made to me about this. And I am telling the hon. the Minister that this is going on and that he has to stop it. The Special Branch needs to be controlled. If they are politically minded and so on, they can take their cue and do this sort of thing. I want to quote a statement to the hon. the Minister. This was made by a Judge of the Supreme Court the other day. He said this—

Security Branch Police tend to arrest first and then investigate. This is not the proper procedure, said Mr. Justice de Wet in the Rand Supreme Court to-day.

So you will see, Mr. Chairman, this is causing grave concern. I have had a number of complaints brought to my attention about absolutely innocent people who are not only telephoned but visited in their houses and quizzed on activities that they know nothing about. And they have a very strong feeling that there is political bias behind the work of this branch. And all I am doing, in terms of what the hon. the Minister said yesterday, is to ask him to give attention to this matter and to make it absolutely clear to the Special Branch that he will not tolerate this kind of thing.

*Mr. M. J. VAN DEN BERG:

It is very interesting that the hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) now pleads for more police to go on beat. Has the hon. member forgotten that they were continually complaining year after year of the presence of the police? The police should never be seen. The presence of the police always fills them with abhorrence, and now the hon. member pleads for more police to go on beat. I do not object to his pleading for it, but I want to point out how inconsistent hon. members opposite are. I also want to tell the hon. member that most of the terrible crimes are committed in such a way that the man on foot can do nothing about it. The most effective manner of catching the modern criminal is by means of the patrol vans, which certainly is one of the most successful methods ever to have been evolved in the world. But I do not know what the poor policeman on foot can really do to stop modern methods of committing crime, housebreaking and that sort of thing. I say it is necessary, but the best method ever evolved is the use of patrol vans. If we were to ask for statistics and we saw how many criminals were arrested by the patrol vans, it would be almost unbelievable, and it would of course have been physically impossible for police on foot to have achieved such results.

But I did not really rise to speak about this. I rose to deal with what the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) said here yesterday in connection with Kgosana. I just want to tell the hon. member that, although he did not intend it that way, he should be careful that what he said in the House in regard to Kgosana’s arrest is not used in a different way. Although he did not intend it that way, his words will be interpreted differently overseas from the sense in which he used them—particularly in that place where Kgosana is to-day. If he takes the trouble to investigate it, he will find that that is so. We know how the newspapers carry on these days, and it will be interpreted there as if the hon. member now defends Kgosana and tries to exonerate him, although he never meant it that way. I want to appeal to hon. members to be careful when they mention the name of this glorified piccanin in this House. If the hon. member intended to say that the police should have done what he would have done and most of us would have done, viz. to take him and put his head between our legs and treat him with a cane until a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit was generated on his seat, that would have been very effective. If that is what he meant, he should have said so.

The real reason why I got up was to advocate something I have pleaded for before, namely this. The reason why I am doing so again is because I have never heard a single argument against it yet. The Minister to-day has much difficulty in regard to housing his police. No, I must put it the other way round. The police to-day have much difficulty when they are transferred from one district to another. What I cannot understand is that for the convenience of the public we can tell Mr. A that he is now being transferred from this place to that place without being responsible for ensuring that the man will get a house there when he is transferred from District I to District 10. That applies to practically all parts of South Africa. These officials must simply find their own housing. What do we find in every constituency? One policeman lives in one part of the town, and another lives in the opposite part of the town. The one has to use a bicycle and the other a motor car to get home from the police station. That is a very undesirable state of affairs. What I want to suggest is this. There should be a number of houses in every district—in every magisterial or police district—which fit in with that area. I am thinking, e.g., of my own constituency. A site has already been purchased for the magistrate’s residence; next to it that of the Commandant of Police and his second in command; and then the married staff, and then one can have the barracks for the unmarried staff. What I mean by standardized houses is this. If we then find that we have to transfer a certain official of a certain rank from one district to the other, then he can tell his wife: The furniture you take out here to-day will fit in 100 per cent in the house to which we are being transferred. It is not a question again of readapting the furniture, the curtains, etc., which always has to be done by the wife of this police official. My point is that it then makes, very little difference to the man and the only expenditure involved and the only inconvenience it causes is merely that he is transferred from one district to the other. But the standard house for that rank is the same in the district to which he is transferred. Can the Minister imagine of what great advantage this will be to him, because then he need no longer worry about the question as to whether he should transfer the man and about the inconvenience it may cause him? Then there will be the minimum of inconvenience when a man of any rank is transferred. I ask the Minister again to devote his attention to this. I know he will again ask whether we will be able to persuade the Minister of Finance. I think we can for the sake of the service of the whole and because of the injustice we are doing to-day by transferring a man from one district to another without being concerned about his domestic affairs, we shall be doing a good thing if we introduce such a system. I know that the Chief of Police does not transfer an official just for fun. He only does so when he has to. He also has to do so in the interest of the country. But if it is done in the interest of the country, the country should also pay for it. That is my point, that we should be prepared to pay for it. In addition to all the benefits the Minister and his predecessor have granted the police—their pensions and a hundred-and-one other things of which we can be very proud to-day—I think this is one more thing which can be done in order to give the police this further facility and to create satisfaction. That is what I want to advocate.

Capt. HENWOOD:

I want to register my strong protest at the actions of the police when there was a protest meeting in Pietermaritzburg last month. This protest was not organized by any political party. There was a protest march to the City Hall to register protest against South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth which had come as a great shock to the public. There was no party-political factor in this demonstration whatever, but as these people met to go to the City Hall it is my information that several policemen with ciné cameras, at least eight of them, were taking photographs of the crowd. Because I felt it was only fair to give the Minister the opportunity to give us the facts, I tabled a question which I put to him this morning, but he refused to answer. Sir, why does the Minister wish to hide the fact from the public? Are the public now not allowed to make an open protest, which meeting was ultimately addressed by the Mayor of Pietermaritzburg to register the shock the citizens felt at our withdrawal from the Commonwealth. The public is entitled to be taken into the confidence of the Minister in such a matter. He and the Government cannot complain, if he refuses to reply, when people say that we are becoming a police state. The Government is always protesting that there is no question of unnecessary pressure by the police on the public, but this has happened on top of the telephone tapping which we know took place in Durban and on which the Government has been hedging instead of saying openly what took place. Some of us know that it did take place, and here we know that films and photographs were taken by a number of policemen, and the Minister will not tell us why. Is this a threat to the public, intimidation, so that people will not dare to protest if they feel strongly about anything?

It has gone further since then. I understand that certain of these people have been identified from these pictures and have been questioned. Civil servants have been asked to identify other people and certain people have been asked to identify people who are civil servants and took part in the parade.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Is there anything new in that?

Capt. HENWOOD:

Well, in a public demonstration it is quite new as far as I know. I know of nothing like that which took place when we were in power.

HON. MEMBERS:

Oh!

Capt. HENWOOD:

Now hon. members shout “ Oh! ”, but they took action against a state which was at war, and they gave information to the enemies of the State. Certain information was being broadcast from Zeesen, because information had come from this country, and certain ships carrying South African troops to this country were torpedoed off the East Coast. That is why the necessary security measures were taken against the enemies of South Africa, whether they were South Africans by birth or not. I say that if this Government takes action such as this and takes films and photographs of every public protest which is spontaneous, they cannot then complain if they get the name both inside and outside the Union of developing into a police state. I think the sooner the Ministers realize that they cannot take such actions against South African citizens, the better. They are there as Ministers of the Union. Are they not going to recognize the rights and freedoms of the citizens to register their protest at what they consider not to be in the interests of the country? They themselves are to blame if at some future date they are told that we are becoming a police state under this Government.

*Mr. J. E. POTGIETER:

It is a pity that the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) wanted to link the protest march against our actions at the Commonwealth Conference with the actions of the police. I want to remind him of the result at Bethal-Middelburg yesterday, which led to quite a different reaction. Again to refer to a police state is of no avail either, and I will say why. It is because I now see quite a different spirit being revealed in this House in regard to the police from what we have had in past years. In 1951, 1952 and 1953 a certain technique was followed in regard to the police It is the old well-known communist technique. [Laughter.] I did not associate that with the actions of the Opposition at all, hence that ridiculous reaction. I am merely stating the fact that in all Western countries the undermining of authority and those who have to exercise it is a recognized communist method. The most important function of any well-ordered state is to main law and order. The well-known method of the communists is to undermine law and order, and how do they do it? They know that the Government of a country transfers the function of doing so to its police, and therefore the maintenance of law and order is the duty of the police. I tried to show that it is nice to see that such a good spirit is being revealed in the House, that we are acting differently from the communists, but now hon. members take exception to it. Why do they take it to heart? Not only is it stupid but it is a political crime. I wanted to extend congratulations and I thought there would be a good reaction to it, but just look at the pained expressions on the faces of hon. members. Let us honour the police. Do not let us do what was done in the past, to take exceptions as being the normal state of affairs in order to condemn the whole of the Police Force. For that reason I am glad that the hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst) and other hon. members opposite this time praised the police, and it is a pity that the hon. member has now put a fly into the apothecary’s ointment where before we had this splendid spirit towards the police. It is a pity that the hon. member revealed that spirit in regard to this march. I know that the Natalians always want to march, but we should not blame the police in that connection. We are living in a multi-racial country and the discipline of the Police Force is admired by friend and foe. If we just think of the many assaults committed on the police and how they are killed, why should we not ignore these little things and leave it to the Department to take action when a few policemen do something wrong? But in this House we should reveal the spirit which the Opposition is now revealing and we should not elaborate on a communist technique. I am not accusing hon. members of that. I particularly tried to find common ground this morning so that we as Whips could have good co-operation, but they have misunderstood me. I just want to say that there are people in South Africa who deliberately contribute to undermining the morale of the Police Force. The police are our first line of defence and they must carry out the task of maintaining law and order. We should encourage all people in South Africa to realize that the policeman should be treated with the greatest regard and respect, whether he is White or non-White.

Mr. HUGHES:

The Chief Whip regretted that the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) has linked the police with the protest march in Pietermaritzburg. Sir, just the reverse. The hon. member condemned the police for being linked with that march. He objected to the fact that the police went to this march and intimidated people, because the mere fact of taking photographs and movie reels is a form of intimidation, and that is what the hon. member objected to. He also objected to the questioning of some of the people who took part in the march. The hon. the Whip has said that we should be thankful that this Government does not behave as the communists do and that there should be a “ nice atmosphere ” in the House. Sir, the actions of the police in behaving as they did, if they did—I was not there—at that meeting is exactly the actions of the communist police. That is the attitude they adopt towards anti-Government activities. Had this been a protest march organized by the communists, to show approval of some Russian act, I can understand the Chief Whip taking the line he did and the police acting as they did, but this was a protest march against our withdrawal from the Commonwealth and it had nothing to do with Communism. Even Nationalist members say or pretend to say that they wanted to remain in the Commonwealth. Surely there can be no objection to the march with the object it had in view.

The hon. member for Krugersdorp (Mr. M. J. van den Berg) gets worse and worse every time he enters a debate, and I think it is shocking that a front-bencher should behave as he did to-day. I only hope that his speeches like we heard this morning are not published overseas. I certainly did not mean, as he suggested, that Kgosana should have been caned. I objected to the method of his arrest and I still condemn it. I say that if we are to stop our criticism of the Government because of the fear that what we say may be published overseas and adversely affect South Africa, we can never take part in any debate in this House. Because of the actions of this Government which we are compelled to criticize the country is losing more and more friends overseas.

I want to ask the Minister for certain information about the mobile squad which is now being established in Umtata. Let me say at the outset that I welcome the re-establishment of that mobile squad. We had such a squad there before the last war and they were a fine body of men and they were highly respected by all sections. What I want to know is whether this new squad will perform the same functions as the old squad did? The Minister will know that the old squad did not do ordinary police duties. They were largely used to show the flag and were called upon at times to show force when disturbances threatened, not against the Government, but faction fights. The first report we had of this squad was that they were to be a mounted squad.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

That is correct.

Mr. HUGHES:

I saw a subsequent report that they would be mechanized. I quite appreciate that they will have to be mechanized as well, but I think they should be mounted. I hope that these men who will form this body will be picked. It is very important that this force be represented by responsible and well-trained men. It is important that all police in the Bantu areas be well trained and responsible men It is of course desirable that all policemen should be well-trained and responsible, no matter where they are stationed; but it becomes imperative when they are stationed in areas where they come into contact almost solely with the non-Whites. The Minister must know that all sorts of stories are being spread about the behaviour of the Mobile Watch while they were in the Transkei. They were brought into Pondoland towards the end of last year and the Minister will know that there are certain prosecutions pending against members of that watch. I do not wish to discuss those matters, because the cases are sub judice, and in any event it will probably be more proper to speak to the Minister of Defence about their behaviour, but this force left a very bad impression in that area amongst the Whites and the non-Whites, just the opposite of the impression created by the police force which was sent into Bizana. I am told that the behaviour of the police force stationed there was exemplary.

The present Commissioner of Police, when he took over, issued instructions to the police to be very careful in their handling of the non-Whites. I commend him for it and it came very timeously too. I am the first to admit that the police have a very difficult and distasteful task. The words of Gilbert that “ a policeman’s lot is not a happy one ” are probably truer to-day than when he wrote them. They have to see that unpopular laws are abided by, whether they agree with those laws or not, and they have our sympathy. Their task is often dangerous and I am sure that there is not one member of this House who envies the police in some of the duties they have to perform. Unfortunately, however, rumour has it, and the courts have proved it, that policemen do not always act legally. It is to the credit of the Police Force that it is through investigations by the police themselves that these cases were brought to light. I want to compliment our detectives on the effective manner in which they do trace the culprits in these cases. It is reprehensible when policemen use their authority or act illegally against any citizen, but where a White policeman acts in that manner towards a citizen of a different colour it is not only reprehensible but disastrous to race relations. At the present time of strained race relations when people are apt to be more sensitive about their rights and dignities than usual, any unlawful or inconsiderate act by any official of one race towards a member of another race is to be deprecated, but when that act is committed by an official to whom the public, irrespective of their race or colour, look for protection of their rights, it is all the more serious, and fatal to good relations. Luckily, with the reorganization of the force announced recently, with the insistence on higher educational qualifications and the doubling of the period of training, it is hoped that the new recruits will be better equipped to carry out their onerous duties. I know the Minister will not act on rumours or hearsay reports of criminal or unwise acts by policemen, but where the reports are numerous I hope that his Department will investigate and take note of these reports and see that the policemen in that area are warned of what is being said about them, and that the Department itself will take steps to see that there is no truth in those rumours. [Time limit.]

*Mr. P. W. DU PLESSIS:

I would like to say a few words in regard to the vacation bonus paid to members of the Police Force. When this bonus was instituted all the members of the force welcomed it and they are still grateful for it, but I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to an anomaly. It concerns the definition of the term “ legally married ”, as defined in paragraph 7 (3) (b) of the orders issued to the force, No. 19 of 1959. What is the position to-day in regard to the granting of this bonus to certain members of the force? We find that as the result of the definition of this term “ legally married ”, some of the best men in the Police Force who are on a certain salary notch are in the position where they have lost their wives and therefore they do not qualify for this vacation bonus. Some of our best officials have already been deleteriously affected by this definition as it stands. The Minister may perhaps tell me to discuss the matter with the Treasury, but I want to tell him that the Police Force regard him as their father and we must come to him with our troubles.

As the result of this definition of “ legally married ”, and the fact that the wife of a police official may die, one gets the following position on the Rand and in the large cities. One finds a married official with no children and a pensionable salary of £2,850 per annum who qualifies for a bonus of £60. We do not begrudge him that, but now we find an officer whose wife is dead and who has six children whom he has to maintain and who receives an annual salary of £1,560, but he gets no bonus. At Marshall Square there are some of our best men who have been so unfortunate as to lose their wives. They have small children, and in that cold city, Johannesburg, where people have little love for their fellowmen and the cost of living is very high, they have to hire people to look after their children whilst they risk their lives day and night for our country, but they do not qualify for the bonus. One gets the further case of an unmarried officer who has no dependants and who earns a salary of £1,560, and he qualifies for a bonus of £30. As against that one finds an officer who is not married merely by reason of the fact that his wife has died, but who has six children and a salary of £1,560, who receives no bonus. I humbly submit, and this is felt by the public in general, as well as by the officials who have been so adversely affected, that this· anomaly was not deliberate. It sometimes happens that when laws and regulations are drafted with very good intentions something like that may be overlooked, and that a law adviser who can interpret every letter of the Act tells that police official that when his wife dies he is no longer legally married in terms of the Act. It may be true that when his wife dies he is no longer legally married, but he was legally married, and why must that man be penalized by not receiving any bonus when he has lost his wife? I want to make an urgent plea that those officials who have already been affected and who may still be affected should be assisted in this respect, even though the matter at this stage may not rest solely in the hands of the Minister of Justice—and without wishing to cast reflections I want to say that if one goes to the Treasury it is very difficult to persuade them; it seems to me that one can expect more sympathy from the father of the Police Force. I am pleading for these persons who have already been affected, particularly because the public sympathize with them and because their colleagues also feel that it is an anomaly which should be remedied, and I ask the Minister to devote his attention to the matter.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I welcome the efforts being made to carry out a recruiting drive in the Police Force and the statements which have been made from time to time in regard to the intentions of the police chiefs both to obtain the right type of recruit and to maintain a high standard in the Police Force, particularly in the light of our difficult circumstances in South Africa. I want to ask one or two questions in regard to the recruiting campaign of the Minister. I would be glad if the Minister would give us some details as to what the results have been so far. In answer to a question but by me on 7 February, the Minister told me that 650 European applicants had been enlisted since I October 1960 but that there were still 926 vacancies for Europeans. Is that still the position to-day, or has it improved since then? The Minister went on to say that 692 of those vacancies were filled by special constables and women assistants, and that there was no difficulty in filling the non-European vacancies. Is that correct, because I understand that appeals have been made quite recently to the Coloured Advisory Council to stimulate interest amongst the Coloureds?

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

We are about 100 Europeans short at the moment.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I would like the Minister to tell us what duties are carried out by these special constables, how they are recruited and what are their conditions of service; and I am particularly interested in the fact that women assistants are employed. It seems to me that the time has come for the Minister and his police chiefs to consider employing a special section of women police as such. They could be employed, it seems to me, on administrative duties in the large urban centres, and they might appropriately staff a section dealing with certain types of female crime. I would like to know from the hon. the Minister whether the scope of women police in Britain, for instance, has been studied by our police. If not, I would like to suggest that that should be done. Sir, this whole subject of recruiting is bound up with a constant need for review of our Police Force and the necessity for reorganization from time to time. In connection with this drive it becomes important, if one wants to build up a higher standard, to know what the minimum qualifications are. I should be glad if the Minister can give us some details as to what the minimum qualifications are in respect of White, Coloured, Bantu and Indian police, and what the highest rank is they can attain. In respect of minimum qualifications there is the question of age and the question of educational qualifications. I stress that point, Sir, because it seems to me that there is a danger in introducing relatively immature young men into the Police Force and giving them duties which perhaps are beyond the capacity of their experience; and there certainly is some evidence to show that some members of the Police Force are inclined, to put it very mildly, to be trigger-happy. The hon. gentleman has given me figures of the number of deaths, for instance, in 1960, the number of persons who were killed in 1960 as the result of police action in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act to prevent the escape of suspected criminals. He told me that during that period 20 people were so killed; presumably they were shot. Their ages ranged from 14 to 40 years. It does seem to me to be lamentable that a child of 14 years—in this case a European boy—should be killed under the provisions of an Act of this sort. I do not know the circumstances. But it seems to me that it may very well be that there is a need to ensure that immature youths are not placed on duties where they may have difficulty in exercising a wise discretion. That brings me to a further point which I would like to make to the Minister. I suggest to the Minister that we have to beware very much of over-centralization of our Police Force. We have a national Police Force centred on Pretoria. But there are local divisions, and I would like to know whether the Minister could not consult his police chiefs to see whether it would not be possible to build up a more localized force in certain areas, a more stable force, which would not have to be moved from time to time to other centres. It seems to me it would have great advantages if the local Police Force in certain areas, Cape Town, for instance, could be stable. The members of the force would get to know the public.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

The 11 divisions are being extended to 16 for that purpose.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Well, I am very glad to hear that, because it seems to me that what is so necessary is to re-establish confidence between the police and the public, and particularly between the police and the non-Europeans. Rightly or wrongly, there is no doubt about it that in many instances that confidence has been lost. Members of the Police Force have not, as they ought to have, been looked upon as friends by the ordinary citizen. That does not apply to every member of the police, but there have been these unfortunate cases where some member of the Police Force have let their down their side; and I am suggesting to the Minister that one of the ways of obviating that is by ensuring, first of all, that immature youths are not transplanted from a country environment into the entirely strange environment of a big city, where they are virtually lost and without the guidance of some semi-paternal, more experienced senior officer. I suggest that there should be a longer period of apprenticeship for these young men where they could be under the trained eye, the semi-paternal eye of older and more experienced officers, who could help them to get the feel of the force and become acquainted with the duties of a policeman before they are put onto the streets in the larger towns and subjected to all sorts of difficulties, particularly in this country where race clashes so often take place.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

An extended period of training would help in that direction.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I think that would, but the point I am making is that to my mind it is dangerous to put a young man of 18 on the streets with a revolver, and to create the idea that he is in a position of such responsibility that he can virtually do what he likes.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

We do it in the Defence Force.

An HON. MEMBER:

There they are under discipline.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

They are under discipline. The point I am trying to make is that I want to encourage young men to go into the Police Force, both Afrikaans and English speaking. But I suggest that in the interests of the Police Force and the reputation of the Police Force, and in the interests of these young men, out of fairness and equity, they should not be clothed with duties which are beyond the scope of their years, and that they should not be placed in these positions of great responsibility, great individual responsibility, until they have had adequate training. So I stress this point of greater decentralization. In many ways I believe it would be a good thing if there could be what might be called a local division of the Police Force for the Transkei, for the Eastern Province, for Natal, where persons are recruited for that particular area and you build up this local esprit de corps.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

There will be two shortly outside the Transkei.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

I am very glad to hear that. And I hope that in the light of the experience gained from that, the Minister will consider extending that experiment if it should prove successsful.

*Mr. M. J. DE LA REY VENTER:

I am glad that the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) has just come in. A few moments ago he practically accused the police of not always acting lawfully and that that disturbed relations between White and non-White. I wonder whether the hon. member meant that allegation seriously.

*Mr. HUGHES:

But you cannot deny it. You need only to look at the cases coming before the courts.

*Mr. M. J. DE LA REY VENTER:

One has to take into consideration the danger in which the police are practically every minute they are on duty.

*Mr. HUGHES:

They are not always in danger.

*Mr. M. J. DE LA REY VENTER:

I say that the police official is in great danger for practically every minute he is on duty. The suspicion existing against the police to-day, particularly as far as the non-Whites are concerned, is shocking. The hon. member should realize that. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Mr. Henwood) and also the hon. member for Transkeian Territories said last night that it was not necessary for the police to inquire into the protest parades because the parades took place as a result of South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth and not to make communist propaganda. Can the hon. member tell me how the police knew about these protest processions in the first place? I can give hon. members the assurance that strange things are happening, even among the churches, under the guise of religion. Communist propaganda is being made under the pretext of religion. It happened on my own farm recently when a meeting of a certain denomination was held there. Part of the so-called minister’s sermon was: You non-Whites must stand together and you must eradicate the White man from South Africa. That was part of his sermon. Why should the police not have the right to intervene? I want to recommend to the hon. the Minister that police should be present even at church meetings on suspicious occasions. They can then keep the hon. the Minister informed from time to time. If that happens one will never hear the end of it in this House, but it is necessary in certain cases. This was an incident which happened on my own farm. The advice of the so-called minister to the non-Whites was: You must eradicate the White man from South Africa; with your majority of numbers you must eventually overrun them. I only wish that a police official could have been present there to convey it to the hon. the Minister. The police should have the rights at all times to gather information in order to pass it on to the Department.

Then I just want to refer to a matter which has already been raised by the hon. member for Krugersdorp (Mr. M. J. van den Berg). I also want to plead with the hon. the Minister in connection with housing for the police. I have already made representations in connection with this matter but I have not yet had any success. I am sure, however, that the hon. the Minister will in fact give attention to the matter. In Philipstown there are no police quarters. The old police station was an ordinary house which the Department hired for a number of years. The person from whom they rented it has now died and now there is no accommodation for them in Philips-town. Even the motor car with which they perform their duty has to be parked here to-night and there to-morrow. There is also no storage space for their petrol, and I ask the hon. the Minister to give his attention to the matter. As far as housing in general is concerned I wish to associate myself with what has been said by the hon. member for Krugers-dorp. I think the time has come to provide decent housing for the police, just as housing is provided for railway officials. At the moment the police have to take whatever houses they can get. It should be ensured that they get houses of which they can be proud. Housing is very scarce in most places to-day and I will appreciate it if the hon. the Minister can give serious consideration to this matter.

Dr. FISHER:

We have heard a great deal in the last day or two about the actions and the duties of the Police Force and we have heard quite a good deal about the shortcomings of the Police Force, and we have also been told of the shortage in the personnel in the Police Force. Sir, when it comes to the shortcomings of the Police Force, I think this must be bound up with the shortage of personnel. I can well imagine what has been happening in the past. Insufficient numbers of recruits have come forward, so in an effort to maintain law and order some people have been admitted to the force who should never have been in the force, and it is this small group which has given our police such a bad name. But, Sir, law and order must be maintained, and the question I want to put to the Committee to-day is why this has been left to one section of the population only. In recent years the number of English-speaking youths who have entered the Police Force has become smaller and smaller. The response to recruiting campaigns has been marked by a lack of interest on the part of English-speaking youths and adults, and I think it is high time that those of us who criticize the shortcomings of the police and who complain about the shortage of personnel, should say to ourselves: “ What have we done during the past ten or 12 years to improve the position?”

Mr. SCHOONBEE:

Hear, hear! Let them search their own hearts.

Dr. FISHER:

Sir, it is not altogether the fault of the English-speaking group, but to a great extent they are responsible for some of the shortcomings and for some of the things which have happened in the past years. I want to suggest to the hon. the Minister that he should go out of his way to do his very best to make the Police Force a force that is composed of elements of both sections of our population. English-speaking youths should come into the force in such numbers as to balance the language groups that we have in this country. The hon. member for Salt River said a moment ago that it is unfair for the platteland youth to be put into the streets of a large city like Johannesburg. I agree with him wholeheartedly. But why cannot the boys from the towns be trained and stationed in the cities? The platteland boys who are used to living in the country and who love the country so well, could be kept in their early years of training on the platteland if they so wish. But I would say to the Minister that he should start campaigning immediately for English-speaking recruits, and I believe that the place to get them is in the schools. I suggest that he should immediately bring about closer liaison between the schools and the Police Force; that lectures should be given to groups of school boys in the school-leaving ages; that pamphlets and brochures should be sent to the school children to make them interested in the Police Force. I think that displays on school prize-giving days should be arranged with the police. One of the biggest attractions that we had at the last and previous agricultural shows in Johannesburg was a display by the Police Force. It attracted thousands upon thousands of people. I should like to see those displays given at our schools. They can go to the English- and the Afrikaans-medium schools and let the children at those schools see that the men in the Police Force are quite human; that there are no bogey men in the police. The policeman must be given a chance to come into contact with the public. Sir, there are some who criticize the police and say that they are being trained like soldiers and like Gestapo members. Let us get away from that thought. The first thing that I am pleased about is to see that the uniforms of the police are going back to the old blue; and that we are getting away from the army type of uniform. Let us draw a distinction between the army and the police. Give the policeman an opportunity to get on friendly terms with the public and at the same time I say that the public must put out its hand to the police and make them feel at home. A great deal of the off-handedness that we see in the cities is due to the inability of the young recruit to speak the language properly, and many of the boys who come in from the platteland are unable to speak English properly so they become estranged from the English-speaking community. They are afraid really to speak to the people in the streets because of their shortcomings. I say therefore: Make them feel at home with the people in the streets of the towns, and let the people at the same time take the police in their hearts. Sir, it is not going to take a week or ten days; it will take time, but let us begin now. We have heard a great deal about unity in our country. Why should there be this lack of interest on the part of the English-speaking section in the public service, in the Police Force and in the Army? Our boys in the towns have gone into business and into commerce and they have had all these opportunities thrown onto their laps. What choice have the boys in the platteland had? They have had the choice of going into the teaching profession, into the public service or into the police, and to-day some of them are going into the Army. But I say that things must change. We have to make sure that these things change. We have to make sure that the boys in the platteland are given ample opportunity to go into commerce and industry, and the boys in the cities should be encouraged to go into the Police Force or into the Army. Too much time has been lost already. It is all very well for us here to say that we want more foot patrols and more mobile watches and more cars to roam in the streets. Where is the personnel to come from? We have only 3,500,000 White people here, who have to look after the Whites and after a great deal of the non-White population, and if we are going to leave it to one section of our population we are going to do a great injustice to our country. I think it is to the credit of the Afrikaans-speaking boys who have gone into the Police Force that they have done their job so well. I think also it is wrong for anyone to criticize them because of language difficulties. What we should do is to come here with suggestions to improve the position. [Time limit.]

*Mr. M. J. H. BEKKER:

I feel that it is my duty and privilege—and I believe that I will enjoy the support of the whole House here—heartily to congratulate the hon. member for Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher), who has just resumed his seat, on the splendid contribution he made to this debate by appealing to English-speaking citizens to join the police. We feel that along that way methods should be evolved to make our Police Force that splendid organization we all want, of which both English- and Afrikaans-speaking citizens can be proud.

I listened with interest to this debate and as a young member I expected that these discussions would reflect the feeling of the people outside and of the country in respect of the police, but unfortunately it appears that there is very little gratitude on the part of hon. members opposite. With few exceptions there was venomous criticism from hon. members opposite for the services rendered under extremely difficult conditions. It came as an unpleasant surprise to me to hear from the hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst) last night that he would like to see the hon. the Minister leaving the Commissioner of Police alone to carry on his work in the way he thought best. Sir, this is an unfair attitude to adopt towards the hon. the Minister and it cannot be left there. Whenever there is criticism it is directed at the Minister, but when there is praise for the excellent service rendered by the police the Commissioner is praised for it. We definitely cannot tolerate such unbridled criticism and the breaking down of good relations and discipline, and I am glad to see that other hon. members opposite did not associate themselves with the chief speaker in the debate, namely the hon. member for North-East Rand. The hon. members of the Opposition, with few exceptions, attempted to create the impression here as well as outside that the Minister was using the police as an instrument to protect the Government and to achieve certain objects which are alleged to be unethical. We on this side of course reject that with the contempt it deserves.

With reference to this—and here I respectfully want to exclude those hon. members who did not participate in this disparaging criticism we had here—I regard it as my duty on behalf of this side of the House to remind the people outside about who sat on the Government benches during the years 1939 to 1949. We also know where those hon. members who were then in power are sitting now. I want to remind the people of the fact that that Government at that time followed a policy in terms of which a member of the South African Police had to be linked up with party politics, and that special measures were adopted in view of that object. In those days a member of the Police Force was compelled to wear a certain identifying mark, namely a red flash on his shoulder, in order to prove that he was a supporter of the then Government. That was a crime committed towards the Police Force by the present Opposition, as a result of which the Force is still suffering to-day. It was a monstrous thing which was introduced at that time, to the great sorrow of the individual members of the force and to the force as a whole. During the course of this so-called purifying campaign the career of many a young, honest and conscientious official was ruined. That is what was done by that Government, and for that reason this Opposition has no right to allege to-day that the Government is committing an unethical act to-day, particularly because their own hands are not clean.

Sir, it is not our duty to-day to discuss the malpractices of that time; we are expected to make a positive contribution in order to show the people of South Africa that this House approves of what is being done by the police in order to safeguard our people and our country. Therefore I want to commence by dividing the main task of the police into two categories, viz. internal safety, i.e. the protection of human lives and property, in the first place, and secondly the investigation and combating of crime.

When we come to internal security, it is very clear—and the public accepts it as such—that the Police Force constitutes our first line of defence. Their main task is to safeguard human lives and property. I would like to sketch the present situation in the rural areas and in particular in the areas near the Bantu reserves near the constituency of Groblersdal. The farms are often far apart from each other and there is no telephonic communication between the various farms and towns. Usually there are only small police units in the rural areas, just big enough to cope with the immediate requirements of the area in regard to the investigation of crime. They are not properly equipped with firearms and ammunition in order to cope with unexpected and large-scale riots and other incidents. There are insufficient firearms and a limited number of persons who can handle them in order to cope with an emergency of any size, and therefore it is gratifying to hear from the hon. the Minister that there is the closest co-operation and consultation between the police and the Defence Force effectively to remove the concern and uncertainty in regard to possible incidents or riots which we hope will not take place but which we cannot entirely lose sight of.

The Minister of Justice briefly explained yesterday how the Government wants to bring civilian defence up to date by making available a senior police officer as well as a senior Defence Force officer to the Director of Civilian Defence. We are glad to hear about the complete reorganization of those services which are of such importance to our rural areas which find themselves in a particularly difficult position and are so situated in regard to possible dangers which may beset them in the future that they will have to rely on the protection of local commandos, police reserves under the leadership of the local police and even women’s shooting clubs. I can assure the House and the Minister that in the constituency of Groblersdal there was a spontaneous reaction by the local police, for which we want to thank them sincerely, in organizing women’s shooting clubs, and many members of the force have sacrificed their leisure to instruct the women in the use of firearms, and we want to give the assurance that these women’s shooting clubs are anxious to be linked up with the civilian protection services which are envisaged, and we trust that this will enjoy the attention of the Minister.

There is another matter which in my opinion needs special attention, namely the housing of the police. As has already been said by other hon. members, there is an acute shortage of police accommodation, offices as well as private dwellings. As hon. members are aware, there is an artisan unit in the Police Force. Year after year the reports of the Commissioner, which are tabled in this House, emphasize the fact that there is a lack of housing, and these reports continually emphasize the excellent services rendered to the country and to the Department by this unit. I want to make an appeal that in future more funds will be made available to the Minister for the expansion of that unit in order that it may be enabled to build more houses where such houses are urgently required.

We are aware of the fact that the Public Works Department does its best to keep pace with the tremendous expansion and requirements of the South African Police, but find it just impossible to do so. In 1941 already the Commissioner of Police said in his Annual Report, from which I quote—

In the other places the need for suitable housing is being increasingly felt, and unless provision is made or suitable premises are hired, the closing down of certain police stations will probably have to be considered.

In 1945 the Commissioner of Police again said in his report—

Once again I have to emphasize the urgent necessity of having more satisfactory housing in places where the present deplorable conditions and the unsuitability of buildings are seriously hampering efficient police administration.

We are continually emphasizing the improved services the police should render, but if we study the reports we find that as long ago as 1941 the efficiency of the force was being hampered by the lack of housing. That was again repeated in the 1957 report, from which I quote—

The South African Police artisans achieved great success in the erection of new buildings at a number of police stations and contributed to a large extent to the fact that the list of centres where new buildings are urgently required has become shorter.

That shows that these artisans did excellent and essential work for the Department. The 1959 report, which has just been published, says that the erection of new buildings is continuing. I quote from the 1959 report—

The need for housing has not diminished. Quite a few new services had to be added to the list, and therefore we could not catch up with the backlog.

It should be noted that this backlog has existed since 1941. The report says, further—

The Department is still compelled to make use of rented accommodation in many areas of the Union, particularly for the Criminal Investigation Department and the district headquarters. Because most of this accommodation is urgently required, renting accommodation is the only solution for these problems which are very serious.
The South African Police artisans have done much to supply the Department with urgently required accommodation in distant places. Apart from that, the artisans undertook the erection of a number of temporary and permanent buildings in various parts of the Union.

I believe that this is a matter which requires the urgent attention of the Minister and also of the Treasury, because the public in the rural areas and the police there suffer most from the lack of accommodation. There is also a tremendous problem in respect of the housing of the members of the force and their families. It is a well-known fact that some senior members of the force in the Groblersdal constituency have to live from six to eight miles from the police station because no houses can be hired nearer to the police station, and sometimes they are in a neighbourhood which does not redound to the honour of the force. Sir, we are living in times and circumstances in which it is more necessary than ever before for the members of the force to be mobilized at the police station within the shortest possible time in order to be able to take action immediately. Hence my urgent plea that the housing of the members of the force should be seriously considered in future. [Time limit.]

Mr. BARNETT:

Although the appointment made this morning was only a temporary one, may I be the first to congratulate you, Sir, on that appointment, and to assure you that we will do our best to give you all the support in the task you have undertaken.

The ACTING DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Under what Vote is the hon. member speaking?

Mr. BARNETT:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to deal with the position of the Coloured policemen in the force. I would like to indicate to the hon. the Minister that according to the annual report of the Commissioner of Police for 1958, and comparing the figures contained therein with the list which the Commissioner of Police was kind enough to lend me, it would appear that in 1958 on the fixed establishment there were two senior sergeants, and the number to-day is four; senior sergeants: 39 in 1958, to-day 29: second-class sergeants: 129, now 107; constables: 1,043 in 1958, now 983. There is no apparent explanation as to why there should have been a reduction in the number of Coloured people employed in the Police Force, or why the Government has reduced the fixed establishment as far as constables are concerned. It does not coincide with the request which was made a little while ago, according to a report in the Cape Times on 20 March by the Commissioner of Police when he addressed the Coloured Council and indicated that they would like to have more Coloured recruits for the Police Force. Now, Sir, if we are reducing the establishment and you want more police, then you are setting the wrong way about it. The establishment should be increased. I am very sorry indeed that the establishment has been reduced, because the Police Force is one of the avenues of employment open to the Coloured people. I do not know what the reasons are that the Coloured people will not join, but the hon. Minister must understand and realize that the Coloured man who joins the Police Force has a limited opportunity. He can only rise to a certain position in the Police Force. The Government has as yet not seen the wisdom of allowing Coloured people to become commissioned officers in the Police Force. Why should they not be? If there is to be this development for the Coloured people as envisaged by the Government (whether I agree with it or not) then surely the time has arrived that the Coloured people should be told that they will be in charge, and completely in charge, of police stations and police areas. When are you going to start training these people, and why should they have such limited rights in a force. The Coloured people deserve full encouragement. Only a little while ago, a previous Minister of Justice for no apparent reason took away the powers of arrest of the Coloured traffic constables in Cape Town. It was a blow to the Coloured people, because it indicated that the Government has no confidence in the Coloureds and the status of those people was lowered. Even to-day, although the law says that any person can arrest, the hon. the Minister must be aware of the fact that under Standing Rules and Order of the Police it says that a Coloured man should not arrest a European. The time has come, Sir, when we must recognize that a Coloured man is a full partner in the defence of our country, in the task of keeping law and order, and they should have full rights, not limited rights. Many of them have spoken to me and said: “ I am a policeman, but if I see a crime committed by a European, I am not allowed to arrest him.” The time has come when these men should have full powers in every respect, and they should have the right to be promoted higher than the rank of special sergeant. I believe the highest they can attain is the rank of senior sergeant. I don’t know whether there has been an improvement in that respect, but that I cannot gather from the 1958 report. By virtue of the profession which I entered, I have been in close association with the police for very many years. I believe that the Police Force is one of the most important parts of the administration of our country, and that they are far more important than the Army. But I am sorry to say that there has not been the attraction for the people to join. In fact rumour has it that the opening of the training centre had to be postponed this year for a lack of recruits. The hon. Minister must tell us whether that is so or not, because if it is so, it is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. But if it is not so, the hon. Minister should scotch the rumour. But the impression is that the number of people who are coming into the Police Force is far less than is desired by the Government.

I do believe further, talking again about the Coloured people, that although there is a marked improvement compared with what the position was many years ago in regard to pay, even to-day, according to the Commissioner of Police, in his address to the Coloured Council, a Coloured constable earns R840. Now R840 is not an attractive salary for a man who wishes to make the police his career. It is a very small salary, and perhaps that is one of the main reasons why these people don’t want to join the Police Force. If we all admit, as we do, the importance of the police, then the pay should be higher and it should be more attractive so that more people will join. I venture to suggest that it is unfortunate that according to the records I have at my disposal, there has been a reduction in the fixed establishment as far as the Coloured people are concerned.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

The salaries were increased at the beginning of this year.

Mr. BARNETT:

I am dealing with the speech of the Commissioner of Police, and I say that R840 per annum is not sufficient to be attractive for Coloured people to join.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

You are saying that the salaries are too low and I merely said that they were increased at the beginning of this year.

Mr. BARNETT:

Can the hon. Minister tell me to what extent they were raised? I am reading from a report as recent as 31 March this year, and there it says that a Coloured constable is getting R840. I venture to suggest, even if that amount has been increased slightly, that that amount is not attractive enough. I want to end on this note that the Coloured people want to play their part in maintaining law and order, and if the hon. Minister will give them the opportunity on the basis of merit, not on the basis of colour alone, to do their duty to their country, they will not fail. [Time limit.]

