House of Assembly: Vol108 - FRIDAY 19 MAY 1961
Mr. SPEAKER announced that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders had appointed the following members to serve on the Select Committee on the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, viz.: The Deputy Minister of the Interior, Messrs. Eglin, Gay, Horak, S. F. Kotzé, Raw, F. S. Steyn, van den Heever, van der Walt, van Rensburg and van Staden.
For oral reply:
asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:
- (1) Whether the Bantu Investment Corporation of South Africa, Ltd., has assumed the addition functions granted to it in terms of Proclamation No. 74 of 1961, dated 23 February 1961; if so,
- (2) how many (a) business and (b) industrial ventures have been taken over to date by the Corporation from (i) non-Bantu persons, (ii) partnerships and (iii) companies in Bantu areas; and
- (3) how many (a) business and (b) industrial undertakings have been established to date by the Corporation in Bantu areas.
- (1) Yes.
- (2) None to date.
- (3) None to date.
As regards (2) and (3) above, a number of matters are under investigation.
asked the Minister of the Interior:
Whether invitations have been sent to any members of the (a) Coloured, (b) Indian or (c) Bantu communities to attend the inauguration of the State President in Pretoria on 31 May 1961; if so, to whom; and, if not, why not.
Invitations to attend the inauguration of the State President in Pretoria on 31 May 1961 have been sent to members of the (a) Coloured, (b) Indian and (c) Bantu communities. Since the replies to these invitations are in some cases still outstanding it would be inopportune to disclose to whom such invitations have been addressed. For the information of the hon. member I may, however, state that invitations have been addressed to—
- (a) eight of the most senior chiefs of the eight most important Bantu ethnic groups (each of them will be accompanied by a councillor);
- (b) the chairman and four members of the Council for Coloured Affairs, representing the Coloured communities in each province;
- (c) four prominent members of the Indian community (two from Natal and one each from the Transvaal and Cape Province); and
- (d) one prominent member each of the Chinese and Malay communities.
Arising out of the hon. Minister’s reply, might I ask whether facilities have been made available for Bantu and other non-Whites on Church Square to hear the address of the State President after the inauguration?
I have nothing to add to my statement. If the hon. member desires further particulars, he must please table a further question.
asked the Minister of External Affairs:
- (1) Whether, as reported in the Press, the Government has ordered copies of “Jacaranda” by Gerald Hamilton; if so, (a) how many copies, (b) at what cost cost and (c) for what reason;
- (2) whether the book is to be distributed; if so (a) to whom and (b) at what charge to the recipient; and
- (3) whether he will state the Government’s attitude in regard to the contents of the book.
- (1) Yes.
- (a) 2,000 copies.
- (b) R2,800.
- (c) Because this book contains information which is seldom found in books on South Africa written and published in England.
- (2) Yes.
- (a) At the discretion of the Director of Information, South Africa House, London.
- (b) No charge.
- (3) Experience has shown that people overseas attach more value to books written by persons who have visited South Africa and who give an unprejudiced and objective account of our country and its problems.
In order to ensure that good value is received for the money spent in the purchase and distribution of such books, I have recently instructed the Director of the South African Information Service to consult with me where a fairly large sum of money is involved.
May I ask the hon. Minister whether he agrees with the comments of the writer with regards to the English-speaking people of Natal?
Mr. Speaker, statements appear in the book which may offend the susceptibilities of certain people in South Africa. All we are concerned about is whether the book gives an objective and unprejudiced view of South Africa and its problems.
asked the Minister of External Affairs:
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to (a) a letter by the South African Information Director in London published in the Burger of 15 May 1961 and (b) a report in the Cape Times of 16 May 1961 that he had directed that the officer be reminded that officers were not permitted to express views in letter to newspapers in their personal capacity without the permission of the Director of the South African Information Service;
- (2) whether similar action has had to be taken since 1955; if so, on what occasions;
- (3) whether the rule referred to in the above applies to official replies by overseas officers of the South African Information Service to criticisms in overseas publications; and, if not,
- (4) whether these officers are allowed any latitude in this regard.
- (a) Yes.
- (b) Yes.
- (2) No. It has not been necessary.
- (3) and (4) For obvious reasons the rule does not apply to official statements of the type referred to by the hon. member, and in regard to which, the responsible Information Officers at overseas posts are expected to use their own judgment and discretion.
asked the Minister of the Interior:
- (1) (a) What restrictions apply to the admission of displaced or Stateless persons to the Union and (b) how many such persons have been permitted to enter the Union during the past ten years for the purpose of becoming South African citizens; and
- (2) whether the Government will consider easing the restrictions.
- (1) (a) Applications of all persons including Stateless persons for entry into South Africa are considered in terms of the immigration laws and on their own merits. Statelessness is in itself not a disqualification for entry into South Africa, (b) The statistics asked for by the hon. member are not available because immigrants cannot be expected to indicate at the time of their immigration whether they want to become South African citizens. I may, however, mention that during the past ten years 565 applications were approved of Stateless persons for permanent residence in South Africa.
- (2) Falls away.
asked the Minister of Bantu Education:
- (1) Whether the Government is considering moving the University College of Fort Hare to another locality; if so,
- (a) where, and
- (b) why; and
- (2) whether any administrative or executive officials of the college have been consulted.
- (1) (a) and (b) No.
- (2) No.
asked the Minister of External Affairs:
(a) What was the cost of printing the Annual Report for 1959-60 of the South African Information Service, (b) how many copies were printed, (c) how many have been distributed and (d) to whom have they been sent.
(a) The printers’ quotation was R1,200. (b) 1,000 in Afrikaans and 1,000 in English. (c) Except for a small supply kept for record purposes, the whole edition is distributed. (d) To all Members of Parliament, Senators, the Press Gallery, the South African Press, offices abroad of the South African Information Service, all diplomatic missions of the Union of South Africa, as well as other interested persons and bodies.
asked the Minister of Justice:
Whether he has recently received a petition in regard to the control of professional boxing; and, if so, (a) what was the nature of the request contained therein, (b) from whom was it received, (c) how many signatories subscribed to the petition and (d) what is the Government’s attitude in regard to the request.
(a) Yes. The petition deals with prescribed boxing gloves, stricter control over public behaviour of boxers, control over doctors, score cards of judges, licences to boxers, referees and judges, required qualifications for admission as referee or judge, contracts between managers and boxers and entertainment tax. (b) Mr. T. Lombard, (c) One. (d) As the petition deals with Boxing Control Regulations issued by the South African National Boxing Control Board, the matter has been referred to that body for consideration. Entertainment tax is a matter which rests with the various provincial administrations.
asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:
No Bantus are included in the posts referred to by the hon. member but the duties attached to the following posts for Bantus are comparable with those of certain professional and technical posts:
5 Bantu Sub-editors;
6 Assistant Bantu Translators;
13 Bantu Information Assistants;
6 Bantu Survey Assistants;
364 Bantu Agricultural Assistants.
asked the Minister of Agricultural Economics and Marketing:
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a statement reported in the Eastern Province Herald of 10 May 1961 to have been made by the vice-chairman of the Meat Control Board that the Government had agreed that in future the Board could export any beef which had not fetched the floor price;
- (a) which grades of beef will be exported; and
- (b) to which countries; and
- (3) whether the Government subsidizes beef (a) for local consumption and (b) for export; if so, (i) which grades and (ii) what was the cost to the State of such subsidization for 1960.
- (1) Yes—but on the basis of trial shipments with a view to testing overseas markets for various grades of beef, carcasses bought by the Meat Board at the floor price should, before being exported, be offered to the local trade within a reasonable time after purchase.
- (a) See (1).
- (b) To countries in which the Board considers the market the most promising.
- (3) No Government subsidy is being paid on beef.
asked the Minister of Transport:
- (1) Whether, as reported in the Press, a tanker recently went aground when approaching the entrance to Durban harbour; if so, what was (a) the name of the ship, (b) its gross tonnage, (c) its draught when fully loaded, (d) the state of the tide at the time and (e) the weather conditions;
- (2) whether the vessel was (a) under the control of a pilot and (b) on course;
- (3) whether he is satisfied that adequate steps are taken to ensure constant attention to the examination and dredging of the approaches to the entrance of the harbour;
- (4) whether the Moffat Committee has given its attention to (a) the question of deepening the approaches, the harbour entrance and the channel leading to the Island View tanker berths, to provide an adequate safety margin for modern deep draught tankers and (b) the advisability of eventually widening the entrance to the harbour; and
- (5) whether he will order an inquiry into this incident.
- (1) Yes.
- (a) Skaukar.
- (b) 16,721.
- (c) 34 feet 10 inches.
- (d) 2 hours before low water spring tide.
- (e) Moderate south-eastern swell; sea otherwise calm with wind west north-west at 2y to 3 miles per hour.
- (a) Yes.
- (b) This point will be clarified at a fact-finding inquiry which is being held.
- (3) Yes. Steps are regularly taken to ensure adequate depths and safety of the harbour entrance.
- (4) (a) and (b) Yes.
- (5) A fact-finding inquiry committee commenced investigations on 18 May 1961.
The MINISTER OF LANDS replied to Question No. *V, by Mr. Cope, standing over from 9 May:
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Star, Johannesburg, of 17 April 1961 of a case heard in the magistrate’s court at Roodepoort on that day when seven persons accused of public violence failed to appear;
- (2) what were the reasons why the seven accused failed to appear;
- (3) (a) at what prison or prisons and (b) for how long were the accused detained;
- (4) whether they were medically examined during their period of detention; if so, (a) on what occasions and (b) with what results;
- (5) whether any of the accused received treatment in hospital; if so, for what complaint or complaints;
- (6) whether any complaints were received by the police or prisons officials regarding the quantity or quality of food received by the accused during their detention; and
- (7) whether an investigation has been ordered into the circumstances under which the accused were detained pending trial; if so, with what results; if not, why not.
- (1) Yes.
- (2) They were suffering from swelling of the legs subsequently diagnosed as avitaminoses.
- (a) Krugersdorp Prison.
- (b) 21 for four months and seven still in custody as from 29 December 1960.
- (4) Yes.
- (a) On admission and at regular periods during detention.
- (b) Seven cases of avitaminoses were diagnosed during the period 7 February to 16 April 1961.
- (5) Yes. All seven cases were treated for avitaminoses in hospital.
- (6) No.
- (7) No. The matter was referred to the Chief Regional Health Officer, Johannesburg, who reported that the cause of the disease could have been a metabolic defect to extract the necessary vitamin from the diet which is adequate and includes a variety of fresh vegetables daily. Only seven out of a complement of approximately 800 persons detained at Krugersdorp contracted the disease.
Arising out of the hon. Minister’s reply, has the Department not received a complaint that the trouble was sheer starvation and the prisoners not having received the food that they should have received?
The reply to that is that it is nonsense.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH replied to Question No. *V, by Mr. Oldfield, standing over from 16 May:
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Natal Mercury of 9 May 1961 regarding the building of houses in Kwa Mashu township, Durban;
- (2) whether the National Housing Office has given any directive to the City Council of Durban in regard to the building of houses in Neighbourhood Unit No. 8 of this township; if so, (a) what is the nature of the directive and (b) for what reasons was it given;
- (3) whether the City Council has made any request to the Housing Office in regard to the building of these houses; if so, (a) what was the Council’s request and (b) what was the Housing Office’s reply; and
- (4) whether the Housing Office has given any directive to the City Council in regard to future contracts for Bantu housing; if so, (a) what is the nature of the directive and (b) for what reasons was it given.
- (1) Yes.
- (2) and (3) May I explain to the hon. member that when the City Council originally submitted its proposals for the scheme, known as Neighbourhood Unit No. 8, for approval, it intimated that it had not yet decided whether the scheme would be erected by the Council itself or by private enterprise. The Bantu Housing Board approved the scheme on condition that it be put out to tender. The Council did not raise objections but impliedly agreed to this condition by amending the scheme to facilitate its execution by contract and by calling for tenders for the work.
The City Council did not itself submit a tender, but prior to the closing date lodged, for comparative purposes, an estimate of the cost at which it could erect the dwellings. This estimate was, however, higher than the price quoted in the lowest tender.
In presenting the tenders to the Bantu Housing Board, the City Council requested that the tenders be ignored and that the Council be allowed to undertake the work itself. As tenders had already been received, the Bantu Housing Board felt that such a procedure would be open to grave criticism and would be contrary to established practice. It consequently requested that the lowest tender be accepted. The Council was at the same time informed that it could undertake the erection of another portion of Kwa Mashu by its own building organization to prevent the dissolution of its building teams.
The Council thereupon indicated that it could erect Unit No. 8 at a lesser figure than that quoted in the lowest tender and again requested to be allowed to undertake the work. For obvious reasons this request could not be supported and it was pointed out to the Council that a departure from the previous decision would amount to a breach of faith.
- (4) No.
May I just make a statement regarding the business for next week. On Monday precedence will be given to Orders of the Day Nos. 1 to 3 and 9. We shall then proceed with legislation as shown on the Order Paper and when we make drastic changes in this order, we shall as in the past notify the various parties in advance. We must keep the Estimates back for a while because the Supplementary Estimates, the debate on which forms part of the 125 hours which are available for the Estimates, have not yet been laid upon the Table. It is only right that hon. members should see the Supplementary Estimates before we use up all the 125 hours. There are still two Votes, namely Defence and Native Affairs, which must be disposed of, together with the Supplementary Estimates, and I think that there are only eight or nine hours left.
First Order read: House to go into Committee on Commonwealth Relations (Temporary Provision) Bill.
House in Committee:
On Clause 1,
I wish to move as an amendment—
As to the first one, we move the amendment to deal with one of the objections which we raised to the provisions of this Bill at the second reading, viz., that under the provisions of the Bill a Minister (it may be any Minister) is authorized to amend or suspend parts of any law under certain circumstances, even if Parliament is sitting. Our view is that if any law has to be suspended or amended and Parliament is sitting, the proper place for that amendment to be made is in Parliament itself. Therefore we propose that we should insert “if Parliament is not in session”. That means that during the recess the Minister can act, but if Parliament is sitting, and he finds it necessary to amend or suspend any part of any law in force, he should come to Parliament in the normal way and ask Parliament to accept such an amendment.
In the second amendment we are moving the deletion of the words “in his opinion”. These words seem to us to be redundant because it is “his opinion” of whether any corresponding law which was in force in that Commonwealth country on the date mentioned, has been amended or repealed, or has ceased to operate in so far as the Republic of South Africa is concerned. It seems to us that that is not a matter of opinion, but that it is a matter of fact. Either that particular law, in that particular Commonwealth country, has been amended or repealed, or has ceased to operate, or it has not. It seems to us, therefore, that the proper way to phrase it, is to omit the words “in his opinion” and simply to state that if any Commonwealth country has acted in that particular way, then the Minister concerned may act as provided for in this Bill. Both these amendments, Sir, go some way towards meeting the difficulties which we, on this side of the House, have with this Bill, and it seems to me, moreover, that they leave the power which a Minister requires undamaged. We are, therefore, proposing two reasonable amendments which will not interfere with the effectiveness of the Minister’s Bill and, at the same time, will meet some of the objections we have to it.
I would like to support the arguments advanced in favour of these amendments, by the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson). I feel, Sir, that it is never right, even when Parliament is not sitting, that a Minister or, what it usually means, a departmental head, should perform unchecked the rightful duties of Parliament. These amendments should, to my mind, be acceptable to the hon. Minister because they show that we recognize the need for fast and swift action by the Executive on certain occasions. There is nothing in these amendments which would have the effect of clogging the wheels of administration, or would slow down any legitimate or necessary action. All they do is to ensure, first of all, that the hon. Minister should not act without the knowledge, the consent, and consultation of Parliament if Parliament is sitting. Secondly, they ensure that we ourselves do not abrogate the legislative powers which the Constitution lays upon us. Mr. Speaker, the insertion of the words “in his opinion” have been said to be redundant. These words are often put in by legal advisers in order that there should never be any question of a Minister’s action being put to proper subsequent examination. In other words, if action is taken because “in the opinion of the Minister” it is necessary, the usual criteria for rejection or alteration will not apply. He can act unreasonably; he can act without consultation; he can act arbitrarily. But so long as the words “in his opinion” are there, he is protected. That is why these particular words have been inserted in this Bill. The hon. member for Constantia has pointed out that this phrase is absolutely unnecessary for another reason; because it will be factual considerations which will cause the Minister to act, and not just mere matters of opinion.
While I am talking on this clause, may I refer to something which the hon. Minister said yesterday in relation to this clause; something which has now a specific bearing on it, while we are dealing with it separately. I want to ask him why he said that this Bill was “an exact counterpart of the Bill introduced into the House of Commons”? We all know that it is “consequential” to the British Act. But why did he say, in effect “just as I am taking powers to act without consulting Parliament; just as I am asking for delegated legislative powers, so the same was done in Britain”? Did his legal adviser tell him that the British Act conferred extra-parliamentary powers on the Ministers of the Crown? If so he was wrong The British Act confers no such powers as this Bill demands. The Minister read out to me a section of that Act and insisted that the words “unless provision to the contrary is made by an authority having power to alter the law” proved that Britain’s Parliament had given delegated powers to Ministers to alter laws. But that is not so. Either he, or his legal adviser, does not understand the proper meaning of those words in the British Act or else …
The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of the Bill.
Sir, this is not a third reading. This clause, which we are considering, contains an express delegation of legislative power to a Minister, giving him the bureaucratic authority to amend or change laws and this power, in our opinion, belongs to Parliament and Parliament alone. The hon. Minister tried to justify the taking of these powers by saying that “in Britain they did the same thing”. But they did not, and he knows that they did not do so. He had been driven into a corner and said this in a vain attempt to get himself out of an awkward situation. I challenge him to tell me that his legal adviser told him so. If his legal adviser did tell him that, then the hon. Minister should get a new legal adviser. In the case of Britain, as will clearly be seen from the wording of their Act, there was no delegation of powers to any Ministers of the Crown. Their Act merely arranged a position of status quo. By the British Act it is left to those legislative authorities which previously possessed the power to alter laws, to make subsequent consequential alterations. This wording “an authority having power to alter that law” refers to whatever legislative authority or instrument either in the United Kingdom or the Rhodesias or the Colonies previously had the power to alter the law and it naturally includes the Parliament of Great Britain. There is, as I said, no alteration of the status quo, no assumption of ministerial powers in the British Act, while in this Bill, by way of unfortunate contrast, the Minister is taking new powers; new kinds of powers. He is seeking the power to do what Parliament should do. Not only does he grasp for legislative powers while Parliament is in recess, but also while Parliament is actually sitting here. He is seeking power to legislate from Marks Buildings, and this we will not allow.
Mr. Chairman, I too rise to support the amendments moved by the hon. member for Constantia. They are, in all respects, very reasonable amendments and amendments which go a long way towards removing the objectionable aspects of this Bill. It is bad enough, Sir, to have an unwarranted invasion by the Executive into the sphere of the Legislature, but it is considerably worse to have such invasion while Parliament itself is actually in Session. This is one of the serious objectionable aspects of this Bill, because it actually shows contempt for Parliament whilst it is sitting. As the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) has indicated, there will then be two legislatures sitting: one in Marks Buildings and the other one in this Chamber. Surely that is an intolerable position, Sir, and is nothing else than a contempt for the whole parliamentary system as we have understood it in this country so far. The powers that are being granted here are delegated powers to legislate not in respect of any provision contained in the Bill itself, but in respect of existing laws. This measure shows, therefore, complete distrust in the Legislature, apart also from signifying complete inability on the part of the Executive to place before Parliament a convincing case in support of the changes which are necessary. That feeling, or suspicion, is therefore created because the Executive is unable to put before this House convincing arguments as to why there should be the change in existing legislation, either to remove the legislation from the Statute Book through a process of suspension or by changing it. The hon. Minister should, therefore, give very serious consideration to the first of these amendments. This is not only a very reasonable one, but one which will remove many of the objectionable aspects of the present Bill. I also support the second amendment, viz. to remove the words “in his opinion”, because in the first place why state the obvious? If he is obliged to exercise an opinion, then he exercises the opinion, and there is no need to put that in the legislation itself. What obviously will have to happen is that the Governor-General, or the Minister advising the Governor-General in regard to the matter, will have to make up his mind on a factual situation. He will have to make up his mind as to whether in fact alterations in laws applicable in other Commonwealth countries do affect legislation here. He will have to exercise an opinion to that extent and he will have to make up his mind. But, again I say, why stress the obvious? Unless it is for the very reason mentioned by the hon. member for Wynberg, namely, that it is to ensure that nobody else can have an opinion on the matter, and to ensure that the courts will not be able to test the validity of the proclamation on the grounds as to whether an alteration was, in fact, necessarily made. This legislation simply places the final say in this regard in the opinion of the Governor-General or, rather, in the Minister who advises him, closing the door to any other safeguard and to any further approach by the persons concerned, and closing the courts. I agree with the hon. member for Wynberg when he said that this hon. Minister certainly misinterpreted the British Act when he referred to that as justification for this Bill. I do not want to read the portion again which was read by that hon. member, but I want to make it quite clear that the United Kingdom legislation relates not only to the United Kingdom itself but also to other territories, including the Federation of the Rhodesias, and various territories and colonies. There is, therefore, no single legislature as in our case which will have to deal with any change in existing legislation If the Parliament of the Federation, for instance, passes legislation in connection with the matter, it will be competent to do that. The provisions of the United Kingdom legislation are simply made to ensure that that legislature, that law-making body, can deal with the matter and that is why the provision is made “unless provision to the contrary is made by an authority having power to alter the law”. It is for the very reason indicated by the hon. member for Wynberg, namely to maintain the status quo. It is entirely wrong to try and draw any analogy, as the Minister did, from those words in relation to the situation in South Africa where we have a single Legislature dealing with the matter. You are now bringing about this untenable position in a system of parliamentary government where an unwarranted invasion is to be made by the Executive into the sphere of the Legislature.
In supporting these amendments moved by the hon. member for Constantia, the only observation we have to make is that, if we have any misgivings about them, then those misgivings are to the effect that these amendments could have gone further than they actually do now. The amendments moved, Sir, very adequately meet the position when Parliament is in session, but even when Parliament is not in session it is, we believe, our duty to seek the utmost possible safeguards against arbitrary actions. However, it may be that in some circumstances swift action by the Executive is called for with no alternative for it being taken to Parliament for subsequent ratification, and in those circumstances it would be difficult to frame an amendment which would go further. I have difficulty, Sir, in even envisaging the necessity for the Executive, even when Parliament is not in session, to act in Parliament’s name in this way, although I concede that there may very well be such a necessity, and it is for this reason that we support the amendments in their present form. The hon. member for Wynberg and the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) have argued far better than I could to show that the British legislation does not offer a parallel as was contended during the second-reading debate. There is no provision in that legislation comparable to the delegation of powers envisaged by this clause. I also want to refer briefly to another observation which the hon. Minister made yesterday. He said that this legislation was, very probably, unnecessary. He, indeed, went so far in his reply to the debate to say that, had he known what the attitude of the Opposition would be, he would never have introduced this legislation. Now, had the hon. Minister not introduced this legislation, not only would there not have been these standstill provisions, but there would also not have been this provision whereby the Executive is empowered to act for Parliament. The hon. Minister is, apparently, prepared to contemplate with equanimity—because he said that he might not have introduced this legislation—a situation in which he would not have these powers to act for Parliament itself. If he is prepared to contemplate that situation with equanimity, and if he feels that it is not likely to be necessary to use the far-reaching powers which the Bill now contains, then that seems to me to be all the more reason why he should be prepared to accept the amendment now before the House, which would still leave him with a substantial part of those powers, but would at least restrict them in so far as the time is concerned when Parliament is actually in session. As I said, I hope the hon. Minister will accept this amendment. If he does not want to, then he owes the House an explanation, not only of his statement to which the hon. member for Wynberg has drawn attention, viz., that the British legislation is a parallel and that this Bill is, therefore, necessary to measure up to it, but also of his statement that he would have been contented not to have this legislation at all under certain circumstances. If that is so, then what grounds are there for insisting on these far-reaching powers of delegated action in the name of Parliament?
One could very well appreciate the attitude of the hon. Minister that, when he introduced this Bill, he appreciated the attitude of the United Kingdom Government in passing a standstill measure, because, undoubtedly, its progress was to avoid any disruption to our country which might be disadvantageous, or which might have effects which the British Government did not particularly seek to bring about, because of South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth. But that is not, necessarily, the vehicle which the hon. Minister is entitled to employ in order to treat Parliament in a contemptuous fashion such as is being done by this clause. The reading of the clause in itself gave one the immediate reaction of a contemptuous attitude being adopted towards Parliament, as well as to the purpose and importance of Parliament in our democratic institutions. I cannot see that there is a sense of urgency to deal with the amendment or suspension of laws which refer to other members of the Commonwealth, nor do I at least see that urgency in the same light as might have been foreseen when legislation was introduced in the British House of Commons. The parallel is not a good one, Mr. Chairman, and one which this side of the House cannot accept in order to justify us giving the Minister the powers which he seeks here. If one examines the clause carefully, one is forced to the conclusion that what is virtually being placed in the hands of the hon. Minister is the right to deal with all the external affairs of the Union in so far as its Commonwealth relations are concerned, without any reference to Parliament, or to the opinion of the Opposition, or to the opinion of people in the country who might hold views which are different to that of the Government. It is, perhaps, the most far-reaching power that one could have sought in the circumstances. If the hon. Minister has no motive of that nature, then these amendments are a very fair presentation to him of the constructive viewpoint of the Opposition which does not want, in any way, to hamper the hon. Minister in the administration of his Department, or in his relations with the other countries in the Commonwealth, but, in doing so, is not prepared to forfeit its duty and its right to be consulted on any matter of parliamentary importance—as this matter certainly is. Consultation should take place in putting before Parliament any measures which are necessary to amend, or to abrogate, or to bring to an end, any laws on the Statute Book. The question of a person’s opinion has always been a very arbitrary one, and it has always received very careful scrutiny by the courts whenever that opinion has been brought before the courts in order to test its justification, its objectiveness and its strength. Now, Parliament really is the court for the opinion of the nation; Parliament is the forum for the opinion of the nation. We believe that in seeking to exercise the rights which are called for here, only in the opinion of the Minister, is much too far-reaching a fact than what he really desires to bring about, namely, to deal with our laws only when a corresponding law, or reference in a corresponding law in any part of the Commonwealth, has been amended, repealed, or has ceased to operate. Unless the hon. Minister can give us more practical examples where the urgency would arise in so far as our reactions to such amendment, repeal, or cease to operate is concerned, one has to grope and search for circumstances where such urgent and immediate action would be necessary for the Executive only to exercise its opinion without any consultation. I do not think that our laws, which would require dealing with in this manner, are of such a nature that urgent action would be necessary in response to what takes place in other parts of the Commonwealth. If the hon. Minister wants to maintain happy relations with other parts of the Commonwealth, as he says he wants to do, I cannot foresee any sense of urgency in dealing with these particular laws. And if there is such an urgency, that matter should always come back to Parliament for ratification. We have, unfortunately, had examples of the hon. Minister’s reaction to matters which happened in other parts of the Commonwealth; we have had his reaction even to expressions of opinion internally, in our own affairs in this country, and I, for one, would not be prepared to place in the hands of the hon. Minister such far-reaching and arbitrary powers when I and my fellow citizens would have to be responsible for some of the utterances and reactions of the hon. Minister to expression of opinions in other parts of the Commonwealth.
We must approach these amendments from the point of view that this clause establishes nothing but reciprocity in respect of the repeal of laws. It is an unfortunate position that we have to create a negative reciprocity, but that is the situation with which we are faced because the British legislation fixes the present position for a maximum period of one year. It can be extended, but within that year certain laws which create reciprocal rights can be repealed. That is the first point.
The second point which I want to make and which we must accept in considering these amendments, is that legislation has been introduced on the logical basis that it is accepted that certain of the Union’s laws must lapse after we become a republic. In introducing this legislation the Government basis its stand on this principle; in approving of the principle the Opposition base their stand on that principle. In arguing logically we cannot therefore fall back on the possibility that this legislation may not be necessary. Then both sides of the House have adopted an incorrect attitude. We must accept that certain of these laws will have to go and that there must therefore be reciprocity of repeal.
In my view the importance of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) is that it provides that this reciprocity of repeal should not be vested in the Executive, that is to say the Union Government, during parliamentary sessions. But what justification is there for that if we limit the power of the Executive merely to the reciprocal right of repeal, and that is what is being done here. The Executive is not being given a general power to repeal Union laws, but only to the extent that the corresponding law of Britain or a dependent British territory is repealed. In other words, the power of the Executive is limited; it is strictly defined. And I think that we all agree with the principle that if a privilege which the Union enjoys at present in a British territory is withdrawn through British initiative, we should immediately be able to reply by withdrawing the corresponding privilege in our area of jurisdiction. Consequently what harm is there in the Executive of the Union having the power to do so?
Then the second point contained in the hon. member for Constantia’s amendment makes it yet more unnecessary. The hon. member argues that at this moment reciprocity of appeal can be applied if the Executive, the Minister concerned through the Cabinet and the President, considers that a corresponding, let us say, British Act has been repealed. He now wants to lay down an objective test. He does not want to rely on the opinion of the Minister, but he wants to be guided by the facts. If that is the approach then the first limitation on the Executive is obviously unnecessary. Then we are merely dealing with a question of objective facts.
As regards the second amendment. I have asked myself whether there is not sound substance in the proposal that an objective judgment should be applied, and not a subjective judgment in the opinion of the Minister. But I should nevertheless like to support the wording of the Bill as it stands, for reasons of legal certainty. The legislation which will be affected mainly affects individual rights. It is true that under the Merchant Shipping Act it is no longer so much individual rights which are affected; but then there are maintenance orders, the legislation relating to visiting forces, the laws relating to doctors and dentists, the admission of attorneys, etc.—all these affect the right of individuals. What is the most undesirable? That when the Minister considers that a corresponding British law has been repealed, he repeals the corresponding South African law, and the position is final and certain; or that the Minister advises the President to repeal the corresponding South African law, and the possibility of going to court exists, and after court proceedings it may be found that the objective provision of the law that there should be an actual repeal of the corresponding British legislation may not have been formally complied with. Mr. Chairman, my feeling is that seeing that we are dealing with the rights of individuals, it will be safer if the Executive is given authority to repeal the South African law so we can have full certainty that there has been a final establishment of rights and that individuals will not be left in the measure of uncertainty that they can go to the courts to test whether, viewed objectively, there has in fact been a corresponding repeal of the British laws. Seeing that these are mainly individual rights which are affected, I think that as the Bill stands at present it will be the most effective.
I did not wish to participate in the debate, but I nevertheless feel that I should. I am surprised that the Government and its supporters who have fought so vigorously for what they call the sovereignty of Parliament, are now beginning to play fast and loose with the sovereignty of Parliament. In my opinion, when a sovereign Parliament in such a reckless way entrusts such drastic powers to the Executive whereby the Executive can simply suspend laws, then I say that such a sovereign Parliament is irresponsible. It is surrendering its sovereignty for any trifling reason. Here we have a case where, according to the Minister, the legislation is not even necessary, but he has come to Parliament and he has asked this sovereign Parliament to hand over its sovereignty to the Minister who himself considers that the legislation is unnecessary. That is completely out of line with the basis of our parliamentary and democratic system. I do not know whether my hon. friends opposite have already become so accustomed to the reckless vesting of powers in Ministers and whether there are already so many flies in the ointment that an additional fly makes no difference. [Interjection.] The hon. member for Cradock only knows about blow flies (brommers) and he can just go on mumbling. I want to object to this Bill or to the principle that a sovereign Parliament which has always fought for the limitation of the powers of the Executive should simply hand over powers whereby the Executive can cancel or suspend laws. This is a dangerous principle and for that reason I want to make my protest heard. We are gradually going ahead with this process and when the democrats opposite wake up one day, there will no longer be such a thing as a sovereign people or Parliament, but we shall once again be under the old dictatorial powers of the Executive against which we have fought for centuries.
Give us your definition of democratic.
The hon. member would not understand it. But it does not mean that the Executive should be given ever-increasing powers simply to suspend or repeal laws which Parliament has passed.
I rise to appeal to the Minister to bring this debate to an end by indicating that he is prepared to accept the most reasonable amendments moved by the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson). They are amendments the debate on which can only be within a narrow compass. If the Minister has any reasons to advance, assuming that he is not prepared to accept the amendments, I would like to hear them so that we can debate it. I do not believe there are any reasons. It has been pointed out that the Minister himself indicated that he did not regard this legislation as necessary and the hon. member for Constantia has pointed out that if that is so, clearly these amendments ought to be accepted. On the first point, if there is any urgency, as the hon. member pointed out, the Minister will have power to act notwithstanding the first amendment. In regard to the second amendment, I hope the Minister will give the House the assurance that he will not regard it as being within the scope of whatever powers are given to him to act in any case where there is doubt because where there is doubt the proper body to resolve that doubt is Parliament and not the Minister. If the words “in his opinion” are left out, it will simply mean that the Minister will have to act on the facts. I would like to disagree entirely with the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn), and I must say I was somewhat amazed that he advanced the reasons he did. He referred to reciprocity. If it should be that in certain circumstances the appropriate body in another part of the world took away reciprocity to the right of a South African doctor to practise in that country, does the hon. member suggest that we should immediately take away the right of reciprocity extended to a well-qualified medical practitioner from that country to practise here? I hope that we are not going to accept a breach in the relations between South Africa and the Commonwealth in that petty spirit, and I hope the Minister will give us an assurance that he will not do so. I hope that we will try to preserve what has been of great value to South Africa, as well as to the other countries.
Yes, What I suggest is that in a case where there is doubt, for the Minister to rush in and take away the reciprocity immediately, as he will have power to do in terms of this Bill, is utterly wrong. I suggest that if a man is here in South Africa and he has qualifications which entitle him to practise as a doctor or a dentist, we should consider that case on its merits and exclude from the rights of that person the question as to whether some state has acted in a petty fashion against a South African. When it comes to professional men, the test should be, firstly, whether that person is properly qualified to serve the people of South Africa. In most fields there is a dire shortage of qualified persons, and as the Government gets on with its plan of developing the non-Whites and their areas, then only will we realize the critical shortage of qualified men. In the light of those circumstances, as the hon. member for Kempton Park put his case—I think he qualified it later—he felt that if there was any action which even looked like a withdrawal of reciprocity, the Minister should have the right to take what is almost primitive action. But I hope that we will not debate this matter in this way. I ask the Minister to apply his mind to this question and to consider what is best in the interests of the country. I have no doubt that if he approaches the matter in that simple way he should concede both these amendments. I submit that they are necessary. I agree with those who said that when Parliament is in session the amendments of the laws of the land should be the prerogative of Parliament. In these amendments it is conceded that if there are cases of urgency it may be necessary for the Minister to act. But the effect of the second amendment is that the Minister would act in cases of certainty and not in cases of grave doubt. I think it is only right that Parliament which makes the laws should be the body to decide in case of doubt. So I hope the Minister will do what I believe is the reasonable thing and the right thing in so far as Parliament is concerned, and that is to modify the power he seeks in the way suggested, preserving the powers of Parliament. I would point out that even if the words “in his opinion” are deleted, if any action is manifestly unreasonable so that no reasonable man could have come to that opinion, the courts would nevertheless be entitled to interfere. Therefore the hon. member for Kempton Park, who I am sure would concede that point, was not quite correct in the statement he made that an action by the Minister would bring absolute certainty. It might in certain circumstances bring uncertainty. The only way to get certainty is to act only in those cases which are beyond doubt, and in cases where there is doubt, to leave the decision to Parliament.
I should just briefly like to associate myself with the argument put forward by the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) in reply to the point made by the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn) who apparently takes it for granted that if a privilege which has been granted to South African citizens by a Commonwealth country is withdrawn, it must necessarily be accented that the Minister should act immediately in order to withdraw a similar privilege from the citizens of that country.
Might act immediately.
Yes, but the hon. member apparently accepted that that would automatically follow. The hon. member for Springs has rightly given the example of professional people, medical men, in respect of whom such reciprocal arrangements exist today.
But that does not appear in any law.
There are regulations under the Medical and Dental Act in South Africa in terms of which reciprocity exists between us and certain other countries. The hon. member for Springs has said that the only test should be the professional ability of the person concerned. I agree, but there is another consideration which weighs much more heavily, and that is South Africa’s needs at the moment. Because it may be unnecessary for a British country to have South African doctors practising there, it does not mean that it will be in the interests of South Africa to do the same thing. We must welcome them if there is a shortage of such persons. And this does not only apply in that instance. There are other examples. Take tourists. I can foresee a position where certain Commonwealth countries may act in such a way, possibly out of hostility towards South Africa, that they make it difficult for South African tourists to enter their countries, but for economic reasons we shall certainly not limit tourism in this country. Thus one could continue. Take immigration arrangements. It may be that some step is taken against us, but that it will not be in our interests to do the same thing here in respect of that country. All these examples merely serve to make it clear once again how important the power is which is being accorded the Minister and how difficult many of his decisions may be and how much doubt there may be as to what approach should be adopted. This merely emphasizes once again the importance of such matters being within the competence of Parliament and not of the Executive. The amendment before the House is very reasonable. It could easily have gone further, but as a result of what the Minister himself has said, I still hope that he will accept the amendment.
I am sorry that unworthy motives have been imputed to me by certain speakers. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Miller), for example, said that I was adopting a contemptuous attitude towards Parliament. There is no reason for saying that. It is quite uncalled for. He said that we wanted to usurp the rights of Parliament. That is an unjustified allegation. Let us discuss these matters on their merits and not by this sort of slanging.
The hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) introduced his amendment in a reasonable way and certain other members discussed it in the same spirit, such as the hon. members for Maitland (Dr. de Beer) and Springs (Mr. Tucker). Let us discuss it along those lines and see whether or not the intention of this Bill is to usurp rights of Parliament or whether my attitude is one of contempt towards Parliament.
Let me say straight away that when this Bill was laid before me I immediately took up with our Law Advisers some of the points raised by hon. members to-day. After the amendments of the hon. member for Constantia were brought to my notice, I asked the Chief Law Adviser to come and see me in order to discuss those points. These provisions have been put into the Bill on the advice of our Law Advisers. There is no question of the Law Advisers wanting to usurp the rights of Parliament. I am sure hon. members will not accuse them of that. It is not fair to adopt this attitude. In discussions with the Law Advisers I asked whether there was anything here which might possibly be construed as having this effect. I have always held, also in the past, and also when we were in Opposition, that too many powers should not be delegated to the Executive. The hon. member for Wynberg in those years strongly complained of Executive action taken without the authority of Parliament. I held the same views, and I am not likely to depart from them, except for very good reasons. In this case there is a very good reason, viz. the protection of the interests of our country. The hon. member for Springs mentioned that point. I want to assure hon. members that these provisions are there only to protect the interests of South Africa. If they were not there it could lead to severe financial loss for South Africa. It may not be possible for the Union Government to act immediately without these powers. The hon. member for Constantia recognizes that. He is quite prepared to accept that part of the Bill which refers to Executive action being taken when Parliament is not in session. His objection is to such action being taken when Parliament is in session. That occurred to me too, and on that point I again this morning had a discussion with the Chief Law Adviser to find out whether it was really necessary, and he assures me that it is absolutely necessary. May I again point out that South African legislation which applies to Commonwealth countries—let us say other Commonwealth countries besides the U.K.—is not affected by South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth. Such legislation remains in force until repealed or amended. In the second place, may I point out that we are not acquainted with the laws operating in some of these Commonwealth countries. We tried to find out, and that is why there was this delay. I explained yesterday why there was delay in introducing this Bill. Not only did we have to circularize and get the opinion of all Government Departments, but we had to find out what the position was in other countries. That is why there was a delay. It is clear that the position is different in regard to Britain’s relations with us, and our relations with some of the other Commonwealth countries. Hon. members know that—I do not want to mention names of certain countries. My policy is to try to build up good relations and co-operation in matters of common concern … [Laughter.] Hon. members may laugh sarcastically, but that is my policy. Some hon. members are apparently not aware of what has been happening. They do not know of action which is either being taken or is being threatened against South Africa by certain members of the Commonwealth. If I am to judge by some of the statements made here this morning, it would appear that these hon. members are quite happy that South Africa should lie down, and not take any action in return. Reciprocity was mentioned in regard to medical men, etc. That is a minor matter. Reciprocity means more than that, and it works both ways. If South Africa’s interests and our trade are being seriously handicapped and we stand to lose millions of pounds because of action taken by other countries, then in the interests of South Africa it is necessary to act, and to act immediately.
Yesterday you said this had nothing to do with trade.
The hon. member for Constantia recognized the necessity for taking action immediately. I discussed the matter this morning because I wanted to have an assurance from our Law Advisers that this provision was really necessary. They pointed out to me that the purpose of Clause 1, which is sought to be amended by the hon. member for Constantia, is primarily intended to preserve the position as it is to-day, and not to disturb it, unless circumstances make it absolutely necessary to do so. But it was also pointed out to me that it may be necessary, if Parliament is in session, for action to be taken, e.g. in connection with customs duties, to mention only one. They pointed out to me that you do not want to introduce legislation continuously when you have trouble with one country and then again with another country. At the end of the Session—as in the case with customs amendments—a Bill is introduced dealing with all the different amendments. That is the sort of situation which is envisaged. This provision is not to enable the Government, to usurp the functions of Parliament, but to act immediately in the interests of South Africa. I hope members opposite feel strongly as I do, that our interests must be protected. To show the sort of thing that can happen, about a fortnight ago one of the new African states, not a member of the Commonwealth, took steps that no South African travelling, say, to America would in transit stay for longer than two hours at its airport. The country is Senegal, and the airport is Dakar. This Government, without consulting with us, and for no reason whatever, took the action to say that no South African, qua South African, can remain at the airport for more than two hours. If something were to happen and the plane were to develop a technical fault and cannot leave for some time, it means that these people can be taken into custody because they were there for more than two hours. [Laughter.] The hon. member for South Coast laughs, but I would like to see how he would lose his temper if he were stuck at Dakar, and were taken into custody because he is a South African citizen. I mention this to show what can happen.
What has that got to do with the Bill? [Interjections.]
There may be no financial loss involved, but hon. members opposite seem to find it amusing that South Africans should be treated in that way. [Interjections.] It is necessary to have these powers.
The hon. member further asks that the words “in his opinion” be deleted. He refers to the fact that the opinion must be expressed only on what he calls matters of fact, as to whether or not a certain law was in force in a particular Commonwealth country on the date mentioned. That is quite right. That was also my impression, and I asked the Law Advisers why it was necessary. They pointed out that the key word is “corresponding”, i.e. a corresponding law. The Minister first has to make the necessary inquiries to find out whether it is a “corresponding” law. The words “in his opinion” refer only to the fact that it has to be a “corresponding” law. The Minister must give his opinion as to whether that is so, or not. Sir, in this matter also there has been no question of usurping the powers of Parliament, and all that sort of non-sense. These provisions are introduced purely for the purpose of protecting the interests of South Africa. To us on this side of the House the interests of South Africa are of very great importance. I hope there is the same concern on the other side. [Laughter.] Sir, that is the type of people we have to deal with. To them the interests of South Africa is a laughing matter. What they are really concerned about in this debate is that it gives them a chance of attacking the republic. Let us look to see what is required in the interests of our country. That is the object of the Bill.
The hon. member took the line that I had said yesterday that it was not really necessary to introduce the Bill. In a certain sense that is so, but on the other hand I pointed out that the Bill was to give effect to an arrangement between our Prime Minister and the British Government. Secondly, it was pointed out to me that because we are not acquainted with the laws of the other Commonwealth countries, situations might arise where it is necessary to act. That is the object of this clause. In the circumstances I am not prepared to accept the amendments.
I must say that I am rather disappointed in the Minister’s reply and I am also rather bewildered.
So is he.
He assured us that he is and always has been a supporter of parliamentary procedure and I think he is; that has been my experience of him. What he said rather boils down to this that he would like to accept our amendment but his Law Advisers won’t let him. Sir, he talks about the interests of South Africa. The interests of South Africa are not at issue at the moment. What is at issue is how the interests of South Africa can best be protected. The hon. the Minister wants us to accept the fact that the interests of South Africa can better be protected by Executive action on the part of the Minister than by leaving Parliament to protect those interests. My amendment only deals with when Parliament is in session. If an emergency does arise when swift action becomes necessary, Parliament is here. If an emergency step is necessary the Government can put through legislation in a day.
As quickly as this.
