House of Assembly: Vol108 - WEDNESDAY 24 MAY 1961
Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at
First Order read: House to go into Committee on report of Select Committee on Pensions.
House in Committee:
On Recommendation No. 11, viz.—
Unfortunately I must propose that this recommendation be rejected. I just briefly want to give the reasons for it. In regard to this person’s service in the Public Service, his case is similar to those of other public servants who joined the Public Service at a fairly advanced age and rendered excellent service. In his case he was 45 years of age when he was appointed as a member of the Public Service in 1935. Notwithstanding the fact that there is great appreciation for the service he rendered, I, unfortunately, cannot in the circumstances do otherwise than to propose that this recommendation be rejected.
Mr. Chairman, I am sorry the Government has seen fit to oppose the recommendation of the Pensions Select Committee because this was the unanimous decision of the Committee. Our finding means this, that we are simply giving this man an extra R314 per annum. I would like to say why we made this recommendation.
The petitioner was born in 1890, which makes him 71 years of age. He was born in the Free State and he served this country for 32 years in educational institutions and in the direct employment of the State. I want to give the periods he served. He served in Education and Justice for two years. He then became Registrar of the Transvaal University College for ten years. He was then appointed law adviser to the Department of Justice and later became Secretary for Union Education for 13 years. He then went to Canada as High Commissioner for the Union for four years, and now he is an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court, an appointment he received in February last year, and which expires on the 15th of next month. In addition to that—this is the evidence we received on the Select Committee—he has been spending all his spare time for the last six and a half years working on a digest of Roman-Dutch law cases of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, to make available the sources of our common law. In respect of his period as Registrar of the College he received £1,078 from the Provident Fund. When he retired he received £1,200 and became entitled to an annuity of £377 per annum. Upon his death I understand that his widow will be entitled to a pension of £3 per month—the widow of an acting Judge! He goes on to say this to the committee—
I ask you, Sir, what chance has he got of restarting a practice? The position will be this: On 15 June next he retires on an income of about £28 per month. Sir, provision was made for such cases. I think that scheme was more or less devised by and was in the hands of the Minister of the Interior. I ask the hon. the Deputy Minister even at this late stage to withdraw his objection. What does this really amount to? It amounts to this, that we are going to give this gentleman another £13 per month, and I ask this Committee to remember that this man has been registrar, law adviser, Secretary for Union Education, High Commissioner and now a Judge, and he will retire next month with an income of £28 per month. I plead with the hon. the Deputy Minister to withdraw his objection and to let this recommendation go through.
I intervene in this matter knowing the person concerned and knowing the very commendable service that he has rendered to South Africa. I would like to make an appeal to the Deputy Minister to refer this case to the Government for consideration rather than reject the recommendation out of hand. It seems to me that there should be no finality in regard to the request at this stage, but that the matter should receive some further consideration. On the Report of the Pensions Committee now under discussion, there are cases which are referred to the Government for consideration, and I would appeal very earnestly to the hon. the Deputy Minister to refer this case to the Government too and not to reject the recommendation out of hand at this stage. I know the very commendable service that this person has given to South Africa and, for that reason, I make this appeal to the Deputy Minister.
I appreciate the fact that this recommendation was made by the Select Committee unanimously. I may also say that I greatly appreciate the services of the Select Committee in this regard. The problem with which I am faced and which hon. members will appreciate is that there is a principle in this connection which we cannot concede, namely that a resolution was taken here that the ordinary pension to which this applicant is entitled after having left the Public Service should be increased. Therefore it means that we are conceding the principle here, because this person entered the Public Service at an advanced age and that his pension therefore is not sufficient, and that we now want to augment it. The basis on which this recommendation was made was not the services rendered by this person. If that were to be the basis of a future recommendation, it would be quite a different matter. But the basis on which the recommendation has been made is that the pension is not sufficient because the person entered the service at an advanced age, and the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) particularly, who is an ex-Auditor-General, will admit that if we were to accede to this, this Committee and the House would simply be swamped with applications on behalf of people who entered the service at an advanced age. I therefore do not make this proposal because I am unsympathetic to the many excellent services rendered by this applicant, but on the basis on which it is submitted to me I do not want to lay down a principle which in future will place the Select Committee in a very difficult position. I may also point out that the appointments to which the hon. member for Durban (North) (Mr. J. Lewis) referred—the posts held by this applicant—were held after he had left the Public Service on pension. He was already on pension when he was appointed to these high posts, and that being so I have no alternative but to adopt the standpoint I am adopting in this connection. I want to repeat that if in future such recommendations are made on a different basis, it will be quite a different matter and then it can be considered.
May I suggest to the Deputy Minister that he refer this back to the committee. I want to tell him from my experience extending over the past 11 or 12 years on this committee, that we treat every case on its merits. There is no question of creating a precedent; every case is treated on its merits.
I appreciate that; I served on the committee myself.
It is rather unfortunate that when we come to the House and these recommendations are opposed, we have not got all the evidence. As the Deputy Minister knows evidence is given before the committee; we have the Commissioner there to reply to questions and it is difficult to remember all the evidence that we have put before the committee. I do ask the Deputy Minister to refer this case back to the committee.
It can go back next year.
Recommendation put and negatived.
On Recommendation No. (14), viz.:
I must unfortunately object to this recommendation and propose that it be rejected. My reasons are briefly the following: In connection with the rendering of military service during the Anglo-Boer War in cases where such military service cannot be corroborated by official records, the then Minister of Finance decided on 22 February 1956—and that decision has always been the basis on which these cases are dealt with—that we shall have to abide by the rule that there should be two trustworthy witnesses who can personally give evidence that they were on commando with the applicant. This decision confirmed the Department’s policy that in cases where military service could not be confirmed from official sources, consideration is granted to the acceptance of sworn statements by at least two impartial unrelated persons who have already given proof of their military service and who are receiving veterans’ pensions in respect of such service, and who can confirm that the applicant served with them in the same commando during the Anglo-Boer War. In the case of this particular person, no such acceptable statements could be submitted to support his claim. I must point out that if this recommendation were to be accepted it would be in conflict with the policy laid down in 1956 and which has been applied ever since, and this will also create a precedent which will give us much trouble in future. I may just mention again that in so far as veterans of the Anglo-Boer War are concerned, the Department has at all times been particularly sympathetic towards them and will still be in future. Hon. members will realize just how sympathetic we are towards them if I tell the Committee that at the present stage, according to our books, 9,317 veterans are still receiving pensions. If we take into consideration that 60 years ago, according to the records, there were between 26,000 and 30,000 fighting men and that 9,000 of them still receive the pension, it shows precisely how sympathetic the Department is in this regard. I also realize that this recommendation was unanimously made by the Select Committee and I can assure hon. members that there are other ways in which to help this applicant than this way and that I shall certainly assist him along those other channels through which assistance can be given to him if the applicant complies with the means test.
Does the figure of 9,000 also include Englishmen who fought on the opposite side?
No, there are 9,000 republicans and approximately 3,000 on the side of the British.
I hope something will be done for the petitioner and I leave it at that. But I do want to say that this is another case where the committee was unanimous in its decision. At the time the petitioner submitted his petition he was in a fair position; he was working as a builder and his income was about £400. His wife was working and she was receiving £600, but since then—that is in June last year—the petitioner has been ill; he has not been able to work any more and that also applies to his wife. The position now is that they have a property valued at £3,700, on which there is a bond of £1,500. How they live I do not know, so I hope the Department will be able to do something for the petitioner.
Recommendation put and negatived.
On Recommendation No. (27), viz.:
- (a) Contributions shall be paid to the New Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund at the rates per cent prescribed in paragraph (1) of Section 8 of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960), plus R for R thereon, plus interest on both at the rate of five per cent per annum, compounded annually, from the the dates such contributions became payable up to the last day of his service in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, plus further interest on the amount thus due at the rate of four and one-half per cent per annum, compounded monthly, from the day following such date up to the date payment on account thereof is actually made. The total amount thus due shall be advanced to him from the Railway and Harbour Fund and shall be paid to the said Superannuation Fund on his behalf;
- (b) the amount paid on his behalf to the said Superannuation Fund in terms of sub-paragraph (a) shall be repaid by him to the Railway Administration in such instalments as the Administration’s Chief Accountant may direct, provided that, if his services are terminated for any reason or he dies before the amount so advanced has been fully repaid or recovered, the amount still outstanding shall be deducted from benefits payable under the appropriate section of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960) to him, or, in the event of his death, to some other person. For the purpose of this sub-paragraph the expression “benefits” shall be deemed to include, in the event of his death, the capital sum on which, in terms of Section 30 of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960), the calculation of any annuity payable to his widow is to be based. Any amount so deducted shall be refunded to the Railway and Harbour Fund; and
- (c) the said option shall be exercised by the servant within a period of three months from the date on which there is furnished to him by the Administration’s Chief Accountant an official statement setting out the total amount that will become payable to the New Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund should he exercise the option.
I regret having to move—
It appears that the petitioner attested for service in the Special Service Battalion in 1939. In 1940 he attested for full-time military service in the South African Air Force and was discharged on 17 November 1945. After his discharge he was employed in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs as an artisan from 19 November 1945 to 18 January 1947, when he resigned voluntarily. He applied for employment in the Railway service for the first time on 2 October 1946, and was engaged on 20 January 1947 as a ground engineer in the Airways Department. The petitioner had resigned voluntarily from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and did not apply for a transfer and was engaged as a new entrant in the Railway service. Petitions arising from voluntary resignation have in the past been consistently opposed. The petitioner did not obtain his discharge from the South African Air Force with the express intention of joining the South African Airways. I might draw the Committee’s attention to the fact that in 1958 a similar petition by a Mr. Swart did not succeed. In 1951 there were 31 cases under a mass petition, similar to this which also did not succeed. Consequently if this recommendation were accepted it would be an injustice to those petitioners who did not succeed, but apart from that there is a principle at stake, so unfortunately I cannot allow this recommendation to be accepted by the Committee.
Was the Committee aware of these precedents which had been set when they came to this unanimous decision?
I believe that the Management gave them all the information but in spite of that the committee decided to uphold the petition.
Did I understand the Minister to say that that mass petition that was submitted in 1955 was turned down?
What happened to the appeal for a transfer that this man sent in in 1946?
My information is that he did not apply for a transfer; that he resigned voluntarily from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and then he was admitted to the service of the Administration as a new entrant. He could have applied for a transfer, and if the transfer had been granted, the whole matter would have been in order.
I rise in order to try to persuade the Minister to reconsider this case. This young man was in the Special Service Battalion. During the war he served in the Air Force and received his discharge on 13 November 1945. He then again entered the service of the Post Office on 19 November. The hon. the Minister said it was the 17th, a difference of just a few days.
On 19 November.
In any case, there were only a few days during which this person was not in the service. But after he accepted employment in the Post Office, this break of a few days was condoned and he was allowed to contribute to the pension funds until the date of his resignation on 18 January 1947.
He says in his petition that he was not aware of the fact that he could obtain a transfer. He therefore resigned from the Post Office on 18 January 1947, and assumed duty in the Airways on 19 January, the next day. There was therefore practically no break in his service. He in fact went from one Department to the other. Surely there are not many such cases where there was practically no break in service. In any case, the Committee said that he should pay in his arrear contributions and I again ask the Minister in this case to allow this person to pay in the arrear contributions and to allow the period during which he was out of the service to count for pension purposes. This person is serving in the S.A. Airways at the moment.
With all due respect, is the hon. the Minister sure that that mass petition was turned down? Because my information is that in 1955 a petition was submitted by 43 individuals, and I think that petition was granted. In fact, I am sure it was granted.
That was a different petition; I did not refer to that.
But this petition was on all fours with this case and the next one and that petition was granted.
But that was under different circumstances.
*I have much sympathy for these people, but the difficulty is that we are dealing here with a principle. The fact remains that he voluntarily resigned from the service of his former employer. The same applies to the next recommendation, No. 28. He then joined the S.A. Railways. He joined as a new recruit to the service. If this recommendation were to be agreed to, there are numerous other cases which would be entitled to the same privilege. The fact is that we never allow, where somebody voluntarily resigns, even though he resigned from the service of the Railways and is out of the service just for a day before he joins it again, his service to be regarded as continuous for pension purposes. And the reason for it is very simple. Every year about 8,000 to 10,000 Railway officials resign and 8,000 to 10,000 rejoin the Railways. There are numbers of them who are out of the service for just a few days, and some for just a month, and if once one accepted the principle that the break in their service could be condoned for pension purposes one just would not know where one was. That would serve as an encouragement to people to resign, and instead of encouraging them we would rather have some means of stopping them from resigning, so that the man will know that if he resigns unnecessarily he will lose much through it. It is in consequence of this important principle which is at stake, apart from any sympathy for the individual, that I cannot accept this recommendation. There are two similar cases where I have to adopt the same standpoint.
Did this person apply for a transfer in 1946?
No. Motion put and agreed to.
On Recommendation No. (28), viz.:
- (a) Contributions shall be paid to the New Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund at the rates per cent prescribed in paragraph (1) of Section 8 of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960), plus R for R thereon, plus interest on both at the rate of 5 per cent per annum, compounded annually, from the dates such contributions became payable up to the last day of his service in the Department of Defence, plus further interest on the amount thus due at the rate of 4½ per cent per annum, compounded monthly, from the day following such date up to the date payment on account thereof is actually made. The total amount thus due shall be advanced to him from the Railway and Harbour Fund and shall be paid to the said Superannuation Fund on his behalf;
- (b) the amount paid on his behalf to the said Superannuation Fund in terms of sub-paragraph (a) shall be repaid by him to the Railway Administration in such instalments as the Administration’s Chief Accountant may direct, provided that, if his services are terminated for any reason or he dies before the amount so advanced has been fully repaid or recovered, the amount still outstanding shall be deducted from benefits payable under the appropriate section of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960), to him, or, in the event of his death, to some other person. For the purpose of this subparagraph the expression “benefits” shall be deemed to include, in the event of his death, the capital sum on which, in terms of Section 30 of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960), the calculation of any annuity payable to his widow is to be based. Any amount so deducted shall be refunded to the Railway and Harbour Fund; and,
- (c) the said option shall be exercised by the servant within a period of three months from the date on which there is furnished to him by the Administration’s Chief Accountant an official statement setting out the total amount that will become payable to the New Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund should he exercise the option.
Here I must also move—
I do so for the same reason that I gave when the previous case was under discussion. This petitioner attested in the Special Service Battalion as a bandsman on 30 January 1939. On 3 October 1939 he attested for full-time military service in the South African Air Force and was discharged on 3 October 1946. After discharge he was employed by a private firm, from 1 November 1946 to 31 March 1947 as a ground engineer. He applied for the first time on 18 March 1947 for employment in the Airways Department and was engaged as a ground engineer on 5 May 1947. This petitioner had already worked for a private firm for five months after having been discharged from military service and he only then applied for admission to the Railway Administration. Consequently he was treated as a new entrant and for the same reasons that I gave in rejecting the previous recommendation I am afraid I have to do the same in this case.
Motion put and agreed to.
On Recommendation No. 32, viz.:
- (a)Two-thirds of the amount paid to him from the new Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund when the said break in service occurred shall be repaid to that fund, together with interest thereon at the rate of 4½ per cent per annum, compounded monthly, from the date of payment to the date of repayment. The aforementioned amount, including the interest thereon, shall be advanced to him from the Railway and Harbour Fund and shall be paid to the said Superannuation Fund on his behalf;
- (b) the amount paid on his behalf to the said Superannuation Fund in terms of sub-paragraph (a) shall be repaid by him to the Railway Administration in such instalments as the Administration’s chief accountant may determine, provided that, if he leaves the service for any reason or he dies before the amount so advanced has been fully repaid, the amount still outstanding shall be deducted from any benefits payable under the appropriate section of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960), to him or in respect of his death to his estate or to some other person. For the purpose of this sub-paragraph “benefits” shall be deemed to include, in the event of his death, the capital sum on which, in terms of Section 30 of the Railways and Harbours Superannuation Fund Act, 1960 (Act No. 39 of 1960), the calculation of any annuity payable to his widow is to be based. Any amount so deducted shall be refunded to the Railway and Harbour Fund.
Here, unfortunately, I also have to move—
This petitioner voluntarily resigned on 31 June 1954 and was re-employed on 21 May 1957. There is no legal provision for condoning breaks in service resulting from voluntary resignation, and, as I have already indicated, the policy has consistently been followed that such petitions cannot be supported. In those circumstances I move that this should also be referred to the Government for consideration.
The hon. the Minister has said that in so far as the South African Railways are concerned, a voluntary break in service is never condoned. Every year we have to deal with numerous petitions, including those of Railway officials, and the question arises whether it will not perhaps be humane, as in the case of the Public Service Act, also to amend the Railway Act to provide that petitions for a condonation of a break in service should no longer be submitted to Parliament, but that they should be referred directly to the Railway Administration for their consideration, because, in my opinion, it is only a waste of time to submit these petitions to Parliament and to consider them in the Pensions Committee if the Committee’s recommendations are turned down in this House. I agree with the hon. the Minister that where 8,000 to 10,000 Railway officials resign every year it is difficult to grant concessions to them, particularly where they mainly resign in order to draw their pension contributions. Is it not perhaps possible to save the time of the Committee and of the House and also of the representative of the constituency by providing that these matters should be referred to the Administration directly, because one is continually being approached by railwaymen, and one knows that the petition cannot succeed.
I want to support the hon. member who has just spoken. One must not forget that on the Pensions Select Committee we go into all the facts and all the evidence, and then we come to a decision. If we are going to adopt a hard and fast rule that where a Railway servant resigns voluntarily his petition is going to be turned down, then it is simply a waste of time to come to the Pensions Select Committee at all. Sir, there must be a reason why a man forgoes so many years of service. There must be a special reason, I won’t say in every case, but in nine out of ten cases there must be a good reason. He may resign because of illness; the reason may be that his wife cannot live in Cape Town, so he asks for a transfer somewhere up country, which is then refused. There could be a hundred and one reasons. The Committee deals with these cases on their merits. If every time we make a recommendation, it is going to be turned down in this House, what is the use then of our sitting on Railway cases at all? We might as well leave them all to the Railways to decide. I am not at all happy about our position to-day on the Select Committee. Take to-day’s proceedings. What does the average member know about these particular cases? They know nothing at all. We sit on that Committee and deal with every case on its merits; there is no question of party affiliations; we do not ask who the individual is. He may be a Nationalist or a United Party supporter, but that does not concern me whatsoever; he is a human being. He submits his petition to us and he may even come and give evidence, and I say that all those cases are dealt with on their merits. I do hope the Minister will think this over. If I remember correctly, this is the first time that any recommendation has been opposed as far as the Commissioner of Pensions is concerned.
It happens every year.
Very few that I know of. It does happen in the case of Railway staff.
The Minister of Finance used to do it in the past.
I do not think we have had many. At any rate, I think the Minister should reconsider this case.
May I rush in where even some experts fear to tread. It is true that we ordinary members in the House know very little of the details of these cases. But we have learnt in the past that the members of this committee, as the hon. member for Durban (North) (Mr. J. Lewis) says, have been objective, unbiased and unpolitical and are to be trusted to come to sound and sensible decisions. I think that the Minister should take serious note of the unanimous decisions of this committee. The Minister is usually sympathetic towards all railwaymen. I know that he was one himself. I ask him to consider whether, in pursuing a rigid policy which is designed to keep people in the service, in taking a hard and fast decision never to condone a break in service by a railwayman, he might not be doing a grave injustice to an individual in seeking to secure the benefit of the service generally. It seems to me that this matter might be reconsidered. Can the Minister tell me whether a recommendation from the Pensions Committee with regard to condonation of a break in service has ever, even once, been accepted by the Minister of Railways? Has he not just turned down every one automatically? I know that in the past the Minister of Finance used to turn down recommendations almost as a matter of course. But I had expected the Minister to be much more interested in the personal affairs of his men. In regard to railwaymen, particularly having regard to the strength of their pension funds, does the Minister not think that adhering to hard and fast rules might sometimes bring great hardships in individual cases? Where this Select Committee of ours, which functions so well, makes a unanimous recommendation. I as an ordinary member of this House ask him to be more sympathetic. Will he not reconsider this matter and think again, seriously, before rejecting this recommendation? Please do not just throw out these suggestions automatically.
I want to raise one point with regard to this particular matter, and it also affects all the particular cases that are being objected to this afternoon, both by the Department of Pensions and by the Railways. One concedes without any question that in every state department there must be a rule a limit to which people can expect to receive a pension. The department has to lay down certain hard and fast rules that where the individual transgresses these rules he falls outside the authority of the department itself to grant him a pension. I again concede that it is probably a sound procedure that where a man voluntarily resigns his employment and seeks other work and then finds it does not suit him and tries to come back, he should be penalized by the effect the break of service has on his pension. That is a sound principle which has got to be applied in order to control the affairs of any state institution. But the main principle which underlies the work of this particular committee, the Select Committee on Pensions, is that on compassionate grounds they can consider and recommend in the case of people who by law or regulation are precluded from having their particular position dealt with by the department which employs them, that a pension should be granted. In a case like this, the Railways by their own regulations, and rightly so, are debarred, however sympathetic the Minister may be, from granting such a petition because it is in conflict with certain rules of the Railway Administration. But when it comes to the Pensions Committee, the Pensions Committee is not debarred by these rules. It was the intention of the House, it is the very foundation of the work, of this particular committee, that where they deal with a case which has been banned according to the rules of the department concerned, but where they feel that there are justifiable reasons for them to recommend to the House that on compassionate grounds an award be made, they can so recommend. In other words, it is a condonation of a breach in service which the Railways cannot overcome. But that is the duty of this particular Select Committee. They examine these cases and where they feel that there are certain special circumstances, they as a committee can recommend that a pension or some form of relief be granted.