*Mr. SCHOONBEE:

Before coming to other points concerning the police I wish to break a lance for the ordinary man in uniform. I want to put it to the House in this way: Who is the policeman in the street, who is the policeman on the farm, who is the man who must maintain law and order in South Africa? They are the sons of South Africa and if they are weak then they come from a weak generation and then the fault lies more with us than with them. Therefore I particularly appreciate what has been said by the hon. member for Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher). I want to say to him that if one were to count the number of people in the Police Force who are of Jewish origin, or of English origin, or of Greek origin then the number is pathetically small. The Afrikaans-speaking section must carry large Departments of State. Therefore I say to the hon. member that I particularly appreciated what he said. I hope that it will not remain at words but that it will also be extended to the cities, also by other hon. members opposite, because it is most unfair that one section of the population should handle all these matters.

Now I wish to reply to the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence). Many of the members of the Police Force who resign cannot be expected to remain there for all time. South Africa is a country of opportunities, “ the land of opportunities ”, and firms outside sit and watch for any conscientious man, one who knows his work and does it willingly and one who shows himself to be a steady worker and a man of character, one who has been trained at the Police College, and then they snap him up. They are eager to take him and offer him a far more attractive salary. That is the reason why a man leaves the force and goes to a better position. However much I regret it I also welcome it and in our democratic country I will not hold back and confine any man to one position for the rest of his life. For that reason I say our country is a land of opportunities and we should appreciate it.

But there are a few other matters which I want to bring to the notice of the hon. the Minister. In the first instance there is too often a lot of unnecessary administrative work which has to be done by the Police Force, and where South Africa is at a stage where so much is expected of the Police Force I think that a great share of that work can be taken off the shoulders of the Police Force and much of the administrative work can be transferred to other State Departments. Permit me to sketch the picture. Recently an article written by the wife of a policeman appeared in a magazine. I read it with great interest. She says, inter alia, that when her husband goes on duty to-night she never knows whether she will see him again the next morning. Can that be said of any hon. member in this House? Do we realize what we have to be grateful for to the police? Do we realize what it means to maintain law and order? I ask that particularly of hon. members from the big cities, and more particularly of hon. members from the Witwatersrand, whether they realize what it means when the young boys, even 18-year-olds—some of them fresh from the platteland—are called out to one of the Native townships or compounds in Johannesburg. Do they realize that he takes his life in his hands? What the hon. member for De Aar-Colesberg (Mr. M. J. de la R. Venter) said was perfectly correct. Do we convey that appreciation to our Police Force? Every one of us, including the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) and the hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst) runs to the nearest telephone when there is trouble, or simply just shouts for help, and then the police have to come. But heaven help the poor policeman who comes along to any meeting. Then he should not be there. I have said before in this House that to me the uniform was the symbol of law and order but that it was not always regarded as such in South Africa. Therefore I ask hon. members opposite to search their own hearts. They saw fit in the past not to let their sons join the Police Force. It was too dangerous.

*Mr. LAWRENCE:

Oh no!

*Mr. SCHOONBEE:

Wait a minute. It was too dangerous. Joining the police was too humiliating, there was not enough money in it. Those are a few of the reasons. The hon. member cannot deny that. That was why they did not want their sons to join the police. But to-day they very easily say this, that and the other thing about the Afrikaans-speaking policeman. I deplore that and those hon. member have no right to criticize. There are hon. members who agree with me. The hon. member for Salt River should just think of what some of the hon. members opposite said a little while ago to realize that he should not argue like that. If we in South Africa begin to realize these things and we realize what our internal security means then we will not adopt that attitude. Last year hon. members of this House took shelter behind the railings of Parliament but the police stood in the street to protect them and to protect South Africa. If one realizes that then one begins to realize the lot of the policeman in South Africa and also what it means to a man to go on duty when it gets dark in the streets of a country like South Africa. Whether one has any political views about it or not makes no difference, but everyone knows that in a country with mixed races where there is over-indulgence in dagga and liquor there are always dangers threatening on the streets and it happens that the policeman becomes the victim of such drunkenness and other evils. If one realizes this then one will also realize that the police deserve very good housing, that they deserve very good salaries, and that they deserve a place of honour in the community. And now I ask: Is it always granted to them? Mr. Chairman, when a Native constable comes to my farm he gets his coffee and his bread or he gets food from the table, and everyone knows that that is how a Native constable is treated on my farm, with respect—he wears a Uniform, he represents law and order and the non-Whites on my farm must see that I respect that man who wears the uniform, whether he is White or non-White. I am the last one to want to allege here to-day that everything the police do is right and good. I am the last one to do that. But I ask whether everything that hon. members opposite do is right and good. Are they all wonderful and good Members of Parliament? Are they all very good people outside this House? And just as we are fallible and weak people, so are the police. To criticize them year after year and to humiliate this one section of the population is not conducive to building up a better force. It is a pleasure to me to be able to break a lance for the police because I feel that if there is one section of the population which deserves it, it is those people who do not hesitate to do their duty to South Africa when necessary. These people take their lives in their hands for the defence of the country and of property while others sleep peacefully. We should always mention their services with appreciation in this House. [Time limit.]

Mr. EGLIN:

I had not intended to introduce a discordant note into this debate, but I feel that I would be failing in my duty if I did not draw the hon. member for Pretoria (District)’s attention to one of the most shocking slurs I have heard any member of this House cast on English-speaking South Africans. Mr. Chairman, this hon. member said that one of the reasons why English-speaking South Africans did not join the Police Force was that the work was too dangerous. I believe that that is one of the most shocking things that has been said by any member on either side of this House. I hope that the hon. member, who otherwise made a reasonable and a moderate speech, if he thinks over what he has said, will rise later in this House and withdraw that accusation.

Mr. SCHOONBEE:

On a point of personal explanation, Mr. Chairman, may I say that that is actually what has been said to me on the Witwatersrand.

Mr. EGLIN:

The hon. member did not say that he was merely repeating what has been said by somebody else. He was giving reasons why English-speaking people were not joining the Police Force, and I say that that is a slur on the contribution which English-speaking people have made to this country, through thick and thin, in the past 200 years. It is a slur on those people who were willing to give up their lives for South Africa in successive wars involving South Africa. I want to pay a tribute to English- and Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. I don’t believe that either one group of people in South Africa can lay claim to greater bravery or to greater courage as far as South Africa is concerned. Unlike the hon. member I had the privilege as an English-speaking South African in serving in a war together with Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. I think it was a shocking thing the hon. member said and I hope he will stand up and apologize to the people against whom he made the accusation.

I want to deal with one or two points which arise out of questions put to the hon. the Minister earlier in this Session. The first was put by the hon. member for Houghton (Mrs. Suzman), following up questions which had been put to the Minister of Justice in earlier years concerning the wearing of identification numbers by the police. In reply to questions in earlier years, the hon. the Minister indicated that there was to be no change in policy. In reply to a question this year he indicated that this matter was under consideration. I wonder whether the hon. the Minister when he replies could indicate to us how far these considerations have gone. I wish to support the plea which has been made by the hon. member for Houghton. Hon. members in the past seemed to suggest that when pleas are made for the wearing of identity numbers by the police, that it is an implied slur on policemen. No such thing is intended, but there are certain practical advantages in being able to identify any person, and in particular a policeman who has very difficult work to do. If we want good relationship between the public and the police, a policeman must not be seen as an automaton, as something that has lost his personality or individuality, merely a machine in uniform. He should be seen as a person, as an ordinary South African who is doing his duty in this particular branch of the Government. If that is to be done, I think it is necessary to give each policeman a personality, and in addition to wearing the uniform, to give him a badge by which he can be identified as an individual. I think it will go a long way towards encouraging people to treat policemen as individuals, as ordinary South Africans rather than treating a policeman as one of a large body of people who are required to maintain law and order. I hope the hon. the Minister will deal with this point.

Secondly, I want to come back to a matter which was raised by way of a question to the Minister towards the end of last session. In reply to a further question by the hon. member for Salt River, this year the hon. Minister indicated that the question of the payment of the legal expenses involved in the defence of Sergeant Arlow and one of his colleagues arising out of the panga case last year, was still under consideration. In June of last year, following a statement in the Pretoria Court, there was an indication that the Government was considering the payment of certain defence charges arising out of the prosecution and the conviction of Sergeant Arlow. On 7 January, this year, the Minister indicated that the matter was still under consideration. We believe that the time has come for finality being reached in regard to this matter. I would ask the hon. the Minister whether finality has been reached and what his decision has been.

I want to support the very strong plea made by the hon. member for Salt River for a greater measure of decentralization of the Police Force, and particularly in the placing of recruits in areas where they come into the force in an environment to which they have become accustomed. I should like to indicate the views of a man who I believe is respected by many South African policemen, namely, Colonel McCandles, who is head of the Southern Police Institute at Louisvale University in Kentucky, an institute which has trained police officers from all over the world. Two or three years ago he conducted a study tour of the Police Force in South Africa. I had the occasion of meeting him towards the end of last year, and discussed with him certain of the problems relating to our Police Force. This worthy gentleman had very good words indeed to say about the calibre of the officers in the South African Police; he had very good words indeed to say about the training methods and the training facilities in South Africa. He thought that it was necessary that the conditions of service should be considerably improved to attract the right kind of material to the lower ranks of the Police Force. But he indicated to me something, which I think has become abundantly apparent, and that is that one of the problems of the police in South Africa is to create the correct relationship between the police and the ordinary citizens of South Africa—the good public relations which should exist between the policeman on the beat and the citizens he has to protect. Because of the political situation, because of the racial situation, because of the climate in South Africa, this is becoming extremely difficult. But I think it will be helped to a great extent if the very young men who are brought into the Police Force serve in their early years as far as possible in an environment in which they have become accustomed to in their youth. I agree with the hon. member for Salt River that where youngsters of 18 years have gone through a training course, they should be appointed to posts in areas or regions in which they have grown up and to which they have become accustomed and in which they have lived with the people whom they now serve.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Does that apply to Natal too?

Mr. EGLIN:

I think that is generally applicable. I think that that should apply generally as far as possible. I think the police in their early years should be allocated to areas from which they have been recruited and they should live and work in the environment to which they have become accustomed. Quite clearly, Mr. Chairman, there are difficulties, but I think that rather than just appointing them on an arbitrary basis to areas to which they are not accustomed, the hon. the Minister should do whatever he can to see that they are appointed in the way I suggest.

Finally, I want to raise a parochial matter, and that is the question of police protection in the municipal area of Pinelands. I want to say that I am in correspondence with the hon. the Minister on the question of improving the Police Force there, but I also want to draw his attention to something which rather disturbs me. In response to requests which have been made to him for improving the Police Force and the efficiency of that force in the Pinelands Municipality, discussions have been held with the Commandant of the Woodstock Police area under which the Municipality of Pinelands falls. It would appear that, emanating from the Commandant of this area has come the suggestion that the Pinelands Municipal Council should think in terms of applying a curfew. A siren should sound at a certain time of the night, and all Africans should be off the streets and out of Pinelands from that time. I want to say that I am very disturbed that that kind of suggestion should have come from a police officer in an urban area in the Cape Peninsula. I do not believe that this is the most effective way of dealing with the criminal element, and I am sure that if the figures of crime detection in the Peninsula, and particularly in Pinelands were investigated, it would become apparent that the people responsible for the vast bulk of the crimes are not the Africans operating between the hours of nine in the evening and five in the morning. I think that is the wrong way of approaching this matter. I would ask the hon. the Minister to see that a more positive approach is taken by his police officers, and that they do not think merely in terms of curfews and of getting certain classes or racial groups of people out of the towns at night. They should rather make suggestions for improvements, perhaps in the system of patrolling, perhaps in other aspects which would ameliorate the situation. I want to make it quite clear that I think the curfew is the worst possible form of crime protection, particularly in an area such as the Cape Peninsula. [Time limit.]

*Mr. J. C. B. SCHOEMAN:

As a result of certain suggestions made in this debate in connection with the actions of the Police Force I thought it advisable to ask the hon. the Minister whether the time has not come to embark on a campaign of “ help to the police ”, in co-operation with the Departments of non-White affairs and with the initiative coming from the Police Force. I put this question as a result of personal experience in my own constituency where a protest meeting was held in connection with an assault on a White woman in the vicinity of Muldersdrift. On this occasion arguments like those we heard here to-day were used in connection with the inefficiency of the Police Force. My personal standpoint on that occasion was that the public did not always have the right on such occasions to throw stones at the nearest policeman. My arguments and contentions were, among others, the following. We have the position, particularly in the vicinity of the urban areas where there is a large concentration of Whites and non-Whites, that the Whites were to some extent responsible for the presence of the idle non-Whites on the small farms through their time not being occupied all day and without their work being done under the supervision of the Whites. It is this idleness that is responsible to a great extent for evils such as assaults, housebreaking, theft, etc. We also have the position that there is a total lack of any code of conduct among the non-Whites because the Whites are all too often guilty of employing workers without the former employer having discharged them properly. The Whites are often guilty of having rather too much than too little labour on their small farms or on their plots or in the town. They then made themselves guilty of this illegal deed. The result is often that contraventions of the law are committed by people who as the result of the lack of a code of conduct among the Whites, have not always learnt to respect discipline as it should be respected. There is also the position that where non-Whites have to work on farms or small holdings without White supervision they for example mind nothing of stealing a neighbour’s entire potato crop and replanting the plants after having removed the potatoes. I ask: Who is in the first instance responsible for this position? And once having examined one’s own conscience and one’s own heart, have we the moral right to point a finger at the police? No, Mr. Chairman, I want to suggest to the hon. the Minister that very serious consideration be given to operation “ help the police ” and in particular to liaison work as far as the public is concerned, in order to get them to give greater assistance to the police in this regard, such as saving time and also giving guidance where offences are discovered or suspected. It is absolutely impossible for police on the platteland to be at points 25 and 30 miles apart at the same time. The public can ease the demands made on the police considerably by simply co-operating in combating crime or the violation of law and order in the country. When serious situations are observed it should be brought to the notice of the police immediately. When we employ workers illegally, when we take the law into our own hands, we cannot blame the police when we ourselves are guilty of cultivating a lack of discipline.

I am of opinion that such a campaign could be launched with good results, as was also shown in the reaction of those farmers who attended the meeting in an entirely negative spirit but left it with a different outlook in the sense that they accepted that they also had a responsibility in regard to rendering assistance to police officials.

Then I also wish to ask the hon. the Minister whether he does not think that the police complements in the more concentrated areas in the big cities or on the outskirts of big cities should be strengthened. Seen from the strategic point of view as well as from the point of view of combating crime I believe that this matter has become real.

I also want to put a further question to the hon. the Minister, namely whether he does not think that the regulations and the implementation of the laws on the illegal brewing of beer in the platteland areas, and particularly on farms where non-Whites live, should be enforced more rigidly since there are again signs of it developing into an evil in the sense that workers on the farms are enticed away from the farms to idle away their employers’ time at such feasts or sprees. Proper attention should be given to this matter.

Mr. HUGHES:

The hon. member for De Aar-Colesberg (Mr. M. J. de la R. Venter), in replying to me a little while ago, asked me to bear in mind that when the police acted illegally it was always in time of danger. That, of course, is not so, and I was not referring to the actions of the police in times of danger. We know that they are only human and that they are as liable as anybody else is to make mistakes. Of course, the fact is that their training should be such that they are better able to resist panicking and to resist the temptation to act in an unreasonable or irresponsible manner. I was thinking for instance, of the type of occasion when two policemen locked a magistrate up. That was an unlawful act. I was thinking of Sergeant Arlow’s actions against non-Europeans, and that sort of thing. However, when I addressed the hon. the Minister, although I did not specifically refer to it, I was actually thinking of what has happened at Kentani recently. We know that a big force of police was sent into that district. I do not want to go into all the reports we have had of what is happening down there. I have taken certain of these matters up with the Commissioner of Police and I shall be taken some others up, and he will investigate them. My reports are hearsay and it would not be fair of me to take them up in the House until the Commissioner has had an opportunity of investigating them. That is my intention, and I have already approached him.

In view of what has happened, however, I think it is essential that when our young policemen are sent out from the training depot, they do not go out with the idea that they are members of an army of occupation. It is so easy for them to develop that complex when going out on their duties, especially when sent as strangers to the Native reserves. I understand that there used to be an education officer at the training camp, but this post has been abolished. I ask the hon. the Minister to consider the advisability of re-appointing an education officer, a man who can acquaint these young recruits with the conditions that they will meet in the country districts, with the history of the people of the country, with the economic positions of the different racial groups and that sort of thing in general, so that when they go out to a particular area they will know what to expect and what type of people they will have to deal with.

There have been resignations from the Police Force, and this has become a very serious matter because the trained men are leaving the force. This is a matter I ask the hon. the Minister to give very careful consideration to. The one aspect is the question of the work and the responsibility put on a station commander in a country district, especially in the Native reserves. The station commander is usually there with a young policeman who has just come out of the training camp, who has not had much experience and does not have proper educational qualifications. They have not been able to take down statements or reports correctly. The station commander is responsible for all the correspondence at the station, he has to investigate all the crime, he has to type all the charge sheets and, on top of it all, he has to prosecute. That is expecting far too much of a station commander. Unless they have trained men under them, they cannot possibly carry out their duties effectively. If they have trained men to carry out the investigations, to help them run the office and so on, they could manage, but to-day they are given only untrained men with very little experience, and they simply cannot carry on, and that is why many of these station commanders have resigned.

Another important point is that there should be a prosecutor’s allowance. These sergeants who prosecute have to spend time, not only in preparing cases, but they have to study the law. They have to pit their wits against attorneys and others who defend the accused, against the accused himself, and they have to spend a lot of time studying law.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

The question is whether the police should be used for that kind of work at all.

Mr. HUGHES:

I am coming to that point, Sir. I do not know what number of cases have to be heard before a court during a year before a civil prosecutor is appointed, but I understand from these station commanders that in practically every instance where they have to prosecute the number of cases is well over the minimum. I wanted to come to this; it is time that the hon. the Minister should give serious consideration to the appointment of civil prosecutors and take that onerous duty from the shoulders of the police. It is not fair on a policeman who has to investigate a case and then prosecute the same case afterwards; there is always suspicion by the accused and the defence as to what has happened during the course of that investigation.

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

Afternoon Sitting

Mr. SCHOONBEE:

Arising from what I have said prior to the lunch-hour adjournment, I find that a misunderstanding has arisen on the part of the hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin) who thought that I had impugned the honour of the English-speaking section in so far as I had accused them of cowardice, etc. Sir, nothing could be further from my mind. I never said anything of the kind and, let me say it immediately, that sort of thing would be furthese from my mind and my thoughts. I think I am the last man who could be accused of racialism in any form, and had I said any such thing as the hon. member thought I had said, a charge of racialism could definitely have been laid against me. That would be something to which I would take serious objection, and I rise in order to correct this false impression of the matter.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Mr. Chairman, as you have just heard, the hon. member who has just sat down is a peace-loving man. I should like to start by dealing with one or two questions and remarks by the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker). In the first place, he has asked me about the methods of promotion and I should like to tell him that there are various ways in which promotions take place in the Police Force. From constable to lieutenant, promotion takes place as follows: By means of prescribed written examinations, a system which has already been in operation for many years and which is controlled by an examination board consisting of senior officers. Then in the second place, promotion from lieutenant to major—that is to say, to field rank—takes place under a merit system which is under the control of a merit committee consisting of senior police officers, with the Director of Training as chairman. This is a system which is generally accepted in the Public Service. Then from major to more senior rank, promotion is on the basis of selection by the Minister and the Commissioner of Police. The seniority factor is taken very much into account, but it is not necessarily the sole decisive factor. All sections of the force are fully familiar with this policy. That is the system of promotion.

Then the hon. member has said a few words about the actual promotions which have taken place. He considers that a number of officers have passed others or have gone over their heads and that that should not be done. Allow me to give the hon. member the background to the promotion of persons who have been appointed from outside the force and the promotion of persons in the force over the heads of others. Allow me to say in the first place, that it is nothing new to find persons being promoted over the heads of others in the field ranks and more senior posts, because these promotions are on the basis of selection; and when one has to build up a large force such as this, all Governments have found that one cannot do without selection. It is the position in life that some people are more capable than others, and because we want to build up a Police Force of which South Africa can be proud, we always have to ensure that we recruit the best brains. I therefore ask the hon. member not to ask me to abandon merit in making promotions, even if someone is by passed. Just look what has happened in the case of this reorganization which it seems to me the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Brig. Bronkhorst) does not like very much. As a result of this reorganization, not only have salaries and allowances been raised as from the beginning of the year. Hon. members will know that it has also resulted in our attracting a large number of recruits, or a considerable number, to join the force. And, Mr. Chairman, I can say with pride that the police college has not only raised the entrance standard to Standard VIII—we now start with Standard VIII and higher—but we have also extended the period of training which was previously from four to six months to a year. We have not only succeeded in filling the college for the course which started in January or February, but in fact it is overcrowded. This is a magnificent achievement. Hon. members also know, as I have said by way of an interjection, that as far as recruiting is concerned, we have succeeded beyond our expectations. I do not say that we have enough recruits, but we have succeeded beyond our expectations, so much so that with the assistance of the 500 women whom we are using in offices instead of men, there is a shortage of less than 100 White officers. I have already given the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) that information this morning. Of course, there is still a shortage. I admit that. But the increased salaries and improved allowances have improved the position. The fact that the Government has been so good as to allocate the Police Force 200 additional officers so that we can expand has enabled us to do certain things. In appointing officers we have first of all taken seniority into account, but ability as well. I shall be very sorry if hon. members want us to follow the policy of not discriminating at all, because that would represent a departure from the policy which South Africa has followed since the establishment of the Police Force in 1912.

*Mr. TUCKER:

No one asked for that.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Then we are agreed on that point.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

The policy of merit is a very good one.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Yes, but then it must be applied sensibly. In reorganizing the structure of the force, matters were also so arranged that there are 366 posts for chief constables. I am only mentioning this fact, in addition to the 200 officers, in order to show that we have made progress of which we can be proud. We have not yet made sufficient progress, but we are moving ahead in that direction.

Then the hon. member has asked me about first-class and second-class sergeants. He thinks that an injustice has been done to the first-class sergeants as a result of this reorganization. Allow me to tell the hon. member that this change is quite popular amongst certainly the majority of the first-class sergeants because approximately 560 head-constable posts have been made available as a result of the reorganization. I therefore really cannot understand what the reason is for this dissatisfaction. There may be dissatisfaction because people consider that second-class sergeants should first pass examinations before becoming first-class sergeants. That is also the position, although they do not write three examinations, but only two. But I should like to tell the Committee more particularly that after a departmental committee representing the police and the Public Service Commission had instituted an investigation, the two ranks of first-class and second-class sergeant were amalgamated into the rank of sergeant. The maximum salary in the case of first-class sergeants was retained for both. In other words, the second-class sergeant is now placed on the higher grade. The hon. member says that there is dissatisfaction, and I therefore think that it is a good thing that I should give these facts. The reasons which have resulted in this amalgamation are inter alia the fact that by law no distinction is drawn between the duties and responsibilities of the first-class sergeant and the second-class sergeant. The Public Service has only two ranks between the salaries of R780 and R2,160, while in the police there are four ranks which require officers to pass no less than three promotion examinations before the notch of R2,160 can be reached. Because the examinations are comprehensive and difficult, only one out of five candidates pass on the average. The restrictive effect of these three examinations which had to be passed, together with the then existing post structure, resulted in it taking approximately 18 years to reach the rank of chief constable with a maximum salary of R2,160, while the public servant after only 16 to 18 years reaches a rank equivalent to that of captain with a maximum salary of R3,120. Amalgamation has had the result that second-class sergeants—all the old faithfuls who because of their advanced years no longer find it easy to study for examinations—can now advance to the maximum salary of a first-class sergeant, namely R2,040. His maximum salary has only been raised by one R100 notch. One restrictive examination has been abolished, but the ambitious, lesser paid officers can reach a higher salary more quickly. Ample provision has been made for the first-class sergeant who wants promotion as a result of the expansion which took effect at the beginning of the year. The expansion has resulted in the creation of no less than 563 vacancies for chief constables.

*Mr. VAN DEN HEEVER:

What is the total number of chief constable posts at the moment?

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

I shall give that figure presently. All first-class sergeants will be able to write examinations for promotion to chief constable in the near future. Second-class sergeants must first have three years’ service as sergeant before they can write examinations for promotion to chief constable. As a result of the amalgamation of the two sergeant ranks, the first-class sergeants have not been degraded; they retain their seniority just as they did prior to the amalgamation. Out of a total of 13,364 White posts, constables and second-class sergeants held more than 11,000 posts. The amalgamation has remedied a weakness in the case of these members. The amalgamation has given relief where it was most needed. The older second-class sergeant has quite rightly been helped. Ambitious younger members of the force have one less difficult examination to write, and this has undoubtedly made the police service more attractive to young men who want to make the police service their career. I thought that I would give these details to try to convince the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) that when one examines the facts, this is something regarding which one can perhaps convince oneself that this was the right thing to do. Hon. members may criticize this step, but fortunately it is now a fait accompli and therefore nothing can be done about it.

I must say that I was greatly impressed by the speech of the hon. member for Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher) this morning. I think it contained a number of constructive suggestions and I am very pleased he drew our attention to an outstanding factor, namely that so many of our English-speaking men do not join the Police Force. It is, as one hon. member expressed it, left almost entirely to one section of the population. I have not been able to find out so far what the real reasons are. Whether it is that one section of the population is more interested in commercial life, I do not know. But there is a lack of interest and we must do something about it, and we have been trying our best, but our best has not been good enough.

Dr. FISHER:

Is it not due to a lack of prospects?

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

No, I do not think so, because from the beginning of this year the salaries have been increased almost to the general level of the Public Service, generally speaking, and in some cases, better. So it cannot be lack of attraction. Something else must be wrong, but I do not know what it is. The hon. member pointed out that especially boys from the towns do not come forward to join the police. It is more particularly the men from the platteland who join. He suggested that we should have closer liaison between the Police Force and our schools. I cannot agree with him more. But that is a plan we are following. We have been contacting the schools for the last few months extensively, but the results have not been very promising. He suggests that we should have more displays on prize-giving days and other occasions by the Police Force. I think he is correct and as far as possible that should be done, as far as it can fit in with the work of the police. This matter needs more consideration than it has received so far. If we could find out what the reasons are we might solve the problem.

An HON. MEMBER:

But they join the Rhodesian Police.

The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

That may be so, but the Afrikaans-speaking there are of course in the minority and they do not make out the whole of the Police Force. We can examine the patient in due course and see whether we can find a cure. A suggestion was made this morning by a colleague of the hon. member for Salt River, by the hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin). I do not know that that is not the remedy. He suggested that those who join the police should more or less be confined to their own area. Well, that is something to be considered. My only difficulty is what will happen to Natal. They will be without police. I think the suggestion by the hon. member for Pinelands merits consideration, that each area should be asked to supply their own police. That is all I can say about the point raised by the hon. member, except to thank him for his constructive contribution.

*I am now replying to hon. members in the order in which they have participated in the debate. The hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst) started with an unfortunate speech which I regret. It was an unfortunate speech. I am sorry that he has not rather left it to the Leader of the Opposition to set the tone for the debate on the police for the simple reason that the hon. member was not fair. The older members of the House will understand my point when I say that the test of a member is often his fairness. The hon. member has unfortunately referred to Mr. Barnard who has been promoted to Major. While he was discussing the case and had my reply in his hand which I had furnished him on 3 February, I said to him by way of interjection: Please tell the House what Mr. Barnard’s rank was before he was promoted to a major in the police. He then said: “ No, you can tell the House.” When I told the hon. member that it was in the reply which he had in his hand he did not give the information. How greatly one weakens one’s case in this House when one is unfair to an official who cannot defend himself. It is simply not done. He has raised the case and I therefore just want to give the facts and to remind the House again of what I have just told the hon. member for Springs, namely, that he must remember that 200 additional posts have been allocated to the police and secondly that we should like to attract brains to the Police Force. The force welcomes that. In the third place, there are certain posts in the Police Force which certain people can fill better than others. Here we are dealing with a particularly capable official, as I should know, because he was my private secretary for a number of years. He is an outstanding person who has already been offered the post of inspector in the public service. But he has also qualified himself to hold posts in the three services. He has held the rank of Captain in the Army, and that is what the hon. member did not want to say. Captain is the rank which is just below that of major, and the salary corresponds to that which Major Barnard drew, namely, that of a captain. For the reasons I have given, it is nothing new to bring a capable person from outside into the Police Force to help the force. In my reply to the hon. member I have given examples of a number of men whom previous Governments brought in from outside and that was a good thing. I have no objection to that. The men whose names which he read out were all capable men, particularly General Pierre de Villiers, a person whom the previous Government appointed from outside straight to the rank of Colonel, a little later to that of Brigadier and still later to that of Major-General. He deserved it and it was a good thing. Now hon. members want this practice to be stopped. They say: Do not look for brains outside the force. I am certain that the police have no objection if it is not done on a large scale, and it will not be done on a large scale. They will admit that they are not all equally capable. I just want to read the details which the question contained, because I think it should be placed on record seeing that the hon. member has once again raised the point. In passing he has adopted the strange attitude that Major Barnard is too capable for this post; he should rather have remained in the public service. But the hon. member will surely appreciate that we must select the best man for a post. That argument therefore does not hold water. He asked me whether my attention had been directed to a report in the Cape Times that Captain Barnard had been appointed as a major in the police. My reply was in the affirmative. He asked what post this official had held in the Department, whether he had had any previous police experience and what qualifications he had for the rank of major. The reply was that he had been a private secretary and that prior to his transfer, he had already been promoted in the public service to a post equivalent to that of major. He had served in South African Air Force and attained the substantive rank of Captain. He had passed his examinations at the South African Military College and in addition he had had many years of administrative experience in the public service, of which seven had been in the Defence Secretariat. The hon. member asked whether any police officers who were qualified for the post had been by-passed by this official and if so, how many? The answer was: No, not for the post for which his services are required. I can tell the House that his services are required in a certain direction which I should not mention at this stage. [Interjection.] After all, I am the one who must judge. Then the hon. member asked what the reason was for the transfer of this person from justice to the police. The reply was that he had achieved Grade I in the public service language tests in both official languages and after passing the necessary tests for a public service inspector, he had been offered the post of public service inspector by the Public Service Commission. With a view to the Public Service Commission’s offer and his military qualifications and administrative experience, I then approved on the recommendation of the Commissioner of the South African Police of his transfer to the police for the sake of improved administration in general and with a view particularly to the new policy which had been applied in the South African Police Force. I pointed out to the hon. member that in the past various persons even from outside the public service had been appointed to posts carrying the officer’s rank in the police, such as—and then I gave the names to which I have referred. One would have thought that the hon. member for North-East Rand did not have this reply in his hands when he spoke yesterday.

The hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) has asked me about the Mobile Watch which has been established in the Transkei. The details are that it will fulfil the same functions as the former Mobile Watch did in the Transkei. The new Mobile Watch will be partly mounted, but will be also partly mobilized. I appreciate greatly what the hon. member has said, namely that the police have behaved very well in Pondoland, and I shall convey what he has said to the police because I think it is of great value to us coming as it has from the hon. member who represents that area, and we are very proud of this achievement. He has asked who will take command. It will be a senior officer. The hon. member has said that here and there there are people—I think he should rather raise this matter on the Defence Vote—who are doing certain things in that area. I am also familiar with the Defence Force and I say that he can make the same remarks in their case as he has in respect of the police because one finds black sheep everywhere. We shall always have such people and we shall reduce their numbers as far as possible, but in general we are very proud of the force. I am certain that the Minister of Defence will also be able to assure the hon. member that his men have behaved themselves well in that area.

The hon. member has once again raised the case of Kgosana. I am sorry that it has been raised at all for the simple reason which I gave yesterday, namely that the case is sub judice. But what has been said, has been said. Whether it will harm his case or not, it has been said. I am now in this difficulty, and I have been considering all morning what I should do. Accusations have been made against the Government and hon. members are asking for the facts; charges are being made; and statements are being made which will prejudice the case of this young Bantu, if he should return, and if he returns he will have to stand trial. But after consideration I have now decided that I shall give the facts because they have already been given, and if Kgosana comes back he will have to be told that it was as a result of the facts which the Opposition have mentioned that the facts have been given. The facts do not differ greatly from the facts which we have already given one another, except that I think it will be a good thing that we should have the report given by the officer in command of the Security Branch in Cape Town. On 28 June he submitted a report to the Commissioner in Pretoria. I think I should read it because this report was by a very capable officer, who at that time still held the rank of captain. He commenced by saying—

He was not given any promise of an interview with the Minister. The position was as follows: The large number of Natives who had come to the centre of the city on 30 March 1960, had congregated in the streets around Caledon Square, the central police station, at about 12 p.m. There were a number of leaders who tried to maintain order amongst the groups of Natives who arrived first. Kgosana was not amongst them, but walked along de Waal Drive to the city with a large crowd of Natives. He was undoubtedly afraid of what might happen when the Natives arrived in the centre of the city and brought the crowd to a halt near the crossing above Roeland Street. There he was met by Detective-Head Constable Sauerman of this staff, who told him of the large numbers collected around Caledon Square. Kgosana sccompanied Sauerman to Caledon Square where he, Kgosana, was interviewed by the Deputy Commissioner, Colonel Terblanche. The Natives then went from de Waal Drive to Caledon Square. Kgosana demanded to see the Minister of Justice. Colonel Terblanche informed him that he did not know whether the Minister would see him, and that in any case he could not see the Minister without an appointment and that it was important that he should persuade the crowd of Natives to go away. The danger of the situation was pointed out to him. Kgosana however insisted that he wanted to see the Minister. Colonel Terblanche informed him that he would convey such a request to the Minister and that Kgosana could then return later to hear the Minister’s decision. But then Kgosana and the other leaders had to tell the Natives to go back. An appointment was made for Kgosana to come back at 5 p.m. and be informed of the Minister’s decision. Kgosana addressed the Natives and they left. Kgosana and the other leaders accepted responsibility for the meeting and the procession of Natives, and as a result of the procession a dangerous situation arose. If the Natives had not left, force would eventually have had to be used, with possible heavy loss of life. He carried out Colonel Terblanche’s order quite willingly when he was informed that the crowd had to leave. The meeting and the procession were illegal after the magistrate had forbidden them under the Riotous Assemblies Act, and everyone who took part in them was committing an offence, particularly Kgosana and the other leaders. For that reason it was all the more his duty to persuade them to disperse. A promise was not necessary. On the contrary, I formed the very strong impression that Kgosana was glad to have the opportunity just to have an excuse to give the Natives why they should go back. Later the same afternoon Colonel Terblanche and Colonel Reay, accompanied by Captain van der Westhuizen, had an interview with the Commissioner, General Rademeyer, at which interview Colonel Terblanche informed the Commissioner of the position as well as Kgosana’s request to see the Minister of Justice. The Commissioner was also informed that a warrant for Kgosana’s arrest had already been issued prior to 25 March 1960. Later the same afternoon the Commissioner instructed Captain van der Westhuizen to inform Kgosana that his demand to see the Minister had not been acceded to, and Captain van der Westhuizen was instructed to arrest him. Well after 5 p.m. on the same day, Kgosana, accompanied by five other Natives, arrived at Caledon Square, and they were all arrested. A charge of incitement to commit an offence in defiance of an Act (Section 2, Act 8 of 1953, or alternatively, Section 10 read in conjunction with Section 18 of Act 17 of 1956) against Kgosana and the other P.A.C. leaders had already been investigated before the commencement of the disturbances. A warrant had already been issued prior to 25 March 1960, for the arrest of Kgosana and in actual fact the police had been searching for him without success. On 25 March 1960 there were in addition several thousands of Natives congregated around Caledon Square. Amongst the first Natives to arrive was Kgosana and he was then arrested by Captain van der Westhuizen and held in an office in Caledon Square. While Colonel Terblanche tried to persuade them to disperse peacefully they obstinately demanded inter alia that Kgosana should be released and allowed to go back with them. On Colonel Terblanche’s instructions he was released and then left with the others. Although the police looked for Kgosana thereafter, he could not be found again before making his appearance on 20 March 1960. Kgosana is at the moment being heard in open court in Cape Town together with other P.A.C. leaders on the charge on which he was arrested on 25 March 1960.

I do not think I should give further details because I do not know what Kgosana’s defence will be. Now that I have given the facts, namely that he was arrested and then released and that the police could not find him, I think we should leave the matter there.

Mr. HUGHES:

Must I infer from the hon. the Minister’s reply that General Rademeyer gave the instruction that he should be arrested?

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Yes, it appears so from the report.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Who drew up that report?

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

The report was submitted to the Commissioner of Police by the officer in command, Security Branch, Cape Town, namely Major van der Westhuizen, a very capable and reliable officer. The hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) has also asked me whether we shall use older police in places where the police should act with greater responsibility. I think that there is a great deal to be said for the speeches which have been made on this point on both sides of the House and I shall ask my Department to investigate the matter. The new arrangement is that the young men will come back to the college for refresher courses from time to time. My Department will follow up the suggestions which have been made here. I agree that it depends on circumstances where one can use a young police officer of 18 or 19 years of age. In some instances he will be very useful and in other instances he will not be so useful if a snap decision has to be taken. That is the position with young people in all spheres of life. The point which the hon. member has raised, together with hon. members on this side, can therefore be investigated. We can go into the matter to see whether it is not possible to use somewhat older men—men who are a little older than the young men just out of college—for certain types of work. Then the hon. member touched on a point which the Government has already been investigating for some considerable time. He has made the point that the police should not be used as prosecutors in the courts because it is precisely the police who collect the evidence against the accused and then they also act as prosecutors. But why has this been done since 1912? [Interjections.] No, I do not want to quarrel with the hon. member; I agree with him. Why has it been done? Ever since 1912 the system has been that the police are used to act as prosecutors for the simple reason that there are not sufficient people on the Attorney-General’s staff and particularly on the staff of the State Attorney to act as prosecutors. That has always been the difficulty and it is still the position to-day. However, as the Public Service grows, so it may to an ever-increasing extent be possible to reduce the number of police who have to act as prosecutors because they do not like it themselves. That is my reply to the hon. member and hon. members on this side who have raised the matter.

Then the hon. member for Pretoria (District) (Mr. Schoonbee) has said a few words in defence of the police. I should like to agree with him and to thank him. He has spoken in glowing terms about the important work which the police are doing. I am most thankful that we have been able to discuss this matter during the past two days in the spirit in which we have discussed it because I think that as far as the police in particular are concerned, they deserve all the sympathy and cooperation of the entire country because, as the hon. member has rightly said, they are doing dangerous work, work which requires great sacrifices. It is once and for all the position that when someone makes a mistake, then the police are held responsible, often wrongly so, but they are nevertheless held responsible. The police are the people who stand guard over the country’s security. Under the 1955 Act the primary task of the Police Force is to maintain security in South Africa. But in preserving the security of the country, the police have to take a great deal and also have to swallow a great deal, if I may put it like that. In the old colonial days a governor invited a prominent person to have a meal with him. He then asked someone else whether he should go. When the person asked him why he asked, he replied: “ Yes, I know that I will eat (eet) very well at the Governor-General’s house, but I shall also have to swallow (opvreet) a great deal.” That is the position in which the police find themselves and I therefore want to thank the hon. member and other hon. members who have spoken with appreciation of the services rendered by the police. No one has risen here without having a good wood for the police. They have to work long hours away from their homes. When we rest at the week-ends, they are on duty. In times of trouble they have to be continually at their posts. I therefore think that in any country in the world, and particularly in South Africa with our population constituted as it is, we can never be thankful enough that we have a Police Force of the calibre we have, with very few exceptions. These are people who are on duty when we are on holiday; and when we sleep peacefully at night, they are guarding our families and our property. Every day they take their lives into their hands, as the hon. member has said.

Then the hon. member for Brakpan (Mr. P. W. du Plessis) has also paid a tribute to the police, for which we are grateful. He has asked for details about the influx of Natives to the cities and he has also directed our attention to robberies in the cities. He has raised a number of other points, but the main point which he has discussed has been the question of robberies. As a result of our industrial development which has resulted in an influx of Natives into the cities, we cannot always succeed in preventing such robberies.

The hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) has urged this morning that we should spread the police across the country. That of course depends on circumstances. We cannot, for example, have the same number of police in Namaqualand, because the population is not as dense in that area, as we have in Eloff Street in Johannesburg. It therefore depends on circumstances where the police should be stationed, but as far as possible the police are spread across the country. We are doing everything in our power to enable the police to prevent robbery and other crimes on the streets. We are trying to have more police patrolling in vans and by other means in the cities. Hon. members have pleaded this morning for “ the policeman on the beat”. In the old days he was almost a member of the family; he knew all the people on the street and all the people in his block. But now that things are so mobile it is almost impossible to leave everything to the foot police. They have to be motorized and they have to be able to move rapidly. We have to act in the light of circumstances, but I have already mentioned yesterday all the steps which we are taking at the moment to release additional police for work of this nature. This matter receives attention from time to time and we are doing our best to counter these difficulties.