Much more quickly than he is putting this Bill through. All the arguments about emergencies that might arise and that swift action may be necessary, to my mind, fall away provided Parliament is in session and is available to deal with them. It can deal with them in an hour or a few minutes if the matter is really urgent. Sir, the hon. the Minister has referred to the advice of his legal adviser but he has not passed that advice to us. It may be that that legal advice may persuade us too but we do not know what it is. He simply says that the legal adviser tells him that this has to be done, and that in the interests of South Africa we must therefore leave it to him. I cannot accept that. We believe that when Parliament is sitting the proper guardian of the interests of South Africa is Parliament and not any Minister. But in order to deal with a purely hypothetical situation which the Minister himself tells us may not arise at all—and I am sure he is right; he is not even sure that this legislation is necessary—he is creating a precedent here which from the parliamentary point of view may have repercussions of a very serious nature in the future. Our legislation in recent years has been deteriorating in its quality, very largely because of precedents. A little thing is introduced in a Bill, as in this Bill for instance; the next time another Bill comes along and this Bill is then quoted as a precedent, and because Parliament accepted this in this one instance, therefore Parliament is expected to accept it in future instances as well. I think the powers of the nature for which the Minister is asking here should only be given under the most extreme circumstances and under very careful safeguards. I do not say that there are not occasions when they should be given, but here where we are having to deal with situations which may arise when Parliament is sitting, calling for the amendment or the repeal of laws which the Government discovers are similar to other laws in the Commonwealth, they can be dealt with in this House within a few hours, and I would like to know the legal adviser’s argument against that; why he advises the Minister to bypass Parliament, to suspend parliamentary authority and to leave it in the hands of the Executive when there is a perfectly good Parliament sitting here ready to deal with it at any moment. I again say that I am disappointed in the hon. the Minister whom I know has a good parliamentary record. I am not talking about his political record with which I do not agree, but he has been a supporter of parliamentary practice and the rights and the duties of Parliament. I feel that he is letting down Parliament very badly if he cannot accept my amendment, and without giving us any sound reason why it is not possible for him to accept.
May I for the enlightenment of the hon. member say what the opinion is that I received from our Law Advisers. It is possible that the Government will be required to amend Union legislation immediately, and even often, and if such amending legislation should be effected by Parliament while it is in session, it may require a continuous process of minor amendments to a number of existing Statutes. In order to prevent this, the present Bill enables the Government to act immediately and as required, and also expeditiously. When the existing law or laws require to be amended by the Minister, or the Ministers concerned, such amending legislation would in the normal course of events also include amendments by proclamation, which have been effected in the meantime. That is the trouble with which our Law Advisers appear to be faced, that you do not want to encumber Parliament with having to act continually. We do not know how many of these things are going to happen. There are at least four Commonwealth countries which are strongly opposed to South Africa where action has already been taken, and where they have promised to take further action, and therefore it may be necessary …
Have we any laws that are affected by that action?
Yes. But we have to find out exactly what those laws are. We are not acquainted with the laws of those countries. It seems to me that you do not want to make a farce of Parliament …
This is making a farce of Parliament.
… by having to introduce amending legislation continuously. That is the position. I discussed the matter with the Law Adviser again this morning and he feels very strongly that the Government should have the necessary powers to act expeditiously without having to come to Parliament continuously for amending legislation.
I understand the Minister’s difficulty and it is very kind of the legal adviser to try to save Parliament trouble. But, Sir, with great respect to the hon. the Minister I think it is a very poor argument. What is Parliament here for except to look after the interests of this country? The law adviser’s advice to the Minister is that Parliament should not be allowed to look after the interests of South Africa.
Parliament is not here for obstruction.
Mr. Chairman, I take the greatest exception to that remark by the Chief Whip. We are dealing here with Parliament and the rights and the responsibilities of Parliament and one would have expected the Chief Whip opposite to be interested in the subject.
On a point of order, I would ask that the Chief Whip be asked to withdraw that remark. It is a reflection on Parliament.
It is permissible to say that in the House of Commons.
With great respect to the hon. the Minister I think that the advice which the legal adviser has given him is bad. I think it is bad advice in the interests of Parliament and I would have expected the Minister to be strong enough to use his discretion and to back up the rights and the responsibilities of Parliament. I again appeal to him to give serious consideration to our amendment and show that he for one respects the duties and the rights and responsibilities of Parliament.
I do not think this Parliament will be prepared to accept the advice of the Minister’s law adviser, however disinterested he is said to be or however competent he may be in his own limited sphere, as to what our functions as parliamentarians should be. Obviously he has advised the Minister as to the best means of administering his portfolio and altering those laws which in his opinion should be altered, quickly with the least amount of trouble from Parliament. The reasons given for rejecting our amendments are footling. The Minister says that the Executive often has to act immediately or quickly. We have acknowledged that and we have given him the instrument for so acting when Parliament is not sitting. The legal adviser, on whom the Minister relies, says there will be a continuous process of minor amendments to laws and Statutes. In his opinion most of these amendments will be of an in-significant nature and he does not want to “worry Parliament” with them. Sir, we, not he, are the judges of that. If Parliament wants to be worried with minor legislation Parliament should be worried with legislation. After all, that is our function. It will be a sad day if it becomes the function of a law adviser. This is the place for legislation. There is no measure that is too unimportant for the consideration of Parliament. We will give it the attention we think it deserves. If it is a minor matter and does not involve great principle we will pass it quickly. And even where a Minister, because of haste, has been granted powers to legislate himself, he should come back and account to Parliament at a later date. Whatever a Minister does by means of conferred powers should be capable of being annulled or modified by a later resolution of both Houses of Parliament. Parliament should be able to do so quickly and automatically. Machinery should be created to ensure this. Of course correction is made without any legal prejudice to anything already performed as a result of properly authorized ministerial action. I would have thought that in connection with a Bill such as this, or if the Minister has a minor amendment to make to some law which he feels it is necessary to get passed quickly through this House, he would have been well advised to consult the Opposition, through their Whips. That has been done before. That is done frequently by the Minister of Railways, for example, in transport matters. He consults me and points out the urgency of the matter. I see my Whips and more often than not we decide to push it through quickly. A necessary and urgent measure goes through this House in a few minutes if all sides are agreed or if previous consultation has ironed out differences. If this Bill had been approached in the same way there may have been a different approach to this debate. Why did the Minister not come and talk with us about it weeks ago—instead of thrusting this Bill on us suddenly and unexpectedly? He could have said “This is what I propose to do and these are my reasons and here is the opinion of my legal adviser as to why this measure should be hurried”. Prior consultation can lead to quick compromise, can save time in emergency. That is the parliamentary way to do things. He knows very well that we have the interests of South Africa just as much at heart as he himself. He knows that if any agreed legislation has to be hurried through Parliament for the good of the country, he can expect the Opposition to cooperate. But I am convinced that Parliament should never delegate wide, uncontrolled powers to any Minister to do what he thinks is for the good of South Africa, in his sole opinion, without any reference to Parliament when it is in session. When it is not sitting we accept the inevitable and say the Minister can act alone, with Parliament’s permission and subject to later correction should he act unwisely or arbitrarily. Yes, as is interjected, also subject to the correction, if they have the “guts”, even of his own party in Parliament. I would like to say one thing more. One of the fundamental rules of parliamentary practice is that no Minister should shelter behind his Department or his departmental head or any other subordinate official. It seems to me that the Minister in the case of this legislation is wrongly seeking to shelter behind his legal adviser. Does he accept all these views of the legal adviser? If he does he should make up his mind and accept them as his own. He should not drag in his law adviser. He should stand on his own feet. If he thinks that alterations to laws, whether to the Group Areas Act or any other Act, should not be brought before Parliament, he should say so outright and not hide from the responsibility and shelter behind an anonymous and, of necessity, silent civil servant. The excuse that he “does not want to worry Parliament with minor legislation” does not ring true. The substance of such an excuse is very frail and should not be accepted.
I must say that I, like other hon. members, am very surprised that the Minister finally did apprise us of the advice that he had from the legal adviser. The hon. the Minister has been building a sort of inverted pyramid of arguments in support of this Bill upon the point that he has had this advice, and I certainly expected to hear something in the nature of legal advice which would reveal a point that nobody had thought of and some cogent reason why it is necessary for the hon. the Minister to have these powers. But what have we been told? We have been told that it may conceivably be necessary for Parliament to act “immediately and even often” as I wrote down the words. Well, it may be necessary for it to act often and it may not be necessary to act often but Parliament works often and Parliament legislates often and Parliament, as other hon. members have pointed out, is here to do its work, and it is here to do its work even if this work means frequent legislation. In the light of a great deal more that the hon. the Minister has said during this debate, we have no reason to expect frequent legislation at all. The Minister has told us that he would have been quite happy not to introduce this Bill. But I let that pass. I link it up with the fact that the Minister indicated to us yesterday that there would be very little to do under this Bill and to-day he says that it may be necessary to legislate immediately and even often, but that still does not matter. There is still no reason here why Parliament should not have its rights and do its work. And then when the Minister goes on and says that we do not want to make a farce of Parliament by coming continuously with little bits of legislation, it is absolutely astounding. He does not want to make a farce of Parliament by continually asking Parliament to do its work. Sir, has it not occurred to the hon. the Minister that to take the work of Parliament away from it and to do the work of Parliament in Marks Buildings is making a farce of Parliament? That is what is being suggested here.
It did not worry them with the Group Areas Act.
In the case of the Group Areas Act they have come to this House practically every year during the period that most of us have been here for amendments, but we do not think that that makes a farce of Parliament whatever we may think it makes a farce of. Sir, when the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) spoke just before me and he was advancing similar arguments to those I am now using and said that we are just as concerned with the interests of South Africa as anybody on that side of the House, he was greeted with immediate jeers and sneers from the other side of the House, suggesting that the hon. member was not a good or patriotic South African. I think it is extremely deplorable that this sort of thing should happen in the House, but I do not mention it just to say that it is deplorable; I mention it because I believe that it is relevant to the argument that is going on here. The argument that is going on here is really about this. Hon. gentlemen opposite have gone so far with the perilous process of identifying the party with the State, that it really does not seem to them that hon. members on this side of the House or other citizens of this country, not belonging to their party, have any real right to play any part in the process of legislation at all, and that is why quite automatically—not as a pre-planned measure—hon. gentlemen over there react whenever people on this side of the House claim some right in these processes, and that is why it is quite natural for hon. members on that side, for certain purposes, just to leave Parliament on one side and to get the Executive to legislate because the Executive, after all, is of the party and hon. gentlemen on this side are not of the party. This is the essence of the danger that we face and that is why this Bill, which the hon. the Minister hoped would go through so easily, is becoming such an important feature of this Session and of the work of Parliament in general. It is because this Parliament is here to represent South Africa and not simply those who agree politically with the hon. the Minister, that it is necessary that Parliament should have its powers if we are to retain even a shadow of the name of democracy in our country.
I am rather surprised also at the hon. the Minister shielding behind the opinion of his law advisers.
Order! That argument has been used.
Sir, the point I want to make is that while the Minister may be advised by the legal advisers on the matter, the final decision obviously rests with him as the Minister in charge of the Department, and I am not convinced at all and I do not think anyone else is convinced that it is essential to have the words “in his opinion” retained in the clause.
Order! The hon. member must proceed to another point; that point has been used.
If the hon. the Minister has as his objective the avoidance of any unsatisfactory disruption in the relations between South Africa and any other member of the Commonwealth arising out of changes in their legislation brought about through South Africa ceasing to be a member of the Commonwealth, then we come back to the question which we put to the Minister but which he failed to answer, and that is to explain to us why there is such a great sense of urgency as to warrant the Minister having full discretion to amend and alter the laws by proclamation.
The argument of urgency has already been used.
But we have not had a reply, Sir.
The hon. member cannot repeat arguments which have already been advanced.
With respect, Sir, I am not going to deal with that point, but I want to submit that if the Minister refuses to reply to the questions put to him, surely one should be enabled to press the Minister for a reply. The Minister has gone to great pains this morning, in answering the issues placed before him by this side of the House, to explain that his law advisers insist that every provision or sentence in this particular clause is necessary in order to enable him to deal adequately with these important problems which he says affect the future happiness and welfare of South Africa. We are quite prepared to accept what the Minister says provided he informs the House clearly why he needs the full extent of these powers. If the Minister wishes to close up like a clam and to indulge in a certain amount of sarcasm after dropping the cloak of suaveness with which he approached this matter originally, I want to say that the Opposition and the country are entitled to know why he wants these powers. He cannot merely give the sort of reply he has given and, if I may suggest it with respect, be protected by the Chair …
Order! The hon. member may not reflect on the Chair.
If I have done so I withdraw it. The point I want to make is that the Minister has been extremely clear this morning in his determination not to deal with the issues which have been put to him. He has virtually said that as far as he is concerned he is not wedded to any part of this particular clause, save that his law advisers insist that it is necessary in the interests of our country. We want to know why it is necessary in the interests of our country that he should have all these extraordinary powers. He does not deny that it gives him extraordinary and arbitrary powers; he does not deny that he takes unto himself certain powers which properly belong to Parliament, but he fails to tell us why he is justified in doing so and why the country should have laws of this nature on the Statute Book without the hon. the Minister accepting any responsibility; he simply says that he has been so advised. Sir, many of us have had experience of executive government; others on this side have had experience in minor forms of government in this country; we know what advice is. All heads of Departments are there as permanent officials to advise the elected representatives of the people who serve the community. We know that we have not the fullest technical knowledge and we therefore rely on advice from our permanent officials of the State or the permanent officials of other authorities. But the decision as to whether or not to use that advice as an elected representative of the people rests with the person who has been so elected, and that is the issue that is before the House this morning. What does the Minister say about the necessity of this legislation—not what the legal adviser says about the necessity of this legislation? Unless the Minister is prepared to answer that I say that this side of the House will not be satisfied with what he has said this morning. Sir, I know what the hon. the Minister’s motive is. He wants to present to the United Kingdom a picture of a Minister who, acting on legal advice, merely seeks to make an adjustment to our legislation so that it will fit in with United Kingdom legislation. However, we are not concerned with these niceties; we are concerned with the Union of South Africa and its future, not the niceties of the Minister vis-à-vis any other government. We are concerned with the rights of Parliament and we want the Minister to discharge his responsibilities as a Minister of the Crown to Parliament and to give us a satisfactory explanation as to what he desires in this clause.
Sir, I rise to challenge the Minister on the legal opinion he has given to this House. The Minister has said that, in the opinion of the law advisers, the words “in his opinion” relate to “any corresponding law” which is the governing provision and I challenge the Minister to produce an opinion to this House to show that the words “in his opinion” do not also relate to the later part of this clause—
It is perfectly clear on a construction of this clause that those words “in his opinion” relate to “any corresponding law” and they relate to the question as to whether such a law has been amended or repealed or has ceased to operate.
My point is that “corresponding” is the key word.
Perfectly correct, but it also goes on to say “where any corresponding law has been amended or repealed or has ceased to operate”. That is what the words “in his opinion” relate to and it is quite clear that the hon. the Minister must have completely misunderstood the opinion of the law advisers. He is given a discretion to decide whether a law is a corresponding law and also whether it has been amended or repealed or has ceased to operate. I must say I was horrified by the example given by the Minister. He says that there may be circumstances under which it would be necessary for South Africa to act at once, and having obviously given great thought to this law, the only example he was able to give hastily, apart from possible provisions relating to customs duty, etc., in which a power vests in the State in any case to act without coming to Parliament, was one of a law passed in a non-Commonwealth country which discriminates—I say in a disgraceful way—against South Africa. In any case, Sir, with respect to you, I say that that particular example was not relevant because of the fact that under this law you would not be able to do anything to any existing South African law to bring similar provisions into operation into this country.
What about the Ghana law?
I am dealing with the example which the hon. the Minister gave. The hon. the Minister gave the example of a law passed by Senegal, I say a disgraceful law, which would mean that if South Africans were held over there for more than two hours they would have to be taken and locked up. Firstly, I would like to say that I hope South Africa will always remain a civilized State and will never in any circumstances take any such steps against the citizens of other States. But that is not the issue. The point is that that is the example which the Minister gave to us. It is an example which is not relevant because the powers contained in this measure would not give him the power to inflict similar indignities on a citizen of another State, so that case is out. The Minister now refers to the Ghana law. I presume he refers to the law which requires a declaration from South Africans that they do not agree with the Government’s apartheid policy.
They are not allowed to leave the aeroplane unless they sign that declaration.
Obviously I do not approve of that law, but on the other hand I do hope that South Africa, as a civilized State, is not going to follow examples such as those of Ghana and Senegal.
Why do you say that?
I say that because I hope that we will remain a civilized State. I prefer to follow a very much higher rule; I believe that the sort of rule that South Africa should follow is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” [Interjections.]
Cannot we get some order from the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker)?
He is continually interrupting.
I come back to the main point I want to make. [Interjections.] Sir, I hope that hon. members on the other side will do the Minister the courtesy to enable him to follow my argument. The argument I am putting to him is this, that it is quite clear that this term “in his opinion” vests enormous discretion in the Minister. It is quite clear that he is wrong in saying that it refers to the question of any corresponding law. It gives him much wider powers. I hope therefore that he will reconsider the matter and accept the amendment which has been moved. Sir, it will give the Government all the power they want and I do hope the hon. the Minister is not going to tell us that the Government wants powers beyond what is necessary in the circumstances of the case. I submit that the clause as it would read if the amendments are accepted will give the Government all the powers that are necessary in the circumstances of the case, and I repeat that it is essentially in the interest of Parliament that, where there are doubts as to the law, those doubts must be resolved by this House and not by a decision of the Minister on a clause in the Bill which gives him wide discretionary powers by vesting in him the right to act in accord with his own opinion. Sir, even in relation to this Bill, the hon. the Minister tells us that he is acting on the opinion of the law advisers. I beg of him to uphold the traditions and prerogatives of Parliament by accepting these amendments and not to insist on the passage of this measure in its present form.
I did not mean to come into this debate in view of the very clear way that the matter has been put by members on this side of the House. But, Sir, the remarks made by the hon. the Minister made it quite clear that it is essential that we thrash this matter out. He said that he did not want to make a farce of Parliament, but he is doing that very thing to-day. Parliament is simply a façade to-day; a façade as we have seen in such countries as Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and as we see in the communist states where Parliament is merely a façade to cover the actions of the Executive. The hon. the Minister comes here and suggests that the country should be ruled by the Minister and his legal advisers. What are we here for in Parliament?
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the clause.
Sir, I am confining myself to what the hon. the Minister said. With all respect, Sir, the hon. the Minister has told us what his legal advisers have said. He has given a statement to the House and I am certainly entitled to reply to it. I am replying to what the hon. the Minister said. He has told us that he is doing this because his legal advisers have given him this advice. In other words, he proposes now even when Parliament is sitting to have South Africa ruled by an Executive, that is the Minister and his legal advisers. That is exactly what certain totalitarian countries have done and are doing to-day because there the Parliament is merely a façade and the Executive rules, and not the representatives of the people.
Like Ceylon and the United Kingdom.
It is always an amazing thing that whenever the Nationalist Party, which loathes the United Kingdom, gets into a tangle, they quote the United Kingdom as an example to follow.
We as the representatives elected by the people have the greatest objection when Parliament is sitting to allow the country to be ruled by the Executive instead of by Parliament, and that is the power which he is taking. The hon. member for Constantia put it so clearly over and over again. All that he asks for is that when Parliament is sitting such matters should be debated here and Parliament should decide and not the Minister.
Order! That argument has been used repeatedly.
It is a good thing to use it again, Sir. Apparently we are not going to be allowed to talk at all in this House in a short while. It is coming down to the stage when the Minister puts a muzzle on Parliament. He is going to do exactly as he likes when Parliament is not sitting; and when Parliament is sitting, we are not to be allowed to discuss important matters till it is too late to influence decisions. It is nothing more or less than an attempt to get away from having to face Parliament in regard to what he calls “little bits of legislation”.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of the clause.
It is obvious that I am not to be allowed to speak now; so I will sit down.
I meant to protest strongly at the fact that this opportunity has been grasped at to make offensive and unworthy remarks about the hon. the Minister. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Miller) and the hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl), who is now leaving the House, and others have taken this opportunity to show that as far as this clause is concerned hon. members opposite are the only people who have any love or any appreciation for the sovereignty of Parliament. Allow me to say clearly that the hon. the Minister as a person has shown by his actions throughout all the years that he has been in this House that he is very jealous of the sanctity of the sovereignty of Parliament. On behalf of myself and this side of the House I want to say clearly that if this clause contains anything which really infringes on the sovereignty of Parliament, if it really infringes on the powers and privileges of members of this House, we shall be the first to ask that it be changed. We are extremely jealous of the sovereignty of Parliament, but we are just as eager to guard against an opportunity such as this being used to make offensive remarks about the Minister under the guise of defending the sovereignty of Parliament as the hon. member for Bezuidenhout has done. He is the last person who can say anything offensive about an hon. Minister such as the Minister of External Affairs.
Order! The hon. member must now come back to the clause.
As far as this clause is concerned, the hon. the Minister has made it quite clear that as he sees the position, and according to the information at his disposal, there is no question at all of any infringement upon the sovereignty of Parliament. I am not able to judge in legal matters, but according to information which the hon. the Minister has given us, it is clear that this clause does not effect the sovereignty of Parliament, and I am prepared to accept that. If that were not the position, I too would not have been prepared to accept it. But the hon. the Minister has gone out of his way to give this explanation, which he has also based on the advice of the senior law adviser. The hon. the Minister has also said that the steps which are taken from time to time must be referred back to this Parliament and then embodied in legislation. For that reason we support this proposal.
I am not surprised that an honourable and gallant member like the hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) rises in high indignation to criticize this unfortunate measure which is another milestone on the dangerous road leading us to isolation from our friends and blood-brothers in the Commonwealth. I am not at all astonished that his exasperation forces him to leave the Chamber. But I would like, if I may, to come back to the hon. Minister and the advice he says he received from his law adviser behind whom he now seeks shelter. Like the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) I want to question the validity of his arguments. First let us examine the reason why this particular phrase “in his opinion” is used. The hon. Minister says that his law adviser told him that this phrase “in his opinion” is essential because it has direct reference to the phrase in the clause “any corresponding law”. I believe that it has. I believe it has a direct reference to “any corresponding law which was in force in any Commonwealth country on the date mentioned”. That “corresponding law” must have been “amended, or repealed, or have ceased to operate in so far as the Republic of South Africa is concerned”, before the Minister can take action. While these words “in his opinion” are in the clause, the Minister can alter any law which he thinks, or “in his opinion” affects us, and whether it is a corresponding law or not, we cannot question his interpretation because the words “in his opinion” protect him. The law adviser’s advice to him is sound to this extent that his aim is primarily to save the Minister from getting into any possible trouble should he make a wrong decision. If “in the Minister’s opinion” a law “corresponds”, even if it is not in fact a corresponding law, then the Minister is safe. For the hon. the Minister can claim that, though mistaken, he has applied his mind to the problem. We must then accept it because the clause says “in his opinion”, He is not even obliged to be reasonable, he is not even obliged to be fair, he is not even obliged to take evidence or ask advice. The hon. the Minister should now realize why the law adviser wants to retain these vital protective words. Not for Parliament’s sake, but for his. All law advisers want to clothe their Ministers in powers which enable them to avoid the correction of Parliament, if it is at all possible, and in the performance of their administrative functions, enable them at all costs to avoid the correction of the courts of law. That is why the phrase “in his opinion” is in this clause. Not for the reason the law adviser gave to the hon. the Minister; not for the reason that the hon. the Minister gave to this House. May I say that the hon. the Minister himself has proved to be a very bad judge of what law in the United Kingdom “corresponds” with any law of this House. He has told us that the Bill before us corresponds in every way to the one that was passed in England.
I never said that.
I think the hon. the Minister is right. He did not say quite that. He said something worse. He said that the “corresponding” law in England “delegated powers to the Minister in the same way as this Bill does”, That is untrue. We have asked him to justify this statement and to show where there is any provision in the British Act giving Authority to a Minister to alter laws in the way this Bill of our does. He cannot do so. There is no such provision. I should like to quote now the Under-Secretary for Commonwealth Relations who said, in the House of Commons, that their so-called “corresponding” law was “designed merely to maintain the status quo”. This Bill of ours does not merely retain the status quo. The hon. Minister quoted the law in England which says that “all existing law which operates as a law of, or any part of, the United Kingdom shall … have the same operation in relation to the Republic of South Africa … unless provision to the contrary is made by an authority having power to alter that law”, What is an “authority having power to alter that law”? That “authority” is Parliament or a statutory instrument (if the law was made by a statutory instrument) or a legislative body in another Commonwealth country or a colony or a country such as Southern Rhodesia. If that “authority” had the power to alter that particular law it can now make corresponding alterations. There is no delegation of powers to a Minister anywhere whatsoever in the British Act.
What about an order-in-council?
Does the hon. Minister know what an order-in-council is? When I used the words “statutory instrument”, as the hon. the Minister ought to know, I covered orders-in-council, which themselves differ in form. I believe there are orders-in-council for Scotland and the United Kingdom which are of different force and effect. Let me tell the hon. the Minister this. I sincerely believe that in Britain Parliament would never do what he seeks to do, in spite of the fact that they have machinery for the correction of any abuse of delegated powers. In this House, where we have no such machinery, the Minister wants to take these vast powers. In Britain they have a House of Lords Committee which examines what use Ministers make of certain types of delegation. In the House of Commons they have a committee that examines, in certain narrow orbits, what is done by way of delegation. We have no such committees, no such automatic correction of abuse of powers by Ministers. And yet the hon. the Minister wishes to take uncontrolled powers here and claims he does it because a “corresponding law” in Britain does the same. He knows now it does not do the same. He has failed so far to justify his previous statement and I challenge him now to do so, or to accept our amendments.
I hope the hon. member for Vanderbiljpark (Dr. de Wet) will now come to the support of this side of the House, because a moment ago he said that if this clause contains any provision which derogates from the sovereignty of Parliament, he will oppose it. I suggest that the hon. member has not read this clause, a clause which states clearly and specifically that the Governor-General by proclamation may amend legislation of this House, may amend a law passed by the elected representatives of the people, and that the Governor-General (which means the Minister) may by a stroke of the pen in his private office amend the laws of this House. That is a clear and unequivocal derogation from the sovereignty of this Parliament. It is placing the Minister above this Parliament, above the elected representatives of the people. We, Mr. Chairman, were elected to this House to represent the people of South Africa, and we must make laws. This provision enables the Minister, a Minister of the Crown, to repeal or to amend a law made by the legislature elected by the people. It is placing the Minister above Parliament and above the elected representatives of South Africa. If we allow a Minister of the Crown to amend or to repeal a law passed by this House, then surely that is placing the Minister above Parliament. Therefore, I hope that that hon. member will support us in our opposition to this clause.
But there is another aspect of this clause which has not yet been mentioned, and I want to put it to the hon. the Minister that he in fact is, as he has said, not in favour of this clause. Yet, he is forcing it through this House and I suggest that he is doing so because he has instructions to do so. There is only one person who can make the Minister force this legislation through this House against his own better judgment. He has said that it is not necessary. He has said in fact that he does not like this provision. Now if despite his own questioning as to the need or correctness of these provisions he is still pushing them through the House, then the only reason must be that he is doing so on the instruction of the Prime Minister. The reason for this, I submit to the Minister, is that the Government does not want Parliament and through Parliament the people of South Africa to know what laws will have to be amended. They want these amendments to be made in the secrecy and the quiet of an office and only some months afterwards when the issue has been forgotten, laid upon the Table of the House. The object of this provision is to prevent South Africa, through its elected representatives in Parliament, from knowing what laws are about to be amended. If a law is to be amended or repealed, and it goes through this House, then it is public knowledge and the property of the people of South Africa, but this provision enables any law to be changed, and the Minister himself has stated that he expects a large number of changes to take place. In other words he expects South Africa’s relationship vis-à-vis our former friends to change radically in the months ahead.
Our former friends in the Commonwealth. He expects that our situation and our relationship is going to be radically changed. He has said that he is excepting very many little minor changes. He is expecting changes which will affect. South Africa’s future, and he knows that he must keep those facts away from the people as long as possible, so that they will not recognize the effects of our leaving the Commonwealth. He is using this back door to enable him to keep quiet changes which he is going to make in relation to our contact with the rest of the world. Every time of course something annoys the hon. the Minister, he flies off into a rage and he puts his foot into it. We are used to that “tit-for-tat” reaction. The hon. the Minister is passing this provision to enable him to indulge in that pet weakness of his of flying off the handle every time something annoys him. That is, I submit, why this clause is being passed. He is not prepared to give to Parliament Parliament’s free and unquestionable right to amend its own laws, and I ask again that the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark should now rise and oppose this clause which interferes with the powers and privileges of this House.
I do not want to reply to the hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) because he reminds me very much of a she-goat on the point of lambing. The only difference is that he has bleated far more and lambed far less. I actually want to reply to the last speaker who has just sat down. The essence of this whole clause which hon. members of the Opposition refuse to grasp this morning is the concept of reciprocity. These are the crucial words: “Any corresponding law”. There must be reciprocity and when that reciprocity ceases, then only will the Minister be entrusted with a measure of discretion. Hon. members of the Opposition apparently refuse to understand that point this morning. They are making a great fuss, quite unnecessarily. I just want to say that if the Opposition want us to take them seriously in respect of such matters, seeing that they claim to be the great champions of the sovereignty of Parliament, then their attitude should not smack so much of agitation. It seems to me this morning that all the fuss they are making is merely an agitation with a view to 31 May. Here they are merely acting as the mouthpiece of the agitators who now want to create panic in the country, and their whole object this morning is to agitate and to kick up a fuss and to incite people …
Order! The hon. member must come back to the clause.
Mr. Chairman, I am only discussing the attitude adopted by the Opposition this morning. This is the only impression which their behaviour is creating because in confining oneself to this clause, Mr. Chairman, one cannot ignore the things which the Opposition have said. They have not confined themselves to it, and consequently I want to reply and to make the country understand clearly that their opposition is not aimed at this clause, but that their opposition has ulterior motives. I repeat: If a law of any other Commonwealth country is repealed, not through the action of our Government but through the action of another Government, then that legislation is “obsolete” because it destroys the reciprocity on that side and then only must the Minister also withdraw that reciprocity in our case. It is quite clear. Why then all this talking? I want to make an appeal to the Opposition to stop kicking up dust, because they are merely creating the impression that they are agitators and that they cannot be taken seriously.
I think that one should ignore the hon. member for Brandfort (Mr. Froneman) altogether. He apparently has agitators on the brain.
Two important points are at issue here. I cannot approve of the fact that there is an ever-increasing tendency for the powers of Parliament to be exercised by the Executive, by Ministers. That is bad enough. But I want to say that I am also very sorry that the hon. the Minister has had to use a public servant to hide behind. We all know that public servants must of course give advice to their Ministers. That is essential. But when he has given his advice, it does not behove any Minister to hide behind that advice. He must take full responsibility for what he intends doing on the basis of that advice, and he should conceal that there is an official who has in effect insisted that he should take certain action, despite the fact that he does not agree. Here we already have a further development, namely that not only is a Minister controlling and running Parliament, but a bureaucracy behind the Minister is doing so and the poor Minister himself is in the position that he is now being controlled by a public servant. I think it is going very far when the Minister in effect uses a public servant as a rampart behind which he wants to hide. The second point is that I am sorry that the Opposition are not consistent. If it is wrong in principle for Parliament to transfer its powers to a Minister, then it is wrong. I regard it as absolutely wrong, not only when Parliament sits, but also when Parliament is not sitting. I deplore the distinction which the Opposition is drawing between when Parliament is sitting and when Parliament is not sitting because in reality they are conceding the principle for which they are fighting. The amendment is trying to improve the position, but it does not satisfy me, and I want to say frankly that as far as this principle of infringing on the sovereignty of Parliament is concerned, no true democrat can tolerate any such thing. I am, therefore, very sorry that the Opposition have made this concession on this principle which is of vital importance to the democratic system of government and the parliamentary system of government. I leave it at that. I am not at all satisfied with this clause as it stands, nor am I satisfied with the amendments moved by the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson).
Amendment in line 11, put and the Committee divided:
AYES—46: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; 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.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; Tucker, H.; van der Byl, P.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.
NOES—79: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker. G. F. H.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Villiers, J. D.; de Wet, C.; N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Faurie, W. H.; Froneman, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Heystek, J.; Hiemstra, E. C. A.; Jonker, A. H.; 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, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; 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.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Heever, D. J. G.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Eeden, F. J.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: J. J. Fouché and J. von S. von Moltke.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
Question put: That the words “in his opinion” in line 15, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the clause.
Upon which the Committee divided:
AYES—80: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Villiers, J. D.; de Wet, C.; Diederichs, N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Faurie, W. H.; Froneman, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Heystek, J.; Hiemstra, E. C. A.; Jonker, A. H.; 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, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J, C.; 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.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; 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 Nierop, P. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk. H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: J. J. Fouché and J. von S. von Moltke.
NOES—48: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R. P.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; Tucker, H.; van der Byl, P.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.
Question accordingly affirmed and the amendment negatived.
Clause, as printed, put and the Committee divided:
AYES—80: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, M. J. H.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha. S. P.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Villiers, J. D.; de Wet, C.; Diederichs, N., Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Faurie, W. H.; Froneman, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Heystek, J.; Hiemstra, E. C. A.; Jonker, A. H.; 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, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; 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.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; 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 Nierop, P. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk. H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: J. J. Fouché and J. von S. von Moltke.
NOES—48: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R. P.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; Tucker, H.; van der Byl, P.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and A. Hopewell.
Clause, as printed, accordingly agreed to.
Business suspended at 12.45 p.m. and resumed at 2.20 p.m.
On Clause 2,
I move the amendment which stands in my name, Sir. There are actually two amendment but that has not been clearly shown on the Order Paper. There are, however, two separate amendments. The first of these amendments is “To omit all the words after ‘the’ in line 24 to the end of the clause and to substitute ‘commencement of the next ensuing ordinary session of Parliament’”. Since the rape of Parliament which took place this morning, this amendment is really of no effect at all.
Order! The hon. member should withdraw the word “rape” in relation to Parliament.
I withdraw that, Mr. Chairman. The rights, the inviolable rights of Parliament from a political point of view were assaulted, and criminally assaulted this morning, and as a result of that, this amendment has no value and will, in fact, be inadmissible. I will, therefore, not move that. My second amendment reads as follows—
To add the following sub-section at the end of the clause:
This, Sir, is an attempt to regain for Parliament some of the rights which were taken away from it this morning. The Bill, which we have before us, provides that these proclamations, if any, shall be laid upon the Table within 14 days of Parliament meeting. That offers, theoretically at least, an opportunity for the matters dealt with therein to be discussed, but as everyone knows, in practice it means nothing. We want to see that any action taken by the Government in terms of this Act when Parliament is not sitting, shall be brought to the notice of Parliament so that Parliament shall have an opportunity of discussing and debating what the Government has done during the recess specifically by way of resolution. I may say, Sir, that this amendment has been taken from an Act which was passed by Parliament this Session and handled by the hon. Deputy Minister of the Interior dealing with the preservation of Coloured areas. On that Bill we made similar representations to the hon. Deputy Minister who accepted the reasonableness of our proposals by accepting the amendment. I hope the hon. Minister for External Affairs is going to be as reasonable as his junior colleague was on that occasion. What we want to see is that any action taken by this Government in terms of this Bill during the recess, shall be specifically brought to the notice of Parliament within a reasonable time after Parliament meets, and that Parliament should have the opportunity of discussing and debating the question, and of hearing from the responsible Minister exactly what was done, and why it was done, before Parliament places its seal of approval on the action taken. Just as my amendment this morning, so I believe that this amendment is also a perfectly reasonable and logical one which anyone, who places any value at all on the authority of Parliament, will have no hesitation in accepting, and I hope the hon. Minister will give the House a lead by accepting it himself.
Mr. Chairman, in a country where, from to-day …
Start another revolution!
… all public gatherings have just been banned by a panic-stricken Government, I think this House should refuse to give any further dictatorial rights to our Executive Government. This latest action just serves to show what arbitrary use they make of the Executive powers they now possess. They do not hesitate to silence the protesting voice of South Africa, any more than they would close off the criticism of Parliament itself. While we inaugurate a “glorious” republic, we must remain silent while police are alerted, the Army called up and citizens arrested without trial. Now this Minister wants us to agree that Executive administrative action should replace the enactments of Parliament. Members are talking over there about revolution and preparing for civil war. I ask them, are not all these happenings signs of the existence of a police State in South Africa? If members opposite, who claim to be jealous of the rights of Parliament and of its sovereignty, do not protest at all this, then I say that they have no conception of the way a democracy should work. They are prepared to surrender the hard-earned rights of Parliament and most foolishly and carelessly rest them in the Executive to the peril of our country. All that we ask for, and it is little enough, has been rejected. All we demand is that Parliament should manage its own affairs; that the chosen representatives of the people should, in fact, govern. What this Bill seeks to do, is to snatch away that right of governing the country, that right of legislating for South Africa, that right of controlling the actions of the Executive who are inferior and should be subordinate to the Parliament of this sovereign country. Parliamentary rights are being unnecessarily removed from this Legislature and handed over willy-nilly, without control or safeguard, to irresponsible Ministers who do not hesitate to shelter behind the screen of public servants’ advice. Surely, the reasonable thing to do, Sir, is that, when the Minister feels he is compelled to change a law, or to modify a law, or to vary a law by virtue or vice of powers given to him all too freely by a sycophantic Parliament, the reasonable and proper thing would be to ensure that there could never be any misuse of these powers. I do not say the Minister will misuse his powers but if he does he should be answerable to the Parliament which abrogated some of its sovereignty by granting him vast delegated legislative power. As the Bill now stands, the changes in the laws made by the Minister will be brought to the attention of Parliament as an accomplished and unalterable fact by being laid upon the Table of the House within 14 days after Parliament has assembled, if not already in session. How do we object to what the Minister has done? How can we change what he has proclaimed? How can we repair what he might have unwisely and despotically decreed? There is no way. All we can do is to make useless post-mortem protests against the irreparable harm he may have caused. That is not parliamentary democracy. All one can do is to try to choose a suitable opportunity to complain, and you can be quite certain that the Government will not grant us much opportunity to do so. We could criticize when the Minister’s Vote is under discussion; or by way of question to the Minister, which is useless as a corrective; or by seeking to get time from the House by raising the matter as one of urgent public importance. All we can do is to use these ineffectual methods of parliamentary procedure. We are governed by a party which has no respect for that procedure. We have tried to move amendments during the passage of this Bill to ensure that normal democratic parliamentary methods would make it automatic that the Minister’s actions should be considered by the House; to ensure that no ministerial decrees issued either in Pretoria or in Marks Buildings should become law until, by positive action, this House has approved of them. Nobody who claims to have any respect for the sovereignty of Parliament could possibly grant the Minister these powers or should vote against the logical and reasonable amendments suggested by the hon. member for Constantia.
Order! Did the hon. member refer to Parliament as being sycophantic?
I referred to members of the House who conferred powers like this on the Minister as being sycophantic.
The hon. member must withdraw it.
Do you understand the meaning of the word, Sir? All it means is that they are only too willing to grant powers … [Interjections.] … which are too wide to the Executive.
On a point of order, the hon. member spoke about a sycophantic Parliament.
The hon. member must withdraw those words.
I withdraw the words and substitute therefor “a Parliament which is all too willing to give all too wide powers to the Minister”.
I had hoped that the Minister would rise and accept this amendment. Not having done so it is imperative … [Interjections.]
Once this Bill is placed on the Statute Book it will enable the Government to shelve and not necessarily to solve the problems which are arising from the action of the Prime Minister in taking South Africa out of the Commonwealth. It is because of that state of affairs that it becomes all the more imperative that Parliament should play its part, not only in examining every successive step which should be taken by the Government in terms of this Bill, but also in questioning any sins of omission on the part of the Government in not meeting the problems that lie ahead. When I talk about sins of omission, I am not directing my remarks entirely at the present Minister, because obviously action under this Bill will have to be taken by a variety of Ministers, by whichever Department happens to become involved. But I say it is essential in those circumstances that Parliament should be able to play its proper part. The amendment moved by the hon. member tor Constantia is directed at making it possible for Parliament to play its Proper part. The only way of ensuring that is to place limitations on the present invasion by the Executive into the sphere of Parliament by imposing safeguards in the legislation itself. In the present case, of course, the added virtue of the proposed safeguard is that it will enable administration to go on without hindrance. Moreover, everything that is done by the Executive by way of proclamation in terms of Clause 1 will have the force of law and it will continue to have the force of law until normal legislative steps can be taken to set the matter right. Sir, a safeguard of this nature is all the more imperative in this case because no one, not the Minister nor any of the Departments concerned, knows with any degree of certainty what existing laws there are that may have to be dealt with in terms of this Bill, which may have to be suspended or amended; nor does anyone know what final action may have to be taken. So here we are dealing with a case where Parliament is not only being asked to legislate blindly but it is being asked to do so by people who are themselves blindfolded. The Minister indicated that that is the position. The hon. member for Constantia has pointed out that already during this current Session a Bill, vesting somewhat similar arbitrary powers in the Executive, was amended suitably and that this amendment is patterned on that particular bit of legislation. The legislation which to-day finds itself on the Statute Book is Act 31 of 1961, the Preservation of Coloured Areas Act, and it stands to the credit of the Deputy Minister of the Interior who handled the matter that the safeguards we asked for then and which are now being asked for again stand enshrined in Section 14 of that Act. That also was an instance where Parliament was being asked to legislate blindly … [Interjections.]
On a point of order, can we have some order.
The Deputy Minister quite frankly admitted in that case that he could not give examples of the legislation which would be involved. He called it a host of laws but he could not give any information about it. But he did see the position and he accepted that under those circumstances Parliament should retain its control over legislation, both legislation which it had passed earlier and legislation which was about to be passed, and he accepted that the principle of parliamentary control should be enshrined in the Bill itself. That stands to his credit. I think everyone will agree that this is a far more important measure than the one I have referred to. This Bill will have far wider consequences than that one. I can only urge, therefore, that he Minister will act as reasonably in this case as did the Deputy Minister in the previous case. I trust, therefore, that the Minister will accept the amendment.
When I came to the House this morning, I did so with the intention at a later stage to move an amendment which would have read that: “Every such proclamation shall cease to have the force of law 30 days after it has been so laid on the Tables of the two Houses, unless before that date it has been approved by resolution of the Senate and of the House of Assembly.” After the remarks of the hon. member for Constantia this after-noon, in which he accused the Government, and me particularly, of having flinched; or words to that effect, the rights of members of this House, and particularly after the remarks of the hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell), I have no intention of moving that amendment. [Interjections.]
Sir, this accusation comes strangely from two members of the Opposition, the hon. members for Green Point and Constantia, who were members of the previous government, which rode roughshod over the rights of Parliament. At that time the hon. member for Wynberg was obliged on more than one occasion to protest against those actions. I say it comes strangely from these two members now to show this concern about the rights of this House!
The powers envisaged in this Bill are entirely contingent upon certain things happening, particularly hostile action which might be taken towards South Africa by certain states which have shown their hostility to us on more than one occasion. On the other hand, it may not happen. Therefore the likelihood of these powers being employed is entirely contingent on what these other states may do. This morning the whole debate was concentrated upon an attack upon myself, and an attack on the law adviser, which I cannot too strongly deprecate. It was said that he had given me bad advice. It is obvious that it is no good trying to get members of the Opposition to see reason. They are using this Bill purely as a means of attacking the Government firstly because of its decision to establish a republic, and secondly, because of its withdrawal from the Commonwealth. It is no good hon. members trying to deny it, because three-quarters of the speech of the hon. member for Constantia was devoted to it yesterday. It is no good trying to make them see reason. Having regard to their own record in the past, they are the last people to speak about the rights of Parliament!
I do not wish to discuss the details of the clause but I rise to make an appeal to the Minister. It is quite clear that the Minister has been thinking on the same lines as the hon. member for Constantia. I think that when the Minister uses this method of introducing the Bill and forcing this clause through he is acting most unreasonably. If the Minister will move his amendment or accept the amendment of the hon. member for Constantia we can get on with the Bill. I make this appeal to expedite the business and maintain the dignity of the House.
