House of Assembly: Vol108 - THURSDAY 4 MAY 1961
Mr. SPEAKER announced that. Mr. Alec Gorshell was declared elected a member of the House of Assembly for the electoral division of Hospital on Wednesday, 3 May 1961.
Mr. Speaker, with the leave of the House I should like to make the following statement:
During the past four weeks the gold and exchange reserves of the Reserve Bank have decreased by R21.8 million, and last Friday stood at R163,000,000. A drop in the reserves at this time of the year is normal and their level is still considerably above the danger level—only three years ago they stood at R144,000,000, even after we had drawn R18,000,000 from the International Monetary Fund and had made other short-term loans totalling R21,000,000. Nevertheless this decrease has had a detrimental effect on the confidence in our economy—confidence which has already been affected to a degree by oversea ignorance and prejudices.
The Government has therefore decided, in the belief that prevention is better than cure, to take certain immediate steps to stem the drop in the reserves and to strengthen the confidence in our economy. In fact, nothing is calculated more to establish confidence overseas than when a country proves that it wishes to keep its house in order. These measures will cause a measure of inconvenience for certain people, but it is better to take definite steps now than to wait until later. My colleague, the Minister of Economic Affairs, is also busy considering certain measures which will be announced shortly, but the financial measures which I propose are as follows:
(1) Interest Rates:
The traditional warning sign is an increase in the bank rate. The accompanying rise of other short-term rates of interest will also discourage the outflow of funds and encourage commerce to a greater extent to seek credit for foreign trade transactions abroad. After consultations with the Treasury the Reserve Bank has therefore decided to raise its discount rates as from to-morrow by ½ per cent, that is from 4½ per cent to 5 per cent.
It has further become necessary, as part of the whole scheme of self-discipline and prevention, to revise rates of interest on long-term loans—especially with a view to the high returns which can now be obtained on preference shares and the safest ordinary shares of South African companies. The Reserve Bank has therefore decided—after consultations with the Treasury and the National Finance Corporation—to increase its pattern of interest rates for State stocks with a currency of more than three years by ¼ per cent as from to-morrow.
A State loan of R75,000,000 is repayable on 1 June and two new loans of five years and 20 years will be offered for the conversion of the old loan and for new cash subscriptions. In accordance with the new interest rate pattern, the rate of interest for the five-year loan will be 5¼ per cent and for the 20-year loan 5⅞ per cent, both at par. The intention is not to draw a total of more than the amount repayable.
(2) Credit Policy:
Months ago already the commercial banks were asked by the Reserve Bank to be careful about making credit available for financing imports. I again want to appeal to them to keep to this policy, in the interest of the country as well as in their own interest, and I make the same appeal to other financial institutions who are concerned with the financing of imports—please note: imports.
Earlier this year the Reserve Bank lowered the minimum reserve balances which the commercial banks must retain with the Reserve Bank from 10 per cent to 6 per cent of their obligations to the public. This was done to help the banks over the height of the seasonal pressure at the end of March, when the collection of tax money from the private sector draws away and the liquidity of the banks decreases. The necessity for this concession has now fallen away, and, in order also to support the banks in their attempts to be careful with the allowance of credit for imports, the Reserve Bank has decided to increase the minimum percentage per 31 May to 8 per cent; the normal level will probably be re-established later.
(3) Exchange Control:
During 1959 and 1960 exchange control was eased considerably with a view to the very much improved position of our reserves and balance of payments. The time has now come again to sharpen the control in order to protect the balance of payments. The following measures are being applied immediately:
- (a) The allowance for tourists is to be decreased from R2,500 per journey to R20 per adult per day with a maximum of R1,000 in any calendar year; the allowance for children under the age of 12 years will be R8 per day with a maximum of R400. Higher allowances can however be allowed for bona fide business visits.
- (b) The allowance for emigrants is to be decreased from R20,000 to R10,000 per family and the value of any assets abroad will be deducted from the latter amount.
- (c) In the case of legacies to heirs abroad the former restriction of R20,000 per heir is to be re-established. In the case of heirs as well as emigrants the remaining capital will be blocked in South Africa but the income or dividends on it will be transferable.
- (d) The repatriation of foreign capital will as always in the past be freely allowed, but stricter control will be exercised on the transfer of capital by persons resident in South Africa. I want to draw the attention of the public to the fact that anybody who possesses foreign currency (or a right to it) is compelled in terms of the exchange control regulations to present it to his banker, and that neglect to do so renders him liable to heavy penalties. There is no legal method to transfer funds abroad, outside the limits laid down by the Treasury, and the penalty for an offence can be heavy. It is also the intention, within the near future, to demand of persons in South Africa that they present a statement of their foreign assets to their bankers.
I also appeal to all financial institutions to co-operate actively to stem any indirect outflow of capital which may amount to an evasion of our exchange control.
I repeat that it is not the intention to restrict the repatriation of foreign capital, or the income or dividends on it. The rumours about such restrictions, as well as other measures, such as devaluation, are completely unfounded. On the contrary, I am convinced that these measures, together with those on which my colleague, the Minister of Economic Affairs, is working, will be sufficient to safeguard the economy and the balance of payments.
Bill read a first time.
First Order read: House to resume in Committee of Supply.
House in Committee:
[Progress reported on 3 May, when Votes Nos. 2 to 27, 39, 41 to 46 and the Estimates of Expenditure from Bantu Education Account had been agreed to, precedence had been given to Votes Nos. 36 to 38 and Vote No. 36.—“Agricultural Technical Services (Administration and National Services)”, R10,957,000, was under consideration.]
When the House adjourned yesterday evening I was replying to a few points raised by hon. members. I should like to complete my reply now. Let me start with the first question, and that is the one raised by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) in respect of the outbreak of anthrax in Natal. My reply to the hon. member is that yesterday I received the following information from the Field Service Division, Veterinary Services, namely that there has been one death due to anthrax in the Nqutu district and two in the Melmoth district and that all movements of livestock from the areas concerned have been stopped. Large-scale inoculation of livestock in the surrounding areas, particularly in the White areas, has been organized. In other words, the necessary precautionary steps were taken immediately. In the infected areas the Natives are refusing to allow their cattle to be inoculated and it appears that the greatest inciters are the Bantu women. This matter has now been raised with the Bantu Affairs Commissioners and with the police. I hope this reply satisfies the hon. member that the Department is aware of this outbreak and that every effort is being made to prevent the spreading of this disease.
Then I should like to give the following explanation to the hon. member for Vryheid (Mr. D. J. Potgieter). Yesterday evening after the adjournment of the House he talked to me about my reply in respect of the cultivation of Phormium Tenax as a fibre and our future plans in that regard. He says that there may be some misunderstanding in connection with my reply, in which I laid particular emphasis on the fact that the cultivation of that fibre is really in the hands of the Bantu to-day and that the Department of Bantu Administration and Development regards the cultivation of this fibre as something that is particularly suited to the Bantu and is keen to encourage the Bantu to cultivate it. But that does not mean that Whites will be precluded from cultivating it. As a matter of fact, there are Whites at the moment who are cultivating this fibre. The present production of about 1,000 tons is being produced exclusively by Whites. The authorities do not preclude Whites from participating in the cultivation of this fibre. I am fully aware of the fact that the wattle producers in Natal particularly, who are experiencing certain difficulties in their industry, are anxiously looking forward to cultivating this fibre in substitution for wattle. The State is not going to place any obstacles in the way of those people if they wish to cultivate this fibre. There is nothing to prevent them from doing so.
Then I also want to make a correction in respect of the reply that I gave to the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) who asked whether I was aware of the fact that in certain areas Government veterinarians are not allowed, particularly if a private veterinarian is practising there, to render all the necessary services to the farmers. I thought he was referring to the activities of Government veterinarians in respect of scheduled diseases, but apparently he was thinking of stock diseases generally whereas I was thinking of scheduled diseases only. Government veterinarians are concerned in the first place with the treatment of scheduled diseases under the Livestock Diseases Act, No. 13 of 1956. They are responsible therefore for the general health of our livestock and they also do a certain amount of extension work with regard to the prevention of diseases, etc. But Government Notice No. 2573 of 7 November 1953 lays down the arrangement between Government veterinarians and private veterinarians, as far as non-scheduled diseases are concerned. In terms of that arrangement a Government veterinarian may be asked by farmers to assist in the case of non-scheduled diseases provided the duties of the Government veterinarian permit it and provided a private veterinarian is not available. But where a Government veterinarian acts in connection with non-scheduled diseases, the farmer concerned has to pay the transport costs and a prescribed fee for the service. The object of this agreement, as set out in the Notice referred to, is to regulate the activities of the private veterinarian and of the Government veterinarian and also to serve as a measure of protection for the private veterinarian. We know that we have insufficient Government veterinarians to serve the whole country, and we want to encourage private veterinarians to practise not only in the cities but also in the rural areas. That is why it is necessary to give them a measure of protection so that the State will not take all the work away from them, because then they would all go to the cities, and there is no means whereby a private veterinarian can be forbidden to practise or to force him to enter the service of the State. That is why this arrangement was made. I want to admit candidly that I was not entirely familiar with the full details of this matter, and that is why I have to make this correction.
Then I come to the question raised by the hon. member for North-West Rand (Mr. J. B. Schoeman) as to whether the time has not arrived to extend the arrangements under the Apprenticeship Act to the agricultural industry, so that if there are Whites or even non-Whites who want to qualify in the agricultural industry, arrangements can be made, once they have completed their apprenticeship, for guaranteed and fixed salaries for them if they are employed by farmers. I did not reply to that question yesterday evening, and I just want to say this: I think the hon. member correctly sensed the feeling of members on both sides of the House in respect of any disturbance of the present conditions as far as farm labour is concerned. We do not want to disturb the present arrangements, and I personally feel that the time is not at all ripe for such a thing in this country. Farmers have always been at liberty in the past to seek their labour where they thought it suited them best, and also to decide what type of labour they wanted, skilled or unskilled, at a salary on which they and the labourers agreed, and I believe that it will still take many years before the farmers in South Africa will agree to a system along the lines of the hon. member’s proposal. I believe therefore that at this stage it will cause dissatisfaction rather than satisfaction, and I am therefore not in favour of the introduction of such a system. I think I have now replied more or less to all the representations made here, but there is probably still some time left for this debate.
The Minister in his reply has given us much encouraging information and we are pleased that he has conveyed some confidence to the House with regard to the steps he has taken to control foot-and-mouth disease, and also that, in his opinion, South Africa will, within a very short time, have a surplus of fibres for export. When we consider our present position with regard to fibre and the cost of wool packs, we are gratified at this information.
Under Item K, the eradication of cactus and prickly pear, there is an amount of R400,000. I hope that this amount will be adequate, but I doubt whether it will be, and I wonder whether the Minister could introduce a more satisfactory distribution of this weedicide. Perhaps the Minister should adopt the principle of the petrol companies. I have no doubt that the exchange of drums causes the Department great difficulties and, if the Minister could introduce a system by which tankers could deliver this chemical to the farms in the same way that petrol is delivered, I think it would be of great advantage.
The hon. member for Kimberley (District) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) referred to jointed cactus being planted in rockeries and he said that people should either be warned against this or they should be prosecuted. He spoke also of the area of infestation being a 250,000 morgen. Sir, years ago, it was recognized that it had spread over 1,000,000 morgen. It had extended to all the provinces. It is still extending and it makes us shudder when we think that this weed has spread to this extent from three small joints imported, as pot-plants, to this country only about 100 years ago. The hon. member also spoke about the danger of reinfecting areas already cleaned. The hon. member should know that there are no areas in this country which, when once infected, have ever been cleaned in spite of the valiant efforts of the Government and of individuals. The Government has spent up to £8 a morgen on intensive cleaning, and these areas are still infected. All we have achieved is that in certain areas and on certain farms the weed has been brought under control. Jointed cactus is like the communists; it specializes in camouflage. It is not easily detected except when in flower. It thrives by day and by night all the year round. It knows no spring or summer. The smallest plants break into joints and grow. It has been my habit to warn the House about the threat of this menace to our pastures. Anyone, who has had experience of this weed, knows that I do not overstress the dangers of this menace. Its joints break up into numerous sections which readily attach themselves to animals and they can be carried for any distance the animal may walk, or may be conveyed by train, and when it is detached it grows again. Apart from that, these joints are spread by water and wind an even by birds. It rarely grows from seed, although it bears fruit, but the fruit does take root also. It also develops a bulb. The eradication of this weed, as a national menace, was accepted by the Government because in its earlier stages the farmers did not realize what a menace it was to our pastures and it had spread to such an extent that it was beyond the power of the ordinary landowner to cope with it. On that account the Government took control and we are pleased that the Minister has also paid particular attention to the menace of this weed and that a non-poisonous chemical has been evolved and that the farmers, in general, are now organized and that there is a national drive to control this weed. But I do not think other parts of the country should feel secure from the menace of this weed. It can arrive on the body of any sheep they buy from the infested areas. It already infests many of our river systems. It is a great menace to our Karoo areas, where it is very difficult to eradicate. It does not grow so easily in the grassed areas. I think the only way we will be able to control this weed will be by the introduction of biological enemies. Now the Government did introduce cochineal and, for a period of some years in the early 1940s, it was spread on the farms and for a certain period farmers were not allowed to touch this weed while it was under biological control. But the cochineal lost its toxic effect and the Government officials were not as observant as they should have been, and when the Government reinstated its clearing scheme, this weed had actually been spread under biological control to a greater extent than if there had been no control at all. The cochineal broke down the plants and they were more readily spread by animals or water, and that has increased the work of the Government. But I have no doubt that in countries where this weed came from, like South America—there I understand it is not a national menace. It must have natural enemies there, and I plead with the Minister to carry out further research as regards biological control. Perhaps there are other types of cochineal which may operate when ours will no longer be effective. I have no doubt that research into the effectiveness, even of our cochineal, can be of benefit because there are certain periods when our cochineal is very effective, for short periods. Why there are these spasms I do not know, but I have no doubt that if these short periods of effectiveness are watched and the reasons for it are ascertained, even the cochineal we have may be of much greater assistance in controlling this weed than it is at present. I ask the Minister to remember that in all matters regarding agriculture research can bring us great benefits. I have no doubt that if there is research into this menace, and its biological control, we may find a method which will save the Government this annual amount of R400,000. I would like to remind the House that even when a farm is cleared, the cost of keeping that weed under control does not really become less, because every year every bush has to be inspected. You have to look for it. It is no good waiting until it pricks you or sticks to an animal. You have to search for it and some of the joints are very small, and they are not easily detected. Even if the area has been cleared constant supervision and work have to be undertaken. Farmers have spent £2 and £3 per morgen on clearing it. The Government has spent up to £8 a morgen, and I know that the owner of that property is in difficulties in regard to keeping that weed under control. Properties have often been cleared and one would imagine that the farmer could sit back and think he has it under control, but before you know where you are it is all over the place again. [Time limit.]
It seems to me that a fine spirit prevails in this House to-day and I am sure that will be a great encouragement to the farmer of South Africa. Seeing that the hon. member for Gardens (Mr. Connan) himself is interested in farming and in particular in mouth and foot disease, I wish to thank him for his assistance. I do believe, however, that he can serve the farmer even better in another respect. It is in a different direction. I believe there is one country in which the consumer erected a monument in honour of the producer and that is France. Because of our historical background we already have many monuments here in Cape Town. Our farmers started to farm here 300 years ago. What a wonderful gesture it will be if the consumers of Cape Town were to erect a monument in honour of the farmers of our country! We can have annual celebrations when the crops are harvested to show the goodwill of the consumer towards the farmer. The Minister has already explained to us what services his Department renders and we are grateful to him for that. I do feel, however, that there is a maldistribution of veterinary surgeons between the platteland and the cities. It seems to me that veterinary surgeons earn more by looking after pets in the cities …
Cats and dogs.
… than to enter the service of the State and to attend to our livestock population which constitute the food of the nation. We have the world of respect for the work which the veterinary surgeon does on the platteland and I think this service should be expanded, more especially as far as guidance is concerned. I was pleased to see that so many of the previous speakers showed an interest in those farmers who were suffering to-day as a result of mouth and foot disease. Mr Chairman, I want to thank the Minister for the fact that his Department have taken such active steps to prevent the disease from spreading. The assistance that was given to the farmers is also greatly appreciated. Some people have the idea that the assistance that the farmers receive is given to them as a present by the Government. I want to state clearly that the farmers are grateful for the assistance that they have received but that it is given to them in the form of loans which they have to repay on a short-term basis, plus interest. On behalf of these farmers who are in distress, I want to emphasize the fact that they are not the culprits who have caused the spread of this disease. I also want to emphasize the fact that on practically most farms there is no mouth and foot disease, but this small number of farmers, some of whom are in my constituency, constitute a buffer which protects the other farmers of the country from this disease. I think the position that we find in the case of mouth and foot disease can be compared to road accidents. There is a road accident every day of the year but we do not hear much about it and this is a great catastrophe that has hit our farmers, but when one Bantu gets killed in some minor riot it practically becomes world news.
We cannot over-emphasize the importance of this matter. These farmers who have been stricken in this way deserve to be assisted. When we have floods in the country great publicity is given to it in the newspapers and we feel very sorry for those people who are affected, but I want to appeal to the public to appreciate the position and to realize that a small number of farmers are being called upon to pay the price for preventing the disease from spreading to the rest of the country. The stock of these farmers are actually healthy but they have to constitute a buffer to prevent the disease from spreading. For two long years the farmers in the mouth and foot disease area in my district suffered because of drought. In other words, they could not dispose of their surplus stock in the normal way. They have now had wonderful rains but now they are faced with this dreaded disease and the mouth and foot disease regulations have been applied to them. As a result they cannot dispose of their surplus stock. In the meantime calves have been born and their grazing is running out. They cannot get rid of their surplus stock; they are not allowed to dispose of it. You can understand, Sir, that with winter approaching these farmers are getting worried because they will certainly lose a large number of stock. The little hope that those farmers had that concessions would be made within the near future, has disappeared because of the fresh outbreak near the border. If our farmers are worried and anxious I want hon. members to realize that they are anxious and worried because they are being threatened and because they have to act as a buffer for the sake of the safety of the entire farming community of the country. Mr. Chairman, if I were to calculate the monetary loss that these people have suffered you would be surprised; it runs into thousands of pounds. In the meantime these people have certain obligations to fulfil; they have instalments to pay; they have to meet their daily needs. How can they do so if they have no income? The people along the Limpopo are mainly dependent for their income on stock breeding and the stock that they sell. I realize that the Minister will make concessions and relieve their position and that he can only do so after careful consideration. I wish to point out that in the vicinity of Alldays and Evangelina which fall in my constituency, they have not had mouth and foot disease for the past 60 years, as far as I know. Farmers who were born there in 1900 and who have lived there all these years tell me that they do not know mouth and foot disease; that they have never experienced it there. Nevertheless I realize that the Minister has to be very careful but I merely mention that fact to illustrate how these people feel about the situation. In actual fact there is no mouth and foot disease there yet they are not allowed to sell their stock. I want to make an appeal to the Minister that when there is an outbreak of mouth and foot disease to send circulars to the people in that area so that they may know what the position is. When there is an outbreak of mouth and foot disease these people do not know what is happening and they do not know the scope of the outbreak. When there is an outbreak all sorts of rumours are spread. I have a letter here, for instance, which says that people who are not well disposed towards the Government are spreading the rumour that the Government is unnecessarily placing those farmers under quarantine so that the farmers will leave their farms with the result that the Government can buy the farms for next to nothing and settle Bantu there. I do not think it is necessary for me to pass any comment on such irresponsible rumours [Time limit.]
There are a few items that I would like to clear up with the Minister. The first is that I neglected to tell him yesterday that part of these losses to which I referred are from stock theft, and I think it is my duty to tell him that there are many parts of the country that are blaming him and the Minister of Agricultural Economics and Marketing for the fact that no proclamation has gone through stating a date on which the Stock Theft Act will come into force. Sir, that is the belief outside. The hon. the Minister is fully aware of the fact that a Select Committee sat on that Bill for some three years. Organized agriculture sent their representatives down here; they gave their evidence, and the members of that Select Committee went to pains to embody in that Bill precisely what organized agriculture wanted. We understand that the Minister and his colleague are the two obstacles that must be surmounted before we can have the date on which that Act is to come into operation. Sir, what we have to put up with, as I indicated some considerable time ago, is the fact that this Minister’s Department has removed the East Coast fever regulations from the whole of the area east of the Fish River or Keiskama River, whichever was the boundary, and that there is nothing now to prevent the wholesale theft of stock. As a matter of fact stock theft is taking place to-day on a wholesale basis. Why? Because there are no East Coast fever regulations, with the result that stock is being moved over that part of the country and through into the Transkei. I would remind the Minister that the Komgha district is still under penalty, notwithstanding the fact that it is more than 18 years since the last outbreak of East Coast fever in that district, and I think it is more than 15 years since the Transkei had its last outbreak.
Is there free movement of cattle across the Kei?