The hon. member for Marico (Mr. Grobler) has discussed the Basutoland borders and has said that he was glad to learn from me that as far as stock theft and smuggling are concerned, we intended establishing police posts on the Basutoland border. He has also asked that we should take similar action in respect of Bechuanaland. Well, Bechuanaland is a vast area and what the hon. member asks will not be so easy to carry out. All I can tell him to-day is that the Government is investigating the whole border position, from the point of view of smuggling and stock theft and from the point of view of foot and mouth disease. The Government is carrying out a survey to see to what extent we can guard the borders more effectively.

The hon. member for Groblersdal (Mr. M. J. H. Bekker) has made a fine plea on behalf of the police this morning. He spoke with a great deal of knowledge of the position and we listened to him with interest. I shall convey his thanks to the police. He has referred particularly to the improvements which have been effected in the force.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

Now, it is a case of “ thank the member ” instead of “ thank the Minister ”.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

I do so in the full expectation of what might come.

The hon. member for Bethlehem (Mr. Knobel) has made a very interesting speech. He has raised one or two points, such as the improved treatment of the police, both White and non-White. I think that that is in fact being done. I think that even in the cities it is the position that when police officers visit the homes of people, they are given refreshments, and if non-White police come they are given refreshments in a suitable place, outside or wherever it may be, because they may just have finished a long journey. I am glad the hon. member has raised the point. I think that it is the custom on the platteland. When a member of the Police Force visits a farm, he is given refreshments. White police are invited into the lounge or the dining room and the non-White police are given refreshments in a place which is set aside for them. This is a good old tradition on the platteland, a tradition which I hope will be applied to an ever-increasing extent in the cities. The hon. member has urged that we should introduce a President’s medal, seeing that the Queen’s medal will now disappear. The whole question of the consequences of establishing a republic in this country is being considered at the moment by the Cabinet with the assistance of all the various Departments. We shall know in the near future what the consequences are, and the Government will give proper attention to the matter. But at the appropriate time I shall convey to my colleagues the hon. member’s suggestion that a President’s medal should be issued to the police instead of the Queen’s medal. I can appreciate that each of the three services will be only too anxious to have the name “ President’s medal ” given to their medal. I cannot give the hon. member any assurance on this point, but I shall convey his suggestion to my colleagues.

The hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) made a speech this morning in which he repeated his allegation of “ political pressure ” which he made yesterday. He therefore does not deserve it that I should tell him what I am now going to tell him, namely, that my Department has already been instructed to give consideration to the part of his constituency where there is a shortage of police stations and other facilities. In fact I am sorry that I must give the hon. member this assurance because he really does not deserve it after what he has said here, namely, that the police supposedly do certain things under “ political pressure I deny that most emphatically, as I did yesterday as well. I have asked the hon. member to give examples, but it seems to me that the examples which he has given are both ex parte and hearsay. He must forgive me, but it is not a very praiseworthy remark which the hon. member has made here. After reconsideration I hope that he will not make such a remark again about the police because after all they are merely carrying out their instructions.

*An HON. MEMBER:

To protect him.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Under the circumstances facing South Africa, Africa and the world to-day, no one should regard himself as being so important as to refuse to answer a question put to him by the police. He should help them. A question is often asked because the police have information which obliges them to ask the question.

The hon. member for Krugersdorp (Mr. M. J. van den Berg) has made representations regarding housing. While he was speaking I hoped that we would be able to find the funds to comply with the hon. member’s request, because he went a little further this morning than hon. members usually do. Usually the request is that we should provide housing to the police, but the hon. member has gone further. He has now said that these houses should be furnished.

*Mr. M. J. VAN DEN BERG:

No, you have misunderstood me. I was referring to standard houses, so that if Mr. A is transferred from District I to District 5, his furniture will fit that house equally as well as his former house and he will not have to buy new curtains and different furniture.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

I thank the hon. member for his explanation. He wants standard houses. But some people have 12 children, some have six and some have only one. Consequently we must also have different types of houses, but I shall convey his request to the Department.

*Mr. M. J. VAN DEN BERG:

Where is there a police officer with 12 children?

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Well, I hope they will have 12 children.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

You should set the example.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) made an unfortunate speech this morning. He has criticized the behaviour of the police in connection with the non-White conference which has been held in Pietermaritzburg. I think that he has only expressed that criticism because he probably does not have the facts.

Capt. HENWOOD:

I was referring to a White procession, not a non-White procession.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Yes, there were not only non-Whites; there were Whites as well. The conference was held, but it was the duty of the police to ensure that everything went as it should because the Press had already announced in advance what the aim in having that conference was and what was to be discussed at that conference. The conference was not prohibited, but a careful watch was kept on all the proceedings, and I cannot understand why the hon. member resents this. He has said himself that the police took photographs, but this is surely not the first time in the history of South Africa that photographs have been taken of a procession.

*An HON. MEMBER:

Not by the police.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

How does the hon. member who did not attend the conference, know who attended the conference? In the second place, how does he know that there were people who had to be watched? The police had to do their duty and now he resents the fact that the police did their duty in respect of the procession as well as in the hall. Mr. Chairman, we have our Riotous Assemblies Act, and when the police act in terms of that legislation it does not mean that the meeting is “ riotous ”, but the police must keep a close watch on the position and ensure that no difficulties arise. I want to repeat the old saying: Prevention is better than cure. Mr. Chairman, if I had prohibited the meeting, then the hon. member could have complained, but the meeting was not prohibited and I am surprised that he is now complaining because the police were present and did their duty. Under the Riotous Assemblies Act it is clear that the police must exercise supervision. At certain times a close watch must be kept, particularly when the Press prophesy what is to be discussed at such a meeting. The hon. member knows what the Press prophesied would be discussed. I could not judge whether that prophecy was correct or not, but the Press prophesied that those present would discuss what they were going to do on 31 May. I think it is a good thing that the police were present so that they could keep the Government informed of the position. The hon. member perhaps meant well by his speech but it surprised me somewhat.

Capt. HENWOOD:

Is it customary to have eight policemen taking photographs of an ordinary procession?

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Whether there was one or eight taking photographs, we admit that photographs were taken. If eight were required, then there had to be eight.

Capt. HENWOOD:

Intimidation.

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

No, the hon. member is wrong; it is not intimidation; it is the prevention of intimidation.

Mr. COPE:

Do you also send them to Nationalist Party meetings?

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

We have not gone quite as far as the hon. member for Salt River did in this regard, namely to send them to National Party meetings, but circumstances may arise when they will also go to such meetings; I do not know; they must judge that for themselves.

*Mr. LAWRENCE:

[Inaudible.]

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

The hon. member cannot deny that such people were present at National Party meetings when he held that portfolio.

The hon. member for Brits (Mr. J. E. Potgieter) said something which struck me during his plea this morning for recognition of the good work done by the police, namely that South Africa should realize that there must be people to maintain law and order, and that it is the duty of the police to maintain law and order. I shall convey his fine sentiments to the police. I agree entirely with what he has said. Criticize them if you wish, but I think that in most instances their actions call for our admiration.

The hon. member for Brakpan has referred to the question of the holiday bonus, and the point he has made is this: If one of the marriage partners dies, then the surviving one is not entitled to the bonus. But that is of course not confined to the police, as the hon. member knows; the same position applies in the Public Service. The same interpretation is also given to the Act in the Public Service. But because the hon. member has raised the matter, I shall go into the matter in consultation also with the Public Service to see whether a change should not be made in that regard because judging from what the hon. member has said this morning, it seems to me that there is a case for such a change.

I think that I have already replied during my speech to most of the points raised by the hon. member for Salt River. He has also urged that younger policemen should not be used for responsible work. I want to tell him that I was pleased to reply to his question at the beginning of the year regarding recruiting because at that time there were already indications that the recruiting was going well. That position still holds good, and the large numbers at the college are an indication of what is happening.

The hon. member for De Aar-Colesberg (Mr. M. J. de la Rey Venter) has also spoken in defence of the police and has also pointed out that the police deserve the sympathy of South Africa because they in fact do their work in the face of continuous danger and that we can only have respect for them. The hon. member has said that meetings are being held under the guise of church services. I remember that years ago, before I took over this portfolio, the police went to a religious meeting near Johannesburg at which the preacher happened to be sitting on a keg. Eventually, after the service, the police found that he was sitting on a keg of beer—the beer which my hon. friend, the Minister of Bantu Administration, wants to make the national drink. I shall inform my Department of the case to which the hon. member has mentioned, and I think the Department should go into the matter and that this type of activity should be kept under supervision. Then he has also made representations in respect of police housing. He has also urged that improved housing should be provided. We are engaged on this matter, but I do not know whether the State can afford to erect housing for everyone. There are limits to the financial capacity of any country. The hon. member has mentioned the fact that there is a shortage of housing at Phillipstown for example and that there is no storage accommodation for fuel. I shall have the matter investigated.

The hon. member for Groblersdal has had another opportunity to speak, and he once again criticized those people who are critical of the police. I am glad that the hon. member has raised the matter regarding which I have made a statement in this House, namely the establishment of shooting clubs for women. I think that I have already stated on that occasion that there will be a person at all the police stations in the country—there are approximately 1,100—who will be prepared to teach our women to shoot. I have appointed a senior officer who under the Adjutant-General will exercise special supervision over the ladies’ shooting clubs throughout the country.

Mr. LAWRENCE:

What is the position regarding women police?

*The MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

In reply to a question I said this morning that the Government was considering using women on a limited scale in the Police Force.

The complaint of the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) was in effect that the Coloured police did not have the same powers of arrest as White police. He is not quite correct. The position is that in most serious cases, where the police come across a murder for example and there is no White police officer in the immediate vicinity, they can make the arrest. That is that in this instance they cannot make arrests if a White policeman is available. Then the hon. member has discussed the reduction in the number of Coloureds in the Police Force. I just want to tell the hon. member that there are still a number of posts open for Coloured police. Our recruiting has unfortunately not been all that successful, but we are continuing with it. There are a number of vacant posts. The hon. member can therefore tell these people whenever he goes that they should apply.

The hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin) has raised the question of the wearing of identity numbers by the police. The investigation into this matter has now been completed and the police will now have to wear identity numbers again. We are going further and because we want the public to be able to see where the police are if they require assistance, we have now decided that police vehicles should have the word “ Police ” on them so that they are recognizable day and night. The hon. member will concede that this is also a sound step.

The hon. member has asked what is being done in the Arlow case. I can only tell the hon. member that an ex gratia payment is being considered. As regards the curfew in his constituency to which the hon. member has referred, I can only say that I cannot judge on the matter. If the position in Pine-lands should be such that it becomes necessary, then I am afraid that he will simply have to change his opinion.

The import of the fine speech by the hon. member for North-West Rand (Mr. J. C. B. Schoeman) is in effect that he wants us to make an appeal to the public to help the police. I have already discussed this point. The hon. member also wants us to take more active steps as regards the misuse of Bantu beer. Before replying to that, I should like to give proper consideration to the matter.

Vote put and agreed to.

Precedence given to Vote No. 27 (Social Welfare and Pensions).

On Vote No 27,—“ Social Welfare and Pensions ”, R76,546,000,

Mr. J. LEWIS:

I ask for the privilege of the half-hour. I wish to deal with matters concerning social pensioners and potential pensioners. I also wish to deal with certain concessions which have been announced by the Minister of Finance in his Budget speech. At the outset I want to thank the hon. the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare for those concessions. I may say they are concessions which we have asked for over the years, and the first and most important to my way of thinking is the question of residential qualification. This is a question that has worried us on the Select Committee on Pensions over the years, and I want to point out exactly what the position is, and I hope that the hon. the Minister in his reply will tell us exactly what the position is for the future.

Sir, at present when a person applies for a pension, he must comply with the residential qualification, and it says that an applicant must be resident and domiciled in the Union at the time of making application for a pension. Any person who is a South African citizen, or a citizen of a Commonwealth country, or the Republic of Ireland, and who has been such a citizen for five years, must have been resident in the Union for 15 out of the 20 years immediately preceding the date of application, and then it says—

Any person who has not been such a citizen for five years, or who is an alien, must have been ordinarily resident in the Union for 25 of the 30 years immediately preceding such date.

Now the hon. the Minister of Finance in his Budget speech had this to say amongst other things—

It has further been decided to relax the prescribed residential requirements in certain respects, E.g. an applicant for an old age pension who has been a South African citizen for five years immediately prior to his application, will in future qualify for the pension if he has resided in the Union as such a citizen for five out of the ten years immediately preceding the date of the application.

Then it goes on to say—

At present such an applicant must have been resident in the Union for 15 out of the last 20 years.

What I want to find out is what the position is of a citizen of a Commonwealth country in view of the position to-day. I take it that when the amending Bill is passed it will read something like this “ any person who is a South African citizen and who has resided in the Union for five out of the last ten years immediately preceding the date of his application, may now apply for a pension ”. Of course provided he or she is not barred by the means test and as long as they are domiciled in the Union at the time of making the application. Does that also apply to war veterans? Does the same period apply? I hope the hon. the Minister will reply to these points. Then I want to ask whether any alteration has been made in regard to aliens. In the past the qualification was “ 25 out of 30 years ”.

Then I come to the question of the blind people. To-day, as the Minister knows, a blind person has to be resident in the Union, must be a South African citizen, or if he is not a South African citizen, must have been ordinarily resident in the Union for ten out of 15 years. Has that been changed?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

That remains the same.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

Then we go on to the question of disability grants. There an applicant must have been a South African citizen for five years, and been ordinarily resident in the Union for 15 out of 20 years immediately preceding the date of application. If he is an alien he must have been an ordinary resident in the Union for 25 out of 30 years. Has that been changed?

As the period is being reduced to five out of ten years, there must be quite a number of old people who have applied in the past, their applications having been refused. I take it that they will have to re-apply, and I think it is up to us to advertise the fact that these people if they are in this position can now re-apply. Which is the easiest way for them to re-apply? Might I suggest that perhaps we could do it this way, by that particular person, whoever he may be, writing to the Commissioner and stating something to the effect that the law has been altered, and can the case be reviewed? I don’t know whether it is possible for the Department to go through the files to see who will be allowed to re-apply? The easiest way I think would be for the parties concerned to make application by letter for a review of their case, and then I take it all the Department will require will be the red form to see if their assets have changed at all. I do not think it will be necessary to submit the white form with the birth certificate and all that.

Another concession has been made to those old-age pensioners who are blind and disabled and who require an attendant. At present an attendant’s allowance is made at the rate of £18 a year, or £1 10s. a month. That in terms of the Budget speech has now been increased by 10s. per month, making it £2 per month. As the hon. Minister knows when an application is submitted for such an allowance, a doctor’s certificate has to be obtained. Here again there is the question of how these people must make application for the increase. Will it be up to the parties concerned to write a letter to the Commissioner?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Those who are receiving the allowance, get the increase automatically.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

I thank the Minister. A further concession, I understand, has been made to the Coloureds and Indians. I understand the bonus has been increased for the Coloureds by R2.26 and to the Indians by R1.34.

Then there is another concession to non-state homes for aged White people. In the Budget speech it has also been mentioned that it has been decided to pay a pension from the first day on which the application is made. If I make an application on 15 April, I will be paid from I April, and that payment will continue to the last day of the month. I do not know why this was done. I don’t think it will help the pensioners very much, although it may gain them a pound or two when they may first make application, or a pound or two when they die. The estate will receive one or two pounds extra, or has it been done in the interest of the Department?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

And to prevent over-payment.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

I take it that will also apply to maintenance grants and allowances payable under the Children’s Act?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Yes.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

While we are on this question of payments, I must say that I am sorry that the hon. the Minister has not provided for the case I quoted two or three sessions back. That was a case where, briefly, I put in an application for an individual for a war veteran’s pension at the end of July. The Department was evidently busy at the time and the application was not dealt with until about September. A cheque was sent to this party, but he died two days before the cheque was received. His wife received the cheque and she went along to the executor of the estate, and they cashed it and paid the doctor’s and chemist’s bills. Three days, after that the Commissioner asked for a refund of this money. I just want to quote what the position is in Australia. It simply seems a matter of using the word “ accrued ”: “ Any amount of pensions, allowances, endowments or benefits under this Act which has accrued and is unpaid.” I feel that if that had been contained in our Act, they could have kept that money. I think the hon. Minister will admit that it was pretty tough at the time to have to send back the cheque. This is what the then Minister of Finance (I think it was Mr. Havenga) had to say—

In regard to this question of the unfortunate pensioner whose application was delayed for a long time and who died just before the cheque was actually sent, I must say that the law advisers had ruled that in such a case the amount cannot be paid out. In terms of the law as it now stands, the amount cannot be paid out. There again I agree that had it not been for this delay, the man would have received the amount. As the amount had actually been awarded, and the amount was due to him from a certain date, it seems rather hard, but that is the position in terms of a ruling given by the law advisers.

As I say, in my humble opinion if the word “ accrued ” is inserted, they can keep the money in such a case.

For the actual concessions I want to express appreciation, but I must say that I personally am very, very disappointed, particularly as the hon. the Minister of Finance started off in his Budget speech with these remarks—

While the promotion of development constitutes the central theme of this Budget, I also desire to do something towards improving the situation of the less privileged classes.

Now, Sir, this Budget does nothing for our pensioners, except in the few minor respects which I have mentioned.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

You might get something more from me.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

I hope so, because we must not forget that a surplus of R38,000,000 is anticipated, and surely something could have been granted to the old-age pensioners. I want to emphasize again that when we come to think of people trying to live on £11 10s. a month, they don’t really live, they just exist.

I want to get on to the policy of the Government in regard to pensions in general. Earlier on in the Session I put this question on the Order Paper—

Is it not proposed to introduce a compulsory contributory pension scheme to replace the existing social pension schemes?

The reply was—

In this connection I want to refer the hon. member to a statement made on 6 May last year—
After careful consideration of all aspects of the matter, the conclusion has been reached that it is preferable to encourage the establishment and extension of private pension schemes. Furthermore, I can give the hon. member the assurance that the question is still under consideration, and I hope to be able to make a further statement to the House at a later date.

Now, Sir, the hon. Minister in the Other Place had this to say, and I want to read this out because I think it is time that the Government told us exactly what they intend doing—

Interest is still being shown in proposals for the abolishment of the means test and for the establishment of a contributory pension scheme to take the place of the present social security measures. This is a matter that has always been raised during the 28 years of my Provincial and Parliamentary life, namely whether it is possible to establish a contributory pension scheme to replace the scheme which we have to-day. Investigations have been made from time to time, but it has been found that this is an extremely difficult matter to work out and is also extremely difficult to administer. I think there are countries which have tried this, and which have again departed from it. But I do not wish to comment in this regard. I informed hon. members last year that these proposals were still enjoying our attention, and this year we have continued with a proper investigation into the principles involved, the practical effect of such a scheme on the existing pension and insurance provisions, and the administrative and financial implications thereof. This is a very involved question, and is not a simple matter.

Then in another statement made by the hon. the Minister about pensions he said more or less the same, and then the hon. member for Pretoria (Central) (Mr. van den Heever) made a statement in this House about pensions—

On the other hand we have Holland, and I hone the seconder will examine the position in Holland. They have a private scheme such as we advocate, a scheme which has been implemented gradually as circumstances in the country permitted. This scheme is doing very well, and they do not have the tremendous administrative costs and they do not have the deadly uniformity which is inevitable under a national scheme, the deadly uniformity for the hardworking man, and a scheme which may lift people above their normal position if they are not hardworking.

The position of our old-age people is becoming very, very serious. I have tried to get certain figures. I understand that the total number of our old-age pensioners to-day is round about 460,000, and in Durban, as far as I can find out, we have about 127,000 European pensioners, and these people are in pretty bad circumstances. I believe that to-day it is becoming one of South Africa’s major social problems. Something will have to be done.

The question that is cropping up right throughout the country is the valuation of property in connection with old-age pensions. The hon. the Minister will know that a man is allowed £1,200 of property. Now the cost of owning a property is going up and up. Valuations of property have increased practically throughout the Union. Recently there was a revaluation in Cape Town, and to show you what can happen: Here I have the municipal valuation of a property in Cape Town, and the old valuation was £970, that property has been revalued recently and the value placed on it is £1,910. I understand that once a pensioner applies for a pension and the value of his property is accepted, that is accepted for all times.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Yes.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

What is the position if a couple are getting a pension and one of them dies? The estate of the person who has died is dealt with. Is the valuation then altered, or does it remain as it was before the death of the person? You see, Sir, this question of increased valuations may not affect the pensioners at the moment so much, but it does affect potential pensioners; the people who, in the ordinary way may apply for pensions, say next month. They may suddenly find that this happens to them. You may have a case like the one which I quoted where you have a valuation increased from £970 to £1,910. I know that we cannot stop properties being revalued but I do think that the Government should go into this question of the £1,200 limit. To-day that figure is absolutely absurd. I am not the only one who has mentioned this question, we have had it raised from all sides of the House. Only last year we had the hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. van der Walt) saying—

What I am really appealing for is that we should increase the minimum amount of £1,200. Circumstances in this country have changed completely. The price of land and buildings has increased tremendously. It is difficult to find a house of that value in any of our cities to-day, and I think we should keep that in mind. In addition, I think we are penalizing the thrifty man too much.

That is the position, Sir. We want these people to own houses but we are making it difficult for them. It is not our fault, it is a result of the cost of living and the conditions in which we live. With these increased valuations and the extra rates that a man has to pay and extra insurance—because now his property has gone up in value—it becomes very difficult for them. Let me give a case in point: Here we have an increase of £1,000 which means an increase in rates and insurance and everything else. It is quite possible that something like this can put a man completely out so far as his old age pension is concerned.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

It cannot put him out.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

It does not put him out if he has a pension at the moment, but if he is a potential pensioner it will. If a man applies for a pension in six months’ time, he does not have the same opportunity as he had when his house was valued at £970. I therefore think this question of the £1,200 limit should be looked into by the Government as soon as possible. Evidently Cape Town has revalued. Durban has done the same and I take it that this will happen throughout the country.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

You have a revaluation every three years.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

That may be so. If it is so then we must keep up with the times.

I have not very much time left to me so I would like to mention one particular case. I do not know whether I am quite correct in what I am going to put to the hon. the Minister but I would like to give this as an example. A war disabled and/or railway pensioner who receives a small pension also receives a cost-of-living allowance. In many cases that lifts his income above the Means Test. I think I am right in saying that it has been the practice, when application has been made for an old-age pension, to grant a little of the allowance to bring that person within the Means and to give him whichever is the bigger amount. If I am wrong I hope the hon. the Minister will tell me so but I believe that that procedure has now been altered. I have a particular case in point and I would like to give these figures briefly. This particular individual receives a military pension and a railway pension. He is married and between the two of them they draw £316. As the hon. the Minister knows the maximum for the Means is £156. That gives them £158 Os. 6d. each. They are therefore £2 Os. 6d. over the Means. If we brought them down that £2 or £3 we could give them £6 each. That is the point I want to make. I believe that that position has now been altered. I raise this because these people have been refused a pension. [Time limit.]

*Mr. PELSER:

I should like to bring one or two matters to the notice of the hon. the Minister. The first relates to an announcement made by the hon. the Minister of Finance in his Budget speech, namely, that in future social pensions will be paid on the first day of the month during which the application was made, and will terminate at the end of the month in which the pension terminates, whether through the death of the pensioner or other circumstances. I want to say that it is clear to me that to a large extent this has been done for the Department’s convenience but it also entails benefits which are not to be disparaged for the pensioner. In the first instance, if the pensioner applies in the middle of the month, he will benefit by already getting a few pounds extra at the end of that month. But what I find rather strange is this. Assuming that the pensioner’s pension terminates as a result of his death, then I cannot understand how the pensioner or his dependant will benefit. Assuming that he dies on the 15th of the month, the amount will normally first be paid to his executor when his estate is wound up. I hope, Mr. Chairman, without advocating the amendment of legislation, that the hon. the Minister will nevertheless be able to arrange the scheme in such a way that when the pension terminates as a result of the death of a pensioner—the death of one of two old people—this pension will immediately be paid to the surviving spouse at the end of that month. Because that is precisely the difficult period for the people concerned. Money is not plentiful. They have funeral expenses and other expenses as well, and if these few pounds can be paid to the surviving spouse at that stage, it would help such persons greatly and would be of great benefit to them. I want to make a suggestion, namely, that each pensioner should be able to nominate someone who will be entitled to his last month’s payment, if his pension terminates as a result of death. I merely make the suggestion to the hon. the Minister; I do not know how he will arrange matters, but I do want to advocate such a step.

The second matter relates to what I always regard as the most pathetic case, namely when two old people have lived together in their house and one of them dies, there is additional expenditure and the life companion has died. The next thing the surviving spouse learns is that his (or her) pension is now frozen. They both received pensions. The next thing he hears is that because the one partner has died, there must be a revaluation. The matter must be reconsidered and his pension is frozen. This is added to his own sorrow. Usually the position is that after some time the surviving spouse is informed that the matter has now been reconsidered and because the property, which he owns and which is usually just a house, was valued at a certain amount and was divided between two persons, for example an amount of £1,200, and because this must now be applied to one person only, he is now only entitled to make a deduction of £600. He is told: You are now single and the remainder represents assets which must be brought into account. He then finds that as a result his pension is slightly reduced—usually by 10s. or some such amount. I want to say to the Minister that if there is something which saddens the hearts of our old people at the very time when they have lost their life’s companion, at this very time when their lives have been disrupted and such a person must go on alone, then it is this which hurts them greatly. This links up with what the hon. member for Durban (North) (Mr. J. Lewis) has said about the question of valuations. But I do urge that in this regard something should be done to see whether as far as the small pension they receive is concerned, we cannot make these things easier for such people at the very time when the world is difficult and dark.

If I have another minute or so then I should like to submit a third thought to the hon. the Minister. One encounters so many cases where two people have lived carefully and have brought up their children but have now reached the retirement age, own too much to die and too little to live on. These are the difficult cases. I know that we find difficult cases under all legislation and that we cannot provide for every eventuality. But one idea did cross my mind. I do not have the details but I do want to make the suggestion and ask that the Minister’s Department should think along those lines in order to see whether they cannot devise some scheme or other. It is that in the case of this type of person assistance should be granted by using the capital which such a person has, to buy an annuity for him—a scheme whereby annuities are bought. I do not have clarity on this point. I have not had time to consider the matter fully but I do feel that this is the type of case where these people have just too much to die and just too little to live on, and where the State should assist such a person to buy an annuity which would enable him to live within certain limits for the rest of his life without fear of the future.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Mr. Chairman, I am not rising to reply to the hon. member for Durban (North) (Mr. J. Lewis). I shall reply to him at a later stage. I am only rising because I may be able to give information at this stage which may eliminate a great deal of discussion as a result of the speech by the hon. member for Klerksdorp (Mr. Pelser). He has raised the question of an old couple who are living in a house; it is their only asset; they are both receiving a pension. The one then dies, and that pension falls away. I readily agree with the hon. member that this is the type of case which we should try to prevent as far as possible, for the reasons he has given. Hon. members will remember that they have raised this matter in the past, and that I and the Department undertook to go into the matter. I can now inform hon. members, and the hon. member for Durban (North) will also be interested in this, that we have now decided to adopt a basis of calculations whereby in future, if one of the two marriage partners dies the pension will be paid to the surviving spouse as though nothing had happened. This complaint which hon. members have had against this position in the past, will therefore fall away in the future. The pension of the surviving spouse will continue as a result of the changed calculation basis as though nothing had changed.

In the second place, hon. members have raised the difficulty, and this links up with what I have just said, that a person receives a pension and then he dies. The Department is then faced with the difficulty that they do not know what the surviving spouse who should receive a pension, will receive from the estate. The pension is then often stopped pending the winding up of the estate. This has caused a great deal of difficulty, and hon. members have had good reason for complaint. I have gone into this matter very carefully with the Department, and it has now been decided that, in order to eliminate all difficulties, the pension will not be stopped in future until such time as the estate has finally been wound up. Hon. members know that it often takes months and sometimes longer to wind up an estate. In the meantime the pension is stopped and the person has to live on the expectation of what he will receive, but he only receives it in the far-distant future. It is now being laid down that in the future the pensions of pensioners will not be cancelled, but the position will only be reviewed when the final accounts are available, that is to say when the estate has been wound up. I think hon. members will welcome this step and I am mentioning this with reference to what the hon. member for Klerksdorp has said in order to save further discussion in this regard. I am convinced, particularly as regards the first group, that we have eliminated a very great source of friction which has caused our old people particular difficulties. Unfortunately I cannot tell hon. members at this stage what these concessions will cost. We could not make an estimate. We must leave that to the future. But I think hon. members will agree with me that although we cannot estimate the cost at this stage, it represents a considerable concession to our pensioners, and not only a concession in cash, but as regards the elimination of the difficulties and sorrow which these people have had to suffer in the past in this respect. This just answers in passing the some what reproachful statement by the hon. member for Durban (North) that we have not given sufficient attention to our old people in this Budget.

*Mr. EATON:

When will these concessions take effect?

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

The commencement date will be I April, the date on which all concessions take effect.

Mr. ROSS:

I want to thank the hon. the Deputy Minister for the last two items he has mentioned. They are certainly things that have caused a great deal of stress in the past, and I must pay my tribute to him. I was going to debate this in my speech but, once again, he has proved that he has the interests of his very large family at heart. We will still fight with him, but we do know that when we fight with him he is giving reasonable consideration to our requests.

Mr. Chairman, the hon. the Deputy Minister is responsible for a very large and not very rich family. I have just paid him tribute for the way he handles his job, but I am going to ask him in fairly general terms please to fight a little longer for something more. According to the report of the Department of Social Welfare which was recently issued, there were the following number of pensioners in 1958: Old Age, European 87,307; non-European (Coloured and Indian) 50,824. War Veteran Pensioners, White, 29,393; non-White 1,184. Disability Grants, White, 10,590 and non-Whites 9,942. Blind persons, White, 1,122 and non-White 1,656. One therefore realizes what a responsibility rests on the hon. the Minister as a result of those figures. African pensioners are not his job, and I have not included the number of military pensioners in these figures, but we all know how large that number is. The total number of pensioners must therefore run into several hundreds of thousands throughout the country.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

280,000.

Mr. ROSS:

Does that include the Bantu?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

No.

Mr. ROSS:

Further interesting figures come out of this report. The average old-age pension for all, excluding Africans, was, in 1958, £88 9s. 9d. per annum, roughly £7 odd a month. In 1959 the average for Europeans only was £115 4s. 7d. per annum, which has slightly increased since. And for non-Whites — again excluding Africans — it was £41 6s. lid. per annum. That has also increased slightly since then. I am now coming to my point. The hon. the Prime Minister, after the meeting of the new Economic Council said—

Another matter being investigated is the earnings of the lower wage groups.

Then he went on to say—

Provided the efforts to increase wages are either accompanied or followed by a sufficient increase in productivity, an increase in wages could in itself contribute significantly to the expansion of the market for both our manufactured and agricultural products. Such a wage increase, combined with the underlying favourable development potentialities in the Union can in itself considerably expand the market for existing industries, thereby providing an important stimulus towards large scale development.

I want to point out that Social Welfare Pensioners are the lowest paid group of all, as the figures I have quoted show. I put this to the hon. the Deputy Minister who has always said to us when we have appealed for higher pensions—and in fairness to him I do not know what else he could have said— “ where is the money coming from?” I want to ask him to consider an increase from the economic point of view raised by the hon. the Prime Minister in his speech. I suggest that if the Minister would investigate the matter, and would use his great influence and talents to obtain, after due investigation, from the Cabinet, a reasonable increase for all pensioners, this would be the most obvious, certain and quickest way of pump priming our total economy, and surely a better way than embarking on the perilous course of forcing increases to lower paid workers without compensatory productivity. I think this is a very sound argument for the Minister to use in his further battles. Just imagine, Mr. Chairman, if the investigation produced, finally, an extra amount of £3 per month for the old-age pensioners for the last years of their lives, just imagine what it would mean not only to them but to the country! Every penny is bound to be spent. It would fan out in the economy in a balanced way, increasing the demands for the staple needs of life, broadening the basis of our industry—I am more or less quoting the Prime Minister’s words. But it is true. It would mean giving a tremendous number of people a small increase that is going to be spent, and it is an economic fact that money distributed in that manner is of very great importance to the economic set-up of the country.

I hope that the hon. the Deputy Minister with his nimble mind will not attack me and say this is an inflationary proposal, because it is no such thing.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Thank heaven I am not an economist!

Mr. ROSS:

Well, I thought somebody might have warned him. But I would like to prove this in words that the Minister, even if he is not an economist, with his mind will follow. It is no such thing. The small sums received by pensioners—if the Minister will fight for these additional sums—will be spent on the very necessities of life. Our primary producers, the farmers, will be the first to benefit. There is no shadow of doubt about that. I hope the hon. the Minister will throw his weight behind this request for better pensions. The cost will not be prohibitive, as I will proceed to show. In 1960-1—and again I am quoting from this report—social welfare pensioners were granted a further increase of 5 per cent. This was estimated to cost £1,200,000. There was another increase to the war pensioners, another £200,000. I am working on the £1,200,000, and if the Minister would battle for, say, an increase of 20 per cent on the pensions, it could not possibly cost more than £5,000,000. Let us say another £1,000,000. We have a lot of money in this country and that is not an unreasonable amount when you consider that the Government has transferred no less than £125,000,000 to Loan Account ex-Revenue over the last six years, an average of over £20,000,000 a year. Why cannot a portion of that be used for a cause like this? Think of the happiness it would bring. Think of the businesses it would assist. What a shot in the arm it would be to the country’s economy. Mr. Chairman, I want to put it again: such a sum distributed among so many people would give not only help to them but to the country as a whole. In conclusion may I assure the Minister that if he can bring this off—and he should be able to if he plays his cards correctly—he will be regarded as a public benefactor.

*Dr. DE WET:

I am thankful that I was in the House to-day to hear the hon. member who has just sat down, say that there is a great deal of money in the country. Particularly in view of the fact that he has pleaded for increased pensions, that is in the nature of things something which will have to be done in the future. In other words, he too has great confidence in our future financial position. I share that confidence with him and I certainly also share his view that we should do as much as possible, within limits and within reason, for our pensioners and our old people. In the light of what the hon. the Deputy Minister and the Department have told us this afternoon, I think it is necessary that we should say in this House that the Department of Social Welfare and Pensions is the one Department which does not only deal with matters which lie very close to our hearts, but also deal with these matters in such a way that the greatest possible satisfaction is achieved. We should like to say that here.

I think it was last year that the hon. the Deputy Minister said that this Department received 2,600 postal items daily, that they had to post 1,600 postal items daily and that they received 100 new applications daily. I think that when one takes those facts into account, we can only testify this afternoon that this is a really efficient Department which does its work exceptionally well. Seeing that the hon. the Minister has made the announcement this afternoon regarding houses and the new arrangements which have been made, I also regard this as an indication that the hon. the Minister and the Department really have the interests of our old people and our needy people at heart and that they are considering every possible aspect to see whether relief cannot be granted. Seeing that the hon. member has urged so strongly that pensions should be increased, I think that it is necessary that I should at least point out that over the past 10 or 12 years larger pension increases have been granted than during any previous period. I have just looked up the figures: In 1948, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1959 increases and improvements were granted. Nor must we forget that these funds have to come from taxation. Consequently the Government can only grant these pensions within reasonable limits. I want to point out that this Budget has also once again made certain concessions. When one examines the number of pensioners, we find that not only has the number increased, but the benefits which are paid to each pensioner have increased tremendously. In 1948 old-age pensioners received £50 15s. per annum, while this figure had risen to £123 3s. 1d. by 1959. When we take the increase in the number of pensioners into account, then the amount which is provided on the Estimates has tripled in the case of old-age pensions alone. I should like to express my thanks for the arrangement which has been made in respect of over-payments. I think that this will eliminate a great deal of inconvenience and hardship as regards payments to our old people. The allowance in the case of attendants has been increased from R36 to R38. We are grateful for this, though I think that this is a matter which should receive the further consideration of the Minister during the year because as things stand and in the light of the experience which I have had of certain cases, the question of attendants is a very great problem and one which involves considerable expenditure. It does not only prevent people from earning a reasonable income, but it costs a great deal to provide such an attendant.

Another concession for which I really want to thank the Minister is this considerable increase, i.e. from £15 to £45, in respect of the purchase of furniture for homes. In the past the figure was R30 and now it is R90. I think that this increase is far greater than the ordinary increase which we have in such cases. I regard this as an indication that it is realized that such provision must be made for our old people and that the facilities and furniture which they require in these homes should be of a good quality because this is after all where they must spend the last days of their lives, and R90 per person is a reasonable amount to allow in respect of the purchase of furniture.

Then there is a further matter, namely the allowance which is granted on the subsidy of R10 in cases where infirm or old people are accommodated in a home and where this additional R10 is granted in respect of their care. As regards pensions, I just want to add that while the hon. member has advocated increases, I have referred to the increases in the old-age pension, but I also want to refer to disability pensions. Here we find that in 1948 the amount provided in this regard was £560,000, and by 1959 it had risen to £1,466,000. This represents an increase from £54 to £127 per annum in the case of the individual. One can say the same about oudstryders’ pensions, which over the period 1948 to 1959 rose from £107 14s. to £173 per person. I am merely mentioning these figures in passing because the impression can so easily be created that improvements have not been effected and that the needs of our old people are not being considered.

Now I want to mention two other matters. The one is that various authorities, inter alia a Minister in this House, have expressed concern that South Africa is moving in the direction of a welfare state. Some people are perhaps wary of using the words “ socialist state ”. I think that if we want South Africa to be regarded as a genuinely democratic country, we must take care that we do not eventually acquire the atmosphere and the character of a socialistic state. I must say that when one examines the figures relating to pension increases in conjunction with the developments in respect of insurance funds, group insurance and pension schemes, that fear disappears to a large extent. As I see this development, it seems to me that the number of pensioners should quite probably decrease in the future. I want to say that I feel very pleased that Iscor for example has introduced a group insurance scheme which offers every worker the opportunity to make provision for the time when he will have to retire or for the possibility that he may die suddenly and leave dependants for whom the State will have to provide. I think it is appropriate that we should once again point out that employers should regard it as a very sound business principle to establish pension schemes for their workers. South Africa with all her wealth and opportunities offers an opportunity which few other countries can equal, that there should really be no people who are dependent on the State in their old age. I think the State and everyone else is only too willing to assist people when they are suffering hardship, but in the first place we should like to see these old people and dependants being able to have the satisfaction that they have provided for their own needs and that they can stand on their own feet when they are old or require care. I think that if we were to give guidance and encouragement in that direction, we shall not only create a far better attitude towards our old people, but that it will certainly also bring relief to the State. In this regard I think that those children who can afford to do so and who are still willing to look after their parents deserve our highest appreciation and that we should express our thanks to them. [Time limit.]

Mr. BOWKER:

I wish to express appreciation to the Minister for the concessions made to the old-age pensioners as now announced to the House. I want to suggest that the means test as now applied for the old-age pension and disability grants call for immediate review. As now applied, it is not actuarially sound and it offers inducement for exploitation.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Why now?

Mr. BOWKER:

I mean as it has hitherto been applied. I say it is not actuarially sound and it gives inducements for exploitation, as I will explain. It militates against savings and discourages the lower income groups from providing for their old age. The means test is unfair and I would like to quote an example to prove it, of a single man who applies for the old-age pension. If he possesses capital to the value of £1,800 invested at 51 per cent he is not eligible for the old-age pension. His income from £1,800 at 51 per cent amounts to £99 per annum, whereas if he had nothing he would be eligible for a pension with bonuses amounting to £11 10s. a month or £138 per annum. Applicants for old-age pension with capital are actually advised to spend their capital before applying, and that is often done. I was told of a couple who went overseas and had a long trip and spent all their savings outside this country and came back and qualified for a joint old-age pension of £276 per annum. Old-age pensions are part of our social system, but it should not be allowed in a way so as to discourage thrift. We as a Government have to encourage the lower income groups to save, but as regards the allocation of old-age pensions and disability grants we discourage this. If the Minister is disposed to accept any suggestion that I may venture to make, I think that interest should only be used in the calculation of the assessment as regards capital, and not the abatement they earn. I feel that if this is not favourable to the Minister, then perhaps he could consider the alternative, of doubling the exemption of £600 for the means test. At present an individual has an exemption of £600 capital and a married couple have an exemption of £1,200. I will ask the Minister to consider doubling this exemption. There are other reasons for granting this exemption, apart from those I have mentioned, and that is that when the Old-Age Pensions and Disability Act was introduced, an exemption of £600 was provided to allow people of moderate means who possessed a home to have the value of that home exempted from the means test. Now, as we all know, with the new system of municipal valuations, humble homes that were valued at £600 are now valued at three times as much. Houses I know that were valued at £600 are now valued at £1,800 to £2,000. I know that doubling the exemption of £600 would cover all my criticism and I would not then ask that the abatement should not be calculated in the assessment of old-age pensions. In calculating old-age pensions, not only the interest the person receives but an abatement is added also and charged against that capital, and that is the reason why it comes about that a person with £1,800 capital does not qualify for old-age pension, though his income does not amount to what he would have received if he had no money at all.