To me it seems an ominous coincidence that we are having to consider this particular type of legislation this afternoon after the promulgation this morning of the ban on meetings throughout the Union seeing that we are here as it were having to fight with our backs against the wall for the rights of Parliament. But when we listened to the Minister just now, we could hardly believe our ears. Here one of the most senior Ministers in the Cabinet has told the world that he considered it necessary that this Bill should be amended to ensure that Parliament would in fact exercise supervision over actions taken in its name. Until this morning the Minister apparently believed that the legislation should take this form and that Parliament should have the right to approve of or to reject what has been done, even if it could only do so after such proclamations had been laid upon the Table. Even if such a power were to have retrospective effect, the Minister still thought this morning that Parliament should have that right. But now because certain members have said certain things which have offended the Minister, he does not want to move his amendment. Can anyone be more irresponsible than that? I cannot agree with everything the Minister says about what hon. members have said here. I do not think they were as offensive as the Minister says, but even if that were so no matter what the entire Opposition has done, is it not the responsibility of the Minister to ensure that the correct legislation is placed on the Statute Book? It seems to me as though the Minister wants to make the country suffer because a few members of the House have annoyed him. What else does it mean? If the Minister still thought this morning that his amendment which is in essence the same as that of the hon. member for Constantia, was the correct amendment, what has happened to South Africa and to world conditions to change the position? After all nothing can have happened. Is it merely because hon. members have annoyed the Minister? Is that the reason why South Africa’s legislation should, in his own opinion, be incorrect? We would in any case have advocated this amendment strongly, but now we know in addition that the Minister himself thinks that legislation of this nature should contain a provision such as that proposed by the hon. member for Constantia, and that is of course so. When action is taken on behalf of Parliament there must be a safeguard. Of course this is the right type of safeguard. If I remember correctly, the Minister himself, after saying what could be done in terms of this legislation, proposed that after a Minister or the Government had acted on a certain number of occasions, one could introduce legislation before the end of the Session to validate what they had done. In essence that is the same proposal as is being made here, and surely no Parliament can be expected, if that is the position, if the responsible Minister admits twice in the same day that such a provision is necessary, to adopt a different type of legislation for no other reason except that certain members have said certain things which do not please the Minister. I now support the amendment even more strongly than before.
If, as the Minister suggests, he had intended to move an amendment but was precluded from doing so because he was annoyed at the criticism he got, then one is somewhat surprised to find that a Deputy Minister did not seem to be similarly perturbed, because we actually had a statute which one might read to the Minister to enable him to appreciate how similar the circumstances were and how much more responsibly the Deputy Minister acted on a previous occasion. In the statute to which I will refer in a moment, a clause appeared which provided that the Governor-General could by proclamation in the Gazette repeal in part or whole any law or provision thereof which applied to an incorporated area and which in the opinion of the Governor-General is in conflict with the provisions of this Act. A great deal of discussion took place in regard to that provision, but nevertheless the Deputy Minister accepted an amendment which was incorporated in the Bill.
That point has been made already.
I just wanted to draw the attention of the Minister to the exact similarity of the wording. It reads as follows: “Every such proclamation shall cease to have the force of law 30 days after it has been laid on the Table of both Houses of Parliament, unless before that date it has been approved by Act of Parliament.” Attention has been drawn to the amazement of this side of the House and I think the whole of the country, as I think will appear in the next day or two, at the attitude of the Minister who knows that it is correct to have this amendment and that it complies with the procedure adopted in the past by his own colleagues, and yet in a fit of pique which reminds one more of the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark than of anyone else in the House, he refuses to do what he knows is his duty.
That point has been made, too.
Then I conclude by merely saying that it could be made much more often than we have heard so far.
In view of the appeal of the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore), I am prepared to move this amendment, but I must confess that my position has been made very difficult. It is not a question of remarks having been made which offend me personally. The charge was made that this Government, of which I am a member, was depriving this House of its rights.
We are not dealing here with ordinary legislation. Hon. members may say that when they themselves passed this sort of legislation there was a war on. Sir, there is again a war on. A cold war is being waged against South Africa, and it may be necessary to take certain steps. That is the reason for the provision in this Bill, viz. to take certain steps if necessary. Hon. members know what is going on. They know what happened at the Commonwealth Conference and also what happened recently. I do not want to mention names of Commonwealth countries, and that is why I gave the example of Senegal this morning because it is not a Commonwealth country. But I have information which hon. members do not have, as regards certain plans and intentions on the part of countries, some of which are Commonwealth countries. I would be failing in my duty towards South Africa, in view of the great harm which could be done by those actions, if we did not take these precautions. That is the purpose of this clause in the Bill. I assure the House that I would be the last one to derogate from the rights of this House, of which I am jealous. I told the House I looked at these provisions in the Bill with great care, and for that reason I consulted with the Law Advisers. I am not likely to take away rights from this House unless it is necessary in the interests of South Africa, but in view of the cold war waged against South Africa it is necessary that we should be armed against that sort of thing. In those circumstances I move—
To add the following sub-section at the end of the clause:
The difference between my amendment and that moved by the hon. member for Constantia is that it provides that unless before a specified date the proclamation has been approved by Act of Parliament. A resolution of both Houses has the same effect, and I prefer to have it that way. I hope this amendment will be accepted. It provides what members consider to be the necessary protection of Parliament.
In view of the proposal now made by the hon. the Minister, I am prepared to withdraw my amendment, which has very much the same effect. There is only one point I would like to suggest to the Minister and it is this: As there may be actual amendments in the proclamations, would it not be desirable that these amendments should, from a parliamentary point of view, be embodied in an amending Bill so that the Act can be amended in terms of the amending Bill?
You mean this Act?
No, not this Act. The hon. the Minister may amend an existing Act in terms of his powers under this Bill. His suggestion is that the proclamation containing that amendment should be laid on the Table of the House and approved by resolution of Parliament within 30 days. In some cases that may be perfectly effective, but in many cases it may well be that the amendments are substantive amendments which are permanent, and should therefore from the law point of view be enshrined, if possible, in an amending Bill of this House, which is the usual way to amend an Act. I wonder therefore whether it would not be possible for the Minister to provide in his amendment: “Shall cease to have the force of law 30 days after it has been laid on the Table, unless before that date it has been approved by resolutions or by Acts of Parliament.” That leaves it open to the Government to have a resolution put through this House, or if it is convenient and suitable to do so, then instead of having a resolution, simply to bring in an amending Bill which has exactly the same effect but from the parliamentary point of view would be much more satisfactory. I just wondered whether the Minister could not add to his amendment as he has it now the words “or by Acts of Parliament”. That gives the Minister an option. In other words, it may save time because he may still have to bring in an amending Bill. But if he has the option to bring in an amending Bill embodying what he has done in his proclamation, that will cut out the necessity of having another debate on the resolution, would it not?
With leave of the Committee, the amendment proposed by Mr. Waterson was withdrawn.
This really amounts to the original amendment of the hon. member, with the addition of the words “by resolution of the Senate and the House of Assembly”. I must confess that I do not quite follow his argument in connection with possible amendments, and I suggest that we leave it this way. I would like to consult with the legal adviser to find out exactly what the effect of the hon. member’s suggestion is. I suggest therefore that it be adopted in this form and then I can find out before the Bill goes to the Other Place exactly what the position is.
Amendment proposed by the Minister of External Affairs, put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
Remaining Clauses and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
I have been informed by the Minister in charge of the Senate that the Senate would be rising on Wednesday. Time is of the essence in this case and I should be very glad if this amendment can be considered immediately, otherwise we are going to have trouble in the Other Place.
Amendment in Clause 2 put and agreed to and the Bill, as amended, adopted.
Bill to be read a third time on 22 May.
Second Order read: Second reading,—Water Amendment Bill.
Last year a Bill amending the Water Act, 1956, was introduced, but in view of the fact that this happened towards the end of the session when Parliament was very busy, the measure was withdrawn after it became clear that there would not be sufficient time for it to be passed.
In view of the fact that this time an explanatory memorandum in regard to the Bill has been tabled, in which every clause is explained, I do not intend devoting any further time now to explaining every clause of the Bill, but I would rather confine myself to certain aspects in regard to which there was criticism last year. Some of that criticism falls away in the light of the explanations in the memorandum, but I would like to give a little more clarity in regard to other points.
I said last year that the Bill did not deviate from the original principles of the Water Act, except in so far as the one clause is concerned which provides that the Minister can submit evidence to a Water Court without being a party to the litigation, and I now want to repeat that statement in spite of the criticism it evoked on that occasion.
Let me state clearly that no provision in this Bill is intended to cover the circumstances of any specific case, except possibly in so far as Clause 13 (b) is concerned, where it is now proposed to repeal the provisions of the Bospoort and Buffelspoort Acts, where the relevant water years are specified. Here, however, I want to emphasize that this is being done at the express request of the irrigation communities concerned, in their interest and not in the interest of the Department. The farmers under those schemes allege that a water year which runs from April to March is not practicable with their type of agriculture. They want the water year to run from October to September in the following year and I would like to comply with this request of theirs. To tell the truth, it was the intention in 1956 to word it that way in Section 63 (12) of the Water Act, but according to the explanation given by the experts it would now appear that the general provisions of Section 63 (12), as they read at present, do not govern the express provisions of the Bospoort and Buffelspoort Acts.
Although, therefore, no special cases are covered by this Bill, I will concede that two of the clauses emanate from difficulties which arose in the past in connection with special cases. It is not the intention now to try to justify our action in the past, but rather to make provision for similar cases in future. Here I refer to Clauses 11 (b) and 20. It is clear that Clause 11 (b) simply tries to remedy a defect in Section 60 (6) of the principle Act. What is wanted is the power to have access to or the right of traversing any land, except land which has already been expropriated, in order to take possession of expropriated land or to institute investigations in connection with a further offer of compensation if the compensation offered for the land which has already been expropriated has not been accepted for some reason. It sometimes happens that compensation offered is not accepted by the owner and then perhaps another investigation has to be instituted or an inspection in loco has to be held. And the owner can then refuse to allow an official of the Department who is authorized to hold the inspection to cross over other land of his in order to go and inspect the expropriated land which is in dispute. In the case of Clause 20 difficulty was also experienced when someone adopted the standpoint that he would allow an official of the Department, who was properly authorized in terms of Section 166 of the principle Act, to go on to a particular bit of land of his, but not to go over another portion of his land in order to get to the land concerned. I want to give an example here. It is the policy of the Department, where we build irrigation board works or State works, not only to expropriate the terrain where the dam wall will be and the land which will be submerged under certain circumstances, but particularly in the vicinity of the dam wall to expropriate a few more morgen of land. In order to get to that land one perhaps has to make use of a road passing over other land belonging to the owner, which has not been expropriated. It is perhaps a road which was built during the course of the construction of the scheme and now, after it has been completed, the owner says no, I will not allow anybody here, not even an official of the Department, much less a member of the public who wants to go and see the dam with the authority of the Department. One just cannot get to the dam without traversing somebody else’s land. Now such an attitude really seems a little ridiculous, but on the advice of the law advisers it is considered necessary to improve the wording of Section 166 in order to provide for any contingency, so that officials will be enabled to perform their statutory duties unhindered.
Last year objection was raised to the Minister being enabled to submit evidence to a Water Court without being a party to the litigation. The objector pointed out that Water Court cases cost a lot of money and that somebody could suffer great loss if he were to lose a case because of evidence made available by the Minister, and that such a person probably would never have gone to court if the Minister’s evidence had been available to him beforehand. It was requested that the Minister should previously make his evidence available to both parties concerned in the litigation. I have no objection to this request and I shall instruct the Director of Water Affairs to make such arrangements administratively. It is not necessary to make provision for it in the Bill. I also want to make it clear that the Department is not really empowered, if either of the two parties to the litigation wants information which is available to the Department, to refuse to give it to them. But here we are dealing mainly with information in cases—it does not apply to all cases—where the Department considers that it has information available and that the interests of the State as such may be affected and where the Department feels that it wants to make such information available to the court. If the Department is of the opinion that it is essential to bring certain information to the notice of the court, we have no objection to such information being made available to the litigating parties before they go to court, because as soon as they appear in court that information will come to their knowledge and therefore they might as well have it before that time. I think that this disposes of one of the most serious objections raised last year.
Objection was also raised to the inclusion of non-riparian land in an area which is proclaimed as a State water-controlled area. Provision for the use of the water of a public stream on non-riparian land is, however, nothing new in our water laws. The old irrigation Act of 1912 contained similar provisions, and in terms of the Water Act it is also within the power of the Water Court to allow this. There is no reason why it should not also be allowed in a straight water-controlled area. The reasons why this has always been allowed are the following: (1) The circumstances are sometimes such that a river contains more water than can be used beneficially on its riparian land and therefore some of the water is wasted or must necessarily flow uselessly away to the sea, just because it is not legally possible to use that water on non-riparian land. (2) It may be in the public interest to use the water of a river on non-riparian land for primary purposes. (3) Sometimes non-riparian land which is within economic reach of a river is more suitable for agricultural purposes than the riparian land itself. In such cases the owners concerned often take steps themselves to irrigate the non-riparian land out of the river by acquiring riparian land and then obtaining the necessary authorization to use the water to which they are entitled in respect of their riparian properties on the non-riparian land. May I point out that nobody can be harmed by this provision because of the fact that existing rights which are being beneficially exercised on the date of the proclamation of a State water-controlled area are properly protected in terms of Section 62.
That brings me to the end of the Bill, but I would like to add something in regard to the explanatory memorandum. I must explain that, after the memorandum was printed, it was decided to delete Clauses 2 and 4 (a) of the Bill in the form in which they had been drafted at that stage. In the Committee Stage I intend deleting Clause 2 of the Bill. Clause 2 amends Section 3 of the principal Act. The deletion of Clause 2 therefore means that Section 3 of the principal Act will now remain unchanged, and no amendment of it is being envisaged. Clause 4 of the Bill, as introduced, therefore consists of only one paragraph, namely the amendment of Section 11 (2) (a) of the principal Act and the paragraph in the memorandum dealing with the amendment of Section 11 (1) (a) should therefore be ignored.
Before I conclude I consider it necessary to announce at this stage that I intend in the Committee Stage moving an amendment to Clause 12 (c), namely in respect of the amendment of Section 62 (2) of the principal Act. I have come to this decision after mature consideration and consultation, with reference to representations made to me and to the Department after the Bill was published in the Government Gazette. In order to put the matter in the correct light during the second reading of the Bill, I should like to explain briefly what the proposed amendment comprises and why it is being done. I now come to the nature of the amendment. What is envisaged is a measure to provide that, after the Minister has decided on the amount of water he will make available for agricultural purposes on riparian farms in the relevant State water-controlled area, and after he has divided that amount of water amongst the riparian owners concerned and has issued the relevant permits, such riparian owners must have a right of appeal to the Water Court to review the matter in connection with the area of irrigable land on which the permit is based. I may just mention that the use and the right of withdrawing water from a river, which water was used for development and was beneficially used, was fully protected in the principal Act of 1956, so much so that the principal Act provides that if such riparian owners who exercised those rights of theirs which the Minister has to take into consideration when issuing permits for withdrawal of water, are not satisfied with the actions of the Minister or with the amount of water allotted to them, they have a right of appeal to the Water Court but, peculiarly enough, the 1956 Water Act does not provide the same protection to riparian owners along the same river and inside a State water-controlled area which has not yet been developed. They are dependent on the discretionary powers of the Minister and now it is felt: Why should some farmers be privileged simply because they have already had the opportunity to develop and why should they have a right of appeal against the decision of the Minister and/or the Department, whereas the other group of farmers, who perhaps in many instances may be in the majority, do not have that right? I am now trying to remedy that. In order to remedy it, our legal advice is that those people should be given some basis on which they can go to court—not just something abstract, but the opportunity to prove that one has abuse one’s powers, and therefore the object of the right of appeal is not to restrict the discretionary powers of the Minister to control water resources in the national interest. It is accepted as the starting-point for any amendment of Section 62 that such powers are essential for orderly planning. The object of the right appeal is: (1) To make it possible for a dissatisfied riparian owner to have the matter reviewed by a court. (2) To obtain such revision in the cheapest and the easiest manner. In this regard it may be said that attempts are at present still being made to reduce the costs of litigation in the Water Court. (3) According to information given to me by legal experts it is very difficult to obtain a review by an ordinary court and therefore the interested parties want the Act to provide that appeals will be heard by the Water Court. (4) The revision referred to under (1) may be desired on any one of the following grounds: (i) Possible inequitable or arbitrary treatment by the Minister or his Department; (ii) doubtful technical data on which the permits have been issued, e.g. the extent of the irrigable land, the siting of the irrigable land inside or outside the borders which are taken into consideration in making the allotment, the quality, i.e. the irrigability or otherwise of the land, etc.
The basis for the re-wording of the provisions of Section 62 is the following: (1) The discretionary powers of the State in respect of control and the principle of dominus fluminis is accepted, honoured and entrenched. (2) The amended section will provide that a riparian owner in respect of his allotment for agricultural purposes will have the right of appeal to the Water Court for a review of the area of his irrigable land which was taken into consideration in issuing the permit. (3) In order to serve as a yardstick for the review the amended section will provide that the Minister, within a prescribed period after the proclamation of a State water-controlled area, shall by way of publication in the Government Gazette publish the basis of the water division amongst the riparian owners for agricultural purposes. The following information must be given in the notice—
- (i) The formula according to which the permits were calculated,
- (ii) whether the division was calculated per property or per person,
- (iii) the degree of assurance,
- (iv) the economic unit applied,
- (v) the normal application of water per morgen used in the calculation,
- (vi) details of the division of the area into zones and the allocation applicable to each zone, and all other factors on which the division is made,
- (vii) the list of properties and the number of morgen calculated for the issue of permits.
(4) The proposed right of appeal will apply only to allotments to riparian owners. No such appeal is envisaged in respect of allotments by the Minister to non-riparian farms (e.g. Grovedale), municipalities, local authorities or industries. (5) Notice of appeal against a permit in terms of Section 62 (2) will have to be lodged within a prescribed period of three months after publication of the notice in the Government Gazette.
I think that the benefits of the proposed amendments can be summed up as follows: (1) People who cannot be satisfied by the Department can seek refuge in the Water Court, where they may get satisfaction. (2) The provision of such a right of appeal to have the matter reviewed will immediately relieve the pressure brought to bear on the Department, the Minister and the representatives in the House of Assembly by dissatisfied persons. (3) Psychologically it will have a good effect and restrict bureaucratic tendencies on the part of Government institutions. (4) Psychologically it will also have a good effect on the public which will then not be able to suspect the Minister or the Department of having acted bureaucratically.
So far for the proposed amendment of Section 62 (2) of the Water Act. A formal amendment will be submitted in the Committee Stage.
Before coming down to one or two of the major provisions of this Bill, I should like to make one or two general remarks, and I want to ask the hon. the Minister a question: This Bill so far as we on this side of the House were concerned was first made known to us when it was published in the Gazette on 13 January this year. Subsequently it was read a first time on 21 March, in this House. We raised no objection to it when it was introduced by the hon. the Minister, but I merely asked him whether there would be a White Paper and when it would be made available to us. He said that the White Paper would be available the following day.
Now I want to go back a moment or two to the original Bill which is now the Act. As I said last year, when we had a Bill before us which was similar to the present Bill before us now, we had had a Select Committee sitting for nearly three years on the measure and our work had been done in a non-party, non-political atmosphere from start to finish. Members who were there will remember how that Bill came to this House when eventually the work of the Select Committee was finished. We were all pleased that that was the position. Sir, water is life. This is not merely a question of dealing with something which is a luxury and which under certain circumstances you can do without—something you can do without and tighten your belt and go without it. Water is life and the importance of the original Act was known and noted by the Select Committee in the three years that it sat on that measure. That was the underlying basis on which we approached the Bill that was introduced last year. It is on that basis that I approach this measure to-day. From that angle, the importance of the measure, the fact that as farmers in South Africa we cannot farm without water, from that angle I want to ask the hon. the Minister: Is this Bill which we have before us to-day for the second reading under his Party Whip? Is this a Nationalist Party measure which is under the Whip, or is it a measure that will go to the free vote of the House? I hope the hon. the Minister will tell us quite frankly.
The Government has agreed and has given me consent to introduce this Bill. In other words, it can be taken as a Government measure and I cannot for the life of one see why, if it is to be regarded as a Government measure, the hon. member comes to the conclusion or wishes to come to the conclusion, that in fact it is solely a party political measure, because we have so many other measures in the sphere of agriculture which come before the House and are never regarded as party political measures, and I hope the same will apply to this one, because the contents of the Bill does not lend itself to be regarded as a party political measure.
Will you take off your Whip?
Yes, I will take the Whip off.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is the assurance I want.
Are you also taking off your Whip?
I want to say that in my opinion there is no greater disservice that any political party can render South Africa than to make of the question of laws dealing with water a party measure. Therefore if the Whip is off, I am quite satisfied, and it is in that spirit that I want to deal with it. Because I want to say this: I asked the hon. the Minister as to when we would get the White Paper deliberately when he introduced the Bill on 21 March. He told us that we would have it within 24 hours. But, Sir, I had received a copy from a Government member already in the first week of February. Mr. Speaker, that is not the way to deal with matters like this. How could I get a copy of the White Paper already in the first week of February, whereas there was no White Paper available to us on this side of the House until 22 March? You see, Sir, this is a very difficult and complicated matter and it is a very difficult measure to understand particularly where laymen like myself are concerned. Even for the legal people it is difficult, and one of the matters that we have got to apply our minds to when dealing with a matter of this kind, is the intricacy of fitting in an amending Bill with an existing Act of the magnitude of the Water Act.
When did you say you got a copy of the White Paper from a Government member?
The first week of February, may be 10 February. On 22 March, it was laid on the Table. To get a White Paper and to be able weeks in advance to study the Bill with the help of a White Paper is extremely advantageous to the one who gets that White Paper. But as the hon. Minister himself said, in regard to certain provisions of the Bill, the Bill itself has been changed and it does not appear in the form in which it appeared the Gazette, the hon. the Minister referred particularly to Clause 4, and it is clear that the White Paper was a White Paper issued on the Bill as it appeared in the Gazette, not as it appeared on our tables, and Section 4 (a) is a case in point. There are other cases which I will come to presently. But the White Paper deals in a lengthy manner with sub-section (a) of Section 4, but there is no sub-section (a) in the Bill as we have got it here, but there was a sub-section (a) as the Bill appeared in the Gazette. So the White Paper was never prepared on the basis of the Bill that has come before us in Parliament. The White Paper was prepared clearly much earlier on and was prepared in terms of the Bill that was published in the Gazette. The hon. member will see that the White Paper deals with a subsection that does not appear in the Bill at all, but it was a provision that appeared in the Bill in the Gazette.
I want to deal for a moment or two with the question of the change in title. The hon. Minister last year explained to us the reason why he wanted the Director of Water Affairs to be called the secretary. Quite frankly we have no quarrel with that. We can understand the Minister’s position there. But I do not understand why the other amendments are made in Clause 2.
I have withdrawn Clause 2.
I am sorry, I was a bit late coming in. But then I want to move on to Clause 4 of the Bill which amends Section 11 of the Act. Paragraph (a) of sub-section (2) of the principal Act is amended, and this deals with the question of an allocation by the Water Court of surplus water. I am merely mentioning this in passing because I want to emphasize that here the court deals with the allocation of surplus water. I stress that point in view of further provisions that appear in the Bill hereafter.
I am leaving Clauses 5, 6 and 7 because they import a matter dealing with pollution and similar matters with which other members on this side of the House will deal. I am coming to Clause 9 of the Bill to which the hon. the Minister referred. It inserts a new 42bis into the Act. It provides that—
We are frankly worried about this sub-section. It is possible for the Minister, if in his opinion it is desirable in the public interest to lay before the court such information as he may have. Now we all know how expensive litigation in connection with Water Court cases may be, we know the trouble that is caused, and I think it can be fairly said that during the work of the Select Committee we were at pains to see whether costs could not be reduced to the lowest possible minimum and causes for actions at law eliminated. I want to suggest to the Minister, without quarrelling very much with the clause, as to whether it is not really in the public interest if his Department has got information which is related to a case going before a court, that he should let that information be known to both parties at the earliest possible moment? You see, Sir, in Water Court cases like other court cases, you can go to court on the assurance of your legal adviser that you stand a very good chance of winning—I don’t find many legal advisers these days who are prepared to be dogmatic about your winning a case. They say you have a fair chance of winning it. Afterwards, in terms of this clause, it may be that information is put before the court which suddenly knocks your case right out. But had you been put in possession of that information timeously, at that stage your legal adviser might have been in the position to say “Look, don’t proceed with this case, you have not a leg to stand on”. Here is information which comes from the Department, and it may make the issue so clear that you have no hope of winning. You see, Sir, the Department is going to be put in a very privileged position in regard to the acquisition of information, the gathering of knowledge and the registering of data over a long period of time which may be of immense value and may be decisive in a court case, and I want to suggest to the Minister in regard to this particular clause that some amendment should be made in the Committee Stage which will allow litigants to apply to the Department for information within the knowledge of the Department which is related to the case at issue, and that the Department then make it available to both sides so that there can be no favouritism in this matter. You will appreciate, Sir, that under this clause, the Government or the Department is not itself a party to it. It is not somebody suing the Department or suing the Government. The Department merely happens to have information that may be vital, and if that is the case such information should be made available to both parties so that they can see the possibilities before ever the issue goes to court, and it could be made available on the application of one party or the other but would be available to both, if it is given to one.
I stated in my second reading speech that I have got no objection whatsoever to doing that. It can be done administratively.
The White Paper also says that it can be done administratively, and if the Minister for some reason does not want to have an amendment put in the Bill, we have to be satisfied with it, but I must say that it would suit us better to have a clause in the Bill itself. If the Minister is prepared to have it done administratively then I think he should agree that there can be no harm in putting it in the Bill.
I do not know what reasons they have, but the law advisers tell me that it is not necessary to put it in. I have no objection to doing it administratively, or even putting it in the Act if I can find the correct wording that will make it binding on the Minister or the Department.
We can deal with it in the Committee Stage and I thank the Minister for his preparedness to meet us.
I come to Clause 10 of the Bill which deals with Section 59 of the principal Act, and at this stage perhaps I might say that this Bill in general, deals with water-controlled areas as established under the Act and in addition to water-controlled areas it deals with the water in public streams, natural channels as well, but public streams or natural channels in water-controlled areas.
If one looks at the whole picture of this legislation one sees the Department gradually extending by proclamation the control of the Act to more and larger water-control areas. That obviously is contemplated. It is a thread running all the way through the original Act and the draft Bill of last year and the Bill here—to build up the water-control areas. A water-control area is an area in which the Government will have the necessary control over the amount of water that can be allocated for various purposes, the maintenance of works, etc., all those things that go with the utilization of water and the purposes for which water is to be utilized. But now we find in Clause 10 an amendment of Section 59, which says—
Now comes this amendment—
Sir, this side of the House will always look, as I hope, hon. members opposite will look, with very, very great care at the inclusion of non-riparian land in measures which are going to give someone, whoever it may be, the Minister or anybody else, the right to allot water which can be used on that non-riparian land. I am coming to a later clause of the Bill presently, but I am just mentioning this in passing, and I also put this in passing that where there is a flood-control area proclaimed, it can deal with land in a scheduled Native area or in a released area, and because there is nothing to the contrary here, I take it that this non-riparian land which may be dealt with here in the water-control area can also be land in a scheduled Native area or a released area. It does not say specifically that that is the case in this clause. Section 60 makes provision for that. Section 59 does not make specific provision for land in a scheduled Native area or a released area to be dealt with by proclamation. The failure to make special provision may not invalidate the power to do so, and I want to ask the hon. the Minister in his reply to let us know whether in fact that is the position.
Dealing with Clause 11 which amends Section 60 of the principal Act, we come to the right to construct access roads and the power of the Minister or the Secretary “to authorize any person to enter upon or cross any land. When this matter was before the Select Committee, that is the first portion, the new sub-section (1) of Section 60, which as amended here says—
We felt that it was a great pity that we were going to set up another authority to expropriate land for road-making and then to make roads for the public, and so forth, when there is a road-making authority already in the Provincial Council itself which has the power to expropriate. Under the Act in Section 60 (3) (a) provision is made for the granting of compensation, and our difficulty was just this that that definition is not the same as the definition that is used for the purpose of the Provincial Administration when it is making roads. So we found ourselves in the position that the Minister and his Department will have a statutory power now to make roads, to take gravel and sand, and so on, and expropriate land. They can do that and have not to pay compensation in terms of the formula under Section 60, but in an adjacent area where the road is made by the Provincial Administration, land can be expropriated and compensation paid in terms of a different formula altogether. It seems very unwise that there should be two authorities both empowered to make roads, both empowered to expropriate land for that purpose and the one paying compensation on one formula and the other paying compensation on a different formula. They are to be public roads.
You have the same position in regard to national roads.
In the case of the national roads, it falls under the same formula because that work is done by each province acting as the agent of the National Transportation Commission. But, however that may be, if already there are two agencies that use different formulas, I think it is unwise to have a third one coming in so that neighbouring farmers for example can be paid compensation on a different formula. All the requirements to meet the situation are already enshrined in legislation.
Then sub-section (b) of Clause 11 adds a new sub-section (b) to sub-section (6) of Section 60, and it says—
Here no notice is given in regard to the taking of land and expropriation, taking gravel and so forth. Under the old provision three months’ notice was necessary. If you enter upon a man’s farm and cross a man’s farm and go through his property and that sort of thing, no notice is given whatsoever. I am sure the Minister will know as a farmer, as we all do who have got farms, the position will be that suddenly one day you find, without any notice whatever, people going over your farm, sticking in their survey pegs, and what have you, and they don’t even come along and say “kiss my hand”, or “by your leave” or anything else. They are just there. I think that is wrong. It will be an official who will have the authority to go there under those circumstances, and I suggest that notice could be sent at the same time to the landowner concerned. What we want is to build up a spirit of friendship and co-operation between the official and the farmer. We do not want to do something in such a manner that it creates hostility and difficulties, when it is so easy to just see that a method is followed which will permit the official to do the important work he has to do, but which will not give such offence. I want to suggest that the hon. the Minister should consider an amendment to this particular clause to provide for something of that nature, merely on the ground of harmony and co-operation.
Then I come to Clause 12 of the Bill, the amendment to Section 62 of the principal Act. Here we come back to what was one of our biggest causes for complaint last year. I do not know whether the Minister is prepared to give us an assurance that he will withdraw Clause 12 of this Bill too, like he has withdrawn Clause 2. I suggest that he should do so, particularly as he has taken his Whips off.
I have said that I was going to move certain amendments. Perhaps the hon. member did not follow me.
I am sorry, I have not followed that.
I shall try to let you have a copy of the amendments before the Committee Stage.
I would be very grateful. I take it that the hon. Minister’s amendment is to water down the proposals giving the Minister the virtual ownership of water in a water-control area.
It is to give such people the right to appeal to a court. They don’t have that under the old Act.
If it is not to water down that position, that is sub-section (a) of (c), which says—
if the Minister’s amendment is not going to qualify that, then I am afraid my objection must remain, because if you look at the definition of “public stream” it says—
The legal draftsman no doubt is quite satisfied, because how water flows down a channel that is dry, I do not know. I suspect it is good legal language, but I don’t know.
Under this sub-section, as it is now, the water flowing in that public stream or natural channel, because it is still a water-control area, for all practical purposes vests in the Minister. The Minister is now the owner …
Subject to appeal by injured parties.
The Act of 1956 makes the State the owner.
No, that is just what it did not do, and that is why the White Paper says, in regard to paragraph (a), that it is “improved by wording it so clearly that there can be no doubt as to its actual intention”. So there obviously was some doubt as to what its intention was in the past. Certainly, there is no doubt now. Let us look at the position. It is this: A farmer before this Bill has been passed—and whatever the doubts may be—is riparian to a public river and he has got his rights as a riparian owner to that river.
In the controlled area.
In a water-control area but he has those rights as a riparian owner, if he owns the land, before the proclamation proclaiming it as a water-controlled area. He was free to use that water as a riparian owner for primary purposes, etc., and for secondary and tertiary purposes if the water was available. Now the proclamation is issued and it becomes a water-control area. That still does not disturb his rights as far as a riparian owner is concerned. He is still riparian. But this clause, as it is put here, divests him of those rights of being a riparian owner …
Those rights of his are really entrenched here.
Paragraph (c) (a) of Clause 12 reads—
Now, that means ownership, if it means anything. It does not say ownership—it says “use and control” but there can be no human activity in respect of water outside of the “use and control” thereof. Human beings cannot think of something that can be done which is not the “use and control” of water. Then under sub-paragraph (i) of paragraph (c) (a), until such time as that farmer gets a permit from the Minister, or has a Water Court judgment, he may not “abstract impound, store or use such water”. Now, the word “use” is being brought in here for the first time—it was not in the original Act. He cannot even use water whereof he was the owner being riparian to the river, the whole time before it was declared a Government water-control area and during the time it was a water-control area. Now, however, the Minister takes the power to say that he cannot even use water from that river without having obtained a permit from him. But the Minister goes even further than that. I doubt whether the position under paragraph (c) fa) does not take away the right also of appeal to a Water Court, because it vests the control, and the use, of water in the Minister. It does not stipulate that it is subject to an appeal to the Water Court. It seems to me that a Water Court will have no status. You are dealing with a statutory authority which is giving the Minister the sole use and control of that water. Now, with that clearly in our minds—the definition of a public stream which can be a stream in which water does not run sometimes—let us look at paragraph (a) of Clause 12. It reads as follows—
Section 62 of the original Act will after this amendment read like this—
Now, this is being changed to read—
What is the difference?
The difference is this, Sir, that a change has been made here for a specific reason. When a provision is made, as it is in the Act, for the abstraction and storing of water, etc. and you have been doing it, it may well be that a Court may hold that if you had been doing it for 12 months, that 12 months’ period will then be the period by which will be judged the amount of water you were entitled to abstract, or to store, or to use, but when the change is made, such as it is here made, then you would only be entitled to the water which you were using at the date of the proclamation.
I can assure that hon. member that the interpretation which I have given now, is the correct one. Let him read the language very carefully.
No court can do anything like that.
It is not a question of a court now, but it is a question of the law. The court cannot go over the law …
But who interprets it?
The language, Sir, is abundantly clear. It will be permissible for that farmer to get a permit on account of the water that he was using, or abstracting, or impounding on the date the proclamation was issued. It says so, namely—
Now, if the date of that proclamation was on a day when that stream had no water in it, then the answer will be that that farmer cannot get a permit for any water, because there was not any water that day.
There could not have been any agricultural development if that had been the case.
We are concerned with the law, Sir. The Minister is amending the law and he is changing it and for a reason. But that is not yet the end of it. Let us go another step further and look at paragraph (ii) of paragraph (b) of Clause 12. Paragraph (i) says that such farmer can use such water lawfully, and abstract, impound and store it if he has an order of court. Under paragraph (ii) where no such order is in force—the quantity of water which, in the opinion of the Minister, would have been apportioned to that person if an apportionment could, in terms of this Act, have been made by a water court.
This, Sir, is surely going a terribly long way, because a farmer under those circumstances, if he has a water court judgment, is entitled to a permit for the amount of water which is apportioned to him by that judgment, but if he has no water court judgment, then his only recourse is to go to the Minister and ask him for a permit. The Minister then says that, “I will now decide what the water court would have granted if it could have dealt with your case”, and when one bears in mind the vast powers which are placed hereafter in the hands of the Minister, then it is perfectly clear that the Minister’s decision is absolutely final. We have had other Bills, Sir—we have had one this afternoon—where the same language is used, words such as “in the opinion of the Minister”. That puts you out of court; you cannot appeal to a water court after that. The Minister decided that that was the amount of water you would have been granted by a water court.
Subject to an appeal.
There is no question here of an appeal.
There is an appeal in terms of Section 8.
I am dealing with this Bill and there is no question of an appeal here. It is the opinion of the Minister that counts. But the Minister is still not satisfied, because Clause 12 states further in paragraph (c) (b) and (c) (b)bis that the Minister, in issuing such a permit for the use of this water, may provide a specific quantity for any special period within the area concerned, or for any purpose at any place within the area, and the permit may include such conditions as the Minister may consider necessary. Different conditions may be specified in respect of different periods of any year or in respect of different persons or classes of persons. In (b)bis it is stated that—
Not only is the power of differentiation specifically being given to the Minister here—differentiation as between one farmer and another but also between one class of farmer and another. I have been at pains to find out what is meant by “classes”, and I find in certain judgments that have been given, that different classes may mean, “different classes of White farmers it may mean, “different members of different races” or “different uses” to which the farms of farmers of one race are being put. The Minister has, therefore, complete power of differentiation. Unless a water court judgment has been obtained by a farmer, he has, under this clause, the right to say to such a farmer who has been riparian before the water control area was proclaimed, and who had his rights as such also after the proclamation, that he has to obtain a permit from the Minister. His rights are gone. The sole use and control of the water on that farm are now in the hands of the Minister. And the Minister will now say that he will give that farmer a permit for a quantity of water which in the opinion of the Minister that farmer would have been apportioned by a water court had his case been before it, and that in giving him that permit, the Minister has the right to discriminate against that farmer because he is one of a special class. And “class” may mean a type of farmer, a type of person according to race, or persons of a certain calling, etc. It is rather interesting to come back to the fact that in this section the White Paper has not dealt with what is in the Bill but only with what was in the Gazette. The words which have been added here are: “during any period of a specified quantity of water”. That means that the Minister can now discriminate. It was not in the Gazette and so the White Paper does not explain it. In the Gazette (b)bis simply read—
I think this is most unfair, because a farmer cannot undertake his farming arrangements on a day to day basis. He does not know if the Minister is going to amend the conditions of his permit, thereby amending the amount of water which is given to the farmer concerned. How can a farmer possibly run his business on a basis like that. I say that it is absolutely impossible. I can see clearly what the Minister is getting at—he is trying to take control of all the water in a water control area and make it his.
But he has it now.
I do not accept that he has. As the White Paper says, it is now being put beyond any argument and had it been in that form in the past, I am sure that it would then have been bitterly opposed. We certainly are going to oppose it to-day. We are not prepared to accept a position where in a water control area, the farmers who have had their riparian rights, should be divested of those rights. The position under certain circumstances—except where the Act can be amended—is of such a wide character and it is so hard to find what classes of people may be discriminated against, or in favour of. Had it been easier to find the classes of people, had it been easier to find the people whose rights are being taken away because they are losing the rights which they enjoy as riparian owners, this could easily have been held to be a Hybrid Bill. I want to move the following amendment—
In moving this, I want to state that I am doing so particularly on account of Clause 12 of the Bill, with all the implications and repercussions that are involved there. I have already mentioned the fact how difficult and intricate the original Act was. These amendments too are very difficult and intricate and to have clarity about them, our difficulties cannot be thrashed out across the floor of the House. I submit that in all earnestness to the hon. Minister. We have sat on the Select Committee in the past and we have had officials and legal advisers to assist us. Let us do it again with this Bill in order to see whether we can hammer out a Bill which will give the Minister that which he is seeking. If it is the majority view of the Select Committee that the Minister should have those powers, then let him have it, but I am not quite sure in my own mind what the hon. Minister is seeking. On reading this Bill, it seems that the Minister is seeking the virtual ownership of the water …
You were on that Select Committee and you did not know what you were giving away.
Why then is the Minister including this in the Bill again? I say that has not been done before, and that is why it is being put in this Bill so that it may be done now. The White Paper bears me out because it says that the language will now be clear and will show what the meaning was. I say that never was the meaning, nor was it ever the intention of the Select Committee. But if it was, and if there is no need for this section, then let us thrash that out in a Select Committee, because it cannot be dealt with across the floor of the House. It is of great importance to all people relying on water—the whole of the farming community of South Africa—of too great importance that they should be left to chance interpretation of an important measure such as this amending Bill is. They ought not to have their future left to chance like that—to a chance interpretation, but they ought to know exactly where they stand in regard to their water rights. They ought not to be required—like we had to do—to go to Counsel to explain the meaning. That is not fair to the farming community. If the Minister is desirous of acquiring certain powers, then let him explain to a Select Committee exactly what powers he wants. The hon. Minister laughs at this, but it is no laughing matter.
Without these powers the Act could not have been administered.
I want to ask again: Then why is it in this Bill and why does the White Paper say that the meaning should be made clearer? If the Minister is so certain that he had those powers, then why put it in this Bill. No, Sir, that argument will not wash.
I am passing over some of the clauses of the Bill that follow Clause 12 because they will be dealt with by other members on this side of the House. I would like to deal with Clause 17. Sir, as section 157 of the Act stands at present, provision is made for persons to get loans from the Department up to £30,000. When the amount is £30,000 or over, estimates and plans of the scheme have to be laid upon the Tables of both Houses of Parliament before such a loan can be made. Now it is being proposed that only when the amount is £100,000 or over, should the estimates and plans be laid upon the Table. We are going to ask the Minister to leave it at £30,000. Estimates for a scheme of £30,000 have to be prepared anyway, so why not lay them upon the Table of the House? This is the kind of thing, Mr. Speaker, which Parliament should, in my opinion, not do, because by increasing the amount for which estimates are required to £100,000 and over, means that a loan can now be obtained from the Department without anybody knowing who is getting the loan. The whole object of requiring that estimates and plans be laid upon the Table of the House, is to ensure that it is done in the light of day and that any person interested in it can have a look at it.
What about a scheme for £29,000?
That hon. member was a member of the Select Committee. Why did he not raise that there? Why raise it now? He sat there for three years! Why did he not think of it during those three years?
Why did you not raise it?
The hon. member knows that £30,000 was decided upon by the Select Committee. Is he now going to ask for a loan of £99,000 so as to beat the £100,000 ban?
Ah, Mr. Speaker, now we have the answer out of the hon. member’s own mouth, and that is precisely what we are trying to put a stop to. We do not want that hon. member to get a loan of £99,000 without showing Parliament exactly what it is for. £100,000 is far too big a sum in view of the fact that the papers have to be prepared in any case for loans of £30,000. I, therefore, ask the hon. Minister to reconsider this matter. It is very bad in principle that loans should be made under those circumstances without Members of Parliament who are interested being given an opportunity to see and to investigate and to scrutinize properly and clearly all aspects of loans of that magnitude. Even to-day, Sir, with our new currency, R60,000 is a very big sum of money. I hope the Minister will agree to leave the amount as it is in the Act at present. I move the amendment.
I was sorry for the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) because he endeavoured to make out a case this afternoon against this amending Bill, and he has also moved an amendment asking that this matter should again be referred to a Select Committee. It is quite clear that the hon. member does not understand the position properly but I do not blame him because he and his party do not have much knowledge of matters affecting water. But it is also quite clear that he does not know what the Act provides and that he has not studied this amending Bill either. I do not think that if one is not familiar with legislation, one should refer it to a Select Committee. If one does not know what such an amending Bill provides, then I think that the obvious solution is just to leave the matter in the hands of the Minister and the party who have introduced the legislation because they probably know more about it. But one should really see what the hon. member has said here to-day in the light of what he said last year when he discussed this Bill. It is significant that last year he promised that his party would put up a big fight over this Bill, and that they would give the Minister a drubbing on numerous provisions. It was quite clear from the speech of the hon. member to-day that after a great effort he could not put forward one counterargument against any of these clauses. I shall show later that he only made one point of any substance which represented a positive contribution and in respect of which we can also support him. The hon. the Minister has already said that he will concede the hon. member that point.
Mr. Speaker, the water legislation of South Africa is probably amongst our most complicated legislation. Last year the hon. member for South Coast remarked that in this Bill the hon. the Minister was touching upon exceptional principles. Actually this Bill does not contain any exceptional principles, with the exception of the one paramount principle, namely that in the 1956 Act and in this amending legislation as well we adopted in principle a completely different type of legislation to that which we had been accustomed to for a very long time. Because, Mr. Speaker, when the water legislation of South Africa was first introduced—it was first done by way of regulation—in, i.e. the paramount principle was that of dominus fluminis, i.e. the principle that the State is the owner and has sole control over our water. It developed along those lines for many years. But as a result of the influence of British legislation after the occupation of the Cape, this principle gave way to that of riparian ownership. This principle has dominated our legislation to date. Because representations had been made from all sides, by our agricultural unions as well as by members of this House, and because it had been felt for a long time that South Africa’s main agricultural problem was her water problem, pertinent attention was given to our water legislation as a whole.
The great water problem facing South Africa is caused by the fact that she does not have sufficient water, and for that reason it was clear that the State had to obtain greater control over the utilization of water. That is why a former Minister at the time wisely appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the whole question of South Africa’s water legislation. After this commission had submitted its report, this House saw fit to review the Commissioner’s recommendations afresh. After a Select Committee of this House had considered the matter for three years—a Select Committee of which the hon. member for South Coast was also a member—the 1956 legislation was adopted. What the Minister is doing to-day by this amending Bill is merely to streamline that legislation, to solve certain problems which have arisen since the adoption of the 1956 legislation, and to introduce the necessary amendments. Nor is it impossible or unforeseeable that in future years the hon. the Minister will return to this House with further amending legislation. There is no difference in principle involved in this amending Bill. There are technical problems which the Department has encountered. And all the hon. the Minister is doing is to adjust this legislation and to amend it in such a way that it can be more easily administered. All the problems which the Minister has mentioned show that the Department of Water Affairs in applying this legislation has encountered certain practical problems which the Minister is now trying to solve. However, as far as the 1956 Act as well as this amending Bill is concerned, there are actually two important aspects which must receive consideration and which must be mentioned, and it is quite clear that the hon. member for South Coast does not have the knowledge to discuss either of these aspects. The one is of an administrative nature and the other relates to a principle.