Sir, we have had this kind of case before us practically every year. I as an ex-member of the Select Committee know that this matter crops up continually, and practically every case of this kind is turned down. But if the Select Committee, particularly after they have thoroughly examined all the evidence and come to a unanimous decision, comes with a recommendation to this House that in their opinion that particular case deserves condonation, and they make a recommendation, then I think there must be very strong ground indeed before the House sets aside such recommendation. Otherwise I agree with the last speakers that the work of the Committee simply amounts to a waste of time knowing that despite the fact that they carry out the principle under which they were established by this House, the principle which underlies their appointment to deal with cases on compassionate grounds, their recommendation is going to be turned down. Therefore I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister to act in the spirit in which this particular committee is appointed and not be tied down to the regulations which say that a pension cannot be granted.
I have every sympathy with the Pensions Committee and I know that they take decisions and make recommendations very often on compassionate grounds. The difference is that the Pensions Committee cannot realize the implications of these recommendations, and the Pensions Committee has not the responsibility of administering the South African Railways, whereas I as Minister have that responsibility. I have to take into consideration all the implications, I have to take into consideration what the effect of the acceptance of a particular recommendation would be throughout the service, and if I feel that it would be detrimental to the interest of the service to accept a particular recommendation of the Pensions Committee, made on compassionate grounds, then I cannot do anything else but do my duty and oppose that recommendation. That is the position. I know how the hon. members of the Pensions Committee feel. I recollect that in 1938 as an ordinary Member of Parliament I submitted a petition to the Pensions Committee on behalf of my father, who was also a railwayman and was prematurely retired on the grounds of permanent ill health. I gave evidence before the Pensions Committee and put the case very eloquently, so eloquently that they unanimously decided to uphold the petition. When the recommendation, however, came before the House of Assembly, the Minister of Railways of those days opposed the recommendation.
Who was he?
Mr. Fourie. I can assure hon. members that I felt very dissatisfied and very disappointed. As a matter of fact I hardly felt like greeting that Minister after that. But when I became Minister of Railways myself and I realize what the implications would have been had he accepted that recommendation, I felt that he could not have done otherwise. That is the position. Hon. members act on compassionate grounds. I know that the majority of members of that Committee have very soft hearts, they are easily swayed and easily persuaded. That is evident from all the recommendations they have made on compassionate grounds. I do not blame them for that.
The quality of mercy is not strained.
Although I have every sympathy with these people and I know there are hard cases—I have some of them in my constituency, voters of mine—unfortunately I cannot accept the principle. Hon. members will be surprised about the number of letters asking for assistance that I get. Unfortunately I have to do my duty and very often I have to refuse although I realize that it is a hard case.
*The hon. member for Klerksdorp (Mr. Pelser) asked why we did not pass an Act so that it will not be necessary for these cases to come before the Select Committee. But in spite of any Act Parliament may still consider such a petition. Parliament stands above any Act, and even though there is an Act saying that it may not be done, nobody can be prevented from coming to Parliament. But the theoretical position is such that it is not necessary for this House to accept my motion. It still rests with the House. In spite of the fact that I move a motion that the petition be referred back to the Government, the House as a whole may still vote against my motion, and the House has the power to accept this recommendation. That is the inherent right of the House and it cannot be derogated from. The matter has often been considered in the past, but it was found that it would be meaningless even though it is provided that such petitions may not go to the Select Committee on Pensions. It may be submitted to Parliament by way of a motion. Any hon. member has the right to do that. Therefore that is not the solution of the matter. There have also been cases in the past where the Select Committee on Pensions made recommendations which were accepted by the Administration. I can remember a number of cases which came before the House as the result of the recommendations of the Grievances Commission, and which were accepted. There were other recommendations which were on the borderline in regard to the rights of people who served in the war, which were also accepted by the House. Therefore there are cases which have already been accepted by the House. But, as I have said, there is a general principle in regard to cases of this nature where there was voluntary resignation and duty was resumed again, and in general these cases are not accepted.
Do I understand from what the hon. Minister has just said that these matters can be dealt with on the free vote of the House?
No, not on a free vote of the House, but I said that Parliament has the right to do that.
Well, there is quite a considerable difference there, but I am not going to pursue that issue. I have always understood that it was not a free vote as far as the Government of the day was concerned. But what I want to appeal to the Minister about is a modification of the attitude that has been adopted over the years by the Railway Administration.
Order! I have allowed a great deal of latitude and a wide discussion of this subject, but the hon. member must now come back to item No. 32. I am afraid I cannot allow any further discussion of these other principles which go far beyond the item under discussion.
This is a question of a break in service and the hon. the Minister has refused to accept this recommendation because the Administration is not prepared to condone even one day’s break in service. That is the general rule that has been accepted. I am now asking the hon. the Minister whether he would condone the position where the servant has 20 years’ service after the day of the break. That would exclude a tremendous number of the applications that are made. I know very well that he cannot say so at this stage, but I put that to him as something he could consider and he could get the figures as to what that would involve as far as the Administration is concerned.
Motion put and agreed to.
Recommendations under paragraph II put and agreed to.
Report considered and adopted.
Second Order read: House to go into Committee on Atomic Energy Amendment Bill.
House in Committee:
On Clause 3,
I would like to draw attention, Sir, to the fact that whereas the accounts of the Board are audited by the Controller and Auditor-General, he must transmit a copy of the report on such audit to the Governor-General. The reasons for this are appreciated, because there is the need for secrecy. But it does appear unsound, Sir, when the expenditure in fact comes out of Consolidated Revenue, that there should be no report. I wonder if it is not possible—I am not going to propose amendments—for the matter to be taken up with the Auditor-General in order that at least in his Annual Report there could be a statement that the accounts had been duly audited and the report submitted and that the accounts were found to be in order. If that were done, there would be some reference to a report which goes to a body which is a part of Parliament, and thereby Parliament would have knowledge of the fact that the provisions of the law have been carried out.
I should like to support the suggestion made by the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker). Two years ago when an amending Bill was before the House, I made representations to the Minister and indicated that I felt that in view of the fact that so much was known to-day about uranium and its uses—we know exactly what it costs to produce uranium, we know exactly what the price is and we know very largely the purpose to which it is being put—the time had come when the normal procedure should be followed and that the account of the Board should be part of the system of parliamentary supervision through the Public Accounts Committee. The Minister in charge of that Bill then agreed that in principle that was sound. He promised to look into the matter, saying that if it was possible, he agreed that it should be done. I merely rise at this stage to support the suggestion which the hon. member for Springs has made that there should be consultation, particularly with the Controller and Auditor-General, and that if circumstances do permit, the normal procedure should now obtain. I appreciate that the hon. the Minister may have information and that the Department may have information that is not available to me and that there might be reasons which I am not aware of why some form of secrecy must still be maintained, but all I ask is that the undertaking given by the hon. the Minister two years ago should not be overlooked and that there should be consultation with the Controller and Auditor-General who is responsible for the audit. There are other cases where a wise discretion must be exercised by the Controller and Auditor-General in reporting, and I am quite sure that he could equally exercise a wise discretion in regard to this matter.
The suggestion made by the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) supported by the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Plewman) can be considered. I think it really deserves our attention, not on the lines suggested by the hon. member for Johannesburg (North). As I pointed out last night, the Atomic Energy Board still finds it not in the national interest to disclose the accounts of the Atomic Energy Research programme, but as the hon. member for Springs has suggested that some reference to the auditing of those accounts should be made in the Report of the Auditor-General. I think that is a suggestion that can be considered and I will give attention to it.
Clause put and agreed to.
Remaining Clauses and Title of the Bill put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Third Order read: Second reading,—Iron and Steel Industry Amendment Bill.
The amendments I want to propose here to the Iron and Steel Industry Act really affect two main points. The first is the enlargement of the board of directors of the Iron and Steel Corporation, and the second affects the way in which the deputy-chairman of the board of directors is elected. Hon. members will know that the board of directors of Iscor consists of seven members. That has been their number ever since the beginning of the existence of the Corporation. In the meantime the scope of the activities of the Corporation has expanded so tremendously that it was felt that it would be in the interests of the Corporation to increase the board of directors from seven to nine members, which would afford the opportunity of having people of more divergent views represented on the board. I may just give the House the information, which will perhaps be of interest, that if we look at the growth of Iscor since it was established we find the following interesting facts:
In the year 1930 when Iscor was established its capital was R1,184,000. That capital has now in creased to R55,000,000. To-day the total assets of Iscor stand at almost R300,000,000. In regard to the production of Iscor, in the year 1934 it was estimated as being 180,000 tons of ingot iron and last year the production was 1,750,000 tons, whilst it is expected that this year it will increase to 2,350,000 tons. As hon. members know, preparations are being made for expanding the production over the next ten or 12 years to 4,250,000 or 4.500,000 tons. The number of employees at Iscor in December 1934 was only 3,500, but as at 30 June 1960 the number was 24,300. For the sake of interest, I also want to say that the total wages and salaries paid by Iscor annually amount to approximately R31,000,000 and the net sales value of Iscor products for the last financial year was R117,000,000. Since its inception Iscor has already sold products to the value of R960,000,000. The dividends paid by Iscor as at the end of June 1960 amounted to more than R41,000,000. I just mention these figures to inform hon. members about the tremendous expansion Iscor has experienced and the great responsibilities resting on the directors, which will increase in future, and to show why I consider that it is essential in the interests of the Corporation to increase the number of directors from seven to nine.
The second provision of this Bill deals with the way the deputy-chairman is elected. Hon. members will know that the chairman is nominated by the representatives of the A shareholders, but the Act provides also that the deputy-chairman must be elected by the representatives of the private shareholders. I am proposing that a change should be made here in two respects, in the first place that the deputy-chairman should not necessarily be elected by the representatives of the private shareholders, but that the representatives of the private shareholders will be able to elect any member of the board of directors as deputy-chairman. It may be that it is in the interest of Iscor for the deputy-chairman perhaps to be somebody who represents the Governor-General, and I think it is undesirable for the directors to be bound to elect their deputy-chairman only out of the small group of representatives of B shareholders.
Then there is another consequential amendment of the Act, simply to remedy an anomaly or something which is not quite clear. As the Act stands now, the representatives of the private shareholders (three under the old Act and four in terms of this Bill) must all be present before they can elect the deputy-chairman. I want to remove the necessity for their all having to be there. It places an unnecessary impediment on that group of directors to say that they must all be present before they can elect a deputy-chairman, because it may be that there is a vacancy, as will now happen if we give four to the B shareholders, and that places an obligation on the Minister immediately to nominate that fourth person before a deputy-chairman can be elected, and perhaps it is not advisable to nominate a person immediately because one might not immediately have a suitable person in mind.
For the reasons advanced by the hon. the Minister, viz. the tremendous growth of Iscor, we on this side of the House do not wish to oppose the motion. We agree with the hon. the Minister that in view of the tremendous scope of the activities of the Corporation it is desirable to strengthen the board of directors. I would just like to ask the hon. the Minister this: Do these private share holders who elect the four directors hold ordinary shares or preference shares? What is the ratio of the shareholding of the private shareholders? Are the private shareholders actually private individuals, or are these shares which are held by the Government, the B shares? Are they preference shares?
May I just ask the Minister: Are these four directors appointed by the private shareholders nominated or elected?
In regard to the last question, directors representing the private shareholders are elected by the private shareholders. And in reply to the question by the hon. member for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje), I want to say that the private shareholders are the holders of the B shares. You have three classes of shares in Iscor. In the first place you have 500,000 A shares which are held by the Governor-General. These 500,000 A shares entitle the Governor-General to nominate four directors. Then you have the other two classes. The B shares are also held by the Governor-General, and then there are about 220,000 cumulative preferent shares held by private shareholders. The holders of the B shares are regarded as the private shareholders and they elect the remaining three (or four now) directors.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for second reading,—Water Amendment Bill, to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Minister of Water Affairs, upon which an amendment had been moved by Mr. Mitchell, adjourned on 23 May, resumed.]
Mr. Speaker, when the debate was adjourned last night, I was showing how our water laws were consolidated in the Water Act of 1956. I think we are all equally proud of that Act. It is quite clearly stated in that Act that the Government controls all water. That Act has been tried out in practice for a couple of years, and it has become clear that a few minor amendments will have to be effected to make the Act easier of application. We are doing that to-day. We are not watering down the principal Act, but we are only trying to make it easier of application. There is only one clause in the Bill against which one may possibly object and think that it does not belong here, but under the principal Act, namely Clause 12. As the Minister has announced, he will move an amendment to this clause and I think anyone who has studied that amendment will realize that it is a practical amendment and that the Minister is even sacrificing some of the powers which he has under the Water Act. In those cases where there is water that has not been allocated people are now given an opportunity to protect their rights after allocation. I cannot see how anyone who has studied the Act and this Bill and who knows what happens in practice, can object to that. I cannot understand why our friends opposite insist on a Select Committee. I do not want to cast any reflection but I do not think they have studied this Bill. I think they are just blindly opposing it. I am sorry to have to say this but it seems to me that they are opposing it merely for the sake of opposing it, otherwise I cannot understand their attitude. I as a farmer have a great deal to do with the Water Act and like many others I would be the last person to allow the 1956 Act to be whittled down. That Act is at least worded in such a way that an advocate can understand it. We are prepared to give the Minister the necessary power. It is no use raising further pleas in regard to this matter. As some hon. members opposite have done it seems as though we may ask for anything under this Bill. They even asked for new schemes and it would apparently be competent for me to plead the cause of the Orange River scheme here, as they pleaded for the Basin of the Buffels River, etc. I do not think our friends opposite really understand the matter. They are not practical people and have no experience of this otherwise they would not have made the remarks which they did make. We are not dealing here with new schemes. We are dealing with the law. This Bill does not constitute a departure from the principles laid down in the 1956 legislation. It only facilitates matters. Had members opposite objected to Clause 12 I would have understood that to some extent but we have an amendment here which I think is very clear and which ought to be accepted by this House. It would be a waste of time to appoint a Select Committee. I cannot understand hon. members asking for that. I am asking this House to accept this Bill and the amendment of the Minister. It is in the interests of the farmers and of the State that we do so. We do not want to whittle it down; we merely want to improve it.
The Water Act and the Soil Conservation Act are two of the most important economic measures that we have on the Statute Book. The Bill which we are considering here to-day is to amend the Water Act in some very important respects. It affects both the townsman and the farming community—the town community perhaps more fundamentally in some respects than the farming, the rural community. Now, the clauses of the Bill affecting particularly the rural areas have been discussed very effectively by my colleague the member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) and I do not propose to say anything further on that matter at this stage. When we come to the Committee Stage I hope the hon. member for East London (North) will be present in order to reinforce the points which he made during the second reading debate. My object to-day, Sir, is to deal more specifically with those aspects of the Bill which affect the townsman. I shall have something to say about Clause 6 of the Bill. I am not sure that this clause, as framed at present, quite covers all the contingencies which are contemplated and I shall ask the hon. Minister, therefore, to consider at a later stage even more amendments to this clause. Perhaps I should deal with Clause 6 now. Under the Act as it is now, the Minister can lay down specification standards for the country as a whole for the disposal of effluents. Now, it must be realized that the largest single class of users of water in South Africa is the big towns collectively—all the major cities and towns of South Africa—and this clause affects them in some very important respects. Towns get their water from various sources and after it has been used, they discharge it again mainly in the form of sewage and other forms of effluent. The Act as it stands now lays down that the hon. Minister has power to determine standards for the disposal of effluent and may do that by way of laying down a blanket standard for the whole country. What the hon. Minister is seeking in this Bill, is power to lay down specific standards for specific areas, and it is very necessary and important that he should have this power. I therefore wholeheartedly support the Minister in regard to the powers he seeks in this clause. I wonder, however, whether the clause goes far enough. My reasons for asking this question I shall put forward in the course of my speech. Why has it become of such importance that the hon. Minister should have power to determine standards for effluent disposal on a district basis? The hon. Minister not only has wide powers of jurisdiction in water matters in country areas and in towns, but also a high responsibility to marine biology in matters affecting the sea. Very little consideration has, I think, been given to this matter up to now. I am sure that the hon. Minister has never had time, busy as he is, to give consideration to what is happening in the sea, and what is happening in the sea is of tremendous importance.
There are enormous sources of food supply in the sea. Not only are we vitally dependent upon the fish which we take from the sea, but the complex processes of marine biology taking place in the sea can affect not only fish but other foodstuffs and fertilizers taken from the sea. It will, therefore, become of increasing importance in the coming years to give attention to what is happening in the sea. In this connection the disposal of sewage and the sea have an important relationship. Very important changes are taking place in the sea as a result of sewage disposal into the sea. In the homes of all members in this House a silent revolution has taken place and during the last few years there has come into use on a large scale all the various forms of detergents which now form a stock household commodity for washing purposes, etc. But these detergents create problems in relation to sewage disposal and in particular they affect the sea. There is a very strong school of thought amongst biologists, as well as grave concern, that the large-scale use of these detergents is affecting the marine biological processes when they get into the sea. For instance, they can have a tremendous effect on the growth of fish life, and this is of great importance in relation to the determination of standards for the disposal of effluent. May I just make a short quotation from the 15th Annual Report of the C.S.I.R. in regard to the matter.
The hon. member is making some very interesting observations but is that matter relevant to this Bill?
Yes, it is, Sir. I am making a plea, under Clause 6, for particular attention to be given to the standards to be laid down for the disposal of effluent. The whole responsibility for dealing with this problem rests on the Minister in terms of this clause and Section 21 of the original Act with which it is related. Clause 6 brings in this very important change that the hon. Minister is given power to make specifications on a local basis. It is important for us to know why he should have that power and how he should use it, and I am trying to explain, Mr. Speaker, that the necessity for having this power has become urgent in recent years because circumstances in the different regions vary and a blanket specification for the whole country will no longer serve the purpose. I want the hon. Minister to go even further and to do something else in relation in this clause. Perhaps he can consider that at a later stage—perhaps in the Other Place. I shall state what I want him to do later because now I want to deal with the manner in which these varying standards can be used, and with the manner in which the hon. Minister is going to make use of these powers because it is very important that they should be applied adequately. Now, just a point about the question why it is necessary to have different powers for the different areas. Let us compare the method of effluent disposal in an inland town, such as Johannesburg, and its disposal in a marine centre, such as Cape Town. There is a big difference in this respect. In Cape Town effluent goes into the sea and the hon. Minister should give attention to the question of how far this affects marine biology—fish life, etc. Such considerations do not, however, apply to inland centres such as Johannesburg and a specification for the disposal of effluent which might suit Johannesburg may be totally unsuitable, therefore, for a place like Cape Town. Now, in order to determine what the different standards should be, it is obviously necessary that a great deal of research should be done. There is an awareness already that there is a big danger involved in the disposal of effluent into the sea. As I have said already, marine biologists are very concerned about it, but not enough is known, and not enough is being done. To bear out this contention I want to quote the passage from the 15th Annual Report of the C.S.I.R. which I wanted to quote when you put your question to me, Mr. Speaker. This passage reads as follows—
Now, the responsibility for determining the various factors is laid upon the hon. Minister, who will be assisted by the National Institute for Water Research. Has this body the facilities to enable it to carry out the enormous amount of work which should be thrown upon it after the passage of this Bill? Once this Bill has been passed, the responsibility for the determination of individual specifications for individual areas, and sometimes even for individual cities, will fall upon this institute in conjunction with the Minister. I foresee that either the hon. Minister will not bother and the work will then not be done, or he will—and this is what I urge upon him to do, namely to see that these investigations are carried out on a regional basis. And in such a case I would like to know whether he will have the necessary resources behind him? Has the institute the resources to carry out the investigations? I would also like to ask the hon. Minister whether he would consider going further in the matter. We are amending this section to-day in this particular way. Much investigations may still perhaps be needed before he could go further as I am going to request him to do and he may therefore not be able to do so now but perhaps at a later stage—next year, perhaps. What I want to ask the hon. Minister is this: I am not very clear myself and the legal opinion I have taken did not help me on the question of whether the hon. Minister has power to prohibit, under certain circumstances, municipalities from discharging effluent into the sea. According to the Act as I read it, a municipality can discharge its sewage back into the river from where it took its water. Where the gradient is not right for that to be done, it may obtain permission from the Minister to discharge into another river or at some point other than the river from which it took the water. Has the hon. Minister the power to prohibit, or limit the amount of sewage that a municipality may discharge into the sea? That opens up another aspect of the matter an aspect which concerns the hon. Minister very vitally. There is a big school of thought—in which I believe the hon. Minister himself can be included—which believes that greater use should be made of effluent from cities for the manufacture of compost, etc. There is, in other words, a great proportion of fertility in effluent which could be put back into the soil. In regard to the discharge of sewage by a seaboard town into the sea, the modern school of thought is that this should as far as possible be limited. Sewage should be returned to the land to restore the fertility of the soil. Now, I would like the hon. Minister, or somebody else, to have the power to assist in that being done. The day is coming where we shall have to think very seriously about not putting any more usable sewage into the sea at all, but it should be kept on land and returned to the soil in the form of compost, etc. This is a very vital matter and of great importance to the country. As I read the Act at the moment I do not think it gives the Minister power to do this. I want him to have this power and to get development in this direction started.
