House of Assembly: Vol108 - TUESDAY 9 MAY 1961
Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the hon. the Senate:
The Senate begs to draw the attention of the hon. the House of Assembly to the following provisions, namely, paragraph (b) of Clause 5, and the words “by the insertion in paragraph (a) of sub-section (2) after the word “buildings” of the word “dams”, and in paragraph (a) of Clause 8, which have been struck out of the Bill and placed between brackets, with a footnote stating that they do not form part of the Bill.
By direction of Mr. Speaker, the National Parks Amendment Bill was read a first time.
For oral reply:
asked the Minister of Finance:
- (1) Whether, in calculating the amount of the Union’s gold and foreign exchange holdings to be R163,000,000 as at 28 April 1961, account was taken of the proceeds of any short-term loans granted to the South African Reserve Bank by foreign banking institutions; if so, what loans; and
- (2) how much of the amount of R27,000,000 available to the Union from the International Monetary Fund had been drawn as at 28 April 1961.
- (1) Yes. Short-term loans to the value of $20,000,000 have been received by the South African Reserve Bank from a foreign banking institution, but of this amount $10,000,000 had been repaid on 28 April 1961, with the result that the reserves as of that date only included the remainder of the loan outstanding.
- (2) The currency reserves on 28 April 1961 did include a drawing of approximately R27,000,000 on the International Monetary Fund, representing an amount equivalent to the Union’s gold subscription to the Fund.
asked the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs:
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to Press reports of a speech made at Heidelberg, Transvaal, on 2 May 1961 by the Head of the News Service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation in which, according to the reports, he expressed certain views on political matters in South Africa; and
- (2) whether he will make representations to the Board of Governors of the Corporation to take steps to ensure that political statements are not made by members of its news service personnel; if not, why not.
- (1) Yes. I can see no cause for objection, however, if an employee of an autonomous body such as the South African Broadcasting Corporation, in his private capacity, expresses his personal views in a responsible manner; and
- (2) no, as it is entirely a domestic matter of the Board of Governors of the S.A.B.C.
asked the Minister of the Interior:
How many passports were refused to South African (a) citizens desiring to travel abroad and (b) students of each race group desiring to study overseas, during each year from 1948 to 1961.
(a) Statistics regarding the number of passports refused to South African citizens desiring to travel abroad were not kept prior to 1953. The total number of passports refused during each year since 1 January 1953 is as follows:
1961 to date
It should be noted that many of the persons included in the above figures subsequently obtained passports when their initial disqualification no longer existed. As examples may be mentioned children whose legal guardians initially refused to consent to the issue of passports to them and persons who, subsequent to the refusal of their passport applications, could meet their income tax obligations.
(b) number of passports refused to students I regret that information as regards the is not available as separate statistics are not kept distinguishing between students and other applicants or reflecting their race.
—Reply standing over.
asked the Prime Minister:
Whether he will make a statement defining the intention of the Government in regard to a Press announcement made by him on 15 August 1960, that during the current Session of Parliament penal legislation would be introduced with retrospective effect in relation to South African citizens who may land in Ghana and be under obligation to sign an anti-apartheid declaration prescribed there to govern entry into that state.
Up to the present, no information is available of South African citizens who have, subsequent to my statement, signed the declaration required by the Government of Ghana. On the contrary. South Africans resident in Ghana and occupying good positions there have declined to sign the declaration and have left the country. In the meantime, the Ghanaian Government has rescinded the regulation in so far as it relates to South Africans in transit by air. In the circumstances the South African Government has decided temporarily to postpone the projected legislation, but it will be proceeded with if necessary and be made retrospective.
I may add that consideration is also being given to the introduction of legislation which will deal with the cases of South. African citizens who leave, or who have left South Africa, and who, while abroad, act in a manner which amounts to disloyalty to the country of which they are citizens.
asked the Minister of Economic Affairs:
Whether the Government intends to contribute towards the cost of shark research; and, if so, (a) on what basis, (b) to what extent and (c) to which organizations.
- (a) on an R for R basis;
- (b) R20,000 during each of the financial years 1961-2 and 1962-3; and
- (c) no specific organizations have as yet been nominated, but an action committee which has been instituted is in the mean time being recognized by the Government for purposes of preliminary arrangements in connection with the funds that are being collected for this research.
asked the Minister of Economic Affairs:
- (1) Whether he has received representations for the application of a protective tariff on imported basketware and cane and wicker furniture; if so, from whom; and
- (2) whether he has agreed to the request; if so, to what extent will such a duty be applied; if not, why not.
- (1) Applications for higher import duties on cane and wicker furniture have been received from the Cape Town Civilian Blind Society and the Workshops for the Blind, Worcester. No application has been received for an increase in the protective duty on basketware, but by way of an ordinary budgetary measure provision is made in the taxation proposals tabled in this House by the Minister of Finance on 15 March 1961 for an increase of the duty from 10 per cent to 20 per cent ad valorem on certain types of basketware; and
- (2) yes, as from 15 December 1960 to the extent set out below:
- (a) 30 per cent ad valorem with a minimum of 250c each on metalframed chairs upholstered with coated or uncoated seagrass, rattan or wicker;
- (b) 30 per cent ad valorem with a minimum of 250c each on chairs made of, or upholstered with, coated or uncoated seagrass, rattan or wicker; and
- (c) 30 per cent ad valorem with a minimum of 400c each on settees of the same descriptions as under (a) and (b) above.
asked the Minister of Economic Affairs:
Whether financial assistance is rendered to the film industry in the Union; if so, (a) to what extent during (i) the past and (ii) the current financial years, (b) how many companies or organizations benefited from this assistance during the past financial year and (c) why was the assistance deemed necessary.
Yes, a refund of the entertainment tax paid with a maximum in respect of each film of R20,000 or 50 per cent of the cost of such film, whichever amount is the lower;
- (i) R88,911;
- (ii) R186,000 is included in the Estimates for 1961-2;
- (b) four companies; and
- (c) to encourage the development of a local film industry.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE replied to Question No. *XXIII, by Col. Shearer, standing over from 5 May.
- (1) Whether instructions were issued to the South African Criminal Bureau regarding the recording of detention orders served in terms of Emergency Regulations during 1960; if so, (a) what was the nature of the instructions, (b) by whom and (c) under what statutory authority were they issued;
- (2) whether fingerprint records in regard to detention orders are maintained; if so, under what authority; if not,
- (3) whether his attention has been drawn to the procedure followed in the case of Regina v. Casmia Cebekhulu (B1237/61) heard in the magistrate’s court, Pietermaritzburg, on 24 April 1961; and
- (4) whether he will make a statement in regard to the matter.
- (1) No.
- (2) No.
- (3) Yes.
- (4) Casmia Cebekhulu was on 14 April 1961 arrested on a charge of theft and on 24 April 1961 he was sentenced to a fine of R25 or two months I.H.L. Upon receipt of his record sheet it was discovered that an endorsement had erroneously been made thereon to the effect that he had been detained under the Emergency Regulations during 1960. Departmental steps have been taken in the matter and explicit instructions given to delete the erroneous endorsement on the record sheet in question and to avoid a similar recurrence in future.
Bill read a first time.
First Order read: House to go into Committee on Diplomatic Mission in United Kingdom Service Bill.
House in Committee:
Clauses, Schedule and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for second reading,—General Law Amendment Bill, to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Minister of Justice, upon which amendments had been moved by Sir de Villiers Graaff and by Dr. de Beer, adjourned on 8 May, resumed.]
When the House adjourned last night I had dealt with the provisions which vest new power in the hands of the Attorneys-General, and the Minister conceded —and quite rightly—that he had power if he wished to exercise it, over the Attorneys-General in anything which they did. The hon. Minister also indicated that no Minister of Justice who was within his right senses, would interfere with any decision taken by an Attorney-General. I hope he will now be prepared to eliminate this point of contention by undertaking in his reply to this debate that he will repeal those provisions which make the Attorneys-General subject to the Minister’s overriding powers.
I would now like to deal with the increased penalties imposed under this Bill, and I would, in this connection, like to confine myself only to this one point: The whole history of civilization, Sir, is a history of the progressive reduction of penalties in respect of offences, because it was found that penalties did not have the effect of eliminating the offences for which they were imposed.
Where do you get that from?
The hon. member need only read the history of any country in order to confirm that that is a fact in all civilized countries of the world, and also that it was a fact in this country until this Government came into power. I would like to add my protest to those which have already been made against the increased penalties contained in various clauses of this Bill. History has proved that increased penalties have no effect if there is something wrong in the body politic.
What do you suggest?
I will tell the hon. member just now what I suggest. At this stage I make the point, in regard to the provisions of the Bill, that no good effect can come from an increase of penalties of this nature, especially if that goes with a widening of the area of what is criminal. I would like to draw attention, in this connection, to the provision of Clause 6 making it an offence for any person in any manner to make known a proposed assembly which had been banned. It is clear that if I should mention to my wife that a particular assembly which was to have taken place at a particular place, had been banned, I would, in terms of this provision, be subject to the penalty prescribed by this Bill. Provisions and penalties of that nature have no place in the law of a civilized State. I beg this Government to consider what it is doing to South Africa when it comes with provisions and penalties of this nature.
That hon. member, Sir, says that I should explain myself. I think I have spoken in the clearest possible language. The case I am putting is that an increase of penalties for minor offences does not solve anything, but merely embitters people. The history of civilization, on the other hand, is the history of the progressive reduction of penalties, especially penalties for minor offences. [Interjections.] I am not prepared to be drawn into an argument across the floor of the House. I have made my point and if hon. gentlemen disagree, they may get up and attempt a reply. I defy the hon. member for Vereeniging to get up and point out where I am wrong in my argument. The trouble with this legislation, Sir, is that there is something fundamentally wrong with the approach of this Government to problems of this kind. In this connection, I would like to say that since this Government came into power, it has again and again passed one law after another; it has gone out to the country and told the people that it has solved this or that problem, while it, in fact, has solved none of the problems which the laws were designed to meet.
The Swellendam election proved it.
I accept that the Government has so frightened some of the people of this country by the laws it has passed …[Interjections.] I appeal to hon. members that, if they want to hear me, they should remain quiet and listen to me. That might do them good.
It is difficult, Sir, to say what I want to say if hon. members make such a noise that I cannot even hear myself thinking. The point I was making is that nothing has been solved by legislation passed by this Government. The hon. member for Mossel Bay (Dr. van Nierop) referred to the results of the elections. Does he want to tell me that that is the reason why these laws were put on the statute book of this country? I know of no other good reason.
That was done as a result of the actions of your Press!
I said earlier that the history of civilization was one of the reduction of the severity of sentences, because it was found that, as persons became civilized, no purpose was achieved by the imposition of more severe sentences. This Government, however, believes that you can solve problems by passing laws. I would like to give them this parallel: Hon. members who have been to Rome would have seen the walls of Rome. These walls were built to defend the city of Rome when they found that the quality of their Government and people had deteriorated to such an extent that they found themselves in danger to forces which had been descending upon them. They decided to build the walls. It is something that this Government and the members standing behind it might well remember, that 15 years after the completion of the walls—which were regarded as being impregnable—the Goths took over the government of the city of Rome.
I was not there!
If the hon. member had been there he might have been able to give better advice to his Government than what he has given up to the present time. Several hon. members referred, when debating this measure, to the maintenance of White civilization. The case I am trying to build up is, Sir, that it is legislation of this kind which endangers the future of White civilization in South Africa. The point I want in all seriousness to put across to hon. members is that I hope they will believe when I say that every hon. member on this side of the House is as interested as they are in preserving the future of the White man in South Africa. It is a question as to how that is to be achieved, and my submission is that that future is being endangered by the course which is being followed by this Government and by the Bill which we are considering at the present time. The reason why I am opposed to this Bill is a very simple one: I would like to see a future in South Africa for my children, and their children, and their children’s children, but I can see no future for them if this Government continues along the path it is taking at the present time. Every time the Government comes along with a measure of this sort they are—and that is my submission to hon. members opposite, and particularly to the hon. Minister of Justice—building up resistance which will continue to build up and grow until South Africa takes a different course. I would like to suggest to the hon. Minister, and to his colleagues, that this Government, if it really wishes to do something to preserve the future of South Africa, should contemplate the period of Nationalist rule and realize how utterly they have failed in the objects they have set themselves out to achieve in regard to race relationships in South Africa. They should realize that they are on an utterly wrong course and also that there is another way to follow instead of constantly passing negative legislation which achieves nothing. They should realize that they should set out on a course of positive action, on a course of nation building, and then there could be a future for South Africa, and a great future at that. I realize what the problems are which we face to-day, but I say that those problems can be faced and met by approaching them in a spirit of justice and in a spirit of trying to see also the point of view of the other man. Every time we go wrong in this approach, we build up resistance against us, but that resistance can be broken down I believe. That can be done if the people of South Africa—whether Nationalist or United Party—face up to the responsibilities which face South Africa and approach the problems on a positive basis, and get rid of some of the negative ideas which this Government has put on the statute book, including this Bill which we are now dealing with.
Who will be affected by the Bill?
That hon. member wishes to know who will be affected by this Bill…
I would like to know when will the hon. member come back to the Bill?
If I have been straying, Sir, I will come back immediately to the Bill. The provisions of this Bill can be applied to every human being in the whole of the Union of South Africa, including that hon. member and all those who support his party!
But we will not misbehave!
That may be so, but here arbitrary power is being taken, and here penalties, which I regard as far too savage, are being imposed. My plea is that the Government should forget this approach, and should adopt a positive approach by eliminating what is wrong in this country and by providing better opportunities for all people in South Africa.
The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) has alleged that high treason, sedition, etc., are minor contraventions, because it is to deal with those crimes that this measure is being enacted. He contends that the fines are too high. I just want to put this question to him: If his logic is correct, must we reduce fines more and more and then abolish them altogether, and would that put a stop to crime?
It would be a very good thing if there was a possibility that the time may come when there will be no fines in South Africa.
Such a thing is absolutely impossible, and I regard it as ridiculous to argue in that way. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in Paradise, there has always been punishment, and there will always have to be punishment in the future.
The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
The hon. member for Springs went on to ask the hon. the Minister to give the assurance in his reply that he will amend the provision in this measure that the Minister may exercise authority over the Attorneys-General. This Act, when it was put on the Statute Book in 1917, laid down that no Minister could interfere with an Attorney-General. In 1935 the Act was amended, and the Minister was then given this discretionary power. After 1935 the United Party came into power and they had the opportunity to take that power away from the Minister. Why then did they not take this power away from the Minister?
The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) has certain difficulties in connection with Clause 4. He says that Clause 4 (1) contains two principles. The first is that when anybody has been arrested on a charge of having committed an offence, then (1) the Attorney-General may, if he considers it to be in the interest of the safety of the public or the maintenance of public order, issue an order; and (2) that such a person may not be released on bail or otherwise before the expiration of a period of 12 days after the date of his arrest. The hon. member has certain difficulties in connection with the two principles contained in this clause, and the first is that it is allegedly contrary to the Rule of Law. This legislation is being introduced specially to make provision for things which are expected to take place on or before 31 May. Moreover, it is to be applicable only in special cases. My interpretation is that it will not be applicable where some statutory crime is committed. It is only where the Attorney-General considers it to be in the interest of public safety that such a person will be detained for 12 days. That is quite understandable, because if he is released he will simply carry on with his incitement and his representations against the Government. In any event, the question is why we do not allow the Court to decide. The hon. member knows that when application is made for bail, the magistrate or the Judge makes the decision, but the Attorney-General or the prosecutor gives his reasons as to why bail should not be granted, and then it is for the Court to decide. This clause does not prevent a person from applying, but if the Attorney-General objects, in terms of Clause 4 of this Bill, then the magistrate or the Judge must refuse to grant such bail. The clause was drafted in this way for the protection of the general public.
Mr. Speaker, the first duty of the State is to maintain law and order, and the freedom of the individual must be protected. Law-abiding citizens are not affected by this Bill. The only persons who will fail under this Bill are those who take steps against the State, who cause strikes and uprisings. Hon. members on the other side talked against this legislation yesterday afternoon and yesterday evening: in other words, there is not a single hon. member on the other side who wants to maintain law and order in the period that lies ahead of us.
That is not true
They do not want to protect law-abiding citizens; they would rather protect those who contravene the law. That is why they object so much to this Bill. We can come to no other conclusion because there is not a single member of the Opposition who has said that this is good legislation. And, as the Minister has said, it is better to prevent than to cure. That is why this Bill must be placed on the Statute Book. If that is not done and these threats are carried out, then the Opposition will come along and ask why the Minister did not introduce legislation of this kind. The hon. member for Springs said yesterday evening that this Bill was being introduced at a very inopportune time. When must this measure be introduced then; must it be introduced only after these things have happened? Is it not better to prevent certain things from happening? This measure is intended to serve as a deterrent for those persons who endanger the safety of the law-abiding citizen.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition stated in the course of his speech yesterday that “ everyone in this House wants law and order maintained ”. Well, that is the very reason why this measure has been introduced. But in spite of those words of his, I did not hear a single member of the Opposition speak in favour of this measure. Yesterday evening when the hon. member for Edenvale (Mr. G. H. van Wyk) said that this whole Bill, even the portion which deals with the registration of firearms, was being opposed by the Opposition, the hon. member for Springs denied that that was the case. When we go back to the amendment proposed by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, we find that it reads that all the words after “ that” must be deleted; it is not stated there that a portion of the Bill is acceptable to them. The entire Opposition is against this Bill from A to Z.
Read the amendment.
Let me read it out—
Will the hon. member tell me where the provisions of Clause 2 are referred to in the reasons advanced in the amendment?
Mr. Speaker, let me just quote the preamble to the Bill, which says “ Bill to amend the Arms and Ammunition Act, 1937, the Criminal Procedure Act, 1955, and the Riotous Assemblies Act, 1956”. That is the subject of this whole debate. When we look at the wording of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition, we find that he wants all this to be deleted. The Opposition is against this Bill in every respect, even that portion dealing with ammunition.
But he calls an uprising a “ minor offence ”.
Yes, I have already had something to say to the hon. member about his allegation that an uprising is a “ minor offence ”. I just want to mention the example of Cuba where there was an uprising. I do not know whether the hon. member read the newspapers, but if he did he would have read that this “ minor offence ” in Cuba was suppressed at the cost of a good deal of bloodshed. Those who had taken part in the uprising were put to death. They were not arraigned before the Court. It was a case of being arrested to-day and shot at dawn tomorrow. That was the punishment for these “minor offences”.
I have already said that this Bill is not applicable to people who do not contravene the law, and if there are persons who do contravene the law, then they must be punished under this Act. Law-abiding citizens need not be afraid of this legislation. That is why we want to provide here that those who contravene the law must be punished. Hon. members of the Opposition who have taken part in this debate want chaos in this country; because if this legislation is not passed by Parliament, the result will be chaos. I wonder what the voters would then say about the Opposition? It is not necessary to wonder really because the voters know how the Opposition acted in the past, and we have the outcome of the Swellendam by-election to prove that. Not only have the Opposition objected again to a measure which deals indirectly with Communism, but they fought the Suppression of Communism Bill tooth and nail as well as the Riotous Assemblies Act. They all voted against those measures. That proves that the Opposition would rather have chaos. Why? Simply because they do not like the National Party and because they want to remove us from power; and their only hope of removing the National Party from power is to vote against this Bill in the hope that there will be a revolution and that they may then get into power, but with this legislation the Minister is going to prevent that.
I have dealt with the hon. member for East London (North) and his objection to Clause 5. In my opinion the sentences which are now being quadrupled are not sufficient. However, there will be an opportunity to move an amendment and I am going to ask that they be made even more stringent. There is one section, however, which I want to ask the Minister to amend, and that is the section dealing with orders given to people to leave an unlawful gathering. Whereas formerly only an inspector or a captain could do so, such an order may now be given by a head constable. There are many platteland towns where there is only a sergeant in charge of the police station. In such a case, where demonstrators have to be ordered to disperse and there is no head constable or an officer of higher rank, who would then give such an order?
The Opposition is against it.
I appreciate what the Minister says, but I am not thinking of the Opposition now. I am thinking now of the safety of everybody in this country, and I want to ask the Minister therefore to consider the question, particularly in those cases where there is only a police sergeant at a platteland police station, of granting such powers also to the sergeant.
I welcome this legislation and I hope that it will prevent what we are told lies ahead of us in the near future.
This Bill to me represents a scene in what I would regard as the second last act of the great drama which is being enacted here in South Africa, and that is the drama of the White man attempting to save himself in South Africa by means of racial discrimination and domination and the rejection of all the values and standards of his past, the standards of Western Christian civilization.
I do not want to follow the hon. member for Standerton (Dr. Coertze) in the tortuous paths of his legal subtleties. I regard it as useless. I have never been interested in law.
I hope the hon. member is interested in this law.
I have always been more interested in the laws behind the law than in the law itself.
Then you should not have come to Parliament.
The hon. member for Standerton made a striking statement here. He says that the Opposition does not want the public to be protected. I must necessarily speak for myself here; I cannot speak for the Opposition, and I want to say to the hon. member that I hope that when the time comes to protect the public, we shall see him in the front line. I have my family, my children and five grandchildren, and anybody who tells me that I do not want to have them protected is very much wrong. We all stand for protection. The question is what type of protection. This measure is designed to maintain law and order. I should like to see law and order maintained, but when I look at this measure and other laws, I see a tremendous gap between the laws that I talk about which ought to be behind our laws, and the sort of laws that we ought to have if an Act is to be worth the paper on which it is written. The old people called it the law of nature; others called it the law of God. The people in South Africa who make these laws are playing an idle game unless they bring the laws they make into line with our basic Christian philosophy.