It is the position that the primary and the main problem which has arisen in connection with the application of the 1956 Act has flowed from the application of Section 62. This section deals with the declaration of Government water control areas in South Africa. Five such areas have been declared under Section 62. This gave the Minister control over the water within the areas concerned, control over the catchment areas and over the flow and the utilization of the water which flows or is stored in such an area. After a previous Minister had declared five such areas it became clear the administrative problems would arise in the application of the legislation. The principle underlying this section is that when the Minister declares an area as such, he undertakes either to store or to apportion all the water in the area concerned amongst the people on the banks of the river. The Minister therefore had to apportion the water in these five areas and amongst the people living along the banks of the rivers concerned. It is understandable that when the Minister has to carry out an apportionment which normally was undertaken in the past by the courts, it is possible that great problems can arise in such an apportionment and that there have been difficulties of an administrative nature. It seems to me that it is here that the knowledge of the hon. member for South Coast falls short. When the Minister takes it upon himself to apportion the water in such an area, he must do so according to a certain formula. The law requires him to apportion the water as a water court would have done if the court had been asked to do so. The Minister has tried to lay down a formula in accordance with which such water can be apportioned. He has already said what factors he takes into account when laying down the formula. The position is that in laying-down this formula the Department also first had to feel its way and hon. members can appreciate that, seeing that we in South Africa had for 100 years been accustomed to go to the court to ask the court to apportion our water and the Minister must now do so, it is possible that administrative difficulties could arise—as a matter of fact it is human to make mistakes. But from the experience which the Department had already acquired, the Department and the Minister soon learned where the potholes were which they had to avoid. Although the amending Bill does not refer to it, I want to mention that Section 68 of the 1956 Act provides that in such cases the Minister can appoint water advisory committees. The Minister and the Department soon found that if they wished to apportion the water on a sound basis which would be fair and which would comply with the requirements which such a stream had to meet and which would enjoy the general approval of the community, it meant that the co-operation of the community had to be obtained. Representations have been submitted to the Minister and the Minister has realized that he must appoint advisory committees. I can say that the Minister has already given instructions for the appointment of advisory committees in these areas and to my knowledge the names have already been submitted and a decision will be taken in the near future as to the appointment of the persons who will serve on these committees. The effect of this step will be favourable because when the Minister now takes it upon himself to declare an area and to apportion the water, this important element will play a part in future, an element which must act as a safety valve both for the Minister and the community concerned. This safety valve is represented by the advice given by the people living in such an area. For this reason it is important that in future, when such areas are declared, it must be borne in mind that advisory committees should be appointed immediately so that they can help from the outset in drawing up a formula which will satisfy all concerned. I consider that this is an administrative improvement, but as that promise has now been given I consider that we have every reason to believe that the Department with the assistance of such advisory committees will be able to avoid the potholes in the future and eliminate difficulties which have been experienced hitherto.
I can now tell the hon. member for South Coast that if he had been familiar with this legislation he would not have referred to Section 11. The hon. the Minister has not replied to this point to which the hon. member has referred, but he will probably still do so later. For the moment I want to say the following in that regard. The Department originally proposed that when control was taken over a stream in a controlled area and it was decided to use the water outside the riparian area, the Minister would have an arbitrary right to apportion such water. In other words, the Minister would have the right to decide that part of the water in any stream would be taken for use outside the riparian area. In the amending Bill as it stands at present the Department has decided to abandon this right. If water is to be taken outside a riparian area, the matter must be referred to a water court. This actually represents an improvement and a safeguarding of the position of riparian owners. It is more in line with the position which prevailed in the past, and not less. The safety valve is represented by the fact that if the Minister decides to declare an area and draws up a formula as to how the water is to be apportioned, in the same way as the water court would have done, and he brings in the following element and says: “I have declared this area and I shall try to the best of my ability to lay down a formula and to apportion the water as the water court would have done, but I am going to take part of the water outside the riparian area”, he must obtain the advice of the persons who live in the area through the medium of an advisory committee. In other words, this is a safety valve, so that this water will be apportioned not only as the water court would have done, but also in co-operation with the people living in the vicinity and an advisory committee will not lightly allocate water outside a riparian area. I therefore say that if the hon. member for South Coast had known that Section 68 contained this provision and that the Minister had already decided in the case of these five controlled areas to appoint these advisory committees, he would not have raised objections and seen the difficulties which he sees, because all the elements which are required for the implementation of this legislation, that is to say the Department plus the people who live in the area concerned as represented by the advisory committee, are present. This is the one aspect of the legislation which has caused difficulty in the administration of the legislation. It relates to the application of the legislation in the control areas, because the underlying principle in this case is the principle which we have abandoned in the past, namely that of riparian ownership, and in the place of that principle we have put State ownership or dominus fluminis, which means that the State must apportion the water.
The other weakness in the legislation, the other important aspect which is now being rectified in this amending Bill, is a matter of principle. Unfortunately the House, with the assistance also of the hon. member for South Coast overlooked this important point when the legislation was before the House. I do not say that this was done deliberately. The Water Act is one of the most complicated pieces of legislation we have and I do not blame hon. members for overlooking this important point, but it happened, and the hon. member for South Coast must also accept co-responsibility. He as a member of the Opposition should have been on his toes; then it would not have happened. What has happened? To which weakness am I referring here? I am referring to the fact that in laying down the principle of dominus fluminis in terms of which the Minister replaces the court in the apportionment of the water, no provision was made for the right of appeal by the owners of undeveloped land against his decision. The law at present provides that the rights of persons who live in such a control area and who have acquired rights by utilizing land, in other words persons who have developed land, who have ploughed and sown and who have abstracted water from such a stream and who have put it to productive use, are recognized and entrenched under this legislation. They are the persons who can now claim a permit and they have the right in the first instance to approach the Minister and to ask that water should be apportioned amongst them and that it should be given to them by members of a permit. But the House will appreciate that a very large proportion of the irrigable land along South Africa’s rivers has not yet been developed, and this large area will only be developed in the future because the country is continually developing, particularly those parts of South Africa with large rivers which in reality are only on the threshold of their development. The House will appreciate that if it is laid down in principle that the State must decide who is to get water and how much, and such a decision is based on what the persons concerned used in the past, what the position will be of those persons who have land which is not yet developed. In other words, a large part of this land is land which has not yet been developed, but is land which will definitely require water in the future. The position is that under this legislation the only rights which are entrenched are the rights of those persons who have already developed their land; in other words, those persons who have already used water and who can show development, can approach the State and ask for the right to continue with this development in future by means of a permit. But the weakness which will now be rectified, as the Minister has announced and for which we are very thankful, and for which this side of the House has asked, is that this right which actually exists in the case of persons who have developed their land, should now also be granted to persons who have land, the potential of which has not yet been developed. What the Minister is now doing is this: By the amendment he is moving, the Minister is now entrenching in the legislation the claim which these people have.
Have you seen the amendment?
I know of the amendment. The Minister has indicated that he will introduce such an amendment and he has just said in general terms what it will provide. I do not know the details, but I am satisfied with what the Minister has said. It will provide that all persons who have riparian rights will be granted a right of appeal—allow me to say this first: There is no such thing as a water right belonging to any person. Such a person had the right to use the water and in the past he did not know what his rights were until he went to the courts. But there may be many persons who will come with claims and until the court has decided, there is no question of any right. But everyone had a claim to water and, because the Minister must act in a discretionary capacity, there was no unconditional right to claim water upon which such people could rely if they had not exercised their rights. I am therefore glad that the Minister has now stated clearly that in this amendment he is going to grant these unconditional rights to claim to which these people are entitled. It means that if such a person owns a farm which he has not yet developed but which will still be developed, or if he has not yet developed part of his farm because it takes a life-time to develop a farm, will now be given an unconditional right to claim. But the further step the Minister is taking in the amendment is the following. He is saying what the formula is and this is equally important because the Act had a second weakness, namely that such a person could not go to a water court. Section 62 (8) excluded that right. It provides that a person who had rights of riparian ownership can appeal, but it does not provide for appeals by persons who did not have such rights. If they had not developed their land, they could not appeal. I shall put it again. Subsection (8) provides that persons who had riparian rights, will have the right of appeal. [Interjection.] Allow me to put it conversely to the hon. member. As I have said, the Minister now takes it upon himself to apportion the water, but it may happen that certain persons are dissatisfied with the apportionment. Such a person can now go to the water court, provided he has land which has already been developed. In other words, if one owns a farm with land which one is irrigating, one can, if one is dissatisfied with the Minister’s formula, go to the water court on appeal but one cannot do so in respect of the forest land which one still wants to develop. That was the weakness. The Minister is now not only providing that there will be a formula in accordance with which undeveloped land will be allotted water, but he is also making provision for the other weakness which existed, namely that this person who did not have a right of appeal will not be granted that right. He is doing these two things. He is giving such persons the formula and he is giving them the right of appeal.
This second important aspect of this legislation relates to a matter of principle, namely the failure to provide for a very important section of our water rights and the allocation thereof, as well as the failure to grant the right of appeal to persons who feel aggrieved. People who were riparian owners could go to the court prior to 1956, but thereafter they could not go to court, and that is being rectified. These are the two important elements in this legislation and I want to thank the Minister for having acceded to the representations which have been made not only by this side of the House but by the public, and for reacting to those representations in this fair way so that these two weaknesses will be removed. If there are further points which cause administrative problems, they can always be put right by future legislation. But the hon. member for South Coast announced last year that he was going to stage a great fight because of unfair treatment and the great weaknesses in the legislation. I have listened to the hon. member and he has not really mentioned any important points which are worth discussing, except the following one which I should like to mention. The hon. member has referred to one of the clauses, the provisions of which have the result that when the parties to a dispute have to go to court, they can be involved in great expense before the case is settled. The Minister has now made provision for that aspect by laying down that the Department which in the past was not entitled to do so, can in future make certain information available to the parties which will make them better able to settle the dispute outside the court at much lower cost. The hon. member has said that they should not even be allowed to reach the stage of a court case, but that when two parties feel that they differ, and want clarity, they should have the right at a much earlier stage to request basic information from the Department. The Minister has indicated that he has no objection and we on this side of the House also regard this as a positive contribution by the hon. member and I do not think that we shall have any objection. Accelerating the stage at which the Department must assist the parties by providing information in order to reduce the expenses still further—even the expense of consulting advocates because when one consults an advocate it already costs £100—reducing even this expenditure to a minimum can only be of assistance and I consider that this was a sound contribution by the hon. member and the Minister will probably accept his suggestion.
I am glad the hon. member for Soutpansberg (Mr. S. P. Botha) has dealt in some detail with Clause 12 of the Bill, which refers to Section 2 of the Act. In regard to this clause, the Minister has indicated that he will move an amendment in the Committee Stage, but we have not seen the amendment. It came upon us suddenly during the course of his speech and we are therefore glad that the hon. member has dealt with it more fully. Prima facie the amendment appears to be a reasonable one. We would naturally like to consider it in more detail, but it appears to be reasonable. The amendment which now appears in Clause 12, excluding the further amendment proposed by the Minister, was necessary. Subsequent to the passing of the 1956 Act, certain administrative difficulties were found; for example, where a riparian owner had a right to water but was not abstracting the water, the effect of the clause was to limit his use of water to the water he was actually using at the time, subject to his getting a permit from the Minister. Clause 12 of this Bill appears to cover that defect, but it did seem, reading through Clause 12, that there was a further omission, that the quantity allowed him should not be left entirely to the discretion of the Minister but that there should be a right of appeal. As I understand it, the effect of the further amendment which the Minister will move is two-fold: Firstly, that he will indicate the formula on which he will base the exercise of his discretion, and secondly, that after having exercised his discretion in terms of this section, it will now be subject to appeal to the water court. Is that correct?
Yes, and also the amount of water available for distribution amongst the riparian owners.
Then prima facie it appears that we can support this amendment. We should naturally like to see the details first, but I hope the Minister will give us ample opportunity to consider it. May I just ask the hon. the Minister one question. Does this right of appeal apply to both parts of Clause 12 of the Bill before us; i.e. the two places where the Minister may exercise his discretion?
Then I will leave that clause. Then in regard to Clause 9 of the Bill which introduces the new Section 42 bis which will entitle the Minister to place evidence before the court if he is of opinion that it will be in the public interest, there too the Minister indicated that he was prepared to consider an amendment and I would like to support what the hon. member for South Coast said. Obviously it is desirable that the two parties should not be surprised during the course of litigation by evidence which was not available to them before. The Minister has indicated that he will make sure administratively that this information will be available to them. I think it is desirable that that should be written into the Act and that the duty should not be merely administrative. It is obviously desirable that the information should be given to them at the earliest possible stage. It is not only the trial itself which involves the litigants in expenditure; obviously the preparation for the trial is very expensive. In fact, once the trial begins most of your expenditure has already been incurred, and therefore it is desirable that this information should be given to the parties at the earliest possible stage. I am not sure at what stage the hon. the Minister gets notice that there will be litigation before the water court, but I assume that he gets it at the very earliest stage.
He need not get any notice at all.
I may not get any notice because I am not a party to the dispute.
I imagine that in practice, because of the inquiries which are made from his Department in relation to the facts, the hon. the Minister does get information at a very early stage. I think hon. members on both sides of the House are agreed on the principle that the parties to the litigation should have notice of that information at the earliest possible stage, and I am sure that after discussions a suitable amendment can be framed which will meet the case. Sir, the complaint has been made that the Department occasionally regards its information as confidential and that it is not always prepared to grant the information which people require. Obviously the Department is in possession of more information in regard to most areas than the ordinary litigant. May I ask the Minister whether he will try to ensure that when would-be litigants or people who want to know their water rights ask for information from the Department, the Department will give that information on every possible occasion and not regard the information as confidential. I have had complaints that the Department is inclined to say that their information is confidential, which is a great handicap to people who want to know what their rights are.
Moving on to Clause 11 of this Bill, which amends Section 60 of the Act, this clause deals with the right of expropriation of land for the purpose of making a road. The point has already been made by the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) that he hopes that the rights of the provincial authorities will not be interfered with and I hope that due regard will be paid to those rights. May I raise a further point which does not arise directly out of the amendment but which affects this section. It arises out of a case decided in 1958 in which Jackson was one of the parties and where the amount of compensation that was granted on expropriation was regarded by the owner of the land as insufficient. He contested the amount. He went on appeal, and one of the points at issue on appeal was whether interest was payable on the amount of compensation from the date of expropriation or only from the date on which the judgment of the Appeal Court was given. It was decided there that the interest on the compensation was only payable on the date of the Appeal Court judgment. In a case where the amount of compensation is contested and the matter goes to court and subsequently to the Appeal Court a period of two or even three years may elapse between the date of expropriation and the date on which the Appeal Court finally gives its judgment. In principle there seems to be no reason why interest should not be payable on the amount of compensation finally fixed from the date on which the expropriation took place. According to the law as it is at present such interest is not payable, and I shall be glad if the hon. the Minister could take the opportunity afforded by this amending Bill to put right what appears to be an omission in the Act at present.
Then in relation to Clause 5 of the Bill which relates to Section 12 of the Act: in terms of Section 12 of the Act any person “who desires to establish an industrial undertaking in respect of which any quantity of water is required to be used for industrial purposes …”. I then omit sub-paragraph (2): “if he desires to use for industrial purposes a quantity of public water exceeding 60,000 gallons on any one day or 50,000 gallons on an average per day during any month,” shall apply to the hon. the Minister for a permit. That section is being extended to include the expansion of any industrial undertaking which uses water. If such expansion takes place and the total quantity is more than the 50,000 gallons fixed, a permit is necessary. Will the hon. the Minister consider this proposal: If there is to be a small increase only in the consumption of water could there not be some provision to the affect that if the increase is less than a certain percentage it shall not be necessary to come to the Minister for a permit? As the Act reads at present, if there is to be expansion which requires further water and the total amount is above the figure of 50,000 gallons per day, then it will in every case be necessary to obtain a permit. I wonder whether some provision should not be made for a limited expansion in the region of say, 5,000 gallons a day, which is an increase of less than say, ten per cent on the original amount which the undertaking was allowed, without coming back to the Minister for a permit?
The Act lays down that all people who extract water from a stream, if they want to make any changes whatsoever, whether they are farmers or industrialists, have to apply to the Minister for a permit. We must have a full record of all the permits granted and the extraction rights of all consumers of waters.
And even where a small quantity is involved, is it still necessary for the Minister to have detailed information?
It is a principle that is involved here. If you allow the industrialist to extract water over and above the given quantity, what about the farmer? Then he should also be able to extract an additional quantity without applying to the Minister for approval. It is difficult administratively.
This is also a point that applies to the previous section, Section 11 of the principal Act, where too a permit has to be applied for or where the person has to go to court for an increase, and there too, if there is to be a very limited increase in the consumption of water, it would be an advantage if it was not necessary every time there was a small increase to come back to the hon. the Minister for a permit.
Lastly, in relation to Clause 17 of this Bill, which amends Section 157 of the principal Act. I want to say a word too about the proposed amendment in paragraph (b) which will introduce at the end of the proviso the following paragraph—
I understand that up till now wherever an irrigation loan has been granted in respect of a scheme the estimated cost of which was more than £30,000, a report has had to be laid on the Table of the House. Now the proposal is that it is only in relation to a scheme the total cost of which is over £100,000 that the report need be tabled. It appears to me that it would be much more desirable that the report should be laid on the Table of this House in relation to every scheme the estimated cost of which is over £30,000. Irrigation schemes can be of tremendous benefit to particular individuals, and when a loan is applied for, a great number of people may not have notice of the application. If it is an important matter—and I submit that any scheme which costs over £30,000 is an important matter …
It would be such a big scheme that everybody would know about it.
At any rate, this is public money which is to be expended, and public money of some magnitude. I think it is desirable before public money is expended that the details of any such scheme should be known. It is well known that considerable pressure may be brought to bear on the Department by individuals to obtain approval for a particular loan, and this is a safeguard which I think is most desirable. I am very much in favour of the section remaining as it is, that is to say that where the estimated cost of the scheme is more than £30,000, a report should be laid on the Table of this House. I submit that it is a most essential safeguard. The Hall Commission which sat on the proposed Water Bill makes mention of the pressures which are exerted in these applications for loans for water schemes, and I am sure that if this matter had been considered by the commission they too would have recommended that the provision should remain that where a loan is applied for in relation to any scheme, the estimated cost of which is more than £30,000, the report should be laid on the Table. Sir, there are further matters which we would like to discuss at the Committee Stage. I do not feel that all of them can be discussed during the second reading debate. At this stage, however, I wished to raise these points.
From the nature of things, the Water Act or any amendment thereof, is very technical and in the circumstances this is not a discussion where you would expect political implications or where it is necessary to raise matters of a sentimental nature. That is probably also the reason why it is evident that this discussion has attracted comparatively little interest this afternoon in spite of the fact that, in my humble opinion, water is the most important natural resource in South Africa, particularly because the major portion of our country suffers from a shortage of water and that being the position we have to see to it that our water legislation is as effective as it can possibly be. I do not intend defending this Bill. I think the Minister is more than capable enough to do that himself. I should like to analyse a few of the principles contained in this Bill and arising from those principles I should like to make a few suggestions to the hon. the Minister.
In the first place I want to express certain doubts as to Clause 4 and I should be grateful if the hon. the Minister would listen to what I have to say and if possible reply to me at a later stage. At the moment Section 11 (2) of the principal Act provides that a water court may “on the application of a person who is entitled in terms of this Act to use public water for agricultural purposes or who has acquired a right to the use of such water, authorize the applicant to use the share of such water to which he is so entitled or to the use of which he has acquired such a right or any part of such share, for agricultural, industrial or urban purposes or such other purposes as the water court may determine, either on riparian land or elsewhere. I want to emphasize the fact that Section 11 (2), as it stands at the moment, talks about public water; that the court may authorize a person who, as the owner of land, is entitled to public water, to use that water anywhere else for industrial purposes or for any other purpose. In this explanatory memorandum that has been issued to us we are told that paragraph (a) of sub-section (2) of Section 11, as it reads at the moment, “deals only with the normal flow and to enable a local authority or any person to use surplus water on non-riparian ground or for any purpose it is considered necessary to make this amendment”. I wish to say that I am not satisfied that the statement in this memorandum is absolutely correct. I read the relevant section a moment ago to show that reference is made to “public water” and “public water” is definitely not only normal flow. Public water is the water that is found in a public stream and the water that is found in a normal flow is either normal flow or surplus water or both. I feel therefore that the section as it reads at the moment already makes provision for it that the normal flow as well as the surplus water can, with the approval of the court, be diverted from riparian land and used for secondary or tertiary purposes somewhere else, on land that is not riparian to the stream. We know that “normal flow” is defined as water that can be abstracted directly on to the land without storing it; and surplus water is water that is not the normal flow. That is why I have said that you can have normal and surplus water in the same stream. The normal flow is usually determined either by the court or by the use to which it is put by the riparian owners. It may be said that it is not practically possible to determine which portion of the surplus water in a particular stream belongs to a particular owner of ground, but that is not so. In the case of Barnard and Coetzee v. de Villiers, as reported in the 1958 law reports, the court ruled that a certain piece of land was entitled to a certain amount of surplus water. It is not difficult to divide a normal flow, because if there is no allocation, the parties may go to court and the court can be asked to determine to what portion of the normal flow each one is entitled. That person uses a certain given quantity of the normal flow and the court decides that it should be diverted or taken somewhere else. In the case of surplus water the area of irrigable land is determined, and a certain amount is allocated to that irrigable surface. Let us assume that it is 30 inches per annum. The volume of that 30 inches is measured over the area of that irrigable land—say it is 100 morgen—and you find that that land is entitled to, say, 300 morgen feet of water per annum. In that case the court may rule that that amount of surplus water to which the land is entitled can be abstracted. As I see the position—and I should like the hon. the Minister to go into this—the section already provides that not only the normal flow but also the surplus water can in such a case be controlled by the court.
Everybody does not see it that way; we want to state it more clearly.
I have no objection to the hon. the Minister stating it more clearly, but he is going much further than that and in my humble opinion the hon. the Minister is infringing on the rights of a private individual with which I do not agree. As the Act is now being amended, provision is made that not only can the court rule that the public water to which the person is entitled can be abstracted—as the section is worded at the moment—but we are now providing that the court can order any quantity of water, provided it is surplus flow, to be diverted to a place other than riparian ground. I must admit that I do not believe any court will ever do such a thing because our courts are very careful not to interfere with the rights of private individuals, but the hon. the Minister presumes that in this amendment, because he says that it will be competent for a court, as far as the surplus flow is concerned, to rule that any amount may be diverted, in other words, not only that quantity to which that person is entitled as owner of the land, but any amount as determined by the court. That “any quantity” may be far in excess of the quantity to which the land concerned is entitled to get. The rules in regard to surplus flow are as follows: The normal flow is usually divided by means of leading turns or the court may allocate it, but in the case of surplus water the rule is that the highest owner may take everything if he can use it and only when his requirements have been met, he can let the rest run down to the next man and then to the following owner. If the highest owner now goes to court and he is only entitled to, say, 300 morgen feet of the surplus flow per annum, and, because he is the highest and all the water has to pass him, he applies that 1,000 morgen feet of water per annum should be diverted to a municipal area or non-riparian ground, it will mean that 1,000 morgen feet of water will first be abstracted from the flow before it reaches the next owner, and as a result, from the nature of things, the lower riparian owners must suffer under this proposed amendment. That is how I see the position. I doubt whether the court will ever infringe on to the rights of people to that extent but I do not think it is a sound principle even to presume in our legislation that it can be done.
I want to say something else arising from this idea of controlling the surplus flow. I said a moment ago that to-day no control was being exercised over the surplus flow, except of course that it may be laid down to what quantity of the surplus flow a particular owner is entitled, but otherwise there is no provision in our law whereby the surplus flow, in connection with which the Minister now wishes to give certain powers to the court as regards abstraction, can be divided, and I want to ask the hon. the Minister to consider the question of exercising better control over the surplus flow. As far as the division of the normal flow is concerned, that is done by way of agreement between the parties or as it has been allocated to the land from time to time according to circumstances, and as water rights have been acquired by owners, or the normal flow may be allocated by court. As I said a moment ago, the surplus water is abstracted from the top downwards. The highest owner takes as much water as he wants to satisfy his own requirements and he then lets it run down to the second owner who takes as much as he wants for his requirements and so it carries on. There is one proviso, however, that anyone who abstracts surplus water should not waste it; he has to use it beneficially. He is not allowed to abstract more than he can use beneficially on his land. As a result of that we find that in many parts of the country water is being wasted or used uneconomically to-day. There are many rivers in this country, particularly in the Karoo areas, that do not have a normal flow. The only flow that you find in them is when it rains heavily and there is a flood and the court has interpreted that to be purely surplus water, because according to the definition of “normal flow” it cannot be used for irrigation purposes directly without storing it. In those circumstances we find that with the financial assistance they receive from the Government people construct huge dams and reservoirs to-day and that they dam up vleis as part of soil conservation schemes and you find that during a normal rainy season the owners higher up the river store all the water and there has to be a very big flood before the lower riparian owners derive any benefit from it. I said a moment ago that this position has lead to water being wasted and being used uneconomically.
What is the solution? I want to offer a few solutions. I should like to see better control over surplus water as in the case of the normal flow. The normal flow has to be led directly on to the land and it is understandable, Sir, that as you go further down the river, more and more furrows can be constructed in the river; more and more land can be irrigated and the lower you go down the river, the higher becomes the normal flow in that river. Every drop that is not normal flow is surplus water. I think the solution is to be found in this that we should make provision, as in the case of the normal flow, that surplus water should also be allocated by a court. There may be problems and difficulties attached to that, it may be a difficult thing for the court to decide and it may also be very costly to ask the court to allocate such water. The other solution that I have to offer—and I think this is a simpler solution—is that the Minister should consider widening the definition of “normal flow The definition of “normal flow” is very limited to-day. The normal flow of a river is very small. It consists of only that portion that you can lead directly on to your land by means of furrows or otherwise, without storing it. In other words you cannot dam it; you have to lead it directly from the river, and that quantity that you can abstract from the river and lead directly on to your land constitutes the normal flow. That is the portion of the flow that can be divided. But if we widen the definition of “normal flow” it will go a long way towards making it possible for us to exercise more control over surplus water, and it will be more fair towards the land owners, particularly in the drier areas of the country. It is very difficult to suggest how “normal flow” should be defined, but I suggest that it may perhaps be possible to determine that according to the irrigable land along a river, to determine your normal flow by means of the use to which it is put—assume for instance one cusec per 10 morgen—on the irrigable land and that the normal flow in that river should be determined by the area of irrigable land along that river. If we do that I think we shall be meeting a serious defect in the water control system of this country.
A great deal has been said about the principles contained in Section 12, and I do not intend saying much about that. I would just like to refer to the remark made by the hon. member for South Coast in connection with the first amendment in Clause 12 namely “by the substitution in paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) for the words ‘has been’ of the word ‘was’ and by the addition at the end of the said paragraph of the words ‘at the date of publication of the relevant proclamation under Section 59’”. As the section reads at the moment provision is made that in a Government water control area the water rights of a person may be registered as he has exercised them from time to time before it was declared a Government water control area. In terms of the amendment which we are now effecting a definite date is laid down namely the date of publication. The hon. member for South Coast says that it may be one of the rivers which does not flow the whole year round and it may be that on that particular day the river is dry and no water can be abstracted out of it. I think that is a very theoretical argument and I do not for one moment think that the courts who have to interpret our laws, will ever give that interpretation to the section. However, the Minister can very easily solve that problem which the hon. member for South Coast foresees. He need only make it before the date of publication instead of on the date of publication, because this clause only provides for a specific day and in future a person will be entitled to the water which he has abstracted from the river prior to that date and he can have that registered. We do not want it to be stipulated that it will be the quantity that he abstracted on the specific day, but the amount which he abstracted long before that date, the greatest amount of water that he had abstracted before the specific day. It will probably be interpreted like that and that is why I think that is the solution and I think it is a good solution to make it “before the date” of publication instead of “on the date” of publication.
Clause 12, about which a great deal has been said, contains two provisions. The first deals with persons—I shall try to put it as clearly as possible, and I think we should once again deal briefly with this—who prior to the date of publication had abstracted water from the river, in other words the riparian owners who have actually exercised their rights as far as the river is concerned, and those riparian owners will in future be entitled to exercise those same rights provided those rights are recognized by the Minister. That does not mean to say that those rights will be recognized just as they are. The Minister has to lay down certain conditions which are provided for in this Bill; in other words he has to allocate that water as the court would have allocated it to a person who had exercised his water rights and he may issue a permit accordingly. The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) asked whether on the basis of an allocation in accordance with a court prescription, there would also be a right of appeal. My reply is definitely yes. There is a right of appeal because the clause provides the following:
(d) For the purposes of paragraph (b) any person shall be deemed to have been lawfully abstracting … etc.
In other words, this clause circumscribes paragraph (b), it explains what it actually means. It simply prescribes more clearly how paragraph (b) is to be applied, and there is a right of appeal in paragraph (b) of sub-section (8) of Section 62. I think the hon. member will agree with me that in the circumstances there is indeed a right of appeal.
That is the one type of person for whom Section 62 provides. The other type of person is the one who has never previously exercised his rights, the person who did indeed own riparian land along the river but who had never previously abstracted water from that river. Because a certain amount of water is still available in that river, water which the Minister wants to allocate to the irrigators, this Bill provides that the balance of the water in the river shall vest exclusively in the Minister. I am pleased to hear that the hon. the Minister is considering making certain amendments to this, because I do not think it is a sound principle to leave that water exclusively in the hands of the Minister, irrespective of the high regard we have for his integrity in exercising his rights in that connection. Those people have certain rights to that river and if you place those rights in the hands of somebody else without the right of objection, you are looking for trouble. We usually abide by the decision of a court but we are not prepared to abide by any other decision. That is why I welcome the fact that such water, if it is available, is to be allocated by the Minister on a certain basis, as in the first case, and that there will also be a right of appeal in this case. If that is done I have no objection to Section 62 as it is now being amended.
There was another aspect of Section 62 that worried me a little and that was the fact that this second right of appeal to which I have just referred, was only in respect of riparian land. In other words, the Minister will be entitled to allocate water in respect of non-riparian land without the court being able to interfee and without the riparian owners having a right of appeal. I think there is a certain amount of justification for that, and in a moment or two I shall say something about the use of water on non-riparian land. But I think that where you are dealing with a State water control area and where there is such water available for further allocation, more water will, in those circumstances, be made available by the State and from the nature of things more water will be available to riparian ground than before and if the State does make more water available to riparian ground than before, riparian owners should really have no objection and it is not necessary for them to have a right of appeal, because the State is already giving them more rights than they had previously.
I want to say something about Clause 9, the clause which deals with the Minister’s right to give evidence in a water allocation case. This is indeed a happy day as far as I am concerned because I agree with the hon. member for South Coast. When I read this clause I immediately realized that this could create very big problems for litigants and I do not know whether the hon. the Minister has definitely made up his mind about this provision; if he has not, I should like to ask the hon. the Minister that where the Department suddenly submits evidence to the court, the litigants should also be taken into account. I as a litigant go to court and submit all the data at my disposal and have no knowledge of the information available to the Department; the Department suddenly comes to court with a mass of information which I did not have; and had I had it I would perhaps not have gone to court. Because of that information I lose the case which I would otherwise have won. Who is to pay the costs? The Department is responsible for the fact that I have lost the case. I think this explanatory memorandum makes provision for that; the explanatory memorandum presumes that in such cases that information should be made available to the litigants beforehand. But I am not quite satisfied with that. Seeing that the explanatory memorandum and the Department envisage that, it may just as well be incorporated in the law. There may be practical difficulties, but as somebody who has had a great deal to do with water problems knows that it is exceedingly difficult to obtain any information from the Department of Water Affairs. I do not blame them for wanting to keep the information that they have for their personal use. Generally speaking they are fairly stingy with their information.
Consequently I feel that provision should be made in the law that if I want to go to court in a water case. I should have the right to go to the Department of Water Affairs and to say to them: “I intend applying to court for an allocation of water from a certain river.” Is it the intention of the Department to give evidence before the court?” If that is the intention of the Department those particular facts must be made available to me at once. If that is not the intention of the Department I can carry on with my case but in that case the Department should not be allowed to submit evidence to the court at a later stage. I think if the Minister can meet us in this respect all the problems will probably be solved.
That in brief, Sir, is what I want to say. I have grave doubts about Clause 4 and I trust the Minister will consider it; I have a few objections to Clause 9 in connection with which the Minister has already promised to meet us and then I have an objection as far as Clause 12 is concerned.
In conclusion I want to say something about the use of water on non-riparian land—how that can be made easier. Clause 12 provides that the Minister, without any interference by the court may use water on non-riparian land, and I really think that the time is long overdue that we evolve a procedure whereby it will be made easier to use water on non-riparian land. You know, Sir, great development is taking place to-day, and it often happens that non-riparian land is close to a river, but because that land is non-riparian it has no right to the water in that river. Apart from that, it is understandable that as more and more land is irrigated, irrigation will be practised further and further away from the banks of the rivers. In every case where private individuals (this is where the area is not a State water control area) can bring water on to non-riparian land, they have to go to court and apply for permission to do so. At the moment I am handling an application to court in which we are asking for permission to abstract water from a particular river for, a small area of 70 morgen of non-riparian land and I am convinced that by the time the engineers have prepared their plans for submission to the court, by the time all the legal costs, the advocates, etc. have been paid, the costs of that case will amount to approximately £1,000. I think the time has arrived for us to devise some procedure whereby it will be made easier to use water on non-riparian land. On the other hand I realize that we have to continue to be careful that where water is used on non-riparian land the riparian owners further along the river do not suffer in consequence. That is why in the past the courts have always treated such applications with great circumspection. It is very difficult to suggest what should be done. I think in the first place the Minister should consider some measure whereby court procedure can be facilitated. Whenever you apply to court for permission to use water on non-riparian land, you have in the first instance to apply to the Supreme Court for substituted service because from the nature of things the documents cannot be served on all the hundreds and thousands of riparian owners along the river right down to the sea. There are two processes at the moment. You first have to apply to the Supreme Court for substituted service and thereafter you have to apply to the Water Court. [Time limit.]
When introducing this Bill, the hon. the Minister read out the amendments to Clause 12 which he said he would move in the Committee Stage. I have only just managed to get a copy of it, and I see it covers three foolscap pages and the amendments have a very wide application on the original Act. So I think the hon. the Minister ought to consider giving us an opportunity to study this amendment as we on this side of the House have not seen it, and therefore I move—
That the debate be now adjourned.
Agreed to; debate adjourned until 22 May.
The House adjourned at
Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Honourable the Senate:
By direction of Mr. Speaker, the State Land Disposal Bill was read a first time.
Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Honourable the Senate:
The Senate begs to draw the attention of the Honourable the House of Assembly to the following provision, namely, the words “remuneration and allowances” in paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) of the proposed new Section 3, inserted by Clause 2, which has been struck out of the Bill and placed between brackets, with a footnote stating that it does not form part of the Bill.
By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Aliens Amendment Bill was read a first time.
Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Honourable the Senate:
By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Public Holidays Amendment Bill was read a first time.
Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following Message from the Honourable the Senate:
By direction of Mr. Speaker, the Post Mortem Examinations and Removal of Human Tissues Amendment Bill was read a first time.
I move as an unopposed motion—
I ask leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz. the Proclamation (No. 762) of the Minister of Justice, dated 19 May 1961, in terms of Section 9 of the Suppression of Communism Act, 1950, as published in Government Gazette Extraordinary (No. 6693) of that date, prohibiting the assembly of any gathering in any place within the area comprising the Union of South Africa and the territory of South West Africa during the period commencing on 19 May 1961 and ending on 26 June 1961, subject to certain exceptions.
In terms of Standing Order No. 33 the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has furnished me with a copy of his proposed motion and I have therefore had an opportunity of considering it.
In consequence of rumours of threats of strikes and violence at the end of the present month it may very well be that the action of the responsible Minister in prohibiting the assembly of any gathering is intended merely as a precautionary measure. Since the publication of the proclamation referred to by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, nothing has actually happened which in my opinion would justify a discussion of the matter in terms of Standing Order No. 33 at this stage. Moreover, the question of the banning of meetings was very fully discussed during the debate on the motion for the second reading of the General Law Amendment Bill which was passed by Parliament only last week.
In view of all these circumstances I regret I cannot allow the motion to be moved.
I am not allowed, Sir, to address you on your ruling?
I am sorry, I have given my ruling.
First Order read: Third reading,—Commonwealth Relations (Temporary Provision) Bill.
On leading off for the Opposition I wish to say that the measure that is about to be read a third time is one that grants to His Excellency the Governor-General, which we know means the Minister in practice, extraordinary powers to suspend, amend or alter the provisions of existing laws, all of which affect, in one way or another, South Africa’s relationship with the Commonwealth countries. Sir, whilst by the Rules I am confined to discussing the contents of the Bill, it is obvious that the importance of its contents can hardly be over-stressed in the circumstances that I have outlined. It is not the contents of the Bill or the actual wording of the language used in it that exercises the mind of this side of the House; it is the incalculable implications and powers that it gives the Minister that causes us a certain amount of uneasiness. We naturally accept that this Bill is necessary, but time alone will show how the powers entrusted to the Minister, or to the Government, will be used; and what the effect of the use of these powers will be on the economic and the other relations of South Africa with, what up to 31st of this month, will have been our colleagues in the Commonwealth.
Sir, in commenting on the provisions of Clause 1, I want to make it clear that the only significant question with which the country is concerned, is how and with what ultimate result the powers are to be exercised. In view of this I am forced to raise with the Minister certain questions, the answer to which will determine what our attitude to the Bill will be at this stage when it comes to a division. I would remind the House how the conciliatory actions of the Minister last Friday, towards views expressed by this side, suddenly changed the atmosphere in the House; with the result that the debate ended on quite a different note to that on which it had started. It might have led to a very acrimonious debate had the Minister not been prepared to be reasonable. If the Minister will extend to us the consideration to which reasonable requests are entitled, we will react accordingly, and things would become much easier all round. However, I will deal with that when I come to Clause 2, particularly the new sub-section which I see appears in the Bill that was put on our desks this morning. We, on this side of the House, are prepared to agree that certain legislation is called for; we accept the Minister’s statement that the Government desires to retain friendly relations and friendly contact and to continue to work amicably with the other members of the Commonwealth. Further we accept that the contents of this Bill, with this important sub-section added to it, represent an attempt to maintain the present contacts between ourselves and such members of the Commonwealth as desire to continue friendly relations with our country. But it is possible, though I hope unlikely, that certain units of the Commonwealth may embark on some action which will require the Government to take immediate steps and therefore, should Parliament not be sitting, the Minister needs the powers that Clause 1 gives him to enable him to react immediately to a situation which might arise when Parliament is not sitting; we admit that and therefore we are prepared as far as possible to give him those powers. But what we are deeply concerned about is this and I will put it shortly in the form of questions without in any way attempting to deal with the merits of the case. I am aware of the limitations of a third reading debate, and therefore I will put it shortly. Are our airway agreements likely to come under consideration during the recess unless something is started by some other country? That is a matter which concerns us.
Which airway agreements are you talking about? That has nothing to do with the Commonwealth.
If the hon. the Minister wants to make a speech we will have the greatest pleasure in listening to him I am sure.
I am just trying to correct you.
Thank you, but I am capable of making my own speeches. Will our relationships vis-à-vis the Protectorates likewise be reviewed? Does the Government contemplate any change in connection with our Commonwealth relationships? Those are three or four things on which we would like some indication from the Minister, even across the floor of the House. That would make it very much easier for us to make up our minds as to the line we should take when it comes to a division. You see, Sir, this Bill gives the Government the power, by proclamation, to act in connection with such matters, and therefore we must have some broad outline as to what is in the Minister’s mind to enable us on this side of the House to decide what our attitude is to be when it comes to voting at the end of the debate. In short; whether our duties lie in accepting or opposing this final stage of the Bill. It is obvious that if we are to be left in the dark as to what the Minister’s intentions are, I think you will agree, Sir, that the powers that he is asking the House to give him are unusual. We cannot blindly give our unqualified consent. Sir, we are not asking for details but just for a broad outline of policy which this Bill gives the Minister the power to apply without reference to Parliament. Our attitude—and I say this perfectly frankly—will depend largely on such information as the Minister is prepared to give us when he replies to the debate. In these difficult times we are most anxious as a party not to deny the Government such powers as are in the interests of the State, to meet unforeseen circumstances which may well arise, in the very near future, by opposing or criticizing just for the sake of doing so; provided always that it must be accepted by this House and by the country as a whole that we are the watchdogs of Parliament; we are the watch-dogs of the people who sent us here to represent them. We are here to safeguard the sanctity of Parliament and not to allow its rights to be whittled away in any way at all. If the Minister wants us to co-operate he must be prepared to enlighten us to a certain extent as to how he is likely to use such powers as we are prepared to give him; as far as he can do so at the present moment. Sir, there is another very important matter on which we should like to have some information before we decide how to react to the third reading, and that is the question of our diplomatic relations abroad, because this is of the utmost importance to people who have to do with shipping and trade. The Minister obviously cannot go into detail and we do not ask him to do so, but let me just indicate what I mean: As you know, Sir, where we have no diplomatic representation, we have had the British consular service placed at our disposal. That has been of the utmost importance to our trade and to our shipping. Obviously as the Bill now stands it will seriously affect that position. We would like to know how the powers that we are asked to give the Government will be used and to what end before other arrangements are made, should the need arise. There are several other very important features on which we would like to have information, but I realize that I can only discuss the merits of the Bill as it now appears before us, so I will not dilate on the matter any further, except, with your permission. Sir, to ask if the Minister is prepared to give us any idea whether or not without first giving the House a chance to discuss the matter he will deal with the Government loans domiciled in London under the powers given to him by this Bill, because in line 15 the Bill says “in his opinion”, which is a very elastic provision. Clearly the standing of such loans is a very important matter to all our financial houses because the deposit receiving institutions have to place 40 per cent of their funds in trust or approved stocks, and should England, by unilateral action, decide that our Government loans domiciled in London are not trustee funds, or are not to be regarded as approved stocks, it would be important to their investment portfolios because they have to hold a certain amount of money in sterling in London to meet commitments there—not only the deposit receiving institutions, but also insurance companies which have to pay out life insurance policies in sterling. In such a case the Minister would have to act directly and immediately to safeguard South Africa’s interests.
It is that aspect that we are concerned about. What exercises our minds is whether the Government will initiate any action in this connection without first giving Parliament a chance to discuss the matter. You see, Sir, it is one thing to hand a man a gun to defend himself and it is quite another to hand him a gun which he may use to start an attack. I mention this in passing because the financial houses are watching this matter most anxiously to see what the effect of our leaving the Commonwealth will be on the money market.