There is free movement from all other districts except Komgha, the one district that remains under quarantine. Stock can go through as long as they have a permit from the Native Affairs Department to introduce that stock on the other side, but it has to be female stock; it has to be breeding stock. I think it is only fair that I should draw the hon. the Minister’s attention to something that must make him feel pleased with the result. I have been asked by the Grassveld Region of the Border to convey to the hon. the Minister their pleasure at the fact that he has at last sub-divided the region and that the Grassveld will now have its own region. I have been asked to thank the Minister for having done so. May I say too to the Minister that what has been done in that Grassveld Region is an example that might be followed by the whole of South Africa. Sir, like the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) I want to say how proud we are of our agricultural colleges in this country. Sir, it is his Alma Mater as well as mine that he referred to yesterday, and we want to thank the Minister for the improvements that he has effected there. Sir, it is an illustration to those who go there whether on a full or a short course, of what can be done. The hon. member did add, and I want to endorse it, that agricultural education is going to play such an important part in the future in the agricultural industry, that a knowledge of agriculture will have to be the decisive factor in the minds of those who finance agriculture in deciding who should be allowed to practise agriculture. Sir, I was very impressed by a remark passed by the hon. member for Vryburg (Mr. Labuschagne) when he suggested that we might pool our troubles. We have so many break-downs in research. For instance, we have research going on continuously at Onderstepoort into external and internal parasites, and infectious and contagious diseases. I could mention many other types of diseases, but one of the most important amongst the other troubles in vegetable poisoning. We are continually having break-downs in all these various diseases, notwithstanding the fact that we have developed injections to produce immunity. Sir, the various strains that are developed and the immunities that are developed by the parasites themselves are matters which should turn the Minister’s mind to the necessity for more intensive research in that direction. Unforunately for us who keep in close touch with Onderstepoort and with the research stations, we are still faced with the fact that too much of our stock is dying from unknown causes. I would make this appeal to the hon. the Minister to do all he can to see that research is undertaken into that particular item. I want to assure him that research will make a very big contribution towards saving much of our stock.
I was pleased to hear from the hon. the Minister how many facilities were being made available to the farmers, more particularly in regard to adult education and guidance. We know that we as adults have an unlimited source of information at our disposal in the form of the Press, the radio and film shows to guide us so that we may make a success of our farming operations, but because statistics show that approximately only 10 per cent of our farmers have any agricultural training, I am confronted with this question when I refer to the report of the Commission of Inquiry into European Occupancy of the Rural Areas where they make this particularly important recommendation. They state very clearly:
This aspect was equally strongly stressed in authoritative documents laid before the Commission, as would appear from the following extract (par. 398 (2))—
I now want to deal with the question of the training of the farmer. In our provincial schools, particularly in the Orange Free State, we have the secondary schools where a policy of differentiation is followed in order to enable the educationists to determine the ability, the talents and the aptitude of the child. When that child leaves the secondary school he has been discovered to a great extent and in the interest of his own future and in the interests of the country he is then guided in the right direction to acquire a career and he makes a success of his studies in that direction. In the case of agriculture, however, we only have the higher agricultural schools and colleges and to-day we also have agricultural faculties at our universities. But it is a well-known fact that the best years to influence and to discover the child are those years determined by educationists as applied in the curriculum of the Orange Free State, the secondary school stage is the desirable stage to influence and to discover the child and it is in connection with this matter in particular that I want to ask the Minister and his Department to see to it that agricultural training is not only started at the higher agricultural college, but that it be started much earlier, say, for example in Std. V or VI so that the tests to discover the prospective farmer of the future can be applied during those years. We all know that farming is a scientific and complicated profession to-day for the simple reason that the farmer has to acquire and master a very wide field of knowledge. That is why I wish to repeat my appeal to the Minister to establish facilities for the future farmer of this country; that the child should be discovered at an earlier stage so that he can receive training in the right direction. My own constituency is situated in the grazing areas of the Orange Free State where we have a high rainfall. For the last 30 years and more that area has been known to be an area with impenetrable marshes, with reeds and water cress—not the type of reeds which, as the Burger put it, gets up in this House simply to lie down again in the shadow of the Whip. There were beautiful valleys there, overgrown with beautiful green vegetation, with beautiful clear pools of water, which fed our rivers and underground water supplies, but to-day we find that those valleys have been torn apart by soil erosion. It is impossible for the farmer to combat this erosion out of his own pocket. I want to plead with the hon. the Minister to make tractors and heavy machinery available, even though the farmer has to pay for the use of it, so that he will be able to combat that erosion that has reached an advanced stage. We know that the system of camps has been fairly successful, but that is a long-term policy and while the vegetation systematically stabilizes those dongas the erosion gets progressively worse. The time has really arrived that soil erosion in those areas, such as the North-eastern Free State, be tackled more energetically.
Arising from my request for agricultural training for our youth, there is another matter that I wish to raise in connection with the North-eastern Free State, in the districts of Harrismith and Vrede, where there are more than a 1,000,000 small stock and more than 500,000 large stock. You will be surprised to know, Sir, that hitherto Harrismith has never had the privilege of having a Government veterinary surgeon at its disposal. I should like to plead with the Minister to station a Government veterinary surgeon there.
Before I deal with something else I want to pay homage to Onderstepoort for the research work that they have done and for the vaccine that they have provided to the farmers. In the first instance I want to refer to the success that Onderstepoort has achieved in discovering a vaccine to combat pulpy kidney which claimed thousands of head of small stock in the past. They have also been successful in discovering five additional blue tongue viruses. As far as I know they have succeeded in discovering a much more effective vaccine to combat blue tongue than we have ever had in the past. I also want to mention the vaccine which Onderstepoort prepares for immunization against paratyphoid. It appears that pre-natal immunization is fairly successful but that post-natal immunization is not and that is why I plead for more research into a vaccine which will be 100 per cent effective and that it be made available to farmers so that they may immunize their young calves against paratyphoid. I trust the hon. the Minister will seriously consider the few points that I have raised. As the representative of one of the most important stock-raising areas of South Africa, I think I am entitled to plead with the Minister to give his undivided attention to Harrismith.
Everything went off smoothly with the proclamation of soil conservation areas under the Soil Conservation Act. We experienced no difficulty with the establishment of our soil conservation committees. We were also supplied with the information officers whom we asked the Department to supply and they have been of great assistance. So far everything has gone off smoothly. However, when we reached the stage where the planning had to be put into effect we encountered a delaying process. We are told that only one-quarter of our soil conservation regions has been planned and in respect of only one-quarter of that 4 per cent has the planning been put into effect. Mr. Chairman, we blame the Department for this delay but I involuntarily ask myself this question: Is the Department the only one to be blamed for these delays or are there other concerns as well that are to be blamed? Secondly, is the farmer still as interested to-day as he ought to be. We know there was a stage when great interest was taken in this. Everybody spoke about soil conservation. That, however, was the stage of words and now that we have reached the stage of deeds, we find that that interest has waned. I maintain that the former interest has waned. The other question I want to ask, Sir, is whether the fault lies with the planning of the farms. I cannot imagine that that is the reason, because when a farm is planned the committee, which consists of practical farmers, and the information officer and the farmer himself come together and they do the planning. They co-operate in planning the farm. We have the position to-day, however, that subsequently certain farmers find that they do not agree with the planning and they feel slightly unhappy about it. If that is the case the Department ought to investigate those cases where the farmer is unwilling. When I talk about the few cases where the farmer is unwilling, I must add that there are cases where the farmers deliberately refuse to carry out the planning, and in those cases I think the Department should take action under the law. There are also other problems that confront the farmers when they try to put the planning into effect. I have in mind, for instance, the farmer who lacks the necessary capital. He has to apply to the Department for a loan which is magnanimously granted to him. When he has to erect fencing, for instance, he may get a loan of R6 per roll of high tension wire, but in actual fact that wire costs R9.25 per roll today. In other words, if he lacks the capital, he has to pay R3.25 out of his own pocket over and above the loan. He may not be able to do so and that causes a delay. Or he may wish to construct dams. The technical official comes along, surveys the dam and calculates that the dam will cost, say, R1,000. The farmer who is unable to construct the dam himself asks for tenders and the lowest tender may be R1,200. He may not have that additional R200 over and above the loan and consequently he cannot carry on with the job. I want to ask the Department to attend to this matter so that more progress will be made and so that there will be no delay.
In passing I wish to refer to the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker), who spoke about the eradication of weeds. This is a serious matter and we are grateful to the Department for what it has already done in the past and for what it is willing to do in future but we should not forget the fact that the eradication of weed is a matter which requires the closest co-operation between the Department and the farmer. In this case you also have the unwilling farmers and the farmer who deliberately refuses to co-operate and here again I want to ask the hon. the Minister to attend to those farmers who deliberately refuse to co-operate and who thwart the whole attempt. In this respect I know of people in my area who cultivate burweed to the detriment not only of themselves but to the detriment of their fellow farmers.
The hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) has raised a very serious matter which is also an important facet of the activities of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services, namely the combating of weeds. I do not know whether the people in this country are aware of the fact that it is estimated that the farmers in the Union of South Africa suffer a loss of income of no less than R6,000,000 every year mainly because of various types of weeds. As far as we have been able to place them, we have appointed quite a number of weed inspectors, but those weed inspectors of ours, although it is their duty to see that farmers and even municipalities and public bodies do not allow the properties which are under their control to be overrun with weeds, to the detriment of the country as a whole, cannot work successfully and effectively unless they have the cooperation of the farmers themselves. I must say we do not always get the desired co-operation. I think the time has come when the Department will have to cause more stringent steps to be taken against farmers who are instructed to exterminate certain weeds on their farms and to whom a reasonable time has been given to do so and who do not even make an attempt to exterminate the weeds. The hon. member referred in particular to jointed cactus, and the hon. member for Kimberley (North) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) mentioned prickly pear menace.
And spear thistle.
I want to confine myself particularly to the first two. I just want to say that the spraying material with which we exterminate jointed cactus is very expensive. As a result of the high cost per morgen we were obliged to stop making it available for the extermination of prickly pear. We then received inquiries from the farmers whether we could not give them something to exterminate prickly pears. We have again ordered about 20 tons of arsenic pentoxide which is going to be made available to farmers for the extermination of prickly pears. But what we should like the farmers to do is to chop down the prickly pears and to stack them together, and then we will not only make arsenic pentoxide available to them but when the small shoots sprout again, we might also give them some of the other spraying material that we are using to-day for jointed cactus only. We are proceeding as rapidly as possible with the combating of jointed cactus, but I agree with the hon. member for Albany that there are areas which are so infected and which are so mountainous that farmers say that even if the State were to give them the spraying material free of charge, it would be impossible for them in practice to clear the ground at their own expense. I know of one case where the farmer said that he could not cultivate and use the land and that he was not strong enough financially to be able to clear it and that he was quite prepared to hand the mountain over to the State. Well, the Department is going into all these problems to see what can be done. I may add that at the beginning of the year we launched a national scheme in which we made an appeal to the entire population of our country, urban as well as rural, to concentrate particularly this year on the extermination of weeds. We particularly asked that this most dangerous and pestilential weed, jointed cactus, which we even find in rock gardens in our cities and towns, should be exterminated energetically wherever it was found. But in that regard we also need the co-operation of the farmers. We have been asked to establish more depots where these spraying materials can be made available to the farmers. It will serve no useful purpose to establish more depots if the farmers do not return the empty drums, and these empty drums are lying about on the farms in their hundreds. It was brought to the Department’s notice by the Advisory Committee that spraying material issued to farmers three years ago has not been used to this day. These are exceptional cases. They have not even opened the drums yet; the drums are still lying unopened on their farms. If that is the way in which certain people view this matter, then the time has come for the Department to take drastic steps to ensure that these things do not happen.
As far as the combating of weeds by biological means is concerned, I can give the assurance that research is continually taking place to see whether we cannot find parasites other than those that we have used so far to combat prickly near as well as jointed cactus. We are constantly doing research. We are trying to get parasites from other parts of the world, but naturally we have to proceed very cautiously. When we do get such parasites, we do the experiments ourselves within very confined areas where we can be perfectly sure that if it is not successful the parasite will not spread with detrimental effects on other plants. Recently we took one of the greatest overseas experts in the sphere of biological research to the Eastern Cape coastal areas to institute investigations on the spot and to advise the Department. Hon. members can rest assured therefore that we are not simply turning our backs on this problem.
Another matter which I should like to touch upon is the one mentioned by the hon. member for King William’s Town (Mr. Warren) who stated that my colleague, the Minister of Agricultural Economics and Marketing, and I were being accused of being the stumbling-blocks in the way of the implementation of the Stock Theft Act. I do not know how we can be reproached with any justice in this connection, because this Act is administered by the Minister of Justice. However, I admit that although this Act is on the Statute Book, it has not yet been applied. But farmers must not attribute that fact to one or two Ministers. The fact remains that the application of that Act at the present time would undoubtedly cause certain difficulties and present certain problems. It is doubtful whether, as the Act now reads, we can really achieve any success with the Stock Theft Act unless we also have a Stock Branding Act that can be applied simultaneously. A week ago I received a deputation from the S.A. Agricultural Union, who also asked me what my personal attitude was in respect of the Stock Theft Act and its implementation. After we had discussed this matter very thoroughly, they agreed that we should rather hold the Stock Theft Act in abeyance for another year if they could get the assurance that we would introduce a Stock Branding Bill next year. I shall probably have to introduce such a Bill which would then be complementary to the Stock Theft Act. It will then be possible to apply the Stock Theft Act more effectively. I can only give the assurance that my Department and I will give serious attention to this matter and that if we can have it ready for next session, we shall introduce a Stock Branding Bill. I think most of these objections will then fall away.
Would it not be possible to do so this year still?
Unfortunately there is too little time left. There is still a good deal of legislation to be disposed of, and I daresay the hon. member also wants to go home after we have celebrated the establishment of the Republic.
The hon. member for Graaff-Reinet (Mr. van der Ahee) as well as the hon. member for Pietersburg (Mr. Niemand) referred to soil conservation. The hon. member for Pietersburg also talked about foot and mouth disease. I hope he understands what my difficulties are. My Department and I are aware of the problem facing the farmers, particularly in the border districts. They have to bear the brunt in protecting our livestock against disease. We shall treat them with the greatest sympathy and when it becomes possible to do so we shall give them a measure of relief from time to time with regard to marketing facilities as well as the movement of stock within the zones which are now under quarantine.
The hon. member for Graaff-Reinet talked about farm planning and delays in this connection. For certain administrative reasons, as I admitted yesterday, the Department has not been able to tackle the planning of farms as energetically as we should have liked to do. There are many farms which have already been planned but where it has simply not been possible to implement the planning. In certain cases there are financial implications to which the hon. member also referred. In other cases it is really because our farmers do not understand the Soil Conservation Act as well as they should understand it. They view the Soil Conservation Act only from one angle and that is as a measure to check soil erosion. But that is only one aspect. The most important is the introduction and implementation of a better system of farming that will promote greater efficiency and that will also bring about the conservation and protection of our soil and its productivity. That is why we have decided —and my Department is working along those lines—to simplify the whole farm planning setup and to eliminate a good deal of red tape and, in addition to that, to instruct our extension officers not to go along to a farmer and say, “your farm was planned two or three years ago, why have you not carried out the planning?” That is not the way to persuade a farmer to do it. He should be approached with greater tact and discretion; one should have a chat with him and say to him, “I understand that your farm has been planned; let us look at the recommendations,” and then point out to him, indirectly, of what value it will be to him economically and also from the point of view of soil fertility if this, that or the other measure is applied. That is the way to plant the seed and to make him think, and he will be glad then that you came along to discuss the matter with him constructively and that you take so much interest in his farm. In this way you get his goodwill without compelling him. You may find certain cases where it will be necessary to put on the pressure, but I am a strong advocate of the policy of rather seeing what peaceful methods can be adopted to obtain the man’s co-operation before applying compulsory measures, particularly in dealing with farmers. I have sufficient faith and confidence in our farmers as well as in our officials to believe that they will complement each other in such a way that compulsory measures will not be necessary.
I want to associate myself with those hon. members who have thanked the hon. the Minister for the manner in which he has handled his Vote and I also wish to associate myself with the hon. member for Pietersburg (Mr. Niemand) who spoke about a monument to the producer. He said it should be erected in Cape Town, and I want to suggest that we should at the same time erect a monument to Bacchus—with this reservation that we do not pay too much homage to him.
I do not think one single word has been said on behalf of the fruit farmers of the Western Province and I want to thank the Minister for the substantial amount that appears on the Estimates for research in the winter rainfall areas. You will notice, Sir, that the amount that is made available to the agricultural research stations in the winter rainfall areas compares very favourably with the amount that was made available last year and on behalf of the fruit farmers and grain farmers of the winter rainfall area I want to express our gratitude. We are also grateful for the experimental farm in the Western Districts for which we have asked for so many years and which is taking shape. For the edification of representatives from other parts of the country I just want to say that the farmers of the South Western Districts did not ask the Minister to provide the capital for that experimental farm, but that they themselves have provided it. I think they have set a good example to many other areas. The capital was provided by the Wheat Control Board and the Minister acquired the land but we are grateful to him for the assistance and for what has been done there. I want to give hon. members an example of what has been achieved over the past few years in the way of research in those areas. I think of the poor and sandy coastal regions, where the soil is sour and very infertile but where the winter rainfall is good. As a result of experiments it has been found that whereas there was a six to seven month period during which grazing was plentiful, and whereas the animals had to be fed for the rest of the year, by growing a new type of oats, as for example saia and a mixture of seredella and lupins, that infertile land which could not carry a sheep per morgen throughout the year, could now carry 15 sheep per morgen for the two or three months of the year when grazing is poor. Not only do I want to thank the Minister for that, but I want to congratulate him on that achievement.
I should now like to deal with the apple farmers in the Western Province. The Grabouw area, which forms part of my constituency, produces 54 per cent of our export apples. It is conveniently situated, close to the Cape Town harbour with its pre-cooling facilities, it has an excellent rainfall; the soil reacts to fertilizer, there are not too many diseases and the apples reach the market in the United Kingdom at a time when the Australian and Californian apples are off. It is a very progressive area and I want to draw the attention of the Minister to a certain experiment that is being undertaken there, something which, when it has been completed, will go to his Department. I refer to the research which a certain Dr. Beyers has undertaken into leaf analysis in order to write his thesis for his doctor’s degree. Soil analysis is undertaken in every other part of the country, both by the Department and by the fertilizer companies. But that research is not adequate because there are factors which come into play when the plant has to absorb the fertilizer which is applied to the soil. The research to which I have referred has proved that the plant does not benefit 100 per cent from the fertilizer that is applied to the soil. As you know, Mr. Chairman, there are many factors that influence the position, as for example the structure of the soil, the rainfall, the seasons, to what extent the soil is sour, the dampness of the soil, the duration of the daylight, etc. But with this new process which I believe has successfully been tested in other parts of the world, it is not the soil that is analysed, but the leaf of the fruit tree that is analysed. Consequently in cases where the fertilizer is not applied in the right proportion, or no matter how correct the proportion is, if there are factors which prevent the plant from deriving full benefit from it, it appears that by testing the leaves of the tree it can be determined what is lacking. It does not require a great number of technicians to do this. All you need is somebody to go to the orchard to collect leaves from different parts of different trees in the orchard. It requires an expert to sort out the leaves so that they are representative of the whole orchard. A more or less untrained staff can then dry the leaves, bake them and analyse them, and in that way it is ascertained not only what the most important deficiencies are in the nourishment that the plant gets, but what is defective in the trace elements. I can call as witnesses farmers who have been spending thousands of rand on fertilizer and who have greatly reduced their expenditure to-day as a result of this most modern and most scientific method of fertilizing and analysing the soil by means of leaf analysis. Those farmers have increased their yield per morgen at reduced costs. Fertilizer is added to the soil but it merely forms a deposit and the plant does not reach it. It is a tremendous waste of money and labour. I want to ask the hon. the Minister that whereas I know that the Deciduous Fruit Board is prepared to make their contribution, to treat this mater sympathetically. The fruit research station at Stellenbosch is sympathetic towards it and I want to ask the Minister please to bring this thesis on leaf analysis to the notice of his officials in order to see what can be done in this way for the apple growers, particularly those of the Western Province,
Vote put and agreed to.
Vote No. 37.—“Agricultural Technical Services (Regional Services and Education)”, R6,539,000, put and agreed to.
On Vote No. 38.—“Water Affairs”, R6,233,000,
Before getting down to details in regard to this Vote, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether he can make a statement to the House to put us in possession of all the facts of what is going to happen in the Umgeni Catchment area. There was a long article in the Natal Mercury during the last couple of days in regard to statements made by the Durban Corporation in reply really to telegrams received from the hon. the Minister in relation to their own schemes. I do not know how far the hon. Minister can go in relation to the whole of the Government policy, but the whole of the Umgeni area has been proclaimed a Government-controlled area. The hon. Minister gave us certain facts in relation to the Mid-Mar Dam which is to be built near Tweedie. I wonder whether the Minister can give us any further facts. We know that he will introduce a Bill later in the Session in regard to this dam, but can he give us some general details on the broad principles of Government policy for the whole of the Umgeni area, as it affects so many large municipalities, the whole of the coastal area, commerce and industry and the expansion of industries, quite apart from the Mid-Mar Dam. We would like some information, but if it is possible for the Minister to tell us the whole plan, so much the better.
Then I would like to ask the hon. the Minister if he will go into the question with the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development in relation to the offer of certain farms for sale to that department for the settlement of Natives which are in watersheds and running along rivers and which form part of the watersheds. We hear that there are a number of farms being offered to the Bantu Affairs Department—let me call it that for short—for the settlement of the Bantu along cachement areas in various parts of the country. That is the wide general policy of the Government, that we should not have closer settlements in the water sheds of any river, and I appeal to the hon. the Minister to see his colleague and to ensure that such land is not used for that purpose, because if there is one thing that is going to affect the flow of our perennial streams and rivers it is the settlement of the land on the water sheds, especially in the kloofs and the valleys, by the Bantu.