May I just say this in conclusion, that actually a most important and interesting consideration is opening up for the future. I be-believe the day is not very far distant where, particularly in regard to cities on the sea coast, they will not be allowed to augment their water supplies from inland sources. Water should be kept inland and should not be allowed to flow into the sea. When the desalting process proves a success—and that will come in a few years’ time—then cities on the coast must take their additional water supplies from the sea. Water inland must be kept inland, because it is needed there. I hope that the hon. Minister will bear that in mind when applying the Water Act in future.
I want to support the hon. member for South (Coast) (Mr. Mitchell) in his plea that this Bill should go to a Select Committee.
Obviously, Sir, that hon.
member does not know as much about water as he says he does. He says that this Bill only makes small alterations to the Water Act but progress has been made so rapidly during the past few years that this Bill ought to make more alterations than it actually is doing. This Bill is tied up, Mr. Speaker, with the conservation of water and with the disposal of water. Under the disposal of water, we have to consider the disposal of clean water and of effluent. Now, the more water that is used by the towns, the more effluent will be produced and this effluent has to go somewhere. Local authorities to-day have a system whereby they dispose of effluent and this system may be satisfactory or not. The population of the platteland especially consists very largely of people who have not yet been educated to the dangers of the disposal of effluent into the streams and rivers. The hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) has gone so far as to say that detergents are causing a lot of damage by way of the effluent being poured into the sea. One of the reasons why I would like this Bill to go to a Select Committee is because I would like to see the hon. Minister taking a much greater interest in the disposal of water than he has up to now. He has up to now left it, more or less, to local authorities, to dispose of their water. The hon. member for Parktown also touched very briefly on marine life, but I am more concerned with the dangers to human life through the disposal of effluent into streams and rivers especially at estuaries. I would like the hon. Minister to ensure that growing industries along the coast, and especially at the mouths of rivers, where oyster beds, mussel beds are cultivated, should be carefully protected. It is being found that the breeding places of dangerous bacteria are in the vicinity of mussel and oyster beds; bacteria coming from the irresponsible disposal of sewage into small streams inland, but carried by rivers into the sea. We only have to have one epidemic of typhoid from oysters or mussels and our whole industry will be irreparably damaged. The same applies to our fishing industry, especially crayfish, and we have to make sure that no dangerous bacteriae are allowed to come into the sea from inland.
Are all kinds of fish affected?
No, only certain kinds of fish and especially the crustaceans. They may quite easly become affected because they harbour the germs and they go bad very quickly. Those members of the House who are interested in the fishing industry should be aware of a dangerous position that may occur to their industry. It may get a bad name through contamination. We in this country are lucky that the health of our people is on a very high level, especially amongst the White section of the population. The non-White section has, however, not yet been educated sufficiently to realize the dangers attached to the irresponsible disposal of sewage and nothing is more tempting to them than to pour it into running water. That water eventually goes down to the sea and it is at the mouths of the rivers that we find the greatest concentration of oysters and mussels. I am warning the hon. Minister now that he should take the necessary steps to prevent the pollution of clean water by irresponsible people and he must make sure that as from now coastal authorities will not be allowed to dispose of their effluent into the surrounding beaches. The damage that is done to human beings by polluted water in the coastal towns is negligible. People do not catch diseases by contact with it very much. The number of cases of diseases caused to people by direct contact with sea-water is negligible, but the number of cases which can occur to people who ingest food which comes from the sea in coastal towns can be very great and very serious. Those coastal towns which dispose of their sewerage into the sea must be asked to stop it immediately, and the Minister must now work hand in hand with the Department of Health to make sure that our coastline is kept free from contamination. Then I think that the Minister must work in harmony with the Minister of Education and make sure that a series of brochures and pamphlets and posters are put up in the schools of the Whites and non-Whites to teach them the dangers of contaminating water which may be in a dam or in a river. Those of us who know what is happening to-day must be aware of the possibility of large-scale epidemics breaking out because of this contamination. Then I want to say that with the changes that have taken place in the health of the nation, the new methods of treating disease, etc., I think that if this Bill had gone to a Select Committee and evidence had been taken there from other Departments, we would have found that many more changes would have been put on the Statute Book; and because of these matters which are dealt with briefly from the health point of view I feel that there is still time for the Minister to change his mind and to say that because of the health of the people and because of the fishing industry the time has come for us to get more advice when a Bill of this nature comes before us.
The two previous speakers, the hon. members for Parktown (Mr. Cope) and Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher) have rendered the country a service by referring to the important aspect of water pollution, an aspect to which the principal Act relates, but I do think they did the country a service by advancing that as a reason why this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. It was really the hon. member for Rosettenville who adopted that attitude. I briefly want to deal with this argument about water pollution. Personally I originally regretted it in 1956 that the whole question of water pollution was brought under the Water Act at that stage. The historical concept of the Water Act and of the Department of Water Affairs is that they should administer water affairs for agricultural purposes and this new aspect relating to the use of water for industrial purposes and the prevention of pollution was grafted on to this former department conception. Although I do not think for one moment that the time is opportune for this aspect of the legislation to be referred to a Select Committee, I wish to associate myself with the idea that the Government should consider whether this Act and the Department of Water Affairs is the best place where this question of water pollution should be dealt with. The fact is simply this, that because on the one hand there has been great technological development, we are faced with the possibility of greater pollution in modern industrial life, and because of technological development on the other hand we have better means of combating that pollution. The time will definitely arrive when the question of the combating of water and air pollution and the eliminating of the causes of pollution will have to be co-ordinated. Let me mention one problem: by trying to prevent liquid effluent the gases which are sometimes separated may cause pollution. You shift the pollution factor from the one to the other and we will eventually reach the stage where there will have to be a central authority to consider all the various aspects. I mention that merely in passing. I want to reply to the hon. member for Parktown.
I think the hon. member does not read the amendment in Clause 6 correctly in this sense that it is the place where the water appears that is subject to the conditions prescribed by the Minister and that those conditions do not apply so much to industrial effluent. In any case, that is how I read the clause. As far as the pollution aspect is concerned I also want to refer to Clause 8 which relates to the proclamation of control areas as far as boreholes are concerned, and which also provides that regulations may be issued in respect of a portion of a control area. I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister to see to it that his Department makes a thorough study of the administration of this section of the law. We have insufficient experience to be in a position to effect amendments but the fact of the matter is that the law does not at the moment provide a nexus between the superficial treatment of effluent and the potential pollution of boreholes. To give a practical example: There are smallholdings on the Rand that are dependent on water holes in the vicinity of industrial areas and some of those industries let their surplus water run on to that ground where it evaporates. Any layman can say with certainty that that process of evaporation, in other words that method of disposing of surplus industrial water, pollutes the bore holes on those smallholdings, but it will be practically impossible to prove that with any degree of certainty in a court of law and to obtain a court order for compensation or an order prohibiting that effluent from being disposed of in that way. In my opinion borehole water is not taken sufficiently into account in the section of the Act which deals with the pollution of water, and the whole question of protecting boreholes from acts that are done on the surface, such as disposing effluent on to it or any other act that is done in the water source area that feeds the boreholes, will have to be taken into serious consideration. In industrial areas where there are large numbers of smallholdings it happens fairly often that the surface gets polluted either through human waste, city waste or something else and that tail water constitutes an important source to those boreholes that are fairly shallow. Hitherto no investigation has been made to ascertain to what extent that water pollutes boreholes, and I trust the Minister’s Department will go into that aspect.
In conclusion I wish to refer to Clause 12, which amends Section 62 of the Act. I think this amendment will be as welcome as water to the farmer who has suffered under the original Section 62, because the rights of the farmers who were affected are now practically restored in toto. I want to deal with one aspect of Section 62 as amended, and that is the wide powers which the Minister has in respect of the issuing of permits. I want to preface my remarks by pointing out how important these powers are. For example, in terms of this amendment the Minister may in future, where such an order is not in operation, allocate water to somebody who has not developed his land previously and the Minister may allocate as much water as he thinks the Water Court would have allocated. In other words, the Minister may allocate as much water from a controlled stream in respect of undeveloped land as the Water Court would originally have allocated. This decision on the part of the Minister is as important as a decision by the old Water Court would have been. In days gone by people spent every penny they had on cases in the Water Court because it was so important to them to have water and this decision which rests with the Minister is equally important. I want to know this: Seeing that the Minister’s decision relates to rights of such enormous importance, is he not looking for trouble by taking that decision upon himself alone How is the Minister going to hear these representations? What form will it take because he has to decide on issues not involving £30 or £300, but he has to decide on issues which may over a long period of time assume a value of £10,000. The responsibility for these decisions places the Minister in two difficulties; firstly, he is placed in the difficulty of physically having to listen to the representations and of considering the vast colume of facts relating to such representations. The mere fact that reference is made to the Water Court in this context means that the Minister will have to consider all the facts and factors that a Water Court Judge, probably with the assistance of an engineer-assessor, would have had to consider. There is a massive volume of facts that the Minister has to study and consider. That is the first problem he is creating for himself, and the second problem is this: How will the Minister acquaint himself of the conflicting interests in the case. Will he hear verbal evidence or will memoranda be submitted to him or how is he to get acquainted with the facts.
Can the parties be present?
You may appear to state your case, but it is not stipulated exactly how that is to be done. I want to recommend to the Minister that when this section is administered in practice and he finds that a large number of representations are made to him ha should create machinery whereby those representations can be attended to and analysed and a report submitted to him. I agree with the principle that the final decision should rest with the Minister but I do not think we should exclude the possibility of establishing a statutory body to deal with those matters before they reach the Minister.
In conclusion I want to say that I welcome this amending Bill as a whole. In spite of the fact that I represent an urban constituency, I myself live in the vicinity of a water control area and I know that unwittingly the old Act created many problems and caused many heartaches. On behalf of the scores of citizens of this country who have been affected and who would have been affected by the old Act, I want to assure the Minister of their sincere gratitude for amending the Act timeously, and I want to assure him that in administering this amended Act he will probably be able to depend not only on the co-operation of the landowners concerned but on also their enthusiastic support.
I appreciate that the hon. member for Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn) has expressed the advantages of this amendment Bill, but I think he has also made a case for this Bill to be sent to a Select Committee and I hope the Minister will pay due regard to that. We approve of any improvements to the Water Act of 1956. We all appreciate that this Act is still like a new machine and has to be tested out in operation, and technical defects have to be remedied. But when principles laid down in the original Act are disturbed it should go back to the Select Committee. The Select Committee which sat on the original Act brought out a unanimous report. I myself did my level best, as a member of the Committee, to see that it came to this House with the unanimous support of that Committee. Now the Minister has introduced amendments to that Act in a form to make it a contentious proposition and I very much regret that.
Would the hon. member like to go back to the 1956 Act?
The answer is no. I said that I approved of certain amendments, but as a new machine, when it is put into operation there are certain things which just will not work. I understand that point put up by the Minister. I appreciate that Clauses 3 to 5 provide for defects in the original Act and I agree with that, but this question of purification of water and the disposal of effluent is quite a different matter and should not be left to the responsibility of the Minister and his Department. I think it is a responsibility that the Minister should not accept. The Select Committee on the original Act heard expert evidence and questions were put and the bodies affected met the Committee, and this evidence and our report are available to the public and can be studied. If a Select Committee sat, it could hear evidence in regard to the change in this legislation to justify it, whereas what do we receive from the Department of Water Affairs now? It is not enough that certain industries satisfy the Minister that certain provisions are impracticable. The many interests must be provided with an opportunity to give evidence, and that evidence should be given before a Select Committee. It should not be handled by the Minister. Especially matters affecting public health cannot be left to the discretion of the Minister. The Act is now providing for covering up illegal delays, the postponement of certain provisions of the Act being put into operation. I hope the Minister will explain why these delays have taken place. Evidence has been given in this House of gross pollution of water supplies. There are places where people have been prohibited from bathing on account of the unhygienic state of the water. It is now five years since this Act was passed, and nothing has been done. The Minister asks us to extend this period of three to five years up to ten years for people to make provision, but we have not seen any attempt being made to cope with the disposal of effluent from certain factories and towns which are creating conditions so detrimental to the health of the country. The hon. member for Cradock (Mr. F. H. Bekker) has been intervening to say that he cannot understand why the Opposition has not accepted this Bill with both hands, but any legislation regarding our water creates fears and misgivings because the whole of our economy is wrapped up in water which is the lifeblood of the whole nation. Human health, animal welfare and the productivity of our soil for the production of essential food depend on the efficient distribution of our water supplies. I hope the hon. member for Cradock will remember that when he criticizes the nervousness on this side of the House as regards some of the implications of this Bill. This Bill creates grave misgivings, in that the Minister seeks powers to override established riparian water rights and certain powers delegated to water boards in the principal Act. A principle of the principal Act was that no existing riparian rights would be disturbed. The hon. member for Cradock and every member who served on that Select Committee laid down the principle that existing riparian rights must not be disturbed in any way, but now the Minister is intruding on riparian rights of owners of property. A principle of the main Act was that no existing rights would be disturbed. We will discuss these when this Bill comes to the Committee Stage and we hope that intrusion on established rights will be removed. The hon. member for Cradock must remember that existing riparian rights remained inviolate under the 1956 Act. In this Bill the Minister aims at despotic powers in water-controlled areas. The Minister can allocate water supplies quite independently of the Water Courts. He can give a permit to an applicant who has been taking water unlawfully, and why should he have those rights? That is a matter which we will fight tooth and nail in the Committee Stage, that the Minister can allocate water supplies to a person who has been taking water illegally, a person who should be prosecuted, because we regard a person who steals water as a criminal in the same category as those who shoot game. There should be no back-doors for them, and the Minister should not put himself into a position where he can exonerate people who have been acting illegally. We should protect the Minister from such a responsibility and this side of the House will endeavour to do that and to protect the Minister from being exploited and from having perhaps political pressure being brought to bear upon him to favour certain individuals. I cannot see why the powers of the Water Court should be disturbed, and there should be no condemnation of irregular practices with regard to our water supplies. I hope the Minister will give us assurances that if the Bill is passed these powers will only be exercised in extreme circumstances. I refer to the dictatorial rights of the Minister in the water-controlled areas. In such an area a person enjoying riparian rights cannot even clean out his dam without the Minister’s permission, and not only that, but the Minister’s permission must be gazetted.
Where do you see that?
In Clause 11 the Minister seeks to ignore the rights of the property owners, which means that he is bringing this Bill into the category of a hybrid Bill. Sir, I have no doubt that you will agree with me when I put up my case that when the Minister expropriates land to make public roads leading to certain schemes he is by-passing a responsibility which is vested in the divisional councils and provincial councils and perhaps even in the Road Transportation Board. In regard to this particular clause, I would like to read the explanation given in the memorandum because it is a very serious matter and it will be taken up by property-owners in the country and I have no doubt that they will exercise all the powers available to them to thwart the Minister in this desire of his. The explanatory memorandum states that in terms of the present provision of the Act the Minister is not empowered to expropriate an access road to a Government scheme for the use of the general public; it is considered that whilst such schemes are brought about with public funds the general public should have access to the schemes for angling and picnicking, etc. What will the Minister do with it? He will be building an hotel on these grounds, next, to create a holiday resort. Then we want to know what type of road the Minister intends to build. Will it be an ordinary public road with the right to 30 feet on each side of the road, or will it be a divisional road with 50 feet, or will it be a national road with 100 feet, quite regardless of the absolute disruption it might create on certain farms? This clause is entirely too wide. It also states here that it happens that private owners allow access to members of the public against the payment of excessive fees. Is that the responsibility of the Minister, that he now has to control the fees that farmers charge people who fish in waters on their properties? Of course I quite see that the Minister should have control over the fish in the dam…. [Interjections.]
Mr. Speaker, can you not protect us from these continuous interjections that have been going on the whole afternoon?
The memorandum says that in one instance all the neighbouring owners have been prohibited from having access. Well, why not? It is the man’s own property and why should anyone have the right to cross it if they want to go fishing … [Interjections.]
Order! Hon. Members should not speak so loudly.
That memorandum says that it is for this reason that it was deemed desirable that the Minister should have expropriation powers to enable the public in this manner, if desirable, to have a measure of enjoyment of such Government undertakings. If the Minister will lay down the conditions under which he is going to apply this expropriation order it may enlighten us, or does he only want it for fishing purposes and picnicking and possibly for a hotel or the development of small townships? I would imagine that any development of that nature would be the right of the person on whose property the particular dam is built, but now the Government is going to expropriate that. It is stated here that—
I wonder what is meant by “any person”? Does the Minister perhaps regard himself as not a member of the public; is he the “person” referred to? We would like some enlightenment in that regard. Sir, with my experience of divisional councils and the outlook of farmers, I know that they regard their property rights as sacred and I shudder at this amendment that the Minister seeks to introduce, and, when the Minister replies, I would like him to indicate what type of road he has in mind. If development takes places along this road, would it perhaps eventually be a national road? Will the road perhaps eventually come under the control of the divisional councils or would it be a road that would be maintained by the Minister’s Department? I think that is quite a legitimate request. If the responsibility to the divisional councils connection with the construction of a road over private property for holiday purpose and fishing, will such a road be maintained by his Department or will the Minister delegate the responsibility to the divisional councils concerned? If so, will the Government make a special grant for this new road? There has been laughter in the House, but I can assure the Minister that this is a most serious matter, and I doubt whether the Minister has given the consideration to it that he should have done. I can assure the Minister that if we are given a satisfactory reply he will allay a storm which may arise in this country and create difficulties for him. Many kinds of difficulties may be created. The Minister also seeks the right for any person belonging to his Department to proceed on to the property of any farmer at any time of the day or night where a road is about to be constructed or under construction. Why cannot these things be done with a certain amount of politeness? Why cannot the official visit the farmer at his house and make arrangements with regard to his inspection? Why should this authority be given at any time of the day or night? I can assure the Minister that if Government officials intrude on some farms without any notice, they may be shot in spite of having a permit in their pocket. This is a serious matter. I would say that this whole Bill stinks of dictatorial control.
The hon. member should moderate his language.
He is probably going to set up some sort of water branch police.
Yes, perhaps the Minister has a story to tell us. We would be pleased to know what the Minister has to say about this matter and the crude way in which certain rights are provided for in this Bill.
It is really tragic to listen to the Opposition, Sir, because there has hardly been any constructive measure before the House this Session that they have not tried to disparage. A few minutes ago the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) again tried to joke about this important legislation. If the Opposition continues to act in that way I do not know whether we will ever be able to produce proper legislation for the public of South Africa without there being delays. The hon. member for Albany said that water was the life blood of this country; I agree with him, but why does he belittle legislation that can only be to the benefit of the country? Why this continuous wail that it should be referred to a Select Committee so that there can be further delay? I cannot reconcile that, and I take the strongest exception to the insinuation which the hon. member for Albany has made against the Minister. He said that the Minister was placing himself in a position where politcal pressure would be brought to bear on him to benefit certain people only. That was a despicable insinuation to make. I want to give the hon. member this assurance that neither this Minister nor any Minister of the National Party Government will ever make himself guilty of succumbing to any political pressure to do anything illegal.
I want to ask the Minister that in applying the provisions of this legislation, he should pay special attention to the serious pollution of the rivers east of the Drakensberg range, three rivers in particular in northern Natal. I want to start with the Black Umfulozi. I want to say at once that there has been some improvement lately because at one time the Black Umfulozi was so polluted by the Nyati coal mine that practically all the fish died, that the animals could not drink the water and that the farmers could not use it for irrigation purposes. The water contained such a lot of acid that sheep that crossed it lost their wool where it had become wet. Where citrus farmers watered their orchards with that water, not knowing that the water was so seriously polluted, some of the trees died. The second important river to which I want to refer is the Mkuze, which is polluted by the Coronation coal mine. When there are torrential rains in that area the water in that river is so polluted that it is pitch black and when the flood water subsides a two-inch thick deposit of coal ash and other dirt is left on the river banks. I have seen it myself. A few years ago a sample was sent to the Department and the riparian owners have suffered serious losses, apart from the fact that they cannot allow their animals to drink the water. Another threat has now arisen, a threat to probably one of the most beautiful rivers in the country, the non-silt bearing river Pivaan. In the valley of the Pivaan we have the most fertile and the best agricultural land in the country. The farmers along the Pivaan have now prepared their land for the planting of the Egyptian giant groundnut. That type of groundnut has to be irrigated but a certain anthracite mine has polluted that river to such an extent that practically all the fish in the river died last year. The pollution is continuing with the result that the farmers who have prepared their land for the planting of this Egyptian giant groundnut in that valley can no longer do so unless something is done immediately to prevent the pollution of the river. I want to make a serious appeal to the Minister and ask him, once this legislation has been piloted through Parliament, to do everything in his power to ensure that no further pollution of the water east of the Drakensberg range, particularly in the northern Natal, takes place. I want to point out that we have a limited water supply in the country. The Vaal River is being used to its capacity more or less and if we wish industries to develop we shall have to look east of the Drakensberg range for our water supplies.