Now I come to sub-section (2) of Clause 2, and I wish to say that the inclusion of subsection (2) has in the view of this side of the House remedied a very serious defect in the Bill as originally presented to this House. We on this side appreciate the Minister’s acceptance of a recommendation put forward by the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) for now Parliament retains control, as it should It was the absence of this provision that led to many objections on this side of the House. The inclusion of that sub-section will now ensure that any action taken by the Government under the terms of Clause 1—I am dealing with Clause 2 now—and any changes or amendments brought about by proclamation in any existing legislation, will be of a temporary nature only, and will cease to have the force of law unless the change, or the amendment has, within 30 days of the commencement of the next ordinary session of Parliament, been approved by resolution of both Houses. In short, it makes action by the Government subject to confirmation by Parliament, which we regard as being of the utmost importance; and we are extremely glad that the Minister acquiesced in the views expressed by hon. members on this side in the earlier stages. Sir, sub-section (2) is not quite complete however. The Minister undertook to give consideration to a suggestion made by the hon. members for Constantia, Wynberg and Kensington that there should be added at the end of sub-section (2) the words “ or by Act of Parliament”. The Minister promised to give the matter further consideration when it come, before Another Place, and we are fully prepared to accept his word for it. We know that he will do that; but in the circumstances as sub-section (2) is not wholly complete in its present form I am sure you, Sir, will permit me to point out that this clause, as it now reads, has obvious defects also. Changes in existing laws have a lasting effect, and should not be hidden in the records or in the archives of the Other Place and of this House. What I mean is that they should not simply appear in the Hansards of the Senate and of this House; and that is exactly what will happen if the approval of Parliament is confined to resolutions passed separately by the Senate and by the House of Assembly. The courts, the public, and lawyers are entitled to have changes, or alterations, in laws presented to them in the ordinary conventional form; and that is by Act of Parliament. The defect therefore is a serious one, and I urge the Minister to rectify it in the Other Place. If a lawyer, or the ordinary member of the public, wants to find out what the law is, the law should be readily available to him. The Minister may during the recess, entirely at his discretion, remove a whole clause out of an Act or change a law, in which case, when it comes before the House it will merely be reflected in our records and in the records of the Senate, instead of being on the Statute Book so that any member of the public, or any lawyer, can pick up the Statute Book, look up the reference, and find out exactly what the position is. You cannot expect them to page through dozens and dozens of volumes of Hansard to find out what the law as amended by resolution is. Sir, I do not want to hold up the House with any unnecessary discussion. I merely wish to say that subject to the Minister’s giving us acceptable replies to the points I have raised—and I feel sure he will—we on this side are prepared to give our consent to the third reading of this Bill. I would remind the Minister of the sudden change that he saw in the climate last Friday when by adopting a reasonable attitude and by treating us with the courtesy to which a responsible Opposition is entitled, when it seeks information to which it is entitled, and by giving us some reassurance to allay our misgivings, we in turn showed our willingness to co-operate in the interests of the country—and I emphasize “in the interests of the country”.
In conclusion I would just like to say that to me this is an extremely sad day. I never thought that I should live to see the day when it is necessary for a Bill of this nature to be passed here; a Bill which gives us powers to defend ourselves against hostile acts on the part of people who have been our sister dominions and who for 50 years have been our friends, our colleagues and members of the club.
I am talking about dominions and nations who have been our friends for 50 years. Ghana has not been a member of the Commonwealth for 50 years. I am talking about the older members of the Commonwealth who were our friends 150 years ago in the old Cape Colony days. It is sad for me to think that at this stage we have to pass measures to defend ourselves against possible hostility on the part of people who have been our friends and our allies in two world wars.
Like the hon. gentleman who has just sat down, we are not without misgivings about the Bill, even in its amended form. We expressed our reasons for opposing this measure at the second reading; the debate which has been referred to took place and the Minister did move an amendment which went a long way towards meeting the objections that the Opposition had. Because that amendment was moved and has been included in the Bill, we do not find it necessary to vote against the third reading now. However, I would to express the misgivings that we do still have about the Bill in its present form and to express the hope that the Government will be extremely circumspect in exercising the powers which this measure still gives. While provision has now been made for a parliamentary safeguard over the exercise of power by the Executive to alter the law, we would much have preferred that as far as it could possibly be done the law should in fact not be altered by the Executive at all but by Parliament in the first place. However, at least when Parliament is not in session there is grave difficulty in that regard, and it would probably have been necessary in some form or other to concede this power to the Executive subject to some safeguard, and that safeguard has now been provided for in the Bill. I should like to express the hope that the Executive in using these powers will strive under all circumstances to avoid using the power subject only to subsequent ratification by Parliament, if it is at all possible to have the necessary changes in the law made by Parliament. I do not wish to become involved in examples of the kind of action that may be required under this Bill; I do not know that I can do so with any accuracy, but I think it must be plain that some of the steps that may be judged advisable will not be so urgent as to demand immediate action, and where that is so I hope that the responsible Minister will try to see that the matter is dealt with by Parliament rather than purely by Executive action. Sir, there was one other objection that we had to the Bill at an earlier stage and that we still have, and that is the inclusion of the phrase “in his opinion” in Clause 1, on an issue which we believe could have been regarded as an issue of fact but where the judgment of the responsible Minister is in fact the test as to whether action can be taken or not. We still believe that this is a fault in the measure; we would rather have seen the issue left as one of fact, but as I have said we are not going to obstruct the passage of the Bill at the third reading for that reason. Again I would wish on behalf of those of us who sit in these benches to express the hope that this power will be used with the utmost circumspection and with the deepest consciousness that the responsible Minister will in effect be acting for Parliament in order to secure expedition in what he does. Like the hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) we would prefer instead of a resolution of the Assembly to confirm action taken, an Act of Parliament. The hon. the Minister has indicated that he is going to consider that and in Another Place he may be able to bring about the necessary alteration in this measure. We hope he will, and we hope that everything possible will be done to safeguard the position and the privileges of Parliament, more particularly at this time in our country’s history when in one direction or another parliamentary and political action generally is being fettered in so many ways. Sir, this measure is necessary. Something of this sort probably did have to be passed, and since we have been met in our major objection to the Bill we are prepared to allow the third reading to go through without opposition.
Mr. Speaker, you will no doubt appreciate that when I now venture into a third reading debate, I do so with some instruction in regard to what it is not permissible to say under the relevant Standing Order. But the contents of this Bill has certain peculiar features, and if the need should arise, I hope it will afford you, Sir, an opportunity to give suitable instruction in regard to the positive side of the Standing Order, that is, in regard to what it is permissible to raise and what can be discussed at a third reading. The hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) has indicated that the purpose of this Bill is to grant powers to the Government to legislate by proclamation in respect of certain as yet completely unidentified and completely undisclosed laws on our Statute Book. The only specific reference of course, is that the power to make changes in the laws must flow from the fact that South Africa is leaving the Commonwealth and must be in regard to some corresponding law which may at some time be changed in one or other Commonwealth country. The Bill therefore deals with some future action by the Executive, but it is not some foreseeable administrative action as happens in the case of the majority of Bills which are presented to this House. It deals with future legislative action about which the House can have no advance information. The House has no idea as to what is likely to come forward as a result of the powers granted in terms of the Bill. What the House is to have is ex post facto information, and if by the time it gets that information it so happens that damage has already been done, it may be too late to remedy matters. In the circumstances therefore, Sir, I feel sure you will permit me, as you have permitted the hon. member for Green Point, to raise certain questions with the hon. the Minister. The question that I particularly wish to raise with the Minister is whether the Government proposes to differentiate in any way in regard to the information which is to be placed before this House in respect of what is done in terms of Clause 1, namely, whether it will differentiate in those cases where Parliament is not in session as against those cases where Parliament is in session. What is involved is, of course, the suspension or amendment of one or other law which is already on our Statute Book. I believe, as I hope the Minister will agree, that it would be highly undesirable, perhaps even preposterous, when changes in laws are in contemplation at a time when Parliament is in session, that Parliament should have no immediate information and that it should be regarded as not being in session. I trust therefore that the hon. the Minister will give the House some assurance that the procedure which will be followed when Parliament is in session will differ from that which will be followed when Parliament is not in session. The terms of the clause are not exhaustive; they are not pre-emptory; they are merely directive and I think it would be undesirable, almost preposterous, if changes should be made in existing Statutes when Parliament is actually in session in a way which does not differ at all from the method to be followed when Parliament is not in session. That is largely a matter in the hands of the Minister dealing with the matter at the time. So far as Clause 2 is concerned, I again feel sure that you, Sir, will allow me to comment on any defect in the contents of the Bill, particularly a defect which should be put right before this Bill becomes law. The hon. member for Green Point has pointed out that sub-clause (2) of Clause 2 contemplates changes in existing laws being given parliamentary sanction by way of a resolution instead of the conventional method of a statutory enactment. The hon. the Minister has promised to look into this matter in the Other Place. None the less in its present form this sub-clause is clearly defective and I raise the matter now to assist the hon. the Minister in giving consideration to the suggestion that was made during the second reading debate and which has been repeated by the hon. member for Green Point. Section 59 of the South Africa Act, which has been taken over into the Republican Constitution Act, provides that Parliament shall have full powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Union. The words I want to underline are “shall make laws”, for whether this House or the Other Place passes resolutions that does not constitute making laws. For the purpose of making laws Parliament consists of three parts, not two. To make laws Parliament must consist of the sovereign, the Senate and the House of Assembly. Not only is the procedure prescribed for making laws different from the procedure prescribed for passing resolutions …
Order! I cannot allow the hon. member to go into that.
Surely this is a defect in the contents of the legislation.
That has already been pointed out in the second reading debate, and I have allowed the hon. members for Green Point and Maitland (Dr. de Beer) to draw the Minister’s attention to it.
I am going a little further to point out to the Minister precisely what justification there is for the pleas that they have made.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the contents of the Bill.
But, Sir, I am dealing with a defect in the contents of the Bill. I think you will permit me to deal with that.
The hon. member has dealt with it now.
No, I have not dealt with it, I have not completed what I was about to say.
Order! The hon. member must obey my ruling and come back to the contents of the Bill.
Sir, I commenced by saying that I hoped that you would, if need be, give an indication as to the ruling …
Order! I call upon the hon. member now to abide by my ruling.
Sir, I am trying to obey your ruling; I am trying to find out what it is.
The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of the Bill, and a defect is not part of the contents of the Bill.
Surely, Sir, a defect does fall under the contents of a Bill?
It should have been raised at the second reading.
Sir, I am merely emphasizing again that the defect is an important one, and for the reasons which I have already given, I hope that the hon. the Minister will realize the seriousness of the import of the defect. That is all I am trying to indicate at present. Because when the House passes a resolution, it has certain consequences, but when Parliament passes an Act, it has entirely different consequences. In the one case, of course, there is extreme care taken for accuracy, and there is wide publicity; in the other less care is taken in regard to accuracy and very limited publicity is given. Those are the reasons which actuate me to ask the hon. the Minister to give consideration to the matter when it comes before the Other Place.
I want to refer to one part of the contents of the Bill, and that is the portion covered by Clause 4, which reads “this Act shall be called the Commonwealth Relations (Temporary Provision) Act, 1961”. That clause as it is before us to-day defines the Title of the Bill, and we find the Title on the first page is also “Commonwealth Relations (Temporary Provision) Bill”. Now I want to draw the hon. Minister’s attention to the fact that, as shown by the “contents” as just now read by me, as shown by Clause 4 in the Bill now before us, it gives a completely misleading idea of the duration of the powers granted by the Bill. I am not going to refer to the powers it confers, because they have been adequately covered by the speakers prior to myself, except to say that they are very far-reaching and very wide powers concerning the rights and prerogatives of Parliament and the future of many people in the country. Now the contents of the Bill before us lay down that these powers granted now, if you take the definition of Clause 4, are of a temporary nature, but actually there is nothing temporary at all about this Bill. Once the Bill is approved by Parliament, it is as permanent as Table Mountain. There is nothing temporary whatsoever about it. We have been having so many cases of legislative Bills the Titles of which gave a completely wrong impression of the authority of and the duration of the Bills concerned. I am not going to enlarge on that, but am only referring to it in passing. But this Bill is one of a growing pattern as far as the Title is concerned. To show what I mean, I refer, for instance, to the Extension of University Education Bill which in fact did not extend but restricted university education. Now Clause 4 of the Bill reads: “This Act shall be called the Commonwealth Relations (Temporary Provision) Act.” Once the Bill is passed as an Act, it becomes a permanent piece of legislation for this country for as long as Parliament itself lasts.
What about Clause 2?
I want to ask whether the hon. the Minister, who has met us to a very large extent in our criticism of other portions of the Bill and has by his amendment gone quite a way to meet criticism and objections which had been raised, would not in the Other Place also give consideration to dealing with that particular misleading aspect of Clause 4 by the deletion by a suitable amendment of the words “temporary provision”. Clause 4, as it would then remain in the contents of the Bill, so amended, would read “this Act shall be called the Commonwealth Relations Act, 1961”; and then there would be a consequential amendment in the Title. I believe that would more correctly describe what the Bill purports to be and would place on the Statute Book legislation which is correctly described by the Title and not by a misnomer as a temporary measure whilst it is in fact by no means temporary in any way.
The hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) rather spoiled a reasonable statement by his concluding remarks. After all, Sir, Parliament has decided to establish a republic and the referendum so decided, and I do not think any good purpose can be served by again raking up that issue.
You cannot stop me from feeling sad.
In other respects, the hon. member’s speech was unexceptionable. He wanted to have certain information. Most of the points raised by the hon. member were dealt with during a fairly long discussion that took place on Thursday, and again on Friday, last week. I then gave the assurance to the House that it was not the Government’s intention to make use of these powers unless it was absolutely necessary, and I give that assurance again. Secondly, I pointed out that some of the matters raised by the hon. member have already been the subject of discussion between the Government and the United Kingdom. The hon. member spoke about the status of loans. That has already been the subject of discussions. I do not think that we are going to have any difficulty in that regard. The hon. member has raised the question of consular representation. I have already been informed by the British High Commissioner that the existing position will continue for a year. I will go further and say that, as a result of discussions, I have no doubt whatsoever that when that year is passed, for which provision has temporarily been made, there will be no difficulty. I have already asked whether the British consular service would be prepared to continue to act for us in those countries where we have no representation. It is the usual thing. We could ask France, we could ask Switzerland for instance. It is continually being done, and I do not anticipate any difficulties in that regard. In any case, as far as the 12 months period is concerned, I have already received that assurance. The hon. member should realize that, in regard to these matters, that is our relations with the United Kingdom, we are acting by means of consultation. So far the consultations have been on a friendly basis, and I do not anticipate any serious difficulty.
As far as other countries of the Commonwealth are concerned, there again I have to repeat what I said last week that any law affecting South Africa in those countries will immediately lapse after 31 May, but South African laws, which affect them, will continue in force. That is the difference. Therefore, for the protection of our country, where action has been taken, or is threatened to be taken, which would very seriously harm South Africa, it is necessary to have a proviso of this kind to enable the Government to act. Again I can assure the House that I cannot conceive of circumstances in which the Government would act without very good reason, and, as far as I am concerned, I can certainly assure the House that, as long as I am here, no such action would be taken, except on very good grounds. But it is necessary to have that proviso in case of eventualities.
The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) has asked whether the Government will differentiate between information given when Parliament is in session and when not in session. I see no reason why there should be any differentiation. The whole purpose is to give such information as Parliament may require, and I see no reason why that should not be done.
As regards the point raised by the hon. member for Green Point as to whether we would be prepared to accept the addition of the words at the end of sub-section (2) “or by Act of Parliament”, the position is that Parliament does not provide in an Act that it can pass legislation. That is its function. It is the function of Parliament to pass legislation, and one cannot say in an Act that Parliament will pass legislation. Then you would be usurping the functions of Parliament. It is for Parliament to decide whether or not to pass legislation, and the passing of such legislation would depend upon the nature of the action which is to be taken. In certain cases no legislation would be necessary. The action would be taken and that would be the end of it. In other cases a continuing situation might arise, and in that case certainly the necessary legislation would be passed. When this matter was discussed last week, I said that as, and when, such action is taken, it will eventually be changed into legislation. I want to set the doubts of hon. members at rest that there is no intention here of filching the rights of Parliament. It is simply a matter of taking action when it is necessary. The hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) asked why the word “temporary” is included in the title of the Bill, and in Clause 4, which defines the title. I said in the House last week that this Bill is, in fact, the opposite number of the British Act. The short title of the British Act reads: “A Bill to make temporary provision as to the operation of the law upon the Union of South Africa after becoming a republic outside the Commonwealth.”
Is not the British Act limited to 12 months, unless re-enacted?
Yes, the British Act is limited to a period of 12 months because of the difference between our relations with Great Britain and our relations with other countries. In the case of the other Commonwealth countries, we do not yet know what the position is going to be. We do not even know if there are any Acts which will affect South Africa. We have made inquiries, but so far we have not found any. In fact it is not unlikely that this proviso may not be found necessary at all. Our legislation which is applicable to Commonwealth countries is not being affected by South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth. It therefore remains in force until such time as Parliament either recalls it or modifies it. So there is that difference. In our case it is not necessary to have a maximum 12 months period, and that is why it is not mentioned in this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I have given such information as I have at my disposal. It must be remembered that I cannot foresee; I cannot tell Parliament that this or that is going to happen in connection with this or that Commonwealth country; we have to act as and when these things happen and, for that reason also, I cannot give the type of information which evidently is expected of me. I hope hon. members will be satisfied.
May I put a question to the hon. the Minister? If this is temporary, under what conditions will it fall away? When will it disappear from the Statute Book?
The Act will probably die a natural death. There might be no necessity to apply the Act. It is to make provision for certain things which may happen.
May I put a question? You will not initiate anything? It will always be somebody else starting something against you, and then you will act?
That is the idea. I made that clear last week. If certain action is taken against South Africa which will very seriously affect our interests, then the Act will come into operation. If it does not happen, nothing will be done.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a third time.
Second Order read: Second reading,—Kimberley Leasehold Conversion to Freehold Bill.
When diamonds were discovered in Kimberley, the De Beers Company laid out the town of Kimberley on the farm Bultfontein, and the town was then surveyed by the company’s surveyors, but it was never registered as such in the office of the Surveyor-General or the Registrar of Deeds. The erven were never sold to the inhabitants but in most cases were leased for 21 years, with the option of perpetual extension or merely on a monthly basis. Although the contracts of lease were never registered in the Deeds Office, the plotholders gradually came to regard their contracts as being just as safe as deeds of transfer. Since 1938 De Beers also invited every lessee to capitalize his contract by paying a certain amount after which he would obtain a new contract which could be extended in perpetuity at a rental of only 1s. per annum. Shortly thereafter De Beers donated the whole farm Bultfontein, in so far as the town was concerned, to the City Council of Kimberley, and one of the conditions of the deed of gift was that the City Council had to undertake to give transfer to every lessee who capitalized his rental on application being made by him. Only one person made use of that. This particular part of Kimberley with which we are now dealing comprises approximately 2,300 erven. The land value for purposes of taxation is put at R1,500,000, and the value of the buildings erected on it is already R8,000,000. Any transaction in these erven is registered by the City Council in its offices against payment of a small fee. In view of the fact that the contract of lease is an under-hand document, it is not necessary to utilize the services of a conveyancer or notary, nor is it necessary to pay transfer duties or stamp duties on the cession of a lease. In 1956 we passed the General Law Amendment Bill and the effect of that legislation was that the erven concerned could in future not be disposed of and that no loans could be raised on them. In order to give the owners of the erven the opportunity to have their erven surveyed and registered, this Act was therefore postponed for two years, and we are now busy remedying this matter before that period of two years expires in 1962. The costs of surveying these erven was estimated at R80,000, and we have decided that it will be possible for us to bear those costs ourselves. In order to get past this impassé in Kimberley, I appointed a committee of investigation, of which Mr. Birch, an ex-Chief Registrar of Deeds and the Under-Secretary of the Cape Provincial Administration, as well as the Surveyor-General and an official of the Department of Lands were members, in order to investigate the position. As the result of this, it was decided that we would bear the costs of the surveys. Therefore no surveying costs need be recovered from any person who will now obtain title in terms of this legislation. The Committee did not recommend that the owners of erven should be compelled to take transfer of their erven, but we want to encourage it, and we do so in the first place by saying that the costs of survey will be borne by us and in the second place by saying that when their erven are registered no transfer duties or stamp duties will be charged. In other words, these people will be changed from lessees to the owners of that land with all the advantages owners have as compared with lessees, and it will cost them nothing. It is estimated, however, that in future the State will derive appreciable revenue from it because if the man who now becomes the owner (whereas at first he was the lessee) sells the property again, the purchaser will of course have to pay transfer duties and stamp duties, and it is expected that the State will derive approximately R60,000 per annum from that.
We want to finalize this matter as soon as possible. An extension of time until 1962 was granted, and therefore it is necessary that we should pass this Bill. It is very simple. We give these people ownership whereas hitherto they were lessees, and they obtain all the benefits of ownership. We remove the disadvantages of being lessees, where they could not raise mortgage loans on the property, and even in terms of the 1956 Act could no longer sell the property. And it costs them nothing.
It is peculiar that in a country which has a deeds registration system which is regarded as almost a model for the world, should have an exception, and Kimberley is one of the few remaining cases where land is held under unregistered title. Therefore the official Opposition welcomes this Bill. It is one of the steps necessary to complete our system of land registration so that through the official records of the Deeds Offices the ownership and whether there is a mortgage on land can be traced. It is very interesting that there was almost an exactly parallel situation on the Witwatersrand where in respect of the private leasehold townships there was similarly an under-hand agreement between the parties and it was necessary in due course to pass somewhat similar legislation, and it is interesting that Transvaal was ahead of the Cape Province in this regard by almost 60 years, because it was the Milner régime in 1902 which passed legislation providing for the registration of those leaseholds in the office of the Rand Mining Titles Registrar of Johannesburg, and then in the year 1908, the first Transvaal Botha Government passed legislation providing for the conversion of freehold and set a very good example which is being followed by the present Government that those persons who were receiving official title would not have to pay transfer duty. But unfortunately they did provide for a registration fee of 10s., and I am glad that the hon. the Minister has been able to dispense with that. With this piece of legislation we now have an almost complete system of registration in South Africa. One can only hope that the very good example of the Minister here is going to be followed by ensuring that where there are unregistered rights arising out of various proclamations and in other ways (I won’t go into detail, because the matter has already been dealt with in this House on a number of occasions), the hon. the Minister will very seriously consider carrying into effect the recommendations which have been made from time to time that where in terms of legislation, town-planning systems, etc., we do reach the position that the title does not correctly reflect the rights of the persons concerned, steps will be taken to have a reference put into those titles when they come into the Deeds Offices for registration. That I think is the only thing that requires to be done to preserve what has always been the object of our law, namely that there should be complete certainty in regard to the ownership of land and complete security for persons who have mortgages or registered rights over land. We welcome this Bill and will support it.
I might just say with regard to the point raised by the hon. member, that this is a matter about which the Registrars are concerned. You get the position that a man wants to purchase property and he looks at the title deed. There is nothing registered against that property in the title deed and subsequently to that, after purchasing it, thinking that there is nothing registered against it, he finds that somebody else has certain rights on that property. That we want to do away with. We want to have clean title deeds as far as possible. We are very concerned about that and for very many years certain other State Departments, for instance the Department of Water Affairs, has been claiming rights against properties which were not registered in the title deeds. Some years ago, I came to an arrangement with them to put an end to that. But my friend here on my left, the hon. the Minister of Transport, also knows that it has been an old practice and now we want to clean that up as far as possible so that any “besware” against a title deed will be registered on the title deed and so that the man purchasing a property or giving a bond on a property will know exactly what the real value of that title deed is.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
House in Committee:
Clauses and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for Second Reading,—Defence Further Amendment Bill, to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Minister of Defence, adjourned on 18 May, resumed.]
Mr. Speaker, when the debate was last adjourned, I was dealing with the difficulties of our defence training scheme caused by the self-creation of hostile borders within our own country. I will leave that matter now. The Minister, in introducing his Bill, said that the new organization was intended not against internal dangers but against external dangers, and he has since denied several times that the Defence Force will be used for police duties. I think it must be regarded as a little bit strange that at the time he was using those words last week, he must have been in the process of finalizing his organization and orders for the call up over the week-end, and I presume he will not maintain that this call up is for defence against external aggression, instead of against internal troubles. I must agree, and I know, that this step—this very drastic step—of the Minister would not have been taken in the absence of very good reasons and I hope he will now agree that there is only one reason for this state of affairs having come about, and that is the policy of his own Government.
Order! I cannot allow the hon. member to discuss the present state of affairs. He must come back to the Bill.
The hon. Minister will have to deal with the training of our citizens for the suppression of internal disorder and also for the meeting of external aggression and it would seem to me that as time goes on more and more men will be needed for this purpose. I wonder whether the Minister has considered the position prevailing in Israel. I have been there on more than one occasion. There everybody is subject to military service. The hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore), you will remember, Mr. Speaker, earlier in the debate pleaded for complete conscription. In Israel all, including the women, are trained in all arms, except in heavy weapons. Women are even being trained as paratroopers. I was wondering whether the hon. Minister had this general training also in mind for our country.
I now want to deal with a quite different matter, namely the question of the resuscitation of the Cape Corps. This matter has already been referred to by the hon. member for Kensington who suggested to the hon. Minister that consideration might be given to the training of Coloured men for our Navy where a considerable shortage of manpower is being experienced. The hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) then went further and pleaded for a revival of the Cape Corps. He said he had in mind also the question of cadet corps in Coloured schools. Now, I understand from the Press that the hon. Minister has had interviews with the B.C.E.S.L. and the Coloured Legion of the B.C.E.S.L. in regard to the resuscitation of the Cape Corps as part of this new scheme of training, and I must say that I am very pleased indeed with this news, particularly as I understand he is considering the establishment of two units of the Cape Corps, one stationed in Cape Town and another in Pretoria, under army discipline, training as part of the permanent defence force. Mr. Speaker, the Cape Corps has a proud record of service to this country, and in this connection I would like to quote from a souvenir programme issued on the occasion of the Cape Corps Flag Ceremony on 29 February 1948. In that programme appear these words—
Order! I think the hon member is going very far now.
With all due deference, Mr Speaker, this hon. Minister is endeavouring to organize our defences on a basis which will allow us to live safely and peacefully in this country. Requests were already made in this debate to the Minister to consider the establishment of units of the Cape Corps, and the Bill itself provides that any citizen of the country allowed for training can be sent to various units and I presume, Sir, that members of the Coloured community desirous of serving, should be allowed to do so and be directed if necessary. I am only trying to speak for the Coloured community. They served their country, and I think they would want to serve again. This is an opportunity to give them that chance. I want to prove to this House that if the hon. Minister does this, he will be doing a very great service to the country.
Order! I have allowed the hon. member to bring up that particular matter but I cannot allow him to discuss it further.
On a point of order, Sir. Section 2 of the Defence Act of 1957 has two provisos. Section 2 (1) provides that no female, nor non-Europeans, are subject to compulsory military service, but the first proviso to that section states that the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Minister of Defence, may by proclamation in the Gazette apply the provisions of the Act to non-Whites. That is the compulsory provision. The second proviso states that the Governor-General by proclamation may enable non-Whites to serve in the defence forces, on terms and conditions laid down by the Department of Defence, on a volunteer basis. My submission to you, Sir, is that we are now dealing with an amendment of the Defence Act and that it is perfectly competent for this House to advocate to the hon. Minister to invoke those powers in relation to the Coloured community.
May I on a further point of order draw your attention to Clause 3 of the Bill under discussion which provides for application by persons to become members of the Citizen Force. The relevant provision reads—
I submit, Sir, that the hon. member is putting forward a case on behalf of certain citizens of the country, and that he is, with all due deference, in order.
I have allowed the hon. member to put his case, but I do not want him to go into too much detail.
I would only still like to quote from a speech made by Field-Marshal the Right Honourable J. C. Smuts on the occasion of the ceremony referred to. He said—
There is in this souvenir programme also a photograph of a Coloured contingent in the victory march of 1946, and nearly every one of those men had won a decoration in the field. I refer to this to give you an indication, Mr. Speaker, that these men could be as good fighting citizens of this country as anybody else. The question of being non-combatant troops, as they were during the last war, requires re-investigation. I suggest that driving a truck under an aerial attack and hanging on to the wheel of that truck until all your comrades have got out before getting out yourself is not so pleasant, and, if that is under non-combatant conditions, I suggest it is probably better to be a combatant. Prior to the last war, they were used as combatant troops, but during the last war they were used as non-combatant troops. I would like to point out, however, that in a modern war there are no non-combatant troops in uniform except, under certain circumstances, Red Cross workers perhaps. This fact, I think, is generally recognized. I mentioned the photograph of the contingent of the Cape Corps taking part in the victory parade in 1946. When it came to selecting a coronation contingent, however, this Minister’s predecessor refused to allow any Coloured man to take part in that contingent. From this point I would like to go on to tell the Minister that, although he has done something to bring back the morale of the forces, he still has a tremendously long way to go. Morale has to be brought back because lack of morale breeds inefficiency, and inefficiency breeds casualties, and if we are in a position of not knowing where and when our troubles are going to break out, the Minister will have to pay far more attention to putting right things done by his predecessor.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I am pleased that the Minister has gone so far as to consider, as I understand, the revival of the Cape Corps, but I would like him to tell the House whether the two units that he is forming on a permanent force basis, are to be armed now, or in the future, and, if so, in what way, and also whether I am correct in assuming that, if they are armed, it will only be for use against external aggression.
The hon. member who has just resumed his seat tried to link up the calling up of Active Citizen Force units with the policy of the Government. I shall not discuss that now, because possibly I will revert to part of it later. I shall then point out that hon. members opposite strongly supported this Bill. Some of them said that the Bill should have been placed on the Statute Book long ago, but then the same hon. members later say that this Bill comes as the result of the weak policy of the Government. They still have these yes and no stories. I shall come back to that. [Interjections] The hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst), who has just made an interjection, did not make himself guilty of that. For the first time he made a real speech here based on militarism, supported by his own military background. He made a good speech because he saw the matter in the correct perspective.
Mr. Speaker, in this Bill we find that the hon. the Minister is arranging the Permanent Force in such a way that he will have a second Permanent Force. The whole principle of defence is affected. When one regards the Bill superficially one feels that much is being asked for, and that almost too much is being asked of the youth and the public of South Africa. But I do not think too much is being asked. I do not think enough is being asked; I think more can be asked. The hon. member over there has just told us that if one goes to Israel one finds that girls of 18 receive military training, and the youths, without exception, have to undergo two years’ military training. They are a small nation, just like us, with great problems. That is a nation which is prepared to make these sacrifices in this very important sphere of national service, viz., to prepare themselves militarily in order to act jointly and under discipline. Therefore, we want to thank the Government and the hon. the Minister very heartily for having introduced this Bill, and we want to give them all support. We know that South Africa will support them. We do not ask for much, because we must be prepared to give much. Because South Africa has much to give us as a White population and to all the population groups in this southern point of Africa.
I said a moment ago that there were some hon. members, like the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) and the hon. member who has just spoken, who want to use this Bill as an excuse for saying that it was not necessary to introduce it, and that it was being introduced only because the Government’s policy is so bad that it now has to make extra provision for defence and has to take extra measures. That hon. member shakes his head to intimate that this is quite true.
In other words, those hon. members say that it is because we have internal trouble that the Bill is being introduced, and that we have internal trouble as a result of the Government’s policy. Therefore, they say, this Bill is now being introduced as a precautionary measure on order to try to prevent internal trouble. Mr. Speaker, are they Rip van Winkels? Are they living in a strange atmosphere? Did they not hear this morning what the news was over the radio, viz. that in America they had to proclaim martial law in one of the southern states? That is what happens in America, which has such a wonderful policy for the maintenance of peace, a policy of conciliation and of integration. Martial law has to be proclaimed even in America as the result of the growing consciousness amongst the non-Whites and the non-White problem. Have hon. members not seen what Welensky said in Salisbury? I want to bring it to their notice. He said—
Then he continued to say this—
Order! No, I think the hon. member is taking this subject much too far.
Mr. Speaker, with all respect, I just want to create the right perspective to show how necessary it is to be prepared in South Africa.
If I allow the hon. member to do that, then any speaker will be able to go just as far as he likes.
I wanted to show how danger could come from the north and that it is necessary for us to be prepared.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Very well, Sir. Then I want to say that this Bill makes provision for us in South Africa to be prepared for whatever might happen in this country and also from what can come across our borders from the north. We must be prepared for that also. I just wanted to mention this warning issued by Welensky to point out what he says is happening now close to our borders, and how it is coming nearer to him and also to South Africa. But I leave the matter there.
In this debate the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence), followed by various other hon. members, voiced the complaint that in regard to our defence we are not treating our non-Whites fairly. More was hidden behind the complaint of the hon. member than that. That speech was made for foreign consumption, to give the outside world the impression that in South Africa we are arming the Whites only in order to justify suppression in the country. Now I want to state this very clearly. The first line of defence in South Africa is the Police Force. The first line to maintain law and order is the Police Force. Now this must be placed on record so that the rest of the world will know; our Police Force is constituted in such a way that the non-Whites play their full role in it and also have the same weapons in order to take the same action in their own ethnic groups, amongst their own population groups, that the Whites take in the White area. There I do not think it is just and fair towards South Africa in this debate to create the impression in the minds of people abroad that we are arming the Whites only in order to suppress the non-Whites and not to deal with them fairly.
I want to ask the hon. member whether he is now suggesting that the Bantu should be trained and armed to defend their own territories?
I will come to that question in a moment. I now come to my next point, and I want to link it up with the reply to the question which has just been asked by the hon. member. I want to point out that one can arm the non-Whites in any country only if they are constitutionally mature. And the non-Whites, not only of South Africa but of the whole of Africa, are not by far mature in that respect. Therefore I am absolutely opposed to the non-Whites being armed, even in their own territory. As authority for this I want to quote no less a person than General J. C. Smuts. He issued a warning not only to South Africa but to the whole world. What did he say?
This is General Smuts’s “War-time Speeches, 1917-18”.
Hon. members may say “Oh!”, General Smuts said this—
He was still in power years later.
I will come to that—
Then he continues to say—
Then he issues a serious warning against that …
I will tell you where—
Here he issues a warning that the Natives should not be armed because that will create a danger. What he said the Germans wanted to do is now being done in Africa as the result of communist agitation. It is happening under communist leadership and with communist weapons. General Smuts went further—
Then he continues—
Now hon. members opposite want to arm the Black man in South Africa.
The hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) suggested it.
Oh yes, he did. The hon. member for Salt River suggested it. The hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Ross) also suggested it.
No, he referred to the Coloureds.
I want to go further and say this: The phenomenon we have in Africa to-day, that irresponsible Black nationalism which is rampant in the Congo and in other territories is the direct result of the arming of the Black man in order to be the arbiter between Whites and Whites, to take action together with the Whites against other people, as happened right throughout the world during the last war.
During the last war the Western nations and others armed Black soldiers to fight with White people against other Whites.
Order! The hon. member is now going much too far. What he is saying there has nothing to do with this Bill.
Sir, with respect, there has been a plea here, particularly by the hon. member for Salt River, that we should also arm the Black man in South Africa and give him military training. And in his plea he wants to create the impression that this Bill, which does not provide for that, does not do so because we do not want to give the Black man his fair rights and position. He did that for foreign consumption.
Were you here when I made my speech?
Yes, I was here. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we must put these matters right for the sake of the record. We have to put it right that we cannot deviate from this age-old principle, from this tradition, as the Free State Republic said to the Black man: If you want to go and fight, then we will first shoot you before you can fight against the Colony.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the hon. member is replying here to a speech which was never made here.
The hon. member ought to know that that is not a point of order.
In view of the fact that the hon. member for Benoni has just pleaded that we should reinstate the Coloured Corps and arm them …
He did not say that.
Of course he said so. Seeing that the hon. member for Benoni pleaded that we should reinstate the Cape Corps and arm it, I want to put it very clearly …
He did not say that.
Then what did he mean by his last question to me?
Yes, he asked whether you were going to do it.
We in South Africa who share in Western civilization cannot allow people who have not yet reached maturity in the constitutional sphere to be armed on an equal footing with the Whites, because then we would be sowing the germ of death for South Africa and the White man.
Mr. Speaker, I want to come to another aspect of this Bill, namely where the hon. the Minister said that those persons who, after having been balloted, could not be taken up in A.C.F. units—those who could not be taken up in A.C.F. units or in the Permanent Force—would go to the commandos to receive training there. Now I want to ask the hon. the Minister to consider this very important aspect, viz. that in future the officers in the commandos—and I begin with the highest rank, viz. the Commandant himself—should be people who have received military training. My request is that we should get away from this idea that they should be elected by the members of the commando.
They should not be elected by the members of the commando, but should be appointed by the hon. the Minister on the basis of the military training they receive.
Now you are correct.
I do this particularly for this very important reason. I would like the commandos to have exactly the same military discipline as the Permanent Force. Unfortunately one finds this tendency right throughout the world that when democracy is applied in military matters it leads to a breakdown in discipline to some extent. But if an officer is appointed, he can maintain discipline. I do this because to my mind the commando is now an integral part of the whole Defence Force, and in asking that I immediately come to the next point. I want to ask that where our commandos now have to be treated on the same basis as the rest of the defence organization, some concession should be made to them because we find that these people, just to mention one thing, have to use the telephone extensively. The commandant, as well as the adjutant, will again have to incur extra costs, and they have tremendous telephone accounts. I want to ask that we should give the commandant and the senior officers free telephone calls for the purpose of commando activities. We find that they already incur tremendous costs in building and maintaining rifle ranges. I think some concession should be made.
I come to the next aspect, namely clerical work. We find that even the ballotees who now have to join the commandos and the mobile watches result in the commandant having much administrative and clerical work to do. I want to ask whether a special allowance cannot be made for this clerical work because they make a worthwhile contribution to the defence of the country. I want to mention the example of a unit in Kimberley which received only two ballotees and that makes for more administrative work. I now come to the mobile watches which are really part of the commandos. I think there is some dissatisfaction amongst the members of these mobile watches, because they are now part of the commandos and the members who are called up receive training at the commandant’s headquarters and their remuneration is only £1 4s. a week. These men are mainly workers, often railway workers, who are not too well off. I want to ask that they be given more remuneration, because they are compelled to render service in any part of the Union. I want to ask also that their allowances should bear in mind whether they are married or not. Further, I want to ask that an arrangement should be made with the employers of these people, and here I think particularly of the South African Railways. The Railways has cancelled the leave of all the members of the commando for training purposes, so that they no longer receive paid leave, as was the case formerly. I feel that where they render these essential services to South Africa, they should still receive their wages as they did in the past. For example, they receive no compensation for attending training parades once or twice a month. I want to ask that in this connection something should be done.
I want to mention another aspect, namely the travelling expenses of these people. To-day the members of these mobile watches are given a rail ticket, but if a man lives in Volksrust and has to go to Potchefstroom it takes a day and a half by train, whereas if he is allowed to use a motor-car three or four people can go with him and they can get back sooner. But if they use a motor-car to-day they get only 50 per cent of the price of the rail ticket. I want to ask that such a person, who in any case must be given a rail ticket, should receive the full value of the ticket. Another matter to which I would like to draw the Minister’s attention is the uniform allowances for N.C.O.s in the commandos. I feel that some concession should be made to them.
I want to point to another aspect of our defence, viz. our cadets. Certain hon. members mentioned the possibility of instituting cadet corps in Coloured schools. The hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) pleaded for that earnestly. [Interjections.] Clause 2 makes provision for non-Whites. I ask that the cadet officers in a school should receive recognition for having become officers. Just like their other qualifications, that training should also count as a qualification, so that the young people at school can receive military training by people who have already received military training. I have here a list of 30 applicants for a senior post in a school. All the extra-mural activities are mentioned, but not a word is said about their military experience and to what extent they can make the scholars militarily conscious. Therefore I want to express the thought that in this connection we should start with our youth by granting recognition to cadet officers for their qualifications.
I want to conclude by saying this to the Minister. In the beginning of his speech he said that he was asking much of South Africa and of our youth. I want to tell him that in these times when we see what is happening around us he can ask just what he likes and South Africa will give it to him, because South Africa knows that its defence is in good hands, in the hands of a man with vision who looks to the future and who is taking this action only because he wants to safeguard the future of South Africa to the best of his ability.
We on this side of the House have already announced that we support this Bill and that we agree with the hon. the Minister that it is necessary under the circumstances for these measures to be taken. We have also said that we are surprised. One would have thought that the Government would have taken some of these measures before, once the hon. the Minister realized where his Government was leading South Africa to. Going back into history one can see how this side of the House, when they were still in power, started years ago with the training of the youth for military purposes. I well remember how in 1936 and 1937 the then Minister of Defence tried to establish regiments at the universities and how that side of the House which was then in opposition obstructed the Government and how a number of students were organized at Stellenbosch to ridicule the whole situation and to chase Mr. Pirow, the then Minister, out of the hall. I ascribe their lack of patriotism at that time to their being inexperienced and not having the responsibility which an Opposition should have. When this hon. Minister comes forth with drastic measures he is not the cause of it; he is merely the victim of it. He has become the victim of his own party. We will help him, even if his own party will not help him Let us look at the history of three years ago. At that time the hon. the Minister’s predecessor in all seriousness made a statement in the House and said the Government was going to spend less money on defence that year and would make the Defence Force smaller but more effective and with more striking power. Where is that striking power he spoke about? At that time every Nationalist thought that the whole British Empire would collapse if the hon. the Minister as much as coughed, and where is he now? The hon. the Minister should then already have known what was necessary. [Interjections.] The hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) is one of those who at that time ridiculed the fact that we wanted more military training. I say that this Government has no definite policy. If the money is scarce in one year then they spend less and make the Defence Force smaller. Now the hon. the Minister says that conditions are so dangerous that we must spend more and we must place the Active Citizen Force on a permanent basis. But what worries me is this. Last Friday the hon. the Minister made a speech at Queenstown and he said a few peculiar things there which I think he must explain to the House. He said, inter alia, that the men would have to undergo a refresher course so that they would be prepared not only as a precautionary measure on 31 May but also for other things. What other things is the hon. the Minister referring to?
To ensure public safety when we are in danger, of course.
It would have been well if the hon. the Minister ended at that, but he goes further and says—
Order! The hon. member cannot read from a newspaper.
This is not comment on this debate, but if you do not want it then you must rule accordingly.
On a point of order, is the hon. member in order to comment on the calling up of certain regiments, which has nothing to do with this Bill, because that is what is dealt with in that speech?
That is not a point of order. The hon. member may proceed.
The hon. the Minister went further and said—
If we are attacked.
But you did not say that. I will accept that from the hon. the Minister, but as it was reported the hon. the Minister said—
On a point of personal explanation, what I said was this. I stated very clearly that if South Africa is attacked from across her borders we shall, if the Whites stand together, be able to hold out long enough until we eventually cause a world war.
I accept that, but then there is another difficulty in the statement of the hon. the Minister because he goes on to say that with such a prospect the countries are very hesitant …
Order! I have allowed the hon. member to go much further than what the Bill permits, but I do not think he should go too far.
You support the Bill. Why are you still talking?
I submit to your ruling. If the hon. the Minister tells me not to read into this what stands here then I accept it but my difficulty is this. The hon. the Minister said in introducing the Bill that the purpose is not to use the powers of this Act to form a second Police Force, and what happens now? Let me tell the hon. the Minister that I shall be the last one to criticize him for having called up the Defence Force. It is his duty to take precautionary measures and to ensure that the safety of the country is maintained. But the hon. the Minister cannot get away with it by saying that the whole purpose is only internal security. The entire system of training shows it. Three years ago I already said in this House that the arming of the Defence Force and the system of training indicates one thing only—“it just amounts to an auxiliary Police Force”, and that is so. What the lion, the Minister is doing now is necessary as a result of the policy of the Government, but where do we stand now? We stand isolated in a hostile world. None of those hon. members can rise and say: There is a partner of the Union. [Interjections.]
No one can rise and say there is a possible partner of South Africa. It is no use rising each time, as the hon. the Minister and members of the Government do, and say that we side with the West, and every time they say this the world says: We do not side with South Africa.
I do not know what the hon. member thinks about Britain but we have a defence agreement with them.
This is something new. Last year I asked the hon. the Minister what agreements we have with Britain and this same hon. Minister said we have no agreements with anyone except in connection with Simonstown.
It is Simonstown that I am talking about.
But this only means that when England is at war she takes it, and if South Africa is at war and England does not enter into it then we take it, and if there is no war then everyone does as he pleases.
The hon. member does not appear to attach much importance to that agreement.
Then the hon. the Minister must explain it. The hon. the Minister is getting into difficulty more and more. There was a time when the United Party was in power when they were accused by the hon. members opposite of having secret agreements which they knew nothing about, but what is happening now?
Order! The hon. member is going too far now.
I will no longer concern myself with generalities and the causes of the Bill, but there are a few specific matters which I want to discuss. The first is this. Every citizen will and must be prepared to help the Government in a crisis, irrespective of his political differences with the Government, and I hope that every member of my party will support this Government in a crisis, whether it is internally or externally. But I want to add this, and I want to warn the hon. the Minister that this attitude from the side of the Government of treating the Opposition like dogs every time they cooperate must cease. We are sick and tired of it. I will explain what I mean. Last year, at the passing-out parade at Saldanha, a statuette was presented to the best pupil. Mr. Sneaker, I have taught my children, and I think that all of us on this side have done so, that military discipline demands that one shall be loyal to the State and having political differences with the Government does not mean that you can rebel when your country is in trouble.
What has this got to do with the Bill?
It has plenty to do with it, if you will only allow me. What happened? The Dux-student was presented with a statuette, and of whom? Of the late General Beyers. For what purpose? Because he was a National Party hero in a time of rebellion; he was Chief of the General Staff and he rebelled, and I do not want my child, the day he is entrusted to the care of that hon. Minister, to be taught that they will be honoured for being rebels in their own country. [Interjections.]