Do the farms you refer to now belong to Europeans?
No they do not now, but I believe a lot are on offer that are owned by Europeans; they are on offer to the Department of Bantu Affairs as I have called it. And I am very afraid of what will develop in the way of erosion. Not only does it dry up the sponges, but these Natives, as soon as they go into a new area, they burn up the kloofs because when they cultivate they get large crops for a year or two. But all that rich soil then washes away to the sea and the sponges are very adversely affected. This also leads to silting and to the destruction of herbiage in any of the catchment areas, to the general detriment of the country as a whole. Our big dams through the Union are being very badly silted wherever we have Natives occupying closer settlement areas in the water sheds. I feel the very least we can do at this stage is to take every precaution to protect those water sheds, particularly as water is the life blood of the country. The entire expansion of industry and commerce and the population of the Union is dependent upon our water supplies, and the population we can carry is limited by the amount of water that we have in this country. Our run-off becomes quicker. The silting of dams is taking place, and this all means a tremendous waste of capital against which we must take every possible precaution.
Mr. Chairman, there is another matter which I wish to raise with the hon. the Minister. Earlier in this Session I put a number of questions to the hon. the Minister in relation to the Clyde River Irrigation Scheme. That was a private irrigation scheme developed by private capital. Now the Government, through this hon. Minister, has taken over this scheme by proclamation and the Minister is doing what some of us feared he might do if he had the power. He is taking away the rights of the riparian owners. In reply to one of the questions I put to him, he admitted that there was no compensation payable to these people. In reply to the third question I put the hon. the Minister admitted that it had become a Government water control area. He admitted that for the development of irrigation that valley, and the land along the canals was to be limited in the amount of water to be supplied to individual irrigators, and he said that there was to be no compensation to riparian owners. Question No. 5 which I put to him was whether he would consider restoring the riparian rights to the land owners affected, and he replied by saying he was not prepared to do so.
Order! Is the hon. member not now referring to a matter which should be discussed under the Loan Votes?
No, Mr. Chairman, I am dealing with this as the policy of the hon. the Minister, which has nothing to do with the Loan Vote. I am dealing with the present situation and I am not dealing with questions of any additional money requirements for further development.
The hon. member may proceed.
I am dealing with the rights that have been taken away from these people by means of proclamation.
I have here a memorandum from the irrigators themselves saying that the limiting of water—which the hon. the Minister admits is being controlled—to a certain percentage of their land is going to have very serious effects. The supply of water is to be limited to 30 morgen of land. They will be allowed the full amount of water for 30 morgen only, but where they have owned say, 100 morgen and have had full riparian rights to develop that land, they are now to lose those rights and are being given full water rights for 30 morgen only, plus 12 per cent of any other land. In other words, a man goes there and pays a big price for his 100 morgen. He may have a family growing up and may intend to develop his property gradually. If, unfortunately for him, he has not yet developed it he is to be allowed only sufficient water to irrigate 30 morgen. For his other 70 morgen he is going to get only 12 per cent of the water he requires, so that his land deteriorates and if he wants to sell the other 70 morgen he is not going to get his full price and the rights that vested in him through his title deeds are going to be lost. Now we say that people who have paid for riparian rights and who are the registered owners of the property should not be deprived of their rights because of the proclamation issued by the Minister on behalf of the Government. That proclamation takes over those rights but no compensation is paid to the farmer. This interferes with any expansion that that man may have had in plan and for which he may have put down hard capital. He invested money in his property with the idea of developing it, but now he cannot. I ask the hon. the Minister, is this fair to these farmers? A man goes on to the property and says to himself: “I have two or three sons for whom I want to develop this property.” These sons are of different ages, some may be at school or at agricultural colleges. The man wants to settle them on his property; he wants to keep them with him on the land. He wants that 100 morgen for irrigation and he wants to keep his family together on the property. He intends to allot them so many morgen each. Let us assume he has 120 acres; he keeps his own part and he gives the balance out to his sons in order to keep them with him on the land. He develops that property slowly as he goes along because, possibly, he does not originally have the capital with which to develop it all. If he had had the capital and developed the whole holding he is all right, but if he has not had time to develop his holding and his children are still growing up and not old enough to take over, he is going to lose his water rights. It appears to me to be a great hardship to remove the rights invested in that individual, particularly after he has paid for them. [Time limit.]
I rise to plead once again with the Minister to subsidize private drilling machines. As the hon. the Minister will probably remember we were practically promised in this House two years ago that we could tell our constituents that private drilling machines would be subsidized. On a later occasion, when the hon. the Minister opened the show at Upington, he said something along the same lines. I feel that this matter should not longer be delayed. It is really a serious matter. The people suffer as a result of the method that is followed to-day. There are insufficient drilling machines to meet their needs. There are names on the waiting list of people who want the services of a drilling machine that have been there for over ten years. It was only the day before yesterday that I received a letter from somebody who has been waiting for a drilling machine for 7y years. I appreciate what the Department has done. I know I represent a constituency where there are far more drilling machines than in any other part of the country. But to illustrate how serious the position is, I can also claim to represent the constituency that has the longest waiting list. I feel that the position cannot go on like that, Mr. Chairman, and I want to urge the Minister to take active steps.
I wish to raise a matter that I have been raising for many years in this House, and I do so once again because I am convinced in my own mind that this constitutes the only permanent solution as far as those areas are concerned, namely the question of providing the Kalahari with water by constructing a pipe line from the Orange River. We hear about that every day and even the hon. the Minister himself said the other day that there would shortly be a shortage of beef. I maintain that if this scheme were put into effect there will not be a shortage of beef. I want to give the House some figures in respect of a few of the districts that will benefit if such a pipe line were constructed. This is an area which produces by far the greatest number of cattle in the country: Vryburg has a cattle population of 388,700; Kuruman 259,600; Postmasburg, which is also in the Kuruman constituency, 124,000 and Gordonia, 76,400—a total of 848,700 cattle. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that if water were taken to the Kalahari this number would be doubled. You will appreciate the fact, Mr. Chairman, that we would be able to meet that meat shortage 100 per cent if only we had water in those areas. We are told that it will cost too much, but do you know, Sir, that to-day my constituency costs the Department R500,000 annually. Those farmers do not want the water free of charge; they will pay for it and in time to come the scheme will pay for itself.
Once again I wish to plead with the Minister. I am not asking him to give it to us immediately, all I want him to do is to appoint a commission of inquiry to inquire into the possibility or otherwise of constructing such a scheme. I shall appreciate that.
I want to associate myself with the remarks of my colleague who has just sat down. He stated the position in connection with drilling machines so clearly that there is hardly anything that I can add to it, but because I agree with him in every respect as far as the importance of this matter is concerned, and because I too have numbers of farmers in my constituency who are waiting for drilling machines I wish to support him wholeheartedly. When the hon. the Minister held out the prospect two years ago in this House that he would negotiate with private owners of drilling machines to help to make up on the leeway in respect of drilling, we welcomed that news, and I want to tell the Minister that the farmers throughout the country welcomed it. I know that numerous farmers have approached the Irrigation Department as it was called in those days and are approaching the Department of Water Affairs to-day to ascertain what the position is in that connection. I believe representations have also been made to the Minister, but since then we have heard nothing further about that possibility. I want to assure the hon. the Minister that that will assist greatly in making up the leeway that exists as far as drilling is concerned. It is obvious that when a farmer applies for the services of a Government drilling machine because he lacks water on his farm, he cannot conduct his farming operations the way he should. I trust the Minister will make a statement in this connection to-day. The farmers have great expectations and I trust the Minister will not disappoint them.
I do not wish to follow the hon. member for Lichtenburg (Mr. M. C. van Niekerk) and the hon. member for Kuruman (Mr. H. R. H. du Plessis). I think the case they have tried to make out as to how important it was that more Government drilling machines should be available to the constituencies which they represent, is a good case. I know something about the constituency of the hon. member for Kuruman, I know how essential water is in that area and how necessary it is to make more drilling machines available. I should like to support him in that connection.
The matter that I wish to raise with the hon. the Minister this afternoon is in the first instance, the Orange River system, particularly that section of which applies to the Free State, the Riet/Modder River system, which is a subdivision of the Orange River system. I merely want to say this that I think the hon. the Minister will agree with me when I say that a steady water supply is a prerequisite to further industrial development, and a prerequisite to stabilize and to increase our food production. Where the hon. the Minister stated in this House last year that his Department would give its serious attention to the Orange River system, and where he explained to us clearly last year, an explanation which we accepted, that he and his Department could not make wild promises before a thorough investigation had been conducted as to the most suitable places where the dams could be constructed in the Orange River—whether they should construct one big dam or a number of small dams at suitable places—where the hon. the Minister explained all that to us, I think any reasonable person will agree that where the Orange River system which is the most important system in our country as far as water is concerned, we cannot expect the Minister and his Department to tackle any scheme in the Orange River in an irresponsible manner but that they should first conduct the necessary investigation.
Mr. Chairman, in the past we have been inclined to regard the Vaal River as a separate system, the Caledon River as a separate system and the Orange River as a separate system. But that is not correct. The Vaal River, the Caledon and the Orange Rivers are simply elements of one big drainage system, namely, the entire Orange River itself. They are merely sub-sections of a great drainage system. The Vaal River is already being used to supply the gold mining areas on both sides of its banks, it is being used particularly to meet the urban and industrial water requirements of those gold mining areas, as well as those of the vast Vaalharts scheme on the borders of the Free State, the Transvaal and the Cape Province.
I want to plead with the hon. the Minister this afternoon that if he is satisfied with the result of the investigations that his Department has conducted, and if they have established what the scope and the nature of the development will be, whether he will include in his plans a scheme to supply water to the Free State. May I say this, Mr. Chairman, that we have always regarded the Vaal River valley as the most important drainage system in the country, an area in which there will be great industrial developments in the future and where big cities will rise. I think, however, that with a view to the economic future of the country, and considering the important part that water plays in providing power, its domestic use, etc., you must come to the conclusion that the great industrial development of the future will be along the Orange River, that it is there that the big cities of the future will rise. I want to plead with the Minister this afternoon that when they evaluate the results of those investigations, they should also bear in mind the dry western parts of the Free State, particularly the south-western portion. I am referring in particular to the Riet-Modder River system in the southern south-western Free State. Those areas are dry, but over the years irrigation schemes have been constructed along the Kaffir River, along the banks of the Modder River, particularly that big scheme, Glen Agricultural College, at Kraaipoort-Riet River, the system below the Kalkfontein dam. Bloemfontein, which is expanding at a very fast rate, is mainly dependent for its water supply on the Modder River. According to the most reliable information available it is clear, when you consider the fact that more than 15,000 morgen of land along the Modder River, the Kaffir River and under the Riet River system below the Kalkfontein dam, have already been cultivated and that there are farmers along the Modder River who go in for irrigation independent of these schemes, that the water of the Riet River and the Modder River, with its tributaries, is insufficient to supply those areas with their water requirements. I want to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that the Government and the Municipality of Bloemfontein have invested a tremendous amount of capital in the three dams in the Modder River—the Government in the Kalkfontein scheme, in the Kaffir River scheme, and with the slightest drought those areas will suffer a water shortage. Because soil conservation is applied in those areas, we find that with the normal rainfall those rivers can no longer supply the needs of those irrigation schemes and those of Bloemfontein. That being the position the capital that has been invested, particularly in the Kalkfontein scheme, is in danger. It is not necessary for me to tell the hon. the Minister what the difficulty is at the Kalkfontein scheme. I think a representative has already seen the Minister and has told him what position has arisen as a result of droughts and as a result of the fact that the Kalkfontein dam was practically empty and particularly as a result of the fact that there was more scheduled land under irrigation at the Kalkfontein scheme requiring water than there was water for under normal circumstances. I do not know who is to blame for this, but I am informed that more land has been scheduled at the Kalkfontein scheme than the water supply can cope with. That is why I ask that when the Orange River scheme is planned the Minister should pay particular attention to this matter and, if possible, incorporate the Riet River/Modder River systems which can provide these schemes as well as Bloemfontein, De Wetsdorp, etc., with water into that scheme. [Time limit.]
Seeing that the hon. the Minister has been so kind as to do such a great deal for the Fish River Valley, I want to ask him what progress they have made with the buying of the land which they have contemplated. I also want to ask him to expedite that matter. Unfortunately, once again there is little water this year, and the people will again have a difficult time. Unfortunately, we are not one of the fortunate areas where the dams have received a great amount of water. I know this question of the buying of the land does not really fall under the Minister’s Department, that it falls under the Department of Lands, but I wish to ask the Minister to ask the Department of Lands to expedite the matter, so that those people may make a fresh start. I also want to ask that when those people are paid for their land they should also be given an opportunity to settle at other irrigation schemes. I know that is not the policy, but in circumstances such as these we have to assist those people who have to be moved on account of those difficult circumstances. I am not asking the Minister what they will pay for that land. I take it that the commission that visited the valley has determined the price. I understand it averages £150. I think that is a reasonable price—R300. That means, of course, that some will get less and some will get more. One is sorry that those people have to leave those farms, Sir. Some of them have developed beautiful farms. In those cases it is no more than right that the improvements that they have been effected should be taken into account. Many of those people have no option—they have to sell. They cannot wait until the water from the Orange River is available to them. If the Minister wants to do them a favour—and he has done them many favours—he should expedite the matter. I want to thank the Minister for the manner in which he and his Department have acted. [Interjections.] If anybody wishes to make a sneering remark, he should go to the Fish River Valley himself, and he will then realize how grateful those people are. Those people were really in distress, through no fault of their own. In former years that was a flourishing community. We do not wish to say or do anything that will have a detrimental effect on soil conservation, but, as a result of the soil conservation works, those dams have less water to-day. I think that is one of the reasons why the Minister has decided to buy the land of some of those people. Some people say that 50 per cent of the land will be bought. That does not mean to say that it will be 50 per cent. It may be as much land as the Minister can possibly buy. Those farmers who remain behind will then have a better chance to tide themselves over their difficulties. I want to say this to the Minister. I agree with the hon. member for Kuruman (Mr. H. R. H. du Plessis) in what he has said about drilling machines. This service is absolutely essential in the dry areas where there are cattle-raising farms, and where there is a shortage of drinking water. We know there is a shortage of beef to-day. Ministers have made statements concerning beef, and I am sure they will do everything possible to supply those farmers in the dry areas and those who have good cattle-raising farms with water.
I also want to say to the hon. member that, as far as I know, once the Orange River scheme has been completed, there will also be water available to them. The water belongs to everybody, and nobody wants to take water away from anybody else. There is sufficient water to irrigate 350,000 morgen. That means that there is a wonderful future for the areas along the river, without the one taking the water away from the other.
I also think that if that scheme is tackled soon the whole country would be pleased, because the whole country is waiting for a start to be made. It is not as though a start has not been made. The Minister’s Department has already made the necessary surveys, and the Minister has made a statement in this House, and the whole country is jubilant about it. Whereas the cattle and sheep died in those areas in the past as a result of drought, it seems as though those areas will be turned into the most flourishing parts of South Africa. The Minister himself is a practical farmer and, because he is, we know that he will do everything in his power to expedite this matter. The Orange/Fish River scheme is simply a part of the whole. We do not want to take anything that belongs to somebody else; there is enough water for everybody. I trust the people of the Free State will get what is due to them, and I also want to say to the hon. member for Kuruman that, as far as I know, when the water from the Orange River is conducted to Vaalharts and those places, it will be possible to pump it to the Kalahari—to Kuruman. I hope I shall live to see the day when those dry areas are supplied with water. In view of what the hon. the Minister did last year, it would not be fair on our part to ask him for a further statement. However, I would like to ask him what progress has been made. He has told us about the suitable site just above Aliwal, but that the foundation was not 100 per cent. The second site, of course, is below Aliwal North. That will provide the Free State with water; that will also provide the Fish River with water, and more dams can be constructed to serve the people along the Orange River, so that everybody will be supplied with water. I assure you, Mr. Chairman, that nobody wants to take water away from anybody else. There is enough water for everybody.
There is not enough.
There is enough to irrigate 350,000 morgen. That has already been calculated. There will be an ample supply of water for the entire Orange River and the Fish River valleys and the southern Free State and other parts of the Karoo. I hope I shall live to see the day when the waters from the other dams to be constructed are distributed throughout the Karoo, because the Minister has mentioned six dams, and if ever money has been well spent it will be that R280,000,000. It will mean more to us than the gold mines, because the gold mines may become worked out, but when they are worked out, there will still be food for the people of South Africa, even for the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes), who is always so quick to make sneering interjections. That is why I say that if ever money has been well spent to the advantage of the whole of South Africa, it will be the money that is to be spent on the development of the Orange/Fish River scheme. That water can be pumped as far as Bloemfontein, which will be short of water in 1965, and it can also be pumped as far as Welkom. We hope that the Free State and the whole of the central part of the Karoo will have sufficient water to become as flourishing as they were in the past. [Time limit.]
I would like to ask the Minister to take this opportunity to make a statement in regard to the Pongolapoort Scheme, which the Minister announced last year as a major project. I think the House will be interested to learn what progress has been made in regard to this scheme, and what decision was arrived at between the Minister and other Departments in regard to the portion of land which will be irrigated. The Minister will realize—he mentioned it last year, and so did the report of the Department—that portion of the land proposed to be put under irrigation is occupied by Africans. The Minister said he would go into the question as to precisely what had happened to those Africans who occupy that territory, even though portion of it is Crown Land. I think the House would like to know what progress has been made in that regard.
Then I want to say that I think the Minister owes an explanation to the House and to the country as to the purpose for which this irrigation scheme is required. Last year when the Minister referred to this matter in the House and when his Department issued a White Paper, the entire case for proceeding with the Pongolapoort Scheme and the building of this £19,000,000 project was based on, as the Minister stated, the need for greater sugar production, and he gave figures and said that he believed our sugar consumption was growing to such an extent that our existing facilities for producing sugar would be insufficient. He built his entire case on that argument. He said that only in this part of South Africa should sugar be grown. I believe that the Minister owes us an explanation because only a few weeks after he made that statement the sugar industry itself imposed a cut of 25 per cent on the quota of growers. It seems quite clear that there was no consultation whatever between the Minister’s Department and the industry. I think the Minister should make it clear what the precise purpose is going to be of this project, because the reasons he gave last year, in the light of the action taken by the industry, do not seem to be adequate. What is the mystery in regard to this project? The hon. the Minister of Lands outside the House suggested that this project will be used for purposes other than sugar, certainly for a time. I think it is necessary for the country and the House for this Minister to clarify the position. The whole attitude and the confusion which exists has caused great concern in many parts of Natal and particularly along the sugar belt, because the sugar planters cannot see why it is that a scheme of this magnitude should be introduced at a time when their quotas are being cut. Naturally people would welcome anything which means the utilization of our water resources for the best economic use of the country, but we want to know when a project like this is embarked upon what the plans are, what the Department believes should be produced, and that the best possible use will be made of the scheme, but the reason given by the Minister last year has given rise to suspicion as to the precise nature of the project the Government has in mind.
I have listened to what the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) has said. We are all in favour of it that a dam should be constructed in the Orange River. Eighteen years ago I introduced a motion in this House, and the whole House supported me, to the effect that the waters of the Orange River should be used. As the hon. member has said, we are making good use of the Vaal River, but the waters of the Orange River are still running to the sea. What I am very concerned about—and here I do not agree with the hon. member for Cradock—is this. During my lifetime I have often seen the river dry at Aliwal North, and more often at Upington and there are already schemes along the river. I am afraid it will turn into a very large white elephant if provision is not made for storage dams. [Interjections.] Please, give me a chance. You have had your turn. It is ridiculous to maintain that the foundation high up in the mountains where there are sites for dams is not suitable for dams. I remember years ago when I asked that the Kraai River be inspected, they did not even go there. But there are sites in the Kraai River for dams. If proper storage dams are not constructed to carry a reserve for at least two months, all these schemes will become white elephants. We want to bring the water to the Fish River and the Sundays River, but when the river is not flowing it should be fed for at least two months. It will not cost £1,000,000 to dam the Kraai River. The Minister said they were not going to bother about the Caledon and the Kraai Rivers at this stage, but he will have to do so in order to provide water to the schemes below. Years ago Kanoneiland experienced a very bad drought. The river did not flow and there was no water. Minister Reitz asked for assistance in this House and while he was talking he received a telegram to the effect that there had been terrific floods, and he had to turn round and ask for flood relief. That illustrates our climatic conditions. I think, however, that if we cannot do anything further ourselves, we should arrange with Basutoland to construct a dam there. But in any case we should make provision for at least two months in time of drought, and you cannot do it down here because the necessary drop is not there. You can build a dam at Bethulie but too much land will come under water there. The engineers can say what they like, but the Department has not made the necessary provision for storing the water in the upper reaches of the Orange River. I warn the Minister that if he constructs six dams in the Orange River without making provision for at least two months of water supply, the scheme will be a failure.
According to newspaper reports the hon. the Minister recently made a statement to the effect that there will be a shortage of beef in 1975.
That is probably a distortion.
If that is the position I want to suggest a remedy to the Minister and that remedy is water and more water. If we have the water the farmers will see to it that there is not a shortage of meat. When I say that I do not wish to create the impression that the Minister has not already done a great deal in supplying water and in assisting the individual farmer to supply his own water requirements and to store his own reserves. On the contrary, only recently I had the privilege of flying over the Karoo just after the heavy rains and it is unbelievable to see—unless you see it with your own eyes—what has been done as far as water conservation is concerned, but even that is not enough. I want to ask the hon. the Minister to do everything in his power to have the amount allocated to him for water conservation doubled. If he succeeds in doing that, he will be able to place the farmers in a position to provide sufficient food for the country and for his animals in difficult times.