There is another point I want the Minister to consider. I wonder, if my earlier suggestions are unfavourable, whether the Minister could consider granting exemptions to old-age pensioners on money invested in a savings bank or in Union Loan Certificates, in the same way that this concession is granted to income tax payers. That is a concession to the wealthy, and I think that the same kind of concession should be made to the poor income group to encourage them to save their money. To me it seems an unheard of proposition and quite unreasonable that people without any money should receive more in old-age pensions than those who have gone out of their way to save a little money. I appeal to the Minister to give this proposition some consideration. I think that he should find one or other of the suggestions I have made acceptable. When the Minister rises to reply, I would be pleased if he would give a statement as regards the Cape Widows’ Pension Fund. There is always an idea that when the last Cape widow dies, the Government will inherit a fortune from the fund. Unless we have a statement from the Minister to assure us that this is not the case, the criticism as regards the administration of the fund increases like a snowball. We know that when this fund was first established the Government agreed to contribute 5 per cent per annum as interest on the capital. At that time the Government was able to borrow money at per cent or 3 per cent, so it was a particular contribution to the Cape widows that the Government gave and increased this capital. We know that the actuaries, as the widows die, increase the allocation to remaining widows, and I believe that the actuaries have calculated it in such a way that when the last widow dies there will be no balance at all. Perhaps the Minister can give us this assurance. We know, of course, that in all actuarial calculations there must be a balance and I would like the Minister’s assurance that this balance will not be material. I can assure him that if the Minister gives a statement in regard to this fund, on which may poor widows are dependent, it will assure them. They enjoy very small privileges. I hope the Minister will give us a statement to convey assurance to these widows.

*Mr. J. E. POTGIETER:

It seems to me that this is a very satisfactory Friday afternoon and if we go on like this we may adjourn early. The Deputy Minister is most sympathetically disposed towards the representations which have been submitted to him regarding relief for pensioners. He has probably come to realize the truth of the words that it is more blessed to give than to receive and it is also in this spirit that I want to raise a matter which is of great importance to our old people in the homes and particularly in the social welfare settlements. The Minister has visited the Sonop Settlement. There were certain weaknesses and shortcomings. The Minister listened to them very sympathetically and has effected many improvements for which we thank him. But then the settlers were filled with dismay. At a certain stage it came to their knowledge that when such old people were taken to the provincial hospital as out-or as in-patients, they found that certain accounts were sent to them. At that time I submitted representations to the Minister and I asked whether relief could be afforded in this regard. This is very important because on these settlements we have people who are disabled, and particularly in the case of chronic diseases it is essential that we should take the state of mind of these people into account. I want to ask the Minister whether he will not approach the Director of Provincial Hospitals in the Transvaal and ask him to grant relief in this regard because these people only receive a meagre allowance and then in addition they have to pay these hospital accounts. I think it will be of great assistance to our old people if the Minister can make this concession. I ask the Minister to give his serious attention to this matter because here we are dealing with old and infirm people who are only receiving very small allowances, and seeing that the hon. the Minister is in such a sympathetic mood to-day, we hope that this plea will not fall on deaf ears.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

I want to carry on where I left off and say that the whole trouble is not so much the means test as the out-dated pension scheme we have to-day. There have been motions at different times from both sides of the House asking for a contributory scheme. I favour such a scheme because I have seen the Unemployment Insurance Act working and that is of great benefit to contributors. But nevertheless I understand from a statement made in the Other Place by the Minister that for the last two or three years missions have gone overseas to try to find out which is the best scheme we can adopt. In the answer the Minister gave me earlier on he said that a further statement would be made. Now I do not know whether that statement is ready, because that would give the House an idea of how the Government is thinking on this question. It is something which will have to be dealt with, and dealt with almost immediately. I leave it to the Minister because that statement has been promised and the Minister said we must learn that when they have schemes which are a success and which are suitable for us we must take the best of them, but our experience after the mission which was sent overseas two years ago was that under no circumstances should such a scheme be made applicable to South Africa because it is extremely expensive. I do not know why it should be so expensive. It is just an ordinary contributory scheme. However, the Minister said that we are not leaving the matter there. He said—

We can find some other solution and the hon. Senator can rest assured in this regard. If we can inspan the public to make a contribution for themselves, whereas we are now only making a contribution by the State, we will be only too eager to apply it because this will to a large extent solve the difficulties of the State. Whatever the scheme is to be, I hope the Minister will be able to tell us very shortly.

There is another question I want to raise, and which I have raised before in this House. Here again I want to tell the Minister that if this was put into effect it would save us endless trouble on the Pensions Select Committee, when we deal with the position of a person who comes from a Commonwealth country and has been here 12 or 13 years. According to the Act they cannot claim a pension on account of the residential qualifications. I take it that in future they will have to become South African citizens and I am not sure, but as a layman I believe it takes a person five years to become a South African citizen. So it means that a person coming from a Commonwealth country will have to be here ten years if they take out citizenship papers when they first arrive, before they can qualify for a pension. In 1957 I brought up the question of reciprocity. Now if this is put into effect as it has been done between other Commonwealth countries, it would get us over all our troubles. It was evidently thought of way back in 1931, because there is provision in the Pensions Act for this. The particular section reads as follows—

If provision is made by law in any country outside the Union for the establishment therein of a scheme of old-age pensions substantially corresponding to that provided in this Act, the Minister may make reciprocal arrangements with the authority administering such scheme whereby residence in one country shall, for the purpose of qualification for pension in the other country, be treated as residence in that other country, and whereby an applicant who has resided in the Union and such other countries for periods which together aggregate not less than 15 years out of the 20 years immediately preceding his application, and who in other respects is qualified for a pension under this Act and also under the law of that other country, may be paid by each country a portion of a pension payable to such a person under the law of that country.

Those hon. members who are on the Pensions Select Committee with me will know what effect this will have if we could apply it. I raised this matter in 1957 and this was the reply I got—

Unfortunately I am informed that there are very few countries whose schemes are substantially the same as ours. Most of the other countries, I am informed, have for instance contributory schemes, and as the hon. member knows, ours is not a contributory scheme. But I do think this is a matter that could be considered by one of these Commonwealth Conferences, because I think it is of sufficient importance for them, and I shall bring this to the notice of the Department of External Affairs to see whether that could be placed on the next agenda or on an agenda in future.

Whether that was ever done, I do not know.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

I think I should attend the next conference.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

That is a good idea, but take me along. To follow that up, New Zealand has an arrangement with the United Kingdom; Australia with New Zealand; and the United Kingdom and British immigrants can collect old-age, invalid or widows’ pensions on the same basis as if they had lived in Australia all their lives under this agreement. So those agreements have been put into effect. It means that if a person arrives in this country and has been here ten years, he would collect a pension for ten years from South Africa and ten years from the other country. I think that when any new suggestion is made about going over to some other pension scheme, that point should be remembered, and I hope the Minister will put it to his colleagues in the Cabinet and see whether we cannot get a statement telling us just how the Government feels about such a scheme, because we cannot go on like this. Every year we point out that the means test should be abolished, etc., and yet we tell the Minister that we sympathize with him, because we do not know what effect it will have. If a pension is increased by only a few shillings, we do not know what effect that will eventually have and how other pensions will have to be altered. So I hope that the Minister will get his colleagues to work out something and give us an idea of just what is likely to happen.

Mr. BARNETT:

I wish once again to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention to the disparity in old-age pensions for Coloureds and Europeans. Before going deeply into the matter, I would like to say that I was happy to have noticed from the speech of the hon. the Minister of Finance that there is going to be some contributions by way of bonuses to the Coloured people. The Minister said in his Budget speech—

The ratio between the amount of basic social pensions for White persons and Coloured persons and Indians had remained constant in recent years, namely 12: 6: 5. However, when basic pensions have been supplemented from time to time by the grant of bonuses, White persons have received proportionately greater increases with the result that the ratio between the amounts payable to these three has been disturbed.

He then goes on to say-—

As the result of representations made by the Department of Coloured Affairs, after that Department had investigated the question of social pensions for Coloured persons, it is now decided to restore the ratio by increasing the bonuses payable to Coloured persons. The same step has been taken in regard to Indians. Basic pensions remain unchanged.

I believe that the amount referred to would amount to about R2.25 per month. I would like to thank the Government for this little concession, and I want to thank the Department of Coloured Affairs and whoever was responsible for this small increase. The hon. the Minister will remember that ever since I have entered this House I have pleaded the cause of the Coloured old-age pensioner and I have drawn attention to the large disparity between the pensions for Coloureds and Whites. Sir, it is quite wrong for us to perpetuate an archaic system, introduced into the life of South Africans that because a man has not got a White skin, he must live at a lower economic level. It is because we continue on that false basis, that we refuse to recognize the right of the old Coloured persons to live decently and well and on the same basis as anybody else. I think the Government owes a duty to the aged Coloureds of this country to remove that disparity. Sir, the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Ross) did refer to some figures and so did the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark (Dr. de Wet). I have the figures here which were given in reply to a question dated 31 January 1961. I am not going to weary the Committee with the details, but I merely wish to point out that whilst the number of Europeans receiving old-age pension is 86,883, the Coloureds and Indians, who were grouped together for the purpose of this answer, number 50,990. The ratio is roughly 9 to 5, but the average paid to the European is R246.31 and the average paid to the Coloured and the Indian is only R86. That is a very big difference; the ratio is about 3 to 1. Strangely enough, the number of blind Coloureds and Indians, according to these figures, is 1,678 as against 1,077 blind Europeans. The number of Coloureds and Indians receiving disability allowances is 11,270 as against 11,484 Europeans. The point I want to make is that if we perpetuate this system we are doing a disservice to ourselves, because I know from personal experience, having gone round to the homes of these people that because they get this small pension, and their needs are the same as the needs of the European old-age pensioner, they have to go and live with somebody else, with the result that there is overcrowding. This tends to lead to further illness and sickness amongst those people. There is a greater incidence of tuberculosis amongst the Coloureds than amongst the Europeans, although I believe that that incidence has been arrested. The fact remains, however, that it will continue as long as we do not give these people sufficient amount of money to live decently and well and to overcome the illness which must come. Look at the figures for the blind. There are many more Coloured and Indian blind than European blind. Why? Although there are so many more European old age pensioners and other European pensioners, when it comes to the blind, the Coloureds are in the majority. Sir, I know that the hon. the Deputy Minister is sympathetic and my criticism is not intended to be destructive; it is constructive, it has always been. It is becoming more and more difficult for these old Coloured people to maintain themselves even on the most meagre basis because the cost of living does increase and has increased. The Deputy Minister will tell me that ever since the Nationalist Party came into power there has been an increase in the amounts paid to these people. I accept all that, but the cost of living has gone up; rents and rates have gone up.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Have you compared the two ratios—the increase in the pensions and the increase in the cost of living?

Mr. BARNETT:

Sir, the Minister should hesitate to put that question, because the answer is obviously that the increase in the cost of living has been the same for the Coloureds as it has been for the White man, and yet the increase for the European old-age pensioner has been very much more than that for the Coloured man, so the Government has not maintained that ratio. I think the Deputy Minister sees my point. Whereas last year he gave the old-age European pensioner an increase of R3, he gave the coloured an increase of R1 but the cost of living went up to the same extent for both.

Sir, the Deputy Minister is probably the Minister who gave this reply to the question put by the hon. member for Durban (North) (Mr. J. Lewis). I refer to a reply given on 31 January to the hon. member in regard to these particular points that I have raised. From that reply it is clear that to ourselves— I am not worried about the outside world— we cannot justify this large discrepancy between the pensions paid to our old people and even to our blind. Let me just give some of these figures to the Committee. The amount paid to the European old-age pensioner is R246 as against R86 in the case of Coloureds and Indians; the average paid to European veterans is R346 and in the case of the Coloured it is R94.18. Although there are more Coloured and Indian blind than European blind the average paid to the European blind person is R244 while the average paid to Coloureds and Indians is R91. Surely we cannot justify that. [Time limit.]

*Dr. VAN NIEROP:

The Department of Social Welfare is concerned with the welfare of people who cannot provide for themselves, whether or not that be their own fault. It is the duty of the Department to try to support them. I do not want to give the Committee the facts in this regard this afternoon, but I just want to refer to the consequences of the abuse of liquor. Because if there is one thing with which the Department of Social Welfare has a great deal to do, it is the consequences of the abuse of liquor. I should like to make an appeal to the Department to give greater attention to people who as a result of the abuse of liquor find themselves in a position where they cannot provide for themselves. I recently paid a visit to an institution run by the Salvation Army just beyond Kraaifontein, where they look after people who would otherwise have finished up in gaol as the result of the abuse of liquor. Instead of placing alcoholics in institutions where they cannot work, I want to ask whether the Department of Social Welfare cannot consider buying a farm here in the Cape, where such people can work and where they can be looked after. When I refer to work I do not have in mind the type of work which is done on work colonies. I am now thinking of the system which the Salvation Army applies. I asked them what success they were achieving with this scheme. I am not sure of the percentages, but I was surprised to hear how many alcoholics who had worked there, had rehabilitated themselves and had once again become useful citizens of the country. Mr. Chairman, if one simply gives money to alcoholics and if one does welfare work on their behalf, one is not assisting them; one is only pushing them further down the slope. I therefore ask the Deputy Minister and the Government to give greater attention to people who unfortunately as a result of the abuse of liquor find themselves in a position from which they would like to save themselves, if possible.

Mr. BARNETT:

Join the A.A.

*Dr. VAN NIEROP:

As far as I am concerned, they can join any association just as long as they are saved. But I think we need more than the A.A. I think that if the State could purchase such a place where people who have become alcoholics can go and work and can be given part of the earnings, it would put an end to the idleness which often causes people to become alcoholics. I do not want to go into this matter any further; I think the Minister understands what I mean. What I have in mind is that these people should not be sent to such a place by a magistrate because then a stigma attaches to them. There are many families who are in despair because they cannot keep these people away from drink and these people could be helped in such a place.

Then the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark has raised a matter to which I feel the Government should give closer attention. One is sometimes approached by people who say: Look, my neighbour is receiving so much from the Department of Social Welfare; he is much better off than I am. I have never asked the Government for assistance and I now also ask for something because he is receiving so much. I do not think the Government should not help people who need help, but what I am saying is that much of the money which is being paid out, is being paid to people who do not need it, who can manage without that money. On the other hand there are people who really need the money but who cannot get it for one reason or another. I understand that such an applicant must fill in a form and subscribe to an oath and that he must indicate what he owns and what he earns. There are many people who make mistakes in filling in that form. The man who fills in the form correctly and honestly is perhaps just above the limit and cannot receive any assistance, while the other man who is dishonest does in fact receive such assistance. I think that something should be done in this regard. I want to tell the hon. the Deputy Minister that the people who need it, both White and non-White, are very grateful to the Government for the assistance which they are receiving. Many of these people use part of the meagre amount which they receive to help give their children a proper education. One often finds children with a high intelligence quotient whose parents cannot afford to give them a proper education, and I ask whether something cannot be done so that these people can be given an opportunity to enjoy a better education, and perhaps even a university education.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

: This is not a question for my Department.

*Dr. VAN NIEROP:

I know that that is not the task of this Department, but the point I want to make is that if assistance can be given to people who have such children, it would also be in the interests of the State. I am pleading here this afternoon on behalf of those people who in my opinion are more deserving cases than the old people who do not have long to live. I am pleading for the future of the White nation and of the people of South Africa in general. The less people we have who have not reached the necessary standard of education, the more the country will prosper and the more people we can keep out of gaol, if the State can only give a little more attention to them.

*Dr. DE BEER:

I should just like to ask the Deputy Minister when he replies to the debate to make clear what his attitude is as regards Public Service pensioners, particularly those who went on pension a long time ago. From time to time one receives representations from these people. I do not have the necessary information to test the truth of all the allegations which are made and it is for this reason that I am raising this matter by way of a question rather than by way of a motion. The position which these people have submitted to me is, in brief, that they retired ten, 15 or 20 years ago when the value of money was of course far higher than it is to-day. Although it is conceded that a special allowance is already being paid to them in addition to the allowances which are paid to all pensioners …

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

It amounts to £147 per annum.

*Dr. DE BEER:

Yes, this is given as a percentage in the representations which have been made to me, but I assume that the figure is the same. These people nevertheless feel, rightly or wrongly, that when this special allowance is compared with the increases which have been granted in old-age and war veterans’ pensions, and particularly when it is compared with the rise in the cost of living, they are worse off to-day than when they went on pension 15 or 20 years ago. Mr. Chairman, I hope that I have shown in the past that I am the last person to rise and to advocate irresponsible, thoughtless increases in all pensions. I fully appreciate the financial implications. But seeing that we are dealing here on the one hand with people who have contributed to their own pensions, and on the other hand with people who rely on the generosity of the State for their pensions, I think that the State should give immediate attention to the position of the former. If it is not correct to say that these people have, as it were, been left behind as a result in the rise of the cost of living, then I shall apologize, but I am raising the matter as a result of representations which I have received and I shall be glad to hear what the hon. the Minister thinks about this matter.

*Mr. G. L. H. VAN NIEKERK:

I am sorry the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) is not here at the moment. He has criticized the Government and the Minister in respect of the old-age pensions which are paid to Coloureds because they are supposedly so much less than those paid to the Whites. I want to ask him whether he and the businessmen who agree with his political views pay the same salaries to Coloureds who are in their employ as they pay to Whites. I should like to know whether they still discriminate. The standard of living which the White man must maintain in this country is far higher at the moment than that of the Coloured and that is why the pension paid to the White man is also higher. If there is one thing which is proved by the expenditure on this Vote and the concessions which the Deputy Minister has announced this afternoon, then it is that the National Party Government and the hon. the Deputy Minister in particular are sincerely concerned about the less privileged people of our country, the old people, the children from disrupted homes and the physically disabled. It shows that the Government is always prepared to extend a helping hand to the needy in their hour of trouble. We of course believe that the best type of assistance is always that assistance which helps the helpless to help themselves, and here we think particularly of employment—employment which is not only aimed at supporting such a person, but also at the realization of his own inner self and the development of his inner character. But unfortunately there are times in the lives of people when they are no longer able to work, no matter how much they would like to do so. We think of the aged who as a result of their advanced years have become too infirm to do a day’s work. We think of people who have become physically disabled, who as a result of some physical defect are not able to work, and the tragedy is that although the basic necessities of life of these people continue, they no longer have the income they require to provide such basic needs. The National Party Government and this Deputy Minister not only have an open heart but also an open purse. That is proved by the expenditure provided for on this Vote. Mr. Chairman, the total amount in State expenditure provided for on these Estimates is R719,325,200, as compared with an amount of R76,557,000 on this Vote. It is clear from these figures that the heart of this Government is at least as big as the human heart is in relation to its own body. Despite the State’s heavy financial commitments, a considerable sum is still being put aside on these Estimates for what is pure charity. And what we find encouraging is that these amounts continue to show a rising tendency, as the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark has shown. In 1960-1 the expenditure was R74,384,068; to-day it is R76,557,000, i.e. an increase of R2,172,932. And then the hon. member for Durban (North) (Mr. J. Lewis) says he is disappointed at the provision made on this Vote. What an unwitting charge against the Government of his own party which was in power prior to 1948!

*Dr. STEENKAMP:

It was a good Government.

*Mr. G. L. H. VAN NIEKERK:

Yes, under that Government the country supposedly fared very well in the economic sphere, as they are always trying to tell us.

*Dr. STEENKAMP:

We had an £8,000,000 surplus and we lent £80,000,000 to England.

*Mr. G. L. H. VAN NIEKERK:

Yes, they had such a big surplus, but what did they give to the old-age pensioners—only R8,000,000! This Government under whose régime the country has supposedly not been so prosperous, i.e. according to hon. members, has succeeded in setting aside R23,374,000 for old-age pensioners. That is the difference. The hon. member for Vanderbijlpark has also shown how the amounts have increased over the years—fourfold in the case of old-age pensions; threefold in the case of war veterans, and in the case of disability allowances the pension has increased from £54 per annum per person to £127 14s., which shows that although the country was always so “ prosperous ” under the United Party, the National Party is the true friend of the needy people of our country.

Capt. HENWOOD:

I want to add my plea to those who have asked for a thorough investigation of the means test. The hon. the Minister did announce one alleviation in relation to the means test in that where a man did not get an inheritance as far as money was concerned, his pension would not be cut off immediately, but I should like to ask him if that applies to a person who inherits a home with no income, where the home, their own home, in which they have lived for years, may be valued by a city valuation higher than the allowance allowed to give him or her a pension. These are mostly cases of single women or elderly women, who inherit a home in their old age, and I will quote a case where I think this concession will not help. But before I go on with that, I should like to pay a tribute to the Commissioner of Pensions for the way in which he interprets the law to the very advantage of old people who need help. Where he can help us, he does. But he is tied by the Act. I want to quote this case, and it is not the only case I have had—I have had three cases during the last six or eight months. The case I want to quote is that of a woman who lived with her mother and nursed her parents for the last 30 years. The mother lived into the nineties. She died and the woman inherited the house. The house originally, if she had inherited it some years ago, would not have prevented her from getting a pension. She has been enjoying an old-age pension herself for 20 years. She lived in the home, in which she now has been living for 79 years, and that woman lost her pension when her mother died in February. The home was left to her and in August they cut off her pension and she was required to pay back-pay. She has no income whatsoever and she is living in her old home in an area which, also by Government action (and that can happen to many people), is adjacent to an area which will probably be proclaimed as a non-European group area. She cannot sell that home at anything like the city valuation for that very reason. Nobody wants to buy property in that area. She sits in an empty home, not a big home—she has only got two bedrooms in it—but it is a home that over the years has been revalued and revalued and was revalued only a few months before she inherited it, so that now by the means test she is put out of court as far as an old-age pension is concerned. There is a woman who has done a good job. In her young days she worked, but to-day at her age she cannot work any more, but for years she nursed her parents, and to-day the state says: “You own a home, but you cannot sell it except to one particular group and because it is bordering on a group area she cannot get anything like a reasonable price. If she were to sell it to-day in the open market, she would get a mere pittance. Everyone knows how difficult it is to sell any property in the market to-day, but where it is adjacent to a group area for non-Europeans, what would she get as an income? A pittance to live in one room for the rest of her life! She is an old woman to-day who has lived in that house I think since 1889, ‘ and we tell her: You must sell it to get a pittance to live in a back room. I’ll put all the facts in writing and submit it to the Minister. And she is getting every month a demand for repayment of an amount received and she has not got one penny of income. She has got to meet her rates in connection with which one of her family is helping her. I know that somebody in the Department will quote the case of somebody who buys a house with a great number of rooms and says “ Different members of my family are living in the rooms and I am getting no income ”, whilst it is known that in some instances they are being well paid for those rooms in the form of rentals. Mr. Chairman, that is a totally different case and I do feel that this is one of the cases that needs full investigation. The Minister and the Government—and the same thing has been said by previous Governments—say “ Where are we to find all this money for social pensions?” We know it is running into millions. That is why we say that the Government should at the earliest possible moment institute a national insurance scheme. Then the money will be forthcoming from the public as such. You would even save the money that you are spending to-day on this very issue. The money would be subscribed by the public, and I think the public would be only too happy to do so. One sees the advantages of the unemployment benefits scheme, and I think here the hon. the Minister ought to take the earliest possible opportunity and bring pressure to bear on the Cabinet to help the old age people of the Union who do not even enjoy an old age pension. Under a national insurance scheme they would not be receiving charity. They would be receiving something to which they subscribed and to which they are entitled.

The MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT:

I move—

That the Chairman report progress and ask leave to sit again.

Agreed to.

House Resumed:

Progress reported and leave asked to sit again.

House to resume in Committee on 24 April.

The House adjourned at 5.37 p.m.

MONDAY, 24 APRIL 1961 Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 2.20 p.m. NEW MEMBER

Mr. SPEAKER announced that Mr. Johannes Wilhelm Rail had been elected a member of the House of Assembly for the electoral division of Bethal-Middelburg on Wednesday, 19 April 1961.

PUBLIC HEALTH AMENDMENT BILL

First Order read: Third reading,—Public Health Amendment Bill.

Bill read a third time.

LAND BANK AMENDMENT BILL

Second Order read: Second reading,—Land Bank Amendment Bill.

*The MINISTER OF FINANCE:

I move—

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, you will remember that two years ago the Land Bank Act was amended and we introduced radical amendments. These new powers have been used to finance agriculture in South Africa on a much wider basis than in the past. Because the Bank was now entering new terrain, it had to some extent to feel its way in order to determine whether the powers granted to it made effective administration possible or not. We are now in the position to be able to judge whether there are defects in the administration and whether those defects can be remedied. During the past two years certain defects, mostly of a technical nature, came to light, and after the Land Bank Board had reported to it about this matter, the Government decided to make certain amendments to the Act which we hope will facilitate and make more reasonable the functions and administration of the Land Bank.

The first, the most important and the most urgent of the amendments now being made is contained in Clause 1. You will remember, Sir, that the Land Bank in future will have to find its own funds in the open market. With its first issue of long-term loans it received the support of the Public Debt Commissioners, but the Attorney-General directed attention to the fact that as the Act reads at present they, i.e. the Public Debt Commissioners, can invest money in the Land Bank temporarily only, and because these obligations are for a period of 15 years they are strictly speaking not entitled to subscribe to Land Bank issues. That is an anomaly and we want to remedy it immediately so as to give the Public Debt Commissioners the right not only to invest in Land Bank issues on a short-term basis, but also long-term. Because the next issue of the Land Bank will have to take place one of these days, it is very important that this right should be given to them so that they will be enabled to subscribe to this Land Bank issue if they consider it expedient to do so when that loan is floated.

Then it is also provided that this provision will be made retrospective to cover the funds they have already invested in the Land Bank in the previous issue, which to some extent was not done quite legally. That, as I say, is the reason for the urgency. We want them to have the power to subscribe as soon as possible when the Land Bank loan is floated.

The second amendment proposed here is contained in Clauses 2 and 4. Various control boards, including the Wool Board, as hon. members know, deposit funds with the Land Bank, and in the normal course of events they can also get cash credit advances in order to finance their own business. That applies only to the boards established under the National Marketing Council, but the Land Bank does not have the power to grant a loan to the Wool Board or to any other body, even though it is concerned with promoting agriculture, but which was established in terms of some other Act. I am thinking, e.g., of the South African Wool Commission. It may well happen that such a body has funds on deposit in the Land Bank, and it may be that it wants to ask the Land Bank for financial assistance, but the Land Bank has not the power to provide it with credit loans, even though that body has funds on deposit with it, and the only method which can be adopted is the clumsy one that such a body must now withdraw the deposits it has with the Land Bank, because it cannot be assisted in the ordinary way by getting a cash credit advance. We now propose, to facilitate the financing, to grant the Land Bank Board the power to grant a loan to any body established by Act of Parliament with the object of promoting agriculture.

A further amendment is contained in Clause 3 (a) and (b), to provide for the following contingency. After the Land Bank was given power to advance money on the security of the hypothecation of movable property—the loan on hypothec—it was inundated with applications. It is, therefore, obvious that it will have to cope with a variety of types and characters of applicants. Whilst the great majority of these applicants are honest and sincere in regard to their obligations towards the bank, cases unfortunately do arise where ulterior motives also play a rôle; the board has found that after granting a loan on hypothec it grants authority to the applicant on the strength of which he can buy cattle or implements from a third party, and that he then does so and takes possession of these articles, but thereafter neglects to comply with the conditions of the advance, and by neglecting to carry out the terms of the hypothec he does not enable the bank to pay the seller. Now such sellers can justifiably allege that if it were not for the authority issued by the Land Bank they would not have sold their animals or implements to the applicant, or they would not have handed them over, and that they are prejudiced and, in some cases, have to suffer losses through no fault of their own, and merely because they expected the Land Bank to fulfil its undertaking as contained in the letter of authority. But the Land Bank Board, on the other hand, as the Act reads now, can only pay out such a loan after the conditions of the hypothec have been properly carried out. It has no means of forcing the applicant to comply with the requirements other than to withdraw the application of the loan which was handed to it and on which it acted. That, by itself in fact, punishes the applicant, but does not improve the position of the sellers, whilst the applicant enjoys the benefit of possessing the cattle or goods he purchased. For this reason the amending Bill now provides that the board can attach the cattle and movable property which was purchased on its authority, and in regard to which the conditions of the hypothec were not carried out. The board can attach and sell the property, even though this property has not yet been formally hypothecated to the bank by means of the signature of the hypothec. In this way the board will then be able to pay the sellers in cases where it is satisfied that the transactions· were entered into purely on the basis of the letter of authority and the seller complied with all the requirements with which he had to comply. In such a case the applicant can be held responsible for any deficit, and he receives the benefit of any surplus. In order to protect the right of the sellers, it is provided that the cattle or movable property obtained by the applicant in this way cannot be attached by the other creditors of the applicant by virtue of an order of court whilst the property is· still in possession of the applicant.

A further point—and that is in connection with the first part of Clause 3 (a)—is that, whilst in the normal course of events the attachment and sale of hypothecated property takes place through the deputy sheriff, cases occur where it would be to the advantage of the farmer, as well as of the bank, if that matter is rather handled by an official of the bank. There will sometimes not be the same degree of interest from the side of the deputy sheriff as there would be if an official of the Land Bank handled the matter, with the result that much of the property sold in this manner will not be sold to the best advantage, and both the applicant and the Land Bank suffer loss. The Act also provides that after attachment the property hypothecated should be sold by public auction. In far distant areas it is not always possible to transfer the cattle or movable property to suitable central spots for auction. Circumstances may also make it desirable rather to arrange the sale by public tender. For this reason the amending Bill grants the board additional powers. Hon. members will remember that in so far as making use of other officials is concerned, such procedures existed in terms of the earlier legislation dealing with the granting of relief, and in practice that procedure worked very well, whilst the method of selling by tender as opposed to selling by public auction is equally well known. The interests of the applicant or debtor are thoroughly taken into consideration when deciding which will be the better of the two methods to be adopted in any particular case.

Clause 3 (c) contains a further amendment. As I have already said, it is to be expected that there will also be weak characters amongst those who apply, and who thereafter will act irregularly in regard to the security. It is my view that the negligible number of dishonest people should not impede the financing of the large majority of honest persons, which now in fact happens if the board first has to insist on proof that the applicant is a settled farmer of irreproachable character. In fact, this would complicate the chances of the large number of young beginners to receive assistance. As against that, it is essential to establish the necessary machinery to be able to take effective action in the case of dishonest persons, particularly in order to protect the honest ones. As the matter stands now, the onus of proving irregular action rests on the Land Bank, and from the very nature of the matter the Land Bank finds it extremely difficult to prove that the disappearance of its security was due to the irregular action of the debtor. It is, therefore, now being proposed to transfer the onus to the debtor and to provide a sanction in the Act itself for irregular actions. Hon. members will realize that in bona fide cases, where the security dies or gets lost, it will be easy for the debtor to prove that the loss was not due to his irregular actions, and, therefore, there is no danger that innocent persons will land in trouble as a result of this provision. In fact, this provision is based on a similar provision in the regulations promulgated under the State Advances Act of 1935, whilst there is also a similar provision in the Farmers’ Assistance Act of 1931, and the application of the sanctions under these two Acts has never resulted in any trouble with bona fide cases of loss of stock.

Then, finally, there is a further technical difficulty which is now being remedied by means of this amendment contained in Clause 5 of the Bill. It arises from the fact that as the Act reads at present the Land Bank Board is empowered to pay over to the deputy sheriff any surplus from the sale of land— we are not dealing with movable property here —after its own claims have been satisfied, if the property concerned was declared to be executable by a competent court before the Land Bank took possession of it. But if an extraneous creditor obtained judgment against the debtor after the board had already attached the land, the board cannot legally pay over any surplus to the deputy sheriff, nor does the deputy sheriff have the right to receive it, with the result that if such creditors want to safeguard themselves in respect of such a surplus derived from the sale of the farm, they must first apply to court again for an order of attachment—commonly known as a garnishee order—before the money can be paid over. Here we are now providing that even in this case, viz. where an extraneous creditor has obtained a judgment against a debtor after the board attached the land, the board can pay over the surplus to the deputy sheriff, and that the various extraneous creditors should then negotiate with the deputy sheriff, so that the Land Bank Board will not have to go to the trouble of taking up the various garnishee orders. After having satisfied his own claims, it then simply pays over the surplus to the deputy sheriff in the same way as it would do under the present Act in the opposite circumstances.

These are the most important provisions of the Bill. They are mostly intended simply to facilitate and to speed up the operation of the Act and to ensure that the Act is not abused, but the most important provision is to give the Public Debt Commissioners the right to subscribe, if they wish to do so, to a long-term issue of the Land Bank.

Mr. WATERSON:

As the hon. the Minister has pointed out, the purpose of the Land Bank is to assist in the development of the agricultural industry, and therefore I think that any amendment of the Act which comes before this House should be examined from that point of view, whether or not the amendments are going to improve the machinery for assisting in the development of the agricultural industry. We have examined these proposals and we find that there is nothing in them which can be said to hinder the actions of the Bank, and quite clearly the proposals are intended to facilitate them. We have therefore seen no reason for not giving our support to this Bill.

There are three real points in the Bill. The first one, as the Minister has said, is to clear up the right of the Public Debt Commissioners to invest in issues which may be made by the Land Bank. Of course, this point really is not so much a question of the Land Bank; to my mind it is a question of whether the Public Debt Commissioners can safely invest trustee funds in the Land Bank, and it seems to me that on that point the Government is ultimately the security for the Land Bank and its capital, and indeed the Government is the security for the Public Debt Commissioners as well. I can see no reason therefore why this point should not be conceded and why the Public Debt Commissioners should not be entitled to invest in Land Bank issues in the same way that they can invest in any Government stock, because the security for the Public Debt Commissioners, in both cases in the last resort, is the Government.

The second point with which the Bill deals seems to me to be rectifying an anomaly really. The Land Bank can now lend money to any bodies established under the Marketing Act, but here you have two important bodies, the Wool Board and the Dairy Control Board, both of which were established before the Marketing Act was passed and which function under a separate Act of Parliament. In logic, quite clearly if the Land Bank can advance money to any agricultural body for the advancement of agriculture, it is anomalous that they should not be allowed to do so in respect of two very important bodies such as the Wool Board and the Dairy Control Board, so I can see no objection to that.

The third proposal in the Bill is to improve the administration of the chattel mortgage system, which is now being evaded up to a point in certain cases. Sir, I have never been satisfied that on a long-term basis the chattel mortgage system is really a sound one in the advancement and the development of the agricultural industry, but that is not a subject that we have to debate this afternoon, because we are not discussing that principle. But quite clearly since we have the system of chattel mortgages, the administration of that system should be as tight as possible and there should be as few loopholes as possible for evasion of the responsibilities under that mortgage system, whether they are done through ignorance or whether they are done through plain dishonesty. Therefore the proposals in the Bill to tighten up the administration and to prevent evasions, whether done through ignorance or through dishonesty, seem to me quite proper and right, and therefore we on this side of the House will support this Bill.

Capt. HENWOOD:

On behalf of the farmers on this side of the House, I want to say that we do welcome these amendments. As the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) has said these amendments give the Land Bank greater powers in relation to loans to certain agricultural bodies which represent the farmers, that is to say the wool-buying commission under the Wool Board and the Dairy Industry Control Board, but it also facilitates the application of control in the case of farmers who have been granted loans by the Land Bank on the chattel mortgage system. I think that the Land Bank is doing a wonderful job of work in relation to loans to young farmers, because very many loans are made to young farmers, and many of them do not realize just what is required when they get loans without guarantees or bonds other than the implements or the stock that they have purchased with the money loaned to them. I believe that there are some 7,000 or 8,000 such loans being made as individual loans, which shows what a large amount of money is involved. But it does not only facilitate the application of control by the Land Bank in the case of a man getting into financial trouble with other people, enabling the Land Bank to come in and to protect their own assets, but I think this facility to take over the assets of the debtor and to dispose of them to the best advantage, without the necessity for a sheriff to step in on a court order, by just auctioning those goods is a definite advance not only to protect the rights of the Land Bank, but definitely to protect the rights of the farmer concerned, that is to say the debtor, and in many cases even his other creditors. On behalf of the farmers on this side of the House, therefore, I would like to say that we welcome this measure. We feel quite sure that it will facilitate the loans that the Bank makes to these people and give the Bank greater control.

The MINISTER OF FINANCE:

I just want to thank hon. member for the way in which they have received this Bill, which is the result of our experiments over the last few years to put the Land Bank in a position where it can extend help on a wider scale than before. I appreciate the assistance given to us by hon. members in trying to achieve what is our purpose with the Land Bank, that is to say, to make it an effective instrument for carrying out the policy which we all have at heart and that is the promotion of the agricultural industry in this country.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

MARKETING AMENDMENT BILL

Second Order read: Second reading,—Marketing Amendment Bill.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

I move—

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members know the last occasion on which the Marketing Act was amended was in 1951 and that was done as a result of the report which the Marketing Act Commission had submitted in 1949. The amendments which were effected to the Marketing Act at that time were mainly based on the recommendations of the said commission.

Nearly ten years have elapsed since then and during that time the marketing of not less than ten classes of products have been placed under control in terms of the Marketing Act. Because the marketing of these products are regulated, eight new control boards have been established over and above the nine which existed in 1951. The new-comers are control boards in respect of the following: potatoes (established in 1951); oil seed (that is to say groundnuts and sunflower seed), 1952; lucerne seeds, 1952; hen’s eggs, 1953; rooibos tea, 1954; Tied beans, 1955; the fresh milk scheme in Cape Town, 1956 and bananas, 1957. In 1957 the marketing of kaffir corn was placed under the control of the Maize Board. It is intended to establish a marketing scheme for the marketing of fresh milk in the Witwatersrand area, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town in the near future. The existing fresh milk scheme in Cape Town will be incorporated in this scheme. Consideration is also being given to-day to a scheme in respect of the canning of pineapples. Mr. Speaker, it is to be understood that the marketing problems connected with the various products are different. In order to be as effective as possible the type of control which is exercised over the marketing of any product should be adapted to the marketing problems connected with that particular product. The Marketing Act is consequently very elastic as regards the type of scheme that may be introduced, with the result that it has hitherto been possible to introduce various types of schemes within the framework of the Act, schemes which have been adapted to the problems connected with the marketing of the product concerned. For example, the mealie and wheat schemes are one-channel schemes with fixed prices, in other words, producers can only sell to those boards and at fixed prices. On the other hand, the oil seed, rooibos tea, banana and some other schemes are compulsory one-channel schemes where pooling takes place. In other words, producers may not sell the product concerned other than through the board. The board makes advances, manages the pools for the sale of the product and pays out an “ agterskot ” at a later stage. Other schemes are the so-called “ floor price schemes ” where the ordinary marketing channels are left undisturbed but where the board concerned announces a price which it is prepared to pay. There are other types of scheme as well, but I have mentioned a sufficient number to indicate the measure of elasticity that is required in an Act such as the Marketing Act, which is the measure in terms of which these schemes can be established and which prescribes the powers which may be given to a control board.

From the nature of the Marketing Act, which is an enabling measure, the powers which are given to the various boards by means of the relevant scheme are all derived from the provisions of the Act. Although it is impossible in practice to lay down in the Act in so many words everything that such a board may do, the provisions of the Act nevertheless go into such detail that it can generally be determined with certainty whether any specific action on the part of a board is legal or not. Since 1951, however, more particularly in the case of the additional products for which control boards have been established, problems have arisen which require measures for which the Act does not make provision. These are not problems of a serious nature or problems involving questions of principle, but they are nevertheless troublesome in the effective application of some of the control schemes. Apart from this a number of important problems have arisen during the past few months as to the meaning of a few provisions in the existing Act. It has always been the policy to be very precise in interpreting the Act. That should be the position, having regard to the fact that the Act is very far-reaching. It appears, however, that certain interpretations which have in the past been placed on some provisions will have to be defined specifically in the Act. The object of the Bill which is before the House at the moment is to solve the problems which have arisen. Most of the provisions are concerned with matters of an administrative nature. Those that are concerned with matters of principle do not create any new principles which have not been accepted in the past in the practical application of the Act. In essence, therefore, this Bill is a measure to tidy up the existing Act and to make it more effective. By way of summarizing the Bill I shall now deal with a few of the more important amendments, particularly those of a far-reaching nature.

I now come to the control of fresh milk and fresh cream. Before the Act was amended in 1946 all dairy products which were being controlled, had of necessity to fall under the Dairy Control Board. The functions of this board, however, are specialized in that the board regulates the marketing of only those dairy products which are intended for processing, as well as the processed products. That means that in the case of cream and milk, for instance, the board only controls the flow and the price of cream and milk intended for processing into secondary products such as butter and cheese. When the Act was amended in 1946, provision was made for the establishment of a separate board for milk and cream intended for consumption in an unprocessed state, or as ice cream or as a product other than those mentioned in the Dairy Industry Act of 1918. Such a board has already been established in the Cape Peninsula. The Act is now being amended in this respect that skim milk intended for such purposes can also be controlled by a board like the Cape Town Milk Board.