Order! I have allowed the hon. member a great deal of latitude, but he must come back to the Bill now.
I say that I cannot support this Bill because, like so many other laws, it is in direct conflict with the philosophy in which I believe and which, I hope, is founded on a Christian basis. What is the main point in this measure? It is a movement away from the whole history of laws. We are changing the laws about. Clause 4 deviates altogether from the bases of our legal system. If I remember my political history and my political philosophy correctly, the great struggle for hundreds of years was to get rid of the tyranny and the despotism of what at that time was called “ the divine right of kings ”, for which the State or the king or the tyrant stood. The whole legal development was in the direction of protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual. But what do we find in this legislation? The Minister is taking powers to protect the state, and the rights of the individual are sacrificed. The Attorney-General, the court and the whole process of the administration of justice are being turned topsy-turvy. The historical function of the Attorney-General was in the first place to protect the rights and freedoms of the individual. One of those fundamental rights was that the individual must always be regarded as innocent until he is proved to be guilty before an impartial court. In this measure, instead of the Attorney-General being one of the instruments to protect the freedom of the citizen, he is instructed to do away with habeas corpus for at least 12 days, if not longer. It depends on his discretion. Moreover, the impartial courts are being set aside as the true protectors of the individual.
Did you not vote last year for the preparations for the state of emergency?
No. I say that here we are destroying the bases of our law. We are closing our eyes to everything except the state and we believe that we can save the state by destroying the individual and his freedoms.
Order! The hon. member must now come back to the Bill.
I am talking about Clause 4. the powers which are being given to the Attorney-General, and about Clause 7 and Clause 6. To-day an individual who is arrested in the discretion of a constable may no longer be regarded as innocent until he is found guilty in a court of law. He can no longer make use of the privilege that he had formerly of appearing before the court within 48 hours, and the court can no longer rule that he may be released on bail. To-day he is arrested and regarded as guilty and detained in prison for at least 12 days or longer. The Minister has placed no limitation on the period.
Have you not read the Bill?
I shall be very glad in the hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) will be silent for a moment and give other people an opportunity to say something. Here we have a situation where we believe that we can save Western civilization, of which the White man forms an inherent part, but I say that you will never save the White man if you do not save White civilization, and you will not save White civilization in South Africa if you throw overboard one value after another of that civilization. My plea is that we should uphold the values that made our forebears what they were, that made the whole of Western civilization what it was, and that we should not carry on with this type of thing. If I had been a Nationalist. I would also have opposed this Bill, for different reasons, and the reason is this that if I were to choose the path of my Nationalist friends—and I am not ascribing any motives to them: I am convinced that they have the future of South Africa at heart as much as I have and they really want to save White civilization—but by following this course in the second half of the twentieth century, by attempting to maintain ourselves here by passing one Act after another and by one demonstration of power after another. I am convinced that we are heading for disaster. At this stage I want to warn my friends again. I am pleased to see that the Minister is halfhearted about this measure. He often reminds me of the dear lady who had a pup whose tail had to be severed.
Where is that stated in this Bill?
She thought she was being kind to the pup by cutting off a little piece of its tail every day in order to save it misery and pain. Mr. Speaker, if the Government believes in this type of law, then they are facing an inevitable process. In the long run they will not be able to stop anything. Seven years ago, when things were still totally different. I said the same thing here. I said that this type of law was leading to a complete dictatorship and to a police state. Let us have no illusions in that regard. If my hon. friends choose that road, they should not be satisfied with this law, which will be like a water pistol against the powers that we are facing to-day.
Must we make the law more stringent?
If you believe in this type of thing, it should be made much more strict. Let us stop cutting little pieces off the tail. Let the people decide then that the freedom that they enjoy is worth nothing and that apartheid and “ baasskap ” which are their goal are worth more to them than freedom.
Order! The hon. member is going altogether too far. He keeps on saying that he is coming back to the Bill and then he talks about “ baasskap ” (domination).
If I had been a Nationalist I would not have been satisfied with the way in which the Government is trying to take powers to cope with this enormous force that they are up against, largely as the result of their own policy. Let them have the courage of their own convictions and realize that they have to take powers to the maximum of their ability. No, I personally reject that road and those methods, but if I had been a Nationalist I would have insisted upon the most drastic measures. No, on my path and on the path of the Western world I believe that true protection for the White man lies in justice towards everybody. I want to tell the Minister that if we cannot face ourselves with the laws that we make—and I honestly cannot face myself with the type of law that we are making here; if this law were applicable to me or to everybody and not, as the hon. member over there said, to “ Kaffirs ” only, then the people would realize that these laws are going to destroy the freedom of the individual, and also the freedom of my hon. friends over there.
There is no law which does not defend freedom.
Your head is up in the clouds.
Order! The hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) has now made a number of speeches already on the same measure.
I wonder whether I should not follow the hon. member for Edenvale and quote Disraeli. Disraeli stated, amongst other things, that the practical person was the man who arrogates the right to himself to make the mistakes of his forebears over and over again. When I look at this legislation and the history of the past, not many years ago but just over the past 50 years, then I am amazed to find that these “ practical ” people make the same mistakes over and over again that lead to self-destruction. My appeal to the Minister is this: Let us stop doing this sort of thing. Let us try to find one another as people. On this path we will find no other people, and the end of the road—my hon. friends will not believe this, but I say this in all seriousness and after a great deal of thought and study—is the end of the Afrikaner in South Africa. And the Afrikaner does not deserve that end. He has such a proud record that he does not deserve such an end. I do not want the Minister to pin his hopes on this type of law. As I see the world, the outcome of this type of law will be that we will be called on before long, as we have been called upon in the past, to use our power; because this type of law gives me a great feeling of unreality. Forces which are not even recognized by this Parliament (which ought to be the highest authority) are developing outside. We are passing unrealistic measures. I believe that there is still time and that when we enter the republic a change will come about in this type of action and that the Minister will use his influence to put a stop to that type of law and that we shall try to seek other means, because this type of remedy does not help. I have been saying this for the past eight years, and increasingly it will prove to be true. Next year the Minister will have to take even more drastic measures and in the meantime he is destroying the very thing that we all want to protect in South Africa. You cannot maintain White civilization without the values of that civilization. Let us get away from those illusions. To me there is no difference between White barbarism and Black barbarism. I should like to see civilization, and I want to say to the Minister that unless the Government and all of us—and I am as guilty as anybody else; I had the same feeling of “ baasskap ” (domination) and I still have it, to my regret— but unless we choose a different path and give our non-Whites the things which are really part and parcel of our White civilization, honestly and genuinely, then we must no longer talk about a Christian mission.
Order! I must ask the hon. member to come back to the Bill now.
I am coming back to it. This measure clashes with those bases, and for that reason, because this measure cannot help us to build on those foundations, the White nation, particularly the Afrikaner, is going to be destroyed, as surely as the sun rises, not in the distant future but in the near future.
Hon. members opposite, for their own propaganda purposes, are again trying to proclaim to the world that this Government, in its hatred of the Black man, is passing this legislation just for the Blacks. This law is being made for everybody in South Africa and, secondly, I hope that this measure will be applied most strictly against those Whites who make themselves guilty of agitation amongst the Blacks, those types of Whites, some of them students, who marched in De Waal Drive together with 30,000 Blacks to create disorder in a decent State like South Africa. In the third place it is our duty, as a civilized State and as a civilized Government, to enact this sort of law in the first place not to protect the Whites but in order to protect the peace-loving Black man. If there is anybody who is entitled to expect protection from us, it is the Black man in South Africa. Who is subjected to this intimidation? Not the White man but the peace-loving Black man; it is he who is subjected to intimidation by agitators, and it is to those people that we want to give protection. And let our Press do its duty and tell the Black man that we are passing this law to protect the peace-loving Black man against threats and agitators. I want to say very clearly that this measure is not only necessary but absolutely essential. Sir, all sorts of legal arguments have been raised with which I am not in a position to deal, because that is not my subject, but we must not allow democracy in South Africa to be destroyed entirely under the cloak of the so-called democratic arguments which have been advanced here. Because we must not forget that we are dealing here with people who have no soul or conscience. The communist has no soul or conscience. The mistake that the whole of the Western world is making and that we have made hitherto is to try to use democratic measures to control the communist who has no soul or conscience or word of honour. It is simply impossible. The communist will not hesitate to say in a court of law, “ I swear on my oath that I will not leave the country ” just to achieve his purpose, and that is why the Minister has to take these powers so as to be able to detain the communist, who has no word of honour, for at least 12 days. As I have said, I am no lawyer; I have no great knowledge of these things, but my own feeling is that a period of 12 days is insufficient. In certain cases the hon. The Minister ought to make it at least 30 days. I say again that I am not arguing on legal grounds. I am arguing on the ground that we are dealing in South Africa with unscrupulous communists and agitators who cannot be dealt with under democratic measures.
Why not arrest the communist and put him in gaol? After all, you have the anti-communist legislation.
That is what the hon. member wants. The hon. member and every one of his colleagues sitting over there would welcome chaos in this country, and then they might have a chance of getting into power. The hon. member knows as well as I do that, as the Act reads to-day, if a communist is imprisoned he has to be brought before the court within 24 hours. He knows as well as I do that that is simply impracticable when there are large-scale disturbances. But the hon. Member wants us in South Africa to leave the power in the hands of a handful of communists and agitators to create a state of emergency time and time again. It is for the very purpose of obviating a state of emergency in South Africa that these powers are being taken, so that the agitator will not have the opportunity to force the Government time and again to declare a state of emergency.
And to abuse the process of law.
Yes, and to abuse the process of law.
Do you believe that?
I believe it. Sir, I have told the hon. member for Germiston (District) (Prof. Fourie) before that he could help us a great deal; his only trouble is that he has no faith. Let me mention a few examples. We are dealing here with agitators and inciters. We saw how they set to work in Vanderbijlpark and Sharpeville particularly. There are various ways in which they intimidate people. The first group consists of the so-called agents who walk about intimidating people. Let me just say that not a single White man is intimidated; it is the poor peace-loving Black man who is affected. We have had ample evidence in all the newspapers that this sort of intimidation does take place. I want to quote from the Argus of 7 April 1960—
Intimidation was one of the main factors in last year’s revolt. Here I have the Burger of 2 April—
I quote from the Burger again—
It is not the Whites who are intimidated; it is the poor Black man, who is keen to carry on with his work. Here I have a report from the Sunday Times with regard to the building work at the Houses of Parliament—
And now the hon. member for Queenstown (Dr. Steytler) wants these 40 Pan-Africanists to be brought before the court within 48 hours.
No, I say that the Government should create a climate in which it will not be possible for them to influence the peace-loving Bantu.
Mr. Chairman, you would not permit me to go into that. Let me tell the hon. member what circumstances we ought to create in South Africa. No other country would allow people to agitate and to advocate —and allow Parliament to be used for that purpose—that persons outside that country should take over the government. As far as the White area of South Africa is concerned, the Black man is a person from outside, and we ought not to allow the hon. member to plead that the Black man should be allowed to govern this country together with us. That is what ought to be punishable; it ought to be an offence, and let me tell the hon. Member what should also be an offence—the sort of speech that the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) made recently.
Do you regard those people as South Africans or not?
I regard the type of speech that the hon. member made as extremely unSouth African. While Mr. Russell continues to make speeches of that kind it is not necessary for one of the Pan-Africanists, for one of these inciters, to issue a single pamphlet or to say a single word. He is the best agent for those people who want to agitate here in South Africa.
Order! The hon. member must not refer to the hon. member as “ Mr. Russell ”; he must refer to him as “ the hon. member ”.
Pardon me, Sir. I was talking about these agents who walk about in the streets. Let me mention a second example. They visit factories here in Cape Town; they just walk into the factory and stand around for a while, and through sheer fear the Blacks and the Coloureds working there disappear from the factory. Take domestic servants in Sea Point for example. The hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) is not here at the moment, but he made a particular study of what was happening there. These agitators walked all over Sea Point, and panic-stricken servants left their employers’ houses and did not come back to work again. They usually walked in groups of three. With these threats they not only take these people away from their work, but they also take money out of their pockets. In this way they collect money for this type of agitation. Then there is the second type, those who stand on street corners. We know how superstitious the Blacks are. They only emerged from the primitive state yesterday, and some of them are still in the primitive state. One feels sorry for them. I asked a Black man whether they-would really kill him and his reply was: “ Sir, if they kill me, what about my children?” I asked him again whether they would really kill him and his reply was: “Yes, Sir, you know the Native has no head.” That is what one Black man says about another Black. He is afraid of him. These agitators stand on street corners, and what do they do? The agitator simply whistles, as they did in Vanderbijlpark, and that whistle fills the Black man who hears it with fear. The agent walks about with a bit of adhesive tape on his nose so that other agents can identify him. What the intimidator does when he wants to intimidate anybody is to draw his finger across his throat. If I made that sign to the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker), it would certainly not fill him with fear. We are civilized people; we understand each other. But that is not so in the case of the Black man. This sign frightens him out of his wits. His entire psychological make-up is entirely different from ours, and it is that type of agitator and that type of intimidator in this country who should be kept in check. Then there are the so-called pickets, the people who say to the police in the presence of others, “ give me protection and take me home ” while they are the very people who cause the trouble. And what happens in the locations at night when these disturbances take place? They simply knock on the door once, and that single knock fills these poor Black occupiers of the house with fear. When they knock on the door and the occupier opens it they give him one look, without saying a single word. This has a tremendous influence on these poor people. Or otherwise they instruct the people to take part in the demonstration. These people are afraid to refuse, because they are afraid that their wives and children may be murdered. That is why these intimidators find it so easy to get together 30,000 or 40,000 people to march. What also happened in Vanderbijl-park is this: When the man opens the door, a knife is pushed against his stomach. That one movement is sufficient to fill the occupier with fear. Or alternatively he is told: “ Remember, we will be watching you in the procession.” I want to mention a further example, and this is what happened in Cape Town and elsewhere. They simply put through a telephone call to a house where they know a servant is employed and they say to the servant: “So you are still at work, are you?” That happened to our own servant. It happened in Wynberg and it happened in Rondebosch where the hon. member who made this terrible speech lives. They simply telephone the house and say: “So you are still at work?”
Was it not he who telephoned?
But they go further. They also resort to violence, including the most extreme forms of violence—murder and manslaughter. We know how many headmen have already been murdered as the result of agitation and intimidation. Here I have a report which refers to Durban from the Argus of 6 April—
That is already covered by the Act as it reads now.
This type of thing is not covered to the extent that it is necessary to make provision for it, as we are doing now in this Bill. Here I have a further quotation from Johannesburg—
I mention these examples to show that here we are dealing with conditions of intimidation and agitation which are quite unknown in any civilized State in the world.
After all, the conditions here are not what they are in England.
The conditions are quite different, and I wish hon. members on that side would help us to bring it home to people in the cutside world that our conditions here are different, that we have to deal with people who become panic-stricken simply as the result of a look or as the result of a sign—things which are unknown in Western civilization. Here I have a photograph from the Burger of a Native, Morland Maguli, “ with his wounds bandaged but with great fear in his heart, sitting in an office in Nyanga. On Friday evening he was assaulted by about 20 young inciters known as ‘ spoilers ’ because he went to his work regularly last week ”. He did nothing else; he simply went to work—
These people even go so far as to make use of children. Here I have the Sunday Times of 27 March 1960—
Not a supporter of apartheid—
Hon. members know the whole history of the burning of passes, etc. I want to mention another example and that is the question of arson. Here I have a whole series of examples. One of the weapons used by the agitator and the inciter amongst the Black people is to commit arson: “ Elsies River School tired after threats.” That appeared in the Argus of 6 March; “ Church burnt down at Port Elizabeth (the Argus of 7 March); “Constables in Nyanga hard hit; houses ruined: One Native constable says that his house and all his possessions were destroyed the previous night. His wife and children fled just in time to another house and now they constantly have to hide from the inciters.” That was reported in the Burger of 28 March 1960. Then I quote again from the Argus: “Police families move out of Langa.” I just want to come back for a moment to the psychological effect on people of this kind and the difference between them and people in the rest of the Western world. In conclusion I just want to say this: I do not know why hon. members opposite are so concerned about the powers which are being taken here, because the legal system of South Africa, the control of our police and the police themselves are in the best hands imaginable. Here I have a short report, also from the Argus of 7 April—
Sir, it is the Black man whom we want to help by preventing the agitator from being out on the street again on bail within 48 hours.
The hon. member says “ We too ”. In that case it is the hon. member’s duty to vote for this Bill. I should like to mention another point in this connection and ask the hon. the Minister whether it is not possible to insert some provision in this legislation so that we will be in a position to do something about this tremendous agitation and this campaign of intimidation which is also being promoted by the English-language Press in South Africa. Here we are taking powers to control the activities of people while the English-language newspapers of South Africa are the best agents of the intimidators in South Africa. Just read the Sunday Times of last Sunday.
It is the public platform of all agitators.
It is not necessary to have a single pamphlet printed to encourage these underground movements amongst the Blacks; the Sunday Times is enough.
What are you dealing with now?
I am dealing with this Bill. The hon. member has been out of the House since yesterday evening and he does not know what has been going on.
What about the English-language Press?
It is the most scandalous Press in the world.
I go further. As far as intimidation and agitation are concerned, the English-language Press gives great publicity to those things, and in that way it directly encourages this agitation. Let me tell hon. Members what the Cape Times did in respect of intimidation and agitation. They gave the greatest possible publicity to the speech of the hon. member for Wynberg; and what does he say? this has a direct bearing on the type of thing with which we are dealing here. The hon. member made the following statement and neither his Leader nor the hon. member for Springs has said so far that they do not agree with this—
What “ spirit ” is he talking about there?
He goes on to say—
That comes from a United Party front-bencher at a time when we are trying to maintain law and order, at a time when we are trying to improve the law. These words, in my opinion, amount to the greatest incitement that this country has ever seen, and I think it is time we took some notice of it. I want to ask the Minister again, since we are now taking more strenuous steps against agitators and intimidators, whether it is not possible to put a stop to this pamphlet war that is being waged to-day, particularly in the English-language Press.
Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude by saying this: I feel this measure as an instrument to obviate a state of emergency and to deprive the agitators and the inciters of the power to compel us to declare a state of emergency in South Africa time and time again. I think that if there is any party in this country that should welcome this, it is the Opposition because they do not like states of emergency, and least of all do we like them. This measure will enable the Minister and the Government to get to grips with these people and to ensure that the Black man of South Africa is not subjected to this tremendous intimidation. As long as we do our duty in this way in this country, and particularly also to the Black man, I believe that this Government will not only be doing its duty, but that the White public will be satisfied with it as well.
Nothing could be more typical of the lunacy inherent in this sort of legislation than the sort of speech to which this House has just listened. The hon. member for Vanderbijlpark (Dr. de Wet) typifies the new spirit in South Africa at the present time. He has stood up here on previous occasions and he has gained for himself a reputation for extravagances in this House. We remember the speech which he made on the afternoon of Sharpeville. We remember other instances where this hon. member seemed to take delight in going from one extravagance to another and we had the same thing this afternoon in the speech to which we have just listened. What contribution does the hon. member think he is making to peace by this sort of speech? What solution has he provided for the real problems of South Africa? He has stood up here and blamed one person and another for a situation which exists in South Africa at the present time. He has attacked the English-language Press and accused the English-language Press of encouraging the agitators in South Africa.
It is a scandalous Press.
He has suggested that the measures contained in this Bill, in Clause 4, are not enough; that the time period of 12 days should be extended. He has talked about intimidators in South Africa and their activities. Why does he not stop to ask himself why it is that people who intimidate and agitate find fertile ground in South Africa in which to carry out those activities? The hon. member seems to have a completely distorted view of the situation in South Africa. His reference to the fact that we in these benches believe that we should share government with all people in South Africa—and he went on to say that that was just as bad as asking foreigners to share in the government of South Africa—shows a total lack of realism. What absolute nonsense! The hon. member sits there now nodding his head in approval. How does he regard four-fifths of the population of South Africa; how does he regard the Africans and the Indians and the Coloureds of South Africa? Are they not also South Africans? Have they not a right too to share in the government of South Africa?
Not in White South Africa.
Or does he believe that the doctrine of White supremacy, the doctrine of baasskap can be preserved for all time in South Africa? Because let me tell him and hon. members opposite that if they believe that, then they have tremendous shocks in store for them in the not too distant future.
How do you know? Are you informed?
It is clear that on the basis of that sort of ideology there can be no future for South Africa. It is clear that the only hope for South Africa is for us to realize that we have to share the benefits of Western civilization with all our people, and that hon. gentleman will have a rude awakening in the not too distant future in regard to the sort of attitude which he puts across in this House. Sir, nothing that we have heard in the course of this debate from Government members generally has in any way shaken our belief that this sort of legislation is the inevitable result of the policies being pursued by the present Government. It is part of the pattern of life in South Africa at the present time. It is a logical consequence of the basic philosophy of the Government of race supremacy or of White baasskap. The hon. member and hon. members who have spoken before him have suggested that this sort of Bill can in no way affect law-abiding citizens in South Africa. We believe that this Bill simply imposes still further restrictions on the freedom of the individual in South Africa and provides for greater penalties for those who dare to protest against the fact that in their own country they have no say whatsoever in the making of the laws by which they are governed. That is the real issue in regard to this Bill and in regard to Clause 4 in particular.
Are you pleading now for the agitators?