I now want to raise the question of the small farmer at Vaalharts with the Minister. I have already brought this to the notice of the Minister and he was kind enough to send various commissions there to conduct investigations, but I want to bring this one aspect to the notice of the Minister. When a commission is sent to investigate a position as it had to do in the case of Vaalharts I do not think there should be such a long lapse of time before they bring out their report and before those interested know exactly where they stand. That was a unique case. That is not a case that you find every day. The people were placed there and had to be assisted in order to carry on and every day that is lost means a great deal to them because they may have been able by means of minor changes to have gone in for irrigation on a larger scale or simply to have placed the scheduled portion of their land under water. If the water is available they will be able to progress much faster than they are doing to-day. As the position is to-day they are being kept back. They cannot make any progress because they are scheduled for a certain area of land and in spite of the fact that the water is in the Vaal Dam it cannot be brought on to that land. In bringing this matter to the notice of the Minister I cannot overemphasize that aspect of it. I hope the Minister will be able to tell me this afternoon what the results of the investigation in those cases have been.
There is something else that I wish to bring to his notice. Somebody make the remark that the Vaal River was being used to the utmost. That may be so, but to say that it is being used to the utmost is not correct. It is only necessary to have a look at the Vaal River during the rainy season to realize the amount of surplus water which is running down the Vaal River to join the Orange River down to the sea. I am convinced that thousands of morgen of additional land along the Vaal River can still be placed under irrigation. I want to plead with the Minister. I have nothing against big dams. It is necessary to build them but I want the Minister to consider this that where certain irrigation works can be established at a comparatively low cost not to concentrate merely on the big schemes but that he should give attention to schemes that can be established at low costs, schemes which can come into immediate production. There is such a case at Warrenton. Surveys have already been made. The diversion dam to Vaalharts is already there. The only thing the Minister has to attend to is to construct a diversion furrow to the south of the river. If that is done hundreds of morgen of land can be placed under irrigation at a low cost. There is acute land hunger amongst those people and it is no good giving them land if there is no water or if they go under the first drought. The propositions must be economical. If you divert water from the existing rivers, if for example you construct a diversion furrow to the south of the Vaal River near Warrenton, that water can be taken as far as Boshof and a portion of the Free State can be placed under irrigation and that water can be brought down as far as Kimberley and even further down and hundreds of people who wish to return to the land will be able to do so and those propositions will be economical. But it is uneconomical to place them on dry land where they will be ruined with the first drought that comes along. [Time limit.]
I just want to round off my plea in respect of the provision of water along the Riet River and the Modder River complex out of the Orange River. There is a possibility, if the Minister is going to have a dam constructed at Van der Kloof, that the water can be pumped from there to the Kraaipoort dam and then perhaps further from that point. There is also a possibility, if a dam can be built at Aliwal North or Bethuli, that the water can be led by means of a canal to the upper reaches of the Riet River and the Modder River, but these schemes would both cost a great deal of money, and I know that the joint organizations in the Free State, including the Municipality of Bloemfontein, are of the opinion—I think they submitted this proposal to the Minister—that he should give serious attention to the construction of a dam in the Caledon River where it leaves the Basutoland border at Jammersdrift near Wepener. If a dam is built there, it will only be a short distance from there to the upper reaches of the Riet and Modder Rivers. At that point the bed of the Caledon River is higher than the water level of the Rusfontein Dam in the Modder River as well as the bed of the Kaalfontein Dam. Water from the dam at Jammersdrift in the Caledon River would consequently feed the upper reaches of the Riet and the Modder Rivers, which would cost much less than to take water from the Van der Kloof Dam, if a dam is constructed there, or from Aliwal North. [Interjection.] I have already said that I assume that in the final plan provision will be made for various dams in the Orange River, and all I am advocating is that provision should be made for the Free State, particularly Bloemfontein and the irrigation schemes which are in danger of becoming dry, and particularly having regard to the position of the 190 settlers at the Kaalfontein Dam. It is not necessary for me to explain what the position is there. The Minister is aware of it because a deputation came to see him. He knows that those people’s water quota was reduced by more than one half and that they find themselves in a very difficult position. From whatever point the Minister wants to lead the water, I am suggesting an alternative place to him where I think a dam to provide the upper reaches of the Riet and Modder Rivers with water would cost less. Conservation dams in those two rivers have already been constructed, and it is only from a dam at Jammersdrift from which one would be able to lead water without having to pump because the river bed of the Caledon at Jammersdrift is 128 feet higher than the water level of the Rusfontein Dam and 56 feet higher than the water level of the Kalkfontein Dam. It is simply a question of leading the water, and it ought to be cheaper therefore. Next to the Vaal River the Caledon River is the second biggest source of water supply along the Orange River. Hydrological surveys have established that the flow of water in the Orange River at Jammersdrift is seven times greater than the ordinary flow of the Riet River at the Kraaipoort Dam. If just one-quarter of the water of the Caledon River could be diverted for the Southern Free State and the Riet and the Modder Rivers, therefore, the schemes in those rivers could be supplied with twice as much water as they are getting to-day. That is the plea I want to put forward. I know how the people at the Kalkfontein Dam have struggled. I make this plea particularly for Bloemfontein, for the irrigation farmers along the Kaffir River and the Riet River and for the Glen Agricultural College which also gets irrigation water, and for the farmers along the Modder River, because their livelihood is in danger as a result of the fact that the Riet-Modder River system has insufficient water for all these schemes, and if additional schemes are established in the future, then it will be quite inadequate. That is why I am urging that if the waters of the Orange River are used, the Southern Free State should be given its share, and I just wanted to give the Minister the method and tell him what will be the cheapest way.
I want to be brief, because after having had to jump up like clockwork for practically two days for a turn to speak, one has not got much energy left. If you will permit me, Sir, I want to say that this appendage of the British parliamentary system probably still needs a certain amount of research; the Boer way of “eers kom eers maal” (first come first served) is probably the best …
Order! The hon. member must discuss the Vote now and not the parliamentary system.
I just referred to it in passing. I read once that Langenhoven had to speak at a school function at Paarl. The chairman warned him not to talk politics. When he got up he said that if the chairman had not warned him he would have said this, that and the other, and he then proceeded to mention what he would have said. I am inclined to follow his example in respect of what I would have liked to say under Agricultural Technical Services but did not have the opportunity of saying. However, I shall come back now to Water Affairs. I should like to express a few words of gratitude to the hon. the Minister for the visit that he and the Director of Water Affairs paid to my constituency last year after I had invited him to come and visit the various water schemes as well as the fine dolomite sources of water in the district. Perhaps it is not known to everybody that in Marico there are more than 20 fountains, some of which yield 3, 4 to 5½ cusecs. It is a pity that the Minister did not have time to visit all these sources of water so as to be able to get some impression of the possibilities of those waters for the future. But I want to thank him very much for his visit. I adopted the attitude that when a Member of Parliament submits a matter concerning water to a Minister and he has not yet visited that constituency to acquaint himself with the circumstances, he can never get a clear picture of the local problems, and that is why I appreciated the Minister’s visit all the more. I also believe that a great deal of good will result from his visit as far as the provision of water in this constituency is concerned. The first proof has been forthcoming already. I want to thank the Minister for the fact that the Koster River dam has already been approved of and has reached the stage that to-day it lies on the Table in the form of a White Paper. I believe that this will meet a great and long-felt need. After the Minister’s visit the farmers told me that they had been impressed by the way in which the Minister took the trouble not only to meet them but to view the various dam sites at a time when he was very busy, just a week or two before the referendum. That gesture was appreciated very much. This is not a large dam. It will cost approximately R400,000; it will irrigate approximately 600 morgen of fertile turf and rich loamy soil; it will help an established community; it will give water to the Paul Kruger school, the fine old school farm which has now been converted into a special school for backward children. Here we have proof that the Minister is proceeding with his policy to establish smaller dams and smaller water schemes in spite of the fact that he has already decided to make a start with the big scheme of the Orange River and the Pongola which will cost millions of pounds. I feel that it is preferable to construct 100 dams costing R200,000 each, spread over a bigger area in the country, rather than to spend millions of pounds on huge dams in isolated places. That does not detract from the fact that we do need large dams here and there. I am a strong supporter, for example, of the dam to be constructed in the Orange River to make provision for water in those drought-stricken areas. But what is really needed is a smaller type of dam. When we establish a big scheme we usually try to satisfy the land hunger of people from outside. People who have no land make application and holdings are then granted to them to form a settlement. But when this smaller type of dam costing R200,000 to R400,000 is constructed we usually help the established pioneers of those areas who have struggled for years under difficult circumstances, as happens to be the case at the Selons and Koster rivers.
Before my time expires I want to say to the hon. the Minister that I am grateful for the fact that he is going to build the Koster River dam but I want to express the hope, together with the interested parties, that the twin brother of this dam, namely the Selons River dam, which adjoins it, will also be built in the near future after the completion of the Koster River dam. I also want to thank the hon. the Minister for having responded so quickly to my request to have the question of the raising of the walls of the Lindespoort and Little Maricopoort dams in my constituency investigated and that this investigation is taking place while the dams are full. Because if it is found that this can be done, the work should be completed before the next drought. Then finally just this: I also trust that the Minister and his Department will succeed in making it possible for the Town Council of Zeerust to obtain sufficient water in the near future for the necessary expansion there. With the abundant waters of the dolomite fountains to which I have already referred I foresee a fine future for Zeerust as far as the establishment of border industries is concerned. I believe that a large Native township can be established in Linokana. I do not believe that in the Transvaal there is a single Bantu homeland which is so well situated and which has such a great water and land potential as Linokana for a model Native township. With border industries in the adjoining White area such a Bantu township could serve as the residential area for the non-White labour of these industries. That is why it is necessary, since the Town Council of Zeerust urgently needs water and since they are experiencing various difficulties that they apparently cannot overcome without the intervention of and assistance from the Department, that sufficient water should be provided in the near future for the town’s normal growth and essential industrial expansion. [Time limit.]
It is a great pleasure to me to be able to reply to the representations made particularly by the hon. member for Kuruman (Mr. H. R. H. du Plessis) and others in respect of subsidized boring services, including private services. However, I want to remove a misapprehension. The hon. member said that I said two years ago already that I would do so. It would have been a little irresponsible of me to have said that. I think what the hon. member means is that I did, in fact, say that I would have such a scheme investigated and when that had been done and the financial implications had been worked out, I would submit it to the Cabinet for approval. Last year I said that the scheme had practically been completed, but that I could not submit it to the Cabinet and the Treasury before the budget had been framed. I did, however, submit it during the recess, and I can now announce that the State has decided to set aside an extra R340,000 per annum to institute such a boring scheme which will be subsidized by the State on an equal footing with Government boring machines in the whole country. The country was divided into proclaimed and non-proclaimed boring areas. That was a line which had just been drawn through the country and, consequently, there was differential treatment in respect of boring work done by the State on this side of the line as compared with the other side of the line. That has been the position all these years, but it has always caused dissatisfaction. As I say, the fund does not have unlimited resources, and the ideal scheme I had in mind had to be altered as the result of the too high extra annual expenditure which would be involved, and, consequently, the Cabinet made a certain sum available to me, and I had to evolve a scheme which would not exceed that amount. The broad principle is briefly that the whole country will receive the same treatment. That, of course, means that State boring facilities which were granted on very favourable terms to those who wanted to bore in the proclaimed areas, had to be curtailed. They will, therefore, not receive assistance on the same scale is in the past in order to enable us to provide these facilities and to subsidize them right throughout the Union both in regard to private and State boring operations. In future farmers will have to pay for all boreholes, irrespective of whether they strike water or not. The subsidy will, consequently, be based, not on the production of water, but on the depth of the water. A certain scale has been evolved so that people who live in areas where one has to bore deeper to find water will receive a bigger subsidy than those in the areas where water is found nearer the surface. No subsidy is envisaged for boreholes less than 100 feet deep. On a borehole of 100 feet, whether it produces water or not, the subsidy will be 10 per cent of the boring costs, and thereafter the subsidy will increase in a rising curve.
Will it no longer be calculated at £1 10s. a day?
No, all the old arrangements fall away. I do not want to go into the regulations in detail now. As soon as the Estimates have been passed the regulations will be published in the Government Gazette and the scheme will then come into operation immediately. The subsidy on a hole 100 feet deep will be 10 per cent, and 20 per cent on a hole 200 feet. It does not increase proportionally per 100 feet, but the maximum subsidy will be 55 per cent on a borehole 700 or more feet deep. A subsidy of 55 per cent will be paid on a borehole of 700 feet or deeper, and less than 10 per cent will not be paid on a borehole of 100 feet, but for a borehole of less than 100 feet there will be no subsidy at all. The procedure of applying for these services and for making use of private boring machines will be simplified. The applications will have to be submitted to the local magistrate, who will have to satisfy himself on certain points before transmitting it and recommending it to the Director of Water Affairs. The Director of Water Affairs retains the right at any time after the hole has been bored and the application for the boring has been granted, to inspect the site and to send an inspector there, and also to inspect it when the boring has been completed. Unfortunately, we have not enough geologists to go right throughout the country to point out where holes should be bored. Farmers can make use of dowsers or any other means, but the fact that a farmer will be subsidized only partly for a dry hole which is deeper than 100 feet will make him careful in selecting the boring site. There is a limitation on the number of boreholes which the State will subsidize, namely this: The Director of Water Affairs will be in possession of information in regard to all boreholes on a farm, and if, according to the data he has available, there is more than 50 per cent surplus water supplied on a farm for the use of stock or for domestic purposes, he will not approve applications for further boreholes on that farm under this system of subsidization. In other words, the scheme is not quite unlimited. I hope that, by means of this new scheme, we will grant great relief, which will be done at appreciably higher cost, as hon. members will notice particularly in the dryer stock farming areas of the country where practically all the farming operations are dependent on subterranean water. For the rest, I just want to mention this one matter, viz. that there is another minor advantage in regard to people who make use of State boring machines. We cannot withdraw or demolish our State boring services. For many reasons it is essential that we should still provide those boring services, because, by doing that, we also collect other information which is essential for the development of our water resources; it is that we will not grant loans to people to cover the cost of boreholes, except in the case of those people who are fortunate enough to obtain the services of a State boring machine.
But the ordinary Land Bank loans will remain?
Yes. I am referring only to loans granted by the Department of Water Affairs. People who make use of private boring machines will not be able to get a loan from the Department plus a subsidy on the cost of the boring. That is all I want to say in regard to boring services.
I would now like to come back to the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood). The hon. member asked me to explain what the Government’s policy is in regard to the Umgeni catchment area. Briefly, the position is just this: The policy will be the same as the policy in regard to the Vaal River catchment area. In other words, instead of allowing, in the case of such an important water source as the Umgeni River in Natal, every interested city council or municipality to apply separately to the Department of Water Affairs for the building of conservation dams or works in the river in order to provide for their own requirements and perhaps also for those of the surrounding area, the policy is in regard to these more important rivers, where we can already foresee appreciable urban and industrial development, for the State to shoulder the responsibility of providing the water. The hon. member will perhaps know that in Natal, under the Provincial Administration, they have what is called a Regional Planning Commission. That Regional Planning Commission appointed a sub-committee with the approval of the Natal Provincial Administration to investigate the water potential of the whole of the Umgeni catchment area. On that commission there were representatives of the Provincial Administration and of the City Council of Pietermaritzburg, one member representing the Department of Water Affairs and the representatives of the Pinetown Regional Water Supply Corporation, a representative of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services and a representative of the Natal Sugar Estates. The Durban City Council was also invited to appoint a representative to serve on this committee, but for reasons of its own it refused to co-operate. The Durban City Council obtains its water from the Nagel Dam. Last year they piloted a Private Bill through Parliament which was supported by me and my Department. They have applied or want to apply to the Department for the building of a dam slightly higher up than the Nagel Dam in the Umgeni River. They put it to us that the storage capacity of that dam would be able to supply them for a certain number of years and then they intended building a second one; they want to build an extra pump-line to Durban and, if I remember correctly, they also wanted to supply Pinetown with water by means of that pipe line. We told them that we were prepared to see to it that a public organization or body did not sell that water at a profit to other areas, but that they would have to sell it at cost price. Those works of theirs would have cost a large sum of money: several million pounds. This committee I mentioned unanimously recommended that in their opinion it would be in the interest of that area for the State to undertake those works. The State then investigated the Umgeni catchment area. We found that there were particularly two very suitable places—in fact, only two—where dams could be built. The first was at Mid-Mar, and the other at Albert Falls. We then decided to build the Mid-Mar Dam first. That dam will be built in more than one stage. From the Mid-Mar Dam we will give Durban gratis everything it requires up to the 50,000,000 gallons of water it gets from the Nagel Dam to-day. We feel that the water from the Nagel Dam is what it is entitled to, and everything extra that it requires will be supplied by the State out of the Mid-Mar Dam for its future development at a price. Durban can, as in the past, do the reticulation of it. It is not that my Department wants to take away the reticulation in the urban areas from the municipalities in order to do it ourselves. We do not want to do that in the least. We will deliver the water to the City Council of Durban at a nominal fee, and if they want to use the same pipe-line to supply Pinetown or other towns, they can do so in the same way that they would have done if the water had come from their own dam. But we will see to it that they make no profit on the water they distribute on our behalf. That is to protect the interests of the consumers of water in the urban areas. But Pietermaritzburg will also be able to draw water from the Mid-Mar Dam for its future requirements. We will give Pietermaritzburg water out of that dam; we will bring it to a certain point where the City Council of Pietermaritzburg can take it in their pipes to their reservoirs for distribution to their consumers. In that way we will ensure water for industry in future. I think there is already one industrialist who now receives water, Feraloys Ltd. But when the Mid-Mar Dam is completed to its ultimate height and it can no longer supply the requirements of those areas in Natal along the South Coast and the cities I have mentioned, then we will build the dam at Albert Falls. That is the intention. Both those dam sites are situated in areas where the silting up of the dams will take place to a much lesser extent than lower down where there is already much more soil erosion. Hon. members know how much silt the Umgeni River brings down. We feel that it is in the interest of the country that in the case of a river like that the State should retain control over the water, just as it controls the water in Vaaldam. Everybody will agree with me that if the State at the time had decided to allow, e.g., the Rand Water Board to build the Vaaldam, knowing that there was just about no better place in the Vaal River to build a dam, we would perhaps by this time already have had a great deal of trouble in getting the representatives of those local authorities to view the matter from a broader angle than just from the point of view of the interests of their own narrow group, because to-day Vaaldam serves practically the whole of the Rand complex and also areas far beyond the Rand. Nobody can foresee what the development will be in Natal, and that was the main reason why the State has decided to build the dam instead of giving the Durban City Council or other municipalities, each on their own, permits to build dams, and to withdraw water. In the second place, there is also a saving of money, because supposing the Durban Municipality and the Pietermaritzburg Municipality build dams, they will have to find the money for it somewhere. We believe that to centralize in this area will be cheaper and more effective than to decentralize. I have the impression that this step carries the approval of the whole of the province of Natal, or at least of those who know what the position is.
The Minister has not said when he expects to start with the construction of the Mid-Mar Dam.
I think we will be starting in the course of this year, because we know that Durban will be running short of water within the next two or three years. We think that we will be able to complete that dam by 1964. In other words, we are not going to waste any time.
Will legislation be introduced this year?
We do not need legislation for it. As soon as the Estimates are through, then we shall be able to carry on with the work. We intend to start as soon as possible, so the Durban Municipality will not be able to turn round and say to us, “Because you tried to do our job for us we are now running out of water”.