The Orange River.
The Umtata River.
Yes, but do not let us become provincial. Everybody who knows northern Natal knows that we have practically everything there that heavy industries require. We have the water and we have the minerals but if the water is polluted and cannot be used then there cannot be any industrial development east of the Drakensberg range. Consequently I want to make a serious appeal to the Minister to see to it that no further pollution, particularly of those three rivers, takes place.
It has been of great interest to me to listen to members in this debate speaking mostly on the question of the pollution of water, whether it he of the rivers or the sea. But each speaker who has raised this matter—the hon. members for Heilbron (Mr. Froneman), Nelspruit (Mr. Faurie), Vryheid (Mr. D. J. Potgieter) and Kempton Park (Mr. F. S. Steyn), for example—has taken the view that when these amendments in Clauses 5, 6 and 7 have gone through, the Minister will be able to get on with the job of doing something about this pollution. Well, of course, that is just nonsense. The Minister has these powers, and what these hon. members should be doing is to tell the Minister that he has not carried out the job with which he was entrusted in this Act five years ago. Let us face the facts. In this Bill the Minister is asking us to extend by five years the period over which he can give exemptions. When the Select Committee sat on this Bill it realized the seriousness of the position and I believe that in this matter of the period for which the Minister can give exemption, the Select Committee picked out the best possible time. Sir, I wish I could have a little quiet. One can hardly hear oneself.
Order! I have repeatedly asked hon. members not to converse so loudly. The hon. member who is addressing the House can hardly hear himself and I am unable to hear him and I ask hon. members now to give the hon. member an opportunity to proceed with his speech.
Sir, when one reads through the first and second reports of the Select Committee one finds that the Select Committee gave a great deal of attention indeed to this very question of the pollution of our rivers and the sea. On page xii you will find two resolutions the second of which says this—
This was published in 1956. They gave the Minister a certain period in which to give exemption from the provisions of the Act, and they gave a further extended period to enable the Minister to come to the House and to have that period extended in certain circumstances. But what has in fact happened? The period which was extended by Parliament expires in June this year, and the Minister now finds himself in the position that if he does not get an amendment to this Bill to enable him to carry on giving exemptions, he is going to be in considerable difficulties because the exemptions he has given will have expired. Members may ask why I am taking this line of blaming the Minister. Provision was made in this Act for the Minister to lay down standards. Provision was also made for him to create an enforcement agency. Now, Sir, what has happened? Five years after he was given those powers, he has done neither of those things, and the proof of it is before us to-day. The proof is that after this period he now finds out that he cannot create standards to cover the whole of the Union to ensure the purity of water and now he comes back to us in this Bill, five years later, to ask us to amend the Act so that he can lay down a standard for each particular area and for each particular set of conditions. Why did he not find that out five years ago? That is when the Minister should have discovered that—not five years afterwards. Why could the Minister not five years ago, when he was empowered by his Act and charged under this Act with doing it, create some agency to enfore the anti-pollution measures provided for in this Act? They are very comprehensive and they gave him all the powers that he wanted.
Why did your committee members not recommend that?
It is clear that the hon. member has not read the report of the Select Committee otherwise he would not ask a question like that. Sir, the hon. member for Heil-bron said, “Look at the South Coast of Natal”—I am very grateful to him for saying that—“ the water is coloured red and the whole place is being ruined Of course it is. But those factories that operate there operate with the knowledge of the Minister. They create that pollution with the knowledge of the Minister. They have been doing it for some years and he has done nothing about it. In addition to that he is even allowing further industries to be established there. Sir, just to show you that I am not just being difficult in criticizing the Minister for his approach to this whole question of water pollution, I want to quote an example to you, and the more I think of it the more I must agree with the hon. member for Kempton Park who opened his address to this House by saying that he wondered whether the Water Bill was the right place for these water pollution control measures. I agree wholeheartedly with him that they should be taken out of this measure and placed under some central body to deal with the question of water and air pollution and pollution of any kind that might crop up, because obviously they are not being properly attended to here. I just want to quote a question which I put on the Order Paper on 30 June 1959 to the Minister.
Two years ago.
Yes. My question was this—
- (1)Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Natal Mercury of 24 June 1959 on the sea pollution problem connected with the establishment of a plant for producing titanium dioxide at Umbogintwini;
- (2)whether he has granted permission for the effluent to be discharged into the sea;
- (3)whether his Department has taken any steps to investigate the matter, and if so,
- (4) what were the findings of the investigation, particularly with regard to the effect of the effluent on (a) marine life and (b) the use of the beaches by the public.
His reply was—
[Laughter.] I hear an hon. member laugh; he is quite justified in laughing because following this I tried to find out the conditions under which this permit had been granted, and all I can find out is that by discussion between various people it was originally agreed that this effluent, which will have a “negligible effect” on marine life, had to be dumped in barges 20 miles out at sea. Obviously you would not dump effluent 20 miles out at sea if it was innocuous, if it was going to have little or no affect on marine life. But that is not all. Later on I believe the terms of this permit were modified so that these people could now build a pipeline a mile out to sea and discharge this effluent a mile off the beaches. The question was brought up as to what would happend if the sea broke the pipeline. Well, they could continue dumping it unless the Minister told them that they could not do so. Sir, what was the nature of this effluent? I went across to the Minister’s Department and asked if they had found out what the nature of the effluent was before they granted the permit. I asked them if they had certain information which was in my possession and they said that they did not. They also indicated that the permit had possibly been granted because the Department of Commerce and Industries had suggested that they might give it. Let me quote now from a report obtained from the American Bureau of Mines on titanium dioxide plants. They say here that the permit was to discharge 400,000 gallons of effluent per hour. I believe that was subsequently increased to 800,000. But this is what the effluent consists of: Two tons of sulphuric acid and three tons of ferric oxide per hour would be discharged. That is in itself quite a frightening factor. But somebody has gone to the trouble to illustrate exactly what this means. They say that it was suggested that a dump similar to the dumps in Johannesburg would rather serve the purpose, but they said that you cannot of course do that because the solids from this would accumulate at the rate of six feet per acre per fortnight. They have gone further and said that this would mean a covering of one inch over 72 acres per fortnight or 1/16th inch over 1,152 acres per fortnight. Sir, these figures might sound silly but they are not as silly as they sound, because this will be deposited over such a wide area of seabed that it will affect the coast of Natal from the north right down to the south. This is the effluent that this Minister said would be quite innocuous and that its effect upon marine life would be nil. I quote this just to show what happens. In addition, in this report the American Bureau of Mines insert a paragraph which they themselves underlined and in which they say—
The American Bureau of Mines regarded this as being of such considerable importance that they underlined every word of it. I make these points to illustrate what I said at the beginning of my speech, and that is that we are being asked in this Bill further to extend the period for exemptions by five years—not to solve our problems but I believe that if the Minister carries on in the next five years as he has in the last five years, he will simply be prolonging the agony for another five years and create five years more of problems for us in this regard.
While I am on my feet there are one or two other matters I would like to deal with. The first one is the clause in which the Minister wishes to give himself the right to increase loans for private dams from £30,000 to £100,000 without reference to Parliament. In the White Paper published on this Bill the explanation rather took my eye; it reads as follows—
First of all, that is not quite clear to me, but I take it that the Minister is indicating that there is extra work involved in tabling a report. In this connection Section 156 of the Act itself says—
From that it is quite obvious that in any case the Minister has to prepare estimates of the cost; he has to investigate the ability of the person applying for the loan to repay it; he has to ensure that that person will be able to repay it, and he has to ensure that it will improve the income from the land sufficiently to warrant building. I would like to know from the hon. the Minister what work it would save him if he does not lay reports of private works costing over £30,000 on the Table of this House? As far as I can see no work whatsoever will be saved. All it will do in fact, is to give him the right to sanction works up to the sum of £100,000 without presenting a report to Parliament.
The next item that I want to touch on briefly is Clause 12. Unfortunately the Minister has given us an amendment which he intends to move, but we are in some difficulty because that amendment is not rightfully before us; it will only be moved, I take it, in the Committee Stage. I would like to say to the Minister that if he is able to give us any information on whether his proposed amendment reduces or in any way affects the right of appeal which we believe a person has in connection with this section, then we would like him to give it to us at this stage to help us in our consideration of the amendment which he has told us he is going to introduce. Sir, at first when I considered this Bill I felt like the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) and the hon. member for South Coast that this may possibly be a hybrid Bill. I am satisfied now that it is not a hybrid Bill. But I believe that here the Minister might take into account the fact that it is going to affect the rights of many individuals, many municipalities and other organizations who in the past have had control of their own water affairs. I think it would be quite a good gesture if he did so. Although technically one cannot call it a hybrid Bill it borders on a hybrid Bill. I believe that if the Minister took that line he would be doing himself and everybody concerned a good turn, because he would then allow it to go to a Select Committee before the second reading and give the many people who are going to be affected by this amendment an opportunity to put their case before a Select Committee of this House, and I believe that a better Bill will result from that.
I want to touch merely on one aspect of this Bill, the one generally relating to the implications of the Bill as it affects the local authorities, and I want to say at the very outset that there is no question about us supporting the general principles of the Bill which aim at the protection of our water supplies, there is no question of giving the fullest possible support to the protection of our coastal areas, our rivers and whatever territories are affected by the discharge from sewerage schemes or other effluents from various sources. I think that is an axiom that any member of the House will support, and I go so far as to say every responsible body of opinion outside will also do so. That is the first axiom in our dealings with the preservation and the best use of our water supplies. So whatever criticism I may appear to make in other directions must be accepted on that basis that the whole aim is to find the best possible solution to the problem whilst solidly supporting that main principle of the Bill.
Having said that, I want to say that I think there are probably very few subjects that we have got to deal with which have to be dealt with or approached in a more cautious manner and with a greater appreciation of the many wide problems that are involved in this particular question. Both in the use of the water available and the protection of the various features that I have mentioned from pollution.
I believe, Sir, and I speak perhaps with quite substantial experience of dealing with both such aspects in an area which has suffered acutely from lack of water and which also has had 60 or 70 years experience of a sewerage system with its effluent discharge into the sea. Now I want to say that I think the whole problem must be approached from three main aspects. One is a new area that is developing, where the answer is a fairly easy one, because conditions can be laid down there before the area is developed, or as a condition of its development—conditions laid down both as regards the water supply and with regard to any safeguarding against pollution. That is the simplest case of the lot and I think it can be reasonably dealt with. Then, Sir, there is the other very difficult case, and here again it breaks into two features, the question of dealing with the older established coastal areas where the sewerage discharge systems have developed say over a period of 50 or 60 years in accordance with the accepted practice of the day. To-day they form practically the health foundation of very big areas. There I am one who strongly supports the principle that every case has to be dealt with on its own merits. There are hardly two cases of your major areas along the Union’s coast where the features affecting their disposal of effluents of various natures do not vary due to local and geographical conditions of the particular areas concerned. As I say, it has to be divided into two sections because there is such a wide divergence between dealing with the pollution danger as it affects the rivers and as it affects the open sea. I am only mentioning these points to give some idea of the very widespread nature of the problem one has to face when dealing with this matter.
In passing, I think we have also got to accept that whilst the general discussion appears to hinge around the local authorities in the coastal areas, we must not lose sight of the fact that the state itself is one of the biggest contributors towards the pollution of our coastal areas, particularly in the areas where we have the larger ports and where the sewerage disposal works in most of those ports is the system accepted at the time of its installation is that of direct discharge of crude sewerage into the sea. So what affects the local authorities will also have to affect the state and to a very large extent it will require the state to give the lead in dealing with that problem.
I want to deal first with the local authorities. Two of the biggest difficulties which have to be overcome in order to carry out these proposals, however necessary or desirable they may be and however much we support them, are first of all the cost of the change-over and secondly, the time factor to carry out the change. Included in the problem is also in many cases the geographical lay-out, the topography of the area concerned, which presents many problems and which has been taken into account in existing schemes of sewerage disposal which in some cases are probably spread over even in your smaller towns, from ten to 12 miles. Even in your smaller towns they run a main sewerage which extends anything up to ten or 12 miles with discharges into the sea at various points. So the cost of any complete change-over to a scheme for comprehensive prevention of the danger of pollution must be a very costly one, and, for a time, whilst the transformation is being effected, it must also entail very drastic control over the health of the area because nothing can affect it quicker than any interruption of a well-established sewerage scheme. As I said earlier on, the whole foundation of your health services depends on that. Those are two of the main problems one has to face there, and with the best will in the world of the local authority concerned, these are two problems which one cannot get over so easily. That difficulty also applies to the state itself.
Now it is no good us refusing to face the fact that unless we can get over the financial problem, it is going to take a long, long time to create the remedies that this Bill seeks to create. After all that is probably the basis of the criticism made here this afternoon, the time-lag which has taken place.
I want to stress this point also, one which I think has got to be taken into very, very strong account, viz. that the local authority in carrying out these existing disposal works could only do so after first having submitted its scheme and plans to the provincial authorities under whose jurisdiction they fall. Where the outfall went beyond the boundaries of the tidal flows, they met with the approval also of the Government health authorities. So that the plans, to my knowledge in all cases, have had to be submitted and approved first by the Provincial authorities and then by the Union Health Authorities who impose such conditions as are considered desirable and necessary, to guard against pollution and under these conditions any such local authority went ahead with its schemes. But the facts have changed. The use of certain materials and detergents in effluents from certain factories and other things like that, have altered the position. But that still does not get us over the fact that the schemes were established under the law of the land as it then was and subject to the control and authority of the Government. And here I may answer the question that was put by the hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope). In the Cape Province, at any rate, there has been absolute control wherever any local authority discharged its sewage or other effluents into the sea. The provincial authority in conjunction with the Union authorities had the power and have continually exercised them either to stop any works being carried out in a form or in an area where they considered it to be undesirable or dangerous. Where in other cases when they have approved of the establishment of such works, there was overall control. Now when those local authorities carry out their works (and this covers the whole of the Union) tremendously large sums of money have been expended on the establishment of these sewerage works, including the outfalls. Under the practice of fund-raising for capital works by local authorities, in the majority of cases they have involved the floatation of loans which in turn have involved public finance companies throughout this country and in other countries who subscribe to those loans. In many cases those loans still exist and the rights of those private companies and people still exist in regard to certain liens placed on ratepayers properties as a result of those loans. It does appear to me that it is getting very, very near to what would be a hybrid Bill when we come to take all these ramifications and financial liabilities or responsibilities which would be entailed and are already entailed into account. It does not stop just with the local authority. I suppose there is hardly a local authority in the country whose overall sewerage works in some shape or form have been entirely paid for or where there is not some outstanding loan liability, again loans which were raised with the approval of and after the details were submitted to the provincial authorities and in the major cases also to the state control of finance. That is the background, Sir, against which we have to approach the situation. At the same time I don’t think there is the slightest hesitation on the part of any local authority, except on the score of the two points I have made: Their complete inability to face the cost of this big change-over and what you might call the mechanics of the scheme mainly the time factor, which are beyond their power at the moment to face up to. Get rid of those two features, and I don’t think there is any municipality in the country that would not heartily support this Bill.
But I do want also to touch on this point, Sir, I have listened to-day here, and previously in this House, to statements being made with regard to pollution and the dangers of pollution which rather imply to one who has been closely associated with these matters, that they go well beyond the bounds of possibility or reality. There is no question about it that with the development of industry such as has taken place, the new industries which have developed, and the new chemicals used that there are certain effluents which are completely deadly to any form of animal, fish or marine vegetation or water vegetation, life and dangerous to human beings from the point of view of both poisoning and pollution. There is no question about that. But dealing with the general average city or town and its sewage matter, as the position is to-day, and even allowing for the effects of modern detergents which have to some extent altered the position there, I want to say that my experience over the last 40 years, is that, whether it is palatable or not, some of the best fishing that one possibly comes up against is in the areas of your sewage outfalls; some of the best professional fishing, business fishing where they use nets, is in the vicinity of your sewage outfalls where the best catches are taken. Whether it is desirable or palatable, I am not discussing. I am referring merely to statement regarding the killing of the fish life in the area. And then we come to the question of the marine growth, and there again in certain areas and under certain conditions of what one might call industrial pollution there are these big dangers, but on the other hand one of the biggest troubles of your local authorities in regard to their sewage outfalls into the sea is to prevent the tremendous amount of marine growth which takes place on and inside of that outfall where it submerges into the sea, and these outfalls have periodically to be opened up in order to clean out the type of marine life, the shellfish and various types of marine life which appear to thrive in such an area rather than to die off. Also as far as the rocks are concerned, there is very little sign in those areas of loss of life. There is also the danger of mistakes even by the trained scientists, Sir. I want to quote an example, without casting any reflection on the people concerned, because it is a very tricky subject. I quote an example in the not very distant past where an examination was carried out in an area in an attempt to ascertain the amount of pollution that might come from an outfall, and a report was prepared in which were laid down fairly stringent criticism regarding the pollution which was noted there. The grounds given was the presence of a slimy, black deposit discovered on the rocks for quite an appreciable distance on either side of the outfall. It was attributed to the pollution arising from the outfall. The outfall itself dealt with sewage which had to pass through a sedimentation tank and was treated before the effluent only went into the sea, treated in accordance with plans, passed by the provincial and Government health authorities. But the actual black slimy matter was not sewage effluent, it was an oil-fuel deposit from a broken oil-fuel pipe supplying one of the war ships. It is a fairly common occurrence in the area, so common that the system has grown up between the two authorities concerned, that when oil-fuel had been advertently discharged into the sea, the authority responsible send a gang to clean up the rocks in the vicinity that had been polluted. But one of the officials examining it thought that he had discovered pollution from the outfall. I merely mention that, not in a spirit of criticism, but as an example of how careful one has to be of forming hasty judgments and to leave the matter to a large extent to experts who have had experience in the matter.
Then I want to touch on this point when coming to the question of pollution: It has been the practice, I would say for the last 15 years, probably longer, that the governmental authorities, the province and the state, in approving, where they do approve, of any discharge of a sewage outfall into the sea, have never approved of direct sewage outfall. It has always had to be done, or at least generally has had to be done, in the main by the installation of a very large sedimentation tank, chlorination, and the various other forms of treatment, as a result of which only the treated effluent generally finds its way to the sea. This has been the system up to now, and again, the establishment of this system, which has had to be applied to many of the existing outfall works, which have been in existence in some cases to my knowledge for over 40 years, these particular precautions have had to be fitted to it with a view to prevent pollution, and that in doing so has incurred very large expenditure. There are features which will have to be taken into account by the state, before any hard and fast dictum can be laid down to local authorities just as to what they have to do. One has to overcome, and I think that is the major difficulty to overcome, the financial costs of this new change. Now I want to make a suggestion to the hon. the Minister which he might consider. And here is where I feel that the proposal of this side of the House, the reference of this matter to a Select Committee, comes in. There all the points can be dealt with by the people who have the day by day experience, their evidence can be heard and considered by the committee concerned. Therefore I want to suggest to the hon. the Minister that he should fall in with the proposal to refer the Bill to a Select Committee before the second reading. As I say, the financial problem is one of the biggest factors, the inability of certain areas owing to their size, not because they lack the will, to meet the financial costs involved. You have the same difficulty in respect of our new modern road system, and a system has been development there by the provincial authorities that of establishing a Road Fund, whereby a certain amount of the cost of a scheme which is deemed to be beyond the capacity of the authority concerned, is met from that Road Fund in the form of a percentage subsidy. We have established the same principle in regard to the very conservation of water, with regard to the building of dams by local authorities. Where it is beyond their capacity but necessary for the area to have the water, the state has been very helpful both with regard to subsidies and technical advice and assistance.
I want to suggest to the hon. the Minister that he might consider that aspect of the problem in application to pollution problems. I am convinced that with the best will in the world without some such system, it is going to be a long, long time before it is possible to bring about the improvement which I believe we all desire.
I want to touch on one other aspect that has been mentioned in one or two speeches, particularly by the hon. member for Park-town (Mr. Cope). He propounded the idea that—broadly this is the idea—no urban authority should be allowed to bring water in from the country districts in order to meet its requirements. Well, I am sorry, but as far as I am concerned, I have never heard of a more fantastic proposal. Your big centres in the country districts, your major towns, what are they established for, what is their object, why are they there? It is because they are the focal point of the business in the whole of that area, they fulfil a necessary function in the business which goes on in the country areas. They are the venue through which the produce, or whatever it may be, of the country areas is dealt with and marketed, and they are a part of the country, just as one’s fingers on your hand are all part of one body. To say that the urban areas, the town areas must not use the water from the country, is just an impossible suggestion. I agree again that there must be a fair apportionment, that each part must get the quantity of water, as far as we have got it, necessary for its particular needs and life. But to say that one cannot use it! You might just as well say that the produce grown in the country must not be brought into the towns to be used, or the fish caught in the sea must not be brought inland …
Order! The hon. member should now come back to the Bill.