I am endeavouring— and I know I have a difficult task—to get the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark and others to be realistic and to realize that the sort of situation which the Nationalist Party has created in South Africa is responsible for the fact that it is possible for agitators to work successfully in this country. This sort of Bill does nothing to prevent that situation from developing in South Africa. As I have said, this is not the first Bill of this kind that we have had here, nor will it be the last, because it is the inevitable consequence of the path along which the Nationalist Party is leading South Africa. Year after year we have seen how they have been compelled to come to Parliament for greater power; how they have been compelled to deprive more and more people of their rights and their freedoms in South Africa, and here we have the Government coming once again with a Bill of this nature.
If you were in power it would be worse.
It is interesting to note some of the reasons which are used to justify this sort of legislation. We have had the old agument, started by the Minister yesterday when he introduced the Bill, that this Bill was designed to preserve law and order in South Africa. That was how the Minister started his speech yesterday. He then went on to say that there was no reason for alarm in South Africa, and he then went on to say and produced evidence of some of the activities that are taking place amongst the non-Whites in South Africa at the present time. I believe that on the very case that the Minister produced yesterday there is every reason for alarm in South Africa to-day because this is yet another manifestation of the Government’s inability or refusal to face up to the reals facts of the situation in South Africa.
Would you like to have a Congo here?
My hon. friend has the Congo on the brain. What we want to do is to try to avert the sort of situation which we have seen developing in other parts of the world. Sir, the hon. the Minister and the hon. member who has just sat down and other members on that side have produced the argument that all they require here is power in order to preserve law and order in South Africa. They have gone further and said that prevention is better than cure. Nobody argues with that statement but what I do argue with is the assumption that this sort of legislation prevents anything in South Africa. This will not prevent disturbances in South Africa. Provisions such as are contained in Clauses 4, 6, 7 and 8 of this Bill will prevent nothing in South Africa. These things, I believe, far from preventing anything only serve to aggravate the existing situation. Each year the Government tries to look at the situation in South Africa and each year it produces the same remedy; each year it produces a remedy which deprives people of rights, which gives the Government more force and power. Has it in any way helped the situation in South Africa? What has been its record in regard to similar matters? I wonder if the Government would care to remember the record of the treason trial. Has that had any effect in South Africa? I wonder if they would care to remember the state of emergency last year. Has that produced any better relations in South Africa? I wonder if they would care to remember the Unlawful Organizations Act? Has that in any way produced better race relations in South Africa? Has that in any way lessened the tension between the races in South Africa? If these measures which were produced in previous years had provided a solution to these problems, it would not be necessary for the Government to ask Parliament for greater power. Does the Government really believe that the banning last year of the African Nationalist Congress and the Pan African Congress has achieved anything?
What are the Government doing at the present time if that is the case? If the Government say that they believe that that measure achieved anything, does the Minister then believe that the people who are responsible for the protest being organized at the end of this month are a different group altogether from those who were members of those two congress movements? We have said and it has been said time and again that we cannot destroy ideas in the minds of men by passing Acts through Parliament. That is a lesson that this Government should learn.
There are too many agitators in this Parliament.
Why don’t you go home then?
Order! The hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) must withdraw that remark.
I withdraw it if you wish me to do so.
That sort of interjection is, of course, also typical of the attitude of the present Government. Sir, I mentioned the question of the state of emergency last year when thousands of people were incarcerated. Hon. gentlemen opposite have spoken about these measures not being designed for law-abiding people, but as yet we have no clear evidence from the Government that the people who were incarcerated in their thousands last year by the Government were not law-abiding people. They were kept in prison for over three months, they were never brought before a court, they were caused untold misery to themselves and to their families. For what crime? If the Government had a case to present, why did they not put that case? Let them not come here in a nebulous way and talk about laws of this kind being only designed for those who are not law-abiding people. Because on the evidence, the record as far as we know it, the people who were arrested during the state of emergency last year were guilty of no offence, because they were never brought before a court for trial. How can the Government expect us to give them greater powers, to give them powers in terms of Clause 4 here to imprison more people and to keep them in gaol for a period of 12 days before they are brought to trial or before they are allowed bail? I think the hon. Minister owes a duty to this House, before this Bill is passed, to tell us what precisely he has in mind. If this Bill is passed during the course of next week, is it going to be the prelude of further mass arrests in South Africa before the end of this month? I think we are entitled to know that, because if that is not the case, why the unseemly haste in trying to get this Bill through Parliament? Why has the Minister stipulated a period of 12 days, why not 14 days or 15 days or seven days?
If you will move an amendment to make it 14 days, I will accept that.
This Bill is the Minister’s baby and the Minister is trying to put it through Parliament. It is not up to me to justify anything in the Bill. It is for the Minister to justify it. The hon. the Minister, I believe, should take the country into his confidence. Is this Bill going to be the prelude for more mass arrests in South Africa before the end of this month?
Tell us what your friends are going to do.
The hon. member for Vereeniging says that we must tell them what the people outside are going to do. The hon. Minister yesterday was by far the best publicist for any protest at the end of this month that we have yet heard in South Africa, because he produced in the House the full story of the plans which are at his disposal. Sir, this Bill then simply amounts to some sort of a pocket do-it-yourself kit for creating a state of emergency in South Africa without in fact proclaiming an emergency. It gives the Minister powers which otherwise he would have under a state of emergency but now he need not even bother to call a state of emergency in this country. How can the Government expect any responsible member of this Parliament to give approval to a measure of this kind?
You will be the first to run for protection.
I am coming to that. Another feature of this debate has been the attitude which has come from the other side, an attitude of amazement that the Opposition should oppose a Bill of this kind. Hon. members opposite seem to take it for granted that if they, by virtue of their policies, get South Africa into these great difficulties, we, of the Opposition, are compelled to support them. I want to make it perfectly clear that I in no way want to be identified with the policies of the Nationalist Party in regard to race relations in South Africa. I think the Government should realize that not everybody in South Africa is going to be stampeded into supporting their race supremacy ideas because of the mess into which they have got South Africa. We believe firmly that the future of South Africa lies in our ability to work together with other racial groups, to work out a way in which the government can be shared with other racial groups. We believe that when those things have been done, it will not be necessary to come forward with legislation of this kind in South Africa. The hon. Member for Stander ton (Dr. Coertze) yesterday asked us what our alternative was.
I still want to know.
He still wants to know what our alternative is if we object to this kind of legislation. Obviously our alternative is what we have said so often before in this House: Let us consult with the leaders of these people. We said it last year and we will say it again. My advice to this Government is that the first thing to do is to lift the ban on Chief Luthuli and to consult with him as one of the recognized leaders of the African people. I would suggest that there could never be a solution to these problems, there can never be a removal of the sort of forces which produce a dangerous situation in South Africa, such as we have at the present time, until such time as the Government follows a policy of consultation with the leaders of the other racial groups in South Africa. If they refuse to consult those people, then it amounts to the fact that they are not willing to look for a peaceful solution; it amounts to an admission of the fact that they are prepared to live in a state of permanent hostility towards four-fifths of the population of South Africa.
We must consult, but not with the people you apparently seem to have in mind.
What sort of contact has this Government got with the urban Africans in South Africa; what sort of contact has this Government got with the political leaders of the Africans and of the Indians and of the Coloured people in South Africa? Surely the very first thing, if the Government wants to avoid having to come to Parliament with legislation of this kind, is for them to consult with these people. We believe that that is the start to finding a solution in South Africa, and we believe that a Bill of this kind can solve nothing in South Africa; it cannot stop agitation in South Africa; it cannot produce better feelings between the various races in South Africa, because this is based on force and more force, and it can only aggravate the situation which exists in South Africa.
It is really difficult to react to a speaker of the Progressive Party. With the best will in the world towards the attitude and the statements of this party in connection with this Bill, I cannot help being reminded of the story of the proud and blasphemous priest who was trying to cross a stormy sea. He told his crew: “ Be not afraid, I shall also talk to the waves like my Master and they will subside.” The boat and the priest went down together. The small Progressive Party is very fond of talking about “ consult ”. They advise us to do this and that with a sort of intellectual superiority behind their naïve statements, as if their “ consult ” will calm the stormy waters in which Africa finds itself to-day. That is the most friendly thing one can say of that party. But if one has to say something unfriendly and one notes how the hon. member for Zululand dissociates himself from the White Government which wants to maintain the right of existence of the Whites, and if one looks at his eager support of the subversive element, then I ask myself whether this is a normal political party or is it the thin end of the wedge of Communism which in its turn again tries to use the Pan-African movement against the Union of South Africa? What is the rôle of those hon. members? How do they stand towards South Africa? What is their attitude in respect of the rebels who seek to break up the pattern of life of South Africa? With that I leave them there, because the public of South Africa has, thank God, left them there. They have been spewed out by the public. Politically speaking, they do not exist, and it is a very fortunate thing for South Africa that the people of this country understand the position too well to allow them to continue to exist politically.
But when we come to the United Party, the matter is really more difficult. The approach of the United Party, from what I read and again heard here to-day from the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker), makes me think that those gentlemen are sitting and conversing somewhere around the year 1905 or 1910, in a peaceful South Africa in which the relations between the races have to be regulated on a perfectly normal basis. That is why they come along with an amendment in which it is said that this Bill places arbitrary powers in the hands of the Executive. Now the only arbitrary power I can discern is the powers in connection with the control of fire-arms, a very common arbitrary power.
And the 12 days.
That is something different which is contained in another leg of the amendment, and I shall come to it. But that is the only arbitrary power the Executive takes here. Nowhere else in the Western world is the possession of fire-arms controlled in any other way than by the arbitrary power of the executive. In fact, South Africa is, in my opinion, one of the countries in the world which is most lenient in regard to the private possession of fire-arms.
Then I come to the point in the amendment which the hon. member for Springs has just referred to, which says that this Bill unduly invades the liberties of the subject. That might refer to the bail and it might refer to the shifting of the onus of proof in cases of intimidation. For the rest, the amendment reads that the individual is deprived of the protection of the courts. Mr. Chairman, we must judge this matter against the background of reality. What is the background? Are we living in a peaceful 1910 world, or are we in a 1961 world? Should we as legislators not take cognizance of the realities of the position and the fact that South Africa is being put to the test, and if a nation is put to the test there are really only two yardsticks which can be used in judging the actions of that nation. The first is whether that nation prepares itself for the test, and the second is whether it has the courage to stand up to that test. If one looks at the realities of the situation, one finds that what South Africa is fighting for is for the right of the White people to continue living in the White areas of South Africa together with the Coloureds and the Asiatics, against the demands of the Black majority in South Africa, supported by the whole Pan-African movement, which wants to force everybody who is not Black out of this continent. That is the position we have to prepare to meet. Are these measures too strict? The hon. Member for Springs referred to the walls built around Rome. He probably referred to the line of fortifications stretching from the Danube up to the lowlands which was broken by the Goths, and he argued that lines of fortifications were not enough. Let me remind the hon. member of another incident in Roman history which holds a great lesson for us, namely when the legions of Varus were destroyed by the Teutons in the Teutoburger Forest. That destruction was achieved under the leadership of a Teuton who had formerly served in the Roman Army and in whom the Roman authorities had placed great trust, and the historian Patercullus wrote the following about this defeat—
Is that not a lesson we should remember from that bit of Roman history? All catastrophes start with a sense of security. We should not think that we are sitting here safely and that the Pan-African movement is just talk and nonsense. Those are facts and we must make preparations timeously. We should also remember the other part of the quotation, that nobody can be overwhelmed sooner than he who fears nothing.
The witches in ‘Macbeth” said that security was man’s greatest enemy.
Caesar did some planning, but he came off second best.
It is no vice in a Government to appreciate danger. And is this Bill now too far-reaching in the circumstances? Let us test this Bill as a preparatory measure. In the first place, there is the provision, which is the provision most criticized in the Bill, that a person can be detained for 12 days without being granted bail if the Attorney-General considers that he falls within a certain category of people. Mr. Speaker, is that a great hardship to the citizen? The citizen who makes himself guilty of actions which in the opinion of the Attorney-General constitute a danger to the State, or which in the opinion of the Minister of Justice constitute a danger to the State (because the hon. members say that the Minister of Justice is behind the Attorney-General), can it be said that his liberties are unduly invaded if he can be detained for 12 days instead of for two days, i.e. ten days extra? Is that not the practical approach? How will one within two days prepare a mass of sworn statements if the court has to decide on the desirability or not of granting bail? If one takes into consideration the realities of this critical period in which we are living and the seriousness of our struggle, then I say that this is a very minor provision, a very conciliatory provision, and the objection to it flows from the spirit revealed here on a previous occasion during this Session by the hon. member for Springs when he spoke in very friendly terms about Kgosane, who was supposed to be a student, and who forfeited his bail of £25. What has been the history in regard to the granting of bail during recent months? One inciter after another has disappeared, and when I refer to an inciter I mean a person who incites the commission of violent acts. They pretend not to be inciting violent acts, but violence is always implied. I have here a pamphlet which is again being distributed in Cape Town, more particularly amongst the Coloureds, and it says—
There again we have the suggestion of violence. It is these agitators we refer to. Are they immediately to be released on bail? Can they be trusted to turn up at their trial against payment of £25, £50 or £200 bail? We have seen what happened. Or are we all children who have not even seen what happened during recent months, when accused agitators have left the country and become an even greater danger, and tried even more to mobilize the forces against South Africa? Is that an invasion of liberty?
May I put a question to the hon. member? How does that help? What happens after the 12 days have passed?
That is a good question. I said that in regard to the 12 days I personally feel that it is a short time, but seeing that we want to make concessions, a period of 12 days at least gives the police an opportunity to prepare the affidavits to be used in any possible hearing in regard to the granting of bail. In connection with every case, the facts can be put down in writing and sworn to and made available to the magistrate or to the Supreme Court, if the matter is referred to that court. It is an enormous task to take down all these affidavits in writing. To that extent the period of 12 days helps.
Particularly when there are 30 accused persons.
Yes, and perhaps many more than 30.
The only other serious provision in this Bill is the shifting of the onus of proof in cases of intimidation. In this regard we have already seen how very difficult it is to prove intimidation. Everybody who is not deliberately deaf and blind to the problem knows that from the very nature of the matter it is very difficult to prove that the Bantu in a location have been intimidated by certain of their compatriots, and in the exceptional cases where such a person is caught and evidence has to be produced, every one of those witnesses expose themselves to the attentions and the revenge of the other “ spoilers ”. Of course there is not only one intimidator. Therefore it is fair and just that the suspected intimidator should have to prove his innocence. It is the simplest thing in the world to prove that one has not done any intimidating. It is quite easy to do so. It is not a heavy onus. No, if we analyse the reaction of the United Party in this debate, then I ask myself: Do they want to prepare? Do they want South Africa to retain a fighting spirit to preserve the right of self-determination of the Whites in the common fatherland of White people, Coloureds and Indians, or do they want to capitulate? I believe that the majority of hon. Members over there feel like that. Not hon. Members like the hon. member for Wynberg who did not have the moral courage to remain with the Progressives where he feels at home, but hon. members of the United Party like the hon. member for Springs, who deserve the title “ honourable ”, do not want to capitulate. They also want to prepare. But then I have a much greater grievance against them. It is that they, who are really convinced in their hearts that they want to fight for the preservation of the White portion of South Africa, that they who want to prepare to maintain the right of self-determination, hide that deep sentiment of theirs for the sake of cheap political gain, for the sake of a little propaganda, for the sake of adopting an attitude which will still give them a little grace in the eyes of the English-language Press on which they are dependent, because the United Party is the lackey of the English Press. That is why they must repeatedly adopt this semiliberal attitude, so that they will not estrange the great masters of the English Press which still gives them a little life, and in order that the English Press in South Africa will not support the Progressives. If this is the explanation, one can just ascribe very unfriendly motives to the members of the United Party, viz. that they in fact do violence to their consciences by acting in this way in the debate.
This Bill does not affect anybody who does not make himself liable to the effects of the Bill. It does not affect the White man who does not make himself liable to the provisions of the Bill, nor the Coloured, nor the Bantu. But, and with this I want to conclude, I just want to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and those who feel as I do, and I believe that is the great majority of the population of South Africa, also of the ordinary members of the United Party, to say that we are glad to have this legislation, and particularly are we glad of the spirit behind it. We do not intend to abandon our right of self-determination or to reduce it without doing anything about it. Let those non-Whites who want to co-operate with us be assured of our greatest goodwill and that attempts will be made and schemes evolved to meet them as far as possible. But when it comes to our right of self-determination, those who are not with us are against us. When it comes to a struggle I say that this struggle should not be commenced lightly and it will not be concluded lightly and that it will not be fought with kid gloves. Let us begin to understand each other in South Africa and in Africa, that we intend to fight for ourselves and to maintain our position against all external attacks and against the implied undermining of this small party which sits over there and against the weakness of the United Party which have not yet got so far as to play the role which they owe it to the people to play as a responsible Opposition.
I agree entirely with the hon. member who has just sat down that the White people in South Africa have the right to maintain themselves and to see that White civilization is maintained in South Africa. But he must not deny the same right to the Coloured people. What is right for the White man in this country, is right for the Coloured man in South Africa, and the hon. Member cannot deny them the rights which he himself has used in the past. He cannot deny that right to the people I represent in this House. I would like to ask the hon. member for Van-derbijlpark (Dr. de Wet) who is not present whether if in fact at any time there has been a law passed in this Parliament to forbid agitation for a republic, whether he or any member of the Nationalist Party would have accepted that law? They would have felt that this was a law affecting their rights.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, I am answering certain arguments used and I hope, Sir, you will allow me the same latitude as you allowed the last speaker and others. It is difficult to confine oneself to the exact wording without bringing in some of the arguments used, and I would like to show, as other hon. Members have done—and in your absence, Sir, the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark spoke about anything except the Bill …
Mr. Chairman, I would ask you to permit me to put the case of the Coloured people, and to tell the House …
It is not aimed at them.
The hon member says “ Dit is nie teen hulle nie ”. The hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) said “ Dit is net vir die kaffers ”.
That is not true. Where did I say that?
Here in the House.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is telling an untruth.
Order! The hon. member must accept the hon. member’s word.
Mr. Speaker, I will forgive him because he knows not what he does.
Order! The hon. member must accept unreservedly.
I accept without any reservation the statement that the hon. member now makes. The hon. member for Prinshof (Mr. Visse) said that this Bill is introduced to protect the law-abiding people against what is going to happen at the end of this month. I want to say that this Bill which we are now asked to pass won’t prevent the Coloured people from demonstrating against the establishment of a republic in regard to which they were not consulted, and they have told the Government that they are going to demonstrate. They have told the Government, Mr. Speaker, that “We, the Coloured people wanted to be with the White people of South Africa. We are the natural allies of the White people. You have made it impossible for us to co-operate with you ”. And that is why they have said that they will demonstrate at the end of the month. They have made no secret of the fact.
With the Natives?
Not with the Natives. And if they did go with the Natives, who has forced them to go with the Natives? The Nationalists!
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, can you give us any indication of what this has to do with the Bill?
With respect, I would like to ask the hon. member why he did not put the same question when the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark spoke? I would try to confine myself to this Bill and point out that the hon. the Minister now intends to prevent the Coloured people from showing in a decent manner their antipathy to the republic which will be established on 31 May.
Where does this Bill refer to the republic or to the Coloured people?
It refers to the fact that they cannot do certain things.
The Coloured people can no longer, after this Bill has been passed, come together to demonstrate, because if they do they would be committing a crime. That is what this Bill means!
Only when a demonstration has been prohibited.
But with due respect, Sir, you are not going to allow any demonstration. You are going to prohibit demonstrations, are you not? I would like to ask the hon. Minister: Will he allow the Coloured people to demonstrate? The case of the Coloured people is unanswerable. The hon. Minister says that they will only be committing a crime when the demonstration has been prohibited. But now I want to ask the hon. the Minister: Will he or will he not prohibit that demonstration?
Which demonstration are you referring to?
They are going to demonstrate. They wrote to the hon. the Prime Minister and the letter was published in the Press.
The impudent letter?
Order! If the hon member wants to ask a question, he must stand up and ask for permission.
The Coloured people make no secret of the fact that they have been forced to protest. Instead of being a happy people, they are now a frustrated people. They are anxious to play their part in South Africa as full citizens. You see, Mr. Speaker, all the speakers on the other side, have said that the Black man has no right to South Africa, that they have no right to claim.
Who said that?
Where were you born?
I was born in South Africa and not in Germany. The Coloured man, Mr. Speaker, will claim, and continue to claim, his rights as a citizen of this country. The hon. member for Vanderbijlpark asked the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) what spirit he was referring to in his speech. Let me inform the House that the spirit of the Coloured people is that they will ask, and will continue to ask; and they will demonstrate, and will continue to demonstrate until such time as the rights to which they are entitled as citizens of this country, are granted to them. Lawyers have tried to justify Clause 4. On the one side they have tried to justify the Bill as printed while on the other side, they have tried to show—and I think with a certain amount of success—that the hon. Minister is asking for powers which are completely unnecessary. Every lawyer must know that when a man is arrested he may be detained for 48 hours and that he must be charged formally during these 48 hours, but hon. Members should know that in 99 cases out of 100, a remand is asked for for 14 days in order to enable the Crown to prepare the charge properly and to collect the evidence against the accused. That is the procedure to-day, and it works well. The right that an accused has to-day, is to go to the magistrate and to say that he wants bail. When his case is remanded for 14 days, he is entitled to bail.
You say that this procedure has worked well so far, but has it worked for Kgosana?