*The next question the hon. member asked was in connection with the Blyderivier. He asked whether we are giving any compensation to the riparian owners along a river which we declared to be a water-controlled area, to compensate them for the rights we take away from them. That is a very important question. This makes it necessary for me to explain how we control and distribute water where the State or the Department decides to declare an area as a water-controlled area. I must remind hon. members that the 1956 consolidating Water Act introduced a big change in principle. Ever since the first settlers arrived here until about 1800 or 1806 our Water Acts were based on the principle of dominus fluminus. In other words, the State had the power. That was during the time Holland exercised authority here. But from approximately the year 1800 until now it was based on the principle of riparian rights, that in other words the water in a river belonged to the riparian owners. But when this Act was passed we reverted to the principle that it belonged to the State. The State now owns all the available water in proclaimed areas in the Union. I want to remind hon. members that this was the recommendation of a commission which was appointed and which sat for almost four years, which heard evidence all over the country and which drew up a draft Bill and submitted it, and in addition a Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament on which all parties were represented also worked on it for about four years, and they unanimously recommended that this principle should be adopted. I do not think that the people of the country in general realized at the time what all the implications of that decision were. Now that we are applying the principle there are certain things we have to bear in mind. In other words, the old right (and that is the one the hon. member referred to) which the riparian owner had to all the water in a river disappears. We recognize that every riparian owner as such has a right to take water from a river for irrigation purposes. We recognize his claim. That riparian owner who undertook certain developments turned the claim he had into a right because he made use of his claim. Those owners who, e.g., got judgments from the Water Court or whose land was subject to certain registered water servitudes registered on their deeds of transfer are people who not only had certain claims as riparian owners, but also exercised them. Now the only water in a river under the new set-up to which a riparian owner has a claim is really only the normal flow. Now what is the normal flow? It is that water which flows in a river for a certain time of the year, and further that water, in terms of the Act, which can be beneficially used without damming up the river. Now we have this formula we apply. In the first place if we now want to declare a river like the Blyderivier to be a water-controlled area and we want to distribute the water, we examine all the deeds of transfer and we ascertain how many servitudes there are, how many judgments were given by the water court and to how much land they apply, and those riparian rights which are covered by servitudes or judgments of the court are respected and they are not affected. Then secondly: How much land did the farmers put under irrigation and develop without their water rights having been determined in the past? If there is 10,000 morgen of land and we take this stream of water and we know it is perhaps sufficient for only 5,000 morgen but development has already taken place there, then we give water for the existing development up to a point, and that point is his theoretical right of withdrawal, and a theoretical right of withdrawal is determined by dividing the amount of water available by the total amount of irrigable land along the banks of a river. If the man has developed further than that without having a judgment of the court or a servitude, it means that he has over-developed. In that case we cannot give him water for all the land he has developed. We find such cases, but fortunately they are few in number. But having provided water for that land, we see what the undeveloped potential is, and that is not divided per farm but per owner, and the reason for that is that this principle of ownership was already introduced by, I think, the late Mr. Strydom when he was Minister of Water Affairs in order to eliminate the great speculation in land along our rivers by syndicates, by big companies and by rich individual farmers who were really speculators in land in the full sense of the word. Now we say that we determine what is an economic unit under irrigation in a certain area. That economic unit under irrigation need not necessarily be of the same size in every area. It depends on the soil, the climate, the fertility of the soil and what one can plant there, etc. Proper soil surveys are made and a proper study is made of what can be grown there, and that is not determined by Water Affairs alone but by a committee consisting of heads of departments and experts in the various departments. Those departments are Lands, Agricultural Technical Services, Water Affairs and Agricultural Economics and Marketing. That committee determines the size, and in so far as the Blyderivier is concerned I think an economic unit was judged to be 30 morgen. Therefore what any riparian owner will get of the water of the Blyderivier is, in the first place, if he has so much irrigable land, enough water for 30 morgen. That is the first thing he gets, and when we have given everybody that amount we come to the rest. Of course a man who has 20 morgen of irrigable land gets water for the full 20 morgen, but the one who has 100 morgen without having developed any of it just gets water enough for 30 morgen, for a start. When we have given everybody water sufficient for 30 morgen, we see how much water we have left and then we take the full potential of the irrigable land which still has not got water and we allot the water which is still over to that land equally. Then it may be that a man who has 100 morgen (it depends on how much water is available) perhaps gets water for another 20 morgen in addition to his 30 morgen, so that he then has 50 morgen, and one who has 50 morgen will now not get 10 proportionately but may get 7, but nobody who has more than 30 morgen will get water for less than 30 morgen. For the rest, it depends on the remaining irrigable potential of every owner, and water is then allotted for that extra land according to a fair and just scale.
May I put a question? Is it correct or not that certain of these people are limited to water which they use beneficially from private irrigation works whilst the Government thus far has built no irrigation works there?
Only those riparian owners who perhaps developed more land than they were theoretically entitled to get water for, and I do not know of any such people in the Blyderivier area. But possibly there are a few.
But on two farms, “Grovedale” and “Antiochë”—I think those are the names—there are about 80 families who purchased land many years ago. They were amongst the first people to start irrigation there, but away from the banks of the river. They do not fall within the area of the riparian owners; they fall outside it. They developed the land and they have been farming there beneficially for a considerable time, and if we had not passed the 1956 Act any riparian owner could have prohibited these people from drawing water out of the Blyderivier. We scheduled them although they are outside that area, because the water is in the hands of the State and we did not want to disrupt the farming operations of those people and uproot them and resettle them in other areas, to their detriment. Therefore, because they had done certain development, we treated them as riparian owners. I think that is a sound principle. Therefore there is no question of compensation for rights which have been taken away. In fact, no rights were taken away, but rights were defined. It is an extremely difficult matter. But let me say this, further. The Blyderivier is one of those rivers where I feel that eventually a dam will have to be built.
Have you not taken vested rights away from one man and given them to another?
No, it was not a vested right. When is a right a vested right?
May I ask the hon. the Minister for an explanation? Are riparian owners not protected by the 1956 Act, and are riparian rights which existed at that time not vested in the people who held them?
If they had developed, if they had used their so-called vested rights, then they are protected. But I have not diminished the water rights of any riparian owner who had used and developed and utilized his so-called vested water rights that he had before 1956, not in one instance.
You have not done it on the Blyde River?
We are not discriminating in the Blyde River area. We are treating the farmers there in the same way as in all declared areas, exactly on the same basis and we are using the same formula. I am coming with a Bill to Parliament to amend the Water Act of 1956 in this respect that where the 1956 Water Act did not give the riparian owner who had not developed yet, the right of appeal to a court if the Minister had given him certain abstraction rights as he did give to farmers who had already developed and utilized their riparian rights—I am putting it straight now, and riparian owners who have not developed in the past yet but who are given an abstraction right by the Department and by the Minister, will get the right to appeal as well to the courts so that they can come to court and test their case and the Minister and the Department will not be in the position to act may be discriminately.
*I now come to the hon. member for Zululand (Mr. R. A. F. Swart), who referred to the Pongola River. He said that it had been announced that the main object of this scheme would be the cultivation of sugar. That is correct, but it is not only the Department of Water Affairs which determines that. The former Minister of Irrigation, Mr. Sauer, instructed the Natural Resources Development Board, which is a very responsible and impartial body in so far as the determining of the sites for the building of dams is concerned, to investigate the matter and to report to him so that he would be able to advise the Government which of the two water sources, the Pongola River or the Orange River, should be tackled first. That Board, of course, falls under the Department of Commerce and Industry. They investigated it and drafted a report, and together with their report they really submitted a special report on sugar to emphasize the urgency of building the Pongola scheme. Well, they are not irresponsible people and they based it on the consumption and the production there was, the possible increase in population and therefore the increase in consumption, and they clearly stated that at the present moment (that was last year) there was a surplus sugar production. It was not a very serious surplus. They also stated that the surplus might possibly increase slightly. But hon. members should not think that the dam which was announced last year will suddenly be finished. The White Paper clearly says that it is expected that the scheme will be finalized only in 1968, and it is of course absurd to imagine that a tremendous amount of sugar will now immediately be produced under this scheme which will put into difficulties the sugar growers who to-day have to get quotas for the amount of sugar cane they produce. Nobody, not even the sugar industry, can say what the position will be in 1968. The White Paper says that in 1968 for the first time there may be a few plots ready for settlement, and nobody can say to-day that by that time there will be a surplus of sugar. There may even be a shortage by that time. The C.S.I.R. predicts that there may be a shortage of 92,000 tons. I am not prepared to accept that they will be out by 92,000 tons. I take it that these people went into the matter thoroughly together with the sugar industry. I believe that they thoroughly studied the improved methods of cultivation of sugar on dry land. We went even a little further in our estimates. Where they say that there is an annual increase of 4 per cent, my Department put the annual increase in consumption at only 3 per cent and based our calculations on that. But supposing that when the dam is completed and the plots are ready for occupation and there is still an over-production of sugar, hon. members may take it that the Government will not be so stupid and so irresponsible as to put another lot of sugar planters there. What hope will they have of being successful? And if they cannot be successful there, we do not have the right to put them there and to make them produce sugar. The settled sugar planter has a much better chance of keeping his head above water during a period of surplus production than the new grower. Because we want to be prepared for the possibility that this state of affairs may last for a certain time in the initial stages of the development of the Pongolapoort scheme and because we do not want to waste the money we spend on building the dam, we felt that stokroos cultivation under irrigation should now be tested as soon and as carefully as possible. According to the data we have now, if we can build an effective machine to extract the fibre, I am the last one to say that the growing of stokroos under irrigation at the Pongolapoort scheme will not perhaps be more profitable than growing sugar, even though there is no surplus of it. I want to give the assurance that we will always bear in mind the position and the needs of the settled sugar growers in our country, as well as those of the settlers we will place there.
The hon. member wants to know what progress we have made in regard to this scheme. The construction work at the Pongolapoort Dam site has been in progress since August last year. The camp is now nearing completion. The foundations are being dug. Hon. members know that the site had to be cleaned and the soil excavated, etc. A road giving access to the poort and the dam site from Candover is being built. Now the hon. member asks what the position is in regard to the land which is available. I have announced that there is land which falls within the Native reserves and which will perhaps be under the canals. If I remember correctly, I said at the time that it was between 11,000 and 12,000 morgen, and I mentioned as one of the attractive features of the scheme that it would not be built for the benefit of the Whites only but that we could also place Bantu on closer settlements in their own areas and supply them with water from the dam. There are Bantu who simply went and settled illegally on Crown land. We will not summarily evict those people. We are busy making intensive soil surveys to determine precisely where the best soil lies, where the canals will go, and we are busy making contour maps by means of air photography, etc. If some of them then have to be moved, we shall be prepared for it. There is one group of Bantu in the area which in my opinion cannot be allowed to remain there. Other people may perhaps think that they can stay there, but I think they will have to be moved. We are making these soil surveys also with the object that if these people have to be removed we will put them on Crown land which falls within the irrigable area, but adjoining a Bantu area. They are there illegally and it is Crown land, but we will deal with them in that way. Then, however, I do not want to be reproached because the soil on which we put them is less fertile than that which they have at present.
Now I would like to come to the Orange River and the Caledon River, about which the hon. member for Florida (Mr. H. G. Swart) spoke. In regard to the development of the Orange River, I have nothing to add to what I announced in this House recently. I just want to correct a few points. I know the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) meant no harm, but he mentioned a few names here. However, I did not say that I would build a dam here or there. I did not mention the name of a single place where I would build a dam. All I said was that we are planning a storage dam in the upper reaches of the Orange River, but I did not say that it would be at Aliwal North or at Bethulie or anywhere else. Hon. members should not make us quarrel about sites for dams by unnecessarily mentioning names when I did not even mention a single name. Nor did I say that we would build six dams in the Orange River. I said that we would do it in six phases, but the six phases may perhaps mean two dams, two dams with various stages of increasing the height of the walls or with extensions, and taking the water further, etc. I did not talk about six dams. I said we could even have eight or nine phases and if we wanted to spend a lot of money and make quick progress we could perhaps do it in five phases.
What do you mean by “phases”?
If you decide to build two dams, both can be in the same phase. Then you can decide in that phase to take water from both dams in various directions to serve various needs. Then it is still one phase. But if I decide just to take the water from one dam for one purpose, then that is One phase. If, however, I decide first to take so much water so far and first to irrigate 35,000 morgen and to serve so many towns and cities, but I have planned it in such a way that when it is finished I can take it even further to irrigate another 25,000 morgen, then I can regard the second development as the second phase. A phase in fact simply indicates that the whole of the plan cannot be completed immediately as a unit, but that it has to be done in stages.
In regard to the Caledon River, I want to give the hon. member the assurance that the Modderrivier and the Rietrivier and the needs of the Southern Free State, and also the needs of other areas, will be taken into consideration not only in the planning of the Orange but also of other rivers. We want to try to serve as many interests as possible by the projects which are on the Table. In regard to the Caledon, a representative deputation from the Free State came to interview me and I told them that the Caledon scheme at Jammersdrift is a much more expensive scheme than the ordinary layman thinks. In the first place it involves a tunnel of approximately 30 miles which will increase the cost of that work tremendously. My Department thinks that these needs can perhaps be met in a different way. I am not saying that the scheme will never be built, but the Department thinks that we can perhaps serve the needs of the Southern Free State much more cheaply from another source, and therefore the Jammersdrift Dam is not one of those dams which will receive priority. But that does not mean that the needs of those people will not perhaps be taken into consideration in the priority planning of the Department. In regard to the upper Modder River I think that provision can be made in the upper Modder River itself for the needs of those people. I received a deputation from them also the other day. They should not really be dependent on the Caledon or wait for that scheme. I think there is the possibility of complying with their needs by doing something for them in that catchment area.
May I just ask whether we know precisely how much water is available in the Orange River, apart from the Caledon River and the Vaal River?
I speak subject to correction, but I think that apart from the Caledon River and the Vaal River there is approximately 2.750,000 morgen feet available in the Orange River. But now I want to tell the hon. member that it is a good thing to leave the Vaal River out of account, but I ask myself whether it can be accepted that the whole of the Caledon should be taken out of the Orange River complex. I have my doubts as to whether the Caledon River, although it is earmarked for the Free State, should not be used, in so far as most of its water is concerned, not by means of schemes in the Caledon River itself, but schemes in the Orange River. I may just say in conclusion that where the hon. member for Aliwal (Capt. Strydom) said that we should build dams which should make provision for two months, in my opinion that is much too short. If we build a storage dam in the Orange River it ought to provide water for a much longer period than two months.
The hon. member for Cradock asked me what progress we had made in buying land in the Fish River Valley. The purchase of that land is being done by the Department of Lands. I really do not know how far they have progressed. I have only been informed that a fairly high percentage of those small farmers have expressed their willingness to negotiate with the Department in regard to the sale of their land. I will join the hon. member in asking the Department of Lands not to delay unnecessarily in concluding that matter. In regard to the hon. member for Kimberley (North) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker), I want to say in connection with the small farmers that I received a report, unfortunately just about the time he spoke, in connection with certain small farmers whose problems were investigated locally. I will inform him verbally later what the findings are, but I want to assure him that not only is this matter receiving attention, but that an investigation is actually in progress.
I am very glad to be able to take part in the debate now because I cannot be here to-night and I hope the hon. the Minister will reply to the questions I wish to raise, even though I shall not be here to-night. I will read his Hansard report attentively.
I want to discuss the catchment area of the Tugela. When the hon. the Minister spoke this afternoon in connection with the Umgeni River, he referred to the Natural Resources Development Board and also to the Committee appointed by the Provincial Council of Natal. He mentioned the findings of the Committee. Now I want to tell him—if he has now forgotten about Swellendam—that in his activities he should not forget the Tugela River because in the report to which we refer I find that a former Minister of Water Affairs, who later became Prime Minister of the country, the late Mr. Strydom, said the following—
The average outflow of the Vaaldam was 850,000 morgen feet, of which only about 335,000 morgen feet were being used for Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand …
And then he continued to say—
In comparison, six rivers flowing east—the Tugela, Umgeni, Pongola, Usutu, the Komati and Crocodile Rivers—have a total average annual flow of about 5,000,000 morgen feet.
That is a comparison of the others with the Vaaldam. When he says, further—
That is why I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to this, because I feel that the Tugela River has hitherto not enjoyed much attention by his Department. The valley of the Tugela—the Tugela basin, as it is called—is one of those areas in which the Economic Advisory Council said that industries which will be sited near the Bantu reserves should be established. Various towns were mentioned, like Colenso, Estcourt and others. I am thinking particularly of Colenso, which is excellently sited for industries, a town which has everything except water. It has the necessary power and Native labour and land, but only the water from the Tugela River has not yet been regulated in such a way that industries can be established there. The initial momentum should be the regulation of the water. I think that requires the serious attention of the Department, particularly when I find that this report of the Natal Provincial Council, in consultation with the Natural Resources Development Board, said the following about this river—
There is water available for irrigation, and then the report continues—
And then they continue to say, and this of course is most important of all to me—
This is a reasonably cheap method, and as I have quoted here, even a former Prime Minister of this country said very clearly what the future development of that part of the country would be. The power, the labour and the land are there. What is required is just the initial momentum, and that must come from the Department of Water Affairs in this form that the necessary barrages should be built in that river so that there may be a gradual runoff, and there is a tremendous run-off—
In the first instance I would like to thank the hon. the Minister in regard to his plans in connection with private boring machines. I want to say immediately that this one point worries us a little, viz. that he does not want to give exemption to dry holes, but where the person bores more deeply and eventually finds water and then gets a subsidy on it, he makes up for it in general. We want to thank him and I am convinced that it will be of much assistance in relieving the tremendous shortage there is in regard to boring for subterranean water and to assist the farmers in their development.
Then I would like to ask the Minister whether he can give us any information in regard to the attempts being made by his Department to ascertain how many boreholes there are in the country to-day from which water is being pumped, and if possible, whether he can tell us how many of those boreholes dry up every year. Then I also want particularly to ask the Minister whether he does not think the time has arrived to have general water planning in our country before they continue with schemes of development, so that we will have a complete allocation of the water according to a plan which will be evolved. In the first place we know that this is a country of extremes—very dry, very much water—and what can we do to combat these droughts? I think there is nothing in this country which comes as certainly as droughts. We know that in every ten years we have two or three droughts. We have just had the tremendous drought in the Karoo which has cost the country millions of rand and many animals. Then we again had the tremendous floods. How can we make use of those floods to combat our droughts? I have confidence in the brains of our country, and accordingly believe that we will be able to do so.
But then there is another great truth, viz. that the country in fact has a lot of water, and how can we make use of the plentiful water supplies in some places by taking it to places where it is urgently required? Has the time not arrived for us to start planning to improve the position in South Africa? The scientists say that every civilized person requires 56 gallons of water a day. Is that true? Then we can now estimate how many people this country can carry in future. Because there is not a single person who does not need water, and the whole of our future development depends on water. If that is so—and we need not doubt it because it is axiomatic—we will find a concentration of population in those areas which have water to-day, unless one plans. Now the important question is: How can those areas which are sparsely populated—which suffer from droughts and from continuous deterioration—be used by transferring some of the water there from other areas which have enough water? We should take water from the areas where it is plentiful and bring it to the areas where it is required.
Again nature has given us an opportunity. We have the Vaal River and the Orange River, which originate in the Drakensberg and flow right through the dry Karoo and which are the lifeblood of those dry areas. One asks oneself whether it is necessary to take the water of the Vaal River to Pretoria. Could Pretoria not have got water from other areas with a high rainfall? I do not want to make an issue of this, but I think that if there was proper planning timeously, Pretoria might have got water from the high rainfall areas, and it would not have been necessary to take the water of the Vaal River to Pretoria. Perhaps that was due to lack of planning. I do not know. But one thing is clear, viz. that we must have a general plan and that we should make use of the high rainfall areas and take the water from there to the areas which have insufficient water. The company should be properly planned. Therefore I believe that if we want to take the steps necessary for general planning in that direction, it can be done. I even believe that the water from the upper reaches of the Limpopo can be taken to the dry Malopo and flow down that river to supplement the water in the Kalahari areas, as was also suggested by the hon. member for Kuruman. I want to mention a third matter which I want to emphasize. Nature is a very complicated creation of the Almighty. But it has also been proved by the development of the human being that the Creator allows man to go very far as long as he does not come into conflict with Creation. Formerly people thought that if they travelled by sea for a certain distance they would drop down into damnation. Then it was proved that Creation was much more complicated and much more interesting. To-day the question is whether one can fly to the moon and whether one will have enough oxygen, or whether science can supply it. Therefore I want to conclude on this note. I think the time has arrived for scientific investigation to be instituted, whether it is done by means of a canal near Cape Town to link the two oceans, or whether it is the Schwartz scheme in the Kalahari, or whether it is done by means of a form of air ventilation and the inflow of wind—but I cannot believe that at some time or another, with the progress science is making, there will not be a change in our climatic conditions, and if we exert the necessary energy and employ the necessary brains, which I believe South Africa has, I think it is possible in future to surmount all these serious difficulties.
It now appears that the Pongolapoort scheme was given preference over the Orange River development scheme on wrong premises. From what the hon. the Minister has said it almost seems it was a put up job. It now seems that Pongola is destined to be a stokroos development area for farmers, whereas with the Orange River development we were putting forward a claim for a scheme that was going to save the lives of millions of cattle and sheep. The Minister has stated that he has nothing to add to his previous statements, one of which was that there was to be no preference, that both schemes were to go on together. And the Minister expedited an investigation of the Orange River scheme and he was able to make a statement which almost assured South Africa that, at a very early stage, a commencement of the development of the Orange River would be made. And this year we see that there is another vote. Last year it was £84,000 for investigating the Orange River scheme, and this year we have £88,900 on the Estimates for further investigation of the Orange River scheme. We had hoped that on these Estimates provision would have been made for building a dam on the Orange River as a preliminary to the Orange River development.
You must be a little more patient.
