House of Assembly: Vol112 - TUESDAY 14 FEBRUARY 1984


Bill read a First Time.


Clause 1:


Mr Chairman, as we stated during the Second Reading debate the PFP cannot support this Bill because it shifts the onus from the State to prove a constituent element of an alleged crime onto the shoulders of the individual. In this case, because it involves the onus to prove a relatively straight-forward and simple matter like quantity, we do not believe there is a justification for moving away from this well established legal principle.

We will therefore oppose this clause.


Mr Chairman, I find it very difficult to understand why the official Opposition is opposing this measure. The fact of the matter is that the same principle is already embodied in the present Act, namely that a rebuttable presumption may exist in the case of the application of the Price Control Act. Yesterday the hon member for Walmer also indicated that he accepted that exceptional situations could arise in which it would be necessary to shift the onus and place it on the shoulders of the accused.

In the matter under discussion, all we are dealing with is consumer protection, which cannot be applied effectively without this measure. Consequently we must now allow unscrupulous exploiters to change prices higher than the maximum fixed price, while the inspectors are rendered helpless by the present deficiencies in the existing Act.

I find it very unfortunate that on a matter of importance to the consumer, we have to deal with an Opposition party which is now putting forward arguments which have nothing to do with the reality we are dealing with here. [Interjections.]

This is a practical matter. This is a practical measure to enable inspectors to bring exploiters of this kind to book. I am really sorry that we cannot even count on the support of the official Opposition in this House as far as consumer affairs and consumer protection are concerned.

Clause agreed to (Official Opposition dissenting).

House Resumed:

Bill reported.


Clause 1:


Mr Chairman, during the Second Reading stage yesterday I indicated why the CP would not support the measure under discussion. During the Third Reading stage of course I shall again spell out the results of this measure in greater detail. At this stage I just want to make a few general observations about it.

When the existing Act was passed in this House in 1976, it was of course done under a completely different constitutional dispensation. At the time we motivated our wholehearted support for the measure. As a matter of fact we still support a White Teachers’ Council, in exactly the same way as we are in favour of a similar council for every other population group in the country. In the interim, however, the Government has changed the entire constitutional dispensation in South Africa, and it has come forward with its so-called self-determination in respect of own affairs and joint decision-taking in respect of matters of general concern. As I have already indicated, this is merely an attempt, starting at the top, to allow the entire phenomenon of a joint say to simply work its way through, so that in the long run there will be no self-determination left.

The hon the Minister argued that I was being opportunistic in my standpoint. However, I want to put it to him that since he departed from his old ways, he has started using a debate terminology which I feel is unworthy of him. [Interjections.] Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister must realize that we in this party do not have all the newspapers in the country on our side. We cannot therefore convey this message to the people outside in an opportunistic way. [Interjections.] Of course, what I am saying to the hon the Minister now, may only be known in Soutpansberg in a couple of weeks’ time. For that reason I cannot be accused of opportunism.

We adhere to a specific standpoint which is foreign to the Government’s view of their new constitutional dispensation. The hon the Minister himself, as well as the hon member for Virginia, said that this Bill was rooted in the new constitutional dispensation. In this respect we disagree with them. This is the actual reason why we disagree with them. However, I shall elaborate on this matter in greater detail during the Third Reading stage.


Mr Chairman, with reference to what the hon member for Rissik has just said, I think that to all hon members in this House who are able to think and reason logically it still sounds strange for someone to say, as the hon member for Rissik said during the Second Reading stage, that as far as the contents of the original Act and the present amending measure are concerned, he has no problem, and that he could in fact support the amending Bill, as it is worded, on the basis of its contents. But, on the basis of what he has conjured up for himself as the possible implications—something which he has of course dreamed up himself—with regard to other matters, which are situated in the sphere of political and constitutional development, he maintains that he has to question the legislation under discussion.

If that method of reasoning were to be adopted hon members of the CP would, on the basis of the fact that a new political dispensation has been established in South Africa, have to reject every measure and every amending Bill which came up for discussion in this House. This would make an absolute mockery of meaningful debate on the merits of amending Bills submitted to us. In view of this I am convinced that the Committee will not attach any weight to the arguments and considerations of the hon member for Rissik.


Mr Chairman, I just want to make a few observations in regard to what the hon the Minister has just said. I am well aware that in the next few months—that is what it looks like to me—we shall arrive at a new dispensation by treading water.


Order! I am sorry to interrupt the hon member, but we are not discussing the new dispensation now. We are discussing clause 1. In his first speech I allowed the hon member for Rissik to place his objections in principle in connection with this important matter on record, and I am not going to allow him to make a second speech on the same subject.


Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister has just replied to what I said and I want to put my case in just two sentences. After the Minister and certain speakers of the NP had said that this legislation was rooted in a specific … [Interjections.]


Order! The hon member is circumventing my ruling. My ruling is that I cannot at this juncture allow the hon member to make a second speech on the principle involved. [Interjections.] Order!


All I want to say is that we cannot agree to anything here which may be used against us in subsequent debates as if we had voted in favour of a specific thing.


Order! The hon member must now discuss the details of clause 1. He may enlarge on his standpoint on the principle during the Third Reading.

Clause agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).

Clause 2 agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).

Clause 4:


Mr Chairman, I move the amendments to this clause printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:

  1. 1. In the Afrikaans text, on page 4, in line 18, to omit “nie”.
  2. 2. In the Afrikaans text, on page 4, in line 19, after “is,” to insert “nie”.

The original provision in the principal Act empowers the council to strike off the register the name of any registered or provisionally registered person who is either deceased or who requests that his name be struck off the register or whose name is in terms of any other provision of the Act required to be struck off the register. In terms of this amendment we are now making, the council will also be empowered to strike off a person’s name on the basis of what is mentioned here, namely if in the opinion of the council any condition determined in terms of section 16(2)(b) has not been complied with.

Section 16(2)(b) is a new provision which is being inserted in the principal Act by clause 5 and which empowers the Teachers’ Council to provisionally register a person convicted of misconduct but who, in the opinion of the council, is otherwise fit to teach, subject to specific reservations and under specific conditions.

The effect of the amendment in clause 4 to which I have just referred is that if a person who is provisionally registered subject to certain conditions does not comply with any of those conditions, his name may be struck off the register by the council.

My reason for moving this amendment is that as the proposed amendment in clause 4 now reads in the Afrikaans text a name may only be struck off if that person does not comply with any of the conditions; in other words, it could be interpreted to mean that only if he fails to comply with all the conditions, whereas the shifting of the negative, as is the case in the English text, makes it quite clear that if he neglects to comply with any of the conditions his name may be struck off.

Amendments 1 and 2 agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).

Clause, as amended, agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).

Clause 5 agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).

Clause 6:


Mr Chairman, as indicated by the hon member for Bryanston during the Second Reading debate, we have difficulty with the clause before the Committee at present. I therefore move as an amendment:

  1. 1. On page 7, from line 25, to omit subsection (2).

I think we can clearly distinguish in meaning between the proposed subsection (1) and subsection (2). The distinction lies in the fact that we are now dealing with people whose names are struck off the register of teachers. In the first instance in subsection (1) we deal with those who are convicted; in other words, a conviction has taken place. All the hon the Minister is asking here, is that the words “or of misconduct in terms of any law governing education or the teaching profession” be inserted before the words “unfit to teach”. We have no objection to that, because we are clearly dealing with a conviction that has taken place.

I now proceed to subsection (2) which we find objectionable. Here we are not dealing with a conviction that has taken place, but with an inquiry which has been instituted. The hon the Minister said in answer to a question raised in the Second Reading debate:

The charge is brought against him and he has been notified of that charge and now proceedings are set in motion, but he then tries to frustrate the process by having his name struck off the register.

In terms of section 15(1)(c) he then sends in his letter of resignation before the inquiry takes place. The hon the Minister is now asking this House to provide in legislation that such a person should be deemed to guilty of an offence. I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether this is what he is asking the House to do.




We find this obnoxious. We find it against the actual principles of justice itself. Let us take in the first place the position that obtains in a court of justice. Let us assume that a charge is brought against a person. In most cases, unless it is a very petty offence, even if the accused pleads guilty, the prosecutor is obliged to lead evidence aliunde; in other words, evidence outside to show that there has been a commission of the offence. If the presiding officer is satisfied that the offence has been committed, he then finds the accused guilty. The fact that the accused has not turned up does not make him guilty in law; there may be reasons why he has not turned up.

In this case we are dealing with an inquiry which has been set in motion against a teacher. It may well be that the teacher is dissatisfied—everybody is against him, they are heaping all kinds of abuse on him, they charge him of all kinds of things, they are listening to false witness against him—and he feels that the dice is loaded against him. He then decides to send in his resignation.

What we are asking is that in such a case, if the inquiry has been set in motion and the teacher has resigned, the inquiry should still have evidence submitted to it prima facie to show that the offence or the misconduct with which the teacher is being charged has been committed. Otherwise you find a person guilty, deem him to be guilty, and convict him, which is quite unfair unless the inquiry calls for some evidence to prove that there was misconduct on the part of the teacher concerned. But if we are going to “deem” him guilty, then the inquiry need call no evidence whatsoever. The individual is merely convicted on whatever charge against him and he is taken off the roll of teachers, which means the end of his career as a teacher. We think this procedure is a bit unfair.