Why pick out this man? It has not worked well either with some White people, financiers who ran away also. You do get cases where it does not work well—that I concede. I am not going to go into the merits of the case of Kgosana but I would like to say, if you will allow me to, Mr. Speaker, that he was stabbed in the back by the Government who made him a promise. [Interjections.] But I admit that there are cases where people have estreated their bail but that has occurred very seldom, very seldom indeed. I want to repeat that a charge must be laid within 49 hours after a man’s arrest. After that, there is usually a remand and the accused is then entitled to his bail. The magistrate has the right to grant or to refuse that bail in the light of certain facts which are brought to his notice. But the right is there for the accused to apply to the Supreme Court. But this right is denied in this Bill. I think the hon. member for Germiston (District) (Prof. Fourie) made a point when he said that far from us helping the individual, we were by legislation continually taking away rights from the individual.
From certain individuals.
No. The hon. member for Prinshof said that this Bill applied to everybody.
Everybody who does not obey the law!
Wherever you take away a right, you take away the right of an individual.
The right of a criminal.
He is not yet a criminal because he has not yet been found guilty. No man is a criminal until such time as he has been found guilty and you cannot prejudge him. God help these unfortunates if those hon. gentlemen were to be the Judges in a High Court of Parliament! They would then be declared criminals before they were convicted. Mr. Speaker, we have to pass laws which are intelligent laws and which are not oppressive of the rights of the individual. I say that the powers which the Minister asks for in this Bill are unnecessary. There need be no change. The Minister wants to take powers to himself which rightly belong to the courts and to the Judges. Apart from these rights being taken away from the Judges, the rights of the individual are being taken away. I would like to remind hon. members—and I think the hon. Minister would not mind because I do not blame him for what happened in certain cases—that during the emergency last year, many Natives disappeared from the streets of Cape Town, Natives who were completely innocent. The hon. Minister came to my assistance in one or two cases and found out what happened to them. They were then released because it was found that there was not the slightest evidence against them. There was a certain Native whose pass was taken away from him by an agitator …
But that has nothing to do with this Bill.
Only in so far, Sir, as that man would in terms of this Bill be put in gaol for 14 days while he is completely innocent. As I said his pass was taken away from him but he went to work. There the police asked him where his pass was and when he said his pass was taken away from him, they said to him that they did not believe him. So they put him in gaol where he remained for three weeks. The hon. Minister was kind enough to go into the facts of the case and he found that the facts I submitted to him were correct. The man was then released after having been in gaol for 12 to 14 days—a completely innocent man. It is no use telling me that there were few instances like this. Anyone walking in the street and completely innocent could be taken away and be denied the right—the elementary right which has existed in this country for years— to ask for bail in order that he may place his case before the courts.
Is not the safety of the State more important?
I want to say that I voted against the Banning Bill last year, and I did that on the ground that I considered it would not assist the Government in any way_ whatsoever, and I say again in respect of this Bill, that far from helping the Government in its object of preventing disturbances, of preventing strikes and stay-at-homes, this measure will accelerate those events. I want to make a plea to the Government and to the Nationalist Party—it is already late, but perhaps not too late: The Coloured people do not want to be disobedient; they want to be loyal and to be good citizens of the country. But they ask: Do not bring in this type of legislation because you will not affect us in our right to be first-class citizens.
I want to refer now to Clause 6 (c) of the Bill. This provision, Sir, can bring more innocent people into trouble than guilty people because if an organization, like the Municipal Employers’ Association for instance, knows of a meeting which is going to be banned and it rings up its members telling them of the banned meeting and that they should not go, that organization will be committing an offence. If they were to telephone a member to tell him about the banned meeting and asking him not to go, they would be committing an offence. That is the type of legislation we are being asked to deal with and to pass.
What would be the purpose of him telephoning to the other if the meeting was banned?
Because as an organization, it does not want its members to go to that meeting or to have anything to do with it. That would be an innocent message only to prevent any of its men from breaking the law. Anything is easy to the Government because it is riding the high horse. They have the saracens, the aeroplanes and the tanks behind them but it is not easy for the Coloured man who is fighting for his rights.
Where do you see Coloured people in this Bill?
Fancy asking a question like that! Is this Bill only for the Bantu? If not, who is it for? It is for anybody and I am trying to show that the Coloured people— to take them off the Common Roll this hon. member helped the Government and he also helped to reduce them to second-class citizens—will continue to fight for their rights and under this Bill they cannot do so. This Bill, Mr. Speaker, is going to do a considerable amount of harm to the relationship between the Coloured and the European, and I want to warn the Government that if the Coloured people act different to what it expects of them, then it must blame this type of legislation for it.
This Bill deals with various matters; Clause 2 concerns weapons and ammunition, Clause 4 concerns bail, Clause 6 deals with a better definition of what is considered to be undermining activities and another clause deals with penalties. When I listen to what hon. members opposite have to say in this debate then I cannot describe it as anything else but a consolidated united effort to try and jeopardize the attempt by this side of the House to create a front. In this Bill the National Party is gradually and systematically creating a front against a front which is being formed in South Africa, a front which is integrated with and which forms part of the whole front which is taking shape here in Africa before our eyes every day. Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand that my hon. Friends opposite are either too stuoid or too ignorant, or wilfully blind, or so filled with hatred towards the National Party, or so filled with hatred towards everything that is Afrikaans, or so filled with hatred and resentment towards everything that is White, or so filled with a love for everything that is anti-White and non-White that they cannot appreciate what we are busy with here.
Mr. Speaker, I am not going into detail on these small matters. I say that this Bill as I see it is a definite step in the direction— although in my opinion it is not quite perfect and although I do not agree in every respect in regard to its object and its ultimate aim— of the forming of a front against a bigger front with which we have to contend in South Africa and which is part of an even bigger front in Africa. That is a definite fact to anyone who knows what is happening outside and inside the boundaries of South Africa. But the mistake which the hon. members make is this. This is not England or Europe; South Africa is not the Congo. South Africa is not just any country in Africa. This is South Africa and it simply cannot be governed on the pattern of any European country where there is a homogeneous population, where one can just carry on anyhow and commit falsities with a UN and a Commonwealth in order to save one’s own skin. South Africa has many more interests than England or France has for instance, or than America has. South Africa has many more fronts to look after. South Africa cannot play the false and the double-faced game which is played in other countries and which we see in the world to-day. South Africa is bound by the honesty and the frankness of its policies and to the results of her policy. South Africa dare not play any game. But the hon. members of the Opposition, the hon, Leader of the Progressive Party, are busy playing a game with the non-Whites along the pattern of and as loyal and slavish followers of what is done in other countries. The Government cannot do that and I wish to say at once that the National Party disassociates itself from any of those games which are being played.
Are you talking on behalf of the National Party?
Definitely. If the National Party plays the game being played by others and it does not dissociate itself from it then South Africa is doomed. For that reason the Government wants to do in this Bill what it is compelled to do according to the circumstances and according to the pattern on which South Africa should be governed. The mistake which the poor people opposite make is that …
The mistake which hon. members make is this. This is not Europe, this is not the rest of Africa. This is South Africa and this Act cannot be applied in England. One cannot apply it to any part of Africa. It is applicable only in South Africa because South Africa has peculiar problems which South Africans must face. The impression which one gains over the years is that the Opposition is busy waging another struggle than a South African struggle. I am not interested in European problems; I am not interested in Africa’s problems. I am interested in the problems confronting my country. I must seek my solution. But when I listen to the Opposition I always find a tendency to seek the solution overseas. It always appears as if my hon. friends opposite are influenced from abroad. Because of that, Mr. Speaker, there is the lack of a South African outlook and this legislation …
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I say that this legislation is a true reflection of what must be done to overcome the South African problem. What is that problem? It is that South Africa has undoubtedly come to face the operation of a big front which is on the move in Africa and a part of which is working in South Africa—whether South Africans want to admit it, whether they want to realize it, whether they have the light to see it and whether they are blind enough not to see it, they have to deal with a fact which faces them to-day and they will be confronted by these things on 31 May. This should be borne in mind. This legislation is intended to step into the breach. Although hon. members may regard it as a weak effort in connection with the combating and the formation of a front against that enormous front which is being formed against South Africa, this is a determined effort to oppose the front formed against South Africa, which will come into action against South Africa to an ever-increasing degree. I say that this is at least an attempt and in this I see the value of this legislation. Other steps will definitely have to follow on this legislation in the future.
Further steps will have to follow as the front formed against us develops and once we see its shape more clearly in future. If this is not sufficient more will have to be done. In this Bill an attempt has been made to increase punishment, to make bail more difficult …
We all know that.
I know that you know it. You know so much that your knowledge has become a dangerous thing.
Order! The hon. member must address the Chair.
Now I ask: How does this thing operate against which we must take action by means of this legislation? This front is already revealing itself in certain forms and it can be observed in certain shapes. This legislation aims at bringing the agents to book. That is definite and it is indisputable. It is one of the means and one of the factors through which this front operates. This front is not interested in large numbers. It is interested in a platform, and it has its platform. It has it here in the form of the Opposition sitting over there. But it also has it in the form of a hostile English Press. That is the platform which they enjoy. The agents are not interested in numbers. The agent wants a platform. This legislation which is aimed at checking the agent reaches the core. The aim is to deal with the core in the communist pattern, as it is at present unfolding itself in South Africa. As I was saying, the agent does not want numbers but a platform. Mr. Speaker, no people or agents in the world rejoice more than the agents of this front working throughout Africa when they read what hon. members opposite say. It is a beautiful platform for them. I say that this legislation is intended to arrest one of the main parts of the front formed against South Africa, namely, the agent. Mr. Speaker, he is not as ignorant as the hon. members opposite.
The hon. member must withdraw that.
I withdraw it. Then I say that he is not as uninformed as the hon. members opposite because the agents working here among the Blacks, who want to disturb relationships between White and Black, are trained. We know about this. We know how many Black students go overseas annually to receive their training in Eastern communist countries, not in science but in the technique of undermining, arson and terrorism. Thereafter they come to Africa and infiltrate into South Africa. South Africa has no other weapon against them. Our weapon as we see it at the moment is this Act. Our weapon against them is the power to curb them. I see no other weapon. Do hon. members opposite want to deny that China and Russia are actively engaged in Africa and South Africa, through the medium of trained agents, continuing to develop the pattern of localized uprising and arson and encouraging terrorism as they apply it throughout the world? Are they prepared to deny that it is the work of trained agents? Mr. Speaker, I say that at the moment we have only one method of curbing them and that is the method which we are prescribing in this legislation, based on the information we have about it at the moment. But this is not the only way in which this front operates in South Africa and Africa. The hon. members must not make the mistake of regarding the riots and arson and rumours of strikes in South Africa as localized South African incidents. Oh no, they are coupled with present events in Angola and with what has taken place in Pondoland and in Rhodesia. It is one combined front which is unfolding itself over the whole of Africa and I think we will be unwise and we will be condemned by coming generations if we do not reveal the correct perspective in regard to the operations of this front.
I read in the Natal Mercury this morning that the hon. the Prime Minister of the Federation, Sir Roy Welensky, advocated that Southern Africa should now establish a huge anti-communist front, and I say that this Act is a determined effort and a contribution and an indication of South Africa’s desire to contribute to the establishment of such a front. Various methods could be used in establishing such a front. It can be done in the way in which they do it, by holding periodic conferences at which resolutions are adopted which are then adopted by the outside world. There are at present many conferences taking place in Africa. South Africa can also follow that method. I am a great champion of this method of combating their methods through the medium of anti-communist conferences. But this Act is also one of the methods of combating that front and I ask hon. Members opposite to tell me whether we are wrong in our intention to restrict the agent—leave aside the word agitator and use the milder word agent or propagandist. This is the purpose of this Act and I will in future support with all my might any Act aimed at any of the elements which this front uses in its effort to eliminate the Whites as a stabilizing factor from South Africa and at creating chaos and exploiting that chaos. I subscribe to what those hon. members support in their hearts and what the hon. the Prime Minister has already repeatedly endorsed and what Sir Roy Welensky said, where he stands in the midst of it and is experiencing pressure from that front, namely that the time has now come through the stress of circumstances for the Whites who have not yet accepted Communism to get together and to form an anti-communist front. [Interjections.] I support this Act because it has this tendency and is an attempt to make a contribution to the formation of this big front against the front formed against South Africa. What the hon. members say in connection with human rights and a dictatorship that is developing is pure hypocrisy, if you will allow me to say so, and I mean no harm by it. I am entitled to say it in the light of all the circumstances. It is done for the purpose of deriving political gain. If they want to be honest they will agree with me that everything possible should be done to make a contribution against this tremendous onslaught aimed at us. They must not think that anything that is going to happen here in the form of riots or arson or terrorism, as is being seen in Angola at present, is localized. I ask the hon. members to please see it as a big movement all over the continent which is also aimed at South Africa’s heart and at the Whites in South Africa. Why? Because the White man in South Africa is the only surviving stable factor on the whole continent and the communist front wants to destroy him. Then he can play his game in Africa.
The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
I say that this Act is aimed at enabling the White man to maintain his position as a stabilizing factor. When I listen to my hon. friends opposite then I cannot understand why they have not yet seen the light. I do not know whether they have committed an unpardonable sin at some time or another. [Laughter.] It is as clear as daylight to anybody.
I want to conclude by saying that I support this Act because it is a practical and a positive attempt and is a contribution in the forming of a counter-front against the pattern of the communist front which is already sending its waves over the boundaries of South Africa. That is how I see the present situation in South Africa and hon. members must not underestimate it because if I, as a Nationalist, perish then my hon. friend, the hon. Member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) will perish with me, and also the hon. member for Queenstown (Dr. Steytler). All I ask of them to-day is this. Let us all accept these things. The first is: Accept with me that the onslaught against South Africa is not aimed at the policy of apartheid but at the Whites and it is against this that this Act is trying to create a bulwark. Accept, secondly, that this onslaught against South Africa is not localized and against South Africa alone but against the whole continent of Africa: and thirdly, accent with me the responsibility for if we as Whites must perish then we perish together, and then it is my responsibility as well as yours.
If I understood the hon. member correctly, he said that we should drop all Western yardsticks in order to protect Western civilization. I hope the hon. the Minister will repudiate him, because it is clear that, as a Westerner, he has already perished, because he rejects every ideal our civilization has been known for and for which our forefathers fought. He rejects all the rights of the individual. He says South Africa is not the Congo, but it seems to me that his principles are very much like those of the politicians in the Congo, where only violence and nothing else counts, and where personal freedom no longer matters. [Interjections.] Then one finds this other pathetic phenomenon which one sees so often on the other side. He thinks one can secure the Whites and civilization through laws. I listened to the dangers mentioned by the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark (Dr. de Wet), and what struck me is that the Government can to-day take action against any of those dangers and crimes which he mentioned with the powers which they already have. If they do not act against it, then it is simply because they have not got enough police to do it. Action can be taken against people who commit intimidation.
What about the onus of proof?
I think this is a pathetic moment in the history of South Africa. We are on the eve of a new era in our history and if this Act is passed then we will all enter the new republic less free than we have been in the past. To some extent each individual will lose some of his liberties, those freedoms for which their forefathers fought. The hon. member for Germiston spoke about the “ divine right of kings ” against which our forefathers had to fight, but there seems to be a new concept hatching opposite, namely, “ the divine right of the republic ”, where the rights of people can be taken away. That is what the speech of the previous speaker amounts to. I think the reason why hon. members opposite accept this measure so readily and without any qualms of conscience is because they are all under the impression that it is intended for the other person. That was revealed in certain utterances by certain hon. members, that it is intended for rogues and crooks, and the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn) said that it was only the guilty who would be subjected to the Act. Does he not know how many people were arrested during the last state of emergency and against whom no charge was ever preferred? They were all innocent.
Who says they were innocent, and that there was only not enough evidence against them?
Is this now the new civilization, that a man is guilty even though there is no evidence against him? [Interjections.] It surprises me that an hon. member who is a member of the Bar can say such things. If we decrease the personal rights of people, then hon. members must realize that we decrease the rights of every one of us. I want to quote an historical example. They ought to know that there was once a Nazi régime in Germany, and that certain arbitrary powers were introduced to detain people without trial on a large scale. What they perhaps do not know is that thousands of Nazis were detained after the war under the same powers, and that those powers were then used against them. This is the best proof that if you decrease personal rights it affects everybody, if not to-day then to-morrow. I am the first one to admit that you cannot have freedom without order. The hon. the Minister gives as his reasons for this legislation the dangers which can affect the social order in the near future and, therefore, he is asking for these powers. I think the hon. the Minister was a little apologetic and he did not say, like the previous speaker, that arbitrary power is a good thing in itself. The hon. the Minister said that South Africa is in a state of danger which could unfold shortly. I do not want to go into the argument as to who is responsible for it. That is not the issue. Let us continue on the assumption of hon. members opposite that, in spite of 13 years of government, they have nothing to do with the present social position, and that their Government has for 13 years had no influence on racial relationships. Let us also accept that those dangers of which the hon. the Minister speaks do exist. Let us see what the dangers are which the hon. the Minister predicts. We an deduce it from the clauses of the Act. Clause 4 reads that if someone is arrested the Attorney-General, if he deems it to be in the interest of public safety and of the maintenance of public order, can issue an instruction that the person be detained for 12 days without bail. The hon. the Minister says that the purpose of the clause is that the court cannot today on the grounds of the safety of the public or the maintenance of public order refuse bail. I am inclined to think that this is a good reason for refusing bail, but why does the hon. the Minister not give the court that power? He sees that shortcoming in the judicial system, but why does he not correct it in the right place, at court level? Why does he give arbitrary powers to the Attorney-General? The hon. the Minister knows as well as I do that, to a great extent, the Attorney-General is guided by the police. Why does the hon. the Minister not place that power where it belongs—in the court—where there is still a measure of independence to judge between the story of the accused and that of the prosecutor? If the hon. the Minister will concede on that point it will be an enormous improvement in the Act. Then he has the necessary power because the court can then refuse to grant bail, and not only for 12 days, but for as long as is necessary according to the case.
Then there is Clause 5, which adds murder and arson to the offences for which the hon. the Minister may refuse a trial by jury. What are the hon. the Minister’s reasons? He says there are certain types of murder cases and cases of arson where there are so many accused that the jury cannot cope with the case because the facts become too complicated. But what is peculiar is that in the example which he quoted the accused himself chose a Judge. That is his right, after all. Let him make the choice himself. His advocate will realize that it will be better to have a Judge in a case where the facts are so involved.
It has already been taken away from them in eight Acts.
Those were special Acts, and it does not mean that the principle is sound. In the case of some of those offences a case can be made out for him. If one bears in mind that for murder the punishment is probably the death sentence, then it is a terrible thought that, as the Act now stands, the life of an accused could depend on one person only, since there is no compulsion on the Judge to appoint assessors. This is a further reason why this proviso is unnecessary, because on the hon. the Minister’s own case it was not necessary.
Then I come to Clause 8, which places the onus of proof on the accused, and which extends the crime of intimidation enormously, so that it does not have to be committed only in connection with work. It has been explained time and again what the results of this Act will be, namely, that it will extend the scope for crime tremendously. The new principle of placing on the accused the onus of proving his innocence is also being introduced. This onus, together with the new powers which the hon. the Minister takes, means that the person must wait 12 days before he can prove his innocence. The hon. the Minister has, in any case, already got the power in connection with intimidation in regard to work. The hon. the Minister says it must also cover the case where someone wants to go to a shop and is intimidated. It should not be beyond the intelligence of the hon. the Minister’s legal advisers to amend this clause so that it will also cover interference with the ordinary manner of life of the individual. But now the scope is being made so wide that it covers any demonstration. In all democratic countries where demonstrations are held to exercise moral pressure on the Government it has always been accepted that it is a form of letting off steam and it is often a good social function, because the people make their demonstration and then go home satisfied, but now this is also being made an offence. Here again we see the same process of the hon. the Minister. If he wants to-kill a mosquito he uses a sledge hammer. Here again the Act can be redrafted carefully so as to cover only those types of crimes which the hon. the Minister has in mind. As it stands at present, it is a much wider restriction of the rights of the individual than is necessary. Here again the hon. the Minister will do the country a service if he would rather amend this clause so that it will not be so wide, but only have relation to the type of offence which he has in mind. I am sure the Act will have a good influence if it is amended as I suggest. This continually taking of arbitrary powers will, for as long as South Africa is part of the Western world, only have the opposite effect, in spite of the fact that hon. members opposite think that it strengthens South Africa, and that it creates confidence in South Africa. While South Africa wants to maintain good relations with the Western world, these things will not help her, and the world will only criticize her for her deeds. If the hon. the Minister sees dangers for which he requires extra powers, then let him limit it only to combating those particular crimes, and not take powers which are far wider and which limits the personal liberties of every individual, even if it is only for one year.
The type of argument which the hon. member for Jeppes (Mr. Cronje) has used, has been used in respect of every one of these laws. We heard these arguments during the debates on the banishment legislation and the communistic legislation, and their attitude is always that they are not defending the people with whom such legislation is dealing. They are not defending the man who is to be banned, or the agitator, or the communist, but their argument has always been that these laws are giving the Minister powers which he can use wrongfully against innocent citizens. To-day they have advanced the same arguments. They say that these powers can be used against anyone and against innocent people. But none of these laws has ever been abused.
Then I should like to be told where they have been abused. I have never heard the hon. member for Hillbrow (Dr. Steenkamp) raising any objections to the effect that the Minister has abused his powers. This legislation has been introduced to deal with agitators, incendiaries and communistic agents, people who want to throw our country into chaos under the guise of peaceful agitation. This legislation has been introduced to deal specifically with these people who have announced publicly that they want to throw South Africa into a state of chaos at the end of May, and no one who has no evil intentions need have anything to fear as far as this legislation is concerned. Mr. Speaker, we are living in serious times, in troubled times, and there are various ways in which one can act at such a time. I want to remind hon. members of how General Smuts acted when he was faced with a state of disorder. He did not wait for legislation of this Parliament. During the 1922 strike he shot the strikers out of hand, and after he had suppressed the strike he took three people who had not even been charged or tried, put them on a ship and deported them. That is how General Smuts acted, and I support his actions wholeheartedly. Thereafter he came to this Parliament and asked for an indemnity.