The hon. the Minister smiles, but he himself has said it is essential that provision be made on the Orange River for the lower irrigators. The irrigators at Kakamas, and Upington, and other settlements are dependent upon the Vaal River for the supplementation of their water supplies. And it is agreed Government policy accepted, not only by the present Minister, but by previous Ministers of Water Affairs, that the Vaal could not for long continue to supplement irrigators on the Orange River, and that water would have to be provided as expeditiously as possible from the resources of the Orange. And we had hoped—I think legitimately—that, on this year’s Estimates, provision would be made for building a dam on the Orange River in order to ensure that irrigators on the lower Orange River, who work these small holdings of seven morgen, would have a permanent water supply. I can do no more than express my deep disappointment that such provision has not been made. Naturally, if provision of that nature had been made it would have been the first step towards the development of the Orange River. I wonder if the hon. the Minister will now give us an undertaking that on the Estimates next year, in view of the investigations to be made, he will make provision for the commencement of the Orange. River development? Otherwise his undertaking that these schemes would go on together falls completely away. Over the years, of course, we have had what amounts to practically a public agitation for the development of the resources of the Orange River, and we now say that the hon. the Minister cannot afford to let the public remain uninformed as to the Government’s intentions in regard to over 3,000,000 morgen feet of Orange River water that finds its way to the sea annually. I would also like to ask the hon. the Minister that when he undertakes this Orange River development scheme, he will put the work out to contract in order to expedite it? This will be a major undertaking. It will be work of a nature that will attract world interest, and great contractors of the type that build the Kariba Dam, are watching to see what is going to happen as regards the Orange River development. I would like to know if the hon. the Minister can give us any assurance that the Orange River development will be given to contractors in order to expedite the work undertaken there? If the hon. the Minister will state that that is his policy then, I think, the people who now feel disappointed will be re-assured and will have confidence that the work will come to fruition. We have no doubt that, now that South Africa is on its way in towards nationhood, it must do big things to attract world interest. It must do big things in order to attract the immigrants that we need in this country. We must provide opportunities that will attract immigrants, and if we do not, this statement that South Africa has thrown its doors open to immigrants becomes a hollow plea and means nothing at all. Unless we make provisions for further industrial development in this country then the claim that we are throwing our doors open to immigration means nothing at all. We must have an assured production of food, and it does not appear that the Pongolapoort scheme is to be regarded as another source of food supply. I would say it would be a source of sugar supply for the Bantustans. That is why we thought Pongola had been given preference because it was in keeping with the development of Bantustans by the Government. And I thought the hon. the Minister would say that. But now he says that the Government has suddenly found out that we will have an excessive supply of sugar, for many years, so the Pongolapoort scheme will not be one where development of sugar on an important scale will take place.
There are other matters of interest in this Vote. I see under the heading Statutory Subsidies to Boards, Local Authorities and Persons, that allocations are made to certain municipalities, and I seek some information from the hon. the Minister as to how these subsidies are allocated. I imagine that the allocation of subsidies to municipalities was on the basis of one-third, and I notice that Bloemfontein with a scheme of R1,362,000 is to receive a subsidy of R454,000, which is one-third. The same applies to Kimberley. With a scheme of R465,860, Kimberley is also apportioned a third. But for Port Elizabeth, with a scheme of R4,300,956 is only receiving a subsidy amounting to one-twentieth. Then Witbank with a scheme of over a million rand is receiving barely one-fifth. It would be interesting to know what Government policy is as regards subsidizing urban water supplies. We agree that these subsidies should be granted, but I would like to have the assurance that subsidies are granted on an economic basis and that no preference are given. Perhaps the hon. the Minister will give us that assurance.
I want to associate myself with what was said by the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel), and I want to say that I do not envy the Minister and his Department for this tremendous and glorious task they have to perform. Therefore I also want to ask that there should be long-term planning. I want to take as my yardstick a number of rivers in the Eastern Transvaal. Now I want to say that the Department of Water Affairs already at an early stage determined by means of statistics that a stream of 100 cusecs can afford a livelihood to 1,000,000 people. That is a million people who produce and who are employed in industry. This has already been proved in regard to the Vaal River. Now if I take the Komati with its 300 cusecs, the Umpilusi with 100, the Ingempisi with 100, the Letoli and its tributaries with 24, the Ishelo with 60, the Assegaai with 90, and if one adds the Pongola which has a run-off of 630,000 morgen feet, then these few rivers can provide a living for as many as 11,470,000 people. I mention this figure because we often hear that the policy of separate development cannot be implemented because there is not enough land and no possibilities for the development of the non-Whites. When, e.g. we come to the scheme of the Pongola River and the Makatini Flats, then I believe that the smaller Native Trust areas can be joined together and that next to the White irrigation area there can also be a Bantu irrigation area which will provide a decent living without discrimination and with the recognition of human rights to the Bantu. That can be given to the Bantu as their own separate irrigation area. Because there is one Native Trust area lying in the middle of the Makatini Flats, as the hon. the Minister has already said, other Bantu went in there and settled on Crown land, which is very fertile irrigable land. As I say, these smaller areas can be joined together.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p m.
When the debate was adjourned I was pointing out that with proper planning and the correct use of our rivers we could ensure a living for many more people in South Africa. In this regard I want to refer to the Makatini Flats and the Pongolapoort Dam which is being built there. I find that in a summary of the Department of Water Affairs in 1946, taking the statistics from 1938 to 1946, they give the guaranteed cusecs flowing in the Vaal River, measured at Villiers, as compared with the Pongola River at Gollel, and then I find this interesting fact, that if you take the minimum of 50 cusecs, the Vaal River gives 50 cusecs for 335 days, whilst the Pongola gives it for 365 days. When one takes 750 cusecs, the Vaal River gives you that for 131 days, whilst the Pongola, again at Gollel, near the place where the dam is being built, gives it for 200 days. It has already been pointed out that the Vaal River with its average of 400 cusecs measured at Villiers can provide a living for 4,000,000 people, whilst the Pongola can give it to 5,000,000 people. That is why this river is so important.
But to link up with what was said by the hon. member for Christiana, we find this interesting fact, that if one takes the Vaal River the experts say that at Vaaldam it shows a run-off every year of 850,000 morgen feet, whereas the Tugela at its mouth shows 2,000,000 morgen. But then it is also alleged —and this is where the hon. member for Christiana made such an interesting suggestion—that the whole of the Buffalo River is really a pirate river of the Vaal River. Centuries ago the water of the Slangrivier, which was an upper tributary of the Buffalo River, fed the Vaal River through Sandspruit and Klip River. But in the meantime it has become a pirate river. Therefore I want to ask that this idea of long-term planning with regard to our water and the utilization of our rivers should be considered.
I now want to turn to a specific matter in my constituency, and I want to ask that when rivers are declared to be a State water-controlled area—I take the Pongola as an example —then before it is so declared a proper survey should be made of the whole of the river with all the riparian farms. The mistake of declaring one river to be a water-controlled area in three sections should not be made again, because we find this unfortunate position, that in regard to the Pongola River—this was done before the present Department of Water Affairs was there—they declared the area where the present settlement is now, and thereafter they declared the area where the dam is now being built as a water area, and in between they left a portion which they declared only about five years later. But now that the land is being expropriated in the area where the basin of the dam will be, the prices fixed for that land by the Department of Lands and the valuators, viz. the Land Board, are being coupled with the number of cusecs awarded to those farmers, and I find it simply impossible to explain to those farmers that it was merely an administrative mistake that the whole of the river was not declared, because they are convinced that this area in which they live was declared as a water-control area and that the cusecs were allotted later specifically with the object of being used to keep the prices of their land lower than the market price. Therefore I ask that a proper survey should be made in future before a river is declared.
I now come to the dam itself, and I want to congratulate the hon. the Minister and the Department on the manner in which they have tackled the work. One finds that they firstly catered for the people who have to work there. They established a town there—I do not want to call it a camp—with every possible facility. They even went so far as to provide all the necessary sports facilities and a swimming-pool so that the workers of the Department of Water Affairs could live there happily whilst working there. [Interjections.] I think their engineer is a very good mayor. He controls the whole area. But now I have a request to make in regard to that scheme. In the past the position always was that a dam was built and thereafter the canals were dug and then the plots were allotted below the canals. My request is that in future when dams are built we should immediately start digging the canals so that the first settlers can be placed below the dam long before the dam is even completed, because there is still that flow of water. That will obviate having a lot of unproductive capital, and that one first start allotting plots years after the dam is built. The result will be that within two years after beginning to build the dam one can already allot the first plots. But seeing that the same Minister also has charge of Agricultural Technical Services, I want to direct a second request to him, and that is that when we built dams in future the Minister should as soon as possible establish the necessary experimental farms and have the necessary technical research done so that when the plots are allotted the settlers know precisely with what type of farming they should start and how to do so productively. I do not want us to make the same mistake that the United Party made at Pongola, in first building the dam and only thereafter allotting the plots. [Time limit.]
I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to the requests I have already made to him during the week and which he promised to consider. In the meantime I want to make a plea before he takes his decision. It is in regard to the flood damage in the Gamtoos Valley after the recent floods. The people affected by the floods there have informed me that they applied to the Department of Soil Conservation, which also falls under the Minister, for assistance in regard to the barrages which were built to protect them against floods, but that the Department informed them that they should apply to the Department of Water Affairs. We accordingly adopted that course and trust that the Minister will assist them. The Department has already built the Beervlei Dam, which is far away in the Willowmore district, in order to control the flood damage in the Gamtoos Valley. During the recent floods it was proved that the Beervlei Dam has a tremendous influence on the flood, because the flood would have been much more serious if the Beervlei Dam had not been there. At one stage during the flood the Beervlei Dam held three times as much water as it should have. If that water suddenly had to flow down the river, one does not even want to imagine what the damage would have been in the Gamtoos Valley. But it has also been proved that the Beervlei Dam is not the complete solution for the flood damage, and where the farmers ask for assistance to build further barrages as protection against flood damage in the valley, I trust that the Minister will assist them. I do not think that the Minister will be able to give us a final reply to-night in regard to the Armmansvriend, an area which the Minister has already seen for himself. He passed through there and he knows how isolated those people are. I am referring to this little group of people, less than 100 Whites and non-Whites in the vicinity of Armmansvriend, who are still cut off from the outside world since the floods. The only supplies they could get were those delivered by aircraft, or else those brought in on the backs of pack animals.
Then I also want to support the hon. member for Cradock, who pleaded that there should be finality in regard to the expropriation of the land in the Fish River Valley. The Minister has already given a reply to that. I just want to say that there have not been negotiations to any extent.
Tell that to the Minister of Lands.
The hon. the Minister said this afternoon that he would join with us in pleading with the Minister of Lands for these people to be told sooner what they will receive for their land. Now I may inform him that as yet only valuations of the land have been made, but that nobody has yet been in contact with those people to negotiate with them or to make any offers to them. I trust that the Minister will join us in making representations in this regard, because some people did in fact derive benefit from the floodwater, but the position of those people who were actually in financial difficulty is deteriorating by the day and they would like to know what the future holds for them. I also want to add, after the earnest plea made by the hon. member for Cradock for the Fish River Valley, that the Sundays River Valley should not be excluded when any provision is made for more water for that area.
But your dams are full.
The Minister’s information is not quite correct there. The dams in the Sundays River Valley—i.e. the Vanrhyneveldspasdam and Lake Mentz—are in fact full, but the other dams in the Fish River are not full yet, and we hope that the Minister will make provision … [Interjections.] The hon. member over there refers to Swellendam. Perhaps the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West) can tell us something more about that.
That was the first unsuccessful republic.
I am not talking about Swellendam now.
The dam at Swellendam is a very nice dam.
It is easy for me to talk about Swellendam, but I would rather talk about Lake Mentz. There are also other dams in the constituency and I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to those. I have already made representations to him in regard to the Blyderivier Scheme. That is not the Blyderivier Scheme in the Transvaal which has already caused him so much trouble. This Blyderivier Scheme is in my constituency in the vicinity of Pearston, and it is a smaller scheme than the one in the Transvaal. Representations have been made to the Minister for assistance to be granted to raise the overflow because that will double the content of the dam. The Minister had surveys made but in the meantime nothing has been done in regard to the matter. After repeated representations we were informed that these smaller schemes must wait for the completion of the larger schemes where the services of the Minister’s technical staff are more urgently required. I want to ask the Minister to do something about it, because this is an area where rain very seldom falls, but when it does rain, a lot of rain falls, as we saw again in March, and those farmers are very anxious to conserve their water. I trust that when he has devoted his attention to the damage caused by the floods, something which will surely occupy the attention of his Department for a long time to come, and we do not blame them if they give priority to it, this scheme will not be forgotten about but that it will receive attention. [Time limit.]
Evidently because we are discussing the Water Affairs Vote the hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) saw fit to talk about Swellendam also.
It is a very nice dam.
The example of Swellendam reminds me of the repeated attempts which have been made by this side of the House during the past 13 years to try to convince the opposite side of the House that it is essential to take the waters of the Orange River to the Fish and Sundays River Valleys, and that it took a long time to convince them that this was a practical scheme, and therefore I think it will still be a long time before we are able to convince the people of South Africa that the time has arrived for us to have United Party dams again filling up … [Interjections.] I do not want to follow the hon. member for Somerset East because I have no quarrel with him, because the hon. member made out a very good case when he spoke about the flood damage in the Gamtoos Valley. We on this side of the House who represent certain constituencies in the Eastern Province agree with the hon. member that assistance should be given to the hon. member.
But before I come to the few matters I wish to discuss, I want to ask the Minister in the first place, seeing that he spoke this afternoon about the new subsidies which will be given to people who sink boreholes, whether it is in any way the intention of the Government later, in applying the Water Act of 1956, to put certain restrictions on the sinking of boreholes. The hon. member for De Aar hinted at something like that a little while ago in this House. Now it is necessary to give the farmers of South Africa, and particularly those in the Karoo, certain assurances. These people annually spend thousands of pounds sinking new bore-holes and erecting turbines and centrifugal pumps or perhaps windmills. The hon. member for De Aar created the impression that it might later be necessary to remove these things. But now it is necessary particularly for the stock farmers to know whether the Government envisages placing restrictions on the sinking of boreholes. We know, for example, that officials are going around asking the farmers to what extent the water table has dropped recently, and to what extent it rose again as the result of the good rains. I do not know whether that is perhaps a preliminary step to the issuing of a report in regard to our subterranean water and restrictions which may be put on its use, but it is essential that the Minister should give us a reply on this point.
In the second place, I want to associate myself with the hon. member for Cradock when he asked that we should now tell the farmers of the Fish River Valley how they stand with regard to the expropriation of their land. But I want to add something else. Some time ago when the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) moved a motion in this House and an amendment moved by the opposite side of the House was adopted, the Minister said something which led us to believe that it would not be long before those people would receive additional water. Now I want to ask the Minister this: If those people sell their land, and if later water is made available, will they have the first opportunity to buy back that land again? Because the value of that land has fallen appreciably as the result of the fact that there is not enough water.
But there is water at Swellendam.
Yes, and there are many leaves in the wind. But as soon as those people get sufficient water the value of the land will increase and one can expect many of those who owned land there before to want to buy land there again and I think it is necessary for us to take those people into our confidence and to tell them that if later permanent water is supplied there the State will give them the opportunity of buying land. The hon. member for Cradock said that there was great rejoicing right throughout the Eastern Province as the result of the statement made by the Minister that sooner or later we would make use of the surplus water in the Orange River and that preference would be given to the Fish and Sundays River Valleys. I want to tell the hon. member that the rejoicing would be much greater if the Government would do what the hon. the Minister said in this House some time ago he would do, namely, that he hoped to make a statement, and would make a statement now and tell those people when a start will be made with this scheme.
He has already said it
Yes, the Minister said many things in this debate, but no statement has been made by the Government as to when they will start. All that the Minister said is that he would start before the election in 1963, but in the meantime we find that not only in the Fish River Valley but also in the Sundays River Valley those people have gone through a very difficult period during the past few years, and the Sundays River Valley cannot be ignored. In that valley at least R29,000,000 has been invested by the State and by private initiative. There are many citrus trees and there are about 25,000 people, Whites and non-Whites, who have to make their living in the valley. What was the position in the past few years? The problems of those people are increasing every year because they have no permanent water. Recently the East Coast Agricultural Union sent a memorandum to the Minister of Agricultural Economics and Marketing, and what did they tell him?—
The Minister is acting according to the signs of the time to-day, and the hon. member who has just sat down is fully aware of that, because had he had to sing a tune this evening he would have had to sing “Die riviere is vol en die trane rol”, because the dams are full and the National stream cannot be kept back. The hon. member also know about the announcement that has already been made and which has evoked the jubilation to which he has referred.
However, I did not get up to talk about the hon. member, but I should like to say something to the hon. the Minister in connection with the engineers in the Department of Water Affairs. The pay-sheet of the Department of Water Affairs gives us cause for great concern to-day because the task which rests on the Department and which will probably rest on it in future, when all these big schemes which the Minister has announced are put into effect, will be very great indeed. It is true that the two most important items with which we are concerned, namely, the Loan Fund and the Revenue Fund, have considerably increased during the past year. In 1945-6 approximately £1,000,000 was allocated to the Loan Funds account and that gradually increased annually until it reached the figure of £5,343,000 in the year 1959-60. Taking this together with the Revenue Fund account we find that in the same period an amount of £414,000 was spent, which figure increased over 14 years to the sum of £2,664,000. During this period the pay-sheet in respect of the engineers of the Department remained constant at 120; 120 engineers performed the task which rested on the Department. When we go a little deeper into it we notice that there are probably very good reasons for this, because during the same period this was one of the Departments which, as far as its technical officials were concerned, paid those officials a salary which did not compare very favourably with the salaries paid in other Departments. An engineer is a person who must be highly qualified and he has to follow one of the most difficult and one of the longest courses at a university. It takes five years to train an engineer. Over and above that, only the most brilliant students are attracted to the Faculty of Engineering at the universities, because the demands are so high. When a person qualifies he can either go into private practice or he can join the Department. If he joins the Department his commencing salary is £700 x 50—1,320 as a grade 3 engineer. The hon. Minister also controls another Department, the Department of Technical Services, and in that Department the comparable post is that of a veterinary surgeon. As far as the training and the requirements in the case of veterinary surgeon are concerned, his position is probably comparable with that of the engineer, but in the case of the veterinary surgeon it has long since been realized that unless the Department does not wish to lose all its staff to private practice and be faced with the position where it cannot attract a sufficient number of people to occupy the key positions, it would have to offer salaries which would be in line with that offered in private practice and which were paid in other spheres in the case of camparable positions. That is why the veterinary surgeon who joins the Department of Technical Services to-day, starts on a high notch. He starts with £1,200. A veterinary surgeon receives £1,200 as against the £700 that the engineer receives in the Department of Water Affairs. When you look at the first seven years during which he earns a salary his total earnings—the figure representing his earnings over seven years—amount to £6,820 in the case of the Department of Water Affairs. Over the same period the veterinary surgeon in the Department of Technical Services earns £9,660—nearly £3,000 more. When we consider the fact that South Africa is to-day suffering from a shortage of technicians, particularly engineer, you are astounded that the Department still succeeds in attracting sufficient manpower to perform the important task which it has to fulfil in South Africa. You are astounded to think that in spite of this the Department of Water Affairs succeeds in attracting the greater number of engineers in South Africa which it does. The fact remains, however, Mr. Chairman, that in 1959 there was a shortage of 38 engineers. That figure sometimes rose by one or two and sometimes dropped by one or two. To-day the position still remains that there is a shortage of 36 engineers in the Department of Water Affairs. When you think of the task that awaits the Department I want to suggest to the Minister that as far as this Department is concerned, he should consider the matter and that in the case of the Department of Water Affairs he should do what he did in the case of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services. He should attract people by placing them on a salary scale which is comparable with that of a veterinary surgeon. If he were to do that he will probably find the same thing happening that happened in the case of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services where the Department succeeded in attracting the important manpower that it required. If he does not do that we are faced with the position that South Africa will probably have to rely on the private sector for that type of manpower. It will have to attract people either from the private sector within South Africa or from the private sector beyond the borders of South Africa and the moment that happens the Department can prepare itself to pay much higher salaries that it would have had to pay had it granted these increments to its own people. The position will, however, be more satisfactory if the Department could fulfil its important rôle with the assistance of people who were under its direct control. I am therefore, pleading this evening for the officials of the Department of Water Affairs. I hope the Minister will see his way clear, particularly to-day and in view of the great task that lies ahead, to place those men who occupy key positions on a more realistic scale. I do not think that a student who has spent four or five years at the university where he has taken a very complicated course, will feel attracted to the Department, particularly in view of the fact that private practice, where there is also a shortage, offers opportunities to young men to earn much more. I believe that unless we wish to reach the position where we cannot find the men to perform this task in the future, the Minister should see to the welfare of his own people. I want to ask him, therefore, to consider placing these officials on the same scale on which comparable officials in his other Departments are. [Time limit.]
Mr. Chairman, we have now reached the end of a very important debate on an extremely important subject which affects the welfare and the future of our people and our country, viz. water and everything relating to it. I will reply briefly to a few matters mentioned by hon. members. The hon. member for Drakensberg informed me that unfortunately she could not be here to-night. In her absence I want to assure her that where she made an urgent plea for the planning and proper investigation which might lead to the eventual use of the Tugela River as a source of water, as with all other planning, it is the duty of the Department of Water Affairs to plan ahead and not to wait until there is a crisis before we start investigations. We are already busy investigating the possible projects, dams and dam sites in the Tugela River, and we shall continue with that.
The hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel) made a very interesting and constructive contribution to the debate. He asked a few pertinent questions, inter alia, how many boreholes in the country have water, and how much water is taken out of the earth annually by means of those boreholes. I am sorry, but the hon. member will himself realize that this is not the sort of question one can just answer without more ado. The reply will require some study. I hope that this hon. member, as well as others who asked questions which cannot be answered here directly, will receive written replies in the near future, when we have obtained the information. He asked for country-wide planning. That is a very difficult task. I think the planning we do, even though it is limited to the Orange River or the Vaal River or perhaps the Umgeni or other rivers, must be regarded as forming part of a total plan, because planning is continually taking place. I do not think that for many years we will be able to draw up a total plan of the water resources of the country and their use, and then only begin to build dams and evolve schemes to fit in with it. We cannot do that because the economic factor is one of the most important factors. If it becomes essential in the board national interest of the country eventually to take water from another catchment area and to use it to supplement, e.g., the water supplied to the Rand by the Vaal River to-day, then one asks oneself why they did not think of that originally. One must be realistic. If a need exists and there is a river, making its water available to a certain area for a certain purpose it may cost R1 + if this source is used, but if one uses a distant source it may cost R3 +. In such a case it would be unwise, even though it would fit in with the broad plan, at this stage to spend the R3 + whilst the capital expenditure of R1 + is not being utilized properly. That, however, does not mean that if the development of South Africa is such that the water supplied to the Rand by the Vaal River has to be replaced by other sources and to use those sources more economically for other development, we can do that and eventually do it more economically than we would have been able to do if originally we had gone in for the more expensive schemes. In other words, just as a farmer develops his farm, so you develop it within your economic capacity and in the most effective way. I want to give the hon. member the assurance, however, that in respect of all types of research and all the information and scientific data acquired by us, the Department is not so narrow-minded as to rely on its own brains alone, but that we actually commit plagiarism and make use of all the research and all the scientific data to solve our problems.