Control Boards which only deal with the exportation of a product:

As hon. members know, the citrus industry as well as the deciduous fruit industry of the Western Province and Langkloof concentrate mainly on producing for export purposes. That part of the crop which is marketed in the Union is a very small percentage. For many years the Citrus Board has been regulating the internal marketing and the exportation of citrus fruit. Because production and consumption take place over such a wide field, it is practically impossible to have an effective one-channel flow in respect of local sales. In addition to this, the slight improvement that that did bring about, did not compensate for the costs and problems connected with it. The board concluded that it was not worth while continuing with it and relinquished its control over the internal marketing of citrus products. To-day the board concentrates on the export of citrus fruit only. In the case of the Deciduous Fruit Board the board is still controlling both internal and external marketing, except in the case of apples and apricots, where it is also just concerned with the export angle. It is not clear, however, whether a control scheme which deals only with the export of a product falls within the scope of the Act. To remove any doubt which may exist in this regard, the definition in the Act of “ a scheme ” is being amended in such a way that it will also include schemes which are only concerned with regulating exports.

Who may submit new schemes or amendments to schemes:

The existing Act provides that a society of producers may submit a proposed scheme dealing with a product or products which are produced by members of that society. Amongst others the South African Agricultural Union has in the past submitted such proposed schemes. In an application to court recently it was alleged, however, that the South African Agricultural Union could not do that because it was not a society of producers as envisaged by the Act. In practice, schemes submitted by the South African Agricultural Union were considered by the particular commodity committee of the Agricultural Union and the Department had no reason to doubt the right of the Agricultural Union to submit those schemes. It was however, decided not to contest the allegation made in the application to court in view of the fact that it might have taken a long time for the court to come to a decision. In order to remove any measure of doubt which may exist in this regard, we now provide that a proposed scheme or an amendment to an existing scheme, may be submitted by any body which, in the opinion of the Minister, is representative of people active in the agricultural field.

Establishment of more than one scheme for the same product:

It seems that at some time or other it will be necessary to establish two or more separate schemes, each with its own control board, in respect of the one or other product; for example, a scheme in the case of peaches intended for canning and another scheme in the case of peaches intended for consumption in a fresh state, or even a separate scheme on a regional basis. Consideration has been given for some time to the possibility of establishing a separate board in the case of fruit intended for canning, because this industry has its own peculiar problems. It is very doubtful, however, whether more than one scheme in respect of the same product can be established under the Act, and we therefore propose amending the Act in order to make the necessary provision in this regard.

Differentiation in the levy on a product according to the area in which the product is produced or sold:

Because certain products are mainly produced in particular areas, it has already happened that the board concerned (as in the case of kaffir com) has applied a more comprehensive scheme in the most important production regions than in the rest of the Union. In such a case it is sometimes justifiable to impose a higher levy in those areas where the scheme is applied more comprehensively than in the rest of the Union. For example, in the case of the proposed fresh milk scheme for the Rand, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town local conditions may demand that the levy should vary from area to area. In terms of the existing Act there may be differentiation between areas in practically every respect concerning control, but the levy is not mentioned in this connection. An amendment is proposed therefore which will also legalize differentiation in the case of a levy.

Co-operation with neighbouring territories in respect of the export of agricultural products:

The law already provides that with the concurrence of a neighbouring state or area, including Walvis Bay, some of the provisions of a scheme may be applied to a product which comes into the Union, en route to a destination outside the Union. In the case of citrus fruit arrangements exist whereby the board incorporates the exports from Swaziland with those of the Union to ensure co-ordinated marketing abroad of the citrus fruit from the Union and from Swaziland, to the advantage of both. The exports from Swaziland, however, do not go via the Union but via Lourenço Marques. Provision is now being made that a board, with the concurrence of the authority concerned, may exercise control over products which arrive at Lourenço Marques from a neighbouring territory en route to a destination beyond the borders of the Union. Apart from co-ordinating marketing, this control includes the application of those standard test in regard to quality which apply in the Union.

Differentiation between the classes of producers and dealers who have to register with a control board:

At the moment a provision may be incorporated in a scheme whereby producers can be prohibited from selling, manufacturing or processing a controlled product unless they are registered with the board concerned, or whereby dealers can be prohibited from dealing in such a product, unless they are registered with the board concerned. Such registration is often granted automatically; for example, where the object of the requirement that he should register with the board, is merely to keep a record of the persons from whom the board may from time to time obtain information or of the persons from whom it has to collect the levies. In the case of the levy it will be readily appreciated that a levy can only be imposed once on the same product. In those cases where the trade has to pay the levy, the practical solution is to collect the levy when the dealer buys the product from the producer. After that the product may pass through the other trade channels without being subject to further levies. So as to ensure that the levy is paid, it is necessary, however, for this particular type of dealer, namely, the one who buys direct from the producer, to register with the board and to submit regular statements as to his purchases from producers. In other words, for this specific purpose, the board is not interested in the numerous other dealers who may also handle this product. The existing Act, however, does not say that only a certain type of dealer should register, and the position is now rectified by way of an amendment. The same is being done in the case of the registration of producers. The effect of this amendment will be that under any scheme only a certain class of producer may be prohibited from selling, manufacturing or processing the product concerned, unless he is registered with the board. For example, only those egg producers who own a certain number of fowls will be required to register. As far as the Egg Board is concerned, this will be of more practical value, because the data in connection with the anticipated production in respect of these producers, for instance, will be sufficient to enable the board to estimate what production to expect. The large number of producers who farm on a small scale will not be bothered with registration, and that will save the board a great deal of expense.

Powers of Advisory Committee which include non-members:

At the moment the Act provides that the board may establish advisory committees in certain areas in respect of certain products which are controlled by the board. These committees may consist of people who are not members of the board. The composition of such a committee must either be laid down in the scheme or be determined by the board with the approval of the Minister. The Maize Board, for instance, has a Kaffir Corn Advisory Committee, and should a fresh milk scheme be introduced in respect of more than one area, there will of necessity have to be such a committee for each separate area. The Act also provides that the control board concerned can delegate any of its power to such a committee, on any condition which the board may lay down. Lawyers are of the opinion that this means that such a committee may even receive executive powers from the control board concerned. In this case, however, I feel that, in view of the fact that these committees may also consist of non-members of the board, it is highly desirable that the powers that may be delegated to such a committee, as well as the conditions under which that is done, should be subject to the approval of the Minister and, as such, automatically subject to a report and the recommendations of the National Marketing Council. By controlling the powers of such committees, we will prevent a position arising in which a body, other than the control board concerned which has come into existence, a body which, furthermore, consists of non-board members, becoming too independent in respect of matters of policy.

Ministerial control over the prices at which controlled products can be purchased and sold:

Price fixation generally is subject to the approval of the Minister, and the Act requires that resolutions passed by a board in connection with price fixation, together with any minority proposals, should be referred to the National Marketing Council, which, in turn, has to submit the resolution and minority proposal (if any), together with its report and recommendations, to the Minister. However, the law does not require this approval where a board passes a resolution in connection with the prices at which it buys and sells the very product in respect of which it has been established. The difference between the two cases is that, in the case of general price fixation, a maximum or minimum or absolute price can legally be forced on to the person concerned, whereas the prices at which boards buy and sell are more or less their own domestic affair. It is obvious, however, that the price at which a control board buys and sells a product determines to a large extent the general price level of that product. The price at which the board purchases is automatically the floor price, and the price at which it sells will generally be the ceiling price to the producers of that product as long as it has adequate supplies to meet the demand. It is considered that a resolution passed by a control board in regard to these matters is as important as a resolution in connection with price fixation which is of general application and should, consequently, also be subject to a report and recommendations by the National Marketing Council and the approval of the Minister. The control boards realize this and regularly submit to the Minister, as part of their normal procedure, resolutions in connection with their purchase and selling prices for his approval. The Act is now being amended so that in future a board will only be able to sell and buy the product in respect of which it has been established, subject to conditions approved of by the Minister. The amendment is couched in these terms for administrative reasons, because it is not always possible to fix a specific price in advance, as, for example, where products are sold by auction. Wherever it is possible in practice, however, a specific price should be laid down in one of the conditions. This amendment, therefore, amounts to a ratification of a policy which, for practical reasons, has been followed in the past.

Purchase and sale and letting by control board of packing material and containers:

Both the Citrus Board and the Deciduous Fruit Board find it necessary to buy and sell the necessary packing material and containers which producers require on a large scale. The Banana Board and the Deciduous Fruit Board also let containers to producers. Doubt exists, however, whether a control board may carry out such a function and we are now making the necessary provision for that. The conditions under which the boards will be able to fulfil this function will be subject to the approval of the Minister. The general policy is that wherever possible ordinary trading channels should be used and the proposed powers in respect of packing material and containers will in practice be limited to cases where a strong case can be made out for it.

Exemption from a board’s order that producers may only market through certain channels:

The reason why a control board imposes a prohibition which prohibits producers from selling their products other than to or through the board concerned, or the persons designated by the board, is to obtain control over the supply of that product and to regulate its further flow. Nothing is detracted from the effectiveness of this control when a board gives exemption from such a prohibition in special cases, as for example, when a farmer is given exemption in respect of the quantity of a product that he wishes to sell as seed. In other cases it may facilitate the administration of the scheme if exemption from such a prohibition is granted to producers who sell very small quantities of such a product or who sell it in an area where it will be difficult for the board itself to do so. For example, when the Citrus Board still controlled the local market, it imposed this prohibition only on producers who owned more than 300 citrus trees. In order to remove a certain amount of doubt which exists as to the right of a control board to grant such exemption, this right is now being incorporated in the Act.

Prohibition on bringing in products of poor quality into an area:

The Act already prohibits producers from selling potatoes, for example, which are below standard in a controlled area, such as, for instance, the Witwatersrand and Pretoria. This power was exercised when the market was flooded with potatoes. This prohibition, however, does not prohibit traders from buying potatoes of an inferior quality outside the abovementioned areas and selling them in those areas. It is also legal for the producer to sell to such traders. In order to close this loophole, the sale of a product of a poor quality can be prohibited completely in the areas referred to, but that will be too drastic in those cases where the product deteriorates in quality after it has been brought into that area but before the trader concerned sells it. It is the intention, therefore, to take the power to prohibit all persons from bringing any product of a poor quality into a specific area. The deterioration of the quality of that product after it has been brought into the area, will therefore not affect the right to sell it.

Notice to producers to give notice of deliveries and penalties to be imposed on producers who neglect to give such notice or who deliver a quantity short or in excess of the quantity specified in their notice:

Provision is made to empower a board which operates a one-channel scheme and where the proceeds of the sales are pooled, to demand with the approval of the Minister that producers give notice beforehand of the quantity of the product which they will supply to the board over a definite period, and to impose a financial penalty on those producers who neglect to give such notice or who deliver more or less than the quantity specified in their notice. The object of this amendment is to strengthen the hand of the board which handles a highly perishable product such as bananas, for instance, in its attempts to co-ordinate the receipt and immediate disposal of the product. The Banana Board already requires producers to give notice every week as to the quantity they will deliver the succeeding week and in spite of the short notice which is given to-day, the board succeeds in arranging for the immediate disposal of those bananas, because it is impossible for the board to store the product. Considerable dislocation is caused by producers who deliver without prior notice, or who deliver considerable quantities short or in excess of the quantity stipulated in their notice. The result is that some markets are over-supplied, with a consequent drop in the price because of the higher percentage of deterioration, while other markets experience shortages. The Citrus Board also finds it necessary to have reliable data as to future deliveries seeing that shipping space has to be arranged for in advance. I realize that the power to impose financial penalties on producers for having neglected to give notice or timeous notice, must be exercised with the greatest circumspection possible. For this reason a provision will be inserted in the Act to the effect, firstly, that the amount of the penalty should be more or less equal to the loss sustained by the pool concerned; secondly, that the amount of the penalty that the Board decides on should be approved of by the Minister and, thirdly, that it should never exceed an amount which will have to be prescribed in the scheme itself. The law will, inter alia, also demand that the resolution passed by the board as to the amount of the penalty, which will be subject to the approval of the Minister as I have already said, should first be submitted to the National Marketing Council together with any minority proposals, and that the National Marketing Council should in turn submit the resolution and the minority proposals together with its report and recommendation to the Minister. In view of these precautionary measures we should be able to ensure that any penalty that may be imposed will be reasonable and that it will only be imposed in cases where the producer concerned was deliberately negligent or grossly negligent.

Refusal to register because of over-trading and registration of conditions limiting capacity:

In terms of some control schemes people may only process or manufacture products which are controlled, or trade in the product if they are registered with the control board. Control boards such as the Wheat Board, the Maize Board, Dairy Board and the Meat Board have the additional power to refuse such applications for registration. It has always been accepted that such refusal can also be based on the ground that there is over-trading, in other words that the capacity of the industry is sufficiently large. According to a recent judgment of the Appeal Court in a case against the Meat Board, control boards do not have the power to refuse registration on the ground of over-trading. The Act does not lay down the grounds on which registration may be refused, and provision is now being made by saying, in so many words, that a control board may, apart from any other legal reason, refuse registration on the ground of over-trading. The provision is also made more elastic so as to provide that where registration is granted, one of the conditions on which it is granted may be the imposition of a limit on the extent to which the product may be traded in, manufactured or processed. It has always been accepted that in this connection too limiting conditions as to registration were justifiable, but in view of the court decision to which I have referred, it is necessary to mention it specifically in the Act. Up to the present six of the seven control boards have been empowered to refuse to register traders or people who want to process a product, and they are concerned with manufacturers of dairy products, millers, bakers, meat purveyors, manufacturers of meat products, curers of hides and skins, and hide and skin dealers, packers of dried fruit and fresh milk distributors in Cape Town. The restriction which is placed on the registration of these undertakings is aimed at combating unnecessary expansion of the industries concerned, promoting the turnover and thus retaining the costs per unit within reasonable limits. Particularly in the case of the milling and baking industries, where there was a great deal of over-trading, great success has been achieved by restricting registration. This has, inter alia, given rise to amalgamations which have resulted in an appreciable reduction in costs. The Dairy Control Board controls the erection of new factories, but allows it according to the extent to which dairy production increases in newly established or existing areas. In the case of factories which produce dairy products the costs per unit decrease sharply as turnover increases.

The control boards as well as my Department are aware of the dangers of restrictive registration as recommended at the time by the Marketing Act Commission—the dangers inherent in less competition as far as efficiency is concerned, stifling initiative and the existence of a combination of interests that become so powerful that it is difficult to control them. Consequently the policy has always been applied with great circumspection and not before exhaustive investigation has been carried out. Apart from this, anybody who is dissatisfied with the decision of a board on his application for registration, has the right to appeal to the Minister. The amendment to the Act provides that the right of a control board to refuse registration on the ground of over-trading, cannot be exercised in the case of a farmer who wishes to produce a primary product or who wishes to sell the primary products which he produces. The amendment is of retrospective effect to 1951, the year when the right to refuse was specifically inserted in the Act. Since the Appeal Court decision of 14 November 1960, the control boards have no alternative but to grant registration, except of course where there are grounds for refusal other than over-trading. Consequently another provision is being inserted in the Act in terms of which all registrations that took place between 13 November 1960 and the date on which this Bill becomes law, will be cancelled, except those that were granted pursuant to a successful appeal to the Minister. In order to prevent people who will be affected by this, from having to incur unnecessary expense as regards their businesses, they were warned in December of last year that Parliament would be asked to make this legislation of retrospective effect. The cancellation of their registration certificates will, of course, not prevent them from applying afresh and in cases where there is no reason to refuse, the applications will be granted.

Introduction of a scheme without further voting where voting has taken place on a previous occasion and where the necessary majority was not obtained:

Hitherto it was found impracticable to ask producers to vote whether a scheme should be introduced or not, because a reliable list of bona fide producers with data regarding their production over the previous three years could not be compiled. The law provides, however, that the Governor-General may, by proclamation in the Gazette, give exemption from the voting requirements of the law, which means that a scheme may be introduced without taking a vote, provided the Minister is convinced that its introduction will be in the interests of the producers of the product in respect of which the scheme is being introduced. A vote was taken in the case of the proposed fresh milk scheme for the Rand, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. The result of the voting, however, was a fraction short of the requirements of the law, with the result that the scheme could not be introduced. The vote that was taken was defective in many respects, so much so, that it could not be regarded as a true reflection of the wishes of the producers. Since then producers have made fresh representations for the introduction of a scheme. It may again be possible in future to demand compliance with the voting requirements as contained in the Act, with the result that we are retaining them. On the strength of our experience in the case of the proposed fresh milk scheme, however, it is necessary to provide that where a vote has been in the past a scheme may be introduced without taking a further vote. The Bill makes the necessary provision for that.

Presumption in regard to the area in which a product is produced:

Some schemes relate only to a product which is produced in a specific area. In a case where it is suspected that an offence has been committed it is usually difficult to prove that the product in respect of which the alleged offence was committed, was produced in the area concerned. Consequently it is now proposed to insert a provision in which a presumption is created in favour of the prosecution in so far as the area in which the product is alleged to be grown. The onus will therefore rest on the accused to prove that the product comes from another area, something which ought to be easy if that is the case.

Producing proof in court in connection with certain contraventions:

At the moment some of the officials at the headquarters of the control boards spend a great deal of their time on travelling in connection with court cases where they often only appear in the witness box for a few minutes to testify that the accused did not furnish the board with certain information or did not make returns or did not pay a levy due to the board, or did not register with the board, or was not an agent of the board. The principle involved in this provision is similar to the principle contained in Section 239 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1955, and is not foreign to our legislation.

The Wheat Board has the peculiar experience that some people who have been prosecuted repeatedly for baking without registering with the board, simply carry on doing so. Light fines are imposed on every occasion but they do not deter the people concerned. Consequently we propose amending the law to the effect that where a producer or trader is found guilty for the third time or subsequently of not having complied with the requirement to register with the board, the court may rule that the equipment which he used in connection with the offence be forfeited to the State.

Primary producers, that is to say farmers, need have no fear of this provision, because they cannot be refused registration on the ground of over-trading.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of other amendments which are not defined in the Bill but which I will move in the Committee Stage. They are in respect of the National Marketing Council. As far as the composition of the Marketing Council is concerned, the law provides, inter alia, that there shall be a chairman and a vice-chairman, one of which should be an official of my Department, and in the absence of the chairman, the vice-chairman should take the chair. With the increase in the work of the Marketing Council it has become necessary always to have a chairman and a vice-chairman available if at all possible. This means that a chairman will have to be appointed without delay as soon as this position becomes vacant. It has been found convenient in the past, for domestic reasons, as happened very recently, to appoint an acting chairman, until such time as a permanent chairman is appointed.

This Bill, as it stands at the moment, makes no provision in this respect. I think it is advisable to make provision for this and I intend moving an amendment in the Committee Stage in respect of the chairmanship of the Marketing Council.

The other amendments which I have not mentioned are of an administrative and in most cases purely technical nature. The Bill was drafted after consultation with the National Marketing Council, the control boards and organized agriculture. This is a well-considered measure to tidy up the Marketing Act as a result of the problems which we have encountered over the years and to legalize things that have been done for a long time but in respect of which there has been some doubt as to whether they were permissible under the Marketing Act. I am therefore placing this Bill before the House without any reservation and I hope it will have a quick passage.

Mr. WARREN:

The hon. the Minister certainly spread himself this afternoon on the Marketing Act, and if I may say so at the outset, I think he has made out a very good case for this Amending Bill to go before a Select Committee before the second reading. I want to say to the hon. the Minister that I appreciate all the things he has touched upon this afternoon, but if those are all to be embodied in this amendment then I certainly think this Bill should be submitted to a Select Committee before the second reading, and I intend to ask the Minister to do so. However, I want to deal with the various clauses to be found in the Bill.

First of all, this Bill proposes to amend what has popularly been known as “ the Farmers’ Charter” from the time it went on to the Statute Book. The original Bill was thoroughly examined. It went throughout the country and was accepted by the farmers of the country as something that would bring about some stability and security, that would regulate the products they were marketing. It was then accepted and put on the Statute Book, in the late 1940s, owing to dissatisfaction that then existed, the matter was submitted to what was known as the Marketing Commission. That Commission brought in a comprehensive report, the recommendations of which, unfortunately, were ignored by this Government when it took over. I think the Marketing Act would be the better to-day had that report been adopted and many of its recommendations embodied in the Bill. However, before discussing the details I want to assure the hon. the Minister—and I think he will agree with me—that one thing stands out above all others: this Bill must be consolidated at the first opportunity so that those interested in it and who are most concerned with it should at least be able to understand its contents. Let me refer the hon. the Minister to the side notes in Clause 6. Let me refer him to Clause 13. I am not going to weary the House by reading these clauses. May I refer him to the Marketing Act itself—that is almost a spiderweb in red ink.

Can the hon. the Minister appreciate the difficulties that are encountered by those people who are trying to understand what is going on with regard to the control of their products? I want to assure the Minister that this Bill is a radical change from what was originally accepted when the Marketing Act was put on the Statute Book. And for that reason alone, if for no other, I think it should be submitted to a Select Committee.

I am doubtful whether the amendments in this Bill have been put to the people, nor have come from the people. But what is extremely important is that if this Bill is accepted this afternoon with these far-reaching clauses, the people most concerned with the Marketing Act need never to be consulted. Let me deal with just one of the definitions mentioned by the Minister when outlining the Bill, and that is in Clause 1 where it says “ scheme means a set of rules ”. I will not take it beyond that. Then it goes on to say that this set of rules affects (a) the marketing of any product in the Union; that is a point I have raised from time to time in this hon. House. Is the hon. the Minister satisfied with what is taking place in the marketing of farmers’ products on what is known generally as the morning markets? I mention this because many controlled products are coming on to the market. Are those markets reasonably located so that the public and most people concerned have easy access? Is he satisfied that the locations of those markets, far flung from the consumer centres, is in the best interests of the consumers and is not seriously going to affect the cost of living? Thirdly, is the hon. the Minister satisfied that the conduct of those markets is in the best interests of the producers? I say not. I make it my duty to attend many of those markets to see what goes on, and I want to assure the Minister that those markets are conducted in a manner that is distinctly prejudicial in the first place to the producer and, secondly, to the consumer. I think it is high time the hon. the Minister took a hand in this and tried to establish something that would be of greater benefit to the producers than the present morning market system.

I now want to deal with the amendment to this original section. It says in the original section that—-

Any association of producers or co-operative societies may submit schemes relating to any product which members of the association or society produce or in respect of which a board has been established.

Those are the people who, up to the present, have been able to submit schemes. It is true that the Marketing Council may also submit schemes. But in Clause 2 of this Bill we find a distinct departure from what was originally intended in the Act. It is a departure that cannot be lightly accepted without examination. I am going to read it to the hon. the Minister. It says—

Section 17 of the principal Act is hereby amended—
  1. (a) by the insertion in sub-section (1) after the word “ council ” of the words “ or any body which, in the opinion of the Minister, is representative of persons engaged in agricultural pursuits
  2. (b) by the substitution in the sub-section (2) for the words “ or board ” of the words “ board or body ”

I want to tell the hon. the Minister that that is quite foreign and is not in keeping with the original intention of the people who promoted the original Marketing Act, nor is it in keeping with the wishes of the people to-day. It is one of their safeguards that they should be able to promote schemes and submit them. Previously producers did that, but the Minister now wants to substitute a body. The future position, if accepted, will be that any group or body, not necessarily producers, nor necessarily people interested in the product, can submit schemes. It may be anybody at all. It may be the South African Agricultural Union, and I am going to suggest that that is what the hon. the Minister intends to accept. If he intends to accept that, may I suggest that the milk scheme he wants to promote, if it comes from the S.A.A.U., will not be acceptable. How many of the S.A.A.U. executive are to be found amongst the milk producers of South Africa? And will they speak on behalf of the milk producers of South Africa? Certainly not. It is true that the Minister may approve a body submitting a scheme. It is true that the Marketing Council may examine it, but the council need not bother itself any further after it has examined the scheme, and it cannot turn down the scheme. That is the position with which we are faced. And a “ body ” as far as this scheme is concerned, whatever it might be, is now to be given the same facilities as the Marketing Council and may submit schemes to the Minister at any time.

Mr. Speaker, there is only one way of dealing with the products of the farmers of South Africa, and that is to give them the opportunity of submitting schemes and allowing them to vote on them. There are some serious departures from that principle in the further clauses of this Bill. In terms of this Bill you have the Governor-General who is the Minister, able to proclaim in a Gazette that a vote is quite unnecessary. Why? I want to ask the hon. the Minister, why is he going to deprive the people most concerned of their right to vote on a scheme? The provisions I have mentioned are all against the original provisions of the Act and I ask the hon. the Minister to take due regard of that. It is quite obvious that the early application of these amendments, is designed to accept the S.A.A.U. as the body recommending a scheme, and the Minister wants to justify that by certain amendments found in this Bill. Further, by an amendment to Section 21 the Minister can accept a scheme from that body even if there is no vote on it.

Clause 10 indicates the extent to which the hon. the Minister proposes to go, and I propose to read that to this House—

Section 21 of the principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion in paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) after the expression “(1)bis of the words “(irrespective of whether or not such proposed scheme has previously been voted upon in terms of the provision of paragraph (a) and irrespective of the result of such voting) ”.

Does that not deprive all of the producers of their rights? I maintain that this legislation is fascist in its approach and, what is more, it will make these boards the untouchables from both the producers’ and the consumers’ point of view.

Clause 4 is also important. That provides that the Minister, subject to this Act, may have separate schemes. Now, nobody wants to deny anybody the right to have separate schemes should there be overlapping or should there be an urgent necessity for them. But for the schemes that are already in existence to be divided is a proposition which I feel should be approached with a certain amount of reservation. We have to-day a number of schemes. Each board is collecting hundreds of thousands of pounds and the cost per annum must run into something between £7,000,000 and £10,000,000 for the existing schemes. Many of those boards are going much further than they have a right to do. They are collecting huge sums of money, not as stabilization funds but for investment. Have they any right to resort to that sort of thing? If the Minister wants separate schemes for the same product then, I say, he must do so with due care because the farming community of South Africa can no longer face up to the enormous financial drain that is imposed upon them in the way of levies and other means of financing.

The hon. the Minister dealt with Clause 7 and with the dairy and butter side of it. I think the time is opportune for me to tell the hon. Minister just what is going on. The Minister knows full well that there is a distribution of a product in South Africa that does not stand up to the standards of the best qualities of that product. Those people producing it have a free and unfettered quota throughout the country. They are selling that product as a first-class product, and it is not, while the Minister is penalizing those people who are producing a superior quality article. I want to put it to the hon. the Minister that he is now forcing producers of the first-grade article to cold store it in their own cold storage. And when that is filled he demands that they should hire another cold store and store that product for lengthy periods of time. But he knows full well that butter is a highly perishable product and is subject to tainting. It deteriorates very easily. Yet the Minister still demands that it shall be cold stored for any length of time, until such time as he is satisfied that he country has enough butter to carry it through a lean period.

I want to put this to the hon. the Minister: at whose expense are those manufacturers storing their products? Entirely their own expense. Because, being a perishable product it deteriorates Very easily and in hired cold storage it is subject to tainting and when it reaches the stage for re-examination for export lots of that butter is culled back and has to be reworked and degraded. And that loss has to be borne by those factories producing that high-quality article. And now that we have reached the stage of surpluses, can the hon. the Minister give me an assurance that he is going to spread those quotas for the free distribution of butter throughout the Union among those people who also produce the first-grade article? I think it is essential that that should be done.

I do not know whether the hon. the Minister realizes it, but there are clauses in this Bill which establish monopolies first against the producers and completely against the consumers. I sincerely hope that the hon. the Minister will take due note of that because it is important. No producer in South Africa wants to create a monopoly, and I shall deal with that more fully at a later stage. There is one clause here that is going to cause us a great deal of worry and that is Clause 8 on page 10. I intend to read portion of it because it is very important—

  1. (e) by the insertion after sub-section (2) of the following sub-section:
(2)bis Whenever a regulatory board has prohibited producers of a product from selling that product except through the board and the said board conducts a pool for the sale of that product, the said board may, if authorized thereto by the relevant scheme and with the approval of the Minister …”

First of all we have the establishment of pools. I am not going to deny that there are certain products that might fit into a scheme for the establishment of pools, but this is what I am afraid of—

“(a) require each producer to give, during any period determined by the board, notice to the board or to such person or persons as may be determined by the board, of the total quantity of the product in question which he intends to deliver to the board during any future period determined by the board, for sale …”

Now, Sir, in a country like South Africa with its droughts and its floods and its varying climatic conditions, can the hon. the Minister visualize how one can forecast with any degree of accuracy what the state of affairs is going to be in three months’ time at the ripening period or the slaughtering period of the particular product? It cannot be done with any degree of accuracy. I want to tell the hon. the Minister that one week will decide whether a man will get 90 per cent of his crop or 45 per cent of his crop.

Dr. STEENKAMP:

Or nothing.

Mr. WARREN:

My hon. friend here says “ nothing ”, and that is what has happened in many instances. Then we come to paragraph (b), which is equally important and which says that the board may—

refuse to accept that quantity of the product, or any part thereof, in respect of which the producer concerned has not given notice in terms of any requirements under paragraph (a).

Supposing that that particular farmer went to great pains to assess what he thought was the correct estimate and he got a rainfall which increased his product by, say, 75 per cent. What does he do with that? In this clause he is completely barred from doing anything with it. But under the same clause if he has a shortfall, if his supplies are short weight or short quantity, then he is penalized. The hon. the Minister in this clause is saying: “ Heads I win, tails you lose.”

Then we get sub-paragraph (c) dealing with the penalties, which says that the board may—recover for the benefit of the pool from any producer who has delivered to the board a quantity of the product—

  1. (i) which differs from the quantity of which such producers so gave notice; or
  2. (ii) in respect of which such producer failed to give notice.

Then it goes on to say the board may recover an amount equivalent to the amount at which the board assesses its loss. I am going to put it to the hon. the Minister that this may not include meat, but I know he is going to tell me that it does not include meat. But surely the Minister is well aware that over the years the Meat Board has tried time and time again to include meat in a pooling system. And I want to tell the hon. the Minister that it was not his predecessor who stopped these pooling schemes from taking place. He may also tell me that he would never do such a thing. But may I remind him of the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) making a speech in this House before the acceptance by the Minister of the principle of auctions on the hook. That hon. gentleman addressed this House and told us that he had addressed many of the platteland organized agricultural bodies, and told them that auctions on the hook were quite impractical and that it was impossible for that scheme to be introduced, and he told them that the Minister would never do a thing like that. But that is precisely what the Minister did. So that while the Minister may tell me that meat may not be included in this, he has to remember that he will not always be the Minister and when some other Minister of Agriculture comes along he may say I am going to include meat in the pool. And I say that the inclusion of meat in the pool when these penalties apply will be a very sorry lookout for the producers of this country.

Mr. Speaker, we have had the fluctuations resulting from that, and we have paid the penalty. We had a state of chaos when we first went into the scheme. I have reminded the Minister time and again of what happened when we had these fluctuations in that particular commodity over a period of hours, let alone days. Does the hon. the Minister think that the farmers of South Africa will continue under that system? And now we have had the removal of permits, and may I say that while the removal of permits may not have affected the larger controlled markets, it has produced confusion worse confounded in the smaller markets. They have not recovered from it yet. What worries me as much as anything else about this Bill is that the hon. the Minister has now established that there are going to be monopolies under the Marketing Act. The Minister cannot deny that. He removes the right from every producer to do anything with his surplus. Can the hon. the Minister tell me what a producer has to do with his product? I want to assure the hon. the Minister that I am quite sincere about this because as a producer I am very conscious of the fact that producers cannot exist without the consumers and the distributors. I say that the creation of a monopoly against producers in the first instance and against any other section of the community as will be done in terms of this Bill is something that we are not prepared to tolerate.

Sir, we have had some experience of the monopolies in South Africa and I would like to remind the hon. the Minister of one about which he knows quite a lot, between the years 1954 and 1956. Does he remember when the Rustenburg canning factories were bought out, when the Mauerbergers were brought out, when the Germiston factory and the Wolseley factory and Standard Canners and all their subsidiaries were bought out? That cost the fruit farmers millions of pounds. We do not want anything like that again. Who is paying the penalty to-day for that recklessness? It is the fruit farmers of South Africa. There are no canning factories in Rustenburg. And where are the farmers who were producing fruit for those factories and making a good living out of it? Some of them went insolvent. Others had to uproot thousands of their trees because they had nowhere to send their fruit as it was impossible to export it from there to Cape Town. What are the farmers who were involved in that organization doing today? They are paying their debts to the land banks and to the commercial banks, debts that were involved in the purchase and the closing of those factories. Is it any wonder that those unfortunate people who are committed under the compulsory clause of the Co-operative Societies Act to supply to those factories are receiving £6 and £8 and £10 a ton less for their products than those who are selling to private enterprise? And that is because they have to pay for an attempted monopoly in that particular industry.

I want to say to the hon. the Minister that notwithstanding the fact that he has given us a fairly lengthy explanation of what has taken place, he must submit this Bill to a Select Committee before the second reading. I can assure the hon. the Minister that the request he made at the end of his speech will be complied with in a great measure if he does that. But there are some extremely contentious clauses in this Bill that must be adjusted before we can accept it. I want to say that if he is going to move an amendment at a later stage he should remember that we want more common sense in the application of control over the products of the farmers of South Africa. I want to move the following amendment—

To omit all the words after “That” and to substitute “ the order for the second reading of the Marketing Amendment Bill be discharged and that the subject of the Bill be referred to a Select Committee for inquiry and report, the Committee to have power to take evidence and call for papers and to have leave to bring up an amended Bill ”.

I move this amendment in all sincerity because if this Bill can be adjusted to meet the requirements of both sides—-and we are equally interested with that side in trying to give the farmers something which will fit the Bill, I can assure the Minister that the Bill will have a much easier passage than it will if he does not accept my amendment.

Capt. HENWOOD:

I second the amendment moved by the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren). Before I get down to the Bill itself, I would like to ask the Minister whether this is the same Bill which he submitted to the various farmers’ organizations and control boards to whom he submitted a Bill for their concurrence and comment. It is my information that this Bill before us to-day differs very materially from the proposed Bill which was submitted to the farmers’ organizations. I would ask the Minister to give us a categorical answer to that question when he replies to the debate. We know that some of the control boards which have been organized under the Marketing Act have been very unhappy for the last few years under the various Ministers of Agriculture of this Government, firstly because many of their recommendations both as to the scheme itself, but more especially in regard to producers’ prices, have not been accepted by the Minister.

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

Do you want us to accept all the recommendations made by the control boards? You will be surprised when you hear what they are.

Capt. HENWOOD:

The hon. the Minister can make his own speech, but I want to tell him this, that if a control board after due consideration and after their recommendations have been accepted by the Marketing Council submits recommendations the Minister should accept those prices. I agree that the Minister should not be required to accept the prices suggested by the control boards without thorough examination, but when their recommendations have been accepted and endorsed by the Marketing Council—and he has the right to nominate people to that Marketing Council—then he ought to accept the prices recommended by the control boards. Sir, one cannot deal with all the repercussions that this amending Bill will have on marketing schemes in a matter of 40 minutes. There are many details of the schemes and the repercussions of this amending Bill, which is very far-reaching, and what those repercussions will be should be examined in Select Committee, where the men who are affected by the recommendations and the amendments proposed can get around a table and ask for evidence and have representations made by the people vitally concerned in the production of primary products, to see their point of view. This amending Bill can have very wide repercussions on the livelihood of many thousands of farmers in South Africa. The Marketing Act originally was an enabling Act. It was called the Farmers’ Charter, because it enabled the primary producers to get together and make provision for the establishment of a marketing scheme under a control board for that product where two-thirds of the farmers producing that product commercially would vote and ask for the marketing scheme. But this amending Bill brings in new and wide variations of the original principles enshrined in the Marketing Act. I think it is essential that we should look at the reasons for the original Act and see that the producer himself should have the right to vote on any scheme and on any question of the control of the product which he is producing and from which he makes his living. The producer concerned has not only got his livelihood to earn from it, but he has a big investment which can be vitally affected. The whole of his farming methods and his life can be affected by the application of the details of a scheme which are to his detriment, and he should be the one to have the say in the schemes which control that product. There were in that enabling Act safeguards for the other sections of the community. There were safeguards for the distributor where it was necessary, and in most agricultural products it is essential to have proper distribution to ensure that there is no waste and that the distribution dovetails in not only with the production, but to see that the largest amount of consumption of the product will take place. The consumers were also brought into it by the representation given to them, so that they could have a say on the Marketing Council and see that the consumer was not penalized in any way. But we must remember that one of the largest consumers of agricultural products is the primary producer himself. There was a time when the Maize Control Board went out of its way to make special provision and reductions in the price of maize supplied to the mines, because it looked upon the mines as a big consumer, but what did it turn out to be when the whole matter was fully investigated? The poultry breeders consumed much more maize than the mines, and they are only one small portion of the farmers. Look at what the dairy industry consumes. The proper and reasonable control and marketing of agricultural produce is not only in the interests of the producer of that product, but it is also very vital to the consumer, and here I have pointed out that in most instances the primary producer himself is a very large consumer.

This Bill before us has gone very far from the original Act which was envisaged as protecting the rights of the producer. Firstly it gives the Minister much greater powers. He can enforce schemes which the producers have not asked for and may not want and which they may actually vote against. Under this amending Bill the Minister can recognize any body as a body interested in a particular product, not necessarily the producers of that product, and he can recognize a body such as the S.A.A.U. when the producers themselves have actually voted against the scheme. He can say by proclamation that no voting is to take place on the scheme. I think he is going very far and I think it is giving the Minister much too wide powers in controlling a scheme for which the producers have not even asked. The S.A.A.U. is a body representing all farming interests, and you can get a committee together which may ask for control and they may have representatives on the control board, whereas the producers of that product have only one or two representatives on that committee, and they may ask for it or they may not, but the actual section of agriculture which that scheme will control may be definitely against their product coming under control. I will deal with one or two of those schemes where control was turned down by the producers and I will ask the Minister in due course whether he intends to enforce control on those producers. The Marketing Council may also present a scheme in relation to any product, under the Act. To this is now added any body which in the opinion of the Minister is representative of the persons engaged in agricultural pursuits. That is my point in regard to the S.A.A.U. They may be interested in agricultural pursuits, but will the Minister agree to some scheme put forward by agriculturalists who are consumers but not producers of that product?

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

Have you visualized that?

Capt. HENWOOD:

Well, judging by the powers asked for by the Minister and the things this Government has done, I would not put anything beyond the Minister or the Government. This is a very serious departure from the principles of the original Act. Whereas previously the producers of the product had to submit the scheme, in terms of this amending Bill anybody, not necessarily engaged in the production of the product and presumably not even living in the area where the product is produced, can submit a scheme. It may be any body of farmers such as the S.A.A.U. or a provincial or a district union. They can submit a scheme which will apply anywhere in the Union and in relation to a product in which they are not vitally interested as producers. They may even submit a scheme to which the farmers in a particular area are opposed. It is true that the Minister has to approve of the body submitting the scheme, and the scheme has also to be examined by the Marketing Council, but the Council can only act in terms of the Act and they cannot turn down a scheme merely because the body submitting the scheme is not engaged in producing the product concerned, and they will not be required to take part in the board subsequently appointed by the Minister who administers such a scheme. This body is being given the same facilities as the Marketing Council to consider a scheme relating to any agricultural product. Now that is a very big and important principle which is being introduced into the Marketing Act and which the ordinary primary producer does not want. He does not want to give the Minister that power and he does not want any other body than himself to deal with that product. The only way in which it can be determined whether the majority of producers in an area falling under a scheme are in favour thereof is to require them to vote on it. In the past all our schemes had to be submitted to all the people producing that product, and also to the distributors, and the consumers also had a right to some representation on the Marketing Council, but here the Minister can even do away with the voting. In terms of Section 21 (1)bis, the Governor-General, which in fact is the Minister, may by proclamation in the Gazette declare voting not to be necessary on any proposed scheme. I think that is a shocking thing to insert in this amending Bill.

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

But that is not an amendment; it is in the Act already.

Capt. HENWOOD:

In terms of the Act, you cannot bring a proposed scheme into being without the producer voting in favour of it.

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

Of course you can. It is in the 1951 Act.

Capt. HENWOOD:

Then why do you ask for it in this amending Bill?

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

I will explain it to you later.

Capt. HENWOOD:

Yes, I know we will get explanations which go all around the country, but I would like to get evidence on that point before a Select Committee, where all these points can be carefully examined, so that we can discover the true position.