Sir, that suggestion has been put up and I want to give the counter answer to it, because this is a matter which is vital to local authorities. I hardly know of one town in the Union which has a water supply running through the town sufficient to meet the requirements of the town. We have not the large rivers in this country where you build your cities on the banks or the side of the river and then take your water supply from the river. Most towns have to depend on water being brought in from some other area, and as long as the balance is held fairly between the two areas, then that is the answer. But in either direction stopping the flow of a vital necessity, is just too fantastic for words.
I have covered the main points I wanted to make and which I believe require consideration. There are many more features one could deal with, but I think I have given enough examples to support the request of this side of the House that this whole matter is of such importance and has such wide ramifications and such important consequences for the everyday life of this country, that it warrants the matter going to a Select Committee for these points to be thoroughly examined and threshed out before we finally pass such legislation.
I am afraid that one or two members on the Government side who have taken exception to the contribution made by us in the course of this debate, have not read the long Title of the principal Act which is “To consolidate and amend the laws in force in the Union relating to the control, conservation and use of water for domestic, agricultural, urban and industrial purposes”, and I am surprised, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member for Vryheid (Mr. D. J. Potgieter) should complain that we are opposed to this Bill. We want to make this a better Bill and for that reason we ask that it should be sent to a Select Committee. We do not intend to obstruct, and, Mr. Speaker, I think you will agree that the amount of evidence given by members on this side has shown explicitly that there is a case for a further examination of the Bill. I don’t think there can be any doubt about it at all. I do not propose to go into the details of the question of pollution. That has been adequately dealt with. I want to deal with one particular aspect and that is the question of industrial water. It is quite clear that, as the hon. member for Umlazi (Mr. H. Lewis) has pointed out not enough thought was probably given by the Minister when the permit was granted to an industry to establish itself on the Natal South Coast. You see, Mr. Speaker, if the hon. the Minister is going to carry out the objectives of the principal Act, that is the conservation of water, then far more meticulous attention should be given to the granting of permits, particularly when there is competition between industry and agriculture and the general municipal uses of water. It appears to me that in this particular case probably the Department of Economic Affairs made a recommendation that it was in the economic interest of the country that this industry should be established, and the hon. the Minister on the recommendation of another department agreed to the industry being established. But the troubles that have arisen since then are such that it is virtually impossible for the Minister to go back. We do not want to see the Minister making further mistakes and running the risk of industries being established where it is difficult to control them. Furthermore, with the siting of industries one has to have regard to the type of water they use. Not all industries use the same type of water. For instance there are industries that can use water which has formerly been used for other purposes and they can be established in a position where they can effectively take out water which has been first processed. Some industries use raw water and only deal with raw water. There are industries which need water for cooling purposes and could readily be established near the sea and use seawater, thereby conserving fresh water. We have an example here on the Forsehore of Cape Town where the Power Station for cooling purposes uses seawater from Table Bay, and obviously it would be unwise for the Minister to grant a permit for the use of water for cooling purposes from Cape Town when in effect seawater can serve the same purpose. In that way he is conserving the fresh water supply of Cape Town. Similarly there are other parts of the world where industries are established which use water for heating purposes only and they use water from sewerage works, water which has been processed, and it is used only for heating purposes. I understand that that is contemplated when new oil refineries are established in this country. Instead of having to use raw water, that is to say municipal water supplies, which should have priority for domestic purposes, and industries of that kind could use sewerage water which has been treated, and I suggest that we have made out a case for the examination, the closer examination by a Select Committee of this whole matter to ensure that water is used in the most effective manner possible.
We will save water in that way and will ensure that by using water three or four times for various purposes, the most efficient use can be made of that water. The cost to the community can also thereby be reduced. I hope the hon. Minister will not regard our plea for a reconsideration of the matter by a Select Committee as an obstruction but rather as an attempt by this side to see that the country gets a better Bill. I would like to draw the attention of the Minister particularly to Clauses 10 and 13 and would like to ask him whether these clauses were introduced particularly to stop municipalities in certain of our areas using water where the hon. Minister is of the opinion that that water can be conserved not for the benefit of one municipality only but for a group of municipalities and other users. The reason why I raise this is that the Minister knows of the controversy which has recently developed between the Municipality of Durban and his Department over the establishment of dams on the Umgeni River. The Durban Municipality wanted to build a dam on the Umgeni River to meet the requirements of Durban and its environments for the foreseeable future. The Minister and his Department, however, made an extensive survey and as a result of that survey it was shown that by the establishment of dams higher up the river, not only could Durban be provided for but also Pietermaritzburg and the Camperdown area, as well as of part of the Bantu areas under the control of the hon. Minister for Bantu Administration and Development, and certain agricultural areas on the North Coast of Natal where there are sugar plantations. By establishing dams higher up the river, it seemed possible to provide more water to be distributed by the various municipalities, thereby supplying far more areas than would have been the case had the Durban Municipality built its own scheme. It seems to me, on reading the Bill, that Clauses 10 and 13 have that object in view and I would like the hon. Minister to say whether that is his objective. I am not quarrelling with the hon. Minister’s decision to establish the dams in that area, but we would like to have more information on that aspect.
I would like at this stage to make a final plea to the hon. Minister to give further consideration to the suggestion made from this side of the House, namely that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee before its Second Reading. Our objective by that is to get a better Bill. We feel that the Minister’s Department, as a result of the experience gained since this present Act was first placed on the Statute Book, has appreciated that there are far more problems than that which were at first contemplated. In answer to the hon. member for Vryheid, I would like to point out that members of this House worked for three years on a Select Committee and brought back to Parliament a virtually agreed measure. I feel certain that if this Bill is sent to a Select Committee so that all sides can have the opportunity of examining it objectively and pooling their experience while also drawing upon the experience of others who undertook the administration of the Act over the past four or five years, we will get a better Bill, and that mainly as a result of having sat round a table and pooling experiences rather than by hammering out the Bill clause by clause in this House. Where this Bill has failed, it has failed because the Department did not contemplate the many administrative difficulties which arose since the Act was placed on the Statute Book. In view of these facts, I trust that the hon. Minister will give further consideration to our request that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee.
Mr. Speaker, I found it partly interesting, partly edifying, but otherwise boring and disappointing to listen to all the speeches that have been made in this House on the Bill that is before us for discussion. Apart from the elderly hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) and the hon. member who has just sat down, I do not think that we have had anything from the official Opposition of a positive or constructive nature. We only had two speeches from the small Progressive Party, and I think both those speakers made valuable contributions towards the solution of the real problems which are referred to in the Bill. However, I wish to thank the few members opposite and those members who made speeches on this side for their contributions, speeches which had mainly to be of a instructive nature because of the ignorance revealed by the official Opposition of the problems connected with the Water Act.
The hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) does little with which I agree; neither do I agree with a great deal of what he says other people should do, and nor does he say a great deal with which I agree, but I could really not agree with any of the objections that he raised against this Bill, particularly not with the amendment that he moved that this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. Not one of the speakers who supported that idea made out a good case in that respect. I have in mind the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) who strongly supported him. All he did was to make wild statements about violating principles, that the Minister was taking powers unto himself which he ought not to have at all; that he was infringing on the rights of riparian owners which were entrenched in the 1956 legislation, and so forth. As far as the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) is concerned, I do not even want to reply to him at all because his whole speech was irresponsible, to say the least of it.
When we consider an amending Bill in this House and the Minister who introduces it makes a statement to the effect that it does not change any of the principles contained in the principal Act, and hon. members ask that such a Bill be referred to a Select Committee before the second reading, such reference to a Select Committee can serve no purpose; if principles are not involved it can serve no purpose. Surely we discuss the principles that are involved in a Bill during the second reading, do we not? You then compare it with the provisions contained in the principal Act and ascertain whether there are changes which affect matters of principle. When we do that we decide whether it is necessary to refer it to a Select Committee. Hon. members opposite have definitely not produced that proof.
I agree with two remarks made by the hon. member for South Coast at the beginning of his speech in connection with the extremely important problems connected with the Water Act, remarks on which not only he and I agree, but on which I think everybody on both sides of the House agree. To put his case as strongly as he possibly could he said, “Water is life I agree with him—water is life. Water is quite rightly not only the most important, but it is also the most essential natural resource that we have at our disposal—we cannot do without it. That is why I agree with the hon. member that it is important how we use our water supplies, how I, as Minister of Water Affairs and my Department give effect by means of legislation to an instruction given to me as representatives of the State, to take control over practically all the water supplies in South Africa. That, of course, is of the utmost importance. That being so, I want to go further. I want to say to the hon. member that not only do I regard the 1956 legislation as the most important legislation, as falling into the category of the most important legislation that has ever been passed by this Parliament since the establishment of Union, but I go further and I say that this is also one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation that we have ever had. Many of the things of which hon. member are accusing me, for example that I wish to take certain powers, according to them—that I find disappointing—are rights which they wittingly or unwittingly placed in the hands of the Minister when the Act was consolidated in 1956. They gave him extraordinary power—that was necessary, and I believe that was done consciously. Originally there was a commission under the chairmanship of Judge Hall, which sat for four years, and they accepted the principle that it was in the interests of the country and that the time had arrived that more and better control be exercised over our water resources. They submitted draft legislation which was referred to a Select Committee on which hon. members present served and to which reference has been made. The members who served on that committee did excellent work. They effected many improvements. But because that Select Committee scrutinized that draft legislation and effected many improvements, it does not mean that that legislation is perfect. If it were a valid argument to say that because you had ample time to consider legislation, that that was a guarantee that you had good legislation, I think the draft Bill submitted by the original commission was a much better one than the one which we had in 1956. Because the commission sat for four years on that draft Bill of theirs, whereas the Select Committee only devoted three years to studying and amending it. I think the one we have is a great improvement on the original one—a very great improvement. Never as yet has legislation been passed by Parliament and placed on the Statute Book where it has not become necessary at a later stage, after it had been applied, to amend it because of administrative difficulties that had cropped up. It becomes evident at a later stage that is is necessary to change that legislation in order to make it easier of application or possible of administration.
Let me give an example. I am not going to deal with the clauses in detail. I wish to refer to the amendment in Clause 12, for example, which deals with Section 62 of the Act. Hon. members should read the original Act themselves or they may get legal opinion on it. I want to make this statement. I know it was not the intention and desire of the draftsmen of that Act, nor of the members of the Select Committee; it was not the intention of Parliament that that should be the position, neither do I think it was the intention of the original commission, but nowhere in the 1956 legislation is the Minister compelled to consider the rights of riparian owners, rights which have existed from one generation to the other and under which they were entitled to abstract water from a river for irrigation purposes—nowhere in the 1956 legislation is it provided that the Minister shall be obliged when he proclaims an area a State control water area to consider the rights of those riparian owners who have never exercised their rights and to allocate water to them. It is left entirely to his discretion to do so or not. Does any hon. member want to tell me that while you have to carry out the law and proclaim State water control areas, and while the Department and the Minister have to do their work under the Act, work which was formerly done by a water court, that that will not create difficulties? It is not work that we are anxious to do. The whole country and Parliament unanimously decided to give these unlimited powers, without any provisos, to the Minister of Water Affairs, who is the representative of the State in this case, in order to control the water. This simply means that with its application the first question that arises is why is there discrimination between two groups of owners. Everybody bought the land for the same purpose, namely to irrigate it. They purchased land along the river and they paid more for that land, as the hon. member for South Coast pointed out, because the idea that that person had at the back of his mind was to go in for intensive agriculture once he had made the necessary provision to place the land under water. Once he does that the capital value of his farm increases. That is why he is prepared to pay a higher price than he would have had to pay had be bought non-riparian land. He now finds that he cannot develop that land because of other difficulties. It may be that he bought the land just prior to the introduction of the 1956 legislation or before the area was proclaimed a State water control area; perhaps he lacks the necessary capital; perhaps he is waiting for sons or whoever it may be to help him with the developmental work. He is now in a position to develop his farm and I say it as a fact that as the 1956 Act reads at the moment I can decide to refuse any riparian owner who has not developed his property within a State control water area the right to abstract any water. But you do not want to do that because the spirit of the law is that those people should be given rights. But what the people are dissatisfied about is this, that whereas the law provides that people who have already developed their land, or where a water court has given a ruling, and where their water rights are embodied in a servitude and are registered, those rights to develop plus the registered water rights are recognized. If the Minister allocates rights in a State water control area to people and they think that an injustice has been done towards them, they have the right to appeal to the water court against the Minister’s decision and against the permit issued by him for abstraction; whereas the riparian owner who has undeveloped land has not got that right under the old Act, even though his irrigation potential may be very much more and though he owns much more riparian land than the man who has developed his land. It is in the absolute discretion of the Minister to allocate water to him. If he is dissatisfied with the amount allocated to him he has no right of appeal to the court. Those are the provisions of the 1956 legislation. Since I have become the Minister that has been the main complaint and one of the greatest causes of dissatisfaction that I have come across. I as a practical irrigator and as someone who has been mainly dependent on irrigation for my livelihood, think it is impossible to apply this Act to the satisfaction of all those interested and the riparian owners, unless a provision is inserted somewhere to the effect in the first instance that the people should know what formula is applied when water is allocated within a State water control area. Before I entered the Department that was kept secret. I do not think the country knows what formula is used when water is allocated to irrigators, unless the Minister or the Director of Water Affairs or any other responsible person goes to every place and explains the formula to everybody. The complaint is that people want to know on what basis it is done so that they will at least have an idea as to whether they are getting a square deal and whether there has not been an inadvertent miscalculation; whether the basis of allocation is sound, whether it is a reasonable basis, or whether there is a vestige of discrimination as between one owner and another, or whether everybody is treated on an equal basis. This amendment provides not only that he will have a right of appeal, but in every area that I proclaim as a water control area, I am compelled by law not only to make the formula public but also to make public the data that I am going to use and the water that I am going to allocate so that everybody can form his own opinion. I also have to make public the amount of land that I have taken into consideration so that the person who receives a permit can judge whether he has been unjustly treated: whether he is not perhaps being treated differently from his neighbour. If he is convinced, after consulting his legal adviser that this is the formula and this is the basis and these are the data, that an injustice has been done to him, he may appeal to an impartial water court and ask for a decision. The reason why we make it the water court is, as I said during my second reading speech, that we are still trying to reduce the costs in connection with water court cases, so that it will be easier for a person to go to a water court. In any case we know it will be much more costly to go to an ordinary court for a decision in such a case.
I cannot understand the opposition therefore, except that it may be based on two grounds. I want to be reasonable and I take it that the opposition is based on the second one. I am not taking more power, nor is the Department, but I am delegating some of my powers for which no provision was made in the principal Act, and I cannot understand why the Opposition objects to that. There can only be two reasons, they oppose it just for the sake of opposition—just to be negative; to try to make things difficult by advancing arguments. I am not saying that that is the reason. I take it that the reason is that hon. members opposite have never fully understood the implications of the 1956 legislation and consequently cannot fully apprecaite the amendments which I am proposing. In other words it is merely on account of lack of knowledge and understanding that they are raising these objections and not on account of ill will. I would rather attribute it to ignorance.
Mr. Speaker, now I want to deal with the question of access roads. There is not one governmental work that can be approached directly by a main road. In every case we have to construct a road to reach it. The Department of Water Affairs have to make arrangements and obtain the approval of the owner or occupier of the land to use a road or to make a road. We construct the road. The road is not of national road standard—for the information of the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker)—it is simply a road to give us access and which is good enough to provide access to the works, because we have to convey material and so forth to and fro. That road passes over a person’s property. Usually we hire that right from him. We pay him rent or something like that. That means we have the road. We have the land around the dam and if we do not have the right where necessary—not necessarily in all cases—to expropriate that road our position will be untenable. When we expropriate, it is the Department of Water Affairs that expropriates because the law provides that we should follow the procedure for expropriation as laid down by law, as laid down by the hon. member for South Coast and other members who served on the Select Committee. The procedure and the principles to be followed when expropriating in respect of any land to which the Department of Water Affairs wishes to have access, must be those as laid down in the Water Act. But the compensation to be paid is determined by the Land Board. The hon. member says that there is no uniform basis of expropriation, as for example the provincial authorities. But the provincial authorities are not the only authorities that have the right of expropriation. Many authorities have that right. The Department of Lands expropriates for its own purposes. The Department of Agricultural technical Service have to expropriate. The Railways expropriate and everyone has his own system. The bases differ. The hon. member for South Coast should have thought about a uniform basis of expropriation at the time when this legislation was before the Select Committee, this is certainly not the time to do so. It is out of the question to think that we can do it and to advance that as a reason why this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. I do not think we have so much time that we can afford to waste years sitting on it, but that is out of the question. I cannot understand it. I said during the second reading debate that I would explain the position fully to hon. members during the Committee Stage.
Somebody asked whether a person should not have the right to refuse to allow us to pass over his property. The law does not for example give us the right to pass over a person’s private property on to land that we have already expropriated and which is already in our possession, land that we have not expropriated in the interests of the public but in the interests of the country. We do not expropriate in the interests of a section of the people or in the interests of a particular community. We must have access to that land. Let me give another example.
One of the points most often raised by practically every member who was not anxious to explain what certain things meant to those who did not understand them but who had the time to speak at length on the legislation, was the question of water pollution. Water does not only get polluted where you have a concentration of people like in a city or where there are industries. Pollution takes place at various places. You have pollution in public streams. It happens in the sea. It also happens where water is stored. His attitude is that we should not even have access to a State scheme and there is one polluting factor that comes into play. How much you inspect it? It is difficult to believe that a responsible Opposition can make such a hullabaloo about a matter like this and what have they achieved? It is nothing but a storm in a teacup. The hon. member for Albany can never resist the temptation to bring in politics. He said there were two ways to get rid of the Minister, either by shooting him or voting him out and he suggested shooting!
The Department suggests that the law be changed in such a way that where irrigation boards grant a loan of less than £30,000, and where no White Paper is required, the position should be brought into line with Government schemes and that the amount should be increased to £100,000 and that White Papers should only be submitted to Parliament in respect of loans in excess of £100,000. I have no set ideas about that and after I have heard the arguments of various hon. members I decided to move an amendment in the Committee Stage in substitution of this which will in essence re-insert the old clause in the Act with this further provision that where it is implied that a White Paper should be submitted in respect of loans of more than £30,000 there should be a White Paper in respect of all loans in excess of £30,000 but only where the amount constitutes a loan, whether it is a fresh loan or an additional loan, but that no White Paper will be required in respect of amounts less than £30,000. The reason is this: There are more than 200 irrigation boards and say for instance a board received a loan of £20,000 25 years ago. It is done administratively and there is good security for that loan and no White Paper is submitted; 15 years later the dam breaks as a result of floods or improvements have to be effected and they apply for a further loan of £8,000. They must also provide security in respect of the additional loan and the Minister has to satisfy himself that it is necessary and economic and within their means. The loan is granted and that makes the loan £28,000. But 20 years later they ask for a further loan of £2,100. In that case the total loan that they have received over a period of 40 years amount to over £30,000 and as the law stands at the moment we have to interpret it to mean that—there is a difference of opinion between the legal advisers of the Deeds Registry Office and my own legal advisers—but in terms of the interpretation which the Deeds Registry Office places upon it they refuse to register any further bonds and that makes it impossible for us to grant the further loan of £2,100 which they may require for essential works in order to be able to get the full benefit from a scheme which has already cost them £28,000 over the years unless we submit a White Paper to Parliament in respect of a transaction which took place 40 years ago because the total amount exceeds £30,000—that is what we want to eliminate. We do not want to be required to submit a White Paper in respect of a loan of merely £1,000. Immediately after the second reading the amendment will be printed so that hon. members will have sufficient time to study it and I hope it will not be necessary to take the Committee Stage of this Bill either to-morrow or on Friday. I think we should have the cooperation of everybody. I and my Department only want to do what is best for the country and all we want is to be placed in a position where we can apply this complicated legislation as best as possible.
I now want to deal with the question of evidence in court. There is a provision here that where there is litigation between two parties in respect of water the Government feels that it can assist the water court by making certain documents or data available—not data to prejudice the one party against the other; we are not concerned about who is in the right and who is in the wrong, but we may have basic data in our possession which neither of the parties nor the court have at their disposal. There have been instances where a water court has given a ruling on data which was not quite up to date. I do not know where they got that data from, but if they had the data which the Department possessed they would never have given the ruling which they did give. I want to give a few examples in respect of State water control areas. Under the old Acts prior to 1956 and even to-day the position is certainly not that you can abstract as much water as you wish from a public stream for irrigation purposes in an uncontrolled area and think you are legally entitled to do so. You may abstract so much for irrigation purposes than when a lower riparian owner goes to the water court and asks for an allocation the court may rule that you have abstracted too much. If the area is declared a water control area you cannot abstract more water than you are theoretically entitled to. In other words, as far as all the water in a river is concerned, a riparian owner’s rights have always been only in respect of the normal flow, and if you divide the normal flow in accordance with the potential of the riparian land, whether developed or undeveloped, and you want to develop further you cannot get more water under the law for such further development. But if the Government constructs a dam and surplus water is stored, the Minister may give you additional water because you have already incurred costs and you have already developed your land. In that case the Minister can give the person more water from the Government dam than he would have been able to give him from the normal flow. That is the only way in which it can be done without violating one of the most important principles that justice should be done to all riparian owners. I shall move an amendment in the Committee Stage and explain the matter further that not only can we give evidence in a court, but I want to comply with the request that the Department should be compelled by law to make the data available to the litigants. The amendment is short and I should like to read it to the House—
In other words, we are not binding ourselves to give evidence in every case but only in those cases where we think it is in the interests of the country and the court and the parties to submit certain data. In those cases we shall notify the parties of our intention and indicate to them what the nature of the evidence will be. [Interjections.] That is before the case goes to court. As soon as we know that two parties intend going to court we shall notify them in writing that we shall give certain evidence before the court and that it is available to them. We place the onus on them to ask for the evidence.