The hon. member for Albany wants certain assurances from me in respect of the Orange River. He also wants to know why no provision is made in the Estimates for this scheme. I do not intend arousing the hon. member for Albany’s curiosity any further. He knows that I cannot do so and I will not do so. We do not intend building the dam this year and that is why there is no provision for it in the Estimates. We are, however, continuing with the investigations which are absolutely necessary. I can tell the hon. member that in making these investigations in regard to the use of the water of the Orange River we do not rely on our own officials only but there are quite a number of private undertakings which specifically work in certain directions and we make use of their services, and an amount to cover that has been put on the Estimates.
The hon. member for Wakkerstroom (Mr. Martins) asked that in future when we proclaim a controlled area, we should immediately proclaim the whole area. There is much to be said for regarding the area as a whole unit, but we do not proclaim areas as water-controlled areas just for fun. We only proclaim such areas where it is necessary to do so, because it entails a lot of trouble for the Department. The proclamation of water-controlled areas is not always approved of by the general public because in order to implement the Act in regard to such an area certain restrictions have to be applied which people would not have asked for unless it was absolutely essential to do so. That is also my reply to the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West) (Mr. Streicher) and others who asked to what extent we could control subterranean water. In certain areas which we proclaimed we can exercise control over the subterranean water. But one only proclaims an area when the subterranean water sources have become exhausted and a problem is developing. When the area has been proclaimed it means that very thorough geological surveys and studies have to be made before control measures can be applied. Thus far we have actually only proclaimed the Uitenhage artesian area and those dolomite areas in the Transvaal. If the position is such that problems arise and the subterranean water sources become exhausted, so that we have to try to preserve the status quo or even apply restrictive measures, we proclaim it and only then do we do so, because we simply have not the manpower to do all the work simultaneously on a Union-wide scale. Then we proclaim the area and use our powers under the 1956 Act. Then we can cope with the problem.
Those areas have not yet been proclaimed, have they? They have just been told in the meantime to maintain the position as it was before, as at Uitenhage.
No, they are proclaimed areas. In other words, nobody may sink a borehole in those areas without the consent of the Department. He must obtain a certificate from the Department allowing him to sink a borehole or to extract more water from the ground than he extracted when the area was proclaimed. We receive such requests every week and each one is dealt with on its merits.
I want to conclude by just referring to the damage caused by the floods. Immediately after the rain fell and we had the floods, the various departments which I have already mentioned—my Departments of Agricultural Technical Services as well as Water Affairs and Agricultural Economics and Marketing and Lands—investigated the flood damage caused throughout the country. As I said, the State must have a survey of the scope of the damage and the form of the damage before we can say what we will do to help these people. The principle has already been accepted that these people should be assisted, but the method of giving assistance, the procedure of how to set to work, cannot be determined before we know what the extent of the damage is. The Department of Water Affairs made investigations, and I receive their report to-night, that in respect of private farmers, irrigation boards and State schemes —I may just say that almost no damage was sustained by State schemes—the flood damage is estimated to be R1,500,000 or £750,000. As I say, all the damage will be estimated and the Cabinet has appointed a committee to go into these matters. My Department, in conjunction with the Department of Agricultural Technical Services and other Departments, is now drawing up suggestions to be submitted to the Cabinet Committee, which in turn, if the damage is so comprehensive as to justify it, will submit it to the full Cabinet. I may just say that in respect of the Gamtoos River damage, we are already rendering assistance to the irrigation boards there in the form of loans. We lend them money to repair certain damaged works. As soon as the Government has finally decided what assistance we can give, we can write off certain of those loans which fall within the ambit of the assistance provided by the Government. In other words, the repair of damaged works will not necessarily be delayed because the State has not yet determined what form of assistance and how much of it will be provided to the various areas and farmers or irrigation boards which have been affected.
I want to express my thanks to everybody who has participated in this debate and particularly to the last speaker, the hon. member for Soutpansberg (Mr. S. P. Botha). The hon. member specially mentioned the officials of the Department of Water Affairs. He mentioned their salaries. I want to assure him that I have made it my business since becoming Minister of Water Affairs to contact the Public Service Commission in order to see whether we could not bring the salaries of the officials of the Department of Water Affairs into line with those of the other Government Departments. There are, of course, inspections which have to be carried out. I can assure the hon. member that the salaries of the first few higher posts were adapted about two months ago, and there is great satisfaction and pleasure in my Department in this regard. I want to say, however, that I wonder whether the country as a whole, and this House in particular, knows how much the engineers, the technical officials and also the administrative officials of the Department of Water Affairs really do for the country. I want to express my thanks to the Secretary for Water Affairs and the Assistant Secretary and all the officials of the Department for all the hearty co-operation I have had from them and for the spirit of dedication they have in carrying out their duties. I can give hon. members the assurance that whenever they have thanked me from both sides of the House, I have not taken that as having been intended for me personally for the work I have done, because I can do nothing with an unwilling Department; I took it all as being thanks through me to the officials of the Department of Water Affairs.
Vote put and agreed to.
Precedence given to Vote No. 40. (Commerce and Industries.)
On Vote No. 40.—“Commerce and Industry”, R9,069,000,
May I claim the privilege of the half-hour, Sir? I do not think I can start my speech better than by quoting what the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs said recently. He said this—
I could not agree more with the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs with his conclusion. He could have added that in addition to all these advantages from the point of view of economic wealth, we have a very high domestic savings rate. In 1959 it was no less than R1,143,000 and our savings generally in recent years have averaged between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of our national income which by all standards is fairly good. As everyone realizes you must have savings for investment because without investment you cannot have economic progress. In one respect South Africa has a record of no discrimination at all and that is against foreign investors. We are one of the few developing countries in the world that places no impediments whatsoever in the way of overseas capital. We place no restrictions on foreign shareholders which is so commonly found in other developing countries in Africa and Asia. We also have a population which is increasing rapidly at the rate of 2 per cent. I think the Minister will agree that this is a factor if used correctly which makes for very rapid economic growth. If you have a constantly expanding population it means that your market is constantly expanding and that acts as a stimulant for rapid economic growth. Furthermore we are unique in one respect that we have a gold-mining industry which has developed very rapidly during the last 13 years, the output having increased from about R200,000,000 to over R600,000,000 and there are signs that this will still continue. In addition to all these advantages we have what I would call an entrepreneurial class which few other countries with the relative and rich undeveloped resources that we have, have in the world. I think I can claim with some justice that these people, the administrators, technologists and other experts, probably very largely support the United Party. In other words, they are very good people. Therefore with all these natural resources, with all these human resources and the economic framework that we already have in South Africa this country really has a potential for very rapid economic expansion compared with almost any other country in the world. We should be able to lift the standard of living of all our peoples very rapidly. I think very few hon. members in this House will underestimate the necessity of increasing the standard of living in view of the difficult racial complex which we have in South Africa, if we wish to solve our problems. What has happened in recent years? What has happened in spite of all these advantages for rapid growth? If you refer to the Stellenbosch University’s Bureau of Economic Research’s publication called Survey of 1961 I find that they make certain calculations in respect of the real per capita income in recent years. They find that at 1948 prices levels we reached the record figure in our history of £86.6 per capita in 1956-7; then in the next year 1957-8 that dropped to £83.5 per capita, in 1958-9 it dropped to £82. In 1959-60 they estimated that this had increased by about 3.1 per cent which did not quite put it back to the 1956-7 level. The forecast which the more recent developments seem to substantiate is that the year 1960-1 will show no improvement over 1959-60. In other words, over a period of five years we did not succeed in lifting the real income per capita in this country at all. This in itself would have been bad enough but everyone is more or less agreed in South Africa to-day that if we want higher standards of living in future and a much bigger national income we must expect very rapid industrial development which will provide the jobs for our rapidly increasing population to which I have already referred. If we look at the employment figures in private manufacturing industries, which is the most important sector of our economy that could provide employment and lift the standard of living rapidly, we find that the Reserve Bank Bulletin gives the employment figures. We find that between 1953 and 1957 there was a fairly rapid development and if the index in 1953 was 100 the number of people employed in private manufacturing industries in 1957 was 120. But what has the development been since? In 1958 it was 121; in 1959 it dropped to 119; in 1960 it rose to 120 again. In other words, in 1960 it was no higher than in 1957. We have a rapidly growing population which must in future depend very largely on industrial employment. I think therefore that it is quite clear that we are not creating jobs fast enough for our rapidly growing population. In case hon. members think that I am merely saying this because I am a United Party politician I would like to refer to an article by Dr. M. D. Marais in Dagbreek of 19 March 1961 where he says—
I think any fair judge of the economic scene in South Africa will agree that we are not creating sufficient jobs for our rapidly expanding population. I would like to ask the Minister if this stagnation in industrial development and this stagnation in the real income per capita persists, how is the Government going to carry out its Bantu development plans. In a statement last year, the Prime Minister made it quite clear that this concept of development in the border areas would only be possible if South Africa had rapid industrial growth. Secondly, how are they going to improve the wages of the lower income groups, which I am sure should be the objective of any good Government? I think it is generally accepted that those wages must be increased at least 50 per cent in real terms if you wish them to conform to minimum Western standards. In a short period of time, say a period of ten years, that would only be possible if you increase the real income of our whole population very rapidly, and if you wished to wipe out poverty which is still such a blot on our civilization here in South Africa. There are many reasons for this slowing down of our industrial development and the stagnation which has taken place in recent years. I would detain the House far beyond the time allotted to me if I were to go into all of them. I would therefore just like to deal with one of the most important reasons. I think there is very little doubt that this slowdown in our economic industrial development has been largely the result of the slowing down of capital inflows from overseas in recent years. If we look at the figures of capital inflow into South Africa over the last 13 years, we find that between 1948 and 1954 the inflow was of a fairly high order, it was not below £100,000,000 in any one year. We have the first alarming drop in 1955 when it dropped to £22,000,000. Then it dropped to £17,000,000 in 1956 and in 1957 there was actually an outflow of £61,000,000. In 1958 there was again an inflow of £83,000,000 but more than offset by an outflow in subsequent years, in 1959 of £48,000,000 and in 1960 of R193,000,000. This means that over this period since 1955 this country has on balance lost R180,000,000 in private capital. It is significant that it was during this period that we had the condition of stagnation in our economy. I know that when you refer to the very rapid inflow of money which took place during the last few years of the United Party régime, hon. members call that hot money. The difference then was that the hot money flowed to South Africa because hot money flows to the country in which people have confidence. Where is that hot money to-day? It is flowing out of the country. There has been a fantastic outflow of hot money during the last year very largely due to the fact that people have lost confidence in this country. I shall come back to that point at a later stage. The effect of this outflow of capital can also be seen in the position of net private capital formation. On referring to the Reserve Bank Bulletin I find that it reached a fairly high figure in 1955 of R438,000,000. There has been a downward trend since then and in 1959—the last figure available—it was only R226,000,000. This for a country of the investment potential and the economic framework which I have already stressed, is really catastrophic. Our investments, in the private sector of our economy should rise rapidly and should not show a drop of this order. No wonder that we see this drop in investments in recent years, because there is little doubt that in the past a very large percentage of our risk share capital in both industries and mining has come from overseas. I can refer to no better authority than Mr. Oppenheimer, who I think hon. members on the other side, will agree, even if they don’t accept his political views, knows what he is talking about when he talks about financial matters. In addressing the annual meeting of the Union’s Acceptances Corporation, he said—
I think what Mr. Oppenheimer has said there has been borne out by the statistics that I have quoted as to what has in fact happened in regard to the economic growth of South Africa during the past four or five years when we have seen this great reversal of the flow of capital. Because it is not only the capital that comes in. That capital from Western countries brings in with it technical knowledge and know-how and ability. Even if we had the capital here without the association of those other essential elements, even if our savings were very high—and it is rather remarkable that in recent years our savings actually exceeded our investments—even if our savings were fairly high, if people have not got the know-all to start industries, etc., it is not the same. So the capital that flows in, in association with South African capital, expedities the development of this country.
This slowing down of the inflow of capital, I think the Minister will agree, is not due to normal economic reasons—and there is not only a slowing down of the inflow of capital, but a loss of capital, and it is not due to normal reasons. And the slowing down of our economic growth is not due to economic reasons. Because if we look at that wonderful regulator of our economy, the gold-mining industry, we find that the production of gold has increased very rapidly over this very period and it should have exerted a powerful stimulus on economic growth in this country. And the same goes for our trade. Our export trade performance has been very good in recent years. One can therefore only conclude that the poor show that our economy has had in recent years is entirely due to the loss of confidence by investors both overseas and locally. Why have the overseas investors lost confidence in South Africa? I would like to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that it is entirely due to the racial policies of this Government. I do not want to bore the House again with the statements of conservative statesmen which have been quoted before, but these are statesmen who weigh their words and know something about what is happening in the world and in South Africa in particular, people like the Prime Minister of England, Mr. Macmillan, and the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Menzies, and when they make public statements and say that we are heading for disaster, it must have an impact on even the most conservative investor overseas. But I would also like to quote what the Financial Times had to say when we left the Commonwealth. I think the hon. the Minister will agree that the Financial Times of London must be one of the most conservative papers in the Western world, and this is what the Financial Times had to say under the heading “A lost member”—
It is reading the opinion of conservative people like this overseas, that shakes the foreign investor, and I think the hon. the Minister will also agree with me that organized commerce and organized industry has again and again made representations to the Government. These people don’t want to ruin themselves and their businesses. The suggestion has been frequently made by the other side that they are selfish and just want to make profits; but surely they are very intelligent people and look further ahead. They don’t want to destroy their businesses and their future and the future of their children here by simply condemning the policies of the Government because they cannot make enough profit in a short term. It is because they basically think these policies are wrong. And the amazing thing is that in the whole world only hon. members on the other side seem to think that those policies are right. But a lot of conservative opinion in this country and conservative opinion overseas, on whom we must rely if we are to survive in the future, must count for something. We cannot cut ourselves off entirely from conservative Western opinion overseas, and their opinion is that the policies we follow at the moment can only end in disaster.
Mr. Chairman, this loss of confidence is of course severely aggravated by the withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth, because this break with the Commonwealth is not only a break with the Afro-Asian world as hon. members on the other side like to present to the voters in South Africa, with, I admit, some degree of success, but it is in fact also a break with the Western world, with the Western dominions in the Commonwealth, and the rest of the Western world regards that as a further retirement by South Africa from the Western world and the Western way of life. We have already seen the immediate results of that, the immediate political results which have economic consequences in the long run. We have already seen at the United Nations how our policies had been condemned, not only by the Afro-Asian bloc but by the whole Western world, with the exception of Portugal on one occasion. We have seen how motions have gone very far in asking for collective sanctions against South Africa and how they have been defeated by narrow margins, almost obtaining the required two-thirds majority against South Africa. Those are some of the political consequences of withdrawing from the Commonwealth. But there are also economic uncertainties that have been created by South Africa withdrawing from the Commonwealth. It is true, as the Minister has pointed out, and as has been accepted overseas, that for the immediate future our existing trade ties and preferences will be safeguarded. But it is equally true, as everyone recognizes, that the same pressures that resulted in South Africa withdrawing from the Commonwealth, will now operate to destroy our special advantages, our special preferences. That has been written again and again in responsible papers in England that the pressure will now be on from our Commonwealth competitors to destroy the preferences, the preferences which were built up in the past due to our political association in the Commonwealth. In future they may disappear because of our disassociation from the Commonwealth, and it is not only the preferences that cause a lot of uncertainty, but take a very important industry like the sugar industry; I think the hon. the Minister will agree that the prosperity of the sugar industry to a very large extent depends on the sugar agreement with the United Kingdom Government. Now there is a lot of doubt as to what will happen to that agreement. It has been suggested that it will continue at least to 1968, but I would like to quote from the Financial Mail of 30 March 1961 where they write—
Further down in the text of the agreement preferential markets are described as: “Markets in the United Kingdom and Canada available for the entry of Commonwealth sugar on a preferential tariff basis.”
The Financial Mail then ends this paragraph by saying “It is over to the lawyers now”, to decide whether the fact that we have left the Commonwealth will affect this agreement or not, and I think if one reads the preamble and the rest of the text, it can well be argued by South Africa’s competitors who want to get our share in the market in the United Kingdom that this agreement must terminate when our membership terminates. That is an indication of the uncertainty of South Africa’s future. Further evidence of the loss of confidence in South Africa since she has left the Commonwealth was reflected this afternoon in the statement made by the hon. the Minister of Finance. This step that was announced here this afternoon is not taken because we have an economic problem, the problem of an unfavourable trade balance. Our trade balance as far as I am aware is very favourable. We have this rapid development of our gold-mining industry. No, it is basically a political problem which causes the outflow of capital. These measures announced by the Minister of Finance, although they were put in rather honeyed words, the brutal effect of these measures is simply that in future industry, and agriculture for that matter, will probably pay more for money, which must have a restrictive effect on development. We are already in a state where our development is not rapid enough, and now we see a pattern of further restrictions developing. I am not saying that the step that was announced here was wrong. In the political circumstances of the day it was inevitable. It also means, Mr. Chairman, in toto a contraction of credit, which again must to some extent restrict the growth that is so essential at this stage of our economic development. So I think I have given enough examples of the deleterious economic consequences of South Africa leaving the Commonwealth which are already with us and we do not know what lies ahead in future. The tragedy is that the performance of South Africa falls so far short of the great economic promises of South Africa for the simple reason that we have got a policy which is impracticable of being carried out. If only it were practicable of being carried out, these sacrifices might be worth while. Of course it would be much easier for our political problems if one could separate all the races. But what is the point in persisting with a policy which experience surely has shown over the last 13 years is impossible of being carried out? It has already had the effect of restricting economic growth and it will do so more in future, and Mr. Chairman, I am sure everyone in this House will agree with me that the difficult racial problems that we have in this country would be easier to solve if one could carry out that solution in the face of rapid economic development and rising standards of living, because with stagnation your racial tensions must necessarily increase, and standards of living must fall. And all alternative policies are made so impossible if you bring the economy to a standstill. I would like to give an example, Sir. Take your policy of developing the reserves rapidly so as to see that in future a larger percentage of the Native population accrues to the reserve areas. How is that possible if you don’t have economic growth? Take large-scale immigration. We have been urging immigration on the other side for 13 years and I am very pleased that they have come round to our policy after 13 years, but even that policy of immigration will be very difficult to carry out unless we have rapid economic growth. It also shows that concept of doing a bit of economic engineering and a bit of social engineering so that ultimately in the future you have areas that are predominantly White and predominantly Black, become impossible unless you have a rapid economic growth. I would therefore suggest to the hon. the Minister that the only advice I can really give him to start the rapid economic growth which I am sure we are all agreed on both sides of the House, is to abandon these totally unrealistic policies which I will be the first to admit win some by-elections, but are slowly but surely destroying the very basis of our economic and civilized life in this country.
The hon. member for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje) in the first part of his speech stressed the fact that South Africa’s economy was basically sound, and he also said that we were able to save large capital amounts and to use it for the expansion of our industries and the economy of our country. But then he continued to say that he was convinced that there are certain factors which affect us adversely, and one of the factors which adversely affects the expansion of South Africa is the lack of overseas capital. I want to say immediately that I think the hon. member for Jeppes over-emphasizes the value of the inflow of capital. The hon. member said that not much progress was made because there was not a big inflow of capital. The hon. member will admit that there was a big inflow of capital in Australia and in Canada. Well, let us look at those two countries. There was a big inflow of capital in Australia, but two years ago there was a decrease in the national production in Australia of more than 1y per cent in spite of that inflow of capital.
Wool prices dropped.
Did wool prices not drop in South Africa?
Proportionately wool plays a greater rôle in the economy of Australia than it does here.
But what about Canada? Do they produce wool on a large scale? In Canada there was a big inflow of capital, and at this stage the economy of Canada is back to where it was in 1956. five years ago in spite of that inflow of capital. No, the inflow of capital as such does not prove that the economy of a country is expanding. In spite of the fact that we admit that we did not have the inflow of capital we had before, the economy of South Africa has expanded faster than that of Australia and Canada. Therefore the hon. member’s first proposition has not been proved.
Then the hon. member further overemphasized the value of the inflow of capital. It is interesting to note that Canada, which had all this capital inflow, introduced an additional budget in December last year, in which they took steps to control the inflow of capital, and the latest report of the Bank of Canada clearly says that this recession they have in Canada, where the unemployment is approximately 12 per cent, and where there is an unprecedented recession in the economy, should be ascribed to the great capital inflow because Canadian capital played too small a rôle in the development of Canada.
Are you against the inflow of capital?