For this reason, while we go along with the amendment on the first part, we cannot go along with the second amendment. May I make a further point. There is another provision in the Act, I think it is section 22, which provides that if a teacher has been convicted in a court of law of some offence then the inquiry must call for the record of the court case. Why make an exception in this case, just because the man has not turned up? As a matter of fact, he may even turn up. It does not mean to say that he will not turn up at all. He may have submitted his resignation but he still may come along and defend himself. What will happen in a case like that? He will not be allowed to defend himself because the law says by resigning he is “deemed” to be guilty.


Mr Chairman, basically I can understand the motivation of the hon member for his amendment, an amendment which was envisaged by the hon member for Bryanston on a previous occasion. But I want to point out to the hon member that we are not concerned here with denying a teacher his rights. What we are concerned with here is that in view of its experiences, the Teachers’ Council has found it necessary to prevent the abuse of the right which a registered teacher has to have his name struck off the register at his request in order to frustrate disciplinary procedures being taken against him.

This problem can be solved in various ways. It is analogous to the problem which also exists in the service relationship between a teacher and the department employing him, namely that it must be possible to prevent a teacher from frustrating disciplinary procedures which have already been instituted against him by resigning as a teacher. The request from the Teachers’ Council was that the procedure which at present applies in terms of the legislation in connection with the conditions of employment of teachers in the various education departments should also apply in this case.

In other words, in the same way that a teacher is prevented from resigning as a teacher in order to put a stop to disciplinary procedures which have been instituted against him, the Teachers’ Council should also have the power to prevent a teacher from frustrating possible disciplinary measures being taken against him by resigning.

As I indicated yesterday in the Second Reading debate, what we are dealing with here is a change which had already been brought against him when he resigned. It was therefore in progress but had not yet been finalized.

Such a teacher has various options. He may plead guilty, in which case he will be found guilty. He may allow the investigation to run its normal course, in which case the procedure which may be unpleasant for him in certain respects, simply continues. Or in terms of the provision which has been added here, he may avail himself of the opportunity to have his name struck off the register, in which case he will be summarily convicted without further investigation. He has the choice. He is not being denied any rights. The right to be duly tried is being maintained. However, he must not try to thwart a proper hearing by requesting that his name be struck off the register.

Mr Chairman, I feel that the provision which is being inserted here is fair and that it is not in conflict with any principle of fairness. I am nevertheless prepared to submit the proposal of the hon member for Hill-brow to the SA Teachers’ Council. If in due course they think that his proposal is a better solution than that which is at present being followed in practice by the various education departments, we can effect a further amendment later. But in order to frustrate the cases which have already occurred in practice, it is necessary for us to insert this provision now. This matter has been duly cleared up with the interested bodies in the profession, in other words with the various professional associations represented on the Teacher’s Council and the various education departments.

Under the circumstances I am sorry to say that I cannot accept the amendment of the hon member.


Mr Chairman, unfortunately we cannot accept the offer of the hon the Minister. We cannot accept his submitting the amendment we have moved to the SA Teachers’ Council for Whites and asking them whether they would prefer it to the provision in this Bill.

The hon the Minister said it was his aim to prevent the teacher, who wanted to avoid disciplinary steps being taken against him by having his name struck off the register, from doing so. However, this is definitely not the effect which this new provision will have. The effect of this will be that a teacher will be found guilty without a hearing ever having taken place. A person may be aware of the case against him and, as a result, it may be suspected that he wishes to prevent steps being taken against him by having his name struck off the register. If he were to do this, this clause provides that he would be presumed to be guilty and this would be the finding.

The hearing did not take place, however, and the teacher did not have the opportunity to put his side of the case. This is in conflict with the rule of law and we cannot accept it.

I think the hon the Minister is merely making an excuse for this provision when he says that it is for another purpose. Once the provision has been agreed to, it is embodied in legislation. The hon the Minister says that it may subsequently be amended, but in the interim this legislation could be applied to the detriment of a number of teachers. We do not see our way clear to supporting the hon the Minister in this connection.


Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister has made out a strong case as to why a teacher who is guilty of some form of misconduct will not be prejudiced by this amendment, but I do not think that that applies to a teacher against whom a complaint may have been laid and who is in fact innocent. I think there is agreement on both sides of the House that a teacher who is guilty of misconduct should not be able to prevent an inquiry taking place merely by asking to be struck off the register. However, we do not believe that such an eventuality should be remedied in the way the Minister wants to do it in this Bill. It is worthwhile bearing in mind that there are sometimes investigations which take quite a while to be completed and that it is not a case of telling somebody that he only has to wait a week or two. A man may have decided, for a reason unrelated to an allegation against him, that he wants to leave the teaching profession. I think I am correct in saying that to remain on the register he has to continue to pay a fee, and this may stretch over a period of months. In that regard, for a man who is actually innocent—maybe having had a malicious campaign or complaint against him—there is no adequate remedy available to him if this amendment is carried.


Mr Chairman, in the first place I think the hon members of the Opposition are now going to an extreme by assuming a certain amount of malevolence on the part of those who bring a charge against a teacher. If that is the case, he has the liberty of remaining registered as a teacher and having the charge properly investigated by his peers in the Teachers’ Council. That will be his guarantee that justice will be done to him.

*Secondly, I should like to emphasize the point very strongly that there is no possibility of a case against a teacher being manipulated. We are dealing here merely with a case of the teacher himself taking the initiative to have his registration cancelled and, in so doing, frustrating the possibility of a normal disciplinary investigation. So there is no question here of someone else abusing the procedure; it is he himself who is abusing a procedure in order to protect himself from a disciplinary investigation.


Mr Chairman, just to illustrate the situation I should like to ask the hon the Minister the following question: Would the hon the Minister say that because the previous Minister of Manpower, the hon S P Botha resigned, he was of necessity guilty as a result? [Interjections.]


Mr Chairman, I do not think that question merits an answer.

Furthermore, I should like to point out that it would in point of fact be an anomalous situation if a professional council were to proceed with a disciplinary investigation against a person who had been allowed by that same professional council to cease to be a member of the profession. How could it then, as a professional council, continue to carry out a disciplinary investigation against that person? And yet that is what the result will be if the amendment by the hon member for Hillbrow is accepted, and therefore I cannot accept it.


Mr Chairman, would it, in those circumstances, not be better to have an amendment that the inquiry will continue and will be finalized, notwithstanding the fact in clause 15(1)(c) that he has resigned? In that case the inquiry can give him the opportunity to appear and the inquiry can then call for evidence to show that the offence has been committed. Would that not be a better way of dealing with it?


Mr Chairman, I have argued the matter thoroughly and I shall let that suffice.


Mr Chairman, do I understand correctly from the hon the Minister’s reply that the case of a teacher who has resigned cannot be heard? The stand of the official Opposition is that he should not be considered guilty as a result of his resignation. Will this not create an impasse in that the Teachers’ Council will not be able to hear his case because he is no longer a member of the profession?


That is what we want amended.


That is the point I want to clarify, namely whether he will by an act of resignation no longer be heard because he is no longer a member of that profession. Will he by resigning render the council unable to hear his case? Perhaps the hon the Minister will just indicate what exactly the situation is because, if the amendment suggested by the hon member for Hillbrow applied, one would be hearing somebody whom one was not empowered to hear.


Mr Chairman, that is why I suggested to the hon the Minister that, if that is a way out, the inquiry can continue until it has been completed. That is exactly what we are suggesting at the moment. That could then be done.


Mr Chairman, I think the hon member for King William’s Town put his finger on the crux of the matter. This is precisely what is involved. If the amendment of the hon member for Hillbrow were to be accepted, this would amount to the legislation empowering a professional council to institute a disciplinary investigation into the conduct of a person whose name has been struck off the professional register by that council and over whom it therefore no longer has any authority. This is one of the reasons why the law advisers advising my department and the SA Teachers’ Council on this matter, proposed that the model I explained at the start and which has also been adopted in practice in connection with disciplinary investigations of teachers in the employ of education departments, should also apply here. If the relevant teacher therefore misuses his right to resign, in this case his right to have his name struck off, he is deemed to be guilty, because he cannot be brought under the authority of that council in any other way.


Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister whether we must then assume that the only reason for such a person’s resignation will be that he wanted to frustrate the inquiry? Could there not be other reasons?


I think one accepts that it is difficult to imagine there would be other reasons making it so necessary and urgent for him to resign if a disciplinary case were brought against him, that these reasons should take precedence over the necessity for the disciplinary action to run its course.

I should like to emphasize that the teaching profession is one of our most sensitive professions. The teaching profession has a unique authoritative relationship with the pupils entrusted to its care. For that reason it is necessary, in the opinion of this profession’s own professional council, that the South African Teachers’ Council, it is necessary to ensure that disciplinary investigations into members of the profession are permitted to peter out and are not frustrated as a result manipulation by the accused. It is necessary for the matter to be duly investigated and finalized, because in future the profession must know whether it can confidently re-employ that person to the position of trust which exists between a teacher and the pupils entrusted to him. In view of this fact it is also important that no loopholes should remain. Therefore I am not prepared to accept the amendment.