This is 40 years later.
It is 40 years later and we are now living in far more dangerous times than General Smuts. General Smuts then deported three people …
Very well, nine. The hon. member knows better than I. But General Smuts deported them without having the right to do so and he then obtained indemnity from this Parliament. Is that what they want the Minister to do? Should he, as the hon. member for Standerton (Dr. Coertze) has said, wait until 31 May and then shoot people and detain them illegally and then later ask for indemnity; or is it far better to prevent such a state of affairs arising? When disturbances or trouble arose amongst the Blacks during his time, did General Smuts allow anything to keep him back? No. When a group of criminals hid away at Bulhoek, what did General Smuts do?
How will this measure avoid such a position? What methods will be used?
This Bill gives the Minister and the police the power to prevent these things, or at any rate to try to prevent them. If General Smuts had taken these powers at that time, he could have prevented a great deal of bloodshed. At Bulhoek General Smuts simply gave the order that they should hand over the criminals, and if they did not do so, the police were to shoot. Five hundred of the Israelites were shot dead there. That is how General Smuts dealt with such a position. But hon. members opposite apparently imagine that we are now in the 1930s when there was no such thing as a communist movement here in South Africa. They imagine that we are still living in the 1930s when speeches made on the Parade were regarded as a joke; when people still laughed about such things, when the Parade was nothing but the British Hyde Park. They have apparently never heard of the emergence of Black nationalism throughout Africa; they have apparently never heard of the march of Communism throughout the world. They have apparently never heard of the increasing power of Communism in South Africa, and they do not realize that we must adjust ourselves to meet these developments. We are living here in a jungle and they want us to rule this country with the rules of the S.P.C.A. No, they will be gobbled up before breakfast. They want to rule the country by using the rules of the S.P.C.A. What disturbs me greatly is this: I say that we are living in serious times and that we do not know what to expect in this month of May. The position is uncertain. There is only one thing of which we are very certain, and that is that the republic is to be established on 31 May, but for the rest we are not so certain about what is going to happen. There are many rumours. There are rumours of strikes, processions, incendiarism and bloodshed. I cannot say how serious these rumours are, but I have spoken to members of the Progressive Party and they are under the impression that these rumours are very serious, that very serious things are going to happen in the month of May.
They should know.
I have had conversations with leading members of the United Party and a leading member of the United Party has asked me what I think of the position. I said that I thought that we would get through, that the Government had the position well under control, that we would be able to establish the republic in peace and friendship and I did not think that anything would happen. His words to me were: Blaar, if you manage that, it will be the greatest triumph the National Party has ever achieved. They therefore know that the position is serious. But apparently they consider the position to be far more serious than I do. These people say that serious things are going to happen. Those people say that if we can reach 31 May without bloodshed, it will be a triumph for the Government.
Who are “ these people ” and “ those people ”?
These hon. members (the Progressive Party) and those hon. members (the United Party). What I find so greatly disturbing is that those hon. members expect trouble and these hon. members expect trouble. They expect strikes, disturbances, incendiarism and chaos. I am still waiting for one single member of the United Party to rise and make an anneal to the Coloureds and the Bantu not to take part in these disturbances. Not one single member has done so. Let the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) rise or let him persuade his leader to rise here and make an appeal to the Coloureds in the Western Cape not to associate themselves with these things. Let him make a plea to them …
He will not.
It does not matter whether they are entitled to do so; it does not matter whether conditions are bad; that has absolutely nothing to do with the matter. The fact remains that they expect trouble in May. They expect disturbances, strikes, and incendiarism. They know that this will emanate from the Bantu, and possibly from the Coloureds if they listen to the agitators amongst them, and possibly from the Indians if they listen to the agitators amongst them, and possibly from the Moslems if they listen to the agitators amongst them. But has the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) who has influence amongst these people, ever risen and told them: For heaven’s sake do not do so during the month of May.
Has any of them ever condemned the Congress at Pietermaritzburg?
No, the Leader of the Opposition rose here and acted as the spokesman for that congress which was held at Pietermaritzburg. Not one single word of condemnation has come from hon. members opposite. To tell the truth, they have continuously been giving veiled encouragement to these people to continue with their intimidation, their incendiarism and their strikes. What have we had from hon. members opposite thoughout this debate? The hon. member for Zululand (Mr. R. A. F. Swart) had only one theme this afternoon, namely that these people are entitled to act as they are acting, because they are oppressed; they are being deprived of their human rights. What else can we expect except strikes, processions, bloodshed and all these things? And the irresponsible member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) has carried on in exactly the same way.
Order! The hon. member must not use the word “ irresponsible ”.
Sir, is it unparliamentary to say that an hon. member is irresponsible? If that is so, then there are simply no words with which I can describe him.
The hon. member may proceed.
Then I shall say that this hon. member for Boland whose sense of responsibility is so very much absent. He has risen this afternoon and said: “ We shall agitate and we have done so.”
I did not say that.
The hon. member did not use the words “ Coloured people ”. He said “ We will agitate and we will demonstrate ”. If one uses that type of language during these times in which we live, it means only one thing, namely that one is encouraging these people to agitate, to demonstrate, to strike, and to commit incendiarism before 31 May.
You do not understand English.
You did say that.
The hon. member said that and I challenge him to quote from his Hansard as soon as it is ready and I hope that this debate will continue long enough so that I can rub what he has said still further under his nose so that he can smell how bad an odour it has. That is the reaction which we have had from hon. members opposite. There sits the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn). He has held umpteen meetings in the Boland. Has he ever made an appeal to the Bantu and the Coloureds not to participate in strikes during May? Has he ever told them that they should not cause trouble before 31 May?
It is pointless our bluffing ourselves. We know after all for what this measure is providing. It is a temporary measure and it is intended to give the Minister the power to try to prevent bloodshed before 31 May. That is the only reason why this measure has been introduced. Hon. members opposite expect trouble to a far greater extent than hon. members on this side but they will not make one single appeal to these people, not even the hon. member for Springs.
Has the Government done so?
Of course the Government has made an appeal. During his introductory speech the Minister made an appeal and not only did he make an appeal, but he also issued a warning, because this measure has nothing to do with the peace-loving Bantu, with 95 per cent, I feel inclined to say with 99 per cent, of the Bantu. This Bill has nothing to do with 99 per cent of the Coloureds and 99 per cent of the Indians because as the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) has said, it is this small group of agents who are responsible for this vast agitation, this fantastic intimidation which is taking place. We must remember what happened last year. Last year Cape Town to a large extent was in the grip of the Bantu and of the intimidators. The only way by which their hold could be broken was to call out the army and to beat them off the streets. Does the hon. member for Springs want a repetition of that? Hon. members opposite have not made an appeal aimed at calming these people. Let the Leader of the Opposition rise and say: “We differ from the Government. We shall oppose this Government.” He can even go so far as to say that he is going to oppose this legislation, but let him tell the country: “ If you start strikes, disturbances, incendiarism, then remember that we stand by the Government.”
He has said so on many occasions.
He has not said so. He is trying to justify the actions of these people. He has told the Minister: You do not require these powers. The whole theme of the speech of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition was that if these developments take place, then the Government is responsible because of the Government’s oppressive measures, instead of their taking the side of the Government and the White man. One cannot imagine a more irresponsible attitude than that adopted by hon. members opposite during this debate. Here we are dealing with a position which they even more than we regard as a crisis, and they simply refuse to give any assistance. That is why I can come to no other conclusion than that these people will welcome trouble before 31 May. That is why the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) gave vent to such an irresponsible statement as his remark that this Government is preparing for civil war. On a point of order, is the hon. member for Wynberg entitled to sit and read in this House while the debate is taking place?
I am preparing myself for the debate.
I now tell the hon. member that that is not true. What book does the hon. member have there?
What does that have to do with you?
Order! The hon. member may proceed.
The hon. member for Wynberg has made these irresponsible statements to the effect that the Government is preparing for civil war. A civil war against whom and against what? The hon. member with his record in this country, the hon. member who is too afraid to join the Progressives where he belongs, the hon. member who first got them into trouble and then scrambled back to the United Party with his tail between his legs.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
He ran back faster to the United Party than he ran away from Cairo.
The hon. member for Zululand has asked whether all these laws and the banning of the A.N.C. and the P.A.C. have brought about better relations in South Africa. I think they have helpea a great deal. But I hold that hon. member and the Progressive Party responsible for the fact that relations in South Africa are still as bad as they are to-day. But I must not blame them entirely, because they have far less influence than they think they have. I hold the United Party and an agitator like the hon. member for Wynberg responsible …
Order! The hon. member must withdraw that.
I withdraw. I shall not say that he is an agitator, but I shall say that apart from Luthuli, there is no more an irresponsible person than he. I have never yet heard Luthuli speak of civil war, but he has come and spoken of civil war. If he is afraid that there is going to be civil war, why does he not want to give the Minister the necessary powers to enable him to prevent civil war? Because he would like to see civil war; because he would like to see trouble and bloodshed before 31 May. If relations are so bad—the relations between White and non-White are by no means so bad in South Africa; the relations between the Whites and 90 per cent of the Bantu are not bad at all; there is only one relationship that is bad and it is very bad indeed, and that is the relationship between this Government and the agitators in this country, the relationship between this Government and the Luthulis, the Kgosanas, the African National Congress and the Pan-Africanists. Between the Government and those people relations are as bad as they can be, and as far as I am concerned, the worse they become, the better. But they are trying to extend the influence of these people. And what is the English Press doing in South Africa? Read the latest Sunday Times. It could just as well be the mouthpiece of every subversive organization in South Africa; it could just as well be the mouthpiece of the African National Congress or the Pan-Africanists. They are responsible for the fact that there are bad relations in South Africa. And then the hon. member for Zululand complains about the terrible injustice which is now being committed in that people will now be imprisoned without trial. He is the man who says that there is a crisis in this country; it is hon. members opposite who say that there is a crisis in this country. I just want to ask the hon. member for Zululand: If there is a crisis in one’s country, is it such a terrible thing to imprison people without trial? During the war, when the hon. member for Salt River, the hon. member who sits in front of him, considered it necessary because he was of the opinion that there was a crisis in the country, he imprisoned Whites in their thousands and their tens of thousands, and seen from his point of view there was nothing wrong in what he did—seen from his point of view. He really considered that there was a crisis in South Africa. Hon. members opposite now say that there is a war going on. But we are faced with a cold war in the world to-day. I do not say that on my own authority; I say that on the authority of President Kennedy and Mr. Macmillan. I say that on the authority of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, of Sir Roy Welensky, and anyone who wants to be a little realistic will realize that the position in South Africa as far as our internal security is concerned is far more critical than it was at any stage during the war. What did the hon. member for Salt River do at that time?
He is sleeping.
When he is not being ordered out, he sits and sleeps.
Order! The hon. member must withdraw those words immediately.
I withdraw. In any case I am glad that I have now at least woken the hon. member up. During the war he imprisoned people without trial because he wanted to prevent bloodshed. South Africa to-day is involved in a cold war and the rest of Africa is involved in a cold war, just as many other countries are involved in a cold war. Every country in the world, when it considers that its internal security is in danger, resorts to this type of measure. Did England hesitate for a moment before deporting Archbishop Makarious from his country when they considered it to be in their interests to do so? [Interjections.] Yes, I do not want to mention what the Portuguese are doing, but I want to discuss what their friends are doing. What is their friend, Dr. Nkrumah, doing? He has locked his opposition up. Mr. Speaker, we are involved in a cold war. The Progressives expect trouble and the United Party expect trouble and this Bill is being introduced merely to prevent trouble and bloodshed.
I just want to ask the hon. member whether the Coloureds have not written a letter in which they have stated clearly what they intend doing?
I do not know of a letter which the Coloureds have written. The hon. member must not claim that he represents the Coloureds here. He is quite clearly representative of the extremists, of the agitators, amongst the Coloureds. He has no contact with the general mass of the Coloureds.
The hon. member must now come back to the Bill.
The hon. member for Zululand has asked: Is this Bill the forerunner of large-scale arrests in South Africa? I think that depends far more on the hon. member for Zululand than on the Minister. Whether this Bill is the forerunner of large-scale arrests does not depend on the Minister or on the Commissioner for Police; it depends on how the agitators and the friends of those hon. members behave themselves during the next month, but if they behave themselves in such a way that there is the slightest indication that there will be trouble or bloodshed while the republic is being established, then I hope the Minister will arrest as many people as is necessary. I do not see any great objection to people being imprisoned for 12 days without trial. If the hon. the Minister challenges me to move an amendment, then I shall move that the period should be extended, but I think that he would prefer such an amendment to come from hon. members opposite. If there are people who want to commit incendiarism, who want to throw the country in chaos, who want to cause bloodshed, and if it is then necessary to arrest such people on a large scale, then it is quite possible that here and there an innocent person will be arrested and that such an innocent person will then have to sit in gaol for 12 days. If that should happen, we shall be very sorry, but I say that we should rather let a group of innocent people sit in gaol for 12 days than allow one guilty person to go free to commit incendiarism and harm the country. That is the position with which the country is faced and that is the position with which we must deal. The whole attitude of hon. members opposite towards South Africa, their attitude towards the internal security of South Africa is typified by a remark made by the hon. member for Boland while he was referring to Kgosana. He did not have one word of condemnation for Kgosana’s actions; not one single word of condemnation of the fact that he has committed an offence by fleeing the country while on bail. He approves of that. He then defended Kgosana with these words: “ Kgosana was stabbed in the back by this Government.” That is what he said—not one word of condemnation because Kgosana incited those people in this country; not a word of condemnation of the fact that he abused his position at the University of Cape Town in order to undermine the security of the country. Not a word of condemnation of the fact that he has committed fraud and left the country after taking an oath that he would remain in the country if released on bail. No, the hon. member comes here and he justifies Kgosana’s criminal record and he says that this Government has stabbed him in the back.
The police made a promise to him.
The hon. member has made a fuss about that, but the hon. member has no objection to the fact that Kgosana has fled the country while out on bail. That is typical of the attitude of the whole Opposition; that is typical of the attitude of the Progressive Party and of the United Party. They are not acting as the mouthpiece of the Bantu, the Coloureds or the Indians; they are acting as the mouthpiece of the agitators amongst the Bantu, amongst the Indians and amongst the Coloureds. These are the people on whose behalf the Opposition parties are speaking.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member did not hear what I said. I said: “You sold the Coloured people out.”
Order! I can hear the hon. member quite well; as a matter of fact he makes too many interjections.
I want to conclude by just associating myself with the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn). I just want to tell hon. members opposite this: The Government will take every possible step to maintain law and order in this country. We are now sick and tired of what they call individual freedom. There is more than adequate freedom for every individual, but it is now high time that the freedom of the inciters and the agitators and the incendiaries in South Africa should be restricted. That is the only freedom which is to be restricted. If hon. members want to continue associating themselves with these people, then that is their affair. Let them do so. The people will reject them even more conclusively than they have done in the past. They must understand one thing and this is crystal clear: The overwhelming majority of the people, the overwhelming majority of the Black people, and the overwhelming majority of the Coloureds and the Indians would like to have peace during this month of May; they would like to continue with their work. They do not want to strike, and for the sake of these people and for the sake of peace in South Africa, the Government will not hesitate to take every possible step to preserve peace. We shall preserve peace in South Africa and we shall preserve peace and security during the month of May, whether we have the assistance of hon. members opposite or not.
Every time the Government introduces a Bill of this kind I have a greater sense of foreboding, and every time I hear a speech such as the one we have just had from the hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) my heart sinks a little further. Listening to this debate which has taken place over the last two afternoons, I have a strong impression that hon. members on the other side are not happy. They are not happy in their heart of hearts about this measure. The character of some of their speeches seems to me to indicate that they do not feel themselves on very sure ground. Let me just refer to one or two comments. There was the hon. member for Vereeniging who said just now that, as he saw the situation, every time the Government introduced a Bill designed to protect the State against the agitator, then the Opposition immediately attacked the Bill. My answer to that is that we have had a sequence of Bills, and is the situation any better to-day than it was five years ago? No, it is much worse.
It would have been much worse if there had been no legislation of this kind.
If the situation were better, there might be some validity in his comment, but he himself has admitted that the situation to-day is worse. He says, to use his own words, that we are in greater danger to-day than at the outbreak of the last Great War. The logic of our argument has therefore been proved by the hon. member’s own statement. The hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn) pointed to the Progressive Party and asked: “What is the role that that party is playing in this House?”
Yes, we would like to know.
I will tell the hon. member for Standerton and the hon. member for Kempton Park. It is a very clear role, a very simple role most easily understood. The role of the Progressive Party is to put before South Africa an alternative policy for the time that will come when the granite shatters. When the granite shatters and lies strewn across the South African political scene, then there must be an alternative, a just, reasonable, policy for South Africa. That is the policy which the Progressive Party is putting before the country. That is the role that this party is playing. I would remind the House that it was the hon. member for Kempton Park who said that opposition to apartheid should be high treason. In terms of what he said, then we are guilty of high treason and we will go on being guilty of high treason, because we oppose “ baasskap apartheid ”. It is this policy of “ baasskap apartheid ” that is going to shatter the granite and put South Africa in a plight much worse than the hon. member for Vereeniging says we are in at the moment. And, as I say, our role is to put the alternative policy to the country.
I just want to comment on one remark by the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Grey-ling), who took great pride in this Bill. He said it was an exclusively South African Bill. This measure, said the hon. member for Ventersdorp, could not be introduced in any other country. It could not be introduced in Britain, it could not be introduced in any other state of Africa. It was exclusively a South African Bill, a Bill for South Africa.
He gave his reasons too.
All I can ask the hon. member is whether he is not a little bit ashamed of this Bill? Is he not just a little sad about the position in South Africa, if we are the only country that can have a Bill of this kind?
Before I go on to deal in some detail with certain of the provisions of the Bill, I want to make one comment about the introductory portion of the speech of the hon. the Minister. In the course of his speech he referred, among other things, to the conference that has taken place in Pietermartizburg. He gave us details which were supposed to make our hair rise about this conclave in Maritzburg and the “ frightful plot ” that was being hatched there. All I want to say in that regard is that the conference that took place in Pietermaritzburg, took place in the open. Anybody could attend it. The hon. Minister, the Government itself was invited to attend that conference. And the resolution which the hon. the Minister read to this House has been sent to just about everybody in the country, including, I believe, almost every member of this House, including the Minister. So there was nothing secret about it, there was no dark plot there, this was an open meeting which anybody could attend. And what was the keynote of that meeting? That is the significant thing. The keynote of that meeting was a plea for consultation, a plea that before the end of the month, at some stage, somehow, there should be consultation. Could the Government not consult? Could it not just sit down and talk over things with the leaders of the non-European people? Why does the Government not try that? If the situation is as dangerous as the hon. member for Vereeniging says it is, if we are standing in mortal peril, why does the Government not try consultation? What harm can come of consultation?
Did they not say what they wanted after the consultation?
They asked for consultation and they said that they would agitate and demonstrate if they could not get consultation. But the plea was for consultation.
No, the purpose of the conference was something else.
No, I have here the same resolution which the Minister read out which called for consultation. That was the primary purpose of their meeting, a plea for consultation. It is true that they said that if there was not consultation, they would have to demonstrate at the end of the month. But why not try the alternative method? I believe that there is grave concern throughout the country to-day about the situation, and the average man in the street, Sir, is asking for consultation. Why not try the method of consultation? Why not try that before introducing all these other Draconian measures?
We know what they want.
You cannot say that consultation will not bring results unless you try it. How can members on the Government side say that consultation would be no good? It has not been tried. And my point is that it should be tried first. If consultation fails, we may have a different situation to deal with.
They told us what their demands would be.
The hon. the Minister does not know what their demands will be.
But they have said so in their resolution.
Let the Minister sit down with them, let him hear their demands and let them put their case to him. How can people get together unless they consult? No, I say that if there is one thing that the Government stands criminally negligent of this moment, it is the refusal to consult.
To come now to some of the more detailed provisions of the Bill, I want to deal first of all with Clause 2 of the Bill, the provision which deals with the calling up of arms. I want to say immediately that, contrary to what has been said by one or two speakers on the Government side, we made it perfectly clear that we support this provision. We see nothing wrong in calling up arms. But I feel that the hon. the Minister when he replies to the debate should take the House into his confidence on a few points. I would like to know what regulations does the hon. the Minister intend to frame or issue to the police in regard to the call up of arms, because obviously the procedure is going to be that everybody has to come and present their arms and their licences.
It is still to be gazetted.
I know. I feel that the hon. the Minister should take us into his confidence and tell us because there are some points that require looking at. All citizens in South Africa will be asked to present their arms and their licences, and presumably in a great many cases licences will be re-issued and they will be entitled to keep their arms. On what principles is the hon. the Minister going to operate in this regard? What principles are going to be maintained in the instructions and regulations? I think all hon. members of this House would like the situation when as few arms as possible are held by South Africans. In a complete state of peace and order here there would be very little necessity to hold arms, excepting of course, arms for sporting purposes, which is a different matter. But I am talking about arms for protection; pistols, and so forth. So obviously, the fewer the arms that are held the better. The hon. member for Musgrave has mentioned the danger of arms being carried by people who do not know how to handle them. Generally speaking, we do not want too many arms, but it is very important to know what principles are going to be applied and who are going to be allowed to carry arms and who not, and how the whole process is going to be carried out. So I would ask the hon. the Minister to make a statement on that point, something which will be of very great interest to the country.