The other matter that I wish to deal with is the very difficult problem of water pollution. I think this is one of the most difficult tasks that has ever been assigned to a department, namely the responsibility for seeing to it that public streams are not polluted. As the 1956 Act stands at the moment it provides that the Minister and the Department cannot just do it in any way because we lack the necessary expert staff. This is a field in which there has to be a great deal of research before you can lay down any specific standards. The law provides that the Bureau of Standards which has the necessary personnel, which has a division with the experts, which receives separate funds for this purpose and which is not tied down by Public Service regulations, should determine and lay down the standards for us. The law says I can lay down general standards, in other words, standards for the whole Union or I can lay down standards for specific industries. There are rivers in the Western Province that are 99.9 per cent pure. Then there are rivers in Natal and in the Eastern Transvaal that are badly polluted as a result of natural pollution. If you lay down standards for the whole union the standards must provide such purity that the purest water does not become polluted. In other words, you have to lay down an unrealistic standard which will practically make it impossible for industries to develop. The water along the south coast of Natal is already polluted. You cannot do it that way. All I am asking for is the right to lay down standards in respect of rivers, of area, of certain areas. That does not mean that I do not have the right to lay down standards in respect of individual industries. Some hon. members said we were not doing anything. He said that nobody was required to have a permit and that no standards were laid down. The hon. member for Umlazi said that; it is irresponsible to say that nothing is being done and that there are no standards, not even for individual industries.
I just want to inform the hon. member for Umlazi (Mr. H. Lewis) that a committee under the chairmanship of a senior member of the Department was appointed to make a local investigation in each individual area. On this committee are represented the Department of Health, because it is said that there should be the closest co-operation with that Department, and also the Provincial Administration, the Department of Commerce and Industries, the Bureau of Standards, the Department of Agricultural Technical Services, and the industry concerned are all represented. I do not give a permit for the establishment or the erection of an industry or a factory. They get their permits for that from the Department of Industry and Commerce, but once they have that permit they may even start erecting their industry and just before they wish to start manufacturing they will apply, if they need water, to the Minister for an extraction permit. If the industry uses water, they will apply to the Minister for the right to let their effluent flow into that particular river. The practice is that then you grant them a temporary permit and then you call upon this committee to investigate the matter and after they have investigated it and laid down certain standards it is again passed on to the Bureau of Standards to find out from them whether they are satisfied. I know that certain industries, especially on the Natal Coast, operating with a temporary permit, that their effluent disposal, although it complies with the regulations and the conditions of the Bureau of Standards, did not turn out to be so dangerous as the Bureau thought, and these permits can again be altered, and even stricter standards can be laid down. A question to be taken into consideration is where the factory is, what the amount of effluent is and what the content of the effluent is, and this is a standard which can only be laid down by scientists who know their jobs. My Department depends on them, although by the Act we are allowed to apply stricter standards, but naturally if we apply stricter standards they must also be based on scientific research and the information and advice we get.
In conclusion, I wish to assure hon. members that as far as this very intricate matter is concerned, the Department will go out of its way to do justice in as short a time as possible with the help that we can get from the Bureau of Standards and other Departments, in implementing the Act and combating all the evils concerned in not implementing it, but naturally it will take a long time before we reach the stage where we have full control over the effluents flowing into our rivers and into the sea and into our dams. If there are a few matters on which I have not replied, I want to assure hon. members that I shall be only too glad if they raise them again in the Committee Stage, and if I can give them further information I will do so.
Question put: That all the words after “That”, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion,
Upon which the House divided:
AYES—70: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Coetzee, B.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Wet, C.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Fouché, J. J. (Jr.); Froneman, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, A. I.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Potgieter, D. J.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schoeman, B. J.; Smit, H. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Treurnicht, N. F; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Heever, D. J. G.; van der Ahee, H. H; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Eeden, F. J.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Viljoen, M.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. von S. von Moltke.
NOES—35: Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Connan, J. M.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eaton, N. G.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Lawrence, H. G.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Plewman, R. P.; Raw, W. V.; Russell, J. H.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Streicher. D. M.; Swart, H. G.; Tucker, H.: van der Byl, P.; van Niekerk, S. M.; Waterson, S. F.
Tellers: A. Hopewell and T. G. Hughes.
Motion accordingly agreed to and Bill read a second time.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
Fifth Order read: House to go into Committee on Defence Further Amendment Bill.
House in Committee:
On New clause to precede Clause 1,
To insert the following new clause to precede Clause 1 of the Bill:
On Clause 1,
Clause 1 is the governing clause of the whole Bill. This clause probably effects the most drastic change to the existing Act in that it provides that exemption boards can grant deferment to men who are presently serving, not deferment or exemption to men before they enter service but once they are serving, the proviso being that if such exemption or deferment is granted by a board in that period of time that does not exempt the citizen from completing his four years of training. There is one other aspect that I want to deal with by means of a question, and which I dealt with in the second reading. I find it extremely difficult, Sir, to talk with all the noise that is going on.
This is also the governing clause, Sir, because this enables the Minister to draw many thousands of people into the A.C.F. I should like to repeat the question which I asked during the second reading in regard to the service obligations of the men who will be called up by ballot between the ages of 18 and 25. Amongst those men there will be some with responsibilities and I hope that since the second reading state the Minister has given some consideration to possible compensation to those with dependants. I hope he will make use of this opportunity of making a statement in that regard.
I wish to move the amendment standing in my name which I want to read for the sake of the record—
Provided further that the provisions of the Defence Further Amendment Act, 1961, shall not apply to any person in respect of whom a deferment of any period of continuous training or of a portion of any such period was authorized at any time prior to the commencement of the said Act.
The Minister has said that it was not his intention that the provisions of this Bill should be applied to persons who are presently serving in the A.C.F. They will be exempted and there is a clause in this Bill exempting those persons from such service. But there is this other aspect that all the men who have been called up and who are presently serving in the A.C.F. were called to serve in the A.C.F. under the existing Act during the years in which they were balloted for. What about the citizens who in terms of the existing Act were entitled to apply for deferment on the specific grounds as listed in the Act? I think the hon. the Minister will agree with me that it is palpably unfair that those citizens who were granted these deferments under the existing Act must now be made to comply with the provisions of the new Act whereas the Minister is exempting those who are serving at the present time. It does not affect a very large number of citizens because those numbers of deferments cannot as a maximum amount to more than 2,000 or 3,000. But it seems unfair on the surface of the case that one group of citizens who are serving under the existing Act will not fall under the provisions of this Bill but that another group of citizens who were balloted for in the same year but who obtained deferment will fall under this Bill. On the principle that all citizens are equal, that they are equal in the eyes of the law, I appeal to the hon. the Minister to accept this amendment and exempt those citizens who applied for derferment from the provisions of this Act.
In the first place, as regards the request by the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) that we should bear in mind, now that these men will have to serve for a longer period and, when exemption from training is given to certain people who are liable for service, that they will return at a later stage for training and that they will therefore be entitled, if they have dependants, to improved remuneration or allowances for their dependants, I may just say that allowances are already being paid to dependants, but we are going into this whole matter to see whether we cannot introduce improvements. When these allowances were laid down—I think it was in 1952—the cost of living was far lower than it is to-day. We are going into the matter to see whether we cannot make other arrangements. I want to give that assurance to the House.
As regards the amendment moved by the hon. member, I must say that I cannot accept it. Clause 11 of the Bill already makes full provision for exemption. Clause 11 of the Bill reads as follows—
Our contention is that the training of any person who has been allotted has already commenced. But if there are people who have been granted deferment before the ballot, they are not allotted. It would be unfair to exempt completely from compulsory service, persons who have obtained deferment before being balloted. I cannot agree with that. I cannot accept the amendment. The position is this: There were two groups of people who had to come in; the one group were prepared to do so and to be balloted; the other asked for deferment before the ballot. We obviously cannot exempt such people from military training because they asked for deferment before the ballot. There will be no opportunity under this Bill to train them, if I were to accept the amendment of the hon. member. This would be a very unfair advantage which these people would be given. Those people who have already started their training after being allotted are exempted in terms of this clause. I cannot accept the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I now move the amendment as printed in my name—
I do not want to speak to the amendment of the hon. the Minister but I want to deal with his argument. It is quite right that Clause 11 makes provision for the exemption of persons who are presently serving in the A.C.F. from the provisions of this Bill as regard a longer period of continuous training. Let us, for argument’s sake, say that the persons who are presently serving in the A.C.F. were called up in the past two years, or three years at the very maximum. The deferments that were granted in terms of the provisions in the Act. The Act lays down the provisions under which the Exemption Board may grant deferment. If a citizen complies with the conditions laid down in the Act he is entitled to be granted deferment. Deferment was granted because the state recognized that those citizens had a prior obligation. The Minister says that I am proposing that those who have been granted deferment should not be exempted from military training for all time, but I am not proposing that at all Sir. What guarantee has the Minister got that those men that were granted deferment will be drawn in the ballot? The Minister has got no guarantee at all. The names are carried on from year to year. If those men were not granted deferment, in the interests of the State, they would have been serving personnel today. The State granted them deferment otherwise they would have been serving in the A.C.F. to-day. They were granted deferment in terms of the existing Act and not in terms of the Bill that is before us. Surely it is unfair to differentiate between the two groups of men. Because a man is granted deferment by the State, in the interests of the State, he is now to be penalized because in terms of this Bill he is required to do longer periods of continuous training. The State lays down the condition of deferment, not the citizen. Let me repeat Sir: Deferment was granted by the State in the interests of the State because the State recognized that there was a prior important issue that he was concerned with; before his name was put in the ballot box where his name may have been drawn. At the very wildest estimate there cannot be more than of these men. And when 3,000 names go into the ballot box with 30,000 other names what percentage will be drawn? In the next ballot there will be 60,000 names to draw from. There is no guarantee that their names will be drawn.
It is a matter of principle.
The principle to me is this that in accepting the clause as it stands at the moment, we are prejudicing one group of citizens against another group of citizens in respect of their service. I say that is an unfair principle. Why compel a man, because the State granted him deferment in the interests of the State, to have his name included in a ballot? It was not deferment from military service—let us get that clear Sir; it was deferment from having his name put in the ballot box. That was the only deferment granted; not deferment from military obligations. I am not asking for exemption from military service as the hon. the Minister said a moment ago; I am not asking for anything of the sort. My amendment does not imply anything of the sort. The only thing that I am asking for is that that citizen’s name should be placed in the ballot box on the same basis as the present batch, for future service. Is it unfair to ask that? If the Minister says it is unfair, then surely it is unfair to say that the men who are serving in the A.C.F. to-day will be exempt from nine months’ continuous training once this Act is promulgated in June of this year. Why does the Minister say to those who were granted deferment: “You go and do nine months’ continuous training”, whereas those who are serving to-day need not do so? Why make the difference; what is the object? We should not treat one group of citizens different from another group of citizens in respect of their military service. If the Minister says: “All right, all those who are serving to-day must comply with the provisions of this Bill” then I have no case, but the Minister does not say that. He says all those who are serving to-day will not be required to comply with the provisions of this Bill. Why does he penalize citizens who were granted a deferment, not in their own interests but in the interests of the State, because the State considered it in the interests of the country to grant them deferment. Why must those citizens now be required to comply with the terms of this Bill in regard to the period of their continuous training? That is my case, and I ask the Minister again not to penalize one group of citizens against another group of citizens. When it comes to the question of military service and to the ballot box everybody must be treated on the same basis—one group should not be treated better than another group.
During the second reading debate various hon. members opposite said that we should train all our young men. Approximately 30,000 young men reach the age each year at which they must be registered and allotted. This year only about 4,000 were allotted for service and training. The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) wants me to give absolute exemption from the ballot in future to those people who have been granted a deferment. This means in reality that we shall be making special provision for one group of people whereby it will never be possible to train them because once this Act has been promulgated, the new training will be provided under the provisions of this legislation and it will be a period of nine months’ continuous training. The hon. member for Turffontein now asks that out of the goodness of our hearts we should tell these people that the State does not consider it necessary for them to be trained because they obtained exemption from the ballot at the time. That is really a very tenuous argument. If 30,000 presented themselves for balloting and the State took 4,300 and 20,000 asked for exemption, it is wrong to say that the State only granted them exemption because the State required their services so urgently elsewhere. That is no argument at all. The hon. member for Turffontein says that we must now give preference to these people over anyone else in the country. I cannot agree with that. I cannot accept it.
I want to raise one minor point with the hon. the Minister. Under the original Act a prescribed officer could grant deferment of a period of training after training had started. In terms of the amendment which we are now passing only the board may grant deferment, whether it be deferment of the start of the training or deferment of even a portion of the training after training has started. The point I should like to raise is whether it will still be competent for a commanding officer in the case of emergency to grant a person in training leave for a short period. I am thinking of the person who has done his nine months’ training and in the second year during the course of his three weeks’ training perhaps loses a near relative or something occurs which necessitates his immediate release for some urgent private or family reason. In terms of this Bill that would constitute a deferment and the point I should like to make is whether in such a case the commanding officer of the unit can grant compassionate leave to such a person where, for reasons beyond his control, he is required to be away from training during one of these periods or even during his first nine months of training. Are we not now creating a position where an emergency will have to be dealt with by what must necessarily be a very slow process of application to the board, consideration by the board and reply to the unit? I trust the Minister will clarify the point and that he will assure us that no hardship will be caused in cases of emergency.
It is obvious that the board cannot deal with every minor case. If a person finds himself in such a position it is obvious that the commanding officer concerned will be able to give him leave. He will be able to give him leave but he will not be able to give him a deferment for example until the end of his period of service. The commanding officer will be able to give such a person temporary leave and then the matter can be submitted to the board.
The next clause with which we shall deal lays down that a person must receive nine months’ training during his first year and three weeks in the following year.
Yes, three weeks for two years. If he should miss one week of those three weeks for private reasons, what will then be the position because under the next clause he will not have complied with the provisions of this legislation. Will he have to make up that week later on or will he be exempted from serving the week which he has lost? My point is that I want certainty that in such a case, in accordance with the provisions of the next clause, such a person will not find himself in the position that he must apply to the board which is a lengthy process, and that his commanding officer will not be able to deal with the case even when it is of an urgent nature.
Previously it was an officer; it was not necessarily a commanding officer.
That is the point.
In this instance the board will be the body which must grant deferment, but the board does not sit everywhere that training is being provided. It will take a day or two to submit the request for deferment to the board. But the man’s commanding officer will be able to give him leave through the ordinary channels for a day or so for a week. Assuming that the man is undergoing his three weeks’ training and these circumstances arise during the first few days and he wants deferment for the whole period of training, he will have to go to the board and the board will eventually give permission, but in the first instance he will be given leave to go.
I have a little difficulty in respect of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant). The hon. member for Turffontein has put forward a certain argument to which the Minister has replied. I can follow the arguments of both but I do not think they relate to the same subject. Let me explain to the Minister what I understand by this amendment. It is simply this that if two persons are of age during the same year they both decide to go to ballot in terms of the existing law but the one asks for and receives deferment whereas the name of the other is drawn in the ballot and he does service in terms of the existing Act, the Minister says that in respect of the person who is doing his service he will not be required to do the nine months’ continuous training—he will only do the three months. But in the case of the person who asked for deferment, if his name now gets drawn in the ballot he will have to serve nine months. The amendment of the hon. member for Turffontein will have the effect that he will only be required to serve the same period as provided for in the existing Act.
There is no training system to cover that.
If that is the explanation I can follow it. But that was not what the Minister said. He said that this would mean that they would escape. It does not. This amendment means that that person will only do three months. But if the Minister says that that will be impossible because the training will not be provided then that is another story. That is how I see it.
I hope the hon. the Minister will not accept the amendment. The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) says that the person who has been exempted from the ballot was granted that exemption because it was to the advantage of the State. I cannot see how the hon. member can say that it was to the advantage of the State. It was to the advantage of the person himself. If the hon. the Minister were to accept this amendment, it would mean that during the same period we would have a number of men undergoing training, some of whom must serve nine months while those who have been given exemption will be serving three months, but they will have to receive the same training at the same time. The result will be that the Minister will have to have more men who are serving for nine months in order to make up his quota when those who are serving three months are withdrawn. I think it would be completely unpractical and I hope the Minister will not accept this amendment.
The hon. member for Kimberley (District) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) says that the deferment is granted in the interests of the citizen himself. I am surprised at the hon. member for saying that. He was a member of the Select Committee that dealt with the original Act. Surely the hon. member is aware of the provisions of the Act. The Act lays down in detail the grounds on which the Exemption Board may grant a deferment. In other words, Parliament decided what those grounds should be, not the citizen. Therefore, any member of the public who asks for a deferment must surely ask for a deferment only upon the grounds as laid down in the Act. He cannot ask for a deferment on any ground. The Act further entrusts the Minister with the task of appointing a board which will act for the Government. The Government decided on the grounds on which an applicant could be granted a deferment. The Government decides, through the Exemption Board, whether it is in the interests of the State that a deferment be granted. It is for the Government, through the Exemption Board, to approve or reject an application for deferment. How can the hon. member for Kimberley (District) argue that it is in the selfish interests of the citizen? If there is any substance in the argument of the hon. member then he should say to the hon. Minister “Do not come along with provisions such as those contained in Clause 11 of this Bill” where it states clearly that present serving personnel who were balloted in 1960 and 1959 and 1958—whether there are 5,000 or 10,000—will not fall under the provisions of this Bill. They are not going to do the same length of training as the new intake will be required to do in terms of this Bill. They are in a privileged position, because the Minister says it is unfair to ask those men who are serving to-day to do the period of service that future ballotees will have to undergo. The Minister advanced the argument during the second reading that they entered the Active Citizen Force under the provisions of the existing Act, that is the basis of my argument. The citizens who were granted deferment were granted deferment under the provisions of the existing Act, they had no knowledge that the Act would be amended and the training period extended. I am sorry that the Minister is not prepared to accept the principle which I ask to be followed in my amendment. The principle is clearly this that if we require our citizens to do national service in the interests of the country—something with which we are all in agreement they should do—we should not pass one set of regulations for one group of citizens and another set of regulations for another group of citizens. We should make no difference in their period of service. That is all that my amendment asks for. I regret that the Minister cannot accept such a principle.
Amendment proposed by the Minister of Defence put and agreed to and amendment proposed by Mr. Durrant put and negatived.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 2,
In terms of the clause which we have just passed, a person who has deferment of service, is still liable for that service until he has completed it. The wording is “until he has completed his continuous training Now, in terms of the clause which we are now considering, a limitation is placed upon an exemption board that training deferred shall be completed not later “than three years after the date on which his continuous training would but for such deferment have been completed Now, Mr. Chairman we have just passed a clause which states that a person shall still be liable for training until he has completed what he is due to do. Now we are limiting that to three years. I want to ask the hon. the Minister to consider whether that will not perhaps interfere with the academic training of persons who go to universities. Many university courses last for four years, others, medical and so on, last for six years, but there are numerous courses which are four year courses. Now the Deferment Board will have to decide whether they will consider an application for deferment of service so that a person matriculating and going on to a university may first obtain his degree and then do his training. In terms of this limiting provision of three years, a person who wishes to do more than a three years course will not be able to get exemption to enable him to complete that four year course.
Because it states that deferment shall not be for more than three years after the date on which he normally would have completed his training. The deferment is limited to not later than three years after the date on which he would have completed his continuous training. Now the Board will not have the authority to grant deferment for longer than these three years. That means six years to complete his training, and his training is for three years. So if he is at the university for four years and then must do three years training, he cannot complete both within the limit laid down here of six years. The old Act in Section 21 allowed a period of seven years deferment. A person was liable to complete his training in terms of Section 21 within seven years of the time when called up for such training. Mr. Chairman, this raises a point of policy which the Government will be required to consider. When a person has just completed his schooling, he is in the habit of studying, is in the habit of learning and of writing exams. Will it be in the interest of South Africa that such a student should then have to break his studies for one year to go into the army and then come back to the university, or is it better in the interests of South Africa that a person who is accustomed to studying should continue immediately with his university training, that there should not be a break of a year, and that at the end of his university training he should then be enabled to carry out his military obligations. I think the hon. the Minister will agree that once you break into the habit of study it is very much more difficult to get back into the habit than if you were continuing. If you are going to take a person out of the academic atmosphere, put him into camp, in a completely different atmosphere for nine months, and then have three months when he is neither doing military training, nor is at the university, he will have had a year in completely different circumstances and a different atmosphere to that to which he was accustomed. The Board will have to decide what policy we are to follow in regard to exemptions. Are they going to say, “Finish your university training first, and then do your military training”, or are they going to break into the studies of a person who wishes to go to a university? That is a matter of policy which will have to be decided. But apart from that, my query to the hon. the Minister is the limitation of three years as far as deferment is concerned and the fact that it will prevent persons receiving deferment to follow university courses longer than simple arts degrees. I hope the hon. the Minister can clarify the position.