Amendment 1 negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).

Clause agreed to (Official Opposition and Conservative Party dissenting).

House Resumed:

Bill, as amended, reported.


Mr Speaker, before we adjourned yesterday I was busy dealing with the fact that the hon member for Sea Point came to this House totally unprepared for this Bill. In fact, I believe he opposed it in ignorance. The hon member was shaking his head yesterday when I referred to the fact that he had not bothered to study the Bill or tried to understand it. That is why the hon member told the House that the official Opposition could not make a decision about the Bill until they had heard the hon the Minister’s Second Reading speech. The hon member for Sea Point is again shaking his head. This hon member interjected and said: "Do not distort what I said”. Let me read what the hon member in fact said.


Read what you said.


I have based my arguments on what the hon member said. The hon member spoke before me. I did not speak before him. The hon member said:

Mr Speaker, we decided to listen very carefully to the hon the Minister to see whether he would advance satisfactory arguments that would persuade us to support this Bill.

In other words, they were undecided when the debate started. I quote further:

However, we have listened carefully, and this glorious spirit of consensus which existed for a little while has ended as a result of the hon the Minister’s speech.

In other words, there was no decision by the PFP caucus until they came to the House today. That is why they waited to hear the hon the Minister’s speech first. The official Opposition has collapsed if it can come in this day and age to Parliament and tell us that its caucus could come to no decision as to whether to support a Bill of this nature until it has heard the hon the Minister’s speech. It is a simple Bill and I believe that even the village idiot would understand it. [Interjections.]

Let us look at the clauses to see what the hon member for Sea Point could not understand. The amendment in clause 1 mainly deals with the position of the occupier and the failure to pay rent or any other amount, and goes on to deal with the manner in which notice is given and occupation is taken. What is there in that clause that the hon member for Sea Point could not understand? The amendment in clause 2 deals with the position where a person occupies immovable property without written consent. Surely even the hon member for Sea Point can understand that. I cannot see his difficulty. The amendment in clause 3 basically deals with the fact that when a local authority acquires property on behalf of the Community Development Board it must act in terms of the same Expropriation Act as the Community Development Board. What difficulty does the hon member have with that particular proposition? I cannot understand what his difficulties are. Clause 4 contains only the short title. What is there in the short title that is worrying the hon member? [Interjections.] The hon member had to listen to the hon the Minister’s Second Reading speech first in order to decide on these clauses, including the short title. I do not know what his problems are. If the official Opposition cannot even decide on such an elementary issue, then it is obvious to me that things are going wrong in that party, totally, and that there is lack of leadership. In fact, the party is in a state of collapse. It has always been the custom in the Opposition that in cases where it does not understand a particular Bill or where difficulty is experienced with a particular Bill, a senior official from the department is asked to come over to the caucus to explain to them what the Bill is all about. It is obvious to me that this elementary rule was not even followed by the hon member for Sea Point. In any event, this is such a short Bill and so easy to understand that one cannot comprehend why the hon member had to come to Parliament to tell the House in effect that the entire PFP caucus did not understand the Bill and that they felt that they first had to listen to the hon the Minister’s speech. [Interjections.] That is what the hon member said. I quoted that right at the beginning of my speech.


You are a clown.


It takes one clown to recognize another. I should like to point out to the hon member, who is already a seasoned member of Parliament, that the people who are going to interpret this particular Bill when it becomes an Act will not ask to see the hon the Minister’s Second Reading speech. The bulk of them will interpret the Act without seeing the hon the Minister’s Second Reading speech. Why should hon members of the PFP, who are all seasoned members of Parliament, then have to hear the hon the Minister’s Second Reading speech first? It is total nonsense.

There is of course another explanation, namely that the hon member’s refuge to ignorance is the fact that a decision was taken by his caucus, because the extremists in the left wing of the PFP are against the development of communities in South Africa. [Interjections.] That is a known fact. The left wing extremists in South Africa are against the development of communities.


Your mind is deteriorating.


The hon Chief Whip says my mind is deteriorating, Sir, his has deteriorated a long time ago.

The more moderate members of the PFP realize that to have peace and tranquility in South Africa one should not hinder or impede the development of community life. So the hon member for Sea Point persuaded his entire caucus to go along with the suggestion that the caucus does not decide whether it is for or against the Bill but to give him the sole discretion, a blank cheque, to come to Parliament and take the decision. Now we know that that hon member is not in favour of the development of communities; we know that he is on the left-wing extreme side.


Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon member a question?


Mr Speaker, my time is limited, and that hon member also is not interested in the development of communities. I have had experience of that in the referendum. [Interjections.]

I watched the hon member for Sea Point very carefully when the hon the Minister was speaking and I thought that while he was listening to the Minister’s speech he would consult with some of his colleagues. However, he did not consult with any one of them, and in his ignorance he on his own took the decision to vote against the Bill. The amazing thing about all this is that the hon the Minister said nothing in his Second Reading speech that is not contained in the Bill; so the hon member for Sea Point could have taken all the decisions he wanted to before he came to the House.

The hon member accused the hon the Minister of taking too much power on the one hand and later said the hon the Minister was delegating too much power to local authorities in terms of powers delegated from the Community Development Board. The hon member does not know what he really wants. Firstly he objects that the hon the Minister is taking too much power upon himself and then he objects because the hon the Minister is delegating too much power.

The hon member then objected to the fact that a person occupying immovable property must have written consent to do so. He said at one stage that he wants greater protection for tenants while later in his speech he objects to the tenants having their rights recorded in writing, which means that greater protection for tenants are recorded in writing. The hon member for Sea Point is therefore a mass of contradictions. I should like to point out where he pleads for the protection of tenants. He says that there should be greater certainty in law for the tenant but that the Minister now comes along and reduces certainty in law as far as the tenants are concerned. He also says there should be greater protection for tenants in terms of the private sector, but the hon the Minister comes along and says there is going to be less protection for tenants in terms of the private sector. Having fought for the protection of tenants he later on in the same speech fights against the protection of tenants, where he says (Hansard 13 February 1984):

If in fact the absence of a written contract mitigates against the tenant, good and well, but he still has to prove it. Let the courts decide, however, whether the contract is valid or not, whether an assurance was given, and let us not necessarily stipulate that it must be in writing.

Look at the contradiction here. The hon the Minister wants to safeguard the rights of tenants, but the hon member for Sea Point says good and well, let them have court cases. These poor tenants cannot afford to go to court; they are not all members of the PFP.

It is a tenants’ or consumers’ protection measure when the occupier has to have permission in writing. The hon member for Sea Point holds himself out as the champion for the cause of tenants and occupiers. Yet when a protection measure is introduced in legislation he is the first one to object. This written consent will obviate disputes and costly court cases. What difficulty has the hon member therefore with it? The hon member was not even aware of the fact that there had been court cases relating to these matters and that these presented great difficulties. When I raised this point with him last night he looked at me as if he had never even heard of these court cases. In these court cases it was shown that there are technical difficulties which make it imperative to have certainty in the law. In a Supreme Court case in the Transvaal Provincial Division against the Department of Community Development and others, one sees how these technical difficulties actually hamstrung the board from proceeding. It actually presented great difficulties to the Development Board.

The property in question was declared a White group area in 1968. Eleven years later, in 1979, when the board required the property, notices were served and the owners were given 12 months notice. On 29 September 1980 a notice of expropriation was served on the owners, and on 3 December 1980 the applicants were given notice to vacate the property on 31 January 1981. The applicants did not vacate the property, and a further notch was served a year later, on 22 December 1981. Thereafter, in a court case, judgment was given on 17 November 1982. Thus 14 years had elapsed from the group areas declaration until the notices were served. Therefore it should be clear to the hon member for Sea Point that the department acts only when they need a property urgently. In this case they took 14 years. That means they are not pushing people around in any way. They try their best to accommodate people.

However, when the department or the board wanted the property urgently, because of the legal technicalities involved they could not take possession of the property. Surely this state of affairs must be remedied in some way or other.

*Mr Speaker, in cases where the Community Development Board is the owner of a property, the board should be able to exercise its full rights as owner. In terms of a court judgment the Department of Community Development has no problems with regard to exercising those rights when a tenant is in possession of the property in question. The court did find that the Community Development Board did not have the same rights in cases where an occupier instead of a tenant was in possession of the property. So in terms of the existing Act, the right of the occupier is superior to that of a tenant. The tenant occupies the property in terms of an agreement and, consequently, he is present there legally for the full term of his lease. The occupier can be in possession of the property without the permission of the owner. It is obvious that he cannot acquire greater rights than the tenant. Clause 1 will ensure that the board, as owner, will be able, with the present amendments to the Act, to take action against an occupier.

†This measure also authorizes the Director-General or people nominated by him to take occupation of a property acquired with Community Development Board funds. It is fundamental that where the Community Development Board has completed the expropriation in order to acquire a property, it is absolutely imperative that they should have the right to occupy in terms of the expropriation order. Should the occupation not be obtained owing to legal technicalities it could mean that obstacles and limitations are placed on the Community Development Board. In cases where expropriation negotiations are protracted or delayed it is important, more particularly if the property is urgently required by the board, that there should be no such obstructions.