No, and I want to say very clearly, and that was also the attitude adopted this afternoon by the Minister of Finance, that we are not against the inflow of capital because we recognize that together with that inflow of capital also comes the necessary knowledge and the technical knowledge, and therefore we welcome it, and the steps which the Minister took here in particularly not putting any obstacles in the way of foreign capital, prove that we are not opposed to foreign capital and to the participation of foreign capital in our economy. But the proposition I am trying to state here is that too much foreign capital is one of the causes of the economic trouble in which Canada finds herself at present. Therefore to say that this is something which affects us so adversely is not correct in my opinion. The fact that South Africa participates in its own expansion to a larger extent, and gets a bigger share in the control of our industries, is something that should be welcomed, but at the same time foreign capital is encouraged to come here and its participation in our development will always be welcomed, as it was proved here this afternoon by the statement which was made.
But now it is said that it is our racial problem which is the cause of South Africa not attracting capital. I want to ask whether Australia has a racial problem. In the last Budget speech in July or August last year the Australian Minister of Finance said that Australia could not look for loans overseas because he could get no loans there. They cannot get loans there, but they have no racial problems there. Even a loan floated in the London market last year by Australia failed, and the underwriters were left with 80 per cent of the capital they required. Not even Australia could get money abroad when an official loan was floated.
Now the hon. member for Jeppes says: Accept the policy of the United Party and we will get capital. Sir, they want race equality here, they want to move in that direction, they want to follow a policy which amounts to greater participation and eventual domination by the non-Whites in South Africa. Will that create confidence abroad? There is the Federation with its policy of partnership. Did that create greater confidence? No, it did not. Capital is flowing out of the Federation, and in the Congo the Whites had to get out. Did that create greater confidence? No, Sir, the alternative offered by the hon. member for Jeppes and his party is certainly not a policy which will give the overseas investor greater confidence in South Africa. I am convinced that it is not something which would benefit us in any way. But the hon. member for Jeppes also referred to the statement which was made this afternoon, to this control being applied to the outflow of capital and to protect our foreign reserves, and he said that this policy proved that there was a lack of confidence in South Africa. But, Sir, the steps taken here to-day are not extraordinary. An increase in interest rates was announced, but Britain raised its rates of interest twice last year. Is the mere fact that the rates of interest were increased proof of a lack of confidence in Britain.
To combat inflation.
No, not to combat inflation. I will tell you why it was done. It was mainly done because Britain last year had an unfavourable trade balance of £350,000,000 and Britain wanted to counteract that. Britain had an unfavourable trade balance and steps were taken to remedy it. Britain took the same steps in 1956-7 when there was talk of further devaluation there. But Britain recovered. We are taking these steps in South Africa which, considering our position and the outflow of capital, which we cannot deny, aim at improving the position in that regard. But the outflow of capital is surely not the only yardstick by which our economy can be measured, If we look at the last quarter we see that we have a very favourable trade balance. If we compare our imports we see that whereas in the first quarter of last year our imports amounted to R275,000,000, our imports for the first quarter of 1961 amounted to R286,000,000. In spite of the restrictions the Minister of Economic Affairs has already placed on our imports, the imports were more than last year. And if we look at our exports we find that last year they amounted to R224,000,000 and that it increased in the first quarter of this year to R233,000,000. This increase in exports shows that there was development and progress in regard to our exports, in spite of all the opposition and boycotts and threatened boycotts. If we look at our net gold production, we find that it increased from R128,000,000 to R138,000,000. Whereas during the first quarter of last year, without these limitations, there was a favourable balance of R28,000,000 on the current account, it increased this year to R35,000,000. There you have our trade position and it is better than it was last year. That shows that in spite of the factors mentioned by the hon. members there was progress, that there is strength, and that the factors he mentioned as affecting our economy adversely as such are not necessarily an indication that there was a decrease, deterioration or lack of confidence in South Africa. [Time limit.]
The hon. member for Bellville (Mr. Haak) wants to have it both ways. If we are having an outflow of capital, it is a good thing, we have an inflow of capital it is also a good thing. He is in a very difficult position, Mr. Chairman, because this afternoon we have had possibly one of the most serious statements the country has seen for many months, and certainly the first instalment of the Government’s new policy of going out of the Commonwealth. I want to draw the hon. Minister’s attention particularly to the last portion of the statement made by the hon. Minister of Finance. He says—
I am surprised that the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs has not come in at the beginning of the discussion of his Vote to make his statement. The Minister owes a duty to the country to make that statement as soon as possible so as to avoid people beating the gun. Only in this morning’s Press, in one of the Government papers, there was a suggestion of many of the measures referred to in the statement of the Minister this afternoon, and if the Press was well informed, or if alternatively it was a bit of shrewd guessing, there was the opportunity for those so minded to take advantage of the position of the Stock Exchange. Similarly if there is a delay, an unnecessary delay, in the Minister making his statement, there is an opportunity for those who wish to enrich themselves to beat the gun.
Mr. Chairman, there is no indication in the Minister of Finance’s statement as to what the proposals are and in view of the serious nature of the proposals made by the hon. the Minister of Finance and the promise that the Minister of Economic Affairs is also going to make a statement, I suggest that it is absolutely essential that he makes that statement at the earliest possible opportunity, and not even delay it until to-morrow. You see, Mr. Chairman, we do not know what those measures are. There may be further import control. Does the Minister propose to tighten up import control, and in what way does he propose to do it? Does the Minister propose to tighten up hire-purchase agreements? You see, there is an indication in the Minister of Finance’s statement that the lending of money is going to be discouraged by the increase of the bank rate. Now the Minister of Economic Affairs can also restrict credit by limiting the period of hire-purchase agreements and also limiting the deposits in respect of hire-purchase agreements. These are ways in which credit can be restricted. But the whole of the commercial world want to know what the Minister’s policy is going to be and what aids he is going to give to the Minister of Finance. It will be unfortunate if the Minister does not come into the debate at a very early stage and tell us what he proposes to do.
The hon. member for Bellville tried to suggest that all is well in the country, but he took the two worst examples, namely Canada and Australia, who are having difficult times. He used them to bolster up his arguments, but where his arguments fall down is in this respect that neither Canada nor Australia are experiencing an outflow of capital, and our difficulty here is that we are having an outflow of capital at a time when the country is crying out for further development. The hon. Minister has sent economic missions overseas in order to get further markets for this country. We would like to know from the Minister: Are those missions going to be allowed to give any quid pro quo? Are they only going to sell South African goods, or will those countries to which those missions are going be told that goods can be exported to South Africa? I am taking this point, because only recently the Minister was giving a lecture to the motor-car industry and telling the motorcar industry that more cars must be manufactured in this country, and since the beginning of this year, I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether he has given any additional permits to new importers for new types of cars to be imported into South Africa? My information is that the Department has granted import permits to certain motor firms to import certain new cars from Japan and from other countries. And how can people take the Minister seriously, and how can the motor industry take the Minister seriously when existing assemblers and existing importers find their quotas cut and yet new firms are given permits to import new motor-cars into the country? Either the position is a drastic one which requires drastic remedies, or alternatively, there is a certain quid pro quo given for certain other advantages which so far have not been named. It is possible that permits may be offered, shall we say, to a country like Japan to import certain cars on condition that Japan takes a certain amount of chrome or manganese or iron from this country. There may be such a quid pro quo; but until such time as we are informed of what the consideration is, it is only a matter of supposition. But in the meantime commerce and industry are concerned when they find that new quotas are being given to new firms at a time when old firms find that their permits are curtailed and their licences are restricted.
We would also like to know what he is going to do with regard to developing the South African market. He has told us and his Department has told us, that they are embarking on a “Buy South African” campaign. Is the Government going to follow that example? Can the Minister tell us whether the Department of Transport has called for tenders for the supply of new motor-cars and whether it is a condition of those tenders that the tyres for the motor-cars should be imported? We would like the Minister to tell us whether there is such a tender out at the moment and how he views such a tender. We would also like to know whether the Provincial Administrations have been encouraged to buy South African only, and also municipalities. [Time limit.]
I shall not deal now with the questions raised by the hon. members for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje) and Pinetown (Mr. Hopewell). I shall deal with them to-morrow, together with other matters which will presumably still be raised. On this occasion I just want to make a few announcements to supplement the statement made by the hon. the Minister of Finance in the House to-day. I do not want to go into great detail, but I would like to mention the cardinal points which are considered by my Department to be basic. It relates particularly to the more rigid application of import control. As hon. members know, import control was originally applied in South Africa when our country, relatively speaking, was faced with a much more serious loss of currency than is the case now. Our reserves reached the high level of almost R496,600,000 in the year 1947 and then fell in one year to R161,300,000, until steps were taken in 1948 to safeguard the position.
Import control has always been and is still regarded by the Government as a temporary expedient to keep our foreign currency on a sound level. Although import control was not instituted for that purpose we know that it contributed appreciably towards promoting industrial development in the country. I also know that import control assisted the development of quite a large number of unstable industries. I have not the least hesitation in saying that import control resulted in our industries deriving great benefits. That is the basic point in regard to import control, that the funds at our disposal should be used to the best advantage to cover our particular imports as a young and developing country, and that as a young and developing country we cannot separate our capital requirements for development from current requirements, but that we should see the two as an indivisible whole; that we should use the funds at our disposal for the essential goods we cannot produce ourselves; that we will be tardy in spending money on the imports of goods which we can produce ourselves. This principle, that the country which has to apply import control can itself decide what its currency should be used for, is one which is recognized in international circles. That is also the policy which has been applied all these years and which, taking into consideration the requirements of our population, was sometimes tightened and sometimes relaxed according to the extent that the position of our foreign currency demanded it or allowed of it. That is also the policy which I intend applying further.
In applying this policy an administrative procedure has been evolved during the course of the years by means of which this policy can be implemented in the most effective manner. All our imports have been classified into definite groups and in regard to each group the policy is determined from time to time to meet with the requirements. I will not deal with all these groups but will mention only those to which I want to devote special attention, over and above those which have already been included in my statements recently.
Firstly, there is the policy in respect of the importation of raw material and capital goods which are required by our industries to continue their activities. It is essential that there should be no shortages in this group. But it is also a comprehensive group of goods which to an appreciable extent can be obtained from local sources. Applications for permits for the importation of these goods will therefore from now onwards be examined very carefully with a view to supplies being detained from local sources.
I also expect that this will give an appreciable stimulus to our own manufacturers and producers to supply these goods to a larger extent. But as I said, care will be taken to see that shortages will not develop in this regard. In so far as consumer goods are concerned, we have a very flexible system. In the first place there is a wide category of consumer goods which may be imported without permit. That is the so-called free list. It includes things like coffee, tea, textile goods, certain periodicals, petroleum products, haberdashery, sewing cotton, educational requirements, domestic sewing machines, etc. With the exception of textile piece goods and periodicals and publications, which may at present be imported freely, I do not envisage any change in the free list. I have given instructions that the currency spent on periodicals and publications should be investigated again to see whether we cannot make other arrangements whereby the currency we devote to these items cannot be used to greater benefit to ourselves. I shall satisfy myself that no shortages or inconvenience to the public will result from this.
In regard to textile piece goods, I think that our local textile manufacturers are now in a position to supply more of our requirements, and I intend taking this item from the free list and placing it in the same group as other raw materials which are controlled.
For any consignment which is despatched as from to-morrow an import permit will be required on clearing; but for shipments covered by a bill of lading bearing an earlier date no import permit will be demanded on clearance.
I think it is also necessary to have another look at consumer goods which at present are being imported on permit. These imports include goods which to a lesser or greater extent are luxuries, and also goods which to an appreciable extent are manufactured locally. I intend to make a selected list of this type of goods subject to further restrictions. That will necessitate importers who want to import these items exchanging the permits they now hold for special permits at the rate of R3 for R1. This list will be published in the Government Gazette next week.
As in the case of textile goods, goods covered by a bill of lading dated before tomorrow will be cleared on the old permits, but any goods covered by the list and in regard to which the bills of lading are dated as from to-morrow will be able to be cleared only against a permit in which the goods are specified. Importers who want to make use of these facilities must apply to the Director of Imports.
Another item on which we spent much foreign currency is motor vehicles. In the past we placed no restrictions on commercial vehicles, nor do I intend doing so now. In regard to passenger vehicles, we sometimes took fairly strict action in the past and at other times we abolished the restrictions completely. So in the years 1957-60 we applied a policy which meant that anybody could acquire practically any motor-car he desired. This position continued until the end of last year, when I announced that we would restrict this liberty. The restrictions still left a large measure of freedom. It amounted to the fact that 46,000 units of various types could still be delivered to the public during the first six months of this year. It now appears that even this number was too much for the market. Sales during the first three months of the year amounted to 21,353 units. That means that part of what was available for the first half of the year will now be able to be carried over to the second half. Possibly we can economize still further on passenger vehicles during the second half of the year. This matter is at present being carefully investigated by me, particularly with a view to employment in the assembly plants and the motor industry, and decisions arrived at in this regard will be made known to the motor trade in the near future.
I want to assure the public that this will not cause them any serious problems. In addition to the new units which will be available, there are still appreciable supplies of good used cars available. I am also satisfied that the public will not be exploited by the motor trade. But it is just as well to warn the motor trade that if there are signs of their showing any tendency to do so, I will not hesitate to apply price control.
Now everybody knows that the Government and the industrialists, as well as the public, are concerned that an industry which has been established for as long as the motor industry and which has done such good business here, obtains such a small percentage of the content of the cars assembled here from local sources. This matter was investigated a year or so ago by the Board of Trade and Industries, whose report has been tabled. Unfortunately the Government has not been able to take any steps one way or another to give any encouragement by means of tariffs for a greater local content. The main reason for this is that our negotiations with the interested parties in G.A.T.T. could make no progress. The Government is, however, firmly determined that a larger local content should be given to passenger vehicles, which we see in their thousands on our roads every year. I must therefore adopt other methods in the meantime to give an impetus to this matter, and I have decided not to make currency available for those spare parts which can be satisfactorily manufactured here. Already there are about 11 such spare parts; the list will be supplemented as local manufactures increase in volume and variety. In order to select and to determine these spare parts, I appointed a committee under the chairmanship of the Director of the Bureau of Standards, which organization is admirably equipped to control standards and qualities. All the interested parties are represented on this committee. These arrangements will also be applied to commercial vehicles.
At the same time I must praise the assemblers for the extent to which they support local manufacturers. I think, however, that they need encouragement, and I want to give them that by way of granting them currency for imports to the extent that they make use of locally manufactured spare parts. In other words, in the granting of currency to the motor industry, the extent to which that industry makes use of local spare parts will be taken into consideration. The scheme has not yet been worked out in detail, but the idea has already elicited favourable reaction from the assemblers.
A final word in this regard is an appeal to the assemblers and the local manufacturers to concentrate on the local manufacture of spare parts. In addition, I want to give them the assurance that they can depend on the full support of the Government.
An appreciable amount of currency is also spend abroad every year by Government Departments. Whilst this expenditure is reasonably carefully watched, I am nevertheless satisfied that with even closer supervision savings can be effected on purchases made abroad. It is therefore my intention again to appoint a committee similar to the one which scrutinized these purchases up to 1953. This Committee will scrutinize all Government purchases abroad.
I am satisfied that these measures will not only be greatly to the benefit of our foreign currency position, but that they will also offer a golden opportunity to our local manufacturers to increase their share of the South African market. I believe that these measures, the economies we will effect by means of these import control measures, and the extra revenue we will be able to get during the course of the year over and above last year, in the form of greater exports and greater gold production, together with the measures announced by the Minister of Finance to-day—I believe that all these measures together will more than compensate for any further outflow of foreign currency.
I am just making a statement on this point to-night, and I shall reply further to-morrow to the questions put to me.
We on this side of the House are very glad that the hon. Minister has responded immediately to the suggestion made by the hon. member for Pinetown (Mr. Hopewell), namely that he should not delay making a statement. The Minister has now made a comprehensive statement with regard to the Government’s revised import control arrangements and it is very difficult for me at the moment to extract the operative portions of that statement from the departmental reasons and justification for making the changes. The hon. Minister will, therefore, appreciate if I do not react to his statement at this stage, because it needs analysing and study first.
I want instead to follow up a point which was raised by the hon. member for Pinetown, namely that the Minister should give us a sort of progress report about the three high-level trade missions that have been sent abroad by the Government, viz. to the United States of America, to Europe and to the Far East. I think the hon. Minister should indicate quite clearly how far each of these missions has progressed with its prescribed itinerary and for how much longer each one is expected to be away on its errand. I think he should also explain to this House what powers these missions have to make trade contacts, in other words, whether they are empowered to make contacts only with governmental agencies or also with trade associations and business houses. If they are empowered to do the latter, he should state whether they are equipped for it. I have already indicated on a previous occasion, that what we want is trade and not talk, and that is why I ask the Minister for this information. He should also take the House into his confidence and tell us what the cost to the taxpayer is going to be of these three high-level missions. The taxpayer is entitled, in addition to having a sort of progress report, to have some sort of profit and loss account and an indication of what is likely to materialize from these talks in so far as the fiscal side is concerned.
I ask for this information because, according to current trade reports, the Union is losing its export trade on the African Continent. We all know that hitherto the African Continent has always been regarded as the Union’s natural market. Now the annual loss of export trade to the African Continent is estimated to be somewhere between R20,000,000 and R30,000,000. In confirming these figures, the Financial Mail of 28 April 1961, commented as follows—
South Africa is still the workshop of Africa: but in Africa it has fewer and fewer customers, with the early prospect of only four—the Federation, riot-torn Angola, embattled Katanga and Mozambique. In the Union’s “natural markets” there is now no joy through export.
Can this possible R20,000,000 to R30,000,000 loss be made up elsewhere? From the efforts of the trade missions in the Americas, Europe and the Far East? From a Common Market already (and with great reluctance) committed to admitting some produce from the former French territories and on the brink of accepting the U.K. plus the Commonwealth? It seems doubtful, certainly as far as the current year is concerned. And in 1962? When the standstill agreement with the U.K. ends, will it—badgered as it certainly will be by the produce exporters of Canada, Australia, other Commonwealth and Colonial territories—be able to continue preference to South African maize, fruit, wine?
Now, this, Mr. Chairman, is a responsible journal and it depicts a sorry picture for us as concerns the future. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will give us precise information on the two aspects I have put to him, namely how are we going to replace this loss in the African market and how are we going to profit from the three missions at present overseas?
There is yet another aspect to which I wish to draw attention. The matter of trade relations in Africa is being adversely affected in another direction as well. On 15 August 1960 the Prime Minister made a Press announcement of the most astounding character. On that day he announced that the Union Government would introduce legislation during the first parliamentary session following to take action against South Africans who sign the anti-apartheid declaration in order to pass through or land in Ghana.
What is so astounding about that?
He went on to say that the legislation would be made retrospective to 15 August 1960 and that such legislation would also apply to South Africans working or living in Ghana and who apply for British passports. Sir, this parliamentary session has now entered its fourth month and the Government is continuing to hold this Sword of Damocles over business commitments. Sir, any arbitrary use of powers tends to corrupt, but an arbitrary abuse of powers corrupts absolutely. A threat of legislation of this kind is really an abuse of power. I, however, am concerned with this threat only in so far as it affects business commitments and trade relations. I know of at least one international trading concern which has its headquarters for Africa in the Union and this threat of penal legislation which is to be applied retrospectively to 1960 is having a very deleterious effect, if not a disastrous effect, on its business relations with Ghana in particular. [Time limit.]
The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) referred to the three trade missions sent overseas. I am sorry that he has indirectly cast suspicion on the ability of the members, on their mission, and on the possible results of that mission. The fact remains that those missions have been sent—it is probably one of the most important trade missions which South Africa has ever sent overseas to promote her trade. It is one of the strongest combinations South Africa could have sent. The hon. member asks what the results are up to this stage. I am convinced that those missions will return with very important and better results than any mission that ever left South Africa for overseas. I am sorry that he cast doubt on these missions because I see that an important body like the Federated Chamber of Industries through its Trade Secretary, Mr. Bosman, said the following about this mission—
These are missions with a potential therefore and they are important missions.
That is an ex parte statement.
The hon. member now objects to what I quote here from a person who is connected with industry, an official of the Federated Chamber of Industries. The hon. member calls it an ex parte statement. But when he casts doubt on the missions and their abilities then it is not an ex parte statement by the hon. member for Johannesburg (North)! Then he wants to create the impression that it is authoritative. No, what the hon. member is trying to do is to cast doubt on one of the biggest positive contributions made by this Government to promote South Africa’s trade overseas. That is the reaction of the hon. member for Johannesburg (North). He casts reflections and doubt on it. That is his approach to the matter. But fortunately there are other more responsible institutions than the very sensitive member for Johannesburg (North) which react differently to such an important and positive undertaking by the Government. I can understand why the hon. member is so sensitive about something like this. They hoped that South Africa’s trade would decline in these circumstances of imminent boycotts. But, Mr. Chairman, South Africa’s trade has continued to increase and the hon. member realizes that this is a positive step which is being taken, not only to improve the country’s trade but also to extend it to other countries where there are still great potentialities.
The hon. member also referred to the Common Market and to South Africa’s position in that regard. He referred to what was going to happen there. South Africa’s relationship with Europe is a very important one. An Act was passed here on Monday in which South Africa relinquished certain preferences in her trade with Britain. I think this is only the first of the steps which are still to follow because it is known that in Britain positive measures are being taken to obtain a closer link with the Common Market and to sacrifice more and more of these preferences to the Commonwealth in exchange for that closer connection.
At 10.25 p.m. the Acting Deputy Chairman stated that, in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (1), he would report progress and ask leave to sit again.
Progress reported and leave asked to sit again.
The House adjourned at