Under the old Act they were given seven years. They can now be granted deferment for a period which is three years longer than their training would have lasted, and the military training takes four years. The Bill states specifically that there will be nine months training in the first year, but it may be nine months which starts in June and runs over to April in the next year. That can happen, but they will then only come in for two additional periods of further continuous training. However, they will be spread over four years. Consequently he will still have to do the four years training as always and he can be given three years deferment; the period therefore remains seven years as it always was. I hope the hon. member follows me. It still remains seven years. All we are doing is to give them one less period of three weeks continuous training, but they are still allotted to the Citizen Force for four years because their training lasts four years.
It is four calendar years as far as the training is concerned, but in the last year they do three weeks training. Consequently for a person who is going to work it does not encroach upon his career. He only loses about three weeks from the full year. But in the case of a person who is going to university and who wants to follow a four-year course, it means that in his last year he will still be liable for military training. And if he must follow a four-year university course and must in addition do four years training, the position is still worse. It limits him to a minimum of two years at the university. If he studies at university for four years and then does four years military service it is eight years. Under this Bill he is limited. I appreciate what the hon. the Minister has said, namely that the carry-over to the next year makes it four years, but then it is seven years. But his period of training together with his university training of four years gives a total of eight years. Consequently he is still one year short. He will then only be able to go to university for three years because he must then do military service for another four years instead of three years. He is still one year short, and the limitation still exists that such a person cannot go to university for longer than three years. I hope the hon. the Minister follows me. The board can only grant deferment for a period of three years and this prevents a person taking a four-year university course because the position remains exactly the same; if he does an additional year’s military service the period is extended by a year, but the exemption must then also be for an additional year to enable him to complete his military service within the period of four years, and this will still be a limitation on the board. I hope that the hon. the Minister will go into the matter and I think he will then agree that I am correct. He will find that this will be a limitation on the powers of the board and a limitation on those of our young people who want to receive advanced training at the universities. If the Minister is not prepared to discuss the matter any further at this stage, I hope he will investigate it and then, if necessary, introduce an amendment in the Other Place so that we shall not have a limitation which will result in the cream of our young people whom we require so urgently as leaders of the nation with the background of a university education, being entirely handicapped.
I want to give the specific assurance that we have no intention whatsoever of interfering with anyone’s education. If we were to make specific provision for the man who is taking a four-year course at a university, we would still not be providing for our most advanced scholars; then there would still be people who wished to follow far longer courses.
But that is the basic course.
Yes, then we shall have only provided for the basic person, and what South Africa requires urgently is the top layer who will be best prepared for life and who will have completed the most advanced studies. If this period of seven years is not long enough for such persons, we have our exemption boards which can deal with the matter, but I cannot imagine that a board would be so foolish as to refuse to grant exemption, instead of deferment, to a man who can become a leader in the field of learning and who wishes to follow a longer course. That is why those boards are there. They have a discretion. We in South Africa require highly educated people far more than people with an average education. It is these people with the highest possible qualifications who must give South Africa the very best service, and if we were to accede to the hon. member’s proposal that we should make the period eight years because the military training will take four years, it is still not a full solution. Such a person will then only be able to take a three-year course because he still requires four years for his later military training. The hon. member now argues that we should give such a person deferment for four years so that he can complete a four-year course and then have four years during which to complete his military training. But then we have still not achieved anything. The man who wants to go further than a four-year course is still affected. We must therefore trust the boards to act wisely. When a man genuinely wishes to continue with his studies, he must be given an opportunity to do so. He goes to university and while he is at university he finds that he has a particular talent in a certain direction. He now wishes to go further with his studies. He wants to study overseas. He wants to specialize in a certain direction. It would be a foolish board which hampered such a man’s studies, because such a man would after all be of far greater value to South Africa than he would be as a result of a few years military training. That is why the boards are there. But we cannot make full provision for all these matters in the legislation because that is why we have these boards and that is why we have scientifically appointed boards to go into these matters. I appreciate the hon. member’s point and I appreciate that he wishes to make adequate provision for those who wish to study.
Only for the four-year course.
Yes, but the hon. member is not making sufficient provision for those people who want to study. A four-year course is not always adequate. That is why it is the function of the boards not merely to grant deferment but to grant exemption and any board would grant such a person exemption.
For any four-year course?
That applies even more strongly in the case of a course which will take longer.
We appreciate that in the hon. Minister’s reply to the second reading debate it was not possible for him to deal with all the points that were raised in the course of that debate, but there are three important issues which arise out of the discussion of this clause on which I think the hon. the Minister should offer greater clarity and understanding as far as the implications of the clause itself are concerned. The first point I want to raise is sub-section (c), which includes a new principle over the above the provision that existed in the original Act, to the effect that an Exemption Board will now be able to grant an exemption not only in respect of the whole of the period of continuous training, but also a portion of any such period. May I ask, is the intention there that in the event of circumstances so arising where a citizen is serving his period of continuous training that he can then in the course of that period of continuous training make application to an Exemption Board for a deferment of his continuous training at that time? If granted by the board, then of course in terms of a later provision he will have to complete his training at a later period, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify that position, because otherwise I cannot see the object in saying that a deferment should be granted merely for a portion of that period of continuous training.
The Minister has made it quite clear that as far as the first period of nine months continuous training is concerned, he intends to require citizens to complete this period of nine months by calling them at quarterly intervals. After their names come out of the ballot-box, he intends to call them up in quarterly batches. Assuming the first call-up is in January, then he will call the next quarter in April, and so on. The question arises here; What are the implications going to be for those citizens who will be called up for example in the last quarter. Because if the Committee approves later provisions of the Bill, citizens will be called up at the age of 16. Their names will go into a ballot-box at the age of 16 and in that year they can be called up for service.
No the year thereafter.
Let me say “17 years”, to make the case easier. In their 17th year they can be called up for service. Citizens will, I presume, be notified immediately their names are drawn from the ballot-box that they have become liable for service, and having once received that advice from the Minister’s department, they know where they are. If a ballot takes place, in terms of the Act (as soon as possible after 31 May of that year) the first ballot can only take place in terms of this Bill by May next year, and if the hon. the Minister then intends to call them up in the following year, the first citizens that will come in for this period of training, as the Act stands now, will start their training in January, 1963. I am dealing with the position as it stands for the sake of argument now, but the effect will be that once a citizen on the quarterly call-up is notified that he will be called up for service in the last quarter, for nine months in the year he will have to sit around and kick his heels, unable to determine any course of action or career that he may wish to set his foot upon in his private life because he has got this vacuum of nine months in his life in which he can do nothing. I want to ask the hon. the Minister:
Is the period of continuous training, or portions, as stated in the latter part of this clause included in order to enable citizens to break their periods of continuous training?
Then I want to ask the hon. the Minister this: There is no provision in the Act that it is a quarterly call-up. The Minister can do it under his general powers in the Act. But if citizens are prepared to volunteer in terms of the numbers that the Minister requires, will there be any priority given to them? Because if the hon. the Minister will remember, we on these benches raised the question in discussing the Bill at the second reading that families plan the lives of their young children for the future and the road that they wish to follow in the course of education, and I think the families, the mothers and fathers of South Africa, are at least entitled to know what the position is. If the sons are taken for nine months training, at least they must have some warning from the hon. the Minister as to when this will start taking effect. Because the Act does not say so. It leaves it to the discretion of the Minister. I think the hon. the Minister should, as we asked him at the second reading, make a clear-cut statement as from what period this will begin to take effect and when these first draftees will be drafted in terms of the ballot, so that the fathers and mothers of South Africa can make their plans accordingly for their sons in respect of their future private lives and the training they wish to give them. But the other important point cannot be escaped that under this when once men have been notified and drafted, their name having been drawn from the ballot-box, there are going to be a minimum of 2,500 young men, under the Minister’s quarterly call-up, and taking the Minister’s call-up figure of 10,000, a minimum of 2.500 men who for at least nine months in the year they reach the age of 17, have to kick their heels in some way or other to cover the time until the Minister is prepared to take them into the forces. I think consideration must be given to that aspect because there may be some who the Minister will draft in January and who may find it inconvenient whilst others would prefer to come immediately. I think the Minister must give some consideration to that as well. Because obviously it is not the intention of the state to upset under this system the whole of the private lives of all our families no matter how desirable this principle of longer periods of continuous training may be.
I really cannot understand the objections. In my second reading speech I said that we realized that these three-quarterly call-ups would cause problems and difficulties. But I have given my full attention to the matter. When we considered this legislation originally this was my first personal objection. We have made a close study of the matter. We have considered the matter from all angles. But if we in South Africa want to have a trained full-time force available throughout the year, there is no other way than to call up these people periodically. During my second reading speech I explained that if we did not call up these people on a quarterly basis, but were to do so on a six-monthly basis for example, we should still have the position that a large group of men would be kicking their heels for six months, to use the words of the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant). But in that case we shall have to ballot far more people in order to have the required number of trained soldiers available. We shall also have to train them for at least 12 months if we are to have trained soldiers available throughout the year. I therefore made this point very clear during my second reading speech. We have found that this quarterly call-up for service is the most economic from the point of view of the manpower resources of our country, and it is also the most economic because if we only call them up twice a year or three times a year, we shall proportionately have to have more people available if we are to provide the necessary training, we shall have to have more training material, we shall have to provide more housing, and the scheme will be proportionately even more expensive than it is now. An hon. member asked me during the second reading debate what this scheme would cost South Africa. At the time I forgot to give the answer. It will cost South Africa an additional R7,400,000 per annum, everything included, that is to say the expansion of the Permanent Force, the training, etc., etc. But the quarterly call-ups are the cheapest. If we call up men twice a year it will cost considerably more and it will involve more manpower; more ballottees will have to be allotted. That is why this is the cheapest method. But it is indisputable that there are problems involved. We concede that frankly. But we shall also ballot these people in respect of the quarter during which they must come. It will not be on a preferential basis. They will be balloted on such a basis that a certain number will have to come in the first quarter, a certain number in the second quarter, etc. They will be balloted, but this will be done early in the year and everyone will be notified when they must come immediately they are balloted. I have every sympathy with those young people who will have to come last as a result of the ballot. The hon. member has asked whether, if there are young men who say that they would not like to come during the third quarter or the fourth quarter, but would rather come during the first and second quarters and there are others again who say that they cannot come during the first or second quarters but who would prefer to come later, they cannot be exchanged. I think that in practice the position will be that there can be an exchange of ballottees. If there are for example 500 of those who are balloted for the first quarter who say that they cannot come then and there are 1,000 who must come during he third quarter but who would like to come during the first quarter, then I assume that in practice one or other exchange procedure can be laid down. It seems to be the only fair way in which this can be done. As soon as the board starts granting deferments, it will regulate these matters. That will be a function of the board. The board will have a great deal of work.
Might I say that we are grateful for the hon. Minister’s elucidation, because I know this point has been of considerable concern to others. There is one further point that I think is important and in respect of which I also hope the Minister will give a reply and that arises directly out of the discussion of this clause. The Minister has said that under the nine months period of continuous training, he envisages that the first three months will be basic training, recruit training, the second three months will be training in a unit and the third three months would be training of a very specialized nature. This was also discussed at the second reading, but the hon. the Minister never had the opportunity to reply. There is, however, a further aspect that arises out of the matter. What we are concerned about, and it has always been the standpoint of this side of the House, is that unit training in our defence forces, where you develop unit morale, and a tradition that surrounds long-established regiments when men feel they belong to something, that that makes the best kind of soldier. The Minister has said that after the unit training there will be this specialized training. What we are keen to know is whether these units, when a man goes through his specialized training, will be maintained or rather whether the man will still remain attached to the unit in which he received his unit training and to which he was posted after his recruitment period? And arising from that; The Act provides for a further three weeks period of continuous training in subsequent years. Will the man who comes in in subsequent years to complete his continuous periods of training, serve those further periods in the unit to which he was posed after he was a recruit? Can the hon. the Minister elucidate that point?
Mr. Chairman, to that I can only say, “Yes”. The first three months will be basic training, the next three months they will receive unit training and the third three months they will receive specialized training. They will of course be placed in their unit. One cannot build up an army with people who are not in their units and do not receive their special training in a special unit. That will be entirely impossible.
The hon. The Minister just said that the department would let the ballot take place as early as possible in order to give people as much notice as possible. In other words, those who must receive training next year will be balloted towards the end of this year and they will receive a full year’s notice as to when they must commence their training. I presume that the Department will follow the procedure of giving the people as much notice as possible, i.e. the ballot will take place as early as possible so that the parents can make their arrangements for the following year?
We must make it as convenient as possible for the people because they make big sacrifices.
There is just one point I would like to put to the hon the Minister and that is in regard to the question of periods of continuous training as provided for in this clause. In the event of men being called up in a state of emergency and having to serve for a considerable length of time during a subsequent year of their training due to the state of emergency, will there be any remission or any concession made in regard to these periods of continuous training during that particular year when they have to serve during a state of emergency? After they have been called up for a period under a state of emergency, will they still have to come back for the three weeks continuous training in any such year? Will some recognition be made of the fact that they had to spend a considerable time under arms under special circumstances?
They get a remission of time as it is now. That is in the existing law, and they will not be brought in again during the same year. It is the policy now. When they have been brought in for any purpose whatsoever, they are not brought in in the same year again.
I am grateful to the hon. the Minister for the information he has given us, because it is a most important clause. There are one or two other aspects of the matter which I would like to put to him. I am particularly concerned with sub-section (c) which refers to the exemption board and then gives the particular grounds (educational, vocational, and so on) on which exemption can be granted. But the core of this scheme is that trainees get nine months training in one particular year. Now the hon. the Minister has had approval for that from both sides of the House in principle.
The nine months are not confined to a particular year. It is nine months continuous training.
Yes, that is correct, Sir. But the point that hon. members have been attempting to make is that where a young man—an apprentice or a university student for instance—is called up and he does a period of long training in one year, he should be given an opportunity next year as the exigencies of his trade or calling demand, to get exemption in that particular year. This clause touches the careers of a vast number of young people in this country, and the hon. the Minister must be particularly careful and his board must be particularly careful in the granting of exemptions. I want to bring the question down to a matter of practical importance. The Minister has called up certain forces at the present time, and I would be very grateful if he would give me this answer to-night because I know it is of supreme importance to quite a number of persons. I will give the example of a young man who has to write his half-yearly examinations at the university in four weeks’ time, but he has now been called up with his unit. Now, would the hon. Minister and his Chief of Staff give consideration to the question of that person being exempted from serving because of that reason? I ask the Minister this, because it has become a practical proposition at the present time—practical because the hon. Minister has called up certain of our active citizen forces and this is bound to occur again in future.
The Committee is now discussing the call-up for training and not for service. The hon. member would have to confine himself to the clause under discussion.
Yes, I will do that, Sir. I think the hon. Minister will render a service to the parents of this country if he could answer that question in relation to this clause.
I think we are at cross purposes in regard to the question asked by the hon. member for Durban, Umbilo (Mr. Oldfield). What he actually wanted to know—and I think this is relevant to this clause—was if as a result of any circumstances which may eventuate—one of the trainees, or prospective trainees, were called up for say three months continuous service with his unit, would he then be granted a remission of three months in respect of the two periods of continuous service he would be liable for under this Bill after having served his nine months?
Why would he be called up if he is receiving his nine months training because then he is there?
But there are already a group of ballottees who will be called up after those undergoing training now. In the intervening period, however, something happens and the units to which those awaiting training are attached, are called up, or let us take it as happening within his period of training. Now, after completing the period of nine months training, there are still two periods of three weeks each for the two succeeding years. Let us take this case: Say, for instance, that a trainee has completed his nine months training and is now attached to his Citizen Force unit. Something, however, happens in the country and that particular unit is called up for a continuous period of six weeks. Would that period then be counted for the two threeweekly periods he still had to serve? Would he, in other words, get credit for that period of six weeks when his unit was called up? Under the old system when a man was called up for active service, it counted double against his period of training.
This is important and I must admit that I am in some difficulty now. The system is that they will get the three weeks off in respect of that year during which they have been called up for emergency service, because they cannot be brought in a second time within the same year. They will not, of necessity, get off also the three weeks of the succeeding year.
Even if they served four months under the emergency?
Yes, even if they served four months. It is, however, an important matter and I, therefore, promise that I will go into it before I take the Bill to the Other Place.
Clause put and agreed to.
On Clause 3.
I have an amendment on the Order Paper in regard to this clause but with your permission I would like to move a simpler amendment which would have the same effect, viz.—
This clause, Sir, lays down certain conditions and responsibilities for training after completion of the first four years, and makes a difference in the procedure as applicable, on the one hand, to a man who does his four years’ training right throughout in the Citizen Force, and on the other hand, a man who does his training for the first 12 months in a gymnasium and thereafter in the Citizen Force. I assume that it was not the intention to differentiate in this way between the two classes mentioned, although that seems to be implied by this clause as it stands now. The Act exempts a gymnasium trainee from certain responsibilities which are applicable in the case of a trainee of the Citizen Force. I understand that the hon. Minister is prepared to accept this amendment so no further discussion is needed.
I am prepared to accept the amendment.
There is one matter, Mr. Chairman, in regard to which I would like to have elucidation from the hon. Minister. When dealing with the previous clause, the hon. Minister said that it was intended to preserve the unit aspect for training in so far as Active Citizen Force personnel were concerned. The hon. Minister has made these amendments to whole-time training as affecting the gymnasiums in order not to draw differences between personnel who serve as volunteers or go to the gymnasiums, and those who serve in the Active Citizen Force. The Minister, in other words, is trying to place A.C.F. personnel and gymnasium personnel on the same basis in so far as training is concerned. The gymnasium personnel will go to Citizen Force units after coming from the gymnasiums. That is so, I believe, because the hon. Minister said so. What I would like to know is what about those gymnasium personnel who do not receive unit training which the A.C.F. personnel will receive. How is it intended to give them that unit training? Is it proposed that they would, after having finished their course in the gymnasium, be posted to a particular unit in the A.C.F. where they will serve the rest of their training period?
Our plan for the gymnasiums is that the people will more specifically receive training in leadership there. In the gymnasiums they will more specifically receive only officers’ and N.C.O.s’ training. They will, in other words, become the training centres for future officers. For that reason they will not be dealt with in the same way as other ordinary trainees when they are classified. They will be classified according to where they are best suited, namely those who receive officers’ training, and so forth. The gymnasiums are on a different basis to the ordinary training. The people there will receive training which is more especially aimed at making officers of them. This does not mean that they are the only people to be trained as officers. Ordinary ballotees undergoing training—who show special qualities of leadership—will also be transferred to the gymnasiums because we more particularly want to train officers there.
While discussing this question of training I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether any consideration has been given to the training of troops specifically for use in times of civil riots and commotion. This same question was raised also during the second reading debate by the hon. member for Maitland (Dr. de Beer), but I would like to get some more details under this clause. This question is particularly relevant at this particular time—it so happens to be—but it would also be a relevant point at any time. Are the officers commanding such troops being given specific training in this aspect of their duties? I know that special riot training is given in the British Army and that special regulations have been laid down governing the conduct of troops in times of civil riots and rebellion. This followed upon the action of troops in England when they were called out in 1893 to suppress a colliery riot and also the incident which occurred in India in the 1920s when the troops opened fire on rioters and killed many people. It led to a big debate in the British House of Commons and various principles were then laid down for the guidance of officers as to when their troops should be allowed to open fire. I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether any special form of training is being given to South African troops in this respect. I consider it to be extremely dangerous to place lethal weapons in the hands of untrained young men who are, quite understandably, frightened under conditions of civil riots. Has the hon. Minister given this matter any attention?
I understood from the hon. Minister that the gymnasiums will in future, in terms of the amendment to the Defence Act, be regarded as officer and N.C.O. training schools to a large extent. Now, these youngsters who go to the gymnasiums are volunteers in the first instance.
Yes, practically all of them.
I would like to put two questions to the Minister in this respect. Firstly, what is the position of a citizen who is not a volunteer and does not enter a gymnasium but who is absorbed in the normal way for nine months training period and who shows outstanding leadership qualities? Would it then be possible to remove him from that nine months’ training course?
I have already said that that would be the policy.
Yes, that may be the policy but will it be possible to absorb them? Will there be room in the gymnasiums for them? The gymnasiums are very popular and I hope they will continue to be so because they are first-class institutions. But what happens when these gymnasiums are filled with volunteers ranging from people with a high degree of potential leadership to the ordinary citizen who is not likely to make a good leader? You may discover a number of youths in the A.C.F. units who on account of their qualities should be trained either as officers or as N.C.O.s. Is it then going to be possible to find room for them in the gymnasium? Should the volunteers for gymnasiums not rather be finely combed to pick out only those showing leadership potential in order to provide for those from the A.C.F. I have referred to? In what direction is the hon. Minister thinking in regard to this question?