In order to obviate any possible dispute or confusion I do believe anybody can object to a provision allowing an occupier to allege verbal permission. He must have written permission from the Director-General or from anybody to whom the Director-General may have delegated his power. In cases where a local authority must expropriate in terms of the Act it should be done in terms of the Expropriation Act. This will lead to uniformity in expropriation proceedings. Where the Community Development Board requires a local authority to act on behalf of the board this will also basically lead to uniformity regarding the type of compensation paid in respect of the expropriated property.

In all these circumstances, Mr Speaker, I have no hesitation in supporting this measure.


Mr Speaker, I found it interesting to listen to the hon member Mr Aronson. It is Valentine’s Day today. Accordingly I believe we should not be aggressive to one another today. I think we should all benefit a great deal if we sent cards to one another, and at least to the ladies at home, too, of course. [Interjections.]

Mr Speaker, this Bill embodies a temporary measure. It is a specific kind of instance that is being dealt with here. The hon member Mr Arson put it very clearly that long delays take place when people apply to a court for an interdict. A court is quick to grant an interdict. This is usually followed by a period in which the respondent can state and defend his rights. In the meantime the department is hindered in the execution of its duties by applications of this nature, and this can only be to the benefit of our entire population. Such frustrating tactics can never succeed, but they do cause delays and this is not acceptable to us.

I want to mention an example in this connection, viz Block AK in Durban. Thirty hectares of land in Durban were frozen after the buildings on that land had been demolished and the people there had been bought out. For a long time this land was frozen due to the action of Essop’s Fruiterers. They could not regain anything more than they did from that situation. By means of their efforts to frustrate the Act and the work of the department, they succeeded in delaying the work of the department to such an extent that it was even difficult to sell that land. This caused problems.

It is so easy for people to speak about the suspension of a general right. However, a statutory amendment is indeed a suspension of a general right. Legislation has to be introduced in this Parliament to rectify such matters.

I have a few problems with regard to the question of occupation. I hope the hon the Minister will listen. I have certain problems in this regard in the Mayfair area of my constituency. These difficulties are caused by what was done by the older generation of Lebanese, Afrikaners and Jews in that area. The legacy left to their children by the people who used to live there was usually the occupation of a building, but not the usufruct of that building as we know it. That child could not lease that building and use the income. The father may have had just the one property and that property was made over to the eldest son. If there was a second son, he was given right of occupation for his lifetime and he did not pay rent for it. He did not obtain a usufruct to the extent that he could lease that building. I just want to say to the hon the Minister that these are not people who have broken the law in any respect because those transfers and contracts were awarded to these children many years ago. I think I urged one man to write a letter to the hon the Minister and that was more than three months ago.


Is that in the affected area?


Yes, it is in the affected area. Three months ago I urged that man to bring that matter to the attention of the hon the Minister because certain problems had arisen with regard to the occupation of that property. I am merely afraid that those people’s interests may be prejudiced as a result of the amendments as contained in this amending Bill. In this regard I should like to quote from the judgment of Judges Theron, Goldstone and Le Grange, who said, inter alia, the following:

The word “occupy” is found to be defined in section 1 of the Act and means occupy as owner or by virtue of lease or usufruct, right of habitatio or by virtue of prescriptive title.

My people do not have the money to go to court. There are a few cases involved here, and I request the hon the Minister please to give attention to this matter.

A department that has to spend the money, and one with the workload of this department, can and may not be frustrated by being unable to act on statutory authority. I believe that a judge has no alternative but to give the judgment that was given in this court case. One cannot come to any other conclusion when one considers the court case to which the hon member referred. The case arises out of events at Lichtenburg. The hon member also pointed out that since 1968 frustration has occurred as a result of matters being delayed due to interdicts that are brought. If a statutory amendment is effected, as in this case, a judge takes cognizance of it and he notes that there is a reason why the statutory amendment has to be effected and why an interdict should not be granted without further ado.

We therefore support the Bill. Perhaps it will lead to further legislation, or perhaps it can be included here so that occupiers who occupy unlawfully in that they cannot lawfully rent, can also be involved …


The Bill only concerns the properties of the Board.


I am aware of that. I think one should span the net a little wider by effecting a small amendment. I do not ask that that amendment be effected today; the hon the Minister probably needs a month or two for that. An amendment of this nature could be of great value to us.


Mr Speaker, as far as I am concerned the hon member’s benign chuckle underlined once again the fact that, like the hon member for Sea Point, he entered the debate without knowing what was going on. However, the hon member for Langlaagte had the benefit of being able to listen first to the outstanding speech of the hon member Mr Aronson. The hon member Mr Aronson is the former member for Walmer and the future member for Cape Town Gardens, if hon members do not know that.

Yesterday the hon member for Sea Point gave us a very clear exposition of how the mind of a typical liberal works. The terminology he used in his speech about this uncomplicated little Bill was full of expressions like “the rights of the individual”, about which he made a great song and dance. He also made a great song and dance about the Government supposedly trying to acquire power. Particularly after I had listened to the speech of the hon member Mr Aronson, it struck me that there are two things and two days that the hon member for Sea Point will prefer not to be reminded about. The first is that famous telephone call he made, and for goodness’ sake never give him a telephone as a birthday present. The second is that on future Valentine’s Days we must never remind him of the Community Development Amendment Bill, 1984.

As the hon member said, this is an uncomplicated little Bill. It comprises only three clauses. The Bill makes provision for preventing practices which have become widespread abroad, namely the exploitation of squatting situations. It is that people can simply go and squat on certain premises, whether those premises belong to a private body or a public body, as in this instance, and that it is then virtually impossible to remove them from those premises.

Sir, I regard this measure as a good means of ensuring order in a community, and for that reason I support it wholeheartedly.


Mr Speaker, as has been said, this Bill contains only three clauses covering different aspects of the legislation. These three clauses do not introduce any new principles into the existing legislation. What they do is to extend or to alter the application of existing principles. Consequently we do not regard this Bill as one which presents us with principal problems, but it does present us with problems in so far as its contents and its effects are concerned. Therefore, because it does not introduce any new principles, the NRP will support the Second Reading.

However, we will oppose clause 2. Clause 2 contains a provision which we opposed when it was originally introduced, and because it is here extended we will oppose it again in the Committee Stage. The reason why we are opposed to clause 2 is not because it introduces a new principle but because it extends one to which we object and which we have objected originally. It concerns the right of the Director-General to evict a person without a court order. This clause improves the situation in so far as it brings clarity into the situation. For instance, it defines property as immovable property. This makes it quite clear what is referred to. Furthermore it defines it as belonging to the board instead of having been erected or acquired with moneys from the fund. Similarly, the provision for written consent, to which the official Opposition objects, is also an improvement because it brings clarity about what was meant by the word “permission”. “Permission” up to now was vague and could lead to litigation, whereas “written consent” is a clear concept. It sets down in black and white what the rights of a person are and as such can be used as evidence in order to prove a case in court. In fact, this particular amendment makes it easier for the department to take any person who is illegally in occupation to court in order to get an eviction order. The tenant would now have to produce the written consent, which can then be used quite easily in evidence before a court. The only other amendment in clause 2, namely the addition of the words “not withstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law or the common law”, does not change the intention of the legislation. It merely highlights our original principal objections. I do not think it changes the law at all. It simply clarifies it. The provision which applied up to now reads:

The Director-General or a person authorized by him may, without having obtained any judgment or order of court, summarily enter upon and take possession of that property …

In other words, the department could, without an order of court, enter and take possession of property. This simply puts that power beyond any doubt, but in putting it beyond doubt, it highlights our objection in principle to the fact that this matter does not go to court. In Committee Stage we will, therefore, oppose clause 2.

As far as clause 1 is concerned, the words “or other occupier” is being inserted, as well as the words “or other amount, as the case may be” in respect of rentals. Obviously, if a tenant fails to pay, he can be evicted. If a tenant can be evicted for a failure to pay rental, we believe that any other occupier should also be in the same position. The hon member for Sea Point made a great issue of the rights of the tenant and referred constantly to the rights of tenants, but here the tenant is not affected, but another occupier. We have no objection to this and fail to see what the objection of the hon member for Sea Point is, because it seems logical that if a legal tenant could be subject to a penalty for failure to pay rent, another occupier should be subject to the same penalty.

The addition of the words “or other amount” we think is logical. In Durban we have a controversy at the moment. There has been a failure to pay water levies and penalties on water. That is not part of the rental, but it is a liability of the tenant or the occupier towards the department. So we accept the addition of these words. We see any other money legally owed to the department as something which is the duty of the tenant to pay and which in the case of failure of payment should entitle the department to the repossession of those premises.