Well, there are these points on which we are not happy. For instance, if the Minister has this power, why has he not already enforced this milk scheme on the Rand and in Durban and Pietermaritzburg? The producers there voted against any control scheme for milk in those areas because they thought that they were doing better under voluntary control. In Durban and Pietermaritzburg we feel the cost of the scheme and the producers—and I was present at the meeting which took some days—went into the matter thoroughly and they felt that the cost of such a scheme would be detrimental to the producers. At that time I was a producer and I represented the producers at that meeting. The bulk of the fresh milk producers were against the application of a scheme because we were doing much better with a voluntary scheme which was working very well. I want to know from the Minister when he replies whether he intends to accept the S.A.A.U. as a body which can submit schemes, and will he bring schemes into being when they propose a scheme such as a milk scheme for the Rand or Natal? At the moment there is a scheme in Cape Town and there is some talk of enforcing schemes elsewhere, even though the producers themselves do not want them. I would like to ask the Minister whether he intends taking that line so that the producer will know where he stands. In Clause 10 (c) the Minister seeks to take power whereby he will be able to override the decision of the majority of producers, and he knows that is true. We have the retrospective provisions of Clause 5 (2) and Clause 8 (2). We have said repeatedly in this House that if the Minister wants to validate something he has done, let him do so and validate that particular action if it is in the interest of the people concerned, but do not put in an overriding, retrospective clause which can have much wider repercussions than were originally intended, or that people can be penalized after having invested money and having gone into business while they were within the law and they were acting bona fide. Is this Clause 5 (2) intended to deal with the Cape Town scheme? If so, will the Minister make an amendment? That is one of the reasons why I think it is important that this amending Bill should go to a Select Committee where we can see exactly where these retrospective clauses lead to. I think the Minister must give us some guarantee as to how these retrospective clauses will be used.

In Clause 8 (2) there are provisions which affect certain registrations which are being granted under the Meat Control Board. Here again I ask the Minister for greater detail as to the necessity for these retrospective provisions. I do not like retrospective provisions. It is not fair to the people concerned, men who obey the law scrupulously at the time when they make investments or develop a business. If they act within the law, surely they should not be penalized by a law made retrospective some years afterwards. I think that, generally speaking, retrospective provisions in a law are bad, and it is a bad principle which is entering into the life of the country. That is the main point I want to make on that provision, that people invest money and go into business, within the law, and then the law is made retrospective and they are penalized. That is all wrong. There are other provisions in Clause 8 which are objectionable, such as the producers being obliged to submit forecasts of their production of certain products for the season ahead. The hon. member for King William’s Town stressed that in this country of floods, droughts and hail, how can the producer forecast anything like correctly the amount of produce or the animals he will have ready for marketing in a given time? There is a very heavy penalty imposed on the producer if his forecast is incorrect and he cannot deliver the goods. Whether it is crops or livestock, heavy penalties can be applied and the man can be made to pay the difference if the product has to be purchased from other sources·. The control board in question under the scheme can enforce penalties and not only fine him but under this system he can be penalized very heavily by having to pay the difference between what he delivers and what he does not deliver. Sir, if you will just look at our weather forecast—I think weather forecasting is easier to do than crop forecasting. Heaven knows how far out they are, and crop forecasting is not a matter of a week or two but of months. With meat you have droughts and floods affecting production. When you are a milk producer you may have an outbreak of mastitis or venereal disease or lumpy skin disease, and what happens when you deliver short of your contract in a time of short supply? Crops not only suffer from drought and floods but also from hail, and the same applies to fruit. I ask you, Sir, how can any farmer forecast what his crops will be in the coming year? But those provisions are definitely here. I do not know whether the hon. members opposite who represent farmers will support the Minister or speak up for the farmers for a change and see that this goes to a Select Committee where these things can be hammered out, and where a different Bill could be drafted. In the circumstances any schemes to be enforced on the producer under this amending Bill would be unfair where the producers voted against it. I think it is essential that we put that right, that only the producer who produces that product should say whether a control scheme and a marketing scheme should be brought into being to deal with his product. The producers have everything at stake. The marketing of his product is, after all, the final stage. He has increased costs in production, and he has had all the worries and troubles, and if he is not going to market his products successfully from the financial angle he is the loser. But surely he is the one to judge whether a scheme should be applied to him, and he must not be made to toe the line in regard to a scheme which he has opposed from the beginning. I say that the primary producer of a product is the man who should have the final say in the enforcement of any such scheme. Why does the Minister want all these extra powers which he is taking unto himself in this Bill?

An HON. MEMBER:

Which extra powers?

Capt. HENWOOD:

If you cannot read the Bill, you should not be here and say you are representing farmers. You may be the chairman of the farmers’ group opposite, but I notice that the interest of the Nationalist Party in this matter is very thin. When I look around the House it is clear that we have more members sitting on this side representing farmers than there are on those thin benches opposite. When the hon. member for Cradock asks where are those powers, he either does not understand the Bill, or else he has not read it, or he has no interest in the farmers having a say in the marketing of their own products under their own schemes. I ask the Minister once again why he wants to give the power to control boards to be able to inflict heavy penalties upon producers who do not deliver to the control boards the quantities that they have estimated they will reap, whether it be fruit, grain or livestock. This amending Bill makes the Minister a dictator and it is to the detriment of the primary producer. This Bill should go to a Select Committee before the second reading. That is the only way to deal with this Bill and to see that the primary producer gets something that he himself wants. Let it go to a Select Committee where we can argue all the points fully, not as we have to do in this House where you speak once and you are then unable to reply to points raised by subsequent speakers. Let this Bill go to a Select Committee where the repercussions that a Bill of this kind will have on the livelihood of so many primary producers can be gone into fully.

*Mr. G. F. H. BEKKER:

I very much regret that my hon. friend, the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren), has moved this amendment. I know that he is always very anxious to be of assistance in agricultural debates. Seeing that he does not agree with the provisions of this Bill, he could have moved many of his minor amendments in the Committee Stage. In my view, it is unreasonable to move to-day that the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee before the second reading.

The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (City) (Capt. Henwood) has told us here how he feeds his pigs and that he was a milk producer, but he did not tell us how the Act should be improved. I want to ask my hon. friend, the member for King William’s Town, to withdraw that amendment of his, and I will tell him why. The suggestions we have heard here amount to destroying the Marketing Act, and that Act has always been the Magna Charta of the farmers. Much criticism of the agricultural unions has been expressed here. The Marketing Act, which was passed in 1946, was a compromise Act; we fully realize that, but at least the Marketing Act brought stability to the agricultural industry. If we did not have that Marketing Act there would have been chaos, and if we do not have it in future there will also be chaos. I remember how the farmer had to come and plead for a decent price before the Marketing Act was there. He had to be satisfied with any price which the speculator offered him. We cannot revert to a position where the farmers all went insolvent. The South African Agricultural Union was also criticized to-day. We on this side of the House believe in the Marketing Act and in organized agriculture, and seeing that the South African Agricultural Union was criticized here I want to ask my hon. friends what would have happened to the country if we did not have organized agriculture. The Minister has already explained that all these amendments were discussed with the agricultural unions and that they generally approved of them. Here I also include the great National Wool Growers’ Association, a body representing 30,000 people and which forms part of the South African Agricultural Union. I therefore feel that the South African Agricultural Union is the spokesman for the farmers of South Africa, and it passes my understanding that hon. members want to intimate that the South African Agricultural Union does not reflect the feelings of the farmers as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) has said that we on this side do not represent the farmers, but it seems to me that he is quite out of touch with the farmers because he is criticizing his own agricultural union and his own bodies. He has now made a plea here in regard to milk. The Minister has explained the whole position in regard to milk. We know that there was still, to some extent, a state of chaos in the past, and it is high time for the Minister now to step in and to see that there is uniformity throughout the country. The Minister has done his best and he is now making suggestions to improve the position. He has told us how skimmed milk and fresh milk should be controlled. There will now be two boards to control milk, and I really cannot understand what objection hon. members opposite have for this form of control. We on this side stand by the Marketing Act and by our agricultural unions. As hon. members know, the Minister is asking for certain powers in this Bill. During the last few months, as hon. members ought to know, certain judgments were given against his decision, and when people do not want to toe the line I think it is quite right that the Minister should use his authority. He has the power to intervene; he has that power in terms of the principal Act. All that the Minister is asking for here is that he should be given certain powers in that direction. The agricultural unions approve of it and I cannot see why we should have a long debate and why a whole number of minor points should be raised which have nothing to do with the matter. If hon. members want to criticize the Minister for mistakes made by him or by the control boards one can understand it. As we all know, the marketing boards are there and they make recommendations to the Minister. What would we have done without the Mealie Control Board, the Wheat Control Board and the many other boards which were of such value to us and which gave agriculture stability? We would not have been able to do anything without those boards. When there are not enough farmers in a certain group and the agricultural unions ask the Minister to control a certain product, why cannot we grant him that power? If hon. members do not want to agree to it they have no loyalty towards their own agricultural unions. The Minister is only asking for certain improvements to the Act to enable him and the agricultural unions to take action more speedily in the past; that is all the Minister asks for, and I just cannot understand why all these various matters are mentioned here. The hon. member for King William’s Town referred to meat He knows what my attitude has always been in regard to meat, viz. that one should have physical control. I have never yet changed my opinion in regard to the control of meat, and for that reason I did not want to discuss the matter here. I have always said that if one wants to implement the Marketing Act as it stands, then one must have physical control and one must have the necessary facilities. I have always said so and I really do not know why the hon. member criticizes me in this respect. I do not want to intimate that the marketing of meat is perfect. As hon. members know, the Minister appointed a fact finding commission, and it takes a long time to gather all the facts in order to make a proper survey. But after the Minister has received the report of the fact-finding commission he will of course take further action and appoint a broader commission. The Minister has in fact sent three persons overseas to study marketing methods there, and when those people return and the Minister appoints his broader commission he may even appoint my hon. friend over there to it, and then we can evolve a scheme which really falls under the Marketing Act. We on this side are opposed to anything which derogates from the Marketing Act. I think it was the former Minister and Mr. Andries Steyn and I who served on the 1946 Commission. I think we did a very sound bit of work. I do not want to intimate that further improvements cannot be effected but that Act gave us wonderful stability in the country. We built up all our organizations in terms of that Act, together with the agricultural unions, and nobody can deny that. I do not want to say more at this stage. I think I have said enough to prove that all the attacks emanating from that side of the House are simply based on frustration. Nobody supports those hon. members; they are speaking merely as individuals. They did not consult their organizations.

*Mr. WARREN:

[Inaudible.]

*Mr. G. F. H. BEKKER:

Did the hon. member consult the South African Agricultural Union? No, the hon. member saw an isolated group of people in his neighbourhood. I do not blame him for speaking, but on whose behalf is he speaking? On whose behalf is the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) speaking? He speaks only for a small group in his neighbourhood. We believe that the bodies to be consulted are that mighty organization, the South African Agricultural Union, plus the control boards. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) referred sneeringly to farmers on this side of the House. I just want to tell him that there are many farmers on this side who have occupied important posts in agricultural organizations and who have had much to do with the organization of agriculture. He probably does not even know about that. The hon. member lives in a small spot in Natal and the people there remain as English as ever before and they do not come into contact with other people in South Africa. They are completely isolated.

Mr. COPE:

I wish to say a few words about the Bill from this corner of the House, and I do so, quite understandably, from the point of view of the consumer. In saying that, may I say that I do not believe essentially that the interests of the consumer and the producer are really very much different. I think there should be no spirit of antagonism between the consumer and producer, but that in legislation of this kind, we should rather try to make the measure important both to the consumer and to the producer. In other words, I do not feel that it is the right attitude that farmers should feel that this particular legislation is their exclusive preserve and that the consumer is not really interested in it: On the contrary, I think the consumer has a very big stake, and the important thing is that there should be a bond of sympathy in a matter of this kind between the consumer and the farmer. I do not think that there is such a bond of sympathy. Sir, in the remarks that I wish to put forward, mostly from the angle of the consumer, I shall do so in what I hope is a constructive spirit and with, I think, a full understanding of the problems of the producer. May I also say that I believe that the consumers whom I represent—and I come from one of the biggest areas of consumption in this country and an area where a great deal of specialized interest is taken in problems of this kind, naturally from the consumer’s angle— the consumers have a very strong understanding of the problems of the farming community. I do not think for a moment that the average consumer, for whom I feel I can speak this afternoon, feels any antagonism whatsoever to the principle of the farmer getting a fair price for his produce. I think the average businessman, for example, who has to run a business, is extremely sympathetic to the farmer.

An HON. MEMBER:

You are wrong there.

Mr. COPE:

No, I am not wrong. I can assure the hon. member that in organized commerce, for example, there is a great deal of sympathy for and understanding of many of the problems of the producer. The businessman in particular appreciates the difficulty that the farmer has to contend with in not knowing his prices, in not being able to budget his costs because of weather conditions and so on. Many a businessman and many an industrialist would find it very difficult to operate if he were placed in a similar predicament, not knowing from season to season either the extent of his production or the price that he is likely to get. Before I conclude on this particular note, may I say that my plea is that a marketing Bill of this kind should be regarded as a measure that not only affects the consumer as much as the producer, but the consumer should have a sympathetic understanding of the Bill just as much as the producer should have. There is, of course, a third element in the picture, and that is the most difficult of all. I refer to the distributor, the middleman between the producer and the consumer. The much-maligned, but I think essential, middleman, is also a factor in the picture. He is the third leg of the triangle.

This brings me to the Bill itself. Sir, this is the most important piece of bread-and-butter legislation to come before the House this Session, if not the most important to have come before the House for many sessions. This is essentially a bread-and-butter, practical measure, and a very important measure. It deals with, I think, one of the most vexed, most difficult economic problems that has had to be faced by any community in any country in the world. Firstly, there is the problem of a fair and continuous price for the producer, there is the problem of a reasonable price to be paid by the consumer, and of protecting the consumer from exploitation, and the problem of keeping distribution efficient and economical. To reconcile these three factors presents a problem which I do not think anybody has solved in the world. Some countries have come fairly close to it, but no government in the world is entirely satisfied with the situation. In South Africa there are particular conditions which make this problem all the more difficult, and I must say that if the Minister can make any headway towards finding a solution, he deserves the praise and thanks of everybody. Here we have an extremely difficult problem and we have to be very sympathetic and understanding when we consider attempts to deal with it.

Now I come to this particular Bill. Obviously this measure introduces some very important alterations to the Marketing Act, and indeed I contend, with respect to my old friend, the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker), that there are a few new principles introduced, and also some very important provisions that require the most careful consideration. The hon. the Minister has told us that he has consulted the Marketing Council, the control boards and agriculture.

An HON. MEMBER:

The Agricultural Union.

Mr. COPE:

I think he said “ agriculture possibly he meant the Agricultural Union. But the point I want to make is that I feel there is a gap here. Why was commerce not consulted? I feel that the sympathy and support of all interested parties should be obtained for a measure of this kind. I know that commerce is represented on the Marketing Council and that the Agricultural Union is also represented, and they are specially consulted, but I feel that the Associated Chamber of Commerce was not consulted specifically as a chamber. They have presented the hon. the Minister with a memorandum on this matter, which the Minister has no doubt read, and I think he will agree with me when I say that it is a memorandum couched in very objective and fair terms. I think the points raised in the memorandum are valid and worthy of consideration. I do not intend to go through these points in detail, because I think a better opportunity will arise when we come to the Committee Stage, when we can discuss the objections raised by commerce, clause by clause. It is very interesting to me that quite a number of the points raised by the Association of Chambers of Commerce coincide with points that have come from agricultural sources as well. I want to say—and here again, with great respect I differ from the hon. member for Cradock—that I do think that sufficiently important innovations have been introduced into the measure to warrant further study, and from that point of view I do not think that a case has been made out for this measure to go to a Select Committee. The hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) has moved an amendment that the measure should go to a Select Committee before the second reading, and I think he was wise to do so, because I believe that if the Bill went to a Select Committee after the second reading, the Select Committee would be in difficulty because principles would have been accepted which it would be difficult to alter in the Select Committee. It would be much safer, therefore, to have the measure considered by a Select Committee before the second reading. It may be argued that many bodies have considered the problems which are involved in this amending legislation and that sufficient information is available to make it unnecessary for this Bill to go to a Select Committee, but with respect I would say that that is not so. I say that that is not so from one angle—and there are many angles—and that is that it is quite obvious that commerce and the consumer have some very decided views upon this matter, views which I think are valid and require very careful consideration. My second contention is that it is a good thing to have the whole question of marketing under the provisions of the Marketing Act looked at very frequently—they cannot be looked at too often—because conditions in our country change very rapidly. Not only do conditions change, but this is a fluid situation in which we are groping, to a very great extent. As I have said, this is one of the most vexed questions that any country has had to contend with, and that no nation in the world has really solved—this problem of adequate and efficient marketing of primary produce. To that extent, a good deal of what we are doing is experimental. May I say at once that I believe that the Marketing Act has been a magnificent experiment, basically and broadly. It has been a magnificent piece of legislation, and we strongly support the broad concept of the Act. I go so far as to say that l believe that commerce supports it and that, generally speaking, there is national support for the Marketing Act. Sir, I am not speaking now on a party-political basis. I think in this matter we must base our comments on a broader basis than that, and I think it would be a great pity if discussions of this kind took place on a party-political basis. I am certainly not approaching this matter from any party-political point of view, but I support, and we are going to support the plea for an investigation by a Select Committee before the second reading, because we believe that it will be in the national interests to do so—not in a spirit of opposition to this amending legislation or to the Marketing Act, but simply because we do feel that some of the provisions do require impartial scrutiny by a body such as a Select Committee of this House, before the second reading. That scrutiny could take place in an entirely non-party spirit, and some very useful results might come from it.

In that connection I just want to refer to one or two of the provisions of the Bill. The hon. member for King William’s Town made a special plea for further consideration to be given to marketing in the towns. May I just in passing make this contribution from the towns? I think he is quite right there, and we in the towns feel the same thing too; we do think that there are avenues which the Minister could explore which would very greatly improve the marketing of primary products in the towns. We know, of course, that this is largely a problem of the municipalities, but many of the municipalities require a lead and a little bit of prompting from the Minister. Just by way of illustration, in Johannesburg, for example, which is a very big consuming centre, the need for suburban marketing has been discussed for some time past. This suburban marketing could be carried out in a very simple way. It could be carried out by providing special sites in all suitable suburbs, either for produce dealers or for the farmer himself to put up a stall or for stalls to be operated by the market department. To have suburban markets of that kind scattered about in the main concentrated areas of the towns, would be a very healthy development, because nowadays the cities are developing in an interesting way; there is a trend to decentralize; there is a great trend to form shopping centres away from the centre of the city; for the centre of the city to be the place for specialized shopping and shopping of a kind which it is not healthy to decentralize. Today we are getting very important shopping centres in many of the suburban centres, and if markets could be attached to such centres— and it can be done—we feel that very much better marketing facilities, would arise. This is simply one of the directions which require investigation, and I merely mention this to support what the hon. member for King William’s Town said when he pleaded for attention to be given to urban marketing.

Then I want to say something about the question of restrictions, particularly as applied to the baking industry. The hon. the Minister in the course of his speech, talking about the baking industry which, as you know, Sir, is affected by a clause in this amending legislation, said this—

Particularly in the case of the milling and baking industry, where there was a large amount of surplus capacity, great success has been achieved by means of restrictive legislation. This has, inter alia, led to amalgamations which have brought about appreciable savings in costs.

There is another special clause in the Bill dealing with the question of seizing machinery, and in this connection the Minister said—

The Wheat Board had the strange experience that certain persons who were repeatedly prosecuted because they were baking without being registered with the Board, continued in the normal way in this regard. Light fines were imposed on numbers of occasions, and the persons concerned were not deterred thereby. Accordingly an amendment is now being proposed …

That is the amendment to which I referred—

… which provides that where a producer or a dealer is found guilty on three or more successive occasions within 24 months of the same offence, against the requirement that he should be registered with the Board … the court can declare the equipment of that producer or dealer … forfeited to the State.

In other words, if a baker is baking bread not in terms of the Marketing Act and the regulations framed thereunder and continues to disobey orders not to bake, then the State can seize the machinery. Well, Commerce queries the advisability of this provision and it does so because it does introduce a new principle. It is suggested that it requires examination whether this particular clause might not only affect people like the baking industry but kick back on the producers as well. In any case, it is an extraordinary provision to introduce into an Act—and a dangerous one—that you can seize equipment for an offence of this kind. But what I really wanted to say about the baking industry was this: I do feel that the Government should not be satisfied that because of the regulations under the Marketing Act and the operation of the control board, the baking industry is operating to the satisfaction of the consumer, because in many respects it is not. I myself, Sir, get complaints, very many complaints, particularly from my own constituency on the Witwatersrand, about the poor quality of South Africa bread. I speak from experience, having travelled about the world quite a good bit, and there is no doubt about it that in South Africa we have about as poor overall quality of bread as there is to be had in any country in the world that I have been to. It is very poor bread.

Mr. SCHOONBEE:

In other words, poor bakers?

Mr. COPE:

In Johannesburg it is particularly the case. It is interesting enough that there is much better bread available down here in the Western Province, in Cape Town, and I believe the main cause is this very thing: The hon. Minister congratulated himself on the degree of rationalization. _ What does this rationalization really mean? It means that there has been a process of elimination of the small bakers. That is exactly what has happened on the Rand. The small bakers have practically disappeared. A few here and there are able to come in under particular conditions, but by and large this process of rationalization has gone very far. Down in the Cape Province it has not proceeded so far. What is the result? The result is that you get better bread in the Cape than you do on the Rand. I know that there is another factor which I did not mention, and that is the quality of flour, the use of hard wheat and so on. I only quote this instance, because I want to make the point that there are dangers in over-rationalization; there are dangers in pushing too far some of the provisions contained in the Marketing Act, and particularly in one or two of the amendments that are before the House at the present time. Then we know that there has been a great deal of difficulty in connection with another commodity which used to be a very great favourite to the consumers on the Witwatersrand, and that is bananas. We know that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction in regard to bananas. I do not want to be particularly hard on the Banana Control Board; it had very serious teething troubles and has tried hard to deal with a difficult problem, but the net result of the activities of the Banana Board has been a scarcity of bananas and extremely high prices so far as the consumers are concerned. One hopes that ultimately this Board will get on to a rational basis. I say again that the consumer is perfectly happy that the producer should get a fair price for his commodity and a regular price, but he does feel that as things have gone under the control of the Banana Board, the consumer has had rather a raw deal, and it is about time that that situation was remedied, as I believe it could be remedied. This is also bound up with the provision of the Bill which I believe is particularly applicable to bananas and that is the provision which requires the producers to give advance advice of their crops. I must say that I think this is a provision which must be adopted with great caution. It is a provision which contains considerable dangers for the producers, and obviously also for the consumers. Those dangers perhaps we can dilate upon when we come to the Committee Stage.

I conclude now by saying that we shall support the amendment moved by the hon. member for King William’s Town, asking for a Select Committee before the second reading. I appeal to the hon. the Minister to accept this proposal in the interests of the Marketing Act and of the Bill he has in mind, because I do believe that many of these provisions do require scrutiny by such a body. I think such scrutiny could assist the Minister and could improve the measure before the House. I also think it is important to give bodies like commerce and the consumers an opportunity of putting their point of view and appearing before the committee so that they can identify themselves with the Bill. I put my plea on the basis that this measure is as important for the consumer as it is for the producer, and there should be no antagonism against a measure of this kind on the part of the consumer. Moreover I feel that there is no great element of urgency. If there is, the hon. Minister has not told us what the element of urgency is. He has said nothing about the extreme urgency of placing this measure on the Statute Book. I am quite sure it could stand over for a few months, if not until the next session of Parliament. I believe that then we will get a much better measure. I am not so sure that out of such a Select Committee there could not come an agreed measure which might go through with very little difficulty indeed. So I support this plea very strongly, not on a party-political basis, but because I think it would be a wise step for the hon. Minister to take.

*Mr. WENTZEL:

I think that what the hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) has said about the producer and the consumer is what we all feel. I think the original idea was that the Act should not only aim at protecting the producer, although this was the main object, but that the consumer should also be taken into full account, while the existing trading channels should also be protected. Here I think the hon. member for Parktown made his main mistake in his later criticisms. The hon. member knows that all the organizations are represented on the various boards, that is to say, the trade as well as the consumers and producers. Now the hon. member is objecting to the poor quality bread being supplied, and at the same time the hon. member criticizes the powers for which the hon. the Minister is now asking to impose penalties after repeated offences. If the hon. member would go into the matter, he would realize that it is difficult in the case of bread to judge the quality of the flour and the quality of the mealie meal and to establish whether the bakers are adding the necessary fat and bran or whether they are adding excessive quantities during the milling process. Once such a person has been caught, it is difficult to catch him again and again because of the processes which must be examined. It is a long process and it is difficult to examine all the aspects. And if the hon. member appreciated that, he would realize that when a person has been caught for a first, a second and a third time, then it is absolutely necessary that we should take severe action to remove such a person from the industry. That is why the public is complaining about poor quality bread. Unsatisfactory mealie meal is often produced and also used. It is therefore necessary in the interest of the consumers that such activities should be regarded as being of a serious nature and that serious steps should be taken to remove such unsatisfactory conditions.

But it is interesting that a Select Committee should be requested at this stage. We know that in the case of the original Act there was a long-drawn-out investigation. That was correct because important steps were being taken, because the basic laws of supply and demand were being disturbed. When one interferes with natural processes by means of legislation it is a serious matter and one must take all the necessary steps to protect the various elements. At that time part of the United Party, who to a large extent are now sitting on the benches opposite, were very strongly opposed to the legislation, so much so that they did not want to vote for the legislation, despite the fact that it had been introduced by the United Party. It is also for that reason that Ministers of Agriculture over the years have been very loth to amend this original Act because the prospect was that such amendment would give rise to a general discussion and that unanimity would not be achieved, and that all sorts of proposals would come from all sides. But what I find interesting is that it is precisely members of our farming community who are moving at this stage that the matter should be referred to a Select Committee where the whole question could be reopened and the whole dispute between the producer, the consumer and the trade would be reopened. What I also find interesting is that the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) now says that he has certain objections in principle. But what are in reality the objections in principle which he advances as reasons for referring the measure to a Select Committee? In my opinion he has only raised one matter of principle, namely the method which the Minister will be able to use in establishing a new scheme. The hon. member asks whether this should be done on the basis of a vote or whether we can take other steps. This was the only objection in principle which the hon. member has raised. I wonder whether the hon. member has seen how difficult it has been in the past when schemes have been submitted to persuade all the producers to vote and to find those producers. Has the hon. member examined one of these schemes and considered how difficult it is to persuade the producers to vote. In reality, if we apply most strictly the provision that all producers should vote, then I want to ask who all the producers are. In the case of the dairy industry is every man who milks a cow a producer? Should every one of them vote? That is an impossible proposal. Nor do I think that the hon. member himself wants to go that far. We know how difficult it has been in the past to implement that part of the legislation. Now the hon. the Minister has submitted a proposal and I am sorry that the hon. members has criticized the Agricultural Union in the way in which he has done, and the same applies to his colleagues, particularly the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood). The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) is familiar with the organization of the Agricultural Union and he knows that the Agricultural Union is divided into various divisions, that it has various commodity committees, and that those commodity committees are the bodies which will be consulted and which will have control over the various products. Is the hon. member going to tell me that the milk industry, that is to say the fresh milk industry as well as the dairy industry, is not representative enough to be able to make such representations to the Minister? He will not dare to say that. But, seeing that this is apparently the only objection in principle, what is more interesting is that, hon. members must admit that it is in effect practically impossible to carry out the letter of the law under existing circumstances. There is another point which has been raised and about which the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) has had a great deal to say, namely that the Minister is now taking the power to control products by means of a pool scheme or by some other method. I wonder whether the hon. member realizes that if we were to allow a producer to withdraw from a pool scheme or a one-channel scheme, and if we were to remove the powers for which the Minister is now asking in this regard, the whole scheme would be a failure? Take the kaffir-corn scheme as an example. If we were to allow a person to sell outside, then we could just as well abandon the whole scheme. If the hon. member would examine one of these schemes which operates under a pool system or a one-channel system, he would realize that it could make the position impossible if the Minister did not have those powers. But this is interesting: One hon. member has complained about the extensive powers which the Minister is acquiring and another hon. member has complained about the extensive powers which these boards have in respect of their stabilization funds and the building up of funds in general. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) has also complained about the price determinations, about the fact that the Minister has recently on many occasions fixed prices without following the recommendations made by the boards, or that he has circumvented the recommendations of the boards. I ask myself whether the hon. member knows that the Minister cannot fix a price without the co-operation and the consent of the board concerned and that the board and the Minister fix the price for a certain commodity which falls under such a board, and that the Minister cannot fix the price by himself.

And, furthermore, that the Minister fixes prices together with the board and in consultation with the Marketing Council. Those are the two bodies which are concerned in the matter. Does the hon. member have objections to that? Does he want to give this power to the Minister alone, or is the hon. member for King William’s Town correct when he says that the boards are going too far with the various powers which they have? Which of the two hon. members is correct; the one who says that the Minister should act on his own or the other who says that the boards are going too far? They are in effect contradicting one another. The Marketing Act has worked well over the years and when an Act is of such a drastic nature, it is clear that over the years sources of friction will make themselves evident, and the longer the Act is in operation, the more serious these sources of friction become. It is surprising that so few amendments have been proposed to the Act and that the Minister has not made any changes in principle except, as far as I can see, in respect of the question of whether there should be a vote or whether the Minister should have the power to establish a new scheme provided he has the consent of some responsible body. I therefore repeat that it is surprising that over the years that the Act has worked so well and that such great success has been achieved. If this Act were to disappear to-day we would have chaos as far as the entire marketing system is concerned. But I accept that neither of the parties favour such action. Then we must be careful not to take unwise steps at this stage. The hon. member for Parktown has spoken about protection, not of the producers or the consumers, but of the trade. That is one of the difficulties. When one has a fixed price or one lays down a maximum price, we know that we must also have competition because otherwise they would cut one another’s throats to such an extent that no one could make a living out of the trade. Just take the milling industry, in respect of which there are difficulties. If we lay down a maximum price for mealie meal or for the ordinary flour, for bread flour, it is necessary that we should not throw the industry open and allow everyone who mills simply to enter the industry, when the profit margin of the milling industry is fixed so that a miller cannot charge more than a certain fixed price. If there is competition as well, well and good. Then the only protective measure is supply and demand. Then we must allow competition. But in this case where we have a fixed price, we cannot allow competition because the cost accountants calculate the absolute minimum possible price, the lowest profit margin, at which a miller can make a living. The moment it is divided into various sections, that man can no longer make a living. For that reason this is one of the most important points against which objections are now being raised, namely the retrospective effect. This is, however, entirely in the interests of the trade and not of the producer or the consumer as such. And the traders who are being given protection know that it is essential that the Minister should get the legislation through as quickly as possible because the whole machinery will be hampered by any delay in passing this measure.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

I think that, seen from this point of view, the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel) has made a reasonable speech in defence of the Bill now before us. On the other hand I too want to try to adopt a reasonable standpoint in justifying our attitude that in all reasonableness this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee.

In adopting this standpoint, I am not doing so because I consider that there are incorrect provisions in the Bill. It may be that if this Bill is referred to a Select Committee, the Select Committee will adopt the provisions of the Bill unanimously and that we shall be given a unanimous recommendation. My standpoint is, and this is why I support the hon. member for King William’s Town and his amendment, that we are dealing here with a multiplicity of provisions. I agree with the hon. member for Christiana that the Bill does not embody many changes in principle, but in implementing the various schemes under the Marketing Act it is not only necessary that principles should be changed to make the efficient administration of the Marketing Act possible. It is details especially, and minor details, which sometimes cause the failure and sometimes the success of the administration of a scheme under the Marketing Act. The hon. member for Ladybrand (Mr. Keyter) who is chairman of one of the boards will know what I am referring to when I say that.

But the hon. member for Christiana has said that if we have control we cannot allow competition.

*Mr. WENTZEL:

No, do not misinterpret me; I said: When there is a fixed price.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

That is a submission which I have never yet heard any responsible person make in connection with the Marketing Act or the implementation of one of these schemes. If that is the spirit in which the schemes are being administered under the Marketing Act, namely that all competition must be eliminated, we shall reach a position in this country which will be intolerable. We shall then have monopolies developing in our country and we shall be protecting certain people in our country and making them wealthy.

*Mr. WENTZEL:

On a point of explanation I said that when we had a fixed price, competition was valueless in such a case.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

Even if there is a fixed price—I do not know what the hon. member means by a fixed price. Does he mean a fixed price to the producer, or does he main a fixed price like that which applies in the case of mealies?

*Mr. WENTZEL:

To the trade.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

Does he mean the margin which the miller receives or the margin which the dealer receives?

*Mr. WENTZEL:

I pointed out that a miller may not go above a certain price.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

If that were to be the position, we would be creating monopolies in this country. I therefore say that the powers which the Minister is now taking under Clause 8 (f) of the Bill are far-reaching. It deals with the right to refuse to register producers, etc. I do not say that there are not sound reasons why such an application should on occasion be refused, in respect of a mill or anything else. I have served on boards myself and I know that it happens. But before any board refuses an application under the Marketing Act because of over-production, one has to be careful because one is then entering into the sphere of monopolies. What is the Government’s policy? Two years ago they introduced this legislation against monopolies which is perhaps a sound measure, but by the amendment of the Marketing Act which is contained in Clause 8 a position is being created which could result in monopolies being established in a certain sector of our economy. What is the Government’s policy to-day? If the Government is opposed to the establishment of monopolies, then the hon. the Minister should not blame us for being careful. I do not say it is wrong, but I do say that we should be careful and that the Bill should be carefully analysed to establish whether certain sub-sections of Clause 8 may not promote the establishment of monopolies in respect of certain of our primary products, i.e. monopolies in the case of producers and the eventual consumers. That is why we are cautious and that is why I agree with what the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) has said, namely that whenever we amend the Marketing Act of 1937, which was a drastic piece of legislation and which has stood the test of time for more than 20 years, we should act with the utmost caution. When legislation amending the principal Act is introduced, we should take care that we do not amend it in such a way that we further the introduction of certain drastic principles which this House certainly does not favour and which this country has adopted laws to prevent, and that we do not come into conflict with legislation which is already on the Statute Book for the very purpose of combating those evils. For that reason we cannot be blamed if we approach this legislation with caution and ask that it should be referred to a Select Committee.

The hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) has said that this legislation should be passed and should not be referred to a Select Committee because the South African Agricultural Union has approved of it.

*Mr. G. F. H. BEKKER:

Yes.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

I am surprised at that type of argument. Who is the highest legislative authority in our country? Is it the South African Agricultural Union or the Parliament of South Africa?

*Mr. G. F. H. BEKKER:

Which is the best organization?

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

I do not stand back for anyone as regards my respect for the South African Agricultural Union. I have been connected with it for many years. But I want to point out that South Africa is not yet a corporate state which must accept legislation if it carries the approval of a section of the population. And to say that this is fine legislation and that it should be accepted because a certain organization, the South African Agricultural Union, has recommended it, seems to me to be rather ridiculous. I do not think that argument holds water. Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Cradock has also said that we on this side of the House, by the arguments which the hon. members for King William’s Town and Pietermaritzburg (District) have submitted, have shown that we are opposed to the Marketing Act. Those were his words. I have known the hon. member for Cradock for many years, and I am really accustomed to hearing better arguments from him. Because no one on this side of the House has criticized the Marketing Act. I do not like to turn these matters into political issues, but the Marketing Act was adopted in 1937 with the blessing of all sides of the House. It enjoyed the cooperation of all sides of the House, and if a farmer in particular and I would also say a consumer, should criticize the principle of the Marketing Act, then I would almost feel inclined to say that that person does not know that the economic set-up in the trade and the distribution of primary products in South Africa would be disrupted if we should destroy the principle of the Marketing Act. The Marketing Act is not only an Act which was introduced to serve the farmers. That is the idea which has taken hold generally in the country, namely that the Marketing Act was introduced to protect the farmers. That is not so. The Act was introduced to enable any productive sector which wished to make use of its enabling provisions—the Marketing Act is an enabling Act—to control all aspects of the particular product and to do so by means of a certain method. Mr. Speaker, I make bold to say that to date and since 1937 the Marketing Act has done just as much for the consumer, if not more, as it has for the farmer. Why? Because when the principle of control was applied for the first time under the Marketing Act of 1937, we were faced with a rising price structure throughout the world, and at that time it was a question of protecting the consumers against the high world prices. I remember the years when the price of mealies on the world market was £3 per bag and that of wheat £3 10s. and more. But the farmers of South Africa had to be satisfied with £1 2s. and £1 3s. per bag. We did not object because we realized that when a measure which aimed at the stabilization of a certain sector of the economy was applied, it would sometimes protect the consumer and sometimes protect the producer. Mr. Speaker, as I see the matter, I think that hitherto the Marketing Act—if one were to undertake an overall survey of the operation of the Act since its inception and all the schemes which fall under the Act—has operated more in the interests of the consumer than in the interests of the farmer. The real testing period for the farmers is coming now that the world prices for agricultural products and primary products are tending to fall. Now for the first time the Marketing Act will be tested to see whether it is a good Act as far as the farmers are concerned. It is for that reason that we are so cautious when amendments are proposed to the principal Act. We want such amendments to be considered from all angles and these amendments should not be adopted hastily. I therefore think that it is a reasonable request which this side of the House and the hon. member for King William’s Town have made, namely that we as members of this, the highest authority in the country, now that other lesser authorities have given their blessing to this legislation—namely the South African Agricultural Union, the South African Marketing Council and the various control boards—should also be allowed time to make use of the machinery which is at the disposal of this House. Select Committees constitute one of the most important pieces of machinery in the legislative set-up of this House, and it is a reasonable request that we should also have the opportunity to use that machinery to satisfy ourselves that this Bill does not contain provisions which conflict with the original concept underlying the Marketing Act.

Although the Bill does not embody many changes in principle, there are nevertheless many changes. In Clause 2 the Minister is widening the provision which lays down who may submit schemes. I understand fully that these people cannot proclaim schemes. They are only being given the right to submit schemes to the Minister, and then the Minister decided whether or not he will accept the scheme on behalf of the Cabinet. He is now widening the definition of who may submit schemes. If it had been provided that the commodity committee of the South African Agricultural Union which is charged with organizing the particular product was to be brought into the picture in this way, then I personally would not have had much objection to this provision. Then I would have known that these were people in the South African Agricultural Union who were dealing with the product in respect of which they were submitting a scheme. But I think it is rather dangerous to lay down this general definition in the Bill, and, Sir, hon. members must not blame the farmers on this side when we object to this provision. We may not always have such a sympathetic Minister of Agriculture as this Minister. He knows the farmers and he is a farmer himself. And if we regard these wide definitions with a little suspicion, then I do not think that we can be blamed for doing so. This other provision that there can now be separate schemes for the same product is a principle which is now being embodied in the Bill. This is also a matter which calls for further investigation. The other point is that the Minister must now give his consent when a control board wants to delegate its powers to a committee of the board. In other words, the question of a board within a board, is also of importance. If I am correct, a control board has hitherto had the right to delegate powers to an executive committee without the consent of the Minister. It seems to me that the Minister wants to avoid this. If a board wants to delegate some of its drastic powers, then it will now have to obtain the consent of the Minister.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

If it wishes to appoint a committee which does not consist of members of the board.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

Yes, I understand that. That may be a good thing but I have also served in the past on the executive committees of control boards, and I think that before control boards are deprived of this power to appoint executive committees to which they can delegate certain powers, we should go into the matter carefully. As a matter of fact there are control boards which delegate all their powers to an executive committee when they are not in session—the board themselves only sit once every two or three months.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

That power is not being taken away, but they must have the consent of the Minister.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

I understand that and it may be a good provision. If a board appoints such a sub-committee and the hon. the Minister is not satisfied with certain of the members of that committee, will he be able to veto them?

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

I must already approve to-day.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

These are all questions which could be settled on a Select Committee. If a control board can appoint an executive committee to which it delegates certain of its powers and on occasion all its powers, I have no objection to the hon. the Minister having to give his consent, but I should certainly object if the Minister was to have any say over the nomination of the membership of the committee.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

The executive committee must have the Minister’s approval to-day.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

Why then is the hon. the Minister asking for this power if he already has it?

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

I am not asking for the right to approve the committee …

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

The hon. the Minister can reply presently. I now come to the question of over-production. I have already discussed that aspect, in referring to the possible establishment of monopolies. I think that the hon. the Minister must admit that this is a real danger. It has already happened in South Africa that while a monopoly has not actually been established, we have had the position under the Marketing Act and in respect of products which were controlled by the Act, such as wheat, the milling quotas have been laid down which have forced up mill prices, and that definitely caused unsatisfactory conditions in the country. These milling quotas were also subject to control, and they were used in an attempt to prevent over-production, but the value of the milling quotas eventually became so great that mills which had cost £20,000 and £30,000, were sold for prices ranging from £260,000 to £300,000. This was the result of the creation of a monopoly in the case of a certain product which was administered under the Marketing Act. That was not a sound position. The Minister probably does not remember the export certificates under the mealie scheme. Those certificates were thrown on the open market and fluctuated in price. It is all these things which make one suspicious when we find legislation proposing that overproduction should be adopted as a reason for refusing registration. I say that the hon. the Minister may have sound reasons for this provision and his Department may have sound reasons. But Mr. Speaker, allow the machinery of this House to be used to investigate this legislation as closely as is necessary. Perhaps an agreed measure will then be submitted to us. But if that is not done, the hon. the Minister must not blame us if we regard certain aspects of this Marketing Amendment Bill with a certain amount of suspicion and he must not blame us for discussing these points.