The hon. member said he would explain what this has to do with the Bill.
I have already done so, Sir. It is very clear. If I pass a Bill in terms of which I hand my child over to the hon. the Minister for military training I am entitled to tell the hon. the Minister that he must not abuse this Act by teaching my child rebellion.
I want to go further. I want to ask the hon. the Minister who was responsible for the appointment of Rev. Boshoff, that political minister? He prays for my child, and I do not want him to pray for my child.
Order! The hon. member can discuss these things under the Vote of the hon. the Minister and he can also discuss policy under the hon. the Minister’s salary, but not under the Bill. He must come back to the Bill.
I want your ruling here, Sir. We are discussing basic training and these things I am talking about now take place in this basic training.
On a point of order, Clauses 1 to 3 deals with service in the Citizen Force and with training. I understood the hon. member to be discussing the spiritual guidance being given to these young men. Surely it is relevant.
No one can be called up in terms of this Act without being expected to attend divine services at which Rev. Boshoff is the preacher. Therefore I think you will permit me to discuss this aspect of the matter.
I will not allow it. The hon. member cannot discuss specific appointments now. He must come back to the Bill.
May I then just say that the hon. the Minister ought to ensure that no political appointments are made in the Defence Force. Will the hon. the Minister rise and say that he will take steps to avoid such political appointments being made?
I did not make any political appointments. This minister received a call.
As in the case of Rev. Boshoff, I would also not like it if Bishop Reeves was to be appointed Chaplain of the Defence Force. But I want to come back to the details of the Bill. In the first place I hope that where the hon. the Minister has found it necessary to extend the period of training and he is now virtually making it a full-time force—and the hon. the Minister said that the Permanent Force should also be enlarged—that he will consider again taking women into the force because of the good work they can perform in the Permanent Force and also in the Active Citizen Force. In England in particular it has been proved that women are more efficient in radar than men because of their accuracy and their natural ability for that work.
A second point I wish to mention is this. I wonder whether it is not possible for the hon. the Minister to look into the whole question of school cadets. I think it would be possible to eliminate quite a few months of training if the school cadets were to-day as active as they were before. I have in mind schools like Bishops and others where the cadet corps have become a tradition at the school, and there is no reason why the Afrikaans schools will not do the same, and I think the hon. the Minister will act wisely if he gives special attention to cadet training.
There is another aspect of the matter which has already been mentioned by the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) and this is the concern which some of us have about the question of exemption from compulsory training. I hope the hon. the Minister will seriously consider not granting any exemptions except in the most serious cases. We have a lot of experience of this, not only under this Government but also under previous Governments, that precisely those persons who must be trained usually make use of the universities and other refuges in order to avoid military training. When the country is in the critical position it is in at present then it is a problem not only for a section of the population but for everyone. If one person is called up to do his duty, let us then all be called up to do our duty. When sacrifices are called for, when people are compelled to join up in large numbers, then I hope the hon. the Minister will see his way clear to give proper remuneration to those recruits, especially those who are the sole breadwinners of the family. I hope that the hon. the Minister will also go into another aspect of the matter. Where young men must now undergo military training and then perhaps join the Public Service a year later I hope the hon. the Minister will persuade his colleagues in the Cabinet to set an example to South Africa by ensuring that that year of compulsory training will count for pension purposes in the Public Service. It is not easy for a young man to offer up a year of his life in time of peace in the service of his country and then to find that that year is not taken into consideration for promotion and pension purposes.
If he does not do it he may never in his life get a pension.
I am not as pessimistic as that hon. member. I think this period of crisis will pass; I think another Government will come into power sooner than the hon. member thinks and then there will again be peace and happiness in South Africa.
I shall not reply to the tirade of the hon. member who has just sat down. I should have liked to do so but I am afraid that you will stop me and then a good speech would be spoilt. I shall consequently not reply to the remarks by the hon. member; I think there will be an opportunity during the discussion on the Minister’s Vote to reply to the matter he has raised here. But I should like to reply to one point, namely where the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) has said that we stand alone in a cold world without friends. I assume that the hon. member was saying that with reference to our defence. Allow me to say at once that I think that South Africa’s strategic position and geographic location give us such tremendous strategic importance that we do not in fact stand alone. I am just very sorry about one thing, and it is this: I do not know of any of these African States whose favours the West and the East are courting so anxiously to-day and in whose interests we are apparently being sacrificed to-day, that have committed themselves in any way in the sphere of defence to the East or the West, and if the hon. member means that we must commit ourselves cheaply to the West, then I say that that will not have my approval. I think that we should not offer our support so cheaply and that bearing in mind our strategic position and the fact that we have a greater potential than the rest of Africa and many other countries in the Western world in this great struggle which is taking place, we do not need to commit ourselves holus-bolus to anyone. I think that a little more independence and neutrality will serve South Africa better at this moment.
Must we be neutral between the communists and the West?
You are a communist.
Who is a communist?
You are an old communist.
On a point of order, is the hon. member entitled to call me a communist?
Did the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker) call the hon. member a communist?
I asked him whether he was a communist because it sounds like it.
He said that the hon. member was a communist.
On a point of order, is the hon. member for Cradock entitled to ask an hon. member whether he belongs to an organization which has been banned, with the implication that he supports an unlawful organization?
If it was put in the form of a question, it is permissible.
On a point of order, the hon. member for Cradock has just said the hon. member for Green Point supports the communists.
Order! The hon. member may proceed.
On a point of order, the hon. member for Cradock said “You are a communist” three times in succession.
The hon. member must accept another hon. member’s word.
On a point of order, I clearly heard the hon. member saying that. He said “You are a communist” and he is now trying to run away.
The hon. member for Green Point must accept the hon. member’s word. If he refuses to do so, I shall have to ask him to leave the House.
On a point of order, with the utmost respect, the hon. member for Cradock said “You are a communist” three times.
Order! The hon. member must resume his seat immediately. Whether the hon. member heard it three times or five times makes no difference. If another hon. member says that he has or has not made a certain statement then his word must be accepted.
Can he tell untruths as much as he likes?
Order! The hon. member heard what I have just said. If he makes any further remarks, I shall have to take further action against him.
In the light of your ruling, are you going to allow hon. members to ask another hon. member: “Are you a communist?”
Order! The hon. member must resume his seat. The hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) may proceed.
In this Bill we are dealing with the provision of improved training facilities and with an increase in our manpower and as a result of improved training, the improvement and strengthening of our striking power. In addition we are dealing with an increased integration of a large number of citizens into the defence system of our country. Why is this being done? After all it costs money to train people; it will result in disruption, and we must necessarily view such a reorganization within the overall framework of our defence policy. Soldiers are trained for a specific purpose and this Bill provides for improved training over a longer period of more men which will eventually result in our having a continuous fixed number of men who will be permanently under arms at various strategic places in the country. These men are being trained to defend our country or to attack. In other words, this will cost money, and they are being trained for a specific purpose. The men who will be trained under the system provided for in this measure will at one stage or another be used on three fronts; they will be used in a global war or in a local war or they will be used for the defence and the maintenance of internal peace and order. They can only be used for one of these three possibilities—a global war, a local war or the maintenance of internal order. If we take all the various factors into account, it is clear that we are not living in peaceful times. I do not think that there is one Western government which can rest peacefully, contentedly and calmly. The events in South Africa and the anticipated events outside South Africa and the developments in areas such as Laos, Cuba, Algeria and the Middle East make it essential that we in South Africa should take steps to be prepared within the limits of our ability to meet the shocks and the developments which may come. Our position is not becoming by any means safer as a result of the development of the struggle between the East and the West; on the contrary, uncertainty is increasing. We see every day how the communists’ tactics are achieving one success after the other and how the uncertainty, doubt and irresolution of the West are providing a fertile field for the development of the communists’ tactics and pattern. We must therefore bear in mind these three possibilities with which we are faced to-day as the whole process develops before our eyes. What will we have to do if a global war breaks out? To what extent does this legislation and the organization for which this Bill provides, increase our readiness in case of a global war? In this regard I want to say that if a global war breaks out, the most modern weapons which science can produce will certainly be used.
The atom bomb.
Perhaps not. I see that the Nato powers are now concentrating to an ever-increasing extent on the accumulation of conventional weapons, and it seems to me as though Nato, Seato and the Baghdad powers consider that conventional weapons will be used in the next war and that the atomic weapons will not be used in the future just as germ warfare was not used in the past. But if this should happen, we as a small country will not be able to defend ourselves against nuclear missiles; we must forget about that. Consequently as regards defence against a blitzkrieg in which nuclear weapons and missiles are used, this legislation is of no assistance. As a small country we can forget about defending ourselves in that case. In the case of a global war we shall also be obliged, if we are involved, to rely on collective defence together with other more powerful nations. But if a global war should break out, we must expect that within that global war we will also have to carry out a specific task on a collective basis and we shall be faced with the following obligations: We shall have to have trained men for the defence of our borders against occupation forces because even if one uses missiles and aircraft, one’s aircraft and one’s country’s borders will have to be protected. Consequently we shall require trained men for that purpose, and this Bill makes provision for that aspect, and satisfies me in this regard. We shall have to protect our airfields and our strategic points. We shall have to maintain an effective system of civil defence. For this purpose we shall require trained men. We cannot use untrained men in our system of civil defence because we would be cold bloodedly murdering such a person. But our maritime air squadron will have to undertake tracking and reconnaissance tasks particularly over the sea, especially in view of the fact that we have such extended sea lines. For that purpose we shall require trained men and the Bill provides for that aspect. But in case of a global war or a local war, in the light of the spread of Communism throughout the world, we shall also have to be very mobile and maximum mobility can only be achieved by the use of trained men. The best trained man is the most mobile man, and for that reason this Bill provides for integration of this training with other steps which the Minister is taking, i.e. he is in fact acquiring the equipment and methods of transport which will increase our mobility in South Africa with her long distances. I am thinking for example of the helicopters which we are buying: I am thinking of the emphasis which the Minister is placing on acquiring a transport fleet for the purpose of transporting soldiers by air with a view to increased mobility. Our air transport will be important. But we shall require men to man those aircraft. We shall require trained men to handle and to man that air transport and the other equipment which is required for purposes of mobility, and the Bill makes provision for that aspect. We shall have to give an answer to the communists’ methods and pattern particularly in South Africa, and I see the answer in increased mobility and improved training and in my opinion the Bill makes provision for that aspect. Well-trained men are necessary, a period of training is necessary; training processes must be improved for which this Bill also provides, and for that reason I am satisfied with this Bill. We must take note of the possibility, as we see happening to-day, that our borders will be threatened for a long time to come. We take the position in Angola for example. I do not know how long this threat will remain. We must be prepared for this eventuality and this measure increases our preparedness and readiness for such eventualities because it will make better trained men available and because it will result in our having a steady stream of trained and armed men to guard our strategic areas against whatever threats may arise. This measure is in line with what is being done practically throughout the world. If I examine what is being done in Britain, in New Zealand, Canada, Australia and even the United States and Russia as regards the reorganization of their defence forces over the past four years, I see that this Bill merely provides for what they have been doing. Australia has reorganized her entire defence force with a view to increased striking power, increased mobility and improved training. She has also increased her permanent standing army.
They have reduced it.
They have increased it and Mr. Townlee, the Australian Minister of War, has referred to “the most effective army formation ever established in Australia in peace time” in discussing the increase by 35 per cent of the “regular army brigade group” last year. These forces have been increased not only in Australia but in Britain as well. The defence forces of the entire world are being strengthened with a view to greater preparedness, greater mobility and greater striking power. I just want to read to the House what the British Minister of Defence said in the British White Paper of 5 April 1959. I am reading this to show how this reorganization for which this amending Bill provides, is in exact accord with what is happening in Britain. The British Minister of Defence said: “We must be prepared”—
That was when they abolished national service?
Yes, but the fact remains that they have reorganized their entire defence force with a view to increased striking power. That is why the bomber and the fighter are disappearing and that is why they are concentrating on missiles and projectiles. We are therefore dealing here with a policy which is being followed everywhere in the world as a result of the new turn which the defence policy of the whole world has taken. No one can foresee what is going to happen. Armaments are changing at a tremendous pace; ever-increasing mobility is being called for and ever-increasing demands in respect of the preparedness of a state’s defence forces are being made. I want to conclude by saying that I am pleased to vote for this Bill which provides for improved training facilities, improved training processes, for an improved method of balloting and for stricter discipline which will definitely improve as a result of the new exemption procedure. We are living in dangerous times and I want to congratulate the Minister on having introduced this Bill because when I see the measure against the background of other steps which the Minister is taking such as the acquisition of helicopter squadron, air transport, improved air fields, improved weapons, increased supplies of ammunition, and particularly the emphasis which he is placing on the local production of ammunition, I say that we are on the right road. We are keeping ourselves in readiness for whatever may happen. I want to conclude by reading what Khruschev, the Russian Prime Minister, said on 14 January 1961 in discussing the Russian defence policy. It gives us an excellent outline of the position. He said—
When the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) opened the debate on behalf of the Opposition, he asked: What is the threat? Why this reorganization? My reply to the hon. member is as follows: The whole world is living in uncertain times; the whole world is living in the grip of a cold war; the whole world is living at a time when new deadly weapons are appearing every day. The world demands of us and it is practically forcing us and it is making it essential that as far as our defence is concerned, we should be as prepared as possible, even if it costs far more than we should like to pay. This Bill makes our small Defence Force better prepared and more ready, and I therefore think we should all welcome this Bill.
In the speech of the hon. member who has just sat down there was evidence, or at least glimmerings of evidence, of an hon. member who is trying to move with the times and to look at the serious position in which we find ourselves. Unlike the hon. member for Wakkerstroom (Mr. Martins), the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) is clearly not a complete Rip van Winkel. I was surprised at the hon. member for Wakkerstroom quoting as a military authority a speech made by Gen. Smuts in 1917. Sir, wise man that Gen. Smuts might have been, I think the hon. the Minister of Defence and his advisers will realize that defence policies which are based on statements made by people in 1917 are completely out of step with the modern age in which we live. One of the points on which the hon. member could not wrest himself away from concepts of the past was to overstress the importance of our strategic position. He indicated that to some extent it was not so necessary to have allies and that it was not so necessary to have treaties, because if it came to a global struggle, then South Africa’s strategic position would be its best protection. Well, I do not want to underestimate the strategic importance of South Africa, but let us also realize that as we move into the field of nuclear warfare, so the strategic position of countries like South Africa recedes into the distance and into the past. Whatever importance the Cape might have been as a sea route at the time of Jan van Riebeeck or even at the time of the Napoleonic wars, South Africa will not hold the same strategic position in the future which it enjoyed in the past and which provided it with a certain degree of collective protection from the Western powers.
This Bill has been introduced by the Minister of Defence in sombre tones. He indicated to us that the object of this Bill was to reorganize the conditions of service in the Active Citizen Force and to revolutionize both the period of training and certain aspects of the system of training of young men who are called up. The objective stated by the hon. the Minister was to see that he as the Minister responsible for the defence of South Africa had adequate trained forces available to meet any dangers to the State either from external aggressors or as the result of internal disorders. I think viewed in general terms it is a laudable objective. Viewed in general terms it is necessary for the State to have at its command sufficient and adequate trained forces to meet either of these two ugly eventualities. But the hon. the Minister—and I am pleased about this—did not speak only in general terms. He related the demands which he was making on the South African nation to the present situation both inside and outside South Africa. I think we are indebted to him for stating in his introduction to this debate not only the immediate demand that he was making on the nation, but in painting the broad picture of the position both externally and internally for South Africa. It is necessary for us to realize that one cannot debate a Bill such as this in a vacuum. One has to relate it to the circumstances in which South Africa finds itself vis-à-vis the rest of the world, and relate it to the circumstances which prevail within South Africa to-day. Secondly, even if viewed against the background of these circumstances there is merit in this measure, then I think the Minister must not expect the Opposition to remain silent where there are reasonable ciriticisms to make of the manner in which he wishes to avail himself of this new striking force.
I want to take up the hon. the Minister on the first part of his address when introducing this Bill, and to consider this measure against both the external and the internal background of events in South Africa. It is quite clear from the introduction of this Bill from the hon. the Minister’s speech, that both our external and internal position has deteriorated alarmingly under the present Government. The Government will claim, as far as external affairs are concerned, that this is largely as the result of factors and forces over which the Minister and this Government have no control. It will be claimed, and it has been claimed by the hon. member for Ventersdorp, that it is the result of growing world tensions; that we in South Africa are becoming a pawn in the great East/West struggle; that this is a result largely of the unsettled state of the world as a whole and of the unsettled state of the Continent on which we live. I think we must accept that the world is going through troubled times at the moment. Are these times any more troubled than the times we have known since the end of the last world war? Is the situation in the world any more explosive than it was at the time of the great Berlin airlift in 1948? Is the situation in the world any more explosive than it was when a cold war changed to a hot war in Korea? Is the situation regarding Africa any more explosive than it was at the time of the Suez crisis when you did have the armed intervention of one state in the sovereignty of another? Sir, the world is going through a period of trial and uncertainty but I think we must realize that there have been other periods of trial and uncertainty and never before in peace-time has it been deemed necessary by a Parliament of South Africa to mobilize the young men to the potential defence of their country as the Minister wishes to do under this Bill.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, might I have your guidance on this matter, because the hon. the Minister is asking for permission to amend completely the service of young South Africans in the Active Citizen Force and to completely and radically reform the method of training with a view, as he says, to have in continuous service of the country some 5,000 to 6,000 fully trained personnel. Mr. Speaker, we on this side have said that under the circumstances prevailing we would concede that it is necessary, but at the same time I do think that it is necessary for us to analyse these circumstances, their duration and their cause. Sir, in earlier times it was possible for South Africa not only to think in terms of defending its own borders, as the hon. the Minister will under this Bill, but only a decade or so ago, it was possible for South Africa to defend her own borders on the one hand and to supply a striking force outside the borders on the other. Only a few years ago it was possible for the Minister of Defence to stand up in this House and say that in addition to protecting South Africa, we were committed to send troops to the Middle East in order to maintain order and peace in that part of the world. This Bill, necessary as it might be, as the result of the handling by this Government of both the external and internal situation, truly reflects the utter, utter isolation in which South Africa has moved in recent years. This Bill reflects truly the failure of the present Government to maintain friendly relations between South Africa and the other states either of the West or on the African Continent.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, this Bill to mobilize the young men of South Africa in the Active Citizen Force …
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill. I cannot allow a general debate on the policy of the Minister of Defence.
Mr. Speaker, I want to deal with the provisions under Clauses 1, 2 and 3. The first one is “service in the Active Citizen Force”, the next one deals with the “maximum period of compulsory training”, and the third one deals with “whole-time training”. These are three new provisions which are being introduced into the Defence Act and which the hon. the Minister says are required in order to place at his disposal in these troublous times, additional striking power. These sacrifices which he is demanding of the people of South Africa, I say, is the price which we have to pay for our leaving the Commonwealth of Nations.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. the Minister when he replies to this debate, should give us more cogent reasons than those which he has given as to why as far as external aggression is concerned it has become necessary to increase the striking power of the Defence Forces. Most countries depend for the augmentation of their defensive forces against external aggression on bilateral treaties, on non-aggression treaties and mutual alliances. Can I ask the hon. the Minister whether there are any of such treaties in existence as far as South Africa is concerned and to what extent this additional mobilizing of the army, as envisaged under this Act, is the result of the fact that we can no longer rely on joint defence of South Africa by not only South Africa but the friends we had until the recent past. So much as far as the external position is concerned—a position which is fraught with danger.
What about the internal position? The Minister has indicated that part of the additional training which these young South Africans will have to undergo is to train them to meet the threat of external aggression, but the other part of that training—and he was specific in his introductory speech—was to make these people also ready to meet any internal disorder. I think it is necessary for us once again to reflect on the need of the hon. Minister to train young men to deal with the internal situation, because it must inevitably be construed as emphasizing the fact that our internal position has deteriorated under the present Government.
That is not a correct reflection of my speech.
A year ago it was not necessary to take a larger number of people into the army and to train them in this way. In 1961 it has become necessary. Surely that can only reflect a deterioration in the internal position. I expect the hon. the Minister once again will say as a justification that there are problems over which this Government has no control. He will refer, as the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) did, to the infiltration of Communism in various forms into the internal situation of South Africa; he will no doubt refer, as the hon. member for Ventersdorp did again to-day, to the growth of hostile nationalisms, both outside our borders and inside our borders. But, Mr. Speaker, we want to know from the hon. the Minister in his reply: Is this the Government’s answer to the growth of Communism here, is this the Government’s answer to the increasing racial tensions and the resulting rise of nationalisms within our country? Is this the Government’s answer: Force and more force? Is the Government’s answer: Threats and more threats? Is the Government’s answer: Bannings and more bannings? Is the Government’s answer to come year by year and to increase the striking force of our own Defence Forces? Mr. Speaker, the people of South Africa have always shown their willingness to help their Government, and I am very pleased to say that we can be proud of the fact that the number of people who have not been prepared to support the Government in time to war have been very, very few indeed. I believe that if the hon. the Minister wants to call upon South Africans to make these sacrifices, he will have a response—and I would like to see him have a willing response, I would like to see all South Africans rally to the call if South Africa is threatened either from without or from within—but then I would say to the hon. the Minister that merely measures of force, merely restrictive measures, merely measures which imply more and more strength to the armed forces of South Africa, are not the methods likely to get the cooperation of all the people in South Africa. Rather would we like to hear the hon. the Minister tell us of the reforms which he is going to introduce in a more general way once we have got over the difficulties in which we find ourselves to-day.
In our defence?
Mr. Speaker, we would like as a corollary to mobilizing the army, to hear from the hon. the Minister about such reforms. Surely the hon. the Minister is not going to suggest that the whole answer to our problems is the mobilization of the army? Surely while one mobilizes on the one hand one thinks in terms of reforms, one thinks in consultation with the people who have to be governed in South Africa. Mr. Speaker, the Defence Force have always had a statutory rôle to play in maintaining internal security. It was defined in the original Defence Act, it was defined once again in the Defence Act of 1957. In the past it has been held, and it has been the practice to use the Defence Forces for the purpose of internal security as an exceptional force, as the last resort to supplement the other forces which are available to the Government. What alarms us on this side of the House and what I think alarms the people of South Africa, is the increasing frequency with which the army is being used to assist in governing South Africa.
Order! That is not under discussion now. The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, I want to deal specifically with the Minister’s statements, and I put it to you in all earnestness that the Minister stated that he requires these three major amendments to mobilize and train our Citizen Force so that he would have available to him additional striking power both in the event of external agression and in the event of internal disorder.
I never used the words “striking power” in connection with internal disorders.
If those are not the exact words, he at any rate wanted to have available, whether it has striking power or no striking power, an additional force to deal with internal disorders. I do not want to put the wrong words into the hon. Minister’s mouth, but he did say that the two objectives which he felt would be achieved by this measure were partly to increase our force to deal with internal disorder and partly to deal with external aggression. He stated that the first three months of training would be used almost exclusively for training in respect of internal disorder and the latter period of three months of training to specialization for dealing with external aggression. Now where the hon. the Minister asks the power to increase the army in respect of dealing with internal disorder, then surely it is necessary and desirable that we should relate it to the history of the use of the army for putting a stop to internal disorder. I come back to the point that I think that it is unfortunate that the impression is being created by the hon. the Minister that he sees as one of the major rôles for the Defence Force of South Africa, the suppression of internal disorder. And if he takes special powers to have this force available, then one can assume that his prognostications for the future are that he anticipates more and more internal disorder in South Africa. I think it is extremely unfortunate that to date our army has had to be used to the extent that the hon. the Minister has used it in respect of internal disorder, and I think it is equally lamentable that he is asking for additional powers to mobilize the army to a greater extent in the future to deal with the internal disorders. We would like to see the army merely as an auxiliary to be used in certain exceptional circumstances.
This Bill makes provision under Clause 1 of the Bill which is going to substitute Section 21 of the original Act that every person allotted to the Citizen Force (subject to certain provisions) shall be liable to serve in that force for a period of four years. Now, Mr. Speaker, the period of training is to be a continuous period of nine months in the first year, and I would like to know, Sir, in addition to the period of continuous training which these young men have had in the past, how many days of compulsory military service did they have during the emergency last year? How many days of additional military service did they have during the Pondoland emergencies last year?
What has that to do with the Bill?
Mr. Speaker, I should be very surprised if you required the assistance of the hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) to control this debate. Sir, this is very pertinent. Here the hon. the Minister is asking for permission to extend the service of people in the A.C.F. and I am asking him to justify that against the background of how much service they have already been rendering the state to date. And how many people are at this stage engaged in special service as a result of mobilization?
Order! The hon. member must now come back to the Bill or otherwise he must resume his seat.
Mr. Speaker, might I once again seek your guidance? I am relating Clause 1 of the Bill which is a substitution of the original Section 21 which deals with “service in Citizen Force” to Section 28 of the original Act which says “a member of the Citizen Force shall be liable to render any service which may be required of any member of the Permanent Force”. Then it defines the service to be rendered by the Permanent Force and it says “service for the defence of the Union, and service in the prevention or suppression of internal disorder in the Union”. So we are being asked to allow the Minister to draft young men for training and during that training period he is entitled to use them for the suppression of internal disorders. Now before we grant these powers, surely we on this side of the House are entitled to know to what extent the powers which he previously had were inadequate. Why is he coming to us for more powers? How many young men has he at present mobilized?
I called the hon. member to order before. He must confine his remarks to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I am asking your guidance …
Order! The hon. member is disregarding my ruling. I have given him guidance, but he is not taking it.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, Clauses 1, 2 and 3 relate to periods of compulsory service, and the hon. gentleman was putting a question to the hon. Minister of Defence, namely whether the services rendered by the Active Citizen Force during the emergency last year and the service rendered by those who have been called up now …
With the greatest respect, Sir, that is relevant to this question of continuous service. Sir, we are dealing with a Bill which provides for compulsory service. Certain members of the Citizen Force have been called up and the hon. member is putting the question to the hon. the Minister as to whether that service will be taken into account in respect of the service they will have to render once this Bill becomes law.
Sir, I am sorry if I gave the impression that I was debating the hon. Minister’s mobilization order. I was merely seeking information which would help us in considering this Bill. I am not questioning or querying his right at this stage to call up these young men. There will be an appropriate occasion to discuss that. At this stage I want to ask him how many of these people have done service other than the service which is normally laid down in the Act. So much for the general problem which confronts the hon. the Minister both in respect of dealing with aggression from outside and the difficulties with which the Minister is confronted as a result of the strained tensions which have grown up in South Africa, following largely upon Government actions. I think the hon. Minister wants to have at his disposal, for good reasons or for bad reasons, an adequately trained and efficient fighting force. Now all the emphasis so far has tended to be on training, and I certainly don’t under-estimate the importance of basic training in the building up of both the esprit de corps and the morale, the reflexes, the attitude of the individual soldiers towards their task. There are other aspects affecting the men in the Active Citizen Force, other aspects which are equally important if the hon. the Minister really wants to build up the Active Citizen Force into a strong fighting force. The first of those aspects, which goes hand in hand with training, is the question of morale. Mr. Speaker, you can train a man, you can give him all the weapons you like, but unless there is a spirit which moves them to fight, unless there is a good morale, unless there is an esprit de corps which runs through that whole army, then that whole army is not going to be the efficient army which the Minister would like to see.
If the hon. member had served in the army he would not have put such a question.
I have served in the army.
If the hon. member has served in the army, then there certainly is no excuse for such a stupid question. I want to ask the hon. the Minister not to under-estimate this question of morale. Mr. Speaker, all South Africans can serve the army, irrespective of their political views, if despite their differences, they have got a common objective which motivates them as South Africans. I think it is extremely important, and I think that the hon. the Minister is doing quite a bit in this regard, but I fear that 13 years under his predecessor have to a large extent broken down the fine morale of the South African Defence Force.
The next point I want to deal with is the question of equipment. If you have the morale, if you have the training, but you have not got adequate equipment, your men are not going to turn into useful soldiers. So we would like to know whether our young men are going to get the very best and the very latest of equipment. I put this question because we would like to know from the hon. the Minister: Has the situation changed at all in recent months so that the latest equipment is no longer available to us? Have we still got the same access to the equipment which we were able to get from other countries as we had a few months ago? Are we able to defend with the latest in aircraft, the latest in guided missiles? Are we making any research into the use of nuclear weapons? I ask this, because the hon. member for Ventersdorp tried to make a virtue out of necessity by saying that we should be a little more neutral as far as the Western powers are concerned. Sir, I suggest that talk like that is not going to assist the hon. the Minister of Defence, nor is it going to assist the Chief of our Armed Forces, when he tries to get those items of equipment which we cannot produce ourselves, and which we can only get if we are considered to be allies and not neutralists as far as the West is concerned. So I stress the importance of extending the field in which we can get equipment and I would like to know from the hon. the Minister in his reply whether our young South Africans are getting everything of the best.
The other thing which is important and which was mentioned by the hon. member for Ventersdorp is that an army in a small country needs allies. South Africa could not defend itself in a global struggle. We would like to know from the hon. the Minister who South Africa can count on as allies in times of war.
What has that to do with the Bill?
We want to train young people to play their part in defending South Africa in time of war and I think we are entitled to know the whole picture and not just the picture which suits hon. members opposite. We want to know from the hon. the Minister: Will South Africa go it alone? Are there any treaties? Have there been any changes in treaties which might affect the lives of these young South Africans who are being asked to serve South Africa? And when one thinks of allies, I want to come back to the internal situation. The hon. member for Wakkerstroom suggested that the hon. member for Salt River in asking for greater use to be made of the four-fifths of the non-White people in the defence of South Africa, that the hon. member for Salt River was merely saying this for overseas consumption. That was a reprehensible accusation to make against the hon. member for Salt River. The only point the hon. member for Salt River was making, and which I want to make again, is that the service of these 6,000 young South Africans in the A.C.F. will be of no avail if we have 12,000,000 hostile people in South Africa. You cannot defend South Africa, you cannot defend any country, unless you have the whole of the population behind it. In South Africa we have a peculiar position. The hon. the Minister wishes to defend South Africa, he wishes to strengthen the Defence Force by using only those South Africans who have white skins. Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe …
When did I ever say that?
Once again, I would be extremely glad if the hon. the Minister would indicate for the sake of these people who are being called up to serve with the A.C.F., how he is going to get the co-operation, not the passive co-operation, but the active co-operation in the armed forces of the country of the other four-fifths of the people of South Africa. Without that all the best laid plans of the hon. the Minister, all the best intentions of all the hon. members opposite, are going to be of no avail. I was shocked by the outbursts of the hon. member for Wakkerstroom (Mr. Martins) in dealing with the rôle which the non-Whites should play in struggles anywhere and the question of their training. He said that not only in South Africa, but nowhere in Africa should Black men be trained and armed. If that is so, does the hon. Minister share that view?
Yes, as far as arming them is concerned.
Does the hon. the Minister realize the debt of gratitude which South Africa owes to the people with black faces for the work they did during the last world war? Does the hon. the Minister realize that if you want to call on Southern Rhodesia, if you want to call on Portuguese East Africa, if you want to call on Angola, then the troops which would be sent by those countries to defend Southern Africa would not be White people? If that is the view of the hon. the Minister, has he laid down in respect of agreements between Great Britain, Belgium, Portugal and France, those countries with whom we had treaty alliances, that they may not use non-White people in respect of their treaty obligations? Because if the hon. the Minister is taking up that view, then South Africa will indeed stand alone.
I want to conclude with a few practical difficulties which flow from this Bill. I think the hon. the Minister will realize that it is going to have an effect on the manpower of South Africa that is at present available for other purposes. I think he will realize that there is an extension of the period of the military service, although it is not as great as would appear on first blush, it must have an effect on the general question of manpower in South Africa. We must all be concerned about the serious state of affairs reflected in the Report of the Select Committee on Public Accounts as far as the manpower of the whole Civil Service is concerned. I would suggest to the hon. the Minister that if possible the period of service should be reduced or curtailed. One thinks of the effect it is going to have on industry, particularly in a time when import control is imposed and when that will give an added stimulus to local industry. Local industry will not be able to make the optimum use of the circumstances because of the prevailing shortage of manpower, which is going to be aggravated as a result of this measure. Let me say, however, that I realize that there are certain compensating factors. I believe that any youngster who has had a term of service in the army is all the better for it. I believe it creates a certain cameraderie, it knocks off the rough edges, and it certainly brings people of the various language groups together. Therefore I do not condemn the idea of having a certain extension of military service. I hope the hon. the Minister is going to keep this under review, because it cannot be a good thing to have a large proportion of the young White population continuously under arms.
There are other practical problems. I hope the hon. the Minister is going to pay special attention, as I think he indicated he will, to those people whose nine months’ service do not fall within one calender year. The hon. Minister has indicated that in respect of students or apprentices who have to work a full calender year, every effort is going to be made to see whether this can be complied with. I think of certain other people. I think of the youngster who is going to be called up in June. Is it going to be possible for him to get suitable employment from the time he leaves school in December until June of the next year when his employer knows that in six months’ time he is going to lose his service? I am quite sure that whilst that youngster is employed, he will not be trained, because the employer has no assurance that that youngster will return to the firm which has trained him, after he has finished his military service. I think of the possible temptation this is going to be for youngsters to leave school earlier. There is no doubt that very many youngster see the gymnasiums as a means of completing their school education. Here in the army, where there is no standard of education required for admission, I think it is going to be a temptation for youngsters rather to forgo their final year at school and to spend that year which should be taken up with school education in the army. I think particularly of those youngsters who are hard-pressed by economic circumstances, who want to start earning an income as soon as they can, who have perhaps to support their family. I think it is important to see that this additional training is not going to be an incentive to them to leave school earlier than they would under other circumstances.
I want to conclude by saying: Everyone in South Africa and certainly everyone in this House, is aware that the Government is asking the South African nation to make sacrifices. As I said before, I think it is to South Africa’s credit that where governments have asked young men to serve in the army on previous occasions, the number of people who have refused to respond to the call of the Government has been very, very small indeed. I hope that position will continue. What I think is important for the Minister to indicate to the people of South Africa is that we are not moving into a permanent state of semi-mobilization, that South Africa is not moving into a permanent state when military government with military forces will take the place of government by consent. Only when he can indicate that this is a temporary phase, only then will he get the wholehearted co-operation of all the people forming the South African nation. [Time limit.]
I am sure you will allow me by way of introduction to say that this House has now achieved a degree of maturity which enables us to discuss Defence matters without dragging politics into it. That has also been the position in the case of this Bill, with the exception of the childish outburst and the immature outburst of the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson), and partially so in the case of the previous speaker because the last speaker has definitely tried to make political capital out of this Bill. He has once again tried to create the impression that this Bill is merely enlarging our Defence Force in order to force the Government’s colour policy on the country by violence. I am sorry that he has adopted this attitude because otherwise we would have been able to listen to his speech with a fair degree of attention. I do not want to discuss everything he has said, but I want to discuss the matter from the point of view of how I see the position as a whole. In the first place I have asked myself in considering this Bill: To what extent will the adoption of this Bill better equip South Africa to meet the threats facing her? South Africa is faced with a three-fold threat—three dangers which I see. The first is direct aggression by a foreign power. The second is communist infiltration from neighbouring territories: and the third, local disturbances. I want to discuss each of these dangers briefly.
As far as external aggression is concerned, this in my opinion is not a particularly great danger for South Africa because I am convinced that none of the great powers of the world can allow South Africa to fall into the hands of another power. In other words, our strategic position is a very sound and good guarantee to us that we shall not be affected by foreign aggression. The last speaker said that we should not over-emphasize our strategic position. It is true; we can over-emphasize our strategic position. I do not want to do so because I want to say that we should try to maintain a measure of neutrality between the East and the West by being better equipped ourselves because we saw what happened in the case of the Suez debacle. Although it is an especially strategic area in the north of Africa, the West abandoned it. There could therefore be just as great a debacle on the southern tip of Africa if we rely on the West alone, and for that reason I think it is essential that we should strengthen our Defence Force to such an extend and that we should place it in such a position that we shall be able to meet external aggression so that the Suez debacle need not necessarily be repeated on the southern tip of Africa.
I come to the second danger which threatens us, namely that of communist infiltration. This second threat is in the light of the signs of our times, certainly the greatest threat facing South Africa at the moment. This communist infiltration takes place by means of terrorist bands which would cross the borders from neighbouring countries. We have seen how such a position has actually arisen in Angola. It is quite clear what the plan of the communist powers is and what the communist danger behind those plans is. It is namely to try to strike at South Africa by going through Angola to South West Africa. The target is apparently South West Africa, and the intention is that this infiltration will first go through Angola and then to South West Africa. South West Africa is actually the Achilles heel of our defence because the mandate contains a provision that South West may not be used as a military base for external operations.
Mr. Speaker, I come to the third danger, namely the danger of local disturbances. Local disturbances on the model of Sharpeville and Langa are being planned for the future by these agitators in order to awaken and incite Black nationalism in South Africa. This is in fact one of the great dangers facing South Africa. I want to quote what the hon. the Minister said in a recent speech, namely that—
To meet these dangers three steps must be taken. The first is the enlarging of our Permanent Force; the second the improvement of the training and preparedness of the part time forces; and the third the provision of a thorough training and equipment with modern weapons. As I read this Bill all three of these objects are being achieved. In the first place the Bill is trying to strengthen the Permanent Force by keeping the Active Citizen Force on a type of permanent basis. Mr. Speaker, here I want to say that the concept of having a Permanent Force which merely acts as a kernel or skeleton in time of peace and which is supplemented by the flesh, the blood and the muscles later in time of war is in my opinion an obsolete concept. The time has come when the Permanent Force should not only be the kernel, but should be a real force with real striking power. I want to express the conviction that the time when war could be fought merely by using volunteers or trained reservists from the Citizen Force is past. We are living in an era when professional soldiers are a necessity. Modern warfare is fought by means of technicians and scientists, and is particularly a war for trained professional men. Seeing that this Bill is also trying to strengthen the Permanent Force through the training of the Citizen Force, I think that we should welcome it and express our gratification at the fact that it is to be placed on the Statute Book.
Mr. Speaker, I want to point out for example, as far as the Permanent Force is concerned, that I think that we are building up one paratroop unit. I think that one paratroop unit is far too little for our purposes when we bear in mind that our borders are lengthy and that our communication lines extended. We do not have airfields available everywhere where they should be available. To make troops and equipment available at every point will waste a vast amount of time. In view of the fact particularly that as we see the position attacks and the great danger which threatens us will result from communist infiltration on the lines of what is now happening in Angola, it is absolutely essential that we should have paratroop units along all our borders, and not only one unit. Just think of the vast areas of South West Africa which as I have already said is the Achilles heel of South Africa. There we shall definitely require paratroop units. We shall also require them on our northern borders. It is indisputably necessary that we should have such units. I therefore think that one paratroop unit is far too little and that we should extend our Permanent Force by making provision for additional such units.
The present intention of providing nine months’ continuous training to the Citizen Force and of taking in recruits every three months so that we shall have fully trained men continuously under arms throughout the year will to a certain extent help the Permanent Force. To the extent that it will help the Permanent Force this step should also be welcomed. But. Mr. Speaker, I should not like to see this extension of our Citizen Force resulting as a result of this system in the Permanent Force merely being extended so that it can train the Citizen Force. The Permanent Force must also be able to serve on its own and should not merely be used to train the Citizen Force. I know that the Permanent Force under the present legislation can be extended, but it is always a question of money. I believe that South Africa can and should devote far more funds to her defence. Defence expenditure should represent at least 10 per cent of our national income, and that would still be very little. It should really be 25 per cent, when one compares it with the expenditure in other countries.
I ask myself whether it will not be more effective to maintain a larger full-time Permanent Force than to have a Citizen Force, the members of which are varying every six or nine months. Would it not be better to have a larger Permanent Force rather than a Citizen Force which is continually changing? Because when these men leave the Citizen Force, we must remember that modern developments in the military sphere are taking place so rapidly and are going ahead so rapidly that the training of a person who was trained let us say last year becomes obsolete after two years. I therefore ask whether this is the most effective way by which we can meet the dangers to which I have referred. I am asking this not because I want to condemn this Bill because I feel that the provisions of this Bill to a certain extent constitute a bulwark which is being erected against the dangers to which I have referred.
I now come to the matter which the Progressive Party have raised in asking: Why not integrate the non-Whites into our Defence Force? In the first place I want to discuss the question of why the hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin) accepts that the mere fact that a non-White is not a member of the Defence Force will necessarily make him “hostile”. Because the hon. member has said: What will it help to have a small Defence Force and four-fifths of the population of South Africa are hostile to that force? I cannot understand that type of argument. Why must we accept that they will be hostile merely because they may not serve in the Defence Force? Many of our non-Whites are not hostile to us to-day, and they are not serving in our Defence Force to-day.
The majority are not hostile.
There are two objections particularly, and these relate especially to the integration of the Bantu into our Defence Force, and I just want to mention these two objections briefly. The first is that this Defence Force which we are building up is the Defence Force of the White Republic of South Africa. It is not the Defence Force of the non-White part of the population The non-White part, the Bantu part, will in the course of time as they develop provide their own defence force. I cannot say to-day when that will be. Time will show us how these areas develop themselves. Let us say clearly that the Government is certainly not opposed in principle to the Black man serving in his own Defence Force. We only say that the Black man must not serve in the Defence Force of the White man; he must serve in the Defence Force of his own group, of his own state; that is to say, of the Bantu areas. That is the first objection why we cannot allow the integration of the Black man into the White Defence Force. The second is this. Even if we could integrate the Bantu into our Defence Force, we know that at the moment we have limited financial resources at our disposal for building up a Defence Force, and the question then arises with what type of people we want to build up that force. The Whites are educationally and otherwise far better equipped for training in the Defence Force than the non-Whites. Just as the non-Whites are not suitable for skilled work in industry to-day, just as little are they equipped to-day and suitable for training in the Defence Force. Even if we were therefore to advocate integration, we would have to bear in mind that from an educational point of view the Whites are far better equipped for training in the Defence Force than the non-Whites.
Are you also including the Coloureds?
No, we do not include them. The House will have seen in to-night’s Argus that the Cape Coloured Corps is to be re-established and will be given a measure of training. What I have said therefore does not apply to the Coloureds but it certainly does apply to the Bantu.
The hon. member who has just sat down made an amazing suggestion to this House. He suggested, namely, that this Parliament, and this Government, in passing the measure now before the House, is dealing with a defence force for White South Africa and that the non-Whites of South Africa will have their own defence force to defend their own states.
I meant in future.
Yes, I said “that they will have”, which is the future tense although the hon. member probably does not realize that. What he is, in fact, saying to South Africa is that at this stage the non-Whites of South Africa need not consider themselves to be part of this State or part of the population to be defended by the South African Defence Force in times of aggression. They are being told, in other words, that should South Africa be attacked, the Defence Force which we are trying to strengthen by this measure is going to be a Defence Force interested solely in White South Africa.
We are still the guardians of the non-European.
That is the implication of what that hon. member said, a clear and unavoidable implication. But there is yet another implication which can be drawn from that hon. member’s statement and that is that he must not be surprised if the Transkei should now come to the hon. Minister for Bantu Administration and Development and ask for permission to start their own defence force. This Bill makes no provision for that, but a member of the Government Party has suggested that in future the Bantu States will have their own defence forces. I would, therefore, like to ask the hon. Minister of Defence whether he agrees with that statement, and whether he is, in fact, planning in that direction, and whether he will consult with the hon. Minister for Bantu Administration and Development in regard to steps for the provision of a Bantu defence force for the Bantu homelands. The Transkei, for instance, has already asked for independence, and if it is as near as that—and the Minister for Bantu Administration and Development has said he hoped they will have independence soon—then, surely, the Minister of Defence should be taking steps to carry out what is, apparently, the policy of the Government as enunciated by the hon. member who has just spoken.
He said, he would not arm them. They must have kieries!
That is a matter for the Minister of Defence to sort out as to whether they will be armed with knobkieries, or assegais, or something else, but it is a suggestion which was made by one of the members of his Government, and I hope that the hon. Minister will deal with it very clearly. The other statement which requires a reply from the hon. Minister is a statement which was made by the same member, namely that South Africa should preserve a measure of neutrality between the East and the West. Now, let me say at once that we, on this side of the House, have no doubt whatsoever as to our attitude to Communism and the East, and we are not prepared to sacrifice South Africa’s security in order to maintain some form of wishy-washy neutrality between Communism and the Western world, and the Western way of life. We are being asked to pass a Bill to strengthen the defences of South Africa, to strengthen our internal defence, yet a member of the Government side in a debate on the strengthening of our internal defence tells us that we should remain neutral in the ideological struggle between Communism and Democracy.