The third amendment to which the hon member for Sea Point also takes exception, is the extension of the right of appropriation to a local authority. The NPR is committed to the principle of the devolution of power to the lowest level of authority. I understood the PFP was also committed to the devolution of power to the lowest level of authority. Here we have a central government handing over a power to local government which will be acting as its agent. We see nobody better qualified to deal with expropriations than the people who are actually dealing with redevelopment schemes. They are doing the development, and they know what is required and are the people best suited to establish fair valuations. We accept the principle of the devolution of power downwards and that it be exercised at the lowest level of authority. We therefore have no objection to this provision. Because no new principle is introduced in the Bill, we will support the Second Reading. However, we will oppose clause 2 in the Committee Stage, because it provides for the eviction of people without a court order.


Mr Speaker, I have some difficulty in understanding the attitude of the NRP as set out by the hon member for Durban Point. Perhaps it is part of their being hand in hand with the policy of the Governing party.

The hon member admits that he is against clause 2 because it takes away common law rights. All of us stand for the rule of law. All of us stand for applications being made to court. All of us subscribe to the high status of the judiciary which we have in South Africa and all of us stand for the fact that a person can go to court to obtain relief. This now all falls by the way

The hon member for Durban Point says that although it is a principle of the Bill, it is not of such a nature that he will vote against the Bill, but that he will bring it up again in the Committee Stage. We, however, feel so strongly about this principle that we are against the Bill. In so far as the expropriation is concerned …


Didn’t the hon member for Durban Point vote against it originally?


We will vote against it again.


That is the principle of the Bill. The hon member voted against it then and today it is still a principle of the Bill. There is of course a new policy in the New Republic Party. The hon member for Amanzimtoti said that they were going hand in hand with the National Party. [Interjections.] So we can expect something like that. I will come back to the expropriation argument in a minute.

I first want to refer to the “brilliant” speech made this afternoon by the hon member Mr Aronson. There is no Nat which can out-Nat the Nats more than a converted Nat. We had a very good example of this earlier today in the attitude and speech of that hon member. He is very fond of putting up skittles and then shooting them down. His specialty is manufacturing arguments so that he can deal with arguments which were never raised.

I want to tell hon members a secret. The hon member for Sea Point did report to our caucus and our caucus did discuss it and we did take a line. What do hon members think of that? I can honestly tell hon members that the decision was not taken here, in these benches and also not only after we had listened to the hon the Minister. We had decided all this before, and hon members know that. [Interjections.]

The hon member for Sea Point said the following, and I refer to his speech:

Mr Speaker, I decided to listen very carefully to the hon the Minister to see whether he would advance satisfactory arguments that would persuade us to support this Bill.

He was therefore obviously against it. The hon Minister had to persuade us to support it. He said further:

However, we have listened carefully, and this glorious spirit of consensus which existed for a little while has ended as a result of the hon the Minister’s speech.

The hon the Minister then said that he would give an answer in his reply. How can an hon Minister who has to motivate a Bill before the House, say that he will give answers in his reply?


That is, to his arguments.


The hon the Minister said he would give arguments in his reply. One does not introduce a Bill in Parliament and motivate it only after everybody else has spoken.

I would also like to refer to the arguments of the hon member, Mr Aronson. He said in his speech:

The hon member for Sea Point advanced as one of his reasons for opposing the Bill—he admits that he opposes the Bill—that he hopes that the hon the Minister’s introductory speech would assist him to understand the Bill. Whose problem is it however? The hon member reads a Bill and cannot understand it. The hon member for Sea Point does not understand the Bill and is therefore opposing it. If he has problems in understanding the Bill …

He uses the word “understand” four times. Perhaps the hon member can tell me where the hon member for Sea Point said that he did not understand the Bill?


In his opening paragraph.


He did not say that he did not understand it. He said that the hon the Minister must advance satisfactory reasons if he wanted to persuade us. Where did he use the word “understand”? [Interjections.] That hon member comes with false arguments in the House and then tries to shoot them down. Anybody can come along and try to make a fool of somebody else. I can say to the hon the Minister that he said things which he actually did not say, then shoot it down and make hom look stupid. That is very simple. What kind of debating has this House descended to when we have that kind of argument from an hon member? He puts up skittles and then shoots them down.

When we come to the motivation of the hon the Minister, what do we find? We find that the Minister himself says (Hansard, 13 February):

The Community Development Board may, however, approach a court of law in terms of the common law for an eviction order but the procedure contained in the Community Development Act is preferred because it is a more expedient and cheaper process.

It is very nice to stop wasting Government money. We like the idea. After all, it is being spent all over the place. Is that, however, a motivation for introducing legislation, ie that it is more expedient and cheaper? Is it not better for the individual to be able to uphold his rights? Is it not better for the individual, if he has rights, that he should use those rights in a court of law where justice is done and justice is seen to be done? The court of law can then take a decision.

Do you know, Sir, what the hon the Minister is asking us to agree to do in this Bill? He is saying people are occupying premises illegally. Is that right? His approach is: Because the people are there illegally, I am not going to go to court and waste time; they may have a defence and it may take a long time for the court to decide; they are there illegally, so I am going to use this machinery and take away their common law rights. They then cannot go to court and they cannot defend themselves.

What has the hon the Minister done? By way of this amendment Bill he has enshrined himself as the prosecutor and the judge because he can now decide when the occupation of a property is illegal. He, as an individual, can decide that it is illegal. Surely a court of law should have the right to decide whether a particular person was occupying property illegally or not. Surely if a person has some vestige of a right of occupation, it is not for the Minister to decide. If the person concerned has a right of occupation, he will go to court, whilst, if he does not have a case and is occupying the premises illegally, he will not go to court. If he has a defence, he will go to court. His common law rights are now being taken away. It is known that possession is nine tenths of the law. Now the Minister does not even want to give him those nine tenths of the law. He wants to take away every right.

You will understand, Sir, that anybody who is evicted from premises on grounds which are not lawful has a right in law. Hon members know about the mandement van spolie. Everybody knows that one can go to court immediately to get repossession if one has been evicted unlawfully. However, if one removes a person’s common law rights, he cannot even get a mandement order any more because his common law rights will have been taken away. Therefore, if one has made a mistake by using one’s powers and not going to court in order to evict a person, one will as prosecutor and judge have decided his fate and he will have no recourse to law and will not be able to go back to the property afterwards because his common law rights will have been taken away. Is that what we are being asked to approve? Is that the principle the NRP accepts? With the greatest respect, Sir, we cannot go along with this amendment which goes to the very root of a person’s rights to go to court and to defend himself.

Is the hon the Minister getting impatient with people occupying premises who use whatever rights are available to them to stay there? It is not for him to decide. I am not talking about this specific Minister, but the Minister as mentioned in the law, whoever the incumbent may be. That individual is given that right to decide. That is not correct. The department cannot decide that either. If the person involved has rights, he has the right to go to court and to defend those rights.

Let me touch upon one or two other points that have been raised by way of argument. One concerns the delegation of power. Here again the hon member Mr Aronson made great play of the fact that the PFP stand for the devolution of power and are contradicting their own policies. He said that, while powers of expropriation are being given to local authorities, the PFP are opposing that. Again, he is putting up skittles and shooting them down. We are not here devolving power to local authorities. Local authorities are acting as the agents of the Department of Community Development. That is not the same as devolving power. When one makes someone one’s agent, one does not devolve power on him but one gives him agency rights to act on one’s behalf concerning certain matters. With the greatest respect, Sir, that is not the devolution of power. The hon member for Durban Point said that the local authorities are the best people to decide on the value of ground and the question of expropriation. It is not they who initiate the expropriation. It is the Department of Community Development who as the agents instructs them to initiate the expropriation. It is not the local authority that decides on the value or on what the compensation should be. It is laid down by the Expropriation Act itself. Certain formulas are laid down in the Act, whether the expropriation is undertaken by the local authority or by the Department of Community Development. The party’s rights in regard to expropriation, the procedures, etc, are laid down. The hon member must not come with that argument, which is not valid.

I want to refer also to another point raised by the hon member Mr Aronson. The hon member for Sea Point has always championed the rights of tenants and he is still doing it. The hon member Mr Aronson says, with regard to the question of having a release in writing, that the hon member for Sea Point is on the one hand saying that he is protecting the tenants and on the other hand that he does not want to protect them. That again is a specious argument, with great respect. Is the hon member, as well as those who support this Bill, suggesting that one is now going to assist tenants by taking away their common law rights? Is that not the gist of what we are discussing now? By taking away common law rights is one assisting tenants or not? That was the gravamen of the argument made by the hon member for Sea Point. Whether it is in writing or not in writing, is another thing. Sure we support the idea. As we have mentioned, a provision could possibly be inserted in legislation on leasing that leases should be in writing. That is to protect the tenant. [Interjections.] There is no objection to this being in writing, but that is not the reason why we are objecting to it. We are objecting to it for the reasons which we have stated. We have stated that rights are being diminished. One cannot advance a specious argument that one is protecting the rights of the tenants on the one hand and taking them away on the other hand. The expression ius ad surdum, meaning that one can go before the court and reduce any argument to the absurd, also applies here. That is a simple thing. That is exactly what the hon member Mr Aronson was trying to do.

Sir, we cannot possibly go along with the amendments, for the reasons which we have stated. We therefore oppose the Second Reading of the Bill.