We next come to Clause 4 which deals with the Attorney-General and the 12-day bail. I am not going into detail because this has been very effectively dealt with by other hon. members. It would appear that first of all the purpose of this clause is to enable the hon. the Minister to detain a few or a very large number of people at once, if he wishes to do so without declaring a state of emergency. Now I would ask the hon. the Minister what happens if he wishes to detain a very large number of people, if he has a swoop and a large number of people are arrested, say 1,000 people as was done during the disturbances last year?
And during the last war.
I am asking the hon. the Minister how this particular section will operate, what is the procedure going to be? The Attorney-General is supposed to issue the order in each instance. How can the Attorney-General deal with 1,000 people suddenly?
The hon. member is asking me what course I intend to follow when the same thing happens as happened during the war when 5,000 people were arrested.
I did not know that 5,000 saboteurs were arrested during the war.
I am simply asking the hon. the Minister how this is going to operate; what are the mechanics of it? He arrests 2,000 or 3,000 people in a large swoop. From what the hon. the Minister has just now said, that is apparently what he intends to do.
I did not say anything of the kind. Why chance your arm?
It is not a case of chancing my arm. I am asking the hon. the Minister what he will do in the event of arresting a large number of people. The Attorney-General has to operate in each instance in order to give his order for bail. How is the Attorney-General and his staff going to single out between the people involved? What method is going to be applied here? Surely, purely from the mechanical aspect, if not from the other points of view which have been so well argued here, is it not better in this case that the magistrate and not the Attorney-General should operate? You have your magistrates’ courts and all the machinery there could deal with a situation like this if there were an emergency, and in each instance surely there is a better chance for those who are being detained where the magistrate operates, who at least can give some consideration on an individual basis. It will be absolutely hopeless for the Attorney-General to issue the orders where there are a large number of people involved and to give individual attention and consideration to every particular case, and that undoubtedly is likely to lay a very serious hardship on a lot of people.
I come to Clause 6 and I want to raise some points there which affect two sections of the community. Clause 6 amends Section 2 of the Riotous Assemblies Act. Now as the Act stands at the moment, the relevant portion of sub-section (4) (a) says—
- (ii) prints, publishes, distributes or, in any manner whatever, circulates a notice convening a public gathering in a public place shall, unless he satisfies the court that he had no knowledge of the prohibition be guilty of an offence …
When the amendment which the hon. the Minister proposes is adopted, then the section will read—
My point here is that this amendment is going to create difficulties in certain directions. First of all I believe it is going to create quite serious difficulties for the Press. It is not always easy, Sir, to discover when there has been a prohibition imposed, and to illustrate that I want to read a quotation from the Langa Commission’s Report. The learned Judge in the Langa Commission of Inquiry’s Report referring to the situation at Langa when the trouble occurred there, said—
That is the broadcast warning that this particular gathering had been banned. Then he says—
He says that he is quite convinced that many of the people who attended that meeting did not realize that it had been banned. The point I want to make here is that under certain circumstances, and this is clearly one of them, it is possible for large numbers of people not to know anything about the banning order. Circumstances of confusion can very easily arise, and people who are not in the slightest bit concerned with any trouble or anything like that, quite innocently going down a street can be caught up in the turmoil and not knowing anything about the banning order, may be caught under these provisions, often quite innocently caught.
And, as regards the Press, hon. members must realize that the Press has to work under very difficult circumstances, and has to work very rapidly, especially in times of crisis. I would give the following circumstances which can easily arise to show you how a provision of this kind can land people in trouble quite innocently. Supposing, for argument’s sake, that a newspaper has carried advertisements in regard to a certain gathering, paid advertisements, advertisements which have been accepted by the newspaper, and that portion of the newspaper goes to press much earlier than the rest. A situation develops, a banning order is issued, and then the newspaper comes out on the streets in its thousands, carrying that particular advertisement in its newspaper columns, quite unwittingly. That newspaper will be guilty under this particular Act.
That is not correct.
That is how I read the clause. Let me read it again—
You have the situation where a meeting is prohibited, has been banned. The banning order has gone out, it is an emergency. After that has been done, and remember we have a situation here when minutes count, it is an emergency situation, and a newspaper is dealing with the situation almost on an hourly basis. Now the section says—
After the proclamation has been published. The paper would be quite in order to publish that proclamation.
With great respect, Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. the Minister does not follow clearly what I am trying to tell him. Earlier on he accused me of distorting something and he was wrong. The Minister must follow this please before he interjects. The hon. the Minister has banned a meeting. Before the banning order is issued, the convenors of that meeting place an advertisement in the Press. That section of the newspaper goes to press a couple of hours ahead of the rest of the newspaper. Then the circumstances develop and an urgent banning order is issued, and proclaimed at that meeting. There is no time to gazette it or to do anything else about it. They rush in with loudspeakers, if you like, or distribute handbills, or do something to announce that the meeting has been banned. But, after that incident, the newspaper appears on the streets containing notices of that meeting. Then the newspaper is guilty of an offence.
But surely one would be reasonable.
That is an excuse often made in this House when we have Draconian proposals. The point is that you can apply it in that way. But that is not all. That may be rather farfetched. But you can have other situations. You could have a developing situation where a newspaper completely bona fides carries an item in its stop press column about a meeting, after the banning order has been proclaimed, and if the hon. the Minister or the Government does not like that particular newspaper and wants to get at it, then that particular newspaper can be pulled up.
Can a newspaper report that a meeting has been banned? That is making it known.
According to the legal advisers, that is not a correct interpretation of the clause.
It is not clear in the Bill, and under certain circumstances the mere fact of reporting that at a certain stage the meeting has been banned can constitute an offence here.
Can you not leave it to the Committee Stage. Why raise it here?
I am leading up to something. I want to give another case to show that this is not as far-fetched as the hon. the Minister thinks. Supposing a meeting is banned, say in front of the police station here in Caledon Square. There is a tremendous assembly in front of the police station and that is banned. It is banned quickly because it is hastily organized, and there is a banning notice. They disperse and re-assemble later on, shall we say here in Church Square. What is the position there? It is the same meeting. But the newspaper in the meantime publishes an account and says “ the crowd which had gathered at Caledon Square when told that the meeting was banned, dispersed and re-assembled on Church Square ”. The same meeting, the same crowd. What is the position there? I feel it is not clear here. I do not think the hon. the Minister has thought out fully all the implications of this particular clause. I believe it is going to lay difficulties upon newspapers under certain circumstances, under circumstances when the public should be kept as closely informed of a developing situation as is possible. Then the newspapers do a great public service by accurately reporting the developments of a developing situation. Now they will have hanging over their heads this threat that under certain circumstances, if they are not careful, they will be caught by one of these banning orders. It simply adds to the difficulties of running a newspaper. Plenty of difficulties have been piled upon the Press by other Acts. In that regard I want to read to the House what two distinguished people interpreting our laws have said in regard to successive legislation, and I say this is one of those Bills—
The hon. member for Vereeniging spoke of a succession of laws of which this is a pattern, but with this type of law just another difficulty is raised tor the Press, and it makes it more difficult, and I feel that the hon. the Minister must give this some attention, and I hope he will deal with this matter when he replies to the debate.
Before I sit down I want to say a few words about Clause 7 which provides that a head constable now instead of an inspector can take charge of a situation and order the dispersal of a crowd under certain circumstances. The hon. member for Prinshof (Mr. Visse) in the course of his speech thought that a head constable was still too high and that this rank should be lowered even further. I want to be fair here and say that certain circumstances might arise—one can imagine a lonely post in some remote area, threatened by a particular crowd, when it is possible that a man of lesser rank might have to act. But what I feel is that particularly in our urban areas where most of our troubles occur, if head constables are to be given the responsibility of making these very difficult decisions on a widespread scale, then I think it is placing a most unfair responsibility upon a head constable. It is an unfair responsibility almost to place on the shoulders of an inspector, and I again refer to the Langa Commission Report which indicates what the Judge had to say there on this very point. The Judge dealt with the inspector who gave the order to deal with that very ticklish situation which developed at Langa. The Judge deals at length with the difficulties of the situation, the tremendous responsibility thrust upon an individual to make a decision, and he deals with the problem in which that unfortunate individual who had to give the order was placed, a situation in which a senior police officer may again and again be placed if we are to have further difficulties of that kind. The Judge says—
Then the Judge goes on—
Mr. Speaker, now we are calling upon a head constable, a man of lower rank, to deal with the kind of situation that unfortunate man at Langa had to deal with. Is a head constable, a man of lower rank, likely to have more information, which unfortunately this higher officer lacked? Is he likely to have the experience to interpret the mood of the crowd correctly and to make the right decisions? Sir, if anything, particularly in the urban areas, such a decision should be made by a higher officer even than an inspector, and I feel that now to give that authority to a man of lower rank is most unfair to the man concerned. There are magnificent men in the Police Force who are willing to take decisions, but to thrust this responsibility upon them is most unfair, and I feel that this is a retrogressive step.
I want to conclude by once again making this apeal, this final appeal: Won’t the Government attempt consultation? The old proverb says “ It is later than you think Won’t they try consultation? The public wants consultation. There is a clamour for it and a great desire. Won’t the Government try consultation before things develop to a stage when the provisions of this kind of Bill have to be applied?
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
The hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) asked a question at the beginning of his speech which he repeated at the end. He wants to know from the Minister why the Government does not consult the people who are affected by this legislation, namely, the inciters and those who are the cause of the disturbances which we have in the country to-day? It is a pity that the hon. member is not here this evening. Whom does the hon. member for Parktown want the Minister and the Government to consult? The people who intend calling out illegal strikes; the people who incite others; with nonentities, with those potential criminals who, if the Government does go so far as to negotiate with them, will acquire national status? Those are the people whom the hon. member for Parktown wishes the Government to consult. Those are the very people whom you should not consult in any circumstances and the people who through bragging and acts of sabotage have not succeeded in acquiring any status amongst their own people or to make any impression whatsoever on the country; those are the people whom the hon. member for Parktown wants the Government to consult. We have had this story about consultation for many years and if you wish to make a faux pas in this country, you must consult the people against whom you legislate—then you must consult them beforehand. It is a pity that the hon. member is not here because he pleaded for that very strenuously, he pleaded for consultation most vigorously. He wants the Government to consult those potential criminals and those people who think up crime—those wily people who know the art of keeping out of gaol but who are the cause of it that thousands of Coloureds and Bantu go to gaol. Those are the people the Progressive Party expect the Government to consult.
That is untrue.
I say that if somebody wishes to get somebody else into trouble, then he is the person who should be the first to give an account of himself and with whom you should not consult. There is only one medicine for the agitator and that is the authority of the law. There is no other way of dealing with him.
I want to go on and say that 1937 was the last occasion on which I said anything about our General Laws Act. At that time we had a General Laws Amendment Bill before us and I find myself in this position this evening that I want to make practically the same recommendations to the Minister that I made at that time. I do not think the Minister will have any difficulty in accepting the following suggestions which I intend putting forward and they will to a great extent meet the suggestions which I made in 1937. In the first place I want to deal with Clause 6 of the Bill, page 5. If after the words “ threats ” in line 39 we were to add the following words …
Order! The hon. member should move that in the Committee Stage.
I knew you would tell me to move it in the Committee Stage, Sir, but I am only asking the Minister to consider this. I say that if after the word “ threats ” we added the following words “ or the spreading of any untruth in any manner ”, it will be possible to catch anybody who is sabotaging the country by spreading false rumours. That includes false rumours. If we add those words anybody who spreads false rumours or who publishes any false reports will be punishable.
What will happen to the entire Press in that case?
If the Press does not heed it, it will have to pay the penalty. It was precisely with the Press and politicians that I was concerned with at that time. If the hon. the Minister added these words he would attain his objective. Otherwise I am afraid many will get off scot-free because we know how wily those people are. They find all sorts of loopholes by means of which they evade the law. I suggested at the time that when a newspaper editor and a reporter and a politician on a platform deliberately said something that was false they should be punished just as the liar is punished. The same penalties should apply as in the case of perjury. The hon. the Minister may say that in that case the whole crowd of us will go to gaol. But what I want to apply to the other man, I am willing to apply to myself. If the hon. the Minister considers something along these lines, I am sure he will be able to catch many more criminals under this legislation than he is doing at the present time. The reason why I say this is because in that case those people who spread these things and who travel round the country distributing pamphlets will be called to book. As I see it, they cannot be called to book under the provisions of this Bill. An hon. member opposite asked what we would do if we caught so many people that the gaols were over-crowded and that we could not accommodate everybody. As far as that is concerned I think we can change this Bill in such a way that the gaols will be fairly empty. If for example we applied the provision for which I am pleading in such a way that where a police official catches anybody red-handed, it will not be necessary to go through a long procedure before he appears in court. If he is caught red-handed spreading and distributing inflammatory pamphlets, the police should be able to inflict corporal punishment. In that case you will not have the large numbers of people in the gaols that hon. members opposite are afraid we will have. I think the Minister and the whole House agree with me when I say that I think that type of criminal will have much greater respect, will be much more frightened of the law, if the police could do that when he is caught red-handed than he will have for a fairly long sentence of imprisonment. I maintain that they will have much more respect. My only reason for suggesting this is to see whether it is not possible in cases where a person is caught red-handed to impose a penalty that will not require a trial. If a pamphlet has been prohibited and anybody distributes it, surely that is not a case for a magistrate or a Judge to decide or a case where a number of attorneys have to argue and prove that the person did distribute them. If the police had the power to apply physical punishment to the person who is caught red-handed, you will find that those things will not happen so often and the alleged fear that the gaols will be over-crowded will disappear completely.
Do you believe what you are saying?
Why not? In the past the police used to have a great deal of power to deal with naughty youngsters; that is the only way in which you can control youthful pranks. Hon. members may grin and laugh at it; they can do what they like but you will never suppress that type of offence by means of a trial before a Judge or before a magistrate. If his name appears in the newspaper for having committed the one or other offence, that type of criminal regards it is an honour and he becomes a kind of hero. Many of them are so hardened that they look for an opportunity to acquire some sort of publicity in the country.
My plea is that that type of criminal should be treated in that way. It is of no avail treating that criminal as though he is somebody of importance. We have to treat him according to his own standards and in his own fashion and then we will be free of disturbances.
I now wish to return to the hon. member for Springs and the Opposition as such. When I talk about the Opposition I include all Opposition parties, and I am surprised that the Opposition see their way clear to oppose a measure such as this. This afternoon the hon. member for Parktown asked whether the position was any better to-day than it was in the past in view of the fact that we already had a series of similar laws. He is of course deliberately closing his eyes to the position which prevails in the entire world to-day. Is the position in Kenya better to-day than in the past; is the position in the whole of Africa better than in the past? Or are hon. members deliberately closing their eyes to what is happening in Africa to-day? I lay this charge at the door of hon. members that during the past 12 months they have blamed the policy of the Government for every crime that has been committed in South Africa. They said that it was all because of the policy of the Government. You can mention any type of crime, Sir. They always say: “ No, it is not the fault of those people; it is as a result of the policy of the Government.” Hon. members on the Opposition benches are following the pattern of UNO, 100 per cent. Everything that you do is in self-defence; everything that we do for the maintenance of law and order they condemn and blame our policy. Every murderous act and all the terrorism is justified, according to them. Year after year the Opposition have justified terrorism in this country. What was the position that we had in this country last year other than a form of terrorism, a position that was fortunately suppressed in its initial stages. The Opposition accused the Government for every act that was committed as though it was as a result of the Government’s policy. I would have expected that at this stage in our history, the Opposition would at least have been true to South Africa and that they would have said that they would do everything in their power to assist the Government in any steps it may decide to take to wipe out terrorism and that would prevent a situation from developing here similar to what they have in the Congo and other parts of Africa. That was what we expected from a responsible Opposition. However, I am very sorry that we did not get it—with the exception of a few members opposite. I say, Mr. Speaker, with the exception of a few members on that side, but their pleas disappeared like wax next to a glowing coal and under the flood of reproaches and false accusations and incitement on the part of their own colleagues. What the hon. member for Springs and a few other members tried to build up …
But you break down.
And your colleagues opposite? Does the hon. member for Springs approve of everything that has been said on that side of the House?
I approve of very little that is said on your side of the House.
No, the hon. member will not get away with that sort of remark. Does the hon. member for Springs approve of everything that was said on that side of the House this afternoon?
What has been said on my left is none of my business.
But it is the business of this House. Let me tell the hon. member that everything that is said in this House is the business of the House and he cannot say that it is none of his business. If anybody uses extravagant language in this House, if anybody uses the language of the inciter, it is his responsibility, just as it is mine, to address ourselves to such a person. He must not say that it is none of his business. How can the hon. member, who is a responsible member on the Opposition benches say it is none of his business if incitement takes place on a large scale in the country? It is his business. Hon. members opposite think they can assume responsibility and then discard it when it suits them.
What my party says is my business.
That is fine, at least we have made that much progress as far as the hon. member is concerned. In that case I trust he will tell us that he subscribes to everything that the United Party has said. Does the hon. member for Springs agree with what the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) has said namely that the Government was preparing for civil war? [Interjections.] The hon. member tries to be clever now. He is trying to run away because he has become frightened of his colleague. He did not think I would draw his attention to that. He said that he accepted everything that his party has said. In other words, he supports the hon. member for Wynberg and that hon. member had the unanimous support of his party when he said that the Government was preparing itself for civil war. Mr. Speaker, has the time not arrived for hon. members of the Opposition to come to their senses? If there is devastation in this country before 31 May, if we have bloodshed and rioting will you be able to exonerate the person who had said that the Government was trying to create civil war in the country? Will you be able to exonerate such a person, Sir?
What does the Minister say?
What does the hon. member for Springs have to say now? That is why I say that it is no use one or two members on the Opposition benches acting in a responsible manner when all their responsible speeches are simply negatived, rejected and smothered in a flood of incitement from that side of the House.
May I ask you a question? Does the hon. member approve of what hon. members on his side have said in this House this afternoon, members such as the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) and the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn)?
Having heard the hon. member for Parktown, I would say 1,000 per cent and if I could, another 1,000 per cent. [Interjections.] I think those hon. gentlemen were serious when they spoke and I subscribe to every word that they have said, not only to what they have said but to the spirit in which they have said it. Is the hon. member for Springs satisfied now? I do not evade questions the way he does. I trust that like us the hon. member will show a sense of responsibility and try to convert his own people and not protect them as he tried to do this afternoon.
Mr. Speaker, how can we forgive the Opposition for that? Is it physically possible to forgive the Opposition when they use the type of language, that they used this afternoon knowing that there is an atmosphere of unrest in the country, knowing that the non-Whites are being incited?
May I ask another question?
Yes, but the hon. member should at least give me an opportunity to say something as well.
Is the hon. member prepared to admit that speeches such as those we had from the hon. member for Venterdorp and the hon. member for Kempton Park are tantamount to incitement in its worst form?
If they were inflammatory they at least achieved one thing and that was to stir a decent person such as the hon. member for Springs. They have woken him up. It is only now that he has become allergic to the onslaughts of his colleagues and that is why he has also become allergic to the speeches of the two hon. members to whom he has just referred. Can we forgive the Opposition for that, Mr. Speaker? If people, through ignorance allow themselves to be incited, and do things that may lead to bloodshed, knowing that the Opposition will couple those disturbances with the Republic of South Africa …
That is not true.
Does the hon. member not know that it is alleged that the entire agitation is as a result of South Africa becoming a republic? They use it for no other purpose—we know that the real reason is that they are anti-White—than as a political excuse because they know they have a mouthpiece in this House. Can the hon. member for Springs exonerate himself from that? No, he cannot. The time has arrived for the Opposition to realize that we have a democratic government in this country and if there is one way of undermining democracy, you have to do what some so-called political organizations are doing in this country. That is the best and the quickest way of steering politics in a direction where it becomes impossible to carry out the principles of democracy. When you have an Opposition who, instead of criticizing measures that this Government introduces in a proper way, incite that portion of the community who have no political rights, knowing that it has the support of the Afro-Asian bloc, knowing that it has the support of UNO, knowing that it has the support of those people who wish to make an enemy of South Africa—if they use the language which they used here this afternoon—the Opposition should realize this that if such a position should develop they can do whatever they like in their skilful way, but the responsibility for the price that the country will have to pay, will be laid at their door and nobody else’s. That is why I want to appeal to the Opposition. There are people to-day who allege that they have been unjustly treated and they want to continue with their strikes, they want to continue agitating, as the hon. member for Boland (Mr. Barnett) has said. In view of the fact that those people are being influenced by the Opposition, and in view of the fact that the Opposition know it is their duty to tell those people that they should not go on strike, he should realize what his responsibility is. Let me emphasize this fact that any strike that may take place from to-night up to 31 May, can only be an illegal strike. No strike can be legal until the grievance has been referred to a Conciliation Board. We know that that often takes more than a month with the result that if anybody or any section or any society, class or whoever it may be, goes on strike from to-night up to 31 May, such a strike will be illegal. In other words, those people who want to do so or who incite others to do so, are acting illegally. The Opposition must admit that the people who are doing those things are their people.
Why our people?
Because those people speak your language.
What did you tell them in 1942?
Those people speak the language which the Opposition speak. There is not one instigator in South Africa to-day who wants to organize a strike who does not say precisely what has been said over and over again by the Opposition. I want to know this: Is it futile to ask them to tell their people to remain calm? Let us see and realize what your responsibility is towards South Africa. Ask those people who are in the state of mind in which they are because of your speeches, to remain calm, appeal to them, or do we ask that in vain? Mr. Speaker, is it in vain that we ask the Opposition to re-assure their people and to say to them: Look, do not go on strike because any strike, no matter in connection with what it is, will be illegal up to 31 May.