I would not like to agree to combing volunteers for the gymnasiums. It is, after all, a system of volunteers and we accept them as they apply up to 90 per cent of the gymnasium capacity. Only 10 per cent is left open for youngsters who want to join the Permanent Force, or orphans, or young men who have the potential for leadership. The 10 per cent is filled up by this type of youngster. I would not like to comb volunteers right from the beginning because it would not be fair and might become a “boetie-boetie spul”. That is possible.
The gymnasiums are very popular at the moment. We receive many more applications than we can accept.
There is a good reason for that.
There is an exceptionally good reason for it, as the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) quite rightly says, because they no longer serve in the Active Citizen Force. They were completely exempted. Now that they must also serve in the Active Citizen Force and now in effect receive longer training than the ballotees—because the ballotees come in for nine months and thereafter they have two periods of three weeks, and the person in the gymnasium comes in for a year, which means 10 months, and thereafter two periods of three weeks—now that this is the case I doubt whether the gymnasiums will remain so full. But in case they do remain so full we will just simply have to make some plan in the future.
As I understand the position, there will be approximately 30,000 youths of military age liable for training at the beginning of any year and that not more than 10,000 of these would be absorbed in the forces.
Not at the present moment.
But in terms of the new scheme.
Under the scheme I can bring in as many as I like to, but I said that for this year we were only bringing in 10,000.
Yes, so it will be 10,000 this year. Now, at present a certain number volunteer for the gymnasiums and a selection takes place because there are more volunteers than can be absorbed in the gymnasiums.
Only the last 10 per cent is selected as I have just pointed out.
I accept that, but would not the correct way to accept men for training be this: Call for volunteers from the 30,000 to make up the 10,000 for the nine months training period. Then when say 7,000 have volunteered, ballot for say 3,000—in other words, get as many men as possible as volunteers. That has happened before in South Africa’s military history. It was in that way that troops were raised to go to South West Africa in 1914. Volunteers were first called for from the commandos and men were then commandeered. If 500 men were wanted, and only 350 volunteered, then 150 were commandeered. It will, I think, be much better to have more men as volunteers amongst the 10,000 than men conscribed who are not anxious to serve. I do not believe that a volunteer is worth 10 pressed men, as people used to say. I do not believe that at all, because a man who is trained as a conscript can be just as good a soldier as a volunteer. But it would be better to have a volunteer force and the way in which to get volunteers is by giving men inducements. An inducement which I mentioned in the Second Reading debate, is to give men priority for admission to universities when they have finished their training. If they then wish to go to a university, give them priority in admission.
I know that there are many people who believe in the system of volunteers but as for me I wish I could give all volunteers deferment and get the other fellows in. I cannot stand the man who always wants to get on to the back of someone else to carry him through life. I believe in the ballotting system because every one must then come in and do his bit.
Does the hon. Minister’s system not mean that men who wish to volunteer would be excluded from service?
But they are already good South Africans.
The hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) wants to go back to the old Act which existed before the Consolidated Act of 1957 was passed. The voluntary system existed then and when there was a shortage a ballot was held. But it was found at that time that it did not serve the purpose and with the consolidation of the Act legislation was passed which abolished the voluntary system, and the system of balloting was introduced. Now the hon. member says he wants to mention the example of South West Africa. There, he says, it was done with voluntary troops. Mr. Chairman, the reason was that no one else would go to South West Africa than volunteers. But that was a promise which was broken and thereafter people were conscripted, which should never have happened according to the promise which was made. I hope the hon. the Minister will stand by the ballot system as it exists to-day. We must not alter the Act, as it was consolidated in 1957. in order to comply with the request of the hon. member for Kensington.
I always feel compelled to rise, Sir, when the hon. member for Kimberley (District) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) rises and gives an incorrect interpretation of the Defence Act. He has now made an emphatic statement that under the Act of 1957 we exchanged the volunteer system for the ballot system. That is absolute nonsense. The hon. member himself voted in the Select Committee for power to be granted to the Minister to fix the number of volunteers who may be taken in any one year into the Active Citizen Force That hon. member is a tremendous supporter of the commandos, is a great soldier and says he knows the Defence Act. Why did he not look at Clause 36 which he himself moved in the Select Committee to the effect that there should be voluntary service in the commandos! Who can now believe him, Mr. Chairman? But let us leave that hon. member now. The hon. Minister said that he did not want to extend the principle of volunteering on the argument that he did want the man who always wanted to ride on the back of another. Now, the Minister’s first object as Minister of Defence should be to produce the best army our country can produce and it is generally accepted that the volunteer makes the better soldier. If the Minister wants a good army and if he wants to establish a staff corps for the new A.C.F. force of 10,000, where is the hon. Minister going to get them? Is he going to get them from those who have done nine months continuous training, or is he going to get them from volunteers who say that part of their lifes belong to the army? The whole history of our regimental traditions has not been built up on the basis of conscription, but on the basis of the volunteer. In this way the Minister also should build his army and that is all the hon. member for Kensington asked for. Let me remind the hon. Minister that the number of volunteers started to decline from the moment the provision was included in the Act giving the Minister power to restrict the number of volunteers. It is only from that time that the required number of volunteers was not available for the Active Citizen Force. I want to appeal to the hon. Minister, therefore, that if he wishes to create morale and esprit de corps in the army, he should not reject the volunteer principle altogether.
We have about 2,200 openings for volunteers now.
I hope the hon. Minister will repeat that so that the word can go out to South Africans that there is no question of restricting volunteers, but that each voluntary application will be considered on its merits. Let me remind the hon. Minister that he cannot escape from the fact that from the 30,000 men who have to be balloted for every year, the Minister only takes 10,000 which means that 20,000 men are rejected who may want to serve in our A.C.F. So I say to the hon. Minister do not reject the volunteer principle.
I can appreciate the hon. members’ desire that we should build up the Defence Force with people who show their willingness to join the force, and so forth. But now I just want to point out that the intention with the system of balloting, as it was applied by the previous hon. Minister and now by the present hon. Minister, is to build up the Defence Force from the whole of the population; in other words, not to concentrate it in certain areas only but to build it up from the whole of the nation. I think it is essential that one should build up the Defence Force from the entire nation. By that I do not refer only to Afrikaans-and English-speaking people, but that it will also be spread over the whole country and not be concentrated in a few cities. The problem confronting us when the balloting was introduced was that there were sufficient volunteers in the country for certain regiments but insufficient for others. In other words, certain regiments could be at full strength; they had sufficient Active Citizen Force personnel, but others were depleted. The ballot system was introduced in order to obtain a balanced classification so that all the regiments would have the necessary strength. I cannot prescribe a policy for the hon. the Minister because he said he was prepared to accept volunteers. Under the existing Act he has the right to say what percentage of the people called up for a particular year should be volunteers. The others will be obtained through balloting. All I really wanted to explain was the basis on which we want to build up the Active Citizen Force and why the ballot system was introduced.
This is an important clause because it deals with the principle of voluntary service; and that leads me to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to the fact that this clause provides that when a person has gone through the period of prescribed voluntary training, he is liable to be posted to a unit of the A.C.F. It is quite clear that those who avail themselves of the opportunity for voluntary training afforded by this clause will then be subject to all the obligations imposed on a member of the Citizen Force. I would, in this connection, like to draw attention to Section 28 of the original Act (Act 44 of 1957) which reads as follows—
That can be put into simple language by a reference to Section 13, which lays down the obligations of members of the Permanent Force, i.e. that they should be available at all times for the defence of South Africa and for the suppression of internal disorders in the Union. We are all at one in regard to the defence of South Africa against external aggression, and we are fortunate in not having to rely solely on voluntary effort in this connection. But the obligation relating to the suppression of internal disorders raises a controversial point, depending upon what that internal disorder is. I support the contention that the volunteer system is a good system. Now, Sir, a situation may arise in the country where citizens may be compelled to mobolize for active full-time service for a cause with which they do not agree. We have had examples of that in the last war, when there were members of the Permanent Force who did not feel that they were obliged to go beyond the borders of the country for fighting the war in which we were engaged. I say that it became necessary for the defence of this country to rely upon volunteers in the last war, and I believe that the voluntary system is a very good one. [Interjections.] I am not suggesting that the rest of the provisions of this Bill should be scrapped, but I am entirely at one with the hon. member for Kensington, and others on this side of the House, who have suggested to the Minister that he should take on all the volunteers he could obtain. I think that was wise advice. And I would like to suggest to the Minister that he should follow it, because a situation may arise in this country in which many persons may have to examine their conscience and decide whether, if they are called upon to render military service …
Order! This clause deals with the period of service only.
With respect, this clause states that any person who has completed the period of whole-time training referred to in sub-section (2) shall be liable to be posted to a unit of the Citizen Force; and in my opinion, if you are posted to such a unit you assume the obligations of a member of such a unit.
Will the hon. member continue reading? “And shall be liable …".
And shall be liable to serve therein for a period which shall not exceed beyond the fourth anniversary of the date on which his date commenced. If he is called up …
Order! That has nothing to do with the kind of training. It deals with the period only.
With respect, if a person is called up for service in the A.C.F., he is subject to the obligations imposed on a citizen by the principal Act, and one of those obligations …
Order! That particular point is not under discussion under this clause.
Then I ask for your specific ruling whether on a clause which provides that persons shall be liable to be posted to a unit of the A.C.F., one is not entitled to discuss the consequences of such liability?
No, the hon. member can discuss the period of training, but not the kind of training.
Would I be in order in moving an amendment—
This would then read “shall be liable to be posted to a unit of the Citizen Force” and the words following that would be deleted until the end of line 49. I suggest this in order that I may make the following point, that we are asked here to agree, in the case of a person who has undergone training, to his being posted to a unit for certain purposes in order to render service. It occurs to us that under certain circumstances a service which the person may be called upon to perform may be such service as for various reasons he will not perform officially.
The amendment appears to me to be in order.
Am I in order in moving the deletion of the words?
On a point of order, the principle is that there will be four years of training, of which nine months will be during the first year, that is to say the nine months continuous training during the first year, and an additional two periods of three weeks continuous training during the next three years, that is to say, a period of four years. That is the whole principle. I ask your ruling on this point because this affects the whole principle of the Bill.
May I take the point and endorse what the hon. the Minister has said. The principle which was accepted in the second reading was that there should be a period of continuous training. The principle has been accepted that such men will be posted to the A.C.F. for four years, and I do not see how it can be altered.
This amendment appears to me to be in order. According to Kilpin’s Parliamentary Procedure a Bill may be materially altered in Committee but the Committee cannot kill a Bill. It may negative every clause and therefore every principle in the Bill.
I thank you for that ruling. Sir, I will not detain the Committee very long on the point I was making before the hon. member for Maitland moved his amendment. I was dealing with the fact that liability under the section devolves on a citizen to serve in the A.C.F. Therefore I made reference to the obligation which would devolve on a member of the A.C.F. by virtue of the principle Act. We cannot divorce this section from the principal Act, and when one refers to the Citizen Force in an amendment of the Act …
Order! This is a completely new clause dealing with whole-time training.
But with respect, this is in substitution of a previous clause, paragraph (1) of which was in very similar language. Let me quote the section which is sought to be amended, Section 23. Section 23 of the principal Act says: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Section 21, the citizen who is liable to undergo training or any other person domiciled in the Union may … apply in the prescribed manner to undergo whole-time training in the Citizen Force.” I think I have made my point and I do not propose to deal with it at length. The point I wish to make is the value of having volunteers, because there may be a situation in this country in which a number of persons may, on perfectly valid and conscientious grounds, find themselves in difficulty when they are called up for compulsory service. That situation arose in the past, in the last war, in another set of circumstances. I would not like to feel that this Minister is going to compel young men to take part in any action which is against their conscience. That is the point I wish to make.
I want to make another point. The clause under discussion makes it perfectly clear that while the Minister has in view the admirable objective of specialized training for leadership at the gymnasiums, something with which I entirely agree, and I commend him for it, sub-section (2) of the new Section 23 is susceptible of the interpretation that persons who are not liable for full-time military service may volunteer for service for one year. The clause says that any citizen who is liable to undergo training or any other person may apply to undergo whole-time training for the period of a year. So on the one hand you have a person who is liable for full-time training. If he avails himself of this provision, he does all his service in one year and he gets rid of the rest of the training, and it is behind him. I think that is a very good thing for those who feel they would like to do that, in view of their future career. But it also makes it abundantly clear that those who are not liable for full-time training can volunteer. That brings me back to the point I and others raised in the second reading debate, namely, the training of non-Whites. The Minister has explained his attitude in regard to the arming of non-Whites in the second reading. In my own view, which is shared by my colleagues, we should have South Africa in such a state that we should not hesitate to arm the non-Whites if necessary. But I do not propose to go into that again. I want to make some constructive suggestions of another nature. The Minister has said that he is considering the revival of the Cape Corps. I want to suggest to him that he should consider the revival of what was known as the Junior Cape Corps, a body rather like the old S.S.B. I am not thinking now of delinquents; I am thinking of giving an opportunity for military training and discipline to young men of all kinds, White and non-White. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon. member is no longer talking to the amendment.
I am talking to the clause, because this clause provides that persons may volunteer for service and Section 2 of the principal Act provides that the Minister may employ non-Whites.
But the hon. member is going too far. This clause does not deal with non-Whites.
This clause says that persons who are liable for full-time service may volunteer, and other persons domiciled in the Union may volunteer. Clause 2 of the Bill makes it quite clear …
No, the hon. member must confine his remarks to this clause, not to Clause 2 but to Clause 3.
With respect, I contend, and I would be grateful for your ruling, that in construing and discussing any clause of this amending Bill, we are entitled to refer to such provisions of the principal Act as may be relevant. Now this Bill deals with volunteers, and Section 2 of the principal Act deals with volunteers. It says that the provisions relating to compulsory training relate only to Whites and not to women or non-Whites; but it goes on to provide that the Governor-General may apply the provisions to non-Whites. Therefore my submission is that I am entitled to offer the suggestion to the Minister that he should seriously consider the revival of the Junior Cape Corps, which would be very useful indeed. [Interjections.] Of course it is relevant to his Bill. The Junior Cape Corps functioned under the Department of Defence in the days when it existed. While I believe that these corps should be armed, I am not now pleading at the moment for an armed corps. But if such a corps is established it would give an opportunity to our young people to be trained, and that training will enable them to play their part in life and it will give them a better opportunity of obtaining useful employment by reason of the discipline they are accustomed to. I ask the Minister to make use of the provisions of this section to this end. [Time limit.]
I do not want to say a great deal on this clause, but I just want to lodge my protest against the way in which those people are rising here. [Interjections.] I am referring to those hon. members. They are just playing the fool and they are making everything look ridiculous.
On a point of order, may the hon. member refer to other hon. members as “those people”?
Are you not people?
The hon. member may proceed.
I have nearly finished. The Minister has put his point of view, and it is quite clear to all of us, and those hon. members are digging up arguments which are not worth while and I want to lodge my protest.
I sympathize with the Minister of Defence, who has handled this debate in the most admirable way, and I think it is most unfortunate that he should be faced with the sort of difficulties which are created for him by the hon. member for Ventersdorp (Mr. Greyling), who has spent the whole evening studying the map looking for an escape route.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the clause.
I rose because there was a remark on record made by the hon. member for Kimberley (North) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) to the hon. member for Sunnyside (Mr. Horak), and I ask your indulgence to correct that remark. The hon. member for Kimberley (North) stated that the hon. member for Sunny-side had in fact not served his country and I want that remark corrected and I want to place on record that this hon. member served at El Alemein and Libya …
Then may I ask that the hon. member for Kimberley (North) correct his allegation and withdraw it. This is a matter affecting the honour of a member of this House, and I ask that the record be corrected.
The hon. member has already corrected the record and he must come back to the clause.
I have not finished yet.
I have given my ruling. The hon. member must come back to the clause.
But the hon. member for Sunny-side is an officer on the reserve of officers …
That has nothing to do with the clause.
I hope I have made my point clear. I want to deal with the question of volunteers raised by the hon. member for Kimberley (North), a member who is against volunteering and who pleaded with the Minister not to accept the pleas from this side of the House to allow more volunteers into the forces. Well, I can understand that, because that hon. member has never volunteered in his life. In fact, he took his uniform off …
That is a lie.
On a point of order, the hon. member said that the hon. member was lying.
I withdraw, but may I qualify it by saying that it is a gross untruth.
Order! The hon. member must withdraw it unconditionally.
On a point of order, that hon. member makes an accusation against this hon. member, and may he not say it is not true?
The hon. member must withdraw the words “gross untruth”.
I withdraw it.
We on this side of the House have pleaded with the Minister to enable the forces to absorb more volunteers. The Minister said that a man who volunteers has already proved that he is a good citizen, and therefore it is not necessary to give him training, and that you must train the man who tries to ride on the back of a volunteer.
I will not call that a lie.
The Minister said he wanted people trained who tried to avoid training, and he did say that a volunteer, by his willingness to volunteer, was already a good citizen and therefore it was not so important that he should have training; or am I not correct?
I never said that.
Well, that was the impression the Minister gave this side of the House. He said a volunteer was already a good South African. I agree. We have had experience of that. From our experience I want to say that when he is faced with trouble a good volunteer is worth any number of conscripts to him, although conscripts can be trained and become good soldiers. The man who wishes to play a part in the military life of the country should be entitled to do so because he will be a worthwhile soldier. I can understand the opposition from those who were not prepared to become soldiers in time of war, to the principle of volunteering. I must take back one thing I said. The hon. member for Kimberley (North) has volunteered; he volunteered to go to the Coronation with the Coronation Contingent. [Laughter.] Those who have not seen the value of a volunteer cannot appreciate how much that person can give to the service of his country, and our plea is that those who wish to play their part in military training should not be precluded from doing so; and that if there are more volunteers than the Minister has in mind he should increase the number of volunteers because he will find, as South Africa found in time of war, that the volunteers who served their country were the people who were prepared to do most for their country, and to give everything possible for the cause in which they believe. I ask the Minister to consider that and not to say that the conscript is as good a soldier, but to realize that if a man has the keenness and the desire to become a soldier he should be given every opportunity to do so.
I have now had an opportunity of giving further consideration to the amendment moved by the hon. member for Maitland (Dr. de Beer). I now find that his proposal is destructive of the principle of the Bill as read a Second Time and under the circumstances I cannot accept it.
The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) has complained that I am opposed to the voluntary system. That is the greatest untruth of which he could possibly make himself guilty. I also want to challenge him to show that I have never been a volunteer. He has made a further untrue statement when he said that I volunteered to go to the Coronation. [Laughter.]
How did you get there?
If I am to judge by what he has said I shall not be able to believe a single word that he says in the future about any member of this House.
Then I want to come back to the shining star from Turffontein who has risen here. I might say that this is a star without light: [Interjection.] I do not reply to an hon. member of that type. When I made my remarks I did not think that the shining star from Turffontein had to be fed everything with a spoon like a baby. He is apparently a person who expects, when one makes a statement, that one should say every thing like a parrot. I knew that the legislation provided for volunteers, but the legislation was consolidated in 1957, with the result that the number of volunteers was reduced and the ballot system was adopted and that is what I was referring to. But apparently I must tell him that as if he is a baby.
The hon. member must come back to the clause.
I come back to the remark by the hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) to the effect that the Minister must allow the Citizen Force to consist of volunteers. If I understood him correctly he suggested that if the hon. the Minister obtained sufficient volunteers at the outset to give him the 10,000 men he requires, he should accept them and drop the ballot system. I ask the Minister not to do so but to retain the ballot system. Then the shining star which does not give any light arose and he tried to create the impression that I did not know that the Act provided for volunteers.
Order! The hon. member must proceed to discuss the clause.
I just want to repeat that I hope the Minister will continue to obtain the 10,000 men he requires in accordance with the provisions of the present legislation and that he will not accept any amendment which is in conflict with the provisions of this legislation.
It is significant of good military tactics that one chooses one’s ground on which to fight and to run away. It is significant that the hon. member for Kimberley-North (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker), after a discussion lasting hours, and having attacked me personally, speaks to the clock in the hope that he can get in a few shots and then run out of the House hoping that to-morrow is another day. But the hon. member mistimed it because he could not see the clock from where he was. [Interjections.]
The hon. member must come back to the clause.
The hon. member stated that the Act did not provide for the voluntary principle, and he advised the Minister to stand by the Act and not to accept the voluntary principle. It is my contention that the voluntary principle is one of the principles of the original Act.
May I ask the hon. member whether there have ever been enough volunteers?
There were enough to defend South Africa, but you were not one of them.
Order! That is not relevant.
The hon. member for Kimberley – North was even mentioned in despatches by the Minister, but hon. members are very persistent in their interjections and it is very difficult to make a speech in view of the continual interjections from that hon. member. My contention is that the Minister has the powers in the existing Act to fix the number of volunteers, and all we ask him, if he wants to get the type of man he wants, under the system where every man is on an equal basis, whether he volunteers or is balloted for, the Minister is likely to get many more volunteers into the A.C.F., and all we ask is that those men who may be possible escapees from the ballot and whose names will not come out of the ballot-box, if they wish to serve as volunteers either in the Gymnasiums or in the A.C.F., the Minister should give them consideration and not reject them out of hand on the ground that he has sufficient men.
At 10.25 p.m. the Chairman stated that, in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (1), he would report progress and ask leave to sit again.
Progress reported and leave asked to sit again.
The House adjourned at