Mr Speaker, I wish to convey my most sincere thanks to the hon member for Langlaagte, the hon member for Durban Point and my two hon colleagues on this side of the House who supported the legislation, for their contributions. The hon member Mr Aronson, who is a gentle person, very goodnaturedly gave the hon member for Sea Point an excellent lecture, yesterday and today, on the contents of the legislation. I think that the hon member need only have taken a little trouble. If he had done so, then he too could have been in step. He was right out of step. The hon member for Hillbrow stood here waffling in an effort to protect his colleague, but advanced no new arguments that had not already been advanced by the hon member for Sea Point. If the hon member for Sea Point had spent a little time studying the legislation, he would have found that there was nothing sinister or contentious in the powers requested by the department.

Let us take a brief look at the task of the Community Development Board. We are not dealing with an owner of one or two pieces of land or property, but with a statutory board with an enormous task and responsibility to the community. It is not this body that declares group areas. Therefore hon members need not be so bitter and suspicious in condemning the activities of this body. This board is involved in an area when an area has already been declared a group area by the Group Areas Board. Then it is the task of this body, in the first instance, to acquire and obtain the properties and land within the declared area according to procedures laid down in the legislation. Its second task is to transfer that land or property to qualified persons who have to enter that area, or to develop them for such qualified persons. The latter task in particular is a very important duty the Community Development Board owes to the community, and particularly those communities that need it most. Therefore I, too, think that the hon member for Langlaagte is correct in saying that all these delays and the consequent expense to the State caused by individuals behaving obstructively—we do not encounter problems of this nature every day; we handle thousands of these transactions—are not in the interests of the broader community that has to be served; they are not in the public interest.

Let us now examine carefully each of the clauses, and I want to ask the hon member for Durban Point in particular to listen carefully to the explanation and then to decide whether he still has objections to what is being envisaged by this legislation. I am now going to begin specifically with clause 2 because the hon member advanced an objection to it. He did not object to the fact that there has to be a written agreement with the tenant. However, I cannot understand the hon member for Sea Point. He serves on a select committee that recommended to me that it ought to be a rule applying to the general public at large in every instance, without exception, that when accommodation is leased, there should be a written contract. However, now that I am asking for that he is angry with me. I really cannot understand the hon member’s argument, and I shall therefore leave him at that. I do not want to argue with him about such petty issues. He is just trying to look for an argument.

But what is the problem I have to deal with here by way of clause 2? I think the hon member for Durban Point will understand this. We are dealing here with what the Dutch call “krakers”. They are people who squat illegally—and I am not referring to the squatters at Crossroads—and occupy a structure illegally. For example, the Community Development Board has control over an area. Houses are vacated when people are moved in a proper fashion after alternative accommodation has become available or because they have purchased houses. However, the vacated houses have not yet been demolished; the structures still stand. It may happen that a man and his wife move into one of these structures without obtaining permission in advance from anyone, and when I say this I am not even speaking about written permission, because permission is a very wide concept. These people come and squat illegally in that dwelling, and now the hon member for Sea Point wants me to remove them with kid gloves, whereas the hon member for Hillbrow wants to know what I am doing now. He contends that I am depriving these people of their common law rights and that if I were to make a mistake, there would be no way I could rectify it. However, squatting is an unlawful action and therefore I cannot make any mistake as far as that is concerned.


Who decides on that?


Who takes the decision?


Did the hon member not listen to the example I quoted a moment ago. I am talking about houses that stand empty and people who come and occupy them. The person is told to vacate the house because it may be demolished, since further development has to take place there. However, the man refuses to vacate the house and threatens to go to court and when we go to court—we have had such cases—he says: “There was a tall man around here who told me that he was from the Department of Community Development and that my family and I could move into the house.” This really happened, and now I have to prove that that is not the case. [Interjections.]

However, the hon member for Sea Point tells me that I must not arrogate to myself rights that the ordinary man does not possess. However, the difference is that the ordinary man has one or two, or perhaps 10 to 20, properties, whereas this department has perhaps 750 000 properties that have to be dealt with. It would of course be a totally different kettle of fish if everyone wanted to take us to court. For that very reason the Act provides that a tenant may be evicted. The Act even provides that a lawful tenant can be summarily evicted after certain procedures have been followed without having had access to the court. In this instance it is not a matter of a lawiul tenant, but a person towards whom I have no responsibility, a person who would have no case in court and whom I want to eject. Now, however, I have to sit here with folded arms and accept that that occupier has a greater right than the lawful tenant, as the hon member Mr Aronson rightly pointed out. This “kraker”, this unlawful trespasser, must now be given a superior right.


Do you not have remedies in terms of the law of trespass?


Mr Speaker, if I had had such powers, I should have made use of them. One can evict such a person. However, he obtains an interdict against one.


Mr Speaker, if a man should come into the hon the Minister’s front garden and pitch a tent on his lawn and move in to live in the hon the Minister’s front garden, will he not have that man removed for trespassing? [Interjections.]


Of course I should have him removed, Mr Speaker. That is quite correct. However in this instance we are dealing with an entirely different state of affairs. I appeal to hon members to show understanding of the problems I am discussing now. We have many problems of this nature. People are in trouble, they want accommodation. In the meantime, old structures are standing empty. Of course we do not mind helping people, but when we need properties for development in the interests of the broader community, then surely there must be a way of evicting the occupants. Therefore it is with a clear conscience that I introduce this motion in this House.

This brings me to clause 3. We are dealing here with an existing procedure. I am not coming up with anything new when I effect this change to the clause. All I am doing is the following. Where I or the Community Development Board have requested a local to carry out a development on behalf of the board, then we want the right to follow the same expropriation procedures in the same town or in the same area when we wish to develop properties there. What is wrong with that? After all, the right to transfer such work to the local authority is not in dispute. Therefore this is only a question that the hon member for Sea Point is raising here because he feels that I should rather first perform the expropriation and after that hand over the work to the local authority.

Why should I do that in the case of local authorities, who do this work just as well as I am able to? Why should I do it if they can do it? For example I refer to Pretoria—to Newlands, to Suiderberg—where the city council of that city has undertaken the development. Moreover, that city council itself undertook the expropriation of properties. What is wrong with that? I believe that the argument the hon member for Sea Point advanced here in his opposition to this clause is totally without substance.

As far as clause 1 is concerned, I wish to point out that this concerns other occupiers and not a tenant. We are not dealing here with a tenant, but with other occupiers. Accordingly it is also a matter of other amounts of money that are paid instead of rental. Hon members have referred to court cases in this regard. In this instance the problem once again is that the Community Development Board has an exceptional task to perform. In cases in which the board has to take over land—sometimes the land of farmers that has been expropriated, eg a farm expropriated in order that a township may be developed—it often happens that the development of that land cannot take place immediately. The board then gives the farmer permission to remain on that land provisionally for a few months longer, on a fairly loose basis, of course, and on the understanding that when a start is made with the development of the property, he has to leave the land. Sometimes that occupier obtains the right to stay on that land for free, or else it is expected of him at least to pay the interest on the money that the envisaged developer paid for the purchase of the land. In some cases the occupier pays occupational fees. This is not rental; it is something entirely different. In such a case we are not dealing with a tenant. The occupier in question is not leasing the land; he is merely occupying it.

Cases of this nature also occur in urban areas where there are people who, after an area has been affected, remain on certain properties. The department often permits them to stay there. However, when the area has to be developed, that development can be delayed for years, as in this particular instance, because one or two of the owners do not want to know anything about it. They do not want to move, they are not prepared to accept alternative accommodation of whatever nature that one offers them, nor are they prepared to agree on a price. After one has settled one point, there is always another argument about the price. Such people can keep one busy literally for years. Eventually one has to resort to the courts settle the dispute and in the interim there are people who have been waiting for a long time to be accommodated. There is development work that has to be carried out and everything is brought to a standstill by the actions of one or two people who are obstructive. And then the hon member for Sea Point wants me to handle these people with kid-gloves. That man has no right, because the property belongs to the board. Such a person can quibble interminably about the price we have to pay him, and it is unnecessary for him to continue to sit there while the dispute about the price is negotiated. This Bill is in the public interest and the amendments contained therein are aimed at making it possible for the Community Development Board to perform its tremendous task. That is why I have approached this House—to put this reasonable request to hon members.

Question agreed to (Official Opposition dissenting).

Bill read a Second Time.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

In its investigation into certain aspects of the Prescription Act, 1969, the South African Law Commission brought out a report in which the amendment of section 12(3) of the Act is recommended. Members of the House who were interested were supplied with copies of the Law Commission report.

In terms of section 12(1) of the Act prescription begins to run as soon as the debt is due. In terms of section 12(3), debt which does not arise from a contract is not deemed to be due until the creditor has knowledge of the identity of the debtor and of the facts from which the debt arises, or if he could have acquired such knowledge by exercising reasonable care.

In its report the Law Commission refers to various rulings by the Supreme Court of South Africa where the view was expressed that an action for damages due to breach of contract is contractual and not delictual by nature, as well as that in such a case prescription begins to run when breach of contract occurs and not only once the creditor becomes aware of it. Consequently, actions of this nature do not have the benefit of the provisions of the aforementioned section 12(3).