I have said nothing at all about Communism.
The hon. member’s words were that we should “maintain a measure of neutrality between the West and the East” and he went on to speak in terms of Communism and the infiltration of Communism into Africa. He clearly indicated that Communism was to him one of the dangers against which this measure was designed. I want to say that I hope he was not speaking for his Government. He is, at any rate, not speaking for this side of the House when he says that South Africa should maintain a measure of neutrality in any struggle between the Eastern approach as against the Western approach to life. This is typical of this military expert who, when our Defence Force was tested, was not prepared to throw in his weight on the side of democracy …
Order! The hon. member must now come back to the Bill.
I am dealing, Sir, with this Bill, a Bill designed to protect South Africa, and I am dealing with a suggestion made not by an independent, but by a member of the Government side, namely that despite the preparation of the Government to strengthen our Defence Force with the object of protecting South Africa, we should maintain an attitude of neutrality. I want to say that is to be expected. [Interjections.] That is to be expected from that hon. member and others of his party because it has happened before and it is, apparently, still their approach to South Africa’s position in the world to-day. Our approach on the other hand—and that is why we are supporting this measure—is that South Africa is part of the Western world, and that South Africa should play her part on the military plane in protecting Western civilization. We are not prepared to be neutral, and we are not prepared to put up a white flag to Communism or to the East. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, I am dealing with it. It provides for radical changes in the whole structure of our Defence Force, our Citizen Force, and these changes have a wide effect on South Africa. We recognize the implications of this Bill because it will, in fact, put back the lives of 10,000 youths of South Africa by one year. It will mean that whatever their future career was to be, some 10,000 further youths every year will have one year chopped off their adult life, and because of the seriousness of the implication of that to South Africa, it is necessary that we should have clarity on the provisions of this Bill. We accept the seriousness of the situation, but we are entitled to ask, in giving our support to this Bill, what it will mean to this country. I want to ask the hon. Minister—I hope one of the hon. members on the other side will make a note of this and pass it on to the Minister because he is absent now—to tell this House and South Africa what this Bill will cost us in cold, hard expenditure. I think we are entitled to ask this.
Mr. Speaker, I am not talking about looking after sheep, but of the defence of South Africa, a matter of vital importance for our future. That hon. member has no knowledge of the defence problems of South Africa, otherwise he would not be talking like that. I say that we are entitled to ask what this measure will cost South Africa. I am asking this not in a spirit of criticism of the extra training which is being provided for, but merely from a desire that South Africa should know what we are going to have to pay. We have not yet been given any indication of what it will mean to the taxpayer of South Africa in extra taxes for the financing of these expanded Citizen Force and Permanent Force services. The hon. member for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) pleaded for more than what is provided for in this Bill. He, namely, asked that our fighting force should be made up primarily of Permanent Force units. If that is part of the policy of the Government, namely, that the Permanent Force should form the backbone of South Africa’s fighting forces, then too are we entitled to ask what that would cost the taxpayer. At this stage, however, I would like to know what the financial implications to the country will be of these provisions. There is another cost item involved, an item which cannot be measured nor accounted for by the Government, but it is, nevertheless, one we have to face. That is the cost involved for South Africa’s economy and manpower. I would like, at this stage, to ask the hon. Minister to give serious consideration to the plea made by the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) that where this Bill is cutting off one year from the lives of some 10,000 youths per year, he should reconsider the pay for Citizen Force men so that those who would normally have gone into employment and thereby be making a contribution to the maintenance of their families, will be able to earn a realistic—if not necessarily a princely—remuneration to compensate for the year of their lives which is being taken away from them as far as their earning capacity is concerned.
I am not talking about penny loyalty, but about humanity and the people of South Africa. That member is not interested in the widow who has to struggle to get her son through school, who has to struggle for ten years perhaps by working, scraping and struggling in order to get that son educated and who expects that when he leaves school he will be able to help her in her old age. That means nothing to the hon. member, nor does the hardships which will be brought about mean anything to him. I am pleading in the interest of those who will be affected and I am directing the plea to the hon. Minister who I believe is a humanitarian, that he should provide adequate salary scales so that there is no hardship generally to those who, out of a spirit of service to their country, will be giving up one year of their lives.
But there is yet another point, Mr. Speaker, in regard to which I think we are entitled to an explanation from the hon. Minister. When he introduced this Bill he did not take us into his confidence because he then asked us to give him powers to increase the period of training and to give him a permanent Citizen Force which will be under arms at all times. He told us then that the object of this measure was to strengthen the defences of South Africa against external aggression and that it was not the primary object of this Bill to provide an auxiliary Police Force, nor to build up a force for the maintenance of internal order. He emphasized—and he subsequently repeated it—that the main object of this Bill was defence against external aggression. The Minister nods his head thereby indicating that this is so. But at the moment of making that speech he knew that during that same week he would be calling out units of the Citizen Force and of the Commandos for full-time service.
Order! That has nothing to do with this Bill.
With respect, Mr. Speaker, I submit that the hon. Minister asked us for the power to build up a permanent Citizen Force under arms, a force which would go into training for nine months during the first year and three months of the years thereafter. He asked us for that because he said he needed that for the defence of South Africa against external aggression. My submission is, Sir, that at the moment of asking for these powers, he knew that he was going to mobilize the existing Citizen Force …
Order! That has nothing to do with the Bill.
The question which I want to put to the Minister, Sir, flows from that fact and is that as these powers were required to establish a permanent Citizen Force for 12 months of the year under arms, he should tell us frankly and openly what this force is required for, because by mobilizing Citizen Force units he has anticipated the provision in the Bill. Once this Bill becomes law, he will have a full-time Citizen Force under arms, but the Minister by his mobilization order has anticipated the provisions of this Bill. That is why he admitted in his speech of introduction that this was an urgent measure, so urgent in fact that its implementation could not wait. He could not wait for this Bill to become law, so that the force for which provision is made therein could be created in the ordinary course of events. We are entitled to ask because we on this side of the House support the duty and responsibility of the Government to maintain law and order and to defend the country. We have never disputed, and never will dispute, the responsibility of the Government to defend the State against aggression. Therefore we are entitled to ask the Minister to tell us frankly what aggression has forced him to anticipate the provisions of this Bill; what force from outside or from within has made it necessary for him to anticipate the creation of the Permanent Citizens’ Force which this Bill provides for?
Order! The hon. member is deliberately evading my ruling. I said that the existing state of affairs had nothing to do with the Bill.
I accept your ruling, Sir. It means that this Bill has nothing to do with the reasons the Minister gave for its introduction. The Minister said that circumstances in South Africa were such that he was obliged to come to this House to ask for the powers which this Bill will give him. He described the dangers facing South Africa and said that this was a very serious Bill he was introducing and it was necessary because of the situation in which we found ourselves. But you have now ruled, Sir, that this Bill has nothing to do with the situation, and therefore the Minister’s reasons for introducing the Bill must fall away because if this Bill has nothing to do with the situation in South Africa, why are we giving the Minister these extra powers to create this force? There is only one reason why we support this Bill, and that is because the Minister told us, and we recognize, that if there is a threat to South Africa it is necessary to have a properly trained A.C.F. We recognize the need for proper training which this Bill will provide, but it is unnecessary unless there are circumstances which require it. I ask your guidance, Sir, in dealing with this point, because I submit that it is germane to the powers which we are being asked to vote, that we are entitled to ask what the circumstances are which make these powers necessary.
The hon. member may proceed in the meantime.
If I may then consider the powers which are being asked for and ask the Minister to tell us, in view of the fact that he has said that this Bill is not designed for internal disorder, he should tell us what external aggression he expects to have to meet over the next two months or at any future date, and to tell us whether he believes that this Bill is so urgently necessary that he was obliged to anticipate its provisions. We are entitled to ask who the enemies of South Africa are. Against whom must our forces be used? The hon member for Ventersdorp spoke of Russia and of atomic and rocket bombs. We would like to ask the Minister whether the extra training and the extra forces he is providing have taken into account the type of warfare referred to by the hon. member for Ventersdorp, and whether we are making arrangements for training in anti-atomic or anti-rocket warfare. We recognize that we as a small country cannot hope to use those arms ourselves, but I think we are entitled to ask what provision is being made to protect South Africa should those arms be used against us, and what training and experience and information we are getting in regard to defence against such weapons, and from whom we are getting that information. We are liable, in our new isolation, to find sources of information such as that closed to us and we are entitled to ask the Minister to tell us and the country what alternative provision he has made for obtaining such information and the necessary training which will flow from it.
I would also like to ask the Minister whether the exclusion of non-Whites from the forces means that for auxiliary services he will have to rely on White troops.
Who said they are being excluded?
The hon. member for Heilbron said it was the policy of the Government to exclude them.
But surely you know they are there?
Then I hope the Minister will deal with his military expert from Heilbron. But if that is not true I am very glad to hear it and I would ask the Minister to give us a little more information on the part the auxiliaries will play. The provisions of this Bill will provide a fighting force, a citizen force with training to be given by the Permanent Force. There is the question of supplies and of auxiliaries and the background which is necessary to keep a fighting force in the field. It is estimated that you need five to seven people behind the lines for every soldier in the line. That means that if we are going to have 10,000 additional Citizen Force troops, we will require 50,000 to 60,000 or 70,000 people behind the lines. Otherwise only one-fifth to one-seventh of that force will be effective and the rest will be used in supplies and maintenance. We are interested to know from the Minister whether the force he envisages is going to be the actual fighting force which will be backed by non-military forces behind the lines to provide the services, and the transport, etc., which will require additional manpower to be directed for that purpose.
That brings me to the question of exemption boards, and here I would make a plea to the Minister to reconsider the provision he is proposing here and to consider retaining as the chairman of an exemption board a magistrate with five years’ experience. We feel that the lives of many people can be affected by the decision of an exemption board and it is necessary that the public should have complete confidence in these boards and that they should not feel that they are simply a tool of the Government, but that they will be fair and just bodies in which they can have complete confidence. Not that I am suggesting that the members appointed to these boards would be unfair, but it is necessary that the public should have confidence in them and the presence of a senior magistrate as chairman automatically gives confidence to those whose cases have to be dealt with by such boards. I would ask also that the representation of the Minister’s own Department should not be limited to one member of the board, but that he should consider perhaps saying that there could be more than one member from his Department. I say quite frankly that on balance I am not happy to see the control of exemption boards pass from Defence to Labour, but I recognize the difficulties. So whilst we do not oppose the transfer as such, we feel that in making that change from Defence to Labour we should maintain the judicial approach in the form of a chairman, and that Defence should be entitled to more than one representative on these boards. These boards will have a difficult problem because not only does it provide for exemption in peace-time, but this Bill amends the provision in regard to exemptions during war-time. In time of war, when much greater numbers are concerned, and very much enhanced problems have to be dealt with, these exemption boards will become a major factor both from the defence and from the national point of view. For the rest, in general, the provisions of this Bill provide for improved training. There are those who have spoken of inconsistency because we have said that this Bill is the price of our isolation, but we also said that we pleaded for these improvements many years ago. But those two points are not irreconcilable. The fact is that over the years we have seen the position towards which we have been developing. We have seen that this need would arise and we pleaded for these steps to be taken, as long as three and four years ago, when the original Bill was passed in 1957. This side of the House made many proposals which are now being accepted by the Government, because they are necessary, but that does not mean that the necessity is not born out of the situation in which we find ourselves, and that necessity is part of the account now being presented to the people of South Africa. It is necessary that they should know that whilst both sides of the House are agreed that these provisions should be implemented, they should know what account they will be asked to pay. But this Bill alone cannot give to South Africa a force which will save us in time of crisis, nor any other Bill which the Minister may introduce, because training alone cannot create an army in which the country can have complete confidence. There must also be the spirit and, above all, there must be the belief in the cause for which a man is fighting. [Interjections.] That is 20 years too late. The hon. member did not even have half-penny loyalty, because he supported a party which supported the enemies of this country. I am talking of the future.
Order! That has nothing to do with the Bill.
I was talking of the faith in a cause which a soldier requires, if he is to be a good soldier. War with all it entails makes demands on the faith and the courage of men, demands which are only made in times of crisis and which often demand almost too much of a man, and no law or pay or instruction can give that man in time of crisis that something extra which is required of him if he is going to be a true soldier of his country. I want to tell the Minister that if sacrifices are called for, as they may well be in the years ahead, from the troops who will be fighting for South Africa after this Bill is passed, the test of those troops will be the measure of their faith in the cause they are asked to defend, and this Minister can play a part, as a member of the Government, in ensuring that that faith is there, that the men whom he will now put into uniform will believe in the cause they will be asked to defend. He can play his part both in the Government, in its wider approach, and in his own Department to ensure that that faith is there, because that is his biggest problem. He can only create an army which will serve his cause if he can get that faith and that belief in the things which he asks the army to fight for. If those things are just and truly patriotic, I believe, as happened before, that the youth of South Africa will rise to the test. In the past they have never been found wanting and if they are called upon they will not be found wanting provided the Minister can give them something in which they can believe and have faith.
Does the hon. member think they can only defend the country when they believe in and agree with all the policies of the Government?
No, I said the Minister has to give the men something in which they can believe, not the detail of policy but a faith in their country and the direction their country is taking; not the policy of a political party but the philosophy of a nation. It is not the policy of the Government or of a party which matters, but the philosophy of the people, and this Government must know that the philosophy they ask the youth of South Africa to defend is one in which they can well believe.
I want to suggest that we should knight the hon. member who has just sat down. But I also want to suggest that we should choose the necessary emblems from the weapons he knows best, namely a bicycle chain and a cudgel.
I want to ask that the hon. member should be requested to withdraw those remarks, because they are a gross reflection on the hon. member who has just sat down.
What did the hon. member say?
I said that the hon. member should be knighted with the weapons he knows best, namely a bicycle chain and a cudgel.
The hon. member must withdraw it.
I withdraw that.
Hon. members have risen to say that they support this Bill and then proceeded to put forward criticisms, and the hon. member who has just sat down has done exactly the same thing. The hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) was extremely critical. The hon. member who opened the debate on behalf of the Opposition, the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay), has said that the Minister is building up what has been broken down. Is it not tragic that when a constructive piece of legislation comes before the House and when we are extending our defence forces, hon. members should describe such legislation as something which is building up what has been broken down? Do hon. members opposite consider that we are being destructive whenever something is given a South African character? When we build up the Defence Force as a typically South African Defence Force, with a character unique to South Africa, does that represent breaking down? No, I am sorry that although hon. members have said that they are going to support the Bill they have been doing nothing but criticize, but I do not want to follow the hon. member into the maze into which he moved. I want to discuss the clause which deals with the training of our Citizen Force.
There is nothing better for the morale of a soldier and of a unit than to be given training. When a soldier knows his weapon and he is accustomed to handling it, he gains self-confidence and he acquires a broader perspective on the role he must play. When that cameradie which can only be built up through thorough discipline and unity has been inculcated in them along the lines which the hon. the Minister proposes in the Bill, one has troops who trust one another, who have mutual faith in one another and who will stand together under all circumstances. When one has that knowledge, one has self-confidence and then, when one has to deal with internal or external difficulties, one does so with self-confidence and self-control which can only be built up through thorough training and the accompanying discipline. For that reason we have a Bill before us which will give our Defence Force and our Citizen Force the opportunity to build up a team spirit which is the kernel of any defence force. With this mutual confidence on the part of the soldiers in their officers and the officers in their men, with that sense of solidarity and the spirit which enables one to go through thick and thin, that spirit which one only builds up through military discipline—this will be inculcated into the men of our Defence Force and I prophesy that we shall develop an unprecedented spirit of self-confidence.
I want to discuss the question of the exemption of ballotees from service in the Citizen Force. When the Minister moved his policy motion in the Other Place he quoted figures which showed that of 35,000 ballotees, 21,000 applied for exemption. Mr. Speaker, it has become a characteristic of our Citizen Force training that everything possible is done by persons who are balloted to gain exemption. For that reason I welcome Clause 7 which provides for improved control over the exemption of ballotees. It has become necessary that everyone, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, should do their duty shoulder to shoulder for their country and that they should undergo the training which is now to be made available to the Citizen Force. An exception should only be made and exemptions granted in a minimum of cases, namely in the most deserving of cases, so that everyone will have an equal opportunity to undergo this training.
I want to deal with the commandos which will also be very much affected by this legislation. Since certain of the ballotees will find themselves serving within the framework of the commando organization, I want to urge upon the Minister that the commando regulation should be so amended and should be so extended that they will be placed on the same basis as the Citizen Force. It is most essential that while these training facilities are to be made available to ballotees through the medium of the commandos they should be subject to the same discipline as members of the medium of the commandos they should be subject to discipline can we expect to turn out properly trained men. It is absolutely essential that the disciplinary code which applies to the officers of a commando should also apply to the other ranks. I want to urge very earnestly that the Minister should consider this aspect.
In conclusion. I want to deal with another matter which can be most closely linked with the training of our Citizen Force units, namely the integration of our civil aircraft into our Citizen Force training. We have a very great potential in the shape of our private pilots and flying clubs which could be put to very good use in times of crisis to defend their country both internally and externally. We have here a great potential in the shape of light aircraft which are well suited to the topography of our country, and by means of which air observations could be carried out very effectively. We have reached the stage where air observation is of the utmost importance. The light aircraft which are being used to-day in South Africa are most suitable for this purpose. The police are already using these aircraft on a large scale to undertake certain observations, such as the detection of dagga lands. We are dealing with aircraft which can fly at very low speeds and which can land on a very small airfield or on roads. They are very manoeuvrable and they can fly in ravines where fast, high performance aircraft cannot. The only alternative is the helicopter, of which I believe that there will not be sufficient available in the near future to play the same role as light aircraft. If these flying clubs can be integrated into the Defence Force and two-way radios made available to the Citizen Force and to the aircraft as well, we shall be able to carry out air observations throughout the day at very low cost. I want to refer to a Press report which appeared a few days ago dealing with Japanese two-way radio sets which cost very little. It only has a range of 10 kilometres, but is available at the ridiculously low price of R60. When a number of these sets can be made available, they can be used to very good effect by the commandos amongst themselves and between the commandos and such light aircraft. I feel that further investigation could be carried out in this regard with very good results and that light aircraft can play a very important rôle in our military structure.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
We, on this side of the House, as has already been stated by the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay), who was the first speaker on this side of the House, are all in favour of this extra and specialized training which the hon. the Minister wishes to introduce in the U.D.F. I would like to go further and ask the hon. the Minister what he is doing in relation to specialized training to produce radar experts and technical officers to deal with that aspect of our defence. I will come back to that in due course. The hon. the Minister, when he introduced the Bill, said that with this extra training that the youth of the country would undergo, he hoped to turn out better citizens—people who understood discipline, and better trained men who would defend in the country when necessary. I agree with the Minister entirely in that respect. In fact, I would like to go further and say that I would like to see the utmost training given to all youth in the country. Like the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore), I would like to see full conscription in view of the dangerous years ahead of us and in view of the isolated position in which we find ourselves. I want to deal with the training that is envisaged in this Bill; I do not want to deal with the other aspects. I would like to suggest to the hon. the Minister he should consider the introduction of a Special Service Battalion as we had it in the ’thirties. If he did introduce such a battalion, I am quite sure that we will be able to deal with the ducktail element which we have throughout the Union to-day. That training made men out of youngsters who were difficult and who were leading useless lives. They became good citizens and were of great assistance to us when the war broke out. I think if the hon. the Minister would consider establishing two—or at least one, although two would be preferable—such special service battalions where youngsters who are sent there will undergo some three years’ full-time training, he would be doing a service, not only to the country, but to those youths themselves. If there is one thing that we require in this country to-day it is discipline amongst a large section of our youth.
When you use your force as we are doing and, as we will have to do in future, and, of course, as we have done in the past, for internal security when necessary, as well as in the case of external trouble, discipline and proper training are essential elements if you wish to produce a man that will be able to cope with mobs, riots and other troubles. We know that in times of war our youth receive a certain amount of training, but he gets even harder training when he comes under fire. My experience has been that the person does not acquire that patience and self-discipline in times of war that is so essential when he has to deal with civil riots and strikes. If there is one thing that can lead to bloodshed and often unnecessary bloodshed, it is when young and inexperienced troops, irrespective of what formation they take, are called out to quell riots and disturbances, especially in built-up areas if they have not got some experienced officers amongst them and experienced men within their ranks. Not only should they be under the control of experienced officers and have experienced men amongst them, but the men themselves should be properly disciplined. They should have been taught to put up with taunts, perhaps minor insults, and yet, in spite of that, not get trigger happy. That, to my mind, Sir, is one of the essentials where you use troops or, for that matter, young police in built-up areas to quell riots where mobs descend on them quickly, throw some stones, make taunting remarks, be provocative and then melt away in a matter of a few minutes. When clashes like that occur it is the one or two inexperienced people who lack the patience and discipline who fire the first shot, often unnecessarily and when it is not essential for their own safety and the safety of the people that they have to protect. That then leads to real bloodshed and greater trouble.
As I say, Sir, we support the Minister in his endeavours to train the youth of the country on a much wider basis. Here I would like to ask the hon. the Minister that when he forms these regiments, whether he will not revert to the old volunteer system and incorporate that in some way with the extensive training period that he envisages, so that he will have fully trained people who join the regiments from choice, people who will give those regiments that stiffening and that leadership and discipline within the ranks themselves as we had in the past. I think it is very unfortunate that, over the last few years, we have broken down the old volunteer system, so that to-day, after a man has been trained, he breaks away from his regiment and except, perhaps, for a few days’ training once in a while, he feels that he has no commitment to his regiment. Where you have volunteers who wish to be attached to their regiments after their initial training, you build up an esprit de corps, and it gives a stiffening to the younger troops that you will not get otherwise. The same applies to the reserve of officers and the officers of the A.C.F. regiments. I saw a report in the Press the other day that the officers on the reserve up to the age of 60 are again to be put on a war footing so that they may be called up. I hope the hon. the Minister will tell us if that is correct and whether he has studied the position in relation to the reserve of officers and the refresher courses that that reserve of officers should undergo, because during the last few years when that reserve had become depleted and many of the younger officers of the last war had resigned, it meant that we were losing the services of trained, and you might say battle-scarred, men; men who could lead in a crisis when called upon to do so, think it is really essential, in view of the fuller training that these young troops will now undergo, that they themselves should be officered by a certain percentage of experienced and what I call battle-trained and battle-experienced, officers.
There are two other matters that I would like to touch on, Mr. Speaker. When the hon. member for Kensington was speaking there was an interjection to the effect that we on this side of the House, the official Opposition, had opposed the present Act when it was a Bill before this House in 1957. I was one of those who served on that Select Committee for three years, and we introduced the Bill which is to-day our Act. We dealt with it objectively. There is no question about it that we supported the Bill before the House in the second reading; in the third reading and in the Committee stage three or four amendments were moved whose purpose was actually to extend training and to produce better troops.
Another thing that is very important, Sir, is service outside the borders of the Union. In this present world in which we are living it is ludicrous to talk about our troops including our Police Force having to defend our country only within our own borders. Take the Air Force and the fighter control by radar—because the modern fighter aircraft is quite useless without radar control—for example; I want to know from the hon. the Minister whether he is satisfied that the radar within our own borders can control our fighter planes in repelling an enemy. I might add that I hope we will get more modern fighter planes. I am not saying this in a spirit of carping criticism. If the hon. the Minister can provide the money—I will certainly vote for it—he should see that we have the most modern fighter aircraft available. But those aircraft are quite useless in a modern war without completely satisfactory radar cover to direct their efforts. We must have that radar equipment within our own borders, because it was said in a previous debate, last year or the year before, that our aircraft would only be Unionbased and that none of the Union Defence Forces would be asked to serve outside our borders, and the present Act provides for that. In other words, our aircraft will be based inside the Union and, to my mind, it is also quite ludicrous to say that our ships should be based only along our own coastline. I do ask the hon. the Minister to investigate the whole position and to take a completely new view of what is required in relation to defence under present-day circumstances. I can assure him that we, on this side of the House, will support his efforts the whole way in this regard.
I do want to ask the hon. the Minister, in view of what may come—we do not know from what quarter—what training our troops are getting in bush fighting. I have said this at a public meeting and the people laughed.
That is the sort of thing that that hon. member deals in. I am dealing with a serious subject. Sir, and I am trying to deal with it objectively, I am not dealing with sheep or anything like that now. When we sent our troops to East Africa in 1915 and 1916 it is on record that regiments that were pushed into bush fighting had to be withdrawn and had to undergo further training because of the heavy losses that they sustained, in spite of the fact that they had been through South West Africa. They did not understand the first thing about bush fighting and that was why their losses were so high. I do hope the hon. the Minister will keep that in mind and will see to it that sufficient training of the right type is given to those men. Here again discipline is very necessary. The fact of a man moving in a bush may cost him his life. It is like game. As long as the game stand in the shadow you cannot see it, unless the hunter has very good eyesight and comes right on top of it. Unless your troops are well disciplined and have learnt to keep still at the right moment they lose their lives and the losses can be very heavy indeed.
There was another interjection from that side of the House when the hon. member for Simonstown was speaking. The interjection came when he was speaking about the difficulties which we were now facing in relation to the defence of South Africa and the commitments we had towards our neighbouring territories and about the defence agreements we had with other countries. He was asking the hon. the Minister to enlighten us on those matters. Somebody said, “Don’t you believe in isolation?” Well, Mr. Speaker, when it comes to matters of defence we cannot believe in isolation.
No nation in the world, not even America, can stand isolated in a world war and any war to-day can develop into a world war today.
Surely you misunderstood the member
No, Sir. The hon. member for Simonstown reacted to it and said “Do you mean that?” and the interjector said “Why do you worry about isolation”. That interjection was very clearly made and I think the hon. member for Simonstown will bear me out that it was said. It is very unfortunate that that is the frame of mind of hon. members opposite when we are dealing with such a serious question as defence.
Who said it?
It was an hon. member down that corner of the House—in the second or third back row. It was definitely said and I think that sort of statement in a serious debate like this is uncalled for and I think it ought to be dealt with right away. I hope the hon. the Minister will bear that in mind when he answers to the debate and tell us that he does not believe in isolation and that he definitely has defence agreements with our adjacent territories and other powers in the world. I do not want to deal with other matters that have already been dealt with fully by other hon. members but I do think that if we wish to build up a better Union Defence Force we should have better training in our secondary schools—it should be compulsory. All boys in secondary schools should undergo full training as they used to have in the old days. I myself was in South West Africa three weeks after I left school in Johannesburg, and so were a number of my school pals. We were right in the front line three weeks after leaving school and why? Because we were thoroughly trained; we had our crossed flags for signalling and we had our cross-guns for marksmanship and we were fully trained youngsters at a very young age. That full-scale training for cadets seems to have died off. It seems to me that the standard of training that cadets undergo to-day is generally speaking very poor. When I was at school it was compulsory and I think it will be a darn good thing if it were again made compulsory in all secondary schools. We shall then get first-class material that will only require a little finishing off when they get called up for the U.D.F.
There is only one other point I want to deal with namely exemptions. We were told that some 21,000 ballotees last year asked for exemption or deferment. I hope the hon. the Minister will be firm about this in future. In these dangerous times we cannot allow our young men not to be fully trained. Every young man, except those who are physically unfit, should be trained to take their place in the armed forces of the country when the need arises for them to do so. I do hope the hon. the Minister will look into this question and do away with this whole idea of service only within the Union. All the youth of a nation should defend that nation whenever necessary inside or outside the borders of that country.
The speech of the hon. member who has just resumed his seat came as a ray of light after a few of the speeches we had to listen to in this debate to-day. It was gratifying to get so much realism from an experienced member with knowledge of the subject and that gives one more courage for the future than was the case in regard to some of the speeches we have had to listen to.
What was really a pity this afternoon was the fact that the official Opposition said that they accept this Bill but the hon. member who has just resumed his seat said that they quite agreed with what the Minister wanted to do. But then certain hon. members opposite tried to create doubt by means of questions and suggestions. One hon. member, e.g., said that what the Minister wanted to do was all well and good, but that the morale of the Defence Force had to be built up. I want to put this question to some of the hon. members who spoke this afternoon. Are you helping to build up the morale of the Defence Force? I am afraid, Sir, that they are breaking it down. Are those hon. members encouraging a young man who becomes liable for military service to play his rôle with pride and readiness? I think it was the hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin) who enquired this afternoon about the men who had rendered military service last year at the time of the riots. Surely the hon. member knows—it was announced last year, as everyone in the Defence Force knows—that those men were exempted from training for the period during which they rendered service last year. That is a fact universally known in South Africa, but then that hon. member makes suggestions like that in the House. The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) asked meaningly: Yes, but what will it cost in hard cash and what will it mean to our economy? They say they support this Bill which provides for a long period of training, but immediately thereafter they ask what it will cost in hard cash and what the price will be to the economy of South Africa if we make these sacrifices. Suspicion is continually being sown. The hon. member for Durban (Point) also sowed suspicion in regard to our internal security. He asked whether this training was not intended merely to put rioters in their place. He asked, further, what aggression threatening the country compels the Minister to introduce this Bill now. The hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) made a speech here which we all deplore. If I were a young man and I were to be led by that hon. member I would be very sorry for myself. It is scandalous for the hon. member to have made that speech in which he sowed suspicion in the minds of our young men in regard to the training they would get in the Defence Force. This Bill which the Minister has introduced deals with human material. It deals with the training of the men who comprise our Defence Force. This Defence Force is not only there to protect the freedom of our people and our country, but the defence force of any country, and also that of the Republic of South Africa, should be the pride of any independent country. I think it should be the duty of every hon. member of this House to help to foster that pride in our Defence Force, and it should be the pride of every citizen to participate in the Defence of his country. A soldier is not a murderer or a potential murderer; he does not constitute a threat to any peaceful citizen of the country. On the contrary, the soldier has to risk his life for the safety of his fellow citizens and his people. In the circumstances in which we live to-day a well-equipped and well-trained Defence Force is an absolute necessity, not only in South Africa but in every modern country in the world. Whether there is an immediate danger threatening the country or not, it is necessary for every country to have a well-equipped and well-trained Defence Force. I say that, Sir, because however peaceful it might seem to be here or elsewhere, hardly a week passes without our hearing of riots and new threats of war in various corners of the earth. Therefore I am so sorry that at a time like this when we ought to stand together and build up a Defence Force together, we find hon. members in this House who try to make this measure suspect. I say such action is irresponsible in so far as our internal security as well as our relations with foreign nations are concerned. We in South Africa during the last few years have had a particularly peaceful period and a very prosperous time.
You make me laugh.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who is laughing over there is a real picture of prosperity.
But where is the peace and quiet?
I think that is just the hon. member’s trouble. He has become accustomed to peace and quiet. Now that we are making an attempt to adapt ourselves to the new times we have to face, there is a sort of unwillingness or encouragement of unwillingness. I want to say that we in South Africa will have to adapt ourselves to a period of greater military activity, both in regard to personal participation in the defence of our country and in regard to making available more funds for the defence of our country.
I want to draw a comparison with a few other countries which are more or less in the same position as we are, and other countries which do not even find themselves in a difficult position. In the first place I want to mention the state of Israel. Israel is surrounded by enemies.
We are not surrounded by enemies.
I say I compare our position also with that of countries which do not find themselves in the same position as we do. Israel is surrounded by enemies. It has a population of just over 2,000,000; it is a small country, but those between the ages of 18 and 26 have to do military service for a full two-and-a-half years, compulsory military training. For women in the same age group it is two years. Even women have to perform military service. That training also includes agricultural training. But after that—and this is very important—the men of Israel are liable to military service for a further two years between the ages of 27 and 29, and men up to the age of 49 years and childless women, even though they are married, up to the age of 34 years are liable to render military service every year for a period of from 14 to 31 days. They can be called up to serve for that period. Apart from that, officers and non-commissioned officers are compelled to render an extra week’s service to their country every year. Men above the age of 29 are allowed to join up voluntarily for military service.
Now I come to Switzerland, a country in which during the great wars of the past decades not a single shot was fired in defence of their borders. But what does Switzerland do in regard to the training of its people? Every male citizen between the ages of 20 and 60 years is liable to render military service. The only exception made is in the case of people who are physically unfit, and then those exempted persons have to pay a special tax because they have been exempted.
May I ask a question?
I am sorry, but I do not have time to reply to the hon. member’s questions. The training undergone by men between 20 and 60 in Switzerland is that for the first 16 years they fall in what is called the Auszug, and then for the next period of 12 years they fall in the Landwehr and then there is a further period of 12 years in the Landsturm. During the first period of 16 years they must undergo from four to four and-a-half months’ continuous military training in the military schools. Thereafter they have to attend eight yearly courses of 20 days a year. When they come to the next group, i.e. if a man is 36 years old and is taken into consideration for the Landwehr, for the next 12 years they must undergo military training or a maximum of 40 days every year.
What is the point?
The point I am making, which the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr Durrant) evidently cannot grasp, is that other countries which do not even find themselves in the difficult circumstances in which we are, do everything possible to train their people as soldiers.
But we agree.
Very well, you agree, but then hon. members opposite, or at least some of them, try to sow suspicion in the minds of the young people who have to do their military service, and in the country, on the attempts being made by the Minister.
I want to mention some other examples. In France, the young men have to render military service for 24 months, i.e. for two years, of which 18 months must be continuous training. In Belgium it is the same, 24 months. In Holland it is 18 months. In Finland it is 240 days for ordinary soldiers, and 330 days for certain officers and N.C.O.s.
What percentage of the population is that?
What do you know about defence?
What I want to advocate is that we should realize that every one of us in this country has a duty to regard defence from a new angle. In the first place, we must co-operate. We must co-operate to convince our young men and the population that what the hon. the Minister is aiming at in this Bill is not a murderous campaign. We must co-operate to make the public aware that this period of peace and prosperity we have had and which perhaps brought us under the wrong impression in so far as the future is concerned will not continue forever. We must co-operate to make the population realize that there will have to be greater military activity and awareness in future. In the second place, we must co-operate to make the young men realize that it is the duty of every citizen to defend his country. I am very grateful for what was said by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt Henwood) and the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore). I fully agree with him. If our finances allow of it in any way I am in favour of it, but, as in the case of Switzerland, every man should receive military training unless he is physically unfit. I think we must also agree, particularly those of us who are in this House, that people who want to be exempted from military service for petty reasons should be taught that exemption cannot be granted for petty reasons. I think all of us know for what petty reasons people sometimes have asked for exemption in the past. Therefore, I am grateful for the institution of an independent body, as the Minister envisages in this Bill, to investigate the question of exemptions.
In conclusion, I also want to associate myself with the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District), who spoke about school cadets. I am convinced that if we want to make our people aware of their duty to serve the country, the right place to begin is in the schools. We must dispel the illusion that militatry service which other people perform, and we must bring it home to them that everybody should play his rôle and that it should be the duty and the pride of everybody to serve his country in this way. Then he will have made much progress. Now I do not believe that the system of school cadets trains young people halfway, as the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) thinks. I do not think that if a man was a cadet he has practically been halfway trained as a soldier, but if it has instilled in him respect for discipline and a realization of how necessary discipline is, it has already done much. The idea should be implanted in the minds of our people that every young man should have a share in the defence of our country. Although it is not directly connected with the military training of our people, I still ask that more attention should be devoted to our school cadets in order to create the correct spirit in regard to the defence of our country.
The hon. member for Stellenbosch (Mr. H. H. Smit) has dealt with a variety of matters, and I was waiting for him to deal with the effect that this Bill will have on university students. The hon. member represents a constituency which has many thousands of university students, many of whom will be affected by the provisions of this Bill. However, we had a lecture from him on the training facilities of Israel, Switzerland, France and such like, and also, I think, an unfortunate attitude that the hon. member adopted, and that is that the Opposition whilst supporting this Bill, is putting forward destructive criticism. Sir, we on this side of the House, although we are supporting this Bill, are endeavouring to point out certain matters that we believe require improvement, improvements which would be to the benefit of the Defence Force as such. Therefore as a responsible Opposition we are fully entitled, and indeed it is our duty to put forward certain suggestions which we believe should be carried out to further improve the provisions of this Bill.
Sir, when the hon. the Minister introduced the Bill, he mentioned briefly that sacrifices would have to be made, and in studying the provisions of this Bill before the House, one of the most striking features is the fact that the practical application of the provisions of this Bill is going to require considerable sacrifices by various groups of persons. Firstly, the South African youth will be required to sacrifice a great deal of his time, and as has been mentioned by other speakers, also in regard to his career, and setting out in life. In addition to that, the employers will also be called upon to make a sacrifice, and lastly, also the parents who in many cases look to their young sons to assist them and to augment the family income. However, taking these matters into consideration, first and foremost the question of the young man who is sacrificing his time is the important factor, because in accordance with the provisions of Clause 2 of this Bill, which amends Section 22 of the principal Act, this continuous period of nine months’ training means a great increase on the present period of two months, which trainees have been required to undergo. It firstly means that these young people will virtually be in training for a period of a year, and Sir, with this increased period of training. I foresee an even greater number of applications for exemption. The hon. Minister in Another Place said that some 21,000 young persons had already applied for exemption, and the question of exemption is one which brings me to a point which has already been mentioned this evening by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District), and that is the question of young persons who are idle, the idle youth and those who for certain reasons will not take employment. Therefore I think that the Department of Labour, although we have certain reservations in regard to the exemptions coming under the Department of Labour, that department can play a very important part in regard to these exemptions. Firstly, Sir, the question of dealing with a young person who is idle and refuses to work: One finds in the various offices of the Juveniles Affairs Board, which falls under the Department of Labour, that work is often offered to these young persons who are not prepared to take the work offered. It is pure idleness, and I think some provision should be made and some agreement arrived at whereby these persons who persistently refuse to take employment when that employment is offered to them, should be conscripted into one of the units for continuous training. I do not know whether it is wise to resuscitate past batallions that were established for certain purposes. In my own opinion that perhaps is not the wisest method, as a number of these batallions which have been abandoned with fine and proud records, such as the Special Service Batallion and the Youth Brigade, always had a certain stigma attached to them. That one invariably finds with units which are established for that particular purpose. So perhaps the wisest course to adopt is to see that these persons undergo this continuous training, would be to take them up in one of the units and not in a separate batallion specially established for the purpose. The training they are going to receive will obviously be of great benefit to them as far as discipline is concerned, and not a waste of manpower, and perhops after nine months’ of continuous training, it will be possible to place these persons back into society and back into the labour market.
The other matter which I wish to deal with is the question of the financial difficulties which may result from the sacrifices which will have to be made under the provisions of this Bill. There is the position of the employers. You $$$ that they are not compelled to pay these young persons when they undergo this continuous training. In reply to a question that I put to the hon. the Minister in the House last month, he gave me the rates of pay, and also stated that it was not the intention to increase the allowances that are paid to these persons when they have to undergo training. Now I would like to put it to the hon. the Minister that with this long period of training, financial hardships may be considerable not only for the parents who are often looking to their son to assist them in the family budget, but also to employers who more or less will have to subsidize the putting into effect of the provisions of this Bill. With the payment of a daily allowance of 50c per day, it will mean that a young person will draw R15 in a full month. Now if these young people are in employment, there may be considerable hardship. Although the age limit is reduced in terms of the Bill, there will be some persons who have started employment and then will have to leave that employment to go to camp, particularly, as they are going to be called up quarterly. Therefore for a young person earning R60 per month, it will mean that the employer to make up the difference in pay would be called upon to make up R45 per month, and over a period of nine months the total would amount to R405 for the period that he is away on continuous training. Additional costs would in some instances be entailed by employers having to take on temporary employees while their permanent employees are away for a period of nine months. Consequently, I feel the hon. the Minister should give his consideration to assisting these people, because, as he has said himself, there are considerable sacrifices to be made, and my plea to-night is that the hon. the Minister should soften those sacrifices, make those sacrifices less severe on the persons that will be called upon to make those sacrifices. My appeal to the Minister is to give attention to the question of the payment that these people will receive while they undergo continuous training. That would also help to relieve the subsidy that the employers will have to carry, and in some instances of small employers, they might not be able to bear this heavy financial burden if they have to make up the difference between the amount the young person was receiving and what he is receiving during his training. Therefore many of these employers may not be able to pay an additional amount in respect of these young people who are away, and then these young people would be left to try and maintain themselves on the 50c per day, which would mean that they would suffer severe financial hardship, because in the case I mentioned it would mean a loss of some R400 during a period of nine months.
Then I come to persons who are called up for full-time service. Here again this is another matter which requires the attention of the hon. the Minister, because these persons could also be called up for a considerable period of time shortly following a period of nine months training, so that the whole period that they would be away from their employment might be considerable. I mentioned earlier the question of the exemption boards, and the transfer of that matter to the Minister of Labour under Clause 7 of the Bill, and I referred to gauging the barometer in regard to the required manpower for each year. When the hon. the Minister introduced the Bill, he mentioned the question of apprentices. I want to deal with that shortly. However to indicate what is involved, and the number of apprentices that will be involved, I may mention that the latest report of the Department of Labour gives the figures showing the number of contracts, new contracts registered at the beginning of each year, and over the past four or five years the figures averaged between 8,000 and 6,000 per year. There you have persons who are required to go into the various industries each year to keep the various trades up to strength, and the overall number of apprentices that will be involved will number between 28,000 and 27,000—the total number of contracts in operation each year. So you see that a large number of apprentices are involved as far as the Bill is concerned, and therefore the provision that the hon. Minister mentioned in introducing the Bill, namely that a four-month remission would be permitted during that period of nine months, is indeed a most welcome one. But here, too, I would like the hon. Minister to use his influence to see that a remission period even further advanced to perhaps a period of six months, when taking into account the period of nine months of continuous training. The question of finding employment when these young persons return to civil life is a very difficult problem, and I hope the hon. the Minister can give us some assurance in that regard. I feel that a young person who is called up to commence training in January, finishing up in September, is placed in a difficult position in finding work. I hope the hon. the Minister will tell us when the first trainees will be expected to undergo their first period of nine-months continuous training. As I say those who will return after their nine-months training at the end of September will find it very difficult to find employment. Persons who have left school and placed in continuous training immediately, after that nine months training will come back in a period when as far as the labour market is concerned, it is very difficult to find work. As the hon. the Minister will know during the last three months of the year it is extremely difficult for young persons to find work. So I do feel that the hon. Minister should give some indication to this House as to whether he has any ideas as to how this problem can be solved. I know that there are certain channels open to him through the Department of Labour, through the Juveniles Affairs Board, which is also a vocational guidance institution, and I hope that the hon. the Minister can give us an assurance that this matter will be looked into. I then come to the question of the apprentices in the various trades. As far as these apprentices are concerned, who are required in the various trades, the Department of Labour is perhaps the best Department to judge as to what the manpower requirements are for a coming year. But as other hon. members have said on both sides of the House, we believe that it is to the benefit of the youth as well as to the country to see that as many people as possible undergo this full-time training. Therefore I would like to ask the hon. the Minister what he believes will be the effect in regard to our military gymnasia that are provided for, because in the Bill under Clause 3, the question of the gymnasia is brought in. Now we all know that the gymnasia have been doing excellent work. Linking that up with the question of employment, employers show a certain degree of preference for the young person who has undertaken a year’s full-time training at one of the gymnasiums, because one of the attractions of the gymnasiums is that the training is a comprehensive training, and perhaps the greatest attraction of all from the point of view of the employer and the youths is that they have completed their training. However, in terms of the Bill now before the House, these persons will be required to undergo further training. I would ask the hon. the Minister whether it would not be possible to be more lenient towards those persons who have undergone a full year’s training in the various gymnasiums. As the provision reads they will be required to do one less period of continuous training after they have completed their year in the gymnasium in comparison with those who come for the nine-months training.
What are you suggesting?
One period of continuous training less. As it is now, in this Bill, it says a period of six weeks, which will be two camp, so that some greater preference be given the hon. the Minister reduce that and only require them to be posted to a unit for a shorter period of time and to do one further camp, so that some greater preference be given to these persons who have undertaken training in the various gymnasiums. I think the effect is going to be that the gymnasiums otherwise will lose a great deal of their attraction to these people because of the fact that they will still be required to do continuous training and non-continuous training. I know that the numbers which can be taken into the gymnasiums have been increased. In reply to a question, the hon. the Minister stated that in the army gymnasium the intake is a maximum of 750, the Air Force gymnasium 750, the Navy gymnasium 365, making a total of 1,865. The popularity of the gymnasiums is obvious because the Army gymnasium had 947 applications, the Air Force gymnasium 1,154 applications and the Naval gymnasium received 770 applications. The work of the gymnasiums is excellent and I feel that if greater accommodation could be provided at the gymnasiums and greater facilities be granted, that would be an incentive as long as they will not be required to undergo the additional training provided for in this Bill. More young persons will be drawn into full-time service and they will benefit from the extended period of continuous training.