Have you ever gone on strike?
Of course I have. But I have never gone on a political strike.
The hon. member should not allow himself to be distracted.
No, Mr. Speaker, but I think that was an appropriate remark. I am not ashamed of the reason why I went on strike. It was not a political strike. It was an ordinary strike. I make that appeal to the Opposition. I make an appeal to every responsible South African who is sufficiently responsible to lead people. Whether it is the trade union movement, whether it be cultural societies, whether it is a political organization—I am appealing to them to persuade the people to remain calm. Because those who incite them and nobody else will be held responsible when those people contravene the law. We know some of them would like to see peace and prosperity in this country. I have already said this but I wish to repeat that the time has arrived for them to take action against those people within their own ranks who act in an irresponsible manner.
Mr. Speaker, the Opposition should realize that the days are past when you could say whatever you wanted to on the Parade or at meetings.
You are quite right.
Everything you say to-day has its repercussions because humanity, not only in South Africa but in the whole world, is not normal. Everything that is said, especially anything inflammatory, has a far greater effect to-day than it had in the past. So if ever there was a time when members should consider every word that they utter, it is to-day. If the Opposition ignore our pleas and spurn our hand of co-operation, well, we cannot do anything about it. If they do not heed our serious pleas and refuse to co-operate, if they say that they wish to make our lives as difficult as possible, if they try to prejudice the republic as much as they possibly can, that is their responsibility. But in that case I agree with the hon. member for Kempton Park and my other colleagues and I say this: As the South African nation begin to unite and become one united nation following its own course, the Opposition parties will realize that the days are gone when the South African nation could be led astray with any type of agitation as by-elections and the elections in South West Africa have indicated.
Order! The hon. member is now going much too far.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, but I do wish to conclude on a proper note. It has become clear from by-elections that the country has faith in the Government; the country has confidence in the Minister and in the Government as such. We shall receive greater and greater inspiration and we shall do those things with or without the cooperation of the Opposition. If they want to stand aside, let them do so, but the Government will not deviate from the course on which it has set itself, a course which already has the approval of the nation. We shall continue along that road. I wish the Minister luck. I trust he will consider the suggestions that I have put forward and not simply say that they are impracticable. I trust he will give serious consideration to the suggestions I put forward at the beginning of my speech. If he does that he will be making the task of South Africa and that of the police much easier, and the courts will be comparatively empty.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal explanation …
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, this hon. member has already had an opportunity to speak, and if he is given another opportunity then I, too, should have another turn.
Mr. Speaker, I am addressing you, and I am not squint eyed …
Order! If the hon. member goes on in that strain he will have to resume his seat.
I want to address you on a point of personal explanation, Sir. Will you allow me to do so?
The hon. member may proceed.
I was attacked by the hon. member …
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has had his turn to speak. I made certain remarks to him about his Hansard, and if you allow him to read his Hansard then you must give me an opportunity …
Order! Order! That is not a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on this point of personal explanation. The hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) in his speech in this House, attacked me and said I had used the word “ agitate ”…
On a point of order, you are allowing that hon. member to do something that you will not allow me …
Order! The hon. member must resume his seat.
I want to say that I have my Hansard. I have the … [Interjections.] Those hon. members must not run away. I am addressing you on a point of personal explanation, Mr. Speaker …
Order! Will the hon. member resume his seat, he is making a speech, not a personal explanation.
I would like to tell the hon. member for Krugersdorp …
On a point of order, can the hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) say that another hon. member is too cowardly to do something?
Did the hon. member say that?
Will the hon. member withdraw it?
I would like to tell the hon. member for Krugersdorp (Mr. M. J. van den Berg), as well as the hon. member for Vereeniging that this party stands for the maintenance of law and order. That has always been its policy, but it also stands for the application of the rule of law of this country. In maintaining the application of the rule of law this side of the House does not stand for any unreasonable restrictions on the rights and liberties of the subject, nor do we seek to circumvent the normal procedure whereby a man who is facing any charge has the right to be heard by a court of law and to be represented. We have already on more than one occasion heard from the hon. member for Krugersdorp the suggestion that some means should be sought whereby the procedure which is laid down, enabling a man to appear before a court of law and to be properly represented, should be curtailed in the national interest. I would like him to know that that contains a very serious suggestion of the limitation of the rights of the subject and interference with the rule of law.
May I ask a question?
No. In the debate to-day the members on the Government side said very little either to impress this House or in any way to justify the necessity for the introduction of this Bill. In fact, if anything, the hon. member for Krugersdorp was even less impressive and said even less, if less could be said, to justify this Bill and the necessity for this House to put it on the Statute Book. What we would like to know from the Minister is at whom are the provisions of this Bill aimed, and at what? We have not heard clearly from any member opposite what the necessity is for the introduction of a further Bill which continues to follow the pattern of restricting and further controlling the subject and his freedom. The Minister did say, when he introduced the Bill, that he wished to avoid proclaiming a state of emergency and rather to seek the avenues provided by this Bill to achieve his purpose in the event of any difficulties arising in the country. I would like to endorse what was said by my hon. leader, that the Minister must face up to the situation. If a state of emergency exists, he must proceed to deal with it in the proper manner, and not pass bad laws from time to time to make provision for a possible state of emergency. A country which is going to be governed in that peculiar manner is far from being a country in which we can see any hope of peace in the foreseeable future. Is it wise for the Minister to seek these additional restrictive powers and have a further diminution of the freedom of the people, instead of considering legislation which can bring to an end this tension and this fear in the minds of the people of our country?
You are a real agitator.
Order! The hon. member must remain quiet. He has had a chance to make his speech.
I heard the hon. member calling the hon. member for Bezuidenhout an agitator.
I would not be surprised at anything that hon. member said. What we want to know is why has not the Minister advised the Cabinet in this direction, namely to pass legislation which can once and for all bring an end to this troubled and unhappy situation, particularly after the severe experiences we have had during the last 18 months. One must consider what the effect is of legislation of this nature. What does it achieve, and what does it do to assist the Government to administer the country on a peaceful and happy basis? Does the Minister know what the position in the country is to-day? Does he know not only in regard to the question of the non-Whites, which apparently is an obsession with this Government, but also in regard to the viewpoint of the man in the street, the average business man, and the fears and apprehensions of the average housewife and of all sections of the community in these difficult times? Does he not appreciate what is taking place in the professions to-day and amongst our leading technical and scientific people in the country, who are seeking another future simply because they feel that the actions and the legislation of the Government are interfering with the proper development these people are entitled to enjoy in giving their talents for the benefit of the country? The point is, what are we doing to try to eliminate and moderate this surge of fear in the lives and hearts of our people? In this country it has been among our great traditions: the maintenance of the rule of law, the high standard of our system of justice and of our legislators in the past. Why are we now in these enlightened times re-erecting edifices—and this Bill is part of the pattern—of control and restriction which bring us back to the early days when our constitutional development was not as well advanced and enlightened as it is to-day? Unfortunately the Government is dealing with the affairs of the country in an ad hoc manner, and the whole of their outlook is confused because they are unable to administer or plan wisely and on a proper visionary basis for the future. Every difficult situation that arises it not dealt with in a manner which goes to the root cause of the difficulty and eliminates it, but is dealt with by ad hoc legislation. The Minister has been responsible for a number of Bills which have only dealt with the ad hoc situation, and in fact the whole of our legislation for years now has become cluttered up with a mass of ad hoc laws which only seek to deal with a particular situation and which unfortunately have the further effect in that they remain permanently on the Statute Book and can at the instance of anyone who is in charge of the administration of the law be invoked, and very often to the detriment of citizens and the deprivation of their rights.
You are worse than Luthuli.
I cannot expect anything better from an uncouth member like that.
Order! Will the hon. member withdraw those words?
That he is worse than Luthuli.
Very well, then I say he is better than Luthuli. [Interjections.]
He is an uncouth fellow.
Order! Did the hon. member call that hon. member uncouth?
I said I did not expect anything better from an uncouth member like him.
Will the hon. member withdraw those words?
Yes, I withdraw.
And did the hon. member for Wynberg call that hon. member uncouth?
Yes, indeed, I did say so.
Will the hon. member withdraw it?
I would rather withdraw from the House than withdraw those words.
I did not ask the hon. member to withdraw from the Chamber but to withdraw those remarks.
I find I cannot, because he is unutterably uncouth.
Will the hon. member withdraw from the House for the remainder of the day’s sitting!
Mr. Russell thereupon withdrew.
I want to come again to the remarks of the hon. member for Vereeniging who also used this ad hoc method of dealing with a particular subject in this House. We have heard from the Minister of Bantu Administration that all is well in this country and we have had that from other Ministers also. He said that we were facing a serious situation, and in listening to his contributions to the debate we find that his remarks are just as chaotic and he also used ad hoc debating points to deal with a Bill in which it seems to me that hon. member shows very little interest and very little concern as to the important effects it can have on the country and its affairs. We have for some months now known of the tremendous police reorganization. We have had a Bill dealing with the reorganization of our defence, and we have wondered against what it is directed. It seems to be perfectly clear that it is directed to our internal situation. One wonders whether that in itself is not sufficient to deal with that internal situation without the Minister of Justice seeking additional controlling power. The objection on this side of the House is that the Minister has more than sufficient powers to deal with the situation. One is surprised that he is so apprehensive in dealing with what he calls the agitators.
We have been accused, and the English Press has been accused of assisting in creating difficulties in this country and of being a form of incitement to people to strike or to demonstrate. In dealing with the point I made originally as to the wisdom of the Minister in not seeking the proper channels to deal with these difficulties, he will agree with me that newspapers supporting the Government in this country, mostly Afrikaans newspapers, have taken the Government to task on more than one occasion for not facing up to the realities of the situation.
I have the cuttings here. We have had statements in the Transvaler and in the Burger, and we have had articles by a man called “ Dawie ”, all calling upon the Government to change its race policy with regard to the non-Whites. We have had intellectuals writing to the Press, and ministers of religion.
What has that to do with the Bill?
I am stressing the importance of the Minister coming to the House with other legislation to try to cure the ills that exist in the country and not to use an ad hoc measure to meet a specific situation which he fears may arise. But we have been attacked as if we were responsible for certain statements in the Press, and I merely want the Minister to know that his own newspapers which support the Government policy have taken the Government to task for not facing up to the realities of the situation. They have, e.g., asked for a better deal for the Coloureds. The intellectuals have been gathering in various parts of the country in order to discuss a change in the colour policy, but what has been the result? The hon. the Prime Minister has called upon the party officials to deal in a disciplinary manner with the intellectuals who step across the party line. The Prime Minister has warned the intellectuals not to interfere in politics. We have heard from the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark (Dr. de Wet) and others how important it is to close the mouth of the Press. I am only drawing attention to the fact that the Press on all sides are attacking the Government to-day because it is not facing up to the situation. Instead of accusing members of this side of the House like the hon. member for Vereeniging has done, that we are irresponsible, the irresponsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the Government and no one else, because we believe that the Government could have, had they applied a wise outlook on the problems of the country, avoided the situation in which we find ourselves to-day, where the country is aware of one important fact, and that is that law and order will be maintained only at the point of a gun, and that is not a happy situation in which the people of the country find themselves.
There are features of this Bill which are most unsatisfactory because they are going to form part of the permanent law of the country. It has never been necessary to make changes of this nature unless its purpose was to deal with what, may be the situation in the country. The extraordinary thing that has happened in our affairs—and that is why I think the Minister should give further consideration to the whole matter—is that the suggestions of demonstrations and protests and of marches have been made blatantly and openly. It is quite clear that unless the Government deals with the matter wisely instead of in this peculiar manner of applying force—unless the Government takes a different line—they are the people who will be responsible for actually encouraging this demonstration which is taking place in the country to-day. There seems to be no doubt whatever that when one talks to people in the big cities, the responsibility is being laid at the door of the Government for bringing about this situation or permitting it to arise.
That is a lie!
I withdraw it, Sir.
This type of legislation does nothing more than create opportunities for the so-called agitators to agitate, and to make use of the very weapons which the Government feels it wants to use for itself. That is the tragedy of this type of legislation. The Government has a very high responsibility to the people of South Africa to ensure a longterm period of peace and happiness. That responsibility does not consist of threatening the country with all sorts of measures, because these measures apply to all sections of the population. The Government has the responsibility of trying to bring peace and order to this fair land of ours and not to create a situation where people are living in fear all the time, where people are thinking of getting out of the country and of transferring money out of the country. That should not arise in a country with the sound economy on which this country has been built over the last 50 years. I say this is the type of legislation that is bringing this about.
My final appeal to the Minister is this. I believe that we can avoid the troubles that may face us. I believe that if he had courage and decided that the Government should themselves take a lead in consultations and meeting the people who wish to see them to discuss their problems, and if the Government is prepared to be a Government for the whole of the country and not for one section only, then I believe there will be no necessity for this legislation. Then the Minister could withdraw this Bill and he would not be obliged to come to the House and give us scare stories, which have not only been told to the House but which have appeared in every newspaper in the country, stories which have gone abroad and which have done more harm to the good name of South Africa than our fair and constructive criticism which we are offering to the Government to-day. My appeal to the Minister is that he and the Cabinet should face up to what is happening to-day and not leave the people with this sense of apprehension as to the result of this type of legislation, the fear that something will happen and that the Government is taking strong measures to deal with the situation. Rather let them bring legislation before the House which will give some sense of security for the future and some sense of relief to the fears of the people in the country. If that were the case, we would not have to listen to some of the clownish speeches and statements that we have heard from the members opposite in supporting the Bill which has no vestige of justification.
The hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Miller) will forgive me if I do not reply to him immediately. I want to say at the outset that it is not my intention to take up much of the time of the House because many of the questions that have been put can be dealt with in the Committee Stage, questions that I will welcome then. However, I wish to deal with a few general points. It augurs well for South Africa that we can discuss a serious subject as this, a subject which goes down to the very roots of society, in the calm manner in which we have discussed it to-day. It says a great deal for a country that where its future is discussed, as we have been doing over the past two days, matters can be discussed in the way they have been discussed.
You are living in a fool’s paradise.
No, during the past two days I have been living in the atmosphere of Constantia. The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) said that this was not the right time for legislation of this nature. I agree. I wish we could have discussed this Bill a day or two after Constantia. During the past two days we have been witnessing a fight between the United Party and the Progressive Party, both of whom are fighting an election. The shadow was hanging over this Chamber and nobody will deny that. Hon. members will forgive me when I say it was obvious to everyone in this House that the two parties were fighting with one another in connection with the Constantia election. However, I say that in passing. I think you can have a certain measure of sympathy with the official Opposition, Sir. During all the years that I have been in this House I have never yet seen an Opposition in the difficulty in which I have seen this Opposition during the past two days as far as this very important measure is concerned. They have fumbled and they have performed egg dances. They have remained on the horns of a dilemma up to the end of the debate. They want to improve the position but when we ask them which situation they do not want to tell us.
I just want to say a word or two about the speech of the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. What does he want? He says the families, the industrialists and businessmen in the country are greatly disturbed. Of course they are. His remedy is that other sort of legislation should be introduced to help those people, but he does not say what kind of legislation. We on this side of the House think this legislation is the remedy but hon. members opposite, if I understood them correctly—correct me if I am wrong—would rather have us declare a state of emergency. I think my interpretation of what they said is correct. I am surprised that when an Opposition party has the opportunity of choosing between this legislation and a state of emergency where the Government has all the power in its hand to do precisely what it wants to do and can detain a person for as long as it wishes to do so, whether it detains him for 18 months or longer without a trial, as happened during the war, or even three years … [Interjections.] Now I do not understand the position at all. The Leader of the Opposition apologized to me and said that he could not be present. I do not wish to refer to him personally but I honestly understood him and other members to ask why we did not use the powers which we had in a state of emergency.
It is necessary that we do something. The eyes of all the families in the country are on us to-day. The eyes of the industrialist and the businessman are on us. We must control the situation. We have the position and it must be controlled. If we have to choose between declaring a state of emergency—and it is not good to declare a state of emergency; that is one of the last steps that you ought to take, particularly in a country like South Africa which has the searchlight of the world focused upon it, the last thing that we want to do is to declare a state of emergency and to abrogate every law. No, we do not want to make that choice. We rather come forward with legislation that gives us the right to lock up a person for 12 days. That is the course we choose. If hon. members opposite prefer a state of emergency, then that is their choice. All I can say is this: I shall do everything in my power to avoid declaring a state of emergency. I shall do everything in my power by using the existing legislation together with this one, to ensure that South Africa does not lose its much lauded reputation for law and order. As I have said I sympathize with the Opposition because of the dilemma in which they find themselves. They know of the arson that has been committed. The eyes of the industrialists are on them.
Why on us?
For the simple reason that this side of the House wishes to do something and that side is trying to prevent them. I can simply say this to hon. members: It is not encumbent upon me to put in a good word for them, but to put in a good word for them with the industrialists and the families who are worried … [Interjections.]
You are a monkey.
Order! I want to ask hon. members to refrain from making interjections.
The people to whom I have referred will not be grateful to them for the way they have acted during this debate. I think the country in general, in its concern about the present position here and in other parts of Africa, want the Government to do something. Hon. members of the Opposition have pleaded during the past two days that a state of emergency should be declared. Some hon. members say we should not do anything. No, the Government will not agree to that. I am very disappointed with the speeches that we have had from that side of the House, because I had expected to hear at least one word on behalf of the White man.
History shows that the “ noble savage ” is treated much better in South Africa than in any other part of the world or in Africa. What has become evident from the debate during the past two days? We are told that the Native is being oppressed. One hon. member said that “ had there been a thoroughly satisfied and well looked after Bantu population ”, matters would have been all right. In the first place is there a Bantu community in the whole world that is better looked after than ours? Secondly, they ought to be “ thoroughly satisfied ”. The wages that the Native receives in South Africa and the education that the White man gives to his children, are factors not to be ignored, nor the protection that he enjoys. I am sorry that hon. members have only thought about his welfare and nowhere in the whole debate has anything been said on behalf of the White man who also lives in South Africa. His interests are not considered. That is why I say I was very disappointed because hon. members did not say: If you do these things bear the White man in mind as well. Think also of his position. Every speech we have had from hon. members opposite was nothing else than a condemnation of the Government because it allegedly did nothing for the Natives. Just read the speeches in Hansard. The hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) made the important suggestion that before the Government did anything, the Government should negotiate with these people. My first question to the hon. member is with whom must we negotiate? He did not tell us this afternoon with whom we should negotiate. If we have to negotiate with those people who attended the Congress at Pietermaritzburg, we shall only be negotiating with a portion of the Bantu population. If we negotiate with those who gathered at Pietermaritzburg, then we must also negotiate with Natives, with non-Whites and with other Coloured races. Is that what the hon. member suggests? The hon. member was not clear on the point but I understood him to say that we should try to negotiate with the people who gathered at Pietermaritzburg. When I asked the hon. member across the floor of the House what the price was that those people asked in order to negotiate with us, he did not reply to my question. The price that they ask in their resolution that a National Convention should be held, is that we postpone the republic which we propose declaring on 31 May. Why must we postpone it? “ So that all the African people who form an absolute majority of the population can participate.” Does the hon. member want us to negotiate with them in those circumstances? Does the Progressive Party want us to postpone the date of the republic in order to negotiate with these people—it would be just as well that we knew that. Because that is what they demand. Their second demand is this: They say that if we refuse to negotiate then they will threaten us. I have never yet heard of an international conference where the one party comes with a threat in advance and says in advance what it will do. Surely that is not the spirit in which to negotiate. That is why I am surprised that the Progressive Party can come with such a suggestion. Those people do not wish to negotiate. The hon. member says they want to, but I do not know on whose behalf he is speaking. They do not wish to negotiate because listen to what they say: “ We demand.” I shall consequently be pleased if the United Party will tell us, when we get to the Committee Stage, what they think about this whole position. Do they also wish us to negotiate with those Pietermaritzburg people; do they also wish us to negotiate with those people who make demands: “We demand that a National Convention of elected representatives of all adult men and women on an equal basis, irrespective of race, colour or creed or other limitations be called by the Union Government not later than 31 May.” That is their “demand ”. And if we do not accede to this “ demand ” of theirs “ then we call on democratic people the world over to refrain from any co-operation or dealing with the South African Government; to impose economic sanctions and other sanctions against the Government whose continued disregard of all human rights and freedoms constitutes a threat to world peace ”. Does the hon. member for Parktown want us to negotiate with people who are asking the world outside to apply sanctions to us? They tell us beforehand what their plans are.
The hon. the Minister knows that is not what I said.
Then I don’t know; then I must have misunderstood the hon. member. This afternoon in the presence of all of us—everybody heard it—he pleaded with us to negotiate with the people and he specifically referred to the Pietermaritzburg Congress. I say that no Government in South Africa that is worth its salt will yield to such threats and tolerate such provocation and no Government which represents the people of South Africa will accede to such demands, in any case not this Government, as long as it is in power.
I do not wish to detain the House long. The hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) very kindly referred to the days when he and I tried to persuade the jury that our clients were innocent and because of that, he said, he could not understand why we wanted to do violence to the jury system. I just want to say to the hon. member for Salt River that he knows very well that that is not the object of this Bill.
I did not object.