†The Law Commission referred, inter alia, to a commendable article by J G Lotz and D S Ribbens in the March 1981 issue of Moderne Besigheidsreg, and concluded that, in principle, it was fair that prescription should not run against a creditor who had no knowledge of the facts from which the debt arose or who could not have acquired that knowledge by exercising reasonable care. In an action for damages the actual breach of contract and the consequent damages can be separated in time, in which case the creditor only becomes aware of that breach when the damage comes to light. The Law Commission regards it as unfair that a creditor should be deprived of his action in such a case as a result of prescription, and recommends the deletion of the words “which does not arise from contract” in section 12(3) of the Act. In clause 1 of the Bill it is proposed that effect can be given to this recommendation.


Mr Speaker, this little amending Bill need not delay the House very long. The amendment relates to a section of the Act which deals with the moment upon which prescription of a debt begins to run, which in normal circumstances is when that debt falls due. Subsection (3) of section 12 of the Prescription Act provides that a debt which does not arise from contract shall not be deemed to be due until the creditor has knowledge of the identity of the debtor and the facts from which the debt arises. This means that a contractual debt in certain limited circumstances can in fact begin to prescribe unbeknown to the creditor and to that creditor’s disadvantage. As not all contracts are in writing—in fact most contracts are not in writing—misunderstandings have in the past abounded while prescription has run. By deleting the words “which does not arise from contract” it will mean that all debts, whether they arise from contract or otherwise, will not begin to prescribe until they are properly due as set out in that section. We believe, as the Law Commission pointed out and as the hon the Minister pointed out, that this amendment is in the interests of natural justice and we shall support this little Bill at all stages.

*Dr H M J VAN RENSBURG (Mossel Bay):

Mr Speaker, I rise merely to thank the hon member for Sandton and the official Opposition for their support of this technical measure.

*The motivation for this measure was given by the hon the Minister in his Second Reading speech, and the hon member for Sandton elaborated on it. The fact of the matter is that as the legislation reads at present, it unfortunately gave rise to situations in practice which were not always consistent with one’s idea of fairness. For this reason it is necessary to amend the legislation so that these injustices can be prevented and we on this side of the House also take pleasure in supporting the measure.


Mr Speaker, we in the CP also whole heartedly support the proposed amendment to section 12(3) of the Prescription Act. The amendment is being effected after the SA Law Commission investigated certain aspects of the Prescription Act, 1969.

We find that the proposed deletion of certain words in section 12(3) has the effect that so-called contractual and delictual debts will now be treated in the same way as far as prescription is concerned. Every hon member who read the report of the Law Commission and its recommendation that section 12(3) be amended, will agree with me that the contemplated rectification of section 12(3) is fair, essential and justified.

We are all aware of the fact that if I, for example, have a claim for compensation for damages, after a number of years have elapsed, my claim may become prescribed. In other words, I am in the position that once my claim has become prescribed, I cannot recover the loss I suffered. Such a claim may be a contractual or a delictual claim. The present wording of section 12(3) draws a distinction between a debt arising from an agreement and a debt not arising from an agreement. Our courts have attached an interpretation to section 12(3) which entailed that certain claimants suffered major losses. This also resulted in other claimants suffering major losses because they did not institute claims as a result of certain judgements. As was pointed out in the report, the State Attorney mentioned examples of such losses which were suffered. The example was given of the builder who built a large number of houses for the State. Three years after the completion of the work the paint on the houses began to flake off. An investigation by the CSIR revealed that a faulty plaster mix had been the cause. As a result of the verdicts given in various courts and the Appeal Court, the damage which was suffered could not be recovered, because the claim to recover the loss had become prescribed.

The SA Law Commission was requested to consider an amendment of section 12(3). After the Law Commission had received comments from academics, law societies and other bodies, that all said they supported the proposed amendment, the commission stated the following in paragraph 2.11 of its report:

As uitgangspunt aanvaar die kommissie dit as ’n billike beginsel dat verjaring nie behoort te loop teen ’n skuldeiser wat nie kennis dra van die feite waaruit die skuld ontstaan het nie en wat nie deur die beoefening van redelike sorg daardie kennis kan bekom nie. Uit die aard van die saak sal die skuldeiser in die geval waar die skuld suiwer uit ooreenkoms ontstaan in die reel van die feite kennis dra. Waar ’n mens egter te doen kry met aksies en skadevergoeding toon die regspraak wat behandel is in ander voorbeelde wat onder die kommissie se aandag gekom het duidelik dat die handeling van kontrakbreuk en die gevolglike skade in tyd van mekaar geskei kan wees, sodat die skuldeiser eers van die kontrakbreuk bewus word wanneer dit deur die skade aan die lig kom. Om die eiser in so ’n geval weens die verloop van verjaring van sy aksie te ontneem, is onbillik.

The commission therefore recommended that section 12(3) be amended. Of course we agree wholeheartedly with the reason given by the SA Law Commission as to why contractual and delictual debts should be treated in the same way as far as prescription is concerned.

I think it is appropriate for us to consider for a moment the role which the SA Law Commission has played in this regard. On a previous occasion the hon the Minister mentioned it with appreciation. The task of the SA Law Commission as far as statutory law is concerned is, inter alia, as they themselves put it, to publish an ongoing, simplified, cohesive and generally accessible Statute Book. With the report we have in front of us, they have again given us a wonderful example of the excellent work they do. When one mentions this, one should also mention that academics, legal practitioners and officials of the department make an ongoing contribution to the rectification of what the SA Law Commission deems essential. I think we should take grateful and appreciate cognizance of the good work done by the SA Law Commission so that our legal system remains a just and fair one.

The CP takes pleasure in supporting the legislation.


Mr Speaker, the NRP have pleasure in supporting this Bill. There is one point, however, in respect of which I want to address a few words to the hon the Minister. It concerns the report of the South African Law Commission to which reference has been made.

As my hon. friend, the nominated member Mr Theunissen said, this commission is conducting a very important and thorough investigation into statutory law in South Africa. We feel that on that level it is imperative that this type of report should appear in both languages, particularly since it was handed to us only yesterday.

†We feel that the level at which this commission operates should be the level at which the example is set for the equal use of both languages. It has been a fact that on many occasions the Law Commission reports have been published only in one language, namely Afrikaans. We understand that there are problems at the “Taalburo” where the translation is done. There is a backlog, but we feel that at this level this is not a sufficient excuse. The gentlemen working with this are “taalmagtig in beide tale”. I quite honestly feel that reports of this nature should come to us in both languages simultaneously. There has been a little too much of this sort of thing coming forward in the past and we ask the hon the Minister, in order for them to keep their very excellent record and their standard as high as possible, to pass the word on to the South African Law Commission that we would appreciate it if these reports were made available in both official languages on each occasion.

I have great pleasure in supporting the Bill.


Mr Speaker, let me hasten to assure the hon member for King William’s Town that by submitting this report in Afrikaans only at this stage, we do not intend to detract from the status of any language whatsoever. May I remind the hon member that very recently the report by the Law Commission on mens rea was in English only. The fact of the matter is that we may perhaps have to sacrifice efficiency if we have to wait for the translation because the translation is not done by the body issuing the report. The ruling is that it is publicly attended to by the Translation Bureau. It is done this way for the sake of efficiency and reliability of translation.

*Consequently, hon members must trust us when, for the sake of speed and so on, such as in the case of this Bill which has to be disposed of as swiftly as possible in this sitting, we decide to submit a report to this House in only one language. Let me apologize to this House right now, however. I am responsible for this—not the Law Commission. It was my decision to submit it in this form. Where I went wrong, was that I should perhaps have consulted the hon member, apologized to him and explained. I am doing so now. I am sure he will accept it.

The fact remains that hon members have gained an insight into the Law Commission. Meanwhile, they have supported this Bill thereby displaying their insight into it. I thank them for this. I appreciate it.

Perhaps it is just necessary to add to the comprehensive analysis by the hon member Mr Theunissen that in 1943, when passing the Prescription Act of that year, we had a very clear indication of what the legislator wanted the legal position to be at that stage, viz that prescription in respect of an action for damages, except on the grounds of libel, must run from the date on which the unlawful deed from which the claim for damages arose was brought to the attention of the creditor, or from the date on which it could be reasonably expected that he would have become aware of it, whichever date is the sooner. Therefore, what we are doing now is that we are, in fact, going back to that position, which is a fair position in respect of any creditor.

I have nothing more to add except to say that apparently we are dealing here with an interesting academic distinction as to whether breach of contract gives rise to a legal tie ex delicto or ex contractu. I am grateful that not one hon member tried to unravel this academic problem.


We will do it in the Committee Stage.


I am sure that the hon member for Groote Schuur has more sense than to do that.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.

Bill not committed.

Bill read a Third Time.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

During the last couple of years a systematic review of the Administration of Estates Act was conducted with a view to improving and simplifying the process of administration of estates and to eliminating unnecessary work by masters of the Supreme Court and executors. This action is of great importance because in this country we simply do not have an inexhaustible supply of skilled manpower and can therefore not afford to burden ourselves with cumbersome procedures. In pursuance of the 1981 and 1983 amendments to the Act, further possible amendments were identified which are contained in the Bill now before the House.