I agree that the Marketing Act of 1937 was certainly one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed in South Africa, not only as regards the farmer, the primary producer, but also as regards the consumer, and not only as regards the consumer, but also the distributor of primary products. This was an attempt to achieve stabilization and nothing else. It was not intended to benefit the farmer on the one hand or to benefit the consumer. But it was introduced because we had a position prior to 1937 which forced everyone with common sense to the conclusion that the primary producer could not produce successfully under an economy which was subject to the laws of free supply and demand; that the primary product could not be successfully distributed and that it was very difficult to supply those products to the consumer on such a basis that the producer of the product would also benefit. This represented an attempt to achieve stabilization. That is why the Marketing Act was made an enabling Act, whereby various schemes could be established.

Prior to the enactment of the Marketing Act, the farmers tried to achieve stabilization by means of co-operative societies. Those of us who were concerned with the co-operative movement prior to 1937 know that it was not a complete success. The farmers tried by means of their co-operative societies to sell through one channel, but they could not control the price. They made advances, and then we found that at the end of the year the members had to pay in instead of getting an “ agterskot ”. As a result the Marketing Act was introduced, as I have explained. I think we can all say that the Marketing Act and the administration of that Act by various Departments under the various Ministers and by the control boards have hitherto achieved a reasonable measure of success. The producer has been protected, and I think the consumer as well. I have also stated already that I consider that the Marketing Act will only be tested now as far as the producer is concerned. There may also have been failures under the Act in the case of certain schemes. I do not think that anyone can justifiably argue that the meat scheme has been a very great success. It seems to me that meat is one of the primary products which is extremely difficult to administer under a control scheme under the Marketing Act. If this Minister can succeed in establishing a scheme by which meat can be successfully controlled, then he will certainly be known in South Africa’s future history as the greatest Minister of Agriculture which South Africa has ever had. I wish him success in that regard.

Mr. Speaker, I have tried to show that we on this side of the House are not opposed to the principals of the Marketing Act. Nor are we opposed to most of the amendments proposed in this long amending Bill. But I have shown that there are certain aspects regarding which we have our doubts, and we are therefore asking that the machinery of this Parliament should be utilized to give us the opportunity also to examine this legislation in all its aspects before we place it on the Statute Book. Then it may be possible to submit an agreed amending Bill to the House.

*Mr. KEYTER:

I am sorry that the hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) is not here. He said that before amendments are made to the Marketing Act he would like commerce to be consulted also. As far as commerce is concerned, we know that commerce is given representation on all the boards and has an opportunity of stating its case on those boards. The commercial aspect of the matter is fully considered and in many respects concessions are made to commerce when they state their case on the boards. This is all done within the scope of the Act if the Chamber of Commerce is to be consulted separately, then I want to ask the hon. member this: Is the South African Agricultural Union consulted by commerce before they go to the Minister to have the prices of their commodities increased, or is the position that the matter is only discussed with the Minister and that by the time the South African Agricultural Union hears about it, the prices have already been fixed?

The hon. member for Florida (Mr. H. G. Swart) is perturbed about legislation in connection with over-trading, because he is afraid that it will bring about a monopoly. Where the price of any commodity is fixed by a control board, we find that the price fixation takes place after the price has been broken down. A margin of profit is then allowed to the milling industry for example, or to whatever industry processes the product. If you adopt the attitude that restrictions cannot be imposed on the milling industry, that everyone who wishes to do so should be allowed to put up a mill, you will find that the turnover of existing mills is prejudically affected. That is what would happen, and in point of fact, the existing mills already have a surplus milling capacity. In some cases the capacity is two or three times as much as the country requires. Since that is the position, is it in the interest of the country that even more capital, which is not required, should be invested in that industry? It is local capital that is invested in it, and is it desirable to invest further capital in this industry? If that is done we will find that the turnover of the existing mills will be reduced, and they will therefore be unable to make ends meet on the margin of profit allowed to them. They will then ask for a bigger margin of profit because their milling turnover will be reduced as a result of the fact that there are more mills. Eventually it will be the consumer then who will have to pay a higher price for the product. This question of over-trading is in my opinion a very important factor in this whole question of restrictions. When legislation is enacted with regard to over-trading it is in the interest of the country as a whole, because that capital which many members want to allow people to invest in some industry or other, would be lost eventually. That capital could be used to much better advantage in other directions. We would not like to see people investing large capital sums that will eventually ruin them financially and result in that capital being lost to the country.

The hon. member for Florida has practically tried to create distrust in the minds of the producers by suggesting that the Marketing Act has always been an Act which has only benefited the consumer and never the producer.

*Mr. H. G. SWART:

I did not put it that way.

*Mr. KEYTER:

The hon. member says that since the beginning of the boom period the Marketing Act has always ensured that the price of the product has remained low while the overseas price has been high.

*Mr. SWART:

You know that that is so.

*Mr. KEYTER:

They want to make the producer believe that the Marketing Act has prevented the producer from getting a high price and that the consumer has reaped the benefit of that. I want to point out to the hon. member for Florida that even before World War II when the control Boards existed already, the producer received 8s. for maize in 1938, 1939 and 1940 or thereabouts. We know that the Marketing Act was placed on the Statute Book in 1937. The boards were appointed under that Act. The producer received 8s. and the consumer paid 4s. so as to permit of the farmer getting 8s. under the control scheme. At that time our maize was also being exported. The farmer then had the benefit of the Marketing Act because the Act ensured that he received 8s. We know about the subsidy of 1s. 6d. per bag for the first 500 bags, etc. The position therefore is not that the Marketing Act has only benefitted the consumer.

Then the hon. member says that the Minister should not have the right to exercise control over the advisory committees appointed by the boards. There is a kaffir corn advisory committee and that committee consists of members of the Maize Board, as well as members who do not serve on the Maize Board, and it is when the board wants to delegate powers to that advisory committee that the Minister must have a say, if I understand the position correctly. If the Minister does not retain those powers and if the Board is able to delegate its powers to the advisory committee, then we are going to have two boards later on. These two boards would clash and the Minister would not know where he stood with the advisory board and with the full board.

The hon. member says that the test for the Marketing Act will only come now. Mr. Speaker, the Marketing Act has been tested for years. Over the past eight or ten years there have been surpluses in the cases of some commodities and if it had not been for Marketing Act and for the control boards, the prices for agricultural products would have fallen to rock bottom. Thanks to the Marketing Act and the authorities which exist to-day for controlling the farmer’s product, for arranging orderly marketing and for exporting the surplus, we have been able to maintain a degree of stability.

Mr. Speaker, as has been said here already, there are no important basic changes in the amendments that we have before us, and I think the sooner those amendments are made, the better it will be for the farming community in our country.

Mr. ROSS:

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the difficulties in regard to the administration of the Marketing Act. There are so many conflicting interests to be reconciled that the job is almost impossible. As a business man, I am obviously in favour of reasonable control of marketing, but there is at least one drastic amendment in this Bill which, I think, requires discussion and consideration and the views of other sections in the country. That is why I am suggesting that the Minister should accept the motion that this matter should be considered by a Select Committee before the second reading. As part of this Bill follows the case of Garda v. the Meat Control Board, I would like to read from a memorandum which I have in regard to this matter—

Apart from the contentions advanced on behalf of the respondent (Garda) before the T.P.D., it was further contended on his behalf, before the A.D., that the Meat Board, in refusing the transfer, exceeded its powers and acted ultra vires, in as much as there was nothing in any of the Acts under which it was constituted, which enabled it to refuse a licence (or a transfer thereof) on the ground of adequacy of licences in a particular area. The Appellate Division, which delivered its judgment on 15 November 1960, dismissed the appeal by the Meat Board on the ground set out in 14 (supra), namely, that the board exceeded its powers in refusing the transfer on the ground relied upon by it, when there was no enabling provisions in the Statutes, entitling it to do so.

This obviously caused consternation in the mind of the Minister, and almost panic, because the Minister announced that the Marketing Act was to be amended, giving all boards specific power to refuse licences on the ground that there were sufficient businesses of that type in the area in which registration was sought. I feel that this hits at the root of all private enterprise, and we are in the main committed to private enterprise in this country. I accept without argument the necessity for orderly marketing, but this is extremely drastic, and it hits at the root of our private enterprise system. We are getting more boards established every day, each with a right to refuse licences to trade. I do not know whether that will help the producer in the long run. It is a very sobering thought. I do not think enough consideration has been given to these rights, which will be so lavishly distributed. It will certainly lay a heavy burden on private enterprise, and we will need all the new good businesses that we can find in the next few years. That is why I feel very strongly that this is a snap decision on the part of the Minister, and I think it requires much more consideration by him and much more thought and listening to the views of other people who might be affected. After all, this Act has been in existence since 1937 and it has in the main served its purpose as far as the interest of the producer is concerned. If it can be tightened up to benefit the producer, I would be happy to vote for it, but not if it prejudices private enterprise. I know it is the Minister’s duty to reconcile conflicting interests, and there are conflicting interests in regard to this matter, and it is a matter of letting it go to a Select Committee. Both sides of the story must be heard—in fact, there are three sides, the producers’, the distributors’ and the consumers’. I do not think all that has been considered. This Bill is bound to have the effect of entrenching existing interests and prejudicing those who desire to start new businesses, and it could quite conceivably lead to monopolistic tendencies. There is only one way in which this matter can be dealt with properly, and that is by referring it to a Select Committee. It is much too complicated to be brought forward as an amendment to the Marketing Act. Commerce and industries have their views, which have been given by previous speakers. The primary producer is entitled to protection, but this amendment seems to ignore the interests of everyone except the consumer, and I do not believe it is in his interest simply to give every board the right to refuse a licence simply on the grounds that there are enough people trading in that product in a certain area. Surely some competition must be allowed, and this Bill will bring us to the stage where there will be no competition at all. Competition plays a large rôle in our economic set-up, and on this ground alone I suggest that the Minister should agree to send the Bill to a Select Committee. This could easily be the thin edge of the wedge, and it may cause a lot of consternation and difficulty in the country.

*Mr. RALL:

I want to support this Bill and express my surprise that that side of the House has asked for it to be referred to a Select Committee. It looks as though they are greatly interested in the welfare of the primary producer, but past experience has taught us that when it suits them they take no interest whatsoever in the progress of the producer. I want to prove that by reminding hon. members that during the period 1939 to 1945, when the Marketing Act had been in operation for years already, the producer in South Africa was obliged to market his beef at less than 1s. per lb., when the world price was often 4s. 6d. or more per lb. The fact that the producers had to sell at such a loss in those years is one of the reasons why some of them are still suffering to this day.

Then I also want to support this Bill because in the northern Free State the fresh milk producers have not been able hitherto to get a board to represent them as a result of the fact that they have been unable to get a majority vote for the establishment of a fresh milk board. The Minister together with the Governor-General—I just want to correct that because I think it will now be the State President —will now have the power to institute a board in the interests of the fresh milk producers. Since there is no control to-day over that product, we find that producers’ prices are fixed at an unremunerative level and that they may suffer losses as a result of the production of possible surpluses. Under this Bill the Minister now has the power to institute a board without the matter having been put to the vote. I cannot see how the Opposition can object to the powers for which the Minister asks. The Minister always acts on the advice of the interested parties. He would not act autocratically in conflict with the interests of those groups. The action taken by him has shown that he keeps in close touch with farmers’ organizations, and I cannot see therefore what justification they have for saying that the Minister will have autocratic powers that he is going to misuse.

But I should like to touch upon a small matter in connection with the production of meat. I have a case here that I got from the Meat Board. It concerns this question of the high cost to the producer in sending his meat to the controlled markets. The one difficulty is that apart from the high cost of marketing in the controlled areas, the producer pays a 3 per cent commission to the agent on his gross income, and I regard that as very unfair. If the producer has to pay 3 per cent, it would be fair if he paid it on his net income, but to-day he has to pay 3 per cent on the gross income, and I just want to point out how high the cost of marketing is. As far as cattle are concerned, I have a complete list here from Newtown, Bloemfontein, Wynberg, Pretoria and Cape Town, and as far as slaughter fees are concerned, they vary from cents to 45 cents in Pietermaritzburg, where they are the lowest. In the case of calves, the slaughter fee alone is 35 cents. In the case of sheep it is 17 cents. I am quoting the fees at the Newtown market. Taking the slaughter fee and the abattoir fee together, it works out at R1.17Í per head of cattle. If one adds the levy monies which amount to R1.40, then the total cost of marketing at Newtown is R2.57½ per head of cattle. If in addition to that the railage has to be deducted, which also appears on the agent’s statement of account, one sees on what a large amount the producer has to pay this 3 per cent commission. I want to make an appeal to the Minister to use his influence in this respect too to see that this 3 per cent is only payable on the net income to the producer.

Another matter that I want to mention is this. Since the Minister is being given power under this Bill to prevent overtrading, I want to urge that as far as dairy products are concerned he should not regard the existence of various branches, such as a butter factory, for example, and a condensed milk factory and a cheese factory in a certain area, as overtrading. I want to plead that where you have a butter factory as well as a condensed milk factory, the establishment of other dairy factories in the area should also be permitted. We often hear of monopolies, but I believe that if the Minister allowed a variety of dairy factories in a certain area, the producer would have the benefit of reasonable competition. I want to urge upon the Opposition not to delay the passing of this Bill, because there are urgent problems, particularly as far as fresh milk producers are concerned, which call for a solution.

Mr. BOWKER:

Mr. Speaker, farmers are jealous and suspicious in regard to any readjustment of the provisions of the Marketing Act, and we on this side of the House, in supporting the amendment that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee, are expressing the opinion of the great majority of producers and consumers in the country.

An HON. MEMBER:

How do you know that?

Mr. BOWKER:

We know because we are in touch with the public. I do not know whether the hon. member has any evidence to prove that this Bill is wanted by the majority of producers in this country. There is a great fear in the country to-day of a measure of this nature creating monopolistic interests.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! I hope the hon. member will not go too widely into that aspect It has already been dealt with.

Mr. BOWKER:

Perhaps you will give me a little scope because I want to give an example of this fear of monopolistic control, but I will abide by your ruling, Sir. We know that the Marketing Act of 1937 was among the most important legislations ever passed in this country. It controls the production of food, which is essential. The original Act was designed to protect both the producer and the consumer. It was contradictory to the old laws of supply and demand. Perhaps we were following the example of Egypt which saved during the seven plentiful years for the seven years of scarcity. But this Act was a democratic measure, with all the weaknesses of our democratic system. We realize that the Minister finds that the Act in a way hinders the administration of his policy and he wants to introduce regimentary measures which enable him to carry out a certain amount of regimentation, in contradiction to the object of the principal Act. On that account, and because of the delicate nature of this Bill, and also the inadequacy of these amendments—even when this amending Bill is passed the Marketing Act will be far from a perfect measure; it will not provide for the difficulties with which we are faced to-day in regard to surpluses of maize and the inferior maize foisted on the consumer. These amendments will not make it a perfect Act. People do want certain liberties. When a serious change is made in legislation as anticipated in this Bill, it gives general satisfaction if the matter is investigated by a Select Committee first, because there the opportunity is given for evidence to be taken from all sections of the community and from all interests. Much will come to light before the Select Committee which the Minister will never hear about through the agricultural organizations with which he is in touch. Many of us claim that our agricultural interests to-day, with all the farmers’ organizations and the commodity committees and advisory committees, is a clumsy organization.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order! The hon. member is covering too wide a field now.

Mr. BOWKER:

I wanted to speak more on monopolies.

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member has gone very far already.

Mr. BOWKER:

We in the Eastern Province fear a monopoly being established to control our ice cream production. Ice cream from Cape Town is being delivered as far north as Umtata.

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

That has nothing to do with the Marketing Act. It is free enterprise.

Mr. SPEAKER:

That has nothing to do with the Bill.

Mr. BOWKER:

Then I find it very difficult to continue my speech. Many farmers have been ruined by monopolies, which the Minister now seeks to establish in terms of this Bill, where control can be brought into operation without the consent of the majority as laid down in the principal Act. I am afraid that in the Committee Stage the Minister will have to satisfy the House of the wisdom of many of the clauses in the Bill. I will not delay the House any longer now, but await the Committee Stage.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

I have found it very interesting to listen to the debate on this Bill. I have come to the conclusion that there are some members who read things into the Marketing Act which have never been provided for in the Act and who believe that the Act is responsible for monopolies in commodities which have never been controlled under the Act.

I want to say at the outset that I think that if hon. members really saw this Bill in its right perspective, they would realize that it is absolutely unnecessary to refer it to a Select Committee to go more fully into the amendments, for the simple reason that most of the amendments made here refer to practices which are already in vogue under the Act and in respect of which the various control boards have always been under the impression that these powers were vested in them under the Act. There are some amendments which are being made just to put this matter beyond any doubt where the law advisers are in some doubt as to whether the powers which are being exercised are in fact provided, for in the Act. We are just putting it more clearly now as I have already explained. The same applies to schemes under which certain products are exported and where there is uncertainty as to whether the Act makes provision for the control of the product only where it is exported and where it is not also controlled on the internal market. That is the practice. Then there is also the registration policy. Since 1951, when the Marketing Act was amended, it has been the custom to give powers of registration to boards, and it has always been accepted by the boards and by the law advisers that the powers are provided for in the Act, and since 1951 the Act has been implemented as though these powers are in fact provided for in the Act. It is essential that those powers should be provided for in the Act, and that is why it was interpreted in that way. The reason why it is essential is to be able to apply a policy of rationalization in certain industries in order to keep down costs. In the milk processing industry particularly where cheese and butter are produced as well as tinned milk, it is necessary to have control over the establishment of such factories. Our experience is that the greater the turnover of a factory the more remunerative it is. If one allowed various small competitive factories to come into existence, they would all be unremunerative and increase the costs. But very often it also happens that there is a big surplus in one branch of the dairy industry, as in the case of cheese last year, while there is a shortage in another branch such as butter, for example. The result is that it is desirable that one should be able by mutual arrangement to regulate the production of the factory so that overtrading can be eliminated by means of registration. In other words, it is not a new principle that is being accepted here but a principle which has always been accepted by everybody who has had anything to do with the Marketing Act. Both the boards and the law advisers have always accepted that the boards have that power. But last year registration was refused to a person who applied for a butcher’s licence. I want to say at once that it has not yet been finally settled whether the registration of butcheries is necessary. There is a difference of opinion between the Marketing Council and the control boards on the question as to whether the whole system of registration of butcheries should not be scrapped. But there are also people who feel that if one were to allow butcheries to be established without any restrictions whatsoever, it would lead to an increase in prices to the consumer, because many of them would be uneconomic, with the result that they would be forced to increase prices. Then we had the court judgment which stated that while the Marketing Act conferred the power upon boards to register and to refuse registration, it did not make provision for boards to refuse on the ground of overtrading in some industry or other. Surely hon. members will readily appreciate that if a board has to make all the arrangements in connection with the marketing of, say, dairy products or wheat, where we have had enormous overtrading by mills in certain areas in the Cape, with a resultant increase in costs, and where it has been recommended by various commissions and even by the Marketing Commission that in those industries a certain amount of rationalization should be introduced, it is essential that the board should have the power to refuse registration in cases of overtrading, otherwise it would not be possible to bring about rationalization. Take an industry like the wheat milling industry. Where rationalization has been applied, it has brought down the cost of various mills because the turnover has been greater and competition has not been so keen. But when it comes to a monopoly, the board is not there to create monopolies but to grant registration upon application when there is a danger that a monopoly may come into existence.

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

Evening Sitting

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

When business was suspended I was explaining why provision was being made in this Amendment Bill for limited registration. I was explaining that that was the practice in the past and that it was always accepted in that way. I just want to explain now why it is being made retrospective to 1951. In 1951 the Act was amended so as to give the boards under the Marketing Act the power to refuse registration. It was always accepted that one of the reasons why they could refuse registration was to avoid over-trading. From time to time registration was refused in certain industries. To make sure now that those persons will not institute claims against the boards, this provision is being introduced with retrospective effect to 1951 when the principal Act was amended in this respect. Furthermore, the Act itself is being made retrospective up to and including the date of the court judgment. If we did not do so it would mean that where cheese factories or other factories have obtained registration in the meantime, such registrations may upset the whole policy of the board.

Hon. members have raised a second objection and that is that a body of producers recognized by the Minister as a body representative of farmers, may submit a scheme. It was also generally accepted that the various bodies which had the right to submit a scheme included the South African Agricultural Union. Hon. members now object to the fact that the South African Agricultural Union or a body which the Minister recognizes as a producers’ body may also submit a scheme. I want to show hon. members how unfounded their objection is. As the scheme works at the moment any co-operative society of producers producing a certain product may submit a scheme. In other words, if there is a co-operative society of 25 members representing dairy producers—let us assume they are in the Free State—they can submit a milk scheme under the Marketing Act, as the Act reads to-day. Any other co-operative society may also do so, and a co-operative society may be established with seven members. In other words, any co-operative society that is established and that consists of seven members and that produces a particular product, may submit such a scheme. Hon. members have not objected to the right of a co-operative society to submit a scheme which can be made applicable throughout the whole country, but the South African Agricultural Union which is representative of the whole of organized agriculture, is allegedly not competent to submit such a scheme. Sir, we must study the set-up of the South African Agricultural Union. Various commodities are represented on the South African Agricultural Union by committees. In the first instance one cannot imagine the South African Agricultural Union submitting a scheme which is not desired by the relevant committee. I want to point out to hon. members that the submission of a scheme does not necessarily mean that such a scheme will be introduced. When the Marketing Council or any other body of producers or the South African Agricultural Union submits a scheme, there is a certain procedure that has to be followed before that scheme can be introduced. In other words, the Minister must refer the scheme to the Marketing Council and the Marketing Council must investigate that scheme. It goes without saying that no scheme will be introduced in respect of a particular product unless the majority of the producers are in favour of such a scheme. It has never been done in the past and it is inconceivable that it will be done in the future. It is not the intention of the Marketing Act, which is an enabling Act, to force schemes down the throats of people; it is to enable them, when they want a scheme, to introduce it. I cannot see what objection hon. members can have to the submission of a scheme by a body such as the South African Agricultural Union, for example. Amendments to be made to a scheme may even be proposed by a consumers’ committee. Anybody which is recognized by the Minister as a producers’ body may submit a scheme; that is the position according to the amendment that we are introducing here. As I have already shown the hon. member, any small co-operative society, as the Act now reads, may submit a scheme, but the hon. member has no objection to that. Even a consumers’ committee may submit amendments to a scheme but the hon. member objects to the South African Agricultural Union having the right to propose amendments to a scheme. I just want to mention here that no scheme will ever be introduced unless the majority of the producers producing that particular product are in favour of the introduction of such a scheme.

The Marketing Act provides that there must always be consultation. When a scheme is introduced or when action of any kind is taken under the Marketing Act, there are three elements present. The one is the board as such, the other is the Marketing Council, and the third is the Minister. They always act jointly; the decision must always be taken by the three jointly. Therein lies the value of the whole of the Marketing Act as an enabling measure.

Another objection raised by hon. members is that a scheme which has already been put to the vote in the past and rejected, may now be instituted by the Minister if he is convinced that it is in the interests of the industry and that the majority of the producers want it. Hon. members object to that and they say that this amendment now does away with the voting provisions in the Act. Mr. Speaker, this amendment has nothing to do with the voting provisions in the Act. The voting provisions were amended as far back as 1951. They were amended as the result of a report by a commission which inquired at that time into the operation of the Marketing Act. I want to read out what their recommendation was. In paragraph 128 the commission recommends the following—

Practical difficulties arise from the fact that Section 20 powers can be accorded to a board only after it has first operated under Section 19 powers for a minimum period of five years …

That means that a board could only get these powers to fix prices, etc., after having been in operation for five years. That was the position under the old Act—

… or if a producers’ vote is taken.

That is how the old Act read. The Commission now recommends the following—

The latter …

That is to say, the producers’ vote—

… is to all intents and purposes impracticable. The voting provisions in the Act cannot be applied in practice and have become a dead letter. As they are a serious hindrance in certain cases, the Commission recommends their repeal.

That is what the Marketing Commission recommended at that time. In 1951 the Act was accordingly amended to read that the Minister, if he is convinced that it is in the interests of the industry and if he is convinced that the producers want it, may dispense with the voting provisions under the Act and introduce a scheme without a producers’ vote, with the Section 20 powers. This amendment was introduced as far back as 1951. In the past no scheme has ever been voted upon, except in one case and that was in connection with a scheme for the control of fresh milk. Because we felt at that time that the fresh milk industry was spread over the whole country and that it would not be possible to introduce the scheme throughout the whole country, that it would only be possible to introduce it in certain areas, we asked the producers to vote on the question as to whether they wanted this scheme or not. In the first instance it is very difficult to decide who should be able to vote. The Act provides that a producer before being entitled to vote must have produced milk for the preceding three years and that he must have produced a certain quantity. The Act goes on to provide that two-thirds of the producers producing at least 50 per cent of the product are able to vote. If one went to a court of law with such a provision it would be very difficult to establish whether those producers were in fact producing that particular quantity during the preceding three years. In the second instance it would mean that the record of every individual member for the preceding three years would have to be submitted to the court in order to be able to prove it. When that voting took place, on the available figures which were still subject to a court judgment, 66 per cent of the producers did vote in favour of the scheme, but they were only producing 49.7 per cent of the milk that the scheme required. The only thing that this amendment now provides for is that a scheme which has already been rejected by way of a producers’ vote, may be re-instituted if the Minister is convinced that the majority of the producers want it and that it is in the interests of the industry. That is all this amendment does. It does not amend the voting provisions. That amendment was introduced in 1951 already. This merely provides that a scheme on which the producers have voted already may be introduced without the necessity of further voting.

There is another objection, Mr. Speaker, and that is in connection with the introduction of separate schemes for the same product. When the Act was amended in 1951 it was laid down that in the case of milk two schemes could be introduced because fresh milk and industrial milk could not be dealt with on the same basis under one board. That amendment was therefore introduced as far back as 1951. In the course of time various representations were made to us to bring other products under the control of the Marketing Act too, products like canned peaches or apricots or pineapples, for example. Those products can be classified in two groups. They can be classified as canned products or they can be classified as peaches or apricots and pineapples. The object of this amendment is simply that if the producers want it, a scheme can be introduced for canned fruits and a separate scheme for fresh fruit. That is all it amounts to and it is essential to do this, otherwise it would not be possible to introduce the scheme for canned fruit if there is an existing scheme already for these varieties of fruit in their fresh form.

Hon. members have a further misgiving—I agree that this is a fairly drastic provision— and that is that in those cases where producers have to give notice of the delivery of a particular product and where they deliver less or more than the quantity of which they gave notice, they are subject to a fine. This amendment is definitely intended only for products which are controlled under a pool scheme. It is particularly in the case of highly perishable products that it is necessary for the boards to exercise control. Take a product like bananas. The boards have to make provision for the sale of those bananas and their distribution on the various markets. If a producer gives notice that he is going to send 100 crates of bananas and he sends 150, then clearly it is going to be very difficult for the board to deal with the unexpected surplus. The boards must be informed a few days beforehand—not months, just a few days beforehand. Or if the producer sends much less than the quantity of which he gave notice, it means that that product will be in short supply on the market on that particular day. The Act clearly provides that it cannot be extended to any product, as hon. members will see if they look at the section concerned. Sub-section 2bis says that—

Whenever a regulatory board has prohibited producers of a product from selling that product except through the board and the said board conducts a pool for the sale of that product, the said board may, if authorized thereto by the relevant scheme and with the approval of the Minister …

In other words, these powers of the board must also be laid down in the scheme. It is not a power which is given to just any board. It specifically says that it must be laid down in the scheme that the board has this power. In other words, this power will only be exercised in exceptional cases where one deals with a perishable product and where notice has to be given within a few days.

Mr. WARREN:

Can any scheme accept it?

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

Any scheme can accept it with the approval of the Minister or on recommendation of the Marketing Council. Let me ask the hon. member whether he thinks that in the case of maize, for example, the farmer can be expected to give six months’ prior notice that he is going to produce so many bags of maize, and that if he does not do so he is liable to be fined? Surely that is unthinkable. But in the case of a highly perishable product like bananas the producer may perhaps give notice that he is going to send 100 crates and he then sends substantially more or less· than the 100 crates; he then places the board in a difficult position. If, however, he gives timeous notice that he can no longer deliver the quantity of which he gave notice, he will not be fined. All he has to do is give timeous notice. This is simply to prevent producers from sending greater or smaller quantities of goods to the market than the quantity of which they gave the board notice.

Mr. WARREN:

May I put a question?

Can one appeal against the decision of any scheme or board?

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

Yes, the Minister has to give his approval to these fines. The maximum fine is also laid down in the scheme. Those provisions are all subject to the Marketing Act and to the approval of the Minister. If a board wants to submit a scheme and lay down certain provisions, the Minister must approve of the scheme, otherwise it cannot be introduced. The position here is the same as in the case of all other boards. If you want to amend such a scheme—for example, if it exceeds, certain powers— then it can be amended. As I say, these are not powers that one likes giving to a board, but if we want orderly handling of a highly perishable product like bananas, for example, then the producers must deliver their product to the board in an orderly way. Unless that is done, it wrecks the whole scheme.

I think I have dealt with most of the objections raised by hon. members, except, of course, those things, which have nothing to do with this legislation. These were the important points in my opinion, in connection with which hon. members expressed certain misgivings. I just want to assure hon. members that no Minister or no Department would want to force schemes under the Marketing Act down the throats of producers if the producers do not want them. No Minister is going to introduce a scheme if the producers are against it. Such a scheme would simply not work. The Marketing Act is an enabling Act and the amendments which are being effected here are being introduced as the result of the experience of the various boards throughout the years. Hon. members have also said that we should give the control boards the opportunity to put forward their cases as they see fit, and that the Minister must not interfere. Hon. members have referred to price fixation. They say that when a board submits a price fixation the Minister must accept it. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) said so. He also says that when a board submits a scheme to the Minister, the Minister ought to accept it. But I want to tell hon. members that if all the demands made by the various boards were incorporated in this legislation, they would never have approved of it. There are some boards that made demands to which we could not possibly agree. The hon. member says that the Minister must not act autocratically and veto the boards’ decisions. These amendments are being made in the light of experience gained over the years and after discussions with the various boards, in consultation with the Marketing Council, and after discussions with the South African Agricultural Union and their various commodity committees, and at the request of people who want to introduce schemes for which the Act as it reads at the moment does not make provision. I think hon. members will agree that in the past the Marketing Act has been implemented with the greatest degree of circumspection, and that will continue to be done in the future.

I just want to reply to one other point raised by hon. members. When a board appoints a committee, that board cannot delegate its power to that committee without the approval of the Minister. Let me tell hon. members what the reason for that is. The composition of a committee (whether it be an advisory committee or not) that is appointed by a board, is subject to the approval of the Minister. The Act now says that the board may delegate its own functions to that committee. There is no objection to that if the members of the committee are members of the board. But take the case of the fresh milk scheme. There we have a Union board of fresh milk producers, and that board will have to appoint advisory committees all over the country, wherever the scheme operates, in Bloemfontein or any other centre, in order to advise the board in connection with the operation of the scheme in the various areas. On those advisory committees the board may appoint members who are not members of the board. If the board has the power to delegate its powers to those committees, one may reach the position where there are seven or eight small committees that have the same powers as the board and the members of which are not even members of the board. All we say here is that if the board establishes such advisory committees and delegates powers to them, the Minister must approve of that delegation of power. That is gjl. This is simply to ensure that the board does not delegate its powers to committees without the approval of the Minister. That is all this provision implies.

When we come to the Committee Stage, hon. members will have a further opportunity of going into these matters.

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

Upon which the House divided:

AYES—58: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Wet, C.; Diederichs, N.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Hertzog, A.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, A. I.; Marais, J. A.; Maree, W. A.; Meyer, T.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Smit, H. H.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, F. S.; 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 der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Niekerk, M. C.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.

Tellers: J. J. Fouché and J. von S. von Moltke.

NOES—37: Basson, J. A. L.; Bowker, T. B.; Butcher, R. R.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Eaton, N. G.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Graaff, de V.; Henwod, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; Horak, J. L.; Lawrence, H. G.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R. P.; Radford, A.; Ross, D. G.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steytler, J. van A.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; Tucker, H.; van der Byl, P.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.

Tellers: A. Hopewell and T. G. Hughes.

Question affirmed and the amendment dropped.

Motion accordingly agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

I move—

That the House go into Committee on the Bill to-morrow.
Mr. J. E. POTGIETER:

I second.

*Mr. WARREN:

I want to ask the hon. the Minister to be reasonable. I think he fully realizes that we intend moving certain amendments during the Committee Stage and I want to ask him whether he is not prepared to extend this period.

*The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND MARKETING:

We won’t take the Committee Stage to-morrow.

Motion put and agreed to.

Order of the Day No. IV to stand over until Order of the Day No. V has been disposed of.

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

Fifth Order read: House to resume in Committee of Supply.

House in Committee:

[Progress reported on 21 April, when Votes Nos. 2 to 4 and 10 to 23 had been agreed to and Vote No. 27,—“ Social Welfare and Pensions ”, R76,546,000, was under consideration.]

*Mr. HOLLAND:

Mr. Chairman, when the Pensions Vote was discussed last year I did not participate in the debate. I went to the hon. the Minister personally and handed him a complete table. That table gave a comparison of the pensions paid to Whites, Coloureds and Indians. I discussed the matter with the hon. the Minister in view of the unfavourable comparison between the pensions paid to Whites and those paid to Coloureds and Indians. I want to express my appreciation to the hon. the Minister for the way in which he considered the matter and for the way in which he received me and discussed the matter. I think I speak on behalf of everybody in the House when I refer to the very difficult circumstances under which he worked this year in view of the sad bereavement he suffered after so many years of happy married life.

The hon. the Minister of Finance said in his Budget Speech that the improvement in the pensions of Coloureds is an attempt to restore the original proportion, namely, 12:6:5 for Whites, Coloureds and Indians, respectively. This represents an increase of £1 2s. 6d. per month which is an improvement and which is appreciated. But the fact remains that with a proportion of 12:6:5 for the three racial groups the Coloured pensioner receives half of what the White pensioner gets. [Interjections.] Mr. Chairman, hon. members should take note of what I am saying because one of these days they will have to go on pension themselves.

As I was saying, the proportion of 12:6 in the case of the Whites and the Coloureds amounts to one-half. The bread that a Coloured pensioner buys costs just as much as that which a White pensioner buys. The clothes they buy cost the same. If he wants to ride in a bus he has to pay the same as a White old age pensioner does, and there are very few instances in everyday life where the cost of living for the Coloured old age pensioner is any cheaper than that of the White, while his pension is half that of the White.

One finds that throughout the country, and particularly in Cape Town where there are many old age pensioners among the Coloureds, housing has been provided on a large scale for White old age pensioners and the aged in general during the past few decades. I do not want to go into all the details but in respect of the class of Coloureds who are in need of it there is not only a big gap but as far as Coloured housing in general is concerned there is still a big backlog to be made up. A few months ago it was estimated that in Cape Town alone the shortage amounted to about 20,000. If we take into consideration that there is no special sub-economic housing on a large scale for Coloured old age pensioners, then one finds in contrast that in general their cost of living is the same as that of the Whites and, as I have said, in connection with housing they experience greater difficulty in getting a house and when they do get one they pay even more for it than a White old age pensioner does. I can assure the hon. the Deputy Minister that as far as the old age pension and the veterans’ pension group among the Coloureds are concerned they suffer extreme hardships. The pension could almost be described by the old adage of “ too much to die from, but hopelessly too little to live on ”. I think it is the duty of the State, particularly in the times in which we live, to make better provision for the old age pensioners among the Coloured population.

There is another aspect of pensions, namely, that there is practically no such thing as a veterans’ pension for Coloureds. There is a difference of quite a few pounds per month between the old age pension and a veterans’ pension for Whites. The State was therefore very generous in respect of veterans’ pensions. White veterans of the South African War, of the Rebellion, etc., can on production of a sworn statement, if they cannot produce a discharge certificate (which did not really exist among the Republican forces) obtain their pensions. I assisted personally in many cases. It is generally far more difficult for Coloureds to obtain such certificates or sworn statements, and then it is found that a Coloured veterans’ pension is the same as the old age pension. He receives no more than the Coloureds’ old age pension. The only way in which a Coloured is privileged and where it can be said that he receives a veterans’ pension is when he is unfit for work before the stipulated age; then he can, on production of a medical certificate, get the same pension before reaching the fixed age as he would get when he qualifies for an old age pension. The Coloureds do not receive an old age pension in the sense that the Whites receive it. The only concession is where he is unfit for work before reaching the age limit and on production of proof. If special provision is made for White veterans who have performed a service to South Africa, then I feel the same concession should be made to Coloured veterans.

Now we come to a very big category. During the last war alone there were 45,000 in South Africa who actually took up arms or who placed themselves at the service of South Africa when the country was at war. In every war before that South Africa could always rely on the services and the devotion to South Africa of large numbers of the Coloured population, and I feel that the least we can do is to show the same recognition towards the Coloured veterans that is shown towards the White veterans. If it is accepted that the difference between the two pensions of the Whites and the Coloureds should not be put on an equal level immediately, but that it should perhaps be done gradually, then it will be appreciated if a start could be made in that direction. It is appreciated that there are many complications and that many things have to be considered and that if the hon. the Minister approves of it he must then still get past the hon. the Minister of Finance. It will be appreciated, however, if a start could be made and the proportion of 12:6:5 be thrown overboard and their pensions be adjusted in accordance with the cost of living as it exists to-day, while also taking into consideration that special recognition should be given to the Coloured veterans. I express the hope that this plea will be conveyed to the hon. the Minister by the hon. the Deputy Minister. It is an important matter and the persons from that racial group who performed a service to South Africa have set an example to others, and we may shortly need them more than ever before to take up arms in the service of South Africa and to fight for South Africa.

*Dr. JURGENS:

I also want to express my thanks and appreciation to the hon. the Deputy Minister and the Government for the way in which they have tried during past years to help the aged to live a better life. I am particularly grateful for a few concessions which are again made to the aged this year. The type of aged for whom I have particular sympathy is the old chronically ill, the aged who are bed-ridden. There is no place for these old people in the provincial hospitals because they are not ill and therefore they are refused and there are no hospitals where they can be treated and the existing institutions are hopelessly inadequate to cater for their needs. Now that the hon. the Minister has increased the furniture allowance from £15 to £45 per month and the subsidy for the bed-ridden from R8 to RIO per month I feel that the welfare organizations in the different centres will now be able to establish more of these homes for the aged because the furniture burden which rested on the public will now be eased to a great extent. I hope that the existing institutions and those due to be established will make provision for this bed-ridden group. Their fate is particularly hard. At home they are cared for with great difficulty by their children; even if the children want to help they cannot always do it for various reasons, and there are not sufficient institutions to accommodate them. I hope that the welfare organizations will avail themselves of these concessions in order to continue their good work. I hope that the hon. the Minister will encourage the public as much as possible to make use of this State assistance in order to assist their own people more in future.

Mr. EATON:

I wish to bring to the attention of the hon. the Deputy Minister and the Committee the peculiar hardship that is unnecessarily endured, I feel, by a section of the population who qualify for the old-age pension as a result of the application of the means test. I said “ those that qualify ”, and the group that I have in mind are those who not only qualify for the pension but who also have some credit to their account in the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The hardship which I referred to is the delay in payments being effected either from the pension authorities or from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Because there are adjustments every six months in the payment of claims in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Fund Act, there is always a time lag between the time that the applicant obtains his unemployment insurance benefit, or when he re-applies for his benefits in terms of the Pensions Act at the completion of the six months period of benefits from the Unemployment Fund. So there is this time lag on both occasions, and bearing in mind that in many instances the only income the pensioner has is what he receives by way of pension, any time lag, any delay of a month or two creates considerable embarrassment to the pensioner concerned. I want to make a suggestion to the hon. the Minister which I feel will go a long way to overcome this difficulty and that is that the pension authority should assume the responsibility for the payment and that the credit due to such a pensioner from the Unemployment Insurance Fund should be calculated on the annual basis and such credits paid over to the Pensions Department for transfer to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The point is that any adjustment which has to take place could then take place departmentally, and would not affect the pensioner at all. In other words, he would either be paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund by way of pension, or he would be receiving his benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. There would not be any time lag and the adjustment could be made either annually, or whatever period is suitable, in terms of the respective Acts. I put it to the hon. the Minister because I do feel that unnecessary hardship is suffered here. The applicants are entitled to their benefits in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Act and also qualify in terms of the means test and they should not go without benefits for a period of one month or two months just because of administrative difficulties in the administration of these two funds. I might point out to the hon. the Minister that he may find that because of this difficulty, many who qualify for benefits in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Fund do not apply for them because of this upheaval that is created in the payment of their old-age pension. The net result is that instead of the Unemployment Insurance Fund paying out certain moneys, these moneys are paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, thus adding an additional and unnecessary burden to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. I put it to the hon. the Minister, and I hope he will give this suggestion his consideration.