The other matter I want to deal with is one that I mentioned earlier on, and that is the question of a special battalion for certain young persons. I would like to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister to the fact that difficulties do exist in regard to some of these young persons who are not in employment. The difficulty is that no action at all can be taken in regard to their behaviour. They cannot be dealt with in terms of the Children’s Act because in most instances they are over the age to be dealt with in terms of that Act. And the police cannot deal with them because they have not committed an offence. It is a problem which I know the Government is alive to, because they had a sub-committee which discussed this matter, but they have not yet put forward any proposals. However. I do feel that we have an opportunity here, with this Bill now before the House, to make provision for these persons who persistently refuse to take employment, and he can compel them to undergo this continuous training.
Surely the hon. member does not want to turn the army into a reformatory.
No, Sir, that is the furthest from my thoughts that it should be used on that basis, and as the hon. the Minister will possibly know the reformatory only admits juvenile offenders and these persons are not juvenile offenders because they have not committed an offence and they are not criminals. They may be potential delinquents and criminals. I am not suggesting at all that persons with a criminal record should be drafted into the army. These are idle persons whom I feel should benefit from military training, and therefore it would be to their advantage to receive military training, and at the same time the hon. the Minister would be able to utilize this manpower which is presently being wasted. It it not a question of reform. They would receive the same training just as anyone else. I feel it would be a great pity if these people were to miss being balloted. I want to make certain that this type of person undergoes the full nine months of continuous training, to receive the necessary discipline. It is not a question of rehabilitation, but they should receive the necessary discipline and the army training which would be beneficial to them. So, Sir, we on this side of the House support this Bill, as other speakers have said, but I would also like to associate myself with the remarks made by other hon. members that it is beneficial to the youth and beneficial to the country to see that the maximum number of the young persons who are eligible for the training, receive this continuous training.
I am pleased about the attitude which some hon. members on that side of the House are adopting. There is one hon. member who held a higher rank than I in the Defence Force and that is the brigadier, the hon. member for North East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst), but many of those hon. members who talk so sneeringly resigned from their various regiments when the National Party came into power. We know of that wonderful regiment, the Merino Regiment. Because the name was changed many of them resigned from it. I know the objections which many of them had when a particular regiment was named the “Gideon Scheepers Regiment” after one of our Afrikaans heroes. That is the extent of the race hatred that we still find on that side of the House. I am not referring to every hon. member opposite, because I know many of those friends are sincere. I want to pay tribute to another person who has played an important role in South Africa, namely Sir William Campbell. What a wonderful role he played at the time when the Flag Act was introduced in South Africa! We take off our hats to him as an English-speaking person; what a pity that his successor is probably one of the most bitter Boer haters that we have ever had in this House! I think it is a great pity that their attitude has deteriorated to the extent it has.
Which clause is the hon. member discussing?
That has nothing to do with that hon. member. I want to say to the hon. the Minister that I am grateful for this Bill. I want to say something about that part of the Bill that deals with the Commandos and I want to associate myself with the request which the hon. member for Middelburg-Bethal (Mr. J. W. Rall) made to the Minister, namely that we should make more use of lighter aircraft. The hon. the Minister knows that on the platteland many of our young men are trained pilots and all they want is a little encouragement and although they are getting a little from the hon. the Minister of Transport, I think they need greater encouragement. Those are the people who will become the good pilots of the future. In many cases they have already been trained, and I think the Commandos can make good use of reconnaissance planes. We realize, of course, that those are not fighter planes, but they can be of great assistance in locating the enemy. I understand the Belgians are using them in Kenya and Rhodesia and those parts make use of lighter aircraft. I think it will be a good thing if the Minister will see to it that greater use is made of those people.
I now want to deal with the Commandos and I want to thank the predecessor of the hon. the Minister of Defence for the wonderful way in which he has overhauled the Commandos and I also wish to thank the present Minister for that because I still believe that the Commandos are best able to cope with internal trouble. They have always been used in the past. They are very mobile and seeing that General Smuts make great use of the Commandos, I think we should make greater use of them to secure internal security. We know that the Minister already has his mobile units and we are grateful for that but I think that idea should be carried further and that we should use the Commandos as the Home Guards were used during the Boer war, because in all the platteland towns there are people who belong to Commandos and they can form themselves into small units in those towns in order at least to ensure the safety of the local residents and where people perhaps panic, to show them that precautionary steps have been taken and that steps have been taken for their safety. I shall appreciate it if the Minister will consider that. He knows, of course, what is the best thing to do but I should like to ask him to consider this. Although the Commando system has developed in a wonderful way, there are still defects and I should like to say something to the Minister in this connection. The Cradock Commando has a small shooting range near the national road and that shooting range may have to be moved and it will cost those people £1,000 to move it. I shall be pleased if the hon. the Minister will see his way clear to assist the people in such cases. That is an excellent Commando and I think the hon. the Minister knows that that Commando is at its full strength and that it can be called up at any time to give him the necessary assistance. That is all I have to say. I merely want to say to the hon. the Minister that this side of the House is not after money. The Afrikaner has never been paid in the past for the services he has rendered to his fatherland. We had the old Commando system. You provided your own horse, saddle and bridle and you went to the war; you did not ask whether or not you will be paid. The Commandos of South Africa are to-day still imbued with that spirit of love for their fatherland with which they have always been imbued and I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that unlike our friends opposite, we shall not reveal a spirit of “penny ha’penny loyalty” to South Africa. We shall give to our fatherland what we have given in the past, what the republics gave and even what the rebels of South Africa gave. They gave their lives and everything they possessed for the freedom which we enjoy to-day. Seeing that we are shortly to become a republic I hope we shall all act in terms of the spirit which prevailed in the past and that we shall all make our small contribution towards the safety of South Africa.
Much of what the hon. member for Cradock said is of interest. It was, I think, a pity that he should have begun with somewhat aggressive references to gentlemen whom he alleges resigned their commissions in the Citizen Force as soon as they discovered that there was a Nationalist Government in office and a Nationalist Minister of Defence.
It is true.
It may be true, it may be that certain people did that. One is of course tempted to cry “tit-for-tat” and to talk about people who resigned their commissions in the Forces at another time in our history when war broke out in 1939, but I do not think that sort of thing is going to get anybody anywhere and I certainly do not think it is going to help the hon. the Minister.
Apart from this, the hon. member for Cradock has discussed two suggestions which he believes may be of value to the force which the hon. the Minister is building up. Firstly, he spoke of the use of light-spotter aircraft. If I understood him correctly he does not mean specialized military aircraft, but light aircraft in the ordinary way, and he points out that these have been of use in the Congo, in Rhodesia and in Kenya. I think they have been of great use in these areas, but the point I wish to make is that aircraft of this type may be extremely useful in the sort of war, the sort of battle fought in these countries, which is of course a war against local aboriginal people. But any pilot who goes out in an aircraft of this kind against a modern highly-equipped army is of course a sitting duck and is asking for trouble. The second point that the hon. member made was to advise the Minister to consider using the Commandos or part of the Commandos as home guards for their towns in times of difficulty. This too in certain circumstances is a practical suggestion. But what interests me about these two suggestions lead me on to what I wish to say. The hon. gentleman was obviously speaking in terms of the use of the Defence Force against aboriginal people in our own country. These two suggestions would be of value in that sort of context, but they would not be of value if we were fighting a hostile aggressor, a modern army on our borders, and still less of course are they even relevant if fighting outside our country.
Where did the terrorists in Angola come from?
I think they come from Angola. Is the hon. gentleman suggesting that what the Defence Force has to cope with are terrorists here in South Africa? I am putting this question quite seriously. The hon. gentleman has asked me to tell him where the terrorists in Angola came from. I think they came from inside Angola.
I don’t think you are in command of the correct information.
Well, where does the hon. member think the terrorists in South Africa would come from, against which we could use these light aircraft?
I am quite prepared to reply if the hon. member will give me an opportunity to address the House on that point.
Oh no, the hon. member has already had that golden opportunity.
The hon. gentleman has now added to the evidence that I was producing by suggesting to us that there are going to be terrorists here in South Africa who will have to be coped with. I am afraid the hon. gentleman may well be right.
This is a measure which asks Parliament to agree to the calling up of men for longer periods and the calling of more men altogether and the maintenance, generally speaking, of a larger citizen army, and we are asked to do all this, which obviously involves sacrifices and expense, and we have indicated on this side of the House that generally speaking we are perfectly willing to vote for such expenses and such sacrifices. But in doing so it is our right and indeed our duty, to ask how this increased army is to be used and to what purpose this expenditure is to be put.
The hon. the Minister in introducing the Bill told us that this Citizen Force will be required for two purposes, for internal purposes and for defence against external aggression, and the hon. the gentleman has suggested that roughly this will be in the proportion of one-third to two-thirds. I think he mentioned three months training to be necessary for internal service and that he was now proposing nine months of training to be able to deal with external aggression too. Far be it for me to set myself up against the hon. the Minister as an estimator of these things, but I think he will agree that this is just an estimate.
I said that if you were preparing for internal difficulties, three months training would be sufficient.
I think the hon. Minister will agree that his estimate is merely an estimate. I do not know, and I do not think the hon. the Minister knows to what extent it will have to be used internally and to what extent the force will have to be used for external purposes.
The hon. the Minister’s guess is very much better informed than mine, but it is still a guess.
I did not make a guess about it.
Well, if the hon. the Minister were to make a guess it would be better informed than mine. The hon. the Minister has given us to understand that this force will be used for either internal or external purposes.
That is correct.
Then let me proceed from that point. I am going to express, for what it is worth, my own view—and I am sorry to have to express it, but I think the hon. member for Craddock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker), from what I read into his remarks, concurs, and I think the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling) concurs in the suggestion I am about to make, and that is that this Force is likely to have to be used, as the Defence Force is indeed used to-day, for the prevention and control of internal disturbances to a considerable extent.
If it is necessary of course it will be used.
I want to make my argument from this point. I am simply stating the facts as I see them and I am happy to have the hon. the Minister’s agreement. I want to talk about the kind of training that is to be given to this Force, relevant to what the hon. the Minister and I have just agreed upon. I want to ask the hon. the Minister if, when he replies, he will give us some details on this point.
It has ‘struck’ some of us, listening to this debate, that there are difficulties involved in training a Force similtaneously for use against external aggressors—that is to say, for combat—and for use in the control of internal disturbances if that should become likely. When you train a force for combat—as I as a layman understand these things—you train them to inflict the maximum number of casualties on the enemy in the shortest possible time. You train them to inflict the greatest possible damage, not only to men but to materials and installations. But for the control of internal disturbances, the object as I have always understood it is to teach them to act while inflicting the very minimum number of casualties and, if possible, no casualties at all; to act, if at all possible, preventively rather than destructively. And so I sympathize most heartily with the hon. the Minister in the quandary with which he and his officers will be dealing, in the training of this Force for this bivalent purpose. There is nothing I can say that would add to the debate on the subject of how they should be trained for modern war; I am sure the hon. the Minister and his advisers will do all that is necessary, will do all that they can do in this combat training to see to it that they have troops which can inflict maximum casualties in a very short time. However there can be none of us who has observed the course of events in South Africa in recent years who has not seen the very great importance of extremely thorough and extremely careful training of any Force, whether it be the police or, as in this case, the Defence Force which is likely to be used in the preventing and control of internal disturbances.
Of course the more discipline there is the better.
That is the first place, I entirely agree. Indeed, if I may be so bold as to say so, when the hon. the Minister says that three months training will be enough to train people for the control of internal disturbances. I am not absolutely sure that I agree with him. I would feel happier if they had a longer training.
Well they are all getting nine months now.
That is excellent. But now I would like to know from the hon. the Minister what they are going to do for these nine months. There are, as one understands it, in these days, very well worked out methods which are applied in crowd control, which are implied in the prevention of, disorders, in dealing with riots, in dealing with mobs; in dealing with the sort of difficulties you get when you have internal disturbances. The principle, as I understand it, is what I have stated—to inflict the minimum of casualties. Methods such as the use of tear gas, use of water hoses if these are available.
Where they are available!
There is something else I would like to ask the hon. the Minister about: I am told that in other countries mounted men are found to be remarkably efficacious in dealing with crowd disturbances. I do not know if the hon. the Minister contemplates any detachments which will ride horses …
In this House I would possibly be the only man able to do something on a horse.
I gather the hon. the Minister would be very happy to be on horseback. I do not know if he would be happy to be on horseback in the middle of an internal disturbances—I doubt that any of us would. But I am perfectly serious in suggesting that this is one of the methods in which men might very well be trained if they are going to be trained for the control of internal disturbances.
Then there is the use of weapons other than firearms. I do not want to suggest precisely what they should be, but the training of men in short, to use any sort of method and any sort of weapon, with the use of the firearm as the last resort and then, I think, the use of the firearm, if possible, directed over the heads of the crowd first rather than into it. I believe—and I am sorry to say this, but I do—that the force which the hon. the Minister is building up and which he is going to train for a longer period and more thoroughly is going to find itself involved quite often in events of this kind. I am sure the hon. the Minister will agree that very much indeed in the history of the next few years in this country may depend upon the way in which men in that position are going to conduct themselves. And reverting to the hon. the Minister’s first interjection to me, I fully agree that discipline is going to be all important; the discipline of these trained men.
You can only say that when we talk about the police.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling), who is setting himself up as a presiding officer in this debate, is telling me that I can only say this when I talk about the police. With respect, I believe you, Sir, have been allowing me to say it about the army for quite some time now and I believe you are going to allow me to go on saying it about the army.
There is another aspect to which I want to refer, one which was raised a moment ago by the hon. member for Durban (Umbilo) (Mr. Oldfield), and to which the hon. the Minister made an interjection which I do not think he meant very seriously. The hon. member for Durban (Umbilo) was talking about the desirability of getting into the Citizens Force for training young men of the kind who are not criminals but who have not so far shown themselves to be very useful citizens.
How will they get there? They are not debarred from the ordinary ballot system.
They should certainly get in on the ordinary ballot system, but as I understood the hon. member he was suggesting that there might be special units to which this sort of man might be drafted.
That was only one of the suggestions.
That was one of the suggestions. There was the well-known S.S.B.—the Special Service Battalion …
But they were committed persons.
Oh no! they were not.
They were not? Then I am sorry. In that case they can only get there by means of the ballot.
I am not suggesting that they should get there by any other methods, although there may be suggestions in that matter. The suggestion I am making is quite simple: I believe it would be wise now, as it was in the past, to have the sort of units where these men are trained, because I believe the psychological approach involved, and the educational approach in their training may well be somewhat different from what it is in other categories. I believe that you have every chance of turning out first-class fighting men from this material and, at the same time, you would be rendering a conspicuous social service by improving their standard as citizens.
That hon. gentleman becomes more and more difficult to understand as the evening wears on. I think I have reached the stage where I can no longer reply intelligently to him. [Interjections.]
Order, order! The hon. member for Ventersdorp must now cease making these interjections.
When one speaks of these units similar to the old S.S.B., I believe it is here that one should refer again to what has been raised from these benches during this debate—the necessity if this country is to be effectively defended—and it is a country of 15,000,000 people—of finding a place for those who are not quite in the Defence Force of this country. Our views on these benches are well enough known and I did not stand up to push them particularly. I did not stand up to stress more than is necessary, that we believe that you can only defend this country as you can only run this country—when you recognize all its citizens as citizens in every sense of the word. But I believe that within the framework of the hon. the Minister’s approach it should be possible to establish units for non-White people, not only for Coloured people but also for Asians and Africans as well, who can be used for special tasks in the Defence Force, who can play their part in much of the work that the Defence Force will have to do and, I would suggest, who, if properly trained and disciplined, might be of considerable assistance to the Minister in the prevention and control of internal disturbances.
In the long run you cannot provide all the technicians, all the technologists, all the trained personnel and all the soldiers for a population of 15,000,000, from 3,000,000. I know what the hon. the Minister’s problems are; they are not exclusively defence problems. They are problems connected with the whole state of the country. But even within the frame work of those problems, and within the ambit of his own particular approach to race relations, I believe there is even now a special place in the Defence Force which could be filled by people who are not white. I would add my plea to that of the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence) and the hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin) for the Minister to give very serious consideration to this aspect. Above all, the purpose for which I rose this evening was to express my very strong hope that particular attention should be paid to the special methods of crowd control with the minimum of casualties that are likely to be necessary as and when the Defence Force has to be used for the prevention or control of internal disturbances.
I do not want to follow the hon. member who has just sat down, except merely to remark that I believe that the work of the police is the work of the police, and that an army has only one object throughout the world: An army must not be used lightly, but when an army is used, it must be able to fulfil the function of an army.
However, I want to discuss the Bill, and the first point I want to make is that we should see this Bill for what it is, namely the grafting of a full-time training system onto our old traditional Citizen Force system. I welcome wholeheartedly the fact that this Bill is being introduced on this basis, but at the same time I want to make it quite clear that we cannot graft such a new system onto an old system without many problems arising which will have to be reviewed after a few years’ experience. I therefore want to make it clear that although I regard the idea of a Select Committee as unpractical at this stage, I trust that the General Staff will use the next year or so to study these problems, once the experiment is in operation, and that within a year or two a new Defence Bill will be submitted to this House which as is customary can be referred to a Select Committee and which will fully integrate this concept of fulltime training into our overall concept of civil defence and the training of our citizens.
In this regard I also want to ask that the hon. the Minister should regard a few specific remarks which I shall make at a latter stage as points which they should keep in mind during this period of study, and which they should perhaps try to apply administratively at this stage.
The second general point I want to make is that I agree entirely with what the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) has already said and with what certain hon. members have also said: I do not believe in the ballot system; I believe in national training for all the young men of our nation as a whole. I appreciate that this matter is being tackled along the correct lines; that we cannot suddenly launch a 100 per cent training scheme for financial and administrative reasons, and also with a view to our country’s economy. But I state as my unequivocal conviction that it should be our object to introduce full-time military training for all the youth of our nation within a few years. Because, as a former member of the Active Citizen Force who has also served a few years as a volunteer, I want to testify to the dissatisfaction which arises in the Active Citizen Force because the one brother is drawn in the ballot and the other not. The one man at the work-bench is drawn in the ballot and the other not. We can have the fairest possible exemption system, but a feeling of dissatisfaction remains amongst the people as a whole because of a duty which does not affect them all equally.
The last general point which I want to submit is that the hon. member for Kensington stated correctly at the beginning of the debate that we did not regard this matter so much as a party measure and that members would take the opportunity to submit their own individual opinions. While hon. members have been expressing their varying thoughts and have perhaps been speculating, the idea has on occasion been put forward—by hon. members on this side as well—that we should not follow a completely pro-Western policy, but that there should be a suggestion of neutralism in South Africa’s policy. As I have said before during this Session and as I want to say again to-night: I do not believe that only our military policy, but also our whole foreign policy as well as our national policy should be based on the fact that the Union of South Africa is unequivocally pro-Western, and the more the West tries to push us away, the more definitely and the more unequivocally should we as a united nation adopt a pro-Western attitude. I believe that this is not my individual opinion, but that this is the opinion to which effect is given in every statement and every action of the Government, and I should like to remove all misunderstanding in this regard.
I then come to my specific points. I want to refer to the young men who are still going to the military gymnasiums. In the first place I want to raise the problem that they are being allocated to Citizen Force regiments, and I want to urge that we should also consider their allocation to skiet commandos as an alternative, for this reason: A high percentage of the gymnasium cadets go to universities and small groups of these university students become farmers, teachers or else platteland residents. If we integrate them during their urban student years into an urban regiment, they later spend their lives in an area where the military organization is based on the commando system and not on the regiment system. It will be of inestimable value if we can use these trained gymnasium men as the kernel of our brandwag platoons in the commandos, in which they will serve later on in life. Give these men a choice, even if they have to sign for ten years’ service in the brandwag platoons of the commandos. After such a gymnasium training such a person knows that he is going to the platteland. Let us then give him an opportunity if possible to serve in a commando brandwag platoon rather than in the Active Citizen Force.
The second point I want to raise in connection with the gymnasium men—and I am referring particularly to those men who go to university—is their immediate allocation to regiments of the Active Citizen Force. Practically all the young men who go to university, can be used to serve in specialist regiments or in specialist companies within a regiment. These men go to the gymnasiums, but it is not yet known in which direction they are going to study. I believe that when a man has been at the gymnasium and he then goes to university, the authorities should wait for six months or even a year before he is allocated to his regiment so that it is known in which specialized direction he is going to study and he can be allocated on the basis of the specialized direction in which he is actually studying. In this regard I also just want to mention that in the expansion of our Defence Force I hope we shall also expand the research work of the Defence Force which hitherto has been minimal and that we shall give consideration to the possibility of using drafted members of the Active Citizen Force for certain research functions within our Defence Force. The last aspect relating to the students who go to the gymnasiums and to students in general, is that I should just like to have a very specific assurance which the hon. the Minister has already given by implication, namely that a student or prospective student—the problem is that one does not always know who are prospective students—will only be balloted in the first term of the year, because it really has a disastrous effect when such a prospective student is balloted after the first term of the year.
What about the second term?
The second term has this complication, namely that class fees have already been paid, that deposits have already been paid to the hostels and the students have been transported from far away in the Free State to Stellenbosch, or somewhere similar, and this represents unnecessary waste of expenditure. We must therefore be very careful in this regard.
The next specific point I want to make is that we should give consideration to another point which the hon. member for Kensington has also mentioned, namely that we shall now for the first time have a continuous concentration of several thousands of young men for whose cultural requirements provision must be made. Hitherto no organization or unit has been developed in our Defence Force to amuse or to uplift culturally these people when they are congregated together in their hundreds. There is no more boring place on earth than an empty barracks on a Saturday evening. If one is not amused within one’s camp, there are only two places to which one can go—one can go to the bar in the camp, or to the nearest town. This is a matter to which immediate and active attention must be given. We must also bear in mind that here we have a community with many diverse educational levels and tastes. I believe that the Department of Defence must consult not only the Department of Union Education but also organizations such as the N.T.O. and people outside the State organizations who are active in the cultural and entertainment world in order to provide an effective programme which can also be educational.
The last aspect which I want to discuss in connection with this training is that this Bill again provides for periodic training—the training for a few hours per week or 14 days. Mr. Speaker, I want to submit as my conviction that this periodic training is of very little value. It serves only one purpose, namely that it periodically brings the members of the regiment together and maintains personal contact. But as far as making the members of the force familiar with their weapons and giving them a real technical training are concerned it is quite useless. These men arrive tired after work; they must first do a little formal drilling and they must fall in and by the time they must be trained in using their weapons, they are tired and practically asleep. I believe that we should rather think along the lines of and additional year’s service during which there will be full-time camps, rather than this piecemeal periodic training.
Then, Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude by replying to an hon. member who is unfortunately not here. I am referring to the hon. member for Sea Point (Mr. J. A. L. Basson) who saw fit this afternoon to make an uncalled for, underhand and slanderous allegation regarding General Christiaan Beyers. Mr. Speaker, I could very easily reply to the allegations and insinuations which have been made. I could very easily justify from history the fact that a statuette of the general was used as a price at a military ceremony. But I am deliberately refraining from doing so because if we wish to justify this action, we would have to use old and hurtful arguments which may offend certain hon. members opposite, and I do not want to hurt hon. members who may feel in that way. But I want to testify that I appreciate the general attitude of hon. members opposite who have English ancestries and backgrounds. We appreciate that at this time they are going through a difficult time in accepting a political change which they have opposed vigorously, and which is just as unacceptable to them to-day. They are showing signs that they appreciate that the strength of our nation has not been born out of our love for our two countries of origin, but that we have been born out of the struggles of heroes. Out of respect for those feelings I do not want to refer to this matter, but as regards the slanderous statement which this young member for Sea Point, who comes from an Afrikaans family, has made with respect to one of our great dead heroes, I just want to say this: He reminds me of the hyena which scratches amongst the stinking bones when the lions are gone.
Mr. Speaker, can we not have a little decency in the debate?
Order! The hon. member for Kempton Park must withdraw those words.
Mr. Speaker, I have said nothing about the hon. member. I have said what he reminds me of.
The hon. member for Kempton Park has not said that the hon. member is a hyena. He has only said that he reminds him of one.
The hon. member must not try to correct something which he thinks is wrong by saying something else which is also wrong.
Mr. Speaker, I shall first withdraw what I have said and then I say that the hon. member for Sea Point has made an unforgivably scandalous statement, something which does not befit him, and I want to say that this type of behaviour befits the worthy and honoured members on his side of the House just as little as it is acceptable to members on this side of the House.
I must admit that I agree with a very great deal of what the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn) has said here this evening. I only regret that at the end of his speech he has to descend to the level which we have experienced from him before.
I do not intend dwelling on that Mr. Speaker, beyond saying I am very disappointed to have heard it after a constructive speech. When we come with recriminations and comparisons like that we get no further. I could also recite an instance when I was walking down the streets in Pretoria one evening together with two comrades …
Order, order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Kempton Park spoke here this evening of the importance of entertainment for our young soldiers in our army camps. I very well remember walking down the streets of Pretoria from Sonderwater Camp one evening, and instead of going on the rampage as so many of us did whenever we got the opportunity, we heard Church bells and we went to Church instead. But we had barely sat down before the Deacon came along plucked us by the shoulders and said: “Soldiers are not welcome here.” [Interjections.]
Order, order! The hon. member must return to the Bill.
I will drop that immediately Mr. Speaker. I just hope that I will be forgiven by those who are perhaps hurt, and by that hon. member who has brought this debate down to this level to-night.
Did you have a uniform on?
Yes, and a very much better one than you will ever wear.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill introduces for the first time in our history what is virtually conscription. I want to agree immediately with the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) and also with the hon. member for Kempton Park and other members who have spoken before me that in a case like this everything in our power should be done as soon as possible to establish the necessary facilities for training, the necessary equipment, the necessary billets so as to get beyond this ballot system. The hon. member for Kempton Park point out, very wisely, that even in a close family circle or a circle of friends at work it happens that one brother is balloted for and the other is not; where you have two men working at the same bench the one may be balloted for and the other may not. In my particular case when I was in the Primary School there was a Cadet Corps for which I was too young, and I missed that. And when I went to High School there was no Cadet Corps. So I missed that. I was never included in the ballot, with the result that when I enlisted I had to start from the bottom—and I was not the only one, there were thousands like me. Of course those hon. gentlemen on the other side who are sitting grinning and making those disturbing noises to themselves are whistling in the dark. They have never even tried to get military training.
I feel that this is very important because at some stage or another, when this measure becomes an enactment it will be an endeavour on the part of the Government to bring our young men eligible for military service up to the highest possible standard, both in quality of training and also in numbers. But as long as you work on a ballot system many are left out. Should a time of emergency arise as did in 1939, you find yourself with hundreds and thousands of young men who might have comrades in the same age group and who have had the necessary training but they themselves had not.
Another aspect of preparation and military training that should be considered now is the training of women for army service. I agree with hon. members who spoke before me and who pointed out that the White population is too small in number to supply all the military requirements of the country. The hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) used the same argument to justify the establishment of the Cape Corps, or the training of Coloured soldiers. We in South Africa have had the experience of training women for military service. It is history to-day that we are proud of the fact that our women did answer the call and rendered meritorious service …
Did they fight on the side of the communists.
I cannot help it if that hon. member did not fight for his country; thousands of women had more guts than he had.
I did not fight with the communists.
Outside of the borders of the Union our women served right through to Egypt, North Africa and Italy. And every woman that served replaced a man who could be used for combat duties in front line service.
In Great Britain women were used on a much larger scale than in South Africa. We found, and it was found in Great Britain on a larger scale that for certain types of military service women were more suitable and adaptable than men. Those of us who have any knowledge of the intricacies of the technical side of military service to-day will readily understand what I mean. To a very large extent military equipment consists of instruments; very delicate instruments such as radar; precision instruments where readings and calculations are tabulated from time to time. It was found in Great Britain that women were extremely suitable, in many respects even more so than men for this work. If we want to achieve a standard of full preparation using only the small White population we have—or should I call it our small mature population—like other countries such as, for instance, Israel—we would have to use our women and give them proper training for military service.
Are you suggesting conscription for women?
The hon. member for Houghton (Mrs. Suzman) asks whether I am suggesting conscription for women. I could say that if conscription for men can be introduced I see no reason why it should not be applied to women. I would rather see some form of compulsory national service, whether semi-military or not. I would prefer that to the silly nonsense we have to-day which results in photographs of women in the newspapers trying to shoot a revolver. That is ridiculous. Rather let them be trained to render services on radar or other instruments such as I have mentioned. If it comes to the stage where women have to be trained to fire revolvers and shot guns I do not think there will be any of them left to fire them so that will not help us very much. Speakers before me mentioned the desirability of re-establishing such training units as the S.S.B. and the Pioneer Battalion. Erroneously, the Minister remarked that they were committed. They were not. But the late Mr. Oswald Pirow, as Minister of Defence—it was really his brainchild—established these units. Let us take an example from what happened in the past. There was an example of a really brilliant Idea. They were not committed and when it was started it was frowned on. I know of many cases where an attorney or some benevolent person interceded on behalf of a young man who landed in trouble and the magistrate accepted the fact that he would improve himself if he got a suspended sentence and joined the S.S.B. I can tell you. Sir, from my own experience that in the end, with the wonderful training those units got and the wonderful performance they put up in public, the sons of wealthy parents joined that unit, and after having served their time they went to university. I can mention several case like that. There was of course this, that it was properly tackled. You will remember that Mr. Pirow selected some of the best men in the Permanent Force and sent them to Britain to be trained as sergeant-majors. Apart from what the S.S.B. did during the war, you had some of those sergeant-majors, one of whom I remember particularly well, affectionately called “Papa Brits”, who became one of our best tank commanders during the war. But these men had a very good training in Britain and they were responsible for the training of these regiments. Sir, I can assure you that it was an eye-opener to see a retreat ceremony performed by the S.S.B., and when war broke out they went on active service. Last but not least there was the Pioneer Battalion, which the Minister should remember very well, because it was based in Bloemfontein. They were mostly the sons of people who could not educate their children. Even that unit rendered very good service after having received the proper training. I do not think the intention of the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) or myself is to have a unit into which to draft the undesirable elements such as ducktails. But with the training facilities and the regular pay and the discipline and the morale which will be built up in them, I think that there will be an opportunity of getting many of our young people, especially in the urban areas where, due to economic or social circumstances, broken marriages, etc., there are many case where if those young people have an opportunity of going into a unit like that and getting the proper training it will benefit them enormously.
Tell me, how must they get there?
In the first place I can assure the Minister that with a neat uniform, that is already an attraction, and you will find young men joining it voluntarily. On the other hand, our probation officers plus the Department of Social Welfare can be roped in to assist in such a way that young men will be given a choice of going into a unit like that rather than to be sent to gaol for a first offence, which only makes a potential criminal of him. [Interjection.] No, it will not be a committed person. A committed person is one who has been ordered by the magistrate to be sent to a certain place as part of his sentence.
So he will get there on a bargaining system?
Well, now he does not get there on a bargaining system but becomes a ducktail. Instead of being an accessory after the fact when a motor car is stolen, he comes out after three months and steals a motor car himself. That is what we have to stop. I do not say those are the methods one should employ in order to build up the nucleus of such a unit, but it can all help. But I do not want to pose as an authority to advise the Minister. There are the Department of Social Welfare and the voluntary organizations and various ways in which this matter can be investigated. I am merely making a suggestion. The experts can formulate the details.
Now, I have spoken about the instructors who were trained overseas. I have no doubt that we have the men and the methods to train instructors here, but it stands to reason that those men who had intensive training overseas, men like Colonel Brits, and ex-Sergeant-Major Troskie, who was my Sergeant-Major—you have those men, but what worries me is that you have the Permanent Force today and here we have a Bill before us providing for a potential force of about 10,000 men to be trained. Now the question arises if you take your N.C.O.s and your warrant officers and your officers from the Permanent Force and spread them over these 10,000 men, will we have the resources in trained men and are we making adequate provision for training instructors?
I am very glad to hear that. Then I hope that this will be intensified, so that we can cope with all our young men who reach military age every year and abolish the ballot system. The other evening the hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) made a speech and did some kiteflying—I do not know on whose instructions—when he advocated the possible training of the Coloureds for military service.
Do you oppose that?
I agree with one of the arguments he used, namely that the White people are too few to defend the country. I have said that all along. He also suggested the possibility of implementing a system of school cadets for Coloured schools. On that I can only say that it is up to the Minister to accept his suggestion, or to tell us what he intends doing about it. I can only say that the military adaptability of these people is perfectly obvious. We have never had school cadets in the Coloured schools, but we have voluntary organizations like the Boys’ Brigade, and the Moslem Boys’ Brigades in the bigger centres, and these people have on a voluntary basis been doing wonderful work in keeping these youngsters off the streets. The fact that they have had discipline instilled in them by experienced men who knew the elementary principles of drilling and that they had a uniform which they had to keep neat and that they looked smart marching down the street with their own orchestra on a Sunday morning or Saturday afternoon and the discipline they were given had a tremendous effect over the years in saving trouble for most of these youngsters who lived in areas where there were not adequate playing-fields or recreational facilities. They were kept busy and they learned to take a pride in themselves and they were taught discipline. I cannot see why this cannot be made official. I can assure the Minister that should he contemplate such a step, he will have less difficulty in implementing this in the Coloured schools as far as instructors are concerned than he will have in certain White schools. There are many Coloured schools where one or two of the teachers was an N.C.O. or a member of the now defunct Cape Corps. In my constituency there are quite a few schools where there are teachers or principals who are actually ex-sergeant-majors. The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw), who was an officer in the Cape Corps for quite some time, had the privilege some time ago in my presence of meeting one of his former sergeants, who rose to the rank of W.O.2, and he is also the principal of a Coloured school now and he is the president of the Coloured Legion of the B.C.S.L., Mr. Kearns. With material of that kind, a great deal can be done to give these young Coloured children at school the necessary sense of discipline and neatness and to give them a different outlook on life. I am not going into everything which the hon. member for Somerset East said, but this afternoon I learnt from the newspapers that discussions had actually taken place between the Minister and Colonel Sayers of the B.C.S.L. with regard to the re-establishment of the Cape Corps. As far as that aspect is concerned, I can only say that it is a welcome discussion to me and to many others, and also to others who, if not in so many words but in their attitude and conduct, might have despised the Coloured people in the past. I have said before that the day would come when they would be only too glad that we have those people for whose existence our forefathers are responsible to help us defend this land of our birth and their birth. We are not departing from South African tradition in any way if the Minister would carry on with what I saw in the Press and establish, to begin with, two units of the Cape Corps. Since the earliest days when danger threatened this country, these people answered the call.
Order! That point has repeatedly been raised.
Sir, if I may crave your indulgence, there are just one or two matters to which I would like to draw the Minister’s attention. That is that in the first place we are only too keen to impress on our people some form of tradition. We are a young country and I do not think we are over-laden with tradition, but we can be justly proud of the traditions we have. There are others of which we perhaps need not be so proud in that we are keener on talking politics or rugby than on doing hard work sometimes, but that is beside the point. When it comes to tradition, it is not only the White people of South Africa who can be proud. I feel that to give our Coloured compatriots a feeling of having a share and a stake in the country of their birth is also to give them the opportunity to develop the traditions they have established in the past. It is a known fact that the Cape Corps can be traced back to the year 1793. It is the oldest colonial military formation in the history of South Africa.
That point has also been made repeatedly.
I do not think the point has been made that the second oldest unit was the Cape Mounted Rifles, which was disbanded in 1870, and that was a Coloured regiment. The question that arises is this. The fact is that in a modern army facing modern conditions of war there is no such thing as a non-combatant soldier. In the last war we had the experience that the Cape Corps had some training in shouldering a rifle, etc., but they were not armed.
Why are you driving that point home?
Because the Minister will remember that when he was a member of this House and General Smuts was tackled because units of the Cape Corps were armed when they were sent to Madagascar, General Smuts’s reply was that he would be bereft of his senses if he sent them into battle as unarmed soldiers.
I am not going to arm them.
That is exactly the point. I have not asked the Minister to arm them, so I do not know why he is so sensitive about it.
But you said they should all be armed.
No, I never suggested it. The hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Ross) asked a question this afternoon, and shortly afterwards he was accused of having suggested it. I am not suggesting it either, but what I am trying to impress on the House and on the Minister is that in modern warfare there is no such thing as a non-combatant soldier. I am trying to indicate that the artilleryman firing his 25-pounder was an armed soldier, but the unarmed member of the Cape Corps who drove the trucks in which the shells were carted right up to the firing line was not a non-combatant even though he was unarmed. The point is: Are we going to allow ourselves to be carried away by the question of arming or not and the training of these people in such a way that when it comes to the point they will not be able to do their duty properly or to be effective soldiers? If the Minister says they will not be armed, that is his reply, but then the question arises what they will be used for? I sincerely hope, and I say this with all the sincerity at my command, that should the Cape Corps be resuscitated as we read in the Press to-day, they will not be organized into units which will stand branded as labour units to do only the pick-and-shovel work or the dirty work.
The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, I think that what I am talking about is now completely covered by Clause 2.
Order! the hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, if you would permit me, I would just like to ask the Minister that what we are interested in, after what we heard about the discussion between him and Colonel Sayers, is what will the rate of pay be for these men? We do believe in such a thing as the rate for the job. What ranks will they rise to? And will the Minister use his influence in the correct quarters so that these men can also have the satisfaction that should they have to serve as soldiers, in whatever capacity, in their old age they will be entitled to war veterans’ pensions also.
There is another aspect where I would like the Minister to use his influence, and that is that if we take the example of what happened in China, where 600,000,000 people were subjugated and subdued by the communist régime, it happened not because they were communists but only because they had nothing to fight for, and the aspect of giving these people something of which they can be proud and which they will fight for is also very important. I wish to submit something to the Minister on this aspect. I can assure him that it is of the utmost importance. In the first place it is no use having any military unit which you want to train for any purpose whatever without having the material, the men; so whatever military unit you are forming you must have the men, and unless you get the men you cannot do it. If we talk about the resuscitation of the Cape Corps and the formation of two units, I am concerned as to what type of men we will get to serve in these units, and that is very important. Just as much as the Minister is afraid of a military unit which will consist mostly of committed persons, undesirables, so I am afraid of what type of material we will get in these units. It is a very serious matter and I feel it my duty to submit it to the Minister, namely that a Coloured man is known to be a Coloured man by the colour of his skin. For heaven’s sake, do not give him a dirty green uniform to discriminate further against him on the grounds of colour. I hope the Minister will bear this in mind, because it is important. If these people are going to be used in the service of South Africa as soldiers, put them into a position where they can be proud of their uniforms and do not let its colour or design be a stigma as it is at present. I can assure the Minister that this is a matter of the utmost importance, and that not a single self-respecting member of the Coloured community will serve in the present type of uniform they have.
Oh, be quiet!
It is all very well for a man who cannot shoulder a rifle any more to tell me to keep quiet, because when the time comes to shoulder a rifle again I am still eligible. That is the unfortunate part of it, and in any case I think the stage has been reached where men who are beyond the age where they can do anything constructive should keep quiet. And in any case, when the hon. member had a chance to fight for his country he resigned.
There is just one other little matter I want to raise, and that is that any young man who enlists, whether White or Coloured, has some ambition if he has anything at all in him. As one who underwent training himself and who was in the position of being selected for promotion and for drafting into the officers’ training corps, I say that anyone with a little ambition looks forward to some promotion. I did, and there is nothing wrong with it, and it is not only the young men, but also the men who have had considerable training and service. What I feel should make a tremendous difference in considering a man for promotion is also his experience. I do not want to cast aspersions on previous Ministers of Defence or Chiefs of the General Staff. If I do, Sir, you will get other hon. members doing what the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn) did, and we do not want that sort of thing. But I just wish to relate a little personal experience that has a direct bearing on what I have been talking about. In the beginning of the year I attended the opening of Parliament and I was sitting next to the hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst). and I asked him who a certain man in the officials’ gallery was, and he said it was Colonel So-and So, and then I recognized him because he had become rather bald over the last 16 years. But in 1944 that man was a colonel in command of 34 Liberator Squadron in Italy and he is still a colonel to-day. He certainly would not have been put in command of a squadron 16 years ago if he did not know his job, and if he was not a good officer. The point is that this Bill provides for a new system of intensive training for a much larger army, for virtual national conscription, and there is a big difference between what we are going to do now and what the position was in the past, and that is why I think this point is very important. In the past it was a question of volunteering. In the last war we had an army which had a glorious history and they joined voluntarily, and if a man joins voluntarily and does not show that he merits promotion it is just hard luck, but when a man has to sacrifice a year of his young life to undergo military training instead of going to university or working, when that young man is put into a position where he has no choice but to go into the army under compulsion, you might get the same sort of position that you get in regard to recruits for our Police Force to-day—and of this I have had experience because it happened in my presence. There was a commissioned officer whose job it was to seek recruits for the police, and he went along to a sergeant who had 27 years’ service and said: I believe you have a son of such an age; will you not influence him to join the police?
Order! What has that to do with the Bill?
Sir, if you would allow me just a moment, you will see that it is relevant. I am still on Clause 2. That police sergeant told the recruiting officer: If I could have my life over again I would not have joined the police, and I will not encourage my son to join the police. That young potential policeman had the choice of saying he would not join the police, but now many young men will be drafted into the army in terms of this Bill; they have no choice, and now one of them comes along to a person who was a colonel in the Air Force 16 years ago and is still a colonel. Must he then say to this young man that there is a brilliant career for him in the Air Force, that he will become a colonel and stay there for the next 16 years, when a man who left the Air Force as a lieutenant in 1939 is now a combat general? I am not casting any aspersions. I am at peace with the person concerned, but this sort of thing happened and it came to my attention forcibly …
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
To come back to the Bill, here young men are going to be compelled to go into the army. I would like to appeal to the Minister to bear in mind what happened in the past, and not to let that be such a deterrent that young men go into the army against their will and only look forward to the day when they can get out.
I am not altogether clear as to why the hon. the Minister selected this number of 10,000 men to be trained.
That is the first 10,000.
If that is what the Government regards as sufficient to defend this country from external aggression, it is manifestly absurd. I am not a soldier, but it is absurd. I therefore ask myself: Is it because that is all he is given money for? Is it all he can train at present with the staff available to him? If the money and the training staff are the reason for his selecting this number, then it is obvious that whenever there is more money available and as soon as he has further training staff he will be back asking for an increase in numbers. Now I am one of those who believe that every citizen has a duty to defend his country, and therefore I have no objection to the Minister coming with a request later for further men. But what I want to do is this: I want to try to help him as far as possible to conserve the manpower he has. I feel that there should be justice for all and I want to touch a little upon the standards of health of these future soldiers.
Now those of us who took part in the First World War, particularly those of us who happened to be in England when the war broke out, realize that the flower of England was killed in the first few months. With the shortage of trained manpower, the Government threw in its potential officers, the members of units like the Artists’ Rifles, the Inns of Court Bridgade, etc. and in my own experience, in the latter years of the war, there was a terrible shortage of potential officers. Not only that, but the standards of health which were in force in the British Army in the early days in 1914 were such that every man, no matter whether he was a typist or an orderly sweeping out the barracks, had to be Class Al man. The result was that towards the end of the war we found ourselves in the position of having a C3 group of people to choose from. We found that in the supply services and in units like the Medical Corps there were Class Al men who had been there all through the war, and we could not move them. You cannot take a regimental sergeant-major out of an ambulance corps and put him as a regimental sergeant-major in an infantry battalion. That is where those men were. We could not even take out the orderlies from the hospitals because we had no other trained men. Therefore I want to suggest to the Minister that he should now in his balloting and in his exemptions make a stand on the health standard of his recruits and not turn down men for minor defects, and that he should classify the various regiments and the various service as to what type of man they will accept, and what type of man will be the only type acceptable to them. There is room for unfit men amongst the medical orderlies, or even in the supply services. These are people who must be selected on medical grounds. It is only in that way that the Minister will be able to conserve the manpower available to him. I want to ask the Minister also to pay particular attention to the Medical Board, and I want to give him an idea which I hope he will consider, viz. this, that where a man is rejected on medical grounds, that rejection should be considered by a medical board. There is no room in a conscript army, which is what this is, for a decision on health matters by a single medical man, and there is no room for the mere acceptance of a family doctor’s certificate.
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 23 May.
The House adjourned at