I beg your pardon, then it was another hon. member who accused us of wanting to abolish the jury system. But we are not doing that. What we are doing is to give the Minister greater power so that in certain circumstances, if possible, he can order a trial by a Judge and assessors instead of by a jury. The hon. member, as a legal person, knows that the Appeal Court decided last year to appeal to all courts to have assessors in cases of murder. I am going to assist the Appeal Court in that respect and see to it that that wish of theirs is carried out. In other words, in all these cases I shall see to it that there is a Judge and assessors. In this connection I was very disappointed in the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) because he knows the circumstances there. When the hon. member got up I expected him to say to the Government: “Bravo, that is the right thing to do; in view of the number of cases, in view of the alleged crimes that have been committed, in view of the great number of people that will be arraigned before the courts, do not appoint a jury in Pondoland, do not place people on the jury benches for weeks and months. Let a Judge and assessors do the work.”
Why does the Minister not make it more specific, instead of having this blanket provision.
We say that in cases where 30 or 40 people are charged the trials last too long, legal principles are often involved which the ordinary man from the street who sits on the jury does not understand. What I consider important is that the circumstances which prevails in an area should be borne in mind. That is why I am disappointed in the hon. member for Transkeian Territories for not having congratulated us on this step because he knows what the position is there. Where will he find a jury? Where will he find a jury who will be willing to serve? I shall deal with the question of intimidation in a minute. If ever there was a part of the country where there has been intimidation, it is that area of the country which that hon. member represents. Could he not at least have got up and said “ In this respect you are right”?
Why do you not specify the trials?
It is not necessary to do that. Let us remember one thing, namely that it will be practically impossible to get a jury together in that area to-day. As the hon. member knows a jury has to consist of White people. We shall be looking for trouble if we appoint a jury. I do not hold it against the people if they refuse to serve on the jury, because I repeat that intimidation has a frightening affect.
I am very sorry that the hon. member for Salt River spoilt his speech by describing the Bill the way he did describe it. The hon. member was a Minister of Justice in a previous Government. He knows that a Government only taxes so much power in its hand as it thinks the situation demands. What does he do now? He calls this Bill in terms of which the Government wants to take certain powers which it deems necessary a “ witch hunt ”. If it seems necessary to-morrow or the day after to make arrests, I hope he will not describe that as a “ witch hunt ”. The hon. member says we are dealing with “a 12-day detention Bill”. The hon. member will forgive me if I tell him that he knows better than anybody else in this House what “detention” means. As far as he is concerned it does not mean 12 days but 18 months and longer without trial. The hon. member may tell me there was a war on but the principle remains the same. I think if the hon. member for Salt River thinks seriously about the matter he will agree that his description of a serious measure such as the one which we are passing to prevent a state of emergency, is not correct. Unfortunately the Press immediately pounced upon his description as we saw in this morning’s newspapers.
The hon. member for Parktown raised a point in connection with the Press itself. He is worried and says that in future the Press will not be able to advertise a prohibited meeting. He gave as an example the case where a meeting is prohibited during the night and in the morning the newspapers appear with advertisements about that meeting, not knowing that it had been prohibited. I have told the hon. member that we would be reasonable in such cases. In any case the Press know where to find the police. They are continually telephoning the police for information. Surely in such cases all they need do is to telephone the police during the evening before the newspapers go to print in order to ascertain which meetings have been prohibited and which not. That is easy enough. By way of interjection I told the hon. member that the newspapers may publish the notices prohibiting a meeting. As a matter of fact we would like them to publish them but once a meeting has been prohibited and the notices to that affect have been published, the Press must not publish any notices in connection with that meeting. I hope the hon. member agrees that in times of emergency the Press should not be allowed to stab us in the back by advertising in their newspapers that a meeting that has been prohibited will in any case take place and encouraging people to attend it, as has already happened. Once this Bill has been passed that will no longer be possible. The penalty is fairly high.
A great deal has been said during the course of this debate to the affect that the grievances should be removed. Which grievances? When we discussed the grievances last year we were able to talk to one another because the grievances of the Natives were of a two-fold nature. They wanted £1 per day which the South African Government and society refused to pay and they did not want to carry passes. Those were their two grievances. We thrashed the matter out hi this House but we could not remove the grievances because they agreed with us that South Africa could not afford to pay these people £1 per day. They also agreed that we could not abolish the pass system. They agreed that it was in the interests of the safety of the country that the people carried passes. Those were the grievances 12 months ago. The situation has completely changed to-day. There are no longer grievances to-day, Sir, now there are demands. To-day there are demands and what is the first demand? The first demand is a say in the government. I want to tell the Opposition that they should adapt themselves to this new circumstance, as we are trying to adapt ourselves. We have to view the situation in the light of to-day. Had the Government agreed last year to pay the £1 per day and to abolish the pass book system, the request for a say in the government would in any case have been advanced to-day. One man one vote. As I said during my second reading speech hon. members should realize that even if we accede to the Natives’ request one by one they will never be satisfied.
Do you blame them?
If the attitude is that we should give in step by step, that we should adopt the principle of “one man one vote”, the party that advocates that principle will not remain in this House for very long. The people of the country would not allow them to remain here. As we know the people of South Africa to-day and as they will probably be in 50 years’ time, they will not be prepared to introduce the principle of “one man one vote” into White South Africa, because all of them realize that that would spell the doom of the White man. I am sorry that hon. members do not see the new situation as it is, namely that we are not dealing with grievances to-day but with demands that are based on the principle of “one man one vote”.
The argument has also been used that the penalty for intimidation is too severe. Hon. members object to the onus now being placed on the intimidator, but apart from murder intimidation is the biggest crime in South Africa at the moment. I am pleased that the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (North) (Mr. J.A. F. Nel) drew the attention of the House last night to what Rhodesia was doing in order to deal with intimidators. As the communists come down to the south to South Africa they also employ this method of intimidation by means of which they have obtained their octopus-like grip over other parts of the world. The Native is very susceptible to intimidation. That is understandable, perhaps they do not know any better. Our neighbours in Southern Rhodesia want to eradicate intimidation completely there and that is why they have made the penalty ten years’ imprisonment. In South Africa it is five years’ imprisonment. Hon. members opposite now complain and say “the poor intimidator! How on earth can you lock him away for such a long period?” Another hon. member wanted to know what we meant by intimidation. By intimidation we mean exactly what Southern Rhodesia means. They say—
Hon. members opposite called die heavens to witness and said we were too severe with the poor intimidator who goes to the market and if the Indian refuses to stop selling potatoes simply takes his box of matches out of his pocket and shows it to him. They say we are being cruel by placing the onus on the intimidator. That is what the official Opposition says. The onus to prove that he had not intimidated anybody now rests on the poor intimidator. Surely Mr. Speaker, that is the easiest thing in the world to do. What is the legal position in South Africa to-day? In many cases the onus rests on the accused in terms of legislation passed by hon. members opposite because in those cases the accused is in a better position than the Crown to prove that he is innocent. This is therefore not such a devilish thing as hon. members opposite tried to make out yesterday and today. It is a recognized principle in South Africa and in many other countries of the world. In countries like France and Holland and other Napoleonic countries the law still says that a man is guilty until he has proved his innocence. South Africa does not go as far as that, but South Africa goes as far as her neighbours because we have the same conditions here as they have in Southern Rhodesia. That is why we are placing the onus on the intimidator and we say to him: If you put the fear of God into the people in South Africa, if you terrify them, you will pay the penalty for doing so.
I conclude by saying this: If we wish to do the Native families in this country, those families that are terrified, a big favour we must destroy the intimidator root and branch. If this Bill goes through, and I hope it will go quickly through both Houses of Parliament, I shall be one of the first to help—and I trust hon. members opposite will also help—to make short work of the intimidator who intimidates the Native in South Africa, as our neighbours in Southern Rhodesia have done.
Question put: That the words “the Bill be”, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—88: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker G.F.H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; Die-derichs, N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Frone-man, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Grob-ler, M. S. F.; Haak, J.-F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G.P.; Kotzé, S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Louw, E. H.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, A. I.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Maree, W. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, D. J.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schle-busch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Scholtz, D. J.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van den Heever, D. J. G.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J.A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Eeden, F. J.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.: Venter. M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Ver-woerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. J. Fouché.
Noes—42: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Basson, J. D. du P.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Gay, L. C; Gorshel, A.; Higgerty, J. W.; Horak, J. L.; Hughes, T. G.; Lawrence, H. G.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R.P.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Smit, D. L.; Steytler, J. van A.; Swart, R. A. F.; Tucker, H.; van Niekerk, S. M.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.
Question affirmed and the amendment proposed by Sir de Villiers Graaff dropped.
Question put: That the word “now”, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—88: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; Die-derichs, N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Froneman, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé. S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Louw, E. H.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, A. I.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Maree, W. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A.F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, D.J.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Scholtz, D. J.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.: van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van den Heever, D. J. G.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Eeden, F. J.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. J. Fouché.
Noes—42: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Basson, J. D. du P.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eaton, N. G.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Gay, L. C.; Gorshel, A.; Higgerty, J.W.; Hopewell, A.; Horak, J. L.; Hughes, T. G.; Lawrence, H. G.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R. P.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Smit, D. L.; Steytler, J. van A.; Swart, R. A. F.; Tucker, H.; van Niekerk, S. M.; Van Ryneveld, C. B.; Waterson, S. F.
Tellers: C. W. Eglin and T. O. Williams.
Question affirmed and the amendment proposed by Dr. de Beer dropped.
Motion accordingly agreed to and the Bill read a second time.
Third Order read: Second reading,—Electoral Laws Amendment Bill.
For some considerable time past consideration has been given to the establishment of a more efficient electoral office. A year ago I think it was indicated that attention would be given to the matter. In the meantime a thorough study has been made of the electoral machinery of other countries, and particular attention has been given to the possible mechanization of certain work procedures in the electoral office. With this in mind the assistance of an O. and M. team of the Public Service Commission inter alia has been called in. Furthermore a conference of electoral officers was held at which conference the operation of such a mechanized system was also demonstrated. In addition proposals for mechanization as well as proposals for the improvement of the electoral system in general were discussed with the chief secretaries of the various political parties at the beginning of last year. As a result of these discussions I am convinced that the various provisions of this Bill will in the main receive general support.
The contents of this Bill can be divided into three parts:
- (1) The proposed amendments aimed at partly mechanizing the electoral offices;
- (2) proposed amendments aimed at placing the postal vote system on a more satisfactory basis; and
- (3) amendments which are aimed at effecting general improvements and eliminating uncertainty as far as possible.
The aim in mechanizing is of course to improve the compilation and keeping up to date of the voters’ rolls and to reproduce them by more economic means. Furthermore the object is to expedite the provision of the electoral rolls to political parties and of electoral statistics to delimitation commissions.
Although the acceptance of the recommendations relating to new and improved equipment in connection with mechanization will entail a capital investment of R54,000,000, it is estimated that there will be a potential saving of plus minus R600,000 in every circle of five years. If we therefore introduce the demonstrated mechanized system, we hope to effect a tremendous saving in a circle of five years.
The object of certain of the provisions contained in this Bill is to make possible the introduction of mechanization. There are still certain aspects of mechanization which must be further investigated and considered, but these provisions will make it possible to introduce mechanization.
I now turn more specifically to the amendments themselves. Under the provisions of the present Section 8 of the Electoral Act, a general registration of voters must take place at intervals of not less than two years or more than three years. As a result of an improvement in the methods used in registering voters and as a result of the use of identity numbers as provided for in Clause 8 of this Bill, Clause 3 proposes that a general registration of voters shall only be obligatory every five years, but we are retaining the right to do so at shorter intervals if necessary.
The object of a general registration is to compile a completely fresh voters’ list and the only way in which the latest details regarding the voter can be obtained is to approach the voter himself. It is therefore proposed in Clause 3 that during such a general registration only the names of those persons who are entitled to vote and who lodge an application for registration as a voter during a period of 30 days following the date fixed by proclamation for the commencement of a general registration will be inserted in the electoral lists. This will help to eliminate dual registrations and will expedite the completion of a general registration.
The object of the provisions contained in Clause 7 is that a voter will be registered at a general registration in that division in which he was resident on the date of the general registration which is a specific date such as for example 16 May 1961. Such a general registration must take place on the basis of the newly completed R.V.1 card. Mechanization can only be introduced after such a fresh general registration. Clause 8 also provides that the identity number will be taken into use in respect of voters who are registered in divisions in the four provinces because the identity number is a means whereby certain administrative procedures will be facilitated and a means which makes a positive identification possible. The substitution of initials for Christian names has been made possible by the use of identity numbers. This provision cannot be applied in South West because the Population Registration Act does not apply to that territory. At the moment separate voters’ lists for White women and White males are prescribed. These lists will also be combined in future, and this will also facilitate the printing of those lists. This should also facilitate organizing on election day.
In terms of the present provision (Section 25 of the Electoral Act) the voters’ lists must be printed not later than two months before every general election or at such other times as the chief electoral officer considers necessary or as the Minister may direct. Election dates are usually so arranged that the latest supplementary lists can be used at such an election. Under the circumstances it is normally not possible to print supplementary lists two months before an election; for that reason an improvement is being effected by Clause 13. With a view to the proposed mechanization, it is also proposed in Clause 14 that the central index can be maintained for so long as it is considered necessary. Once mechanization has been introduced it may eventually be found that the central index is no longer required, but there will first have to be a trial period.
The second group of amendments relate to the postal vote and I should like to refer to a number of these proposed amendments. Hon. members will agree that the intention of the Electoral Act is that it should be made as easy as possible for voters to cast their votes. But I think that coupled with this is another principle, namely that the opinion which a voter expresses in casting his vote should not be violated so far as that can be prevented by legislation. Although postal votes have always served as one of the means used for facilitating the casting of a vote, it is also an unfortunate fact that abuses often take place—something which the State cannot allow to continue unhindered. After every election there are many rumours to the effect that there have been irregularities with postal votes. Often these stories are exaggerated, but I nevertheless think that the voter who votes by post is also entitled to have the vote which he has cast in accordance with his sincere convictions, kept safe and secret. I just want to deviate for a moment before discussing the control measures which we are proposing, and I want to say in connection with postal votes that Clause 16 makes it possible for persons who will not be able to vote in person by reason of the nature of their work in connection with transport services, as well as persons in the Caprivi Zipfel and Bird Island, to vote by post. Clause 18 provides that only the first application for a postal vote will be considered and consequently it will be possible, as was the position at the referendum, to consider applications for postal votes until two days before polling day.
Clause 20 provides that the serial number of the absent voter’s application for a ballot paper which has been issued in accordance with Section 46 of the principal Act, should also be recorded on the ballot paper envelope, so that the returning officer in checking the postal votes will be able to determine whether the envelope is the envelope which was originally issued. Clause 21 (a) does away with the necessity for two witnesses to the casting of a postal vote because it has been found in practice that in some cases two witnesses are not present and because witnesses are not necessary when a commissioner of oaths is present. All presiding officers are commissioners of oaths.
Furthermore, in terms of this clause it will be a requirement that identity cards will have to be produced for identification purposes when postal votes are cast.
The clause also provides that a voter must sign his name partly on the sealed flap and partly on the rest of the envelope. Clause 24, read with this provision, provides that in opening postal votes, the returning officer shall compare the signatures on the ballot paper envelope, the declaration of identity and the application form: In this regard I also refer the House to Clause 25. By taking this step we hope that we shall succeed to a large extent in preventing any possible interference with postal votes.
By the amendment contained in Clause 23 we are proposing that returning officers shall be given the power to open the absent voters ballot box during polling day provided he has given previous written notice of his intention to do so to each candidate or his agent. This will make it possible for the returning officer to compare the declaration of identity, the application for a postal vote and the list of covering envelopes received, which will result in the saving of quite a few hours as regards the counting of votes without there being any possibility of irregularities. The envelope containing the ballot paper is only opened when the votes are actually being counted.
I now want to add a few words about a number of other amendments. By deleting sub-section (2) of Section 97, Clause 41 is removing the restriction which the principal Act places on certain election expenses which may be incurred in respect of any election and it is proposed that the same provision which applied in this regard during the referendum should also be applied in the case of elections. I think that this step will be welcomed by all because the present provision is in any case of no import or significance and is infringed by everyone.
Clause 51 also removes the restrictions which have applied to certain expenditure in connection with an election as well as the obligation to submit statements in that regard because these provisions no longer have any practical value.
Then there is a third group of proposed amendments which will bring the Electoral Act into line with provisions which were adopted last year in the Referendum Act. In this regard I am referring to Clause 38 which proposes that the electoral officer must count any ballot paper on which there is a mark other than the signature of a voter, by means of which a voter has clearly indicated his choice otherwise than by means of a cross, subject to a certain proviso regarding a ballot paper which indicates a change of choice. This provision is also being introduced to serve as a control method in the case of postal votes. Clause 43 provides for the appointment of an additional polling agent for each 1,000 voters exceeding 2,000. But allow me just to add in connection with postal votes that it is well known that serious allegations have been made to the effect that postal votes are being tampered with, and that postal votes are being spoiled in this way, and I think that we shall be able to prevent such attempts by means of this provision.
Clause 49 extends the polling hours, as was the case with the referendum, to 9 p.m. I may say that in this regard there is a difference of opinion as to whether it should be 8 o’clock or 9 o’clock, but I think that in general our experience at the referendum was that it was better to extend the polling hours to 9 p.m.
I now come to Clause 2. At present there are still about six persons who have been found guilty of high treason since 1931 and in terms of Section 6 of the principal Act have been disfranchised for life. In 1931 the vote was restored to persons who had been found guilty of high treason before 10 June 1931. By means of this amendment the vote is being restored to those persons who were found guilty of high treason up to and including 10 June 1950. I think that this is an extension of a very sound principle which has already been accepted once. The clause also provides that only persons who have been imprisoned for longer than three months without the option of a fine will be disfranchised for the period of the sentence plus the existing period of three years, because in our opinion imprisonment for less than three months does not justify disfranchisement for a further period of three years. It is further proposed that a person whose sentence has been suspended should only be disfranchised for the period of the suspended sentence. This removes an injustice from our existing legislation because such a person is actually in a worse position than the person who is not given a suspended sentence.
I do not intend discussing every clause in detail. I preferred to discuss the more important principles set out in the Bill. The remaining clauses are either consequential in nature or are intended to achieve greater clarity regarding the existing provisions or sections, such as for example Clauses 15 and 39 which have become necessary as a result of the provision in the constitution regarding the duration of Parliament.
In conclusion I want to announce that it is the intention to refer this Bill to a Select Committee after the second reading. Since drawing up this Bill, I have received certain proposals regarding the closing of liquor establishments on polling day. I think a case can be made out for the amendment of the provisions dealing with that matter. The Select Committee can consider this aspect and if it considers it necessary it can ask the House for an instruction.
I want to express the hope that we shall be able to give further attention to all the details on the Select Committee, but I consider that the objects envisaged in this Bill will result in improved and more effective control over elections by the State and in the establishment of an electoral machine which will embody improvements on our present system which will satisfy political parties and the voters themselves.
I want in the first place to thank the hon. Deputy Minister for the very lucid manner in which he has put this amending Bill to the House. That of course does not mean that we agree in all respects with his proposed amendments, and in fact I intend to move the following amendment—
The hon. the Minister has told the House that he intends to send this Bill to a Select Committee after the second reading. That of course means that if there are any amendments in principle, or later amendments of the kind to which the hon. the Minister referred in regard to the sale of liquor on election days, those amendments would have to be introduced by a special instruction of the House. I do feel therefore that the better procedure in regard to the consideration of this Bill would be to send it to a Select Committee before the acceptance of the second reading. There are 54 clauses in this Bill. It is a long Bill and an involved Bill and some of these clauses embody matters of principle which we on this side of the House certainly do not like, which seem to us in some respects to be wrong, and in some respects not an improvement to any extent on the electoral machinery in this country. The hon. Minister referred in passing for instance to Clause 2. Now I do not think that there is any good ground for amending our electoral machinery to make provisions for the re-enfranchisement of people found guilty of high treason in the period before 1950, and although I do not wish to start a political discussion in regard to this Bill, I want to say that this is a clause which we on this side of the House will resist; it is a clause which embodies a change which we do not like and do not approve of. However, I think that can be better discussed in the Select Committee.
I will come later to many other clauses which embody principles to which we object, but I want at this stage to ask the hon. the Minister to consider accepting this amendment in respect of the timing of the Select Committee deliberations. I feel that from his point of view as well as from ours we are going to achieve a better Bill if the hon. the Deputy Minister would accept this amendment and refer this Bill to a Select Committee before the second reading.
Sir, we are dealing here with the whole structure of our electoral machine and in fact we are dealing with the fabric which makes our democracy work. We have an opportunity to shape that machine so that it will permit the giving of true expression to the voters’ will without abuse and with the greatest possible freedom and convenience. This I think is important. It is necessary to achieve the most efficient electoral machinery that is possible in the circumstances, that is possible in practical terms, and I think this necessity is especially great in South Africa. I say that because of the very unfortunate political divisions which go so deep and which I hope in future will not go so deep. You see, Sir, I think it is necessary here, more than in many other countries, to legislate and to frame by legislation an electoral machine so that in fact the expression of the will of the voters is safeguarded in every way. I have had the privilege recently to examine electoral machinery in nearly all the states of the United States of America. There and in many countries, because you have political divisions which do not go as deep as ours do, quite a lot is taken for granted in framing electoral laws. A great deal of regard is had by the voters and the rival parties to the spirit of the thing and there are many unwritten rules. I hope that one day we might achieve that situation here, but where our political differences appear so deep, I think it is necessary that in our electoral legislation we remove any room for doubt to the greatest possible extent and any room for abuse and misuse.
At 10.25 p.m. the business under consideration was interrupted by Mr. Speaker in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (1), and the debate was adjourned until 10 May.
The House adjourned at