Col. SHEARER:

The two concessions announced by the hon. the Deputy Minister, namely that where an inheritance accrues, the pensioner will continue to enjoy the pension until the end of that particular month, and the second that where a property is occupied and where one spouse dies, the remaining spouse will continue to enjoy his or her pension, are concessions which I am certain will be appreciated, but frankly I do not feel that they go far enough, because the pension in as far as property is concerned, in limited in that the ceiling in respect of property is £1,200. In the light of property to-day that figure of £1,200 is a very small amount indeed, and I would point out to the hon. the Minister that property valuations—I refer specifically to municipal valuations, not the saleable value of property to-day—are constantly rising and, in addition, the value of money is decreasing, and it is therefore that the pensioner suffers a distinct hardship, since the local authority, that is the municipality, when faced with a deficit finds that the easiest way out of its difficulties is either to impose a direct increase in the rates, or alternatively to get out of their difficulty by having a revaluation of properties, which, of course, brings them in increased revenue. That means obviously that pensioners who occupy a house, and particularly those who have occupied a house for many, many years, are experiencing very great hardships indeed. I would appeal to the hon. Deputy Minister to go into this matter and to endeavour, if at all practicable financially to assist such pensioners who suffer distinct hardships. I would point out that that arbitrary amount, that ceiling amount of £1,200, was assessed as a figure as far back as 1953, that is eight years ago, and during those eight years property valuations have increased tremendously and money has become less in actual value. I feel on their account that there is a good case for sympathetic consideration for a re-assessment of the ceiling figure of £1,200, I trust the hon. Deputy Minister will give his earnest consideration to this, and perhaps this Session, or if it is not practicable, next session, will come with a concession which those people occupying houses will certainly appreciate.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

First of all I wish to thank the hon. member for Durban (North) (Mr. J. Lewis) for the spirit in which he has initiated this debate, and as far as that goes, Sir, all members on both sides of the House for the spirit in which they have discussed this Vote. The hon. member for Durban (North) has asked me a number of questions, and I wish to reply to them in the order in which the hon. member put the questions to me. He first of all raised the question of the concessions made in this year’s Budget as well as the concessions which we are prepared to make under this particular Vote. For the benefit of hon. members I wish to tabulate them—

  1. (1) As from I April 1961, all old age pensions and other pensions and disability grants will be paid as from the first of the month in which application has been made and will only cease at the end of the month in which the recipient dies or becomes ineligible for a pension or grant.

Pensioners will benefit, according to the Estimates, to the tune of R300,000. This will naturally also facilitate the work of the department concerned considerably.

  1. (2) As from I April 1961, residential qualifications for old age pensioners will be as follows—

But let me first add that previously an applicant had to be a South African citizen for five years or a citizen of a Commonwealth country or of the Republic of Ireland and in addition had to be resident in South Africa for 15 out of 20 years prior to the date of application before he could qualify for a pension. The new qualifications will now be as follows—

  1. (a) As far as South African citizens are concerned, it will now be five out of ten years. As far as Commonwealth countries are concerned, including Irish citizens, it remains at 15 out of 20 years, and in respect of citizens of other countries it remains at 25 out of 30 years.

As far as blind pensioners are concerned, the position is that the applicant must be a South African citizen or must have been resident in the Union for ten out of the last 15 years. These qualifications remain, but in the case of invalidity grants the period is also reduced for 15 out of 20 years., to ten out of 15 years, to conform with the position of blind pensioners. It is estimated that this concession will cost R5,000.

  1. (3) The attendant’s allowance will be increased. As hon. members know, apart from old-age pensions and disability grants that are being paid, an additional attendant’s grant can be paid to those who are in constant need of an attendant. This amount will be increased as follows: Europeans from R36 to R48; Coloureds from R24 to R30; Indians from R18 to R24.

This increase will be automatic, and it will not be necessary to make a fresh application for the increased attendant’s grant. It is estimated that this will cost R10,000.

  1. (4) It has always been accepted that the ratio between the pensions of Europeans, Coloureds and Asiatics should be 12:6:5. It so happens that this ratio was disturbed because European bonuses have in the past been increased more than bonuses to Coloureds and Indians. This ratio is now again brought back to the original by increasing Coloured pensions by R2.25 per month and Indian pensions by R1.33 per month, at an estimated cost of R1,997,000.

Then, as already announced, as from I April 1961, as a result of a different method of calculation, the surviving spouse of the pensioner will not lose his or her pension in the case of death of one of the spouses if they resided in a house which was their sole asset. This will apply, not only to the old-age pensions, but also to the maintenance grants in general, and will be of tremendous assistance.

In this connection, and here I am also dealing with the question put to me by the hon. member for Klerksdorp (Mr. Pelser), I should add what I have already mentioned in regard to legacies in respect of the provision regarding the date from which a pensioner is entitled to a legacy. Whilst I am dealing with this subject, it is perhaps just as well, and it may perhaps shorten the discussion in regard to the remaining part of this Vote, viz. the Social Welfare part, if I were to say a few words about the care of the aged. We all know that to an increasing extent we have to face the problem of the old people in South Africa. This problem has particularly come to the fore during recent years. Immediately when we think of the aged there are, of course, four classes of old people which come to mind. Firstly, there are the ordinary aged, secondly the aged who are ill, thirdly the chronically ill, to whom the hon. member for Geduld referred, and fourthly there are the old people who have contracted an acute disease whilst living with their relatives or in institutions. It is not always easy to ascertain where the responsibilities of the Department of Social Welfare begin and where the responsibility of the provincial authority begins. My Minister and I in fact had consultations in connection with this matter a fortnight ago with all the administrators and their executive committee members, and further consultation will still be held in this regard. But whatever the position is, the fact is that the care of the ordinary old people, as well as those who are still able to help themselves, and, as well as those weak old people who, unfortunately, due to their age, are no longer in a position to help themselves, is undeniably the responsibility of the Department of Social Welfare, and we do not intend evading that responsibility in any way. However, the question, of course, arises as to what we are now doing in regard to the care of that type of old person. Apart from the ordinary, normal pension paid to such old people—and at the moment there are 86,000 of those old people on our books to whom pensions are paid—the question may be asked as to what we are doing further to care for these aged people. I say that, apart from the ordinary pensions we pay to them, we pay an additional amount of R3.50 a month to an approved institution which cares for such old people. The institution receives that amount over and above the amount it receives from the old people themselves. But, as the result of the fact—and that has already been referred to in passing—that we do not want these institutions just to make provision for those old people who can help themselves, but that we also like these institutions, as far as possible, to make provision for the time when these old people can no longer help themselves, and when they become weak, we pay an additional subsidy of R10 per month to institutions which provide for such weak old people. In order to encourage further organizations to establish institutions for the care of our aged, we pay a furniture subsidy to such institutions because it costs quite a lot of money to furnish such an institution. In this regard I just want to point out to hon. members in passing that this subsidy has for all these years been a maximum of £15. We realize that it was very difficult to furnish a room with that sum of money, and consequently, since I April, we increased the subsidy from £15 to £45 per individual when an organization establishes such a home for the aged, In this regard I want to pay tribute to the Department of Social Welfare for the policy they have been following in recent years to encourage institutions to establish homes for the aged. It has certainly borne fruit, as appears from the fact that in South Africa today we have over 76 subsidized homes in which these old people can be accommodated. Ten years ago, before this policy of encouragement was applied intensively, there were only 32 such homes. In other words, 44 such institutions were established just in the past ten years. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal, not only to the public outside, but also to hon. members in this House, to use their influence as far as possible to encourage communities where such a need exists for the housing and care of the aged, to establish such homes. In this connection I feel that such an institution should not be too big, because where this need exists the institution should be such that it can accommodate the aged of that vicinity, because old people (and nobody blames them for it) do not like to be transplanted from one neighbourhood to another. That is only human, and one understands that they like to stay in the neighbourhood where they have spent the whole of their lives and where they know the people and the environment is familiar to them. Furthermore, I feel that one does not want the institution to be too big because one wants the public to adopt this institution as their own, and, as long as it is small and manageable, the public can do so, and gladly does so. But immediately the institution becomes too big, it seems that the public interest flags. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks, to the National Council for the Aged for the valuable work they have done in this regard, not only here in Cape Town, but all over South Africa. Without their assistance and active interest and support, one would hardly have been able to tackle this problem. I am glad to be able to say that the co-operation between the Ministry, the Department and the National Council is very hearty, and that it has borne very good fruit, and will continue to do so in future.

In this connection the problem also existed in the past that not only was the Department of Social Welfare concerned with this matter, but also the Housing Commission. The Department applied one means test and the Housing Commission in its turn applied another means test in regard to the admission of persons to institutions. We entered into negotiations with the Housing Commission, and although those negotiations have not been finally completed I can hold out the prospect that in future there will be only one Department dealing with this matter and that will be the Department of Social Welfare, which will be exclusively responsible for the control and planning of these services. Whereas in the past we had two means tests—that of the Department was R28 per month before a person could be admitted—that means test has now been raised, at the request of and on consultation with the National Council, to R30 a month. As the result of this step many of the difficulties which existed in the past will be eliminated. An amendment of the basis on which loans are granted by the Housing Commission has also been considered, and I be-live that it will perhaps be possible, after further consultation with the Housing Commission, to increase the loans in future from £500 to £550 per individual, where such loans are granted to private organizations to establish such institutions. I make this statement because I feel that the course we have now adopted is the one by which this problem of the care of our aged can be solved and that to an increasing extent provision can be made for the increasing number of old people we have.

I then want to come to another point raised by the hon. member for Durban (North). He touched on the matter of a contributory pension scheme. After having made a serious study again of the matter after it had been raised last year, I am still of the same opinion, and I would like to refer the hon. member to the reply given to him last year in this connection. It is my earnest conviction that our solution and salvation lies in private pension schemes. Once we have canvassed the whole field and have introduced private pension schemes wherever possible then, and only then can the State consider the introduction of a scheme for those who, for obvious reasons, cannot be included in any private scheme. It is my personal and earnest conviction that to act otherwise will destroy the very good work that has been done by employers and employees who have called pension schemes into being either by way of insurance or by way of contributions. I want, again, to make an appeal, and a very strong appeal at that, to employers, in their own interests and in the interests of the employees, to institute such schemes where they do not exist at the moment.

With regard to the specific case quoted by the hon. member, I am informed that the allocation in that case was only made after the death of the applicant. According to the Act the allocation, of course, then becomes null and void. If the allocation was made before the death of the applicant the amount allocated would have been paid to the estate, but because the allocation was only made subsequent to the death of the applicant it could not be paid, according to the existing legislation.

In regard to the question of the valuation of property raised by the hon. member, as well as by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood), my reply is that the same valuation placed on the property before death and at the time of the application will be placed on the property in the case of the surviving spouse, even though a higher valuation is reflected in the estate. The surviving spouse will not be penalized by the fact that a higher valuation was subsequently placed on the property.

*I have already discussed the valuable suggestions made by the hon. member for Klerksdorp (Mr. Pelser).

I then come to the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Ross) who raised the matter of a general increase in all pensions and grants. My attitude and the attitude of the Government is well known. Wherever we can we will do it. For the purposes of the record, however, you will allow me to tabulate the overall increases made during the last ten years. In 1952-3 we had an increase—and this is not in rand but in pounds—of £2,250,000. 1953-4, £2,275,000. 1954-5, £1,350,000. 1955-6, £2,910,000. 1956-7, £2,700,000. 1959-60, £2,000,000. 1960-1, £1,658,000. And for this year 1961-2, R2,249,200. I think that goes to show that as far as we are concerned it is our endeavour to increase these pensions wherever we can.

*The hon. member for Vanderbijlpark (Dr. de Wet) quite correctly pointed out that an increase of the attendants allowance is essential and that very good services are being rendered. I heartily agree with the hon. member, and it also appears from these Estimates that an amount of R1,000 has been set aside for that purpose. I also want to agree with the hon. member where he referred to the group insurance schemes and to the benefit to be derived by the people who take part in such schemes. I want to join the hon. member in recommending this type of scheme to our people.

The hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) made a very interesting suggestion regarding old age pensioners and Union Loan Certificates. I think it is a suggestion with substance and I will certainly look into this matter during the recess and see whether it is a practical scheme and whether it is at all possible to adopt such a scheme. The hon. member also asked me about the Cape Widows Pension Fund. There the position is, as the hon. member knows, that the Cape Widows’ Pension Fund is a dying fund. No new members are admitted and the expenditure of the fund exceeds its income. The deficit was R74,000 for the year ending 30 April 1960. The amount of the fund decreased from R1,899,352 as at 31 March 1955, to R1,585,532 as at 31 March 1960. The assets and the liabilities of the fund are valued by an actuary every five years, and as a result of these investigations the pensions payable from the fund have been increased from time to time to absorb any available surplus. Following the last quinquennial valuation of the fund the bonus additional to the pensions has been increased from 100 per cent to 110 per cent as from I January 1961.

There seems to be an impression abroad that when the last widowed pensioner dies a substantial amount will remain in the fund. This impression is entirely erroneous. I am informed that the latest report of the actuary clearly indicates that the amount in the fund is barely sufficient to meet its liabilities for pensions payable in the future.

*The hon. member for Brits (Mr. J. E. Potgieter) referred to the sick old people, particularly at the Sonop Settlement, who have to receive treatment in the Provincial hospitals and who in the past were charged a fee for it. The hon. member made certain recommendations to me in this regard, and acting on those recommendations I made representations to the Transvaal Provincial Administration. I have pleasure in telling the hon. member that this matter has now been cleared up and that the fees charged in the past in the cases which were brought to my notice will no longer be charged in future. I trust that this problem the hon. member has will now be solved for good. A circular to this effect has also been sent to the various hospitals by the Director of Hospitals in the Transvaal to cover these and other cases referred to by the hon. member.

The hon. member for Durban (North) asked me whether the applications of people rejected on account of residential qualifications would be reviewed as a matter of course. Unfortunately it is impossible. These applications can only be reviewed on an application by the particular applicant. The hon. member will appreciate that it is impossible for the Department to search out these various applications unless the person concerned brings it to the notice of the Department.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

That, I take it, can be done merely by way of a letter quoting the reference number?

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

That is so, and if additional information is then required the Department will get in touch with the applicant concerned.

The hon. member also pleaded for an increase in the maximum pension. As I have tried to explain, that is what we have been trying to do throughout the years. Taking 1947 as the basis we find that the index figure shows that cost of living has risen by 61 per cent whereas the pensions have risen by 130 per cent. That goes to show that as far as the Government is concerned we are fully alive to the question raised by the hon. member.

The hon. member also raised the question of reciprocity. The position is the same as last year. If the hon. member will refer to my reply of last year he will see what the position is, and I have nothing further to add to it.

Mr. J. LEWIS:

May I ask the hon. the Deputy Minister this point: Will he bear that in mind for the future in any case, because perhaps at some other time I will point out the benefits that there will be for potential pensioners if something like that could come about.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

I can readily give the hon. member the assurance that we will bear this in mind. All suggestions made by all hon. members are always borne in mind, and if we can do something about those suggestions we readily do so.

The hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) raised the same question this year as he did last year, namely, the disparity between pensions paid to Europeans and Coloureds. The hon. member for Outeniqua (Mr. Holland) has raised the same matter. I have explained the question of the ratio, and that ratio is still the same as it was under previous Governments in South Africa. Here, too, the pension as far as the Coloureds are concerned has been increased by 130 per cent whereas the cost of living has only increased by 61 per cent, taking 1947 as the basis.

*I appreciate the remarks made by the hon. member for Mossel Bay (Dr. van Nierop), and in passing I just want to point out to the hon. member that we are already making the provision he pleaded for in regard to deserving children. I take pleasure in subscribing to the standpoint adopted by the hon. member, and I want to point out that apart from the provision made by the Department of Education, Arts and Science, the Department of Social Welfare and Pensions also thoroughly appreciates the possibility mentioned by him, that assistance should be given in deserving cases, and therefore an allowance is paid to the deserving children up to the age of 18 instead of 16. The hon. member referred to the false statements made by some applicants in order to receive a pension. Unfortunately a small percentage of applicants give the wrong information in order to obtain pensions. This is very often brought to the notice of hon. members because it is said: “ I only possess so much, but my neighbour possesses more than I do and he receives a pension.” The Departments are aware that this in fact happens. But what the person concerned does not know, and what the person furnishing the wrong information does not know either, is that the day arrives when the Department discovers it, and that is the day somebody dies and leaves an estate, and then the amount which was obtained as the result of giving wrong information is simply recovered from the estate. But of course if we do not know the circumstances we cannot do anything about it, but in the long run such a person does not get away with it, because it is recovered from his estate if it appears that wrong information was given.

The hon. member also referred to the abuse of liquor. Of course I heartily agree with the hon. member. I also agree that the institution belonging to the Salvation Army, and to which he referred, does particularly good work. In regard to this matter of alcoholism, I may say in passing, whilst referring to what was said by the hon. member, that a departmental committee has been appointed to investigate the question of alocholism, and we definitely intend, as soon as we receive the report of this committee, tackling this problem on a much larger scale than in the past. We realize what a serious problem it is and that we should take more active steps in this regard than we have done in the past.

The hon. member for Maitland (Dr. de Beer) made an interesting contribution to the debate and I want to assure him that I shall seriously consider what he said. In passing, I just want to point out to him that we have already made concessions to these civil pensioners by giving an increase of 10 per cent plus the temporary allowance of £147 paid to pensioners falling in the category he mentioned.

I also thank the hon. member for Boksburg (Mr. G. L. H. van Niekerk) for his contribution to the debate. Ever since entering this House the hon. member has pleaded for the pensioners who only have a house in which they live and who are then particularly adversely affected if one of the spouses dies and the pension of the surviving spouse is affected. Together with the hon. member, I am grateful for the fact that we have solved that problem in the way already indicated by me.

Then the hon. member for Outeniqua (Mr. Holland), on behalf of his voters—and I do not in the least blame him for it—asked that pensions for Coloureds should be paid on the same scale as those for Whites; and I take it also the pensions to Indians. The hon. member is of course aware that this ration of 10: 6: 5 is not one which was evolved by this Government.

*Mr. HOLLAND:

12: 6: 5.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Yes, 12: 6: 5. That is a ratio which has always been maintained by all previous Governments. I stick to that ratio and continue working on it.

*Mr. HOLLAND:

It is the wrong basis.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

In regard to the complaint of the hon. member in connection with the pensions for Coloured ex-servicemen, that is a matter one can consider. In this regard, and from the very nature of the matter. I do not want to make any promises. But I just want to point out to the hon. member in passing that the legislation dealing with this matter was passed during the time when his party was still in power. On behalf of my Minister I want to thank the hon. member for the nice words he addressed to the Minister, and I shall convey his remarks to him.

The hon. member for Geduld (Dr. Jurgens) referred to chronic diseases. I have already in this connection mentioned what we are doing and the negotiations we entered into, and the consultations we still have in future.

As far as the hon. member for Umhlatuzana (Mr. Eaton) is concerned, I want to say that I appreciate the hardships caused by the circumstances that he mentioned. The hon. member has made an interesting suggestion and I will certainly consider that, and if there are not insurmountable administrative difficulties I will investigate the matter and let the hon. member know, as is my practice, in the recess, as to whether something can be done about it. The same applies to the matter raised by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (City) (Col. Shearer) with regard to property valuations. I am well aware of the difficulties mentioned by the hon. member.

*This completes my reply to the suggestions made by hon. members. I want to give hon. members this assurance, that any suggestion made by any hon. member is not simply ignored by the Department. Notes are taken and investigation is made as to whether these suggestions have any substance or not. On this occasion I would like to say that I think the hon. the Prime Minister did the correct thing when he merged the Departments of Pensions and Social Welfare. As the result of that fusion we are much more able to-day to determine what the present-day needs are of the people requiring assistance, now that these two Departments have merged. I can also tell hon. members that in spite of the huge task it was to join two such big Departments, thanks to the good spirit exhibited by the senior officials and particularly by the Secretary for Social Welfare, matters went smoothly. In fact, Mr. Chairman, I think this is the only fusion which has ever had good results as far as I know. I want to assure hon. members that all suggestions made by them will be considered, and if it is in any way possible to implement them that will be done, because in this Department it is our only object to relieve the lot of the people entrusted to our care as far as possible and to bring as much light and happiness into their lives as we possibly can.

Mr. OLDFIELD:

The hon. the Deputy Minister, in the course of replying to various points that have been raised by hon. members who have participated in this debate so far, made an important statement in regard to alleviating the position of the aged and the in-put would like to say that we on this side of the House always welcome any concessions and improvements to conditions and any other provisions that will assist the aged in any way whatsoever. I am sure that the statement the hon. the Deputy Minister made in regard to the assistance to be rendered to welfare organizations caring for the aged will be most welcome by those organizations. By subsidizing these organizations we are underlining the fundamental principle in welfare work whereby the people do the work for the other people. “ By the people for the people ” is a fundamental principle in welfare work, and by subsidizing organizations in this manner it encourages those organizations to adopt a programme whereby they can develop a system of assisting those who require it, in the most suitable manner. The hon. the Deputy Minister’s suggestion of keeping such institutions as small as possible is excellent and one that has been followed by numerous welfare organizations caring for a variety of cases that come under their jurisdiction, by adopting the cottage system and thereby creating a more homely atmosphere.

This debate has been mainly in connection with the aged—and quite rightly so, because I think every hon. member of this House is deeply concerned with the plight of a number of aged persons who, in the twilight of their lives, find they are faced with a reducing standard of living due to ever increasing costs of living. As this debate has been mainly in connection with the aged I shall not say anymore about that problem except to say that the concessions made by the hon. the Deputy Minister are most welcome. However, as I say I do not wish to pursue this matter any further because there are certain aspects of this Vote concerning other matters which I wish to raise with the hon. the Deputy Minister.

You will remember, Mr. Chairman, that last year we had in this House the Childrens’ Act of 1960, which was looked upon as the charter in regard to child welfare. Í feel it would be appropriate at this stage to make certain comments in regard to the effects of the provisions of that Act, without putting forward any suggestions which would require legislation, as you, Mr. Chairman, would no doubt rule me out of order. One of the important effects of this Act—and I may say one of the pleasing effects is to see that the number of parents who have had children taken away from them as being in need of care in terms of the Children’s Court, have shown concern at the possibility of losing parental control of their child if, after a period of two years, they have not made any attempts to rehabilitate themselves by having the child returned to their custody. That is one of the most pleasing features. A large number of parents who have children committed to institutions are now taking an increasing interest in those children. However, there are certain aspects which are not quite as pleasing and one which I wish to deal with is causing a great deal of concern and difficulty. I refer to the question of places of safety and detention.

We find that in these places of safety and detention, although the Act provides that children should remain there for a period of 14 days only, in many cases they are staying far longer. I know of some instances where they have staged there for as long as three months. Therefore the administration of these places does seem to require the attention of the hon. the Deputy Minister. The position is that in these places of safety and detention they are unable, due to certain difficulties, to have any classification in regard to the delinquent child and the criminally inclined child as against the child who is destitute, ill-treated and needy. These children are all kept under the same roof which is not a desirable state of affairs. I realize that there are certain capital difficulties in the cost of establishing separate institutions in which to keep the children. The whole question of having these children altogether under one roof makes the administration of such a place most difficult. In addition to that, provision was made in the Children’s Act of 1960, that observation centres should be established at these places of safety and detention. I think the hon. the Deputy Minister should give his attention to this very important aspect, because I believe that to have these observation centres established with the least possible delay is a matter of considerable urgency. The question of having young persons, some of them young innocent children who are being held in such a place of safety and detention, coming into contact with the undesirable elements who are also held in that place has been brought to my notice on a number of occasions. A case that comes to mind is that of a young girl of six years of age who was placed in a place of safety and detention pending an inquiry in the Children’s Court. She was placed in the same dormitory as teenage prostitutes who used a great deal of foul language and, after a short stay this child had certainly learnt a great deal which was undesirable, particularly for a child of that tender age. There are these difficulties of keeping these children at these places for a considerable period of time, and, while they are there, not attending school, which may seriously jeopardize their future education. As I say, this is sometimes for a period of three or four months, instead of their being kept there for as short a period as possible.

One of the difficulties appears to be that there is a shortage of industrial schools and accommodation in a number of the institutions where these children are being held in transit to other institutions. It appears that this is another matter that requires attention. Although the Industrial Schools Vote is not now under discussion this is a matter which affects the length of stay in these places of safety and detention, and possibly the hon. the Deputy Minister can take the matter up at a later date.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

We are in fact making the necessary provision.

Mr. OLDFIELD:

I am pleased to hear that, Mr. Chairman.

The other matter which I wish to raise is the difficulty in regard to probation officers. If one visits probation offices and sees the enormous amount of work carried out by these men, one realizes that they are vital and important links in the work and administration of social welfare. They have a large variety of functions to perform and a large variety of duties, which are also defined in the Children’s Act, in Section 58. But we find that with the establishment of attendance centres which, we hope, will come in the not too distant future, additional duties will fall to the probation officers. I therefore ask the hon. the Deputy Minister to give consideration to increasing the number of probation officers so that a large amount of their vital work, particularly in regard to the prevention of delinquency, can be given more attention.

During the course of the discussion of the vote of the hon. the Minister of Justice, he mentioned that there was a sub-committee of the Cabinet discussing the problem of young persons who refused to work, who did not actually commit crimes but who are creating disturbances in certain instances. Here I would like to put forward a suggestion, and that is that in terms of the Work Colonies Act of 1949, under Section 8, provision is made for separate work colonies to be classified in certain instances. I think that one of our difficulties could be solved by the implementation of that section of the Work Colonies Act by the establishment of work colonies for young persons between the ages of 18 and 23. Those who are under the age of 18 can be dealt with in terms of the Children’s Act, because the age limit was reduced from 19 to 18 last year. As a result we find that some persons who should still be attending school at the age of 18, refuse to attend school and become quite uncontrollable, but due to the fact that they cannot be dealt with in terms of the Children’s Act, become wasted manpower and lead an idle life which could ultimately lead to criminal and delinquent lives. This is due to lack of provision to deal with this type of person. I hope that the Minister will give consideration to the question of establishing a small work colony where these young idle persons can be committed on similar terms as other persons committed to work colonies, but a special type of work colony, because when we study the reports from the work colonies we find that the vast majority of the inmates there are alcoholics. [Time limit.]

*Mr. P. J. COETZEE:

I would like to know something from the hon. the Minister. Supposing interested persons intend establishing an institution and receive a subsidy, is it repayable, and if such an establishment ceases to function is the subsidy recoverable from those persons?

Then I also want to ask the hon. the Minister something in connection with aid-age pensions. While being very grateful for what is being done the values of properties are determined at too low a level, when a person applies for a pension. If he has a property valued at £1,400 he does not qualify. Now I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether a person who owns a property valued at £2,500 or £3,000 and which is paid for could be considered?

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

They qualify up to £3,750.

*Mr. P. J. COETZEE:

But in most cases they are refused and then they have no other income except for this property from which they cannot live. I personally had cases where people who possess property of a certain value, even with a bond on it, have been refused. Is it perhaps left to the discretion of the official to decide what value is permitted? I want clarity on this point because there are many such cases where persons possess property but have no other income and then do not qualify for the pension.

Then there is another group of persons that I want to bring to the notice of the hon. the Minister. They cannot be accommodated in any existing institution. They do not qualify for a mental institution nor do they qualify for an old-age home. They are between the two groups. What is the intention now? Has the hon. the Minister got anything in mind also to provide for those people in future?

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

I do not quite understand what people you are referring to.

*Mr. P. J. COETZEE:

They are also mentally retarded but not enough to be placed in a mental institution or in an old-age home. There are quite a few of them in the country who do not fit in anywhere. I just want to know whether there is an institution for them, and if not, whether the hon. the Minister intends establishing something like that in future.

Mrs. SUZMAN:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to raise with the hon. the Deputy Minister the question of the Government’s decision to abandon the State-aided milk, butter and margarine scheme which took effect from 31 October last year. The reasons were given by the Department at the time in a circular and they were repeated in reply to a question I put to the hon. the Deputy Minister last February, in 1961. The reasons given were that as the result of investigations, several irregularities were revealed such as defective bookkeeping and inadequate control. Incomes were such that they should be able to be self-supporting and in many cases the subsidization of these schemes led to a double subsidization with other State and Provincial schemes; and it was found that these schemes no longer served the purpose for which they were originally intended and the Department therefore decided to withdraw these schemes from 31 October 1960, and no further schemes would be considered after that date, but where in exceptional cases assistance is required they would be considered on their merits under the Department’s public assistance scheme. Those were the reasons given by the Department at the time for discontinuing this State-aided scheme for butter, milk and margarine. In the interim many comments were made by experts on this decision of the Government, by medical officers of health, child welfare societies, the T.B. Association and the South African Medical Journal, and all these comments were without exception absolutely unfavourable to the decision and pointed out the shortsightedness of this policy. I want to summarize it by saying that the comments showed quite clearly that all these experts con sider the abandonment of the State-aided scheme for butter, milk and margarine as being cent-wise and rand-foolish. I would like to give the comments of these experts to the House, e.g. the Medical Officer of Health of Cape Town made the point that he is of the opinion that the only milk that the majority of children receive (i.e. the children his Department deals with) is that supplied under the scheme, and he had little doubt that its withdrawal would result in hardship to them and a general deterioration of their health. Other comments were made by the Secretary of the Durban Child Welfare Society, by Mr. Bond, the Secretary of the Durban Community Chest, and by the South African Tuberculosis Association, which stated quite clearly that they thought it was an extremely bad decision that the Government had come to. The South African Medical Journal was particularly scathing in an article which reported last year to the effect that it pleaded for the re-issue of the widespread distribution of milk and other foods to infants and pre-school children. It is quite clear that despite any administrative failings in the scheme, and no doubt there were some which could obviously have been put right after investigations and proper reorganization, there is absolutely no good medical or nutritional reason for abandoning the scheme. Indeed, all the indications are that the scheme should be broadened. There is no doubt that the wide-spread incidence of malnutrition in this country could be combated by reinstituting the scheme. I want to point out that in a paper read to the Nutrition Society on 7 November last year the President of the Society stated the following—-

There appears to be little doubt that amongst the poorer sections of the population dietary deficiency is as prevalent now as ever before and is the cause of a high mortality in children and of a considerable amount of ill-health in adults. This must surely create a substantial burden on the country’s economy because of the cost of hospitalization, absenteeism and a substantial fall in productivity.

A doctor from the King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban said that during the last five years about 5,500 cases of severe malnutrition had been dealt with at that hospital. Half those infants had died. According to Dr. Mitchell, the M.O.H. of the Cape Divisional Council, 10,000 children in the South African urban areas are known to die every year from gastro-enteritis, and he went on to say that the tragedy is that children who die from gastroenteritis did so because they were weak as the result of malnutrition, and this could easily be prevented. Now the position is obviously much worse with non-White children than with White children, and if one examines the mortality rate one finds that the mortality of children between the ages of one and four, mainly from malnutrition, is five times greater amongst Indians, 15 times greater amongst Coloureds, and 32 times greater in the case of the Bantu children than it is in the case of White children. But the most important thing is that all the experts pointed to the fact that the shocking wastage of lives could easily be prevented and that much money could be saved to the community if preventive measures were taken. The doctor at the King Edward VIII Hospital stated that the amount of money spent on treating the surviving patients of the numbers admitted with severe malnutrition could have fed 27,500 children for a whole year, and that milk with its life-giving properties, which was in plentiful supply in South Africa, should be given to malnourished children to prevent malnutrition. Dr. Quass, the Director of the National Nutritional Research Council of the C.S.I.R., said in November last year that kwashiokor could easily be prevented by providing milk for children. He said that if the State looked after the pre-school child this would lead to more healthy adults who could maintain a higher standard of productivity. Dr. Mitchell, the M.O.H. of Cape Town, said that if the 10,000 children who died each year of gastroenteritis were given a tablespoonful of powdered skim milk every day, the disease would be reduced to negligible proportions, despite bad hygiene, because he said, the disease was mainly due to protein deficiency. Similarly, Dr. Cooper and other experts in this field estimated that supplying children with powdered milk would reduce the death rate by 95 per cent. Now all the experts in the country, nutritional experts, medical officers of health and the T.B. Association, are all at one in condemning the abandonment of the State-aided milk, butter and margarine scheme, and I sincerely hope that the hon. the Deputy Minister will reconsider the decision taken last year to stop the scheme.

*Mr. G. L. H. VAN NIEKERK:

Under the Social Welfare Vote it stands to reason that we think of marriage, the happy marriage and the one which is not so happy. Now it so happens that this is Family Year, and we are again deeply conscious of the fact that the happy and united family forms the basis of a happy and united state. We have again become aware of our high divorce rate and the fact that divorce is the canker gnawing at the soul and the root of our national existence. For that reason we cannot just talk or philosophize about this Family Year. We dare not allow it to pass without deriving some permanent benefit from it. The State and the Church should be prepared to make sacrifices and to pay a high price for the preservation and maintenance of sound family life in our country. In the long run that will be much cheaper than the high price we have to pay for families disrupted by divorce, both in terms of money and of human misery. We should just think of what it costs us to maintain the children of such disrupted marriages, and just think of what the children have to pay in terms of sorrow. The rule that prevention is better than cure applies here more than anywhere else. We must do everything in our power to ensure that this important trinity of husband, wife and child functions effectively in our State. What I want to plead for to-night with all the earnestness at my disposal is marriage guidance, with the emphasis more on prevention than on cure. Call it marriage guidance, if you like. Call it what you like, but it should be designed to prevent marriages which as a rule start off so happily so often coming to a miserable end; and what is so tragic is that very often it is as the result of a slight misunderstanding or a minor difference of opinion that most marriages go on the rocks. But it is this very fact which gives me hope. I am convinced that if speedy and timeous action is taken when the first signs of estrangement appear, such marriages can be saved. There should be a place in every community to which such married couples, either one or the other of the couple, can seek refuge in order to discuss their problems frankly and freely before they assume serious proportions. And it is important that the public should know about the existence of such marriage guidance bureaux. Now I know that there is a Marriage Guidance Council in South Africa, and we are grateful for the work it does, but I do not think that as yet it complies with the requirements which we would like to expect of such a body. An organization of this kind should be composed of psychologists and sociologists in every community, like the clergy, educationists, magistrates and other voluntary welfare workers. It is also important that they should be people of influence and standing in the community, people who instill confidence. It is even more important that such marriage guidance bureaux should be, if not under the control of, then at least subject to the guidance of the Department of Social Welfare. They should regularly receive guidance from the psychologists and sociologists of the Department in regard to the implementation of their task, e.g. at regular regional conferences and by means of publications issued to them. The work should be done voluntarily and only essential expenses which are incurred should be repaid. Their main task should be to remove the earliest signs of estrangement in a marriage, or to put it more positively, to give those who feel that their marriage is being threatened advice and perspective, viz. that the preservation of the marriage for the sake of the children is more important than any personal grievance which the parents might have against one another. These, in broad lines, are the few suggestions I want to submit. The details can be worked out later.

A second suggestion I want to make in this regard is really more closely connected with pre-marital guidance. What I want to advocate is the introduction of marriage guidance as a subject, in the same way that we have vocational guidance in our schools. I hope that the hon. the Minister and the Government will use their influence with the Provincial Councils to introduce this as a subject in our high schools. A matter which is basic and fundamental to a happy marriage is the choice of the right partner, and in this regard the subconscious conception of what is really manly and womanly plays—it serves as the unconscious norm—the decisive rôle in determining the choice. This is a matter which should definitely be included in the curriculum of such a marriage guidance course, together with many other matters such as the marriage as a sacred institution, the marriage and the Church, the marriage and the child, etc. There is nothing which contributes so much to a happy marriage as the choice of the right mate, and there is nothing which subconsciously influences this choice so much as the conception of manliness and womanliness in the mind of the person making the choice. Now it so happens that one of the most remarkable social and ethical phenomena in our times is the change which has come about in the conception of true manliness and womanliness. This has been almost imperceptible. It was a gradual revolution which took place between the two world wars. It is, however, one of those changes which are definitely not an improvement. It is the result of the adulteration of values in so many spheres of life The man who wants to live a morally clean life is regarded as a “sissy”; the one who drifts with the tide as a hero! [Time limit.]

Dr. FISHER:

In the few minutes left I firstly want to congratulate the Department of Social Welfare on the excellent work they did during the floods which took place in the north-west Cape recently. I think that this side of the House and all the people here tonight, together with the people affected, are deeply grateful to those who at such short notice did so much for those who really needed the help they received from the Minister’s Department. We are very grateful for what was done there and we hope that the organization which was established during the floods will be kept at a high pitch of efficiency so that if it is ever needed again it will be ready to assist at the shortest notice.

We on this side of the House also welcome heartily those concessions and improvements which the Department has given both to the needy aged and to the pensioner. These increases which homes for the aged will receive will, I am sure, stimulate greater interest to be taken in these homes, and more homes will now be able to be built for the needy aged. I agree with the Minister that the homes should be small ones, but he must realize that if these small homes are successful the demands on the accommodation available will become greater and greater and the tendency to extend these small homes will always be there; so that he must bear in mind that extensions will be necessary. At the same time I want to ask him to bear in mind the necessity for erecting sick-bays in these homes and to give the necessary funds for such sick-bays. I would also ask him, whilst giving more money to the old-age homes, to see whether or not it is possible for him to assist the homes for the unmarried mother and the baby homes which result therefrom. Often babies have to be kept for many weeks in these homes before they are adopted. Many of these homes depend entirely on the charity and generosity of the public, and I hope the Minister will see his way clear to help them as well. There are many aspects, as the Minister knows, of the Social Welfare Vote which we on this side of the House want to deal with, but because of the shortage of time we are unable to do so. I hope the Minister will give us an opportunity to meet him outside the Chamber, and perhaps we can discuss certain aspects of the Vote and then give the assistance where we think it is most needed.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSIONS:

Mr. Chairman, in reply to the last argument advanced by the hon. member for Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher), he asked whether I would give him and other members an opportunity to bring matters to my notice. I will welcome it, and the Department welcomes it at all times if hon. members come to us with their problems, and the hon. member is very welcome to do so.

With reference to what the hon. member said in regard to the assistance given during the floods, I appreciate what he said and will convey it to the Department. We gained much experience in Natal and also during the present floods, and the framework of this organization will always be there, and with the experience gained by us the Department is able to cope with such catastrophes, which we hope will not soon occur again. I also take note of what the hon. member said in regard to a sick-bay in old-age homes, and I agree that provision should be made for weak old people, and for that reason we are paying the increased subsidy.

The hon. member for Boksburg (Mr. G. L. H. van Niekerk) raised a very important matter, and if one takes into consideration that from 1913 to 1956 there have been 85,985 divorces in South Africa, it is time that we should all realize what the position is, particularly if one considers that an estimated 4,621 children annually become the victims of these divorces and broken homes; then one realizes that a catastrophe is hitting the country. If one further considers that the biggest number of divorces took place in 1954, when there were 4,011 in that one year, one realizes the importance of the matter raised by the hon. member, and that we all have a duty in that regard.

The hon. member for Houghton asked whether we would consider the reinstitution of the milk and butter scheme again. We did not take this step lightly, but only after thorough consultation and a study of the matter. I am sorry, but in view of all the circumstances and for the reasons I have already given and which I am prepared to give the hon. member again, we do not intend again instituting this scheme. If assistance has to be given, the Department feels that for many good reasons this is not the best way of doing so, but that use should be made of other channels and machinery which exist to help families where the breadwinner does not earn enough. Therefore we had to take this step with the fullest sense of responsibility, but I want to tell the hon. member in all fairness that a large part of her speech should not have been made under the Social Welfare Vote but under Health, which is not my responsibility and over which this Department has no jurisdiction.

The hon. member for Langlaagte (Mr. P. J. Coetzee) mentioned the case of people possessing a house worth £2,500 who cannot receive a pension. Of course, that is not so. It is very clear, and there can be no misconception, nor have the officials any discretion in that regard. It has been laid down that any person or a married couple, and as the result of a concession I have just made, also an unmarried person, can qualify for a pension if the only asset those people have is a house in which they live, even though the value of the house is £3,750. But what often happens in practice is that these people say it is their only asset, whereas in fact they have other sources of income which have to be considered. The hon. member may take it from me, and I shall be glad if he would bring such cases to my notice where applicants have been refused, because then they were definitely wrongly refused, and I have no knowledge of any case where the Department has not done justice to any person. On the contrary, the Department is at pains to do justice to all persons, and that is also done in practice. In regard to the type of person mentioned by the hon. member, there is of course no rule or legal provision which prevents a person who is not completely normal mentally from being accepted in certain institutions. If the person is abnormal to such an extent that he requires medical care, it is of course not our responsibility but that of the Department of Public Health, and his case should be brought to the notice of the Minister of Health.

In conclusion, I just want to say this. The hon. member for Umbilo (Mr. Oldfield) of course always makes a thorough study of these matters we have just discussed, and I thank him for his contribution to the debate. I want to assure him that all the matters he mentioned will receive our serious consideration and that everything he said will be considered.

Vote put and agreed to.

Precedence given to Vote No. 24 (Transport).

It being 10.25 o’clock p.m. the Chairman stated that, in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (1), he would report progress and ask leave to sit again.

House Resumed:

Progress reported and leave asked to sit again.

House to resume in Committee on 25 April.

The House adjourned at 10.27 p.m.