Before I deal with these proposals, I am glad to make known that a considerable degree of success has been achieved with the previous amendments. For example, an increase of 105% in the number of estates dealt with by means of the simplified administration process under section 18(3) has been experienced as a result of the amendments of 1981. Once we have removed all the obstacles that hamper the efficient winding up of estates under the existing system, we may take cognizance of what the author Meyerowitz has to say on page vii of the foreword to the fifth edition of his The Law and Practice of Administration of Estates:

Creditors and heirs should be protected, but one wonders whether the additional build-up in the role of the Master’s Office in providing this protection is necessary or worthwhile. Most other countries appear to have managed and to continue to manage the winding up of estates without an institution similar to the Master’s Office and without legislation along the lines of our Act. The necessity for more control becomes even more questionable in consequence of the regulation which virtually ensures that the administration of estates will be carried out by responsible professionals and not amateurs, by people against whom the common law can provide adequate remedy should their accounting to creditors and heirs be deficient.

The proposals now before the House as well as the 1081 and 1983 amendments bear testimony of our belief that the present system is capable of being overhauled in order to allow a sufficient degree of latitude to the honest and conscientious executor without detracting from the protection afforded to heirs and creditors against the roguish and dishonest.

I shall now deal with the particulars of the Bill. In order to prevent the surviving spouse from dealing with fixed property to the prejudice of heirs, section 10 of the Act provides that the Master shall furnish to the registration officer concerned a return containing particulars of immovable property reflected in that inventory and in respect of which the deceased spouse had an interest. Such registration officer is then precluded from registering any transaction or right in respect of such property. The efficiency of the provision depends entirely on the reporting of the estate by a surviving spouse and on reflection of full particulars of immovable property in the inventory. It is found in practice that particulars furnished under section 10 are often insufficient for the registration officer to identify the property, thus rendering the vast amount of work involved to Masters and registration officers quite useless. As section 10 clearly does not serve the purpose for which it was intended, its repeal is proposed in clause 1. The normal legal remedies are still at the disposal of aggrieved heirs, such as the obtaining of an interdict against unauthorized disposal of immovable property as well as the recovery thereof under certain circumstances when it has already been so disposed of. Furthermore, in terms of section 9 a surviving spouse is compelled to furnish to the Master an inventory including a list of all immovable property in which the deceased had an interest. The wilful making of a false inventory is an offence in terms of section 102 which is punishable with a maximum fine of R1 000 or five years’ imprisonment or both. We may very well have to look at the money value of the fine. The Master is therefore still in the same position to guard against the unauthorized disposal of the property concerned.

*In terms of clause 2 of the Bill it is being proposed that the discretion of the Master in terms of section 25(1) of the Act to prescribe a simplified administration process in respect of shares, stocks, etc, of foreign investors, be extended to all movable property. Such an arrangement would be in the interests of foreign investors and would reduce the work load of Masters and executors.

In terms of section 35(1) and (2) of the Act, liquidation and distribution accounts must always be accompanied by vouchers in support of every item they contain. Clause 4(d) of the Bill proposes an arrangement similar to that in respect of income tax returns, providing that only those vouchers have to be submitted which the Master may require in a particular case. Every account which is submitted will still be examined by the Master, and where necessary, supporting vouchers will be called for. It is expected that this measure will greatly reduce the amount of work that has to be done and will also bring about a saving in expensive storage space in Masters’ offices. It will make the administration of estates so easy and pleasant for executors that it would not surprise me if there were practitioners in this House today who would now consider returning to practice.

The proposals in clause 4(f) are in line with those in clause 4(d). Clause (f) provides that the Master may accept an affidavit by the executor in lieu of the submission, in terms of section 35(12), of receipts and acquaintances to show that creditors have been paid or that an heir has received his share in terms of the account. However, the Master will still be able to insist on receipts and acquaintances in cases where he deems it necessary. It will be up to the Master to ask the right people at the right time to submit receipts.

Section 35(3) and (4) of the Act provides that every executor’s account shall, after the Master has examined it, lie open for inspection by any interested person for at least 21 days, and that this fact must be published in the Gazette and in specific newspapers. It sometimes happens that additional assets are discovered in an estate when the final executor’s account has already been finalized, but that the value of these is so small that it does not justify the cost of publication as mentioned above. In clauses 3(l)(b), 4(b) and 4(e) it is being proposed that specific provision be made for the submission of a supplementary account in such cases, and for a discretion to be given to the Master to depart from the expensive publication requirements and to order that notice be given of the account in a different way where this is practicable.

It appears that section 43 of the Act imposes an unnecessary restriction on the freedom of testation in that—unlike section 44, which deals with movable property to which a minor or unborn heir is entitled subject to usufructuary or fiduciary rights or other like interests—it does not provide for the testator to dispense with security in the case of movable property to which minors and moneys to which absentees or persons under curatorship are entitled. Natural guardians sometimes find it difficult to obtain security because of the cost involved. In clause 6 it is being proposed that this power should also be given to testators.

In clause 7 it is being proposed that it should be possible for money to which a minor heir is entitled and which has been paid into the guardian’s fund due to the failure of a natural guardian to provide security, to be paid over by the Master to that guardian if he does give security at a later stage as required in section 43(2).

The Master has limited powers at the moment to make payments from the guardian’s fund to the guardian, for the maintenance or education of the minor, for example. Payments of more than R10 000 may only be made to the natural guardian by way of a court application, with the cost this involves. The proposed amendment will save money and will simplify the elaborate process of paying out money from the guardian’s fund. The interests of minors will still be protected and the Master will retain a discretion to authorize payments.

†In conclusion I wish to announce that steps are being taken to ensure that the improved procedures created by the amendments to the Act, in the past as well as at the present time, will be effectively applied in practice. A work study investigation is therefore at present being conducted in Masters’ offices in order to review the administrative processes and to modify them where necessary. I am confident that this investigation will, with the co-operation of the Masters, further contribute towards the more efficient administration of estates.


Mr Speaker, I thank the hon the Minister for his exposition of the Bill. He seems to be so enthusiastic about this Bill that I wonder whether he is not preparing for his own return to practice and not that of other hon members. Perhaps after Wednesday! [Interjections.]

In every form of business or administration time has not stood still. The value of money has declined, the value of goods and property has rapidly increased, and in this Act the discretionary powers granted to the Master to delegate or to devolve responsibility have not kept pace with these two phenomena. An estate of say R30 000 or R50 000 some ten years ago was considered not all that small. Today very few properties can be found at that price or even near to that price. It must therefore be the task of the administration of justice to facilitate the correct disposal of estates and assets without delaying matters for months on end. In line with this overall philosophy of trying to streamline the administration of estates and of justice within that, and taking into account the endemic shortage of professional staff that is being experienced, any logical streamlining of the Act will therefore be welcomed by the public, by the legal profession and certainly by this side of the House. This is what this Bill purports to do. I do not intend, as the hon the Minister has already done, to discuss this Bill before us clause by clause, but we do welcome its provisions, and I will mention but a few of the clauses in the Bill.

In clause 2 a wider definition of movables is created which will facilitate dealing more speedily with the lesser assets of an estate. This is to be welcomed, and I think will make matters for both executors and the Master a lot easier. There are consequential amendments relating to that which are also to be welcomed.

Clause 3 introduces an easier system of dealing with minor assets which have been discovered after the final liquidation account has been lodged. This is to be welcomed because when it is realized that at present when assets are discovered after the liquidation account has been lodged, what a terribly long-winded procedure follows, one cannot help but welcome the procedure that is now going to be followed because it will certainly facilitate the finalization of such estate to the advantage of those who benefit from that estate.

Clause 4 waives the production of detailed vouchers in respect of trivialities. Another clause makes the guardian situation less onerous in the production of security in certain circumstances, and in this instance I must point out that I welcome the statement made by the hon the Minister when he says that what has to be balanced is the facilitating of the closure of the estate, while at the same time ensuring that dishonest acts are not perpetrated. It allows a greater freedom to the testator in this regard in freeing guardians from providing security in certain circumstances.

Most important, this Bill grants a more logical discretion by allowing the executor greater powers, which can be granted and allowed through the Master in these matters. All in all I do not believe that this Bill creates any greater bureaucracy; it in fact facilitates matters. It allows the Master a discretion to give greater powers to the executors, and I believe that this Bill is quite acceptable. Therefore we will support it.

I might like to point out though—and this is the last point I should like to make—that I also welcome the statement by the hon the Minister that steps are being taken to ensure the effective execution of the provisions of this Bill once it becomes law. I may mention—and I do not wish to have a protracted debate on this point this afternoon—that there are many rumblings at this time in the Transvaal amongst practising attorneys, particularly in Johannesburg and in Pretoria. Great delays are being experienced in the Master’s office in Pretoria. Many errors are being committed, and there are also allegations of a low-key nature of inefficiency within that particular office. While this Bill may assist in streamlining the effective administration of estates, I do hope that the hon the Minister is already taking a look at the problems being encountered at the Master’s office in Pretoria in order to ensure that whatever steps are taken by this Parliament to streamline the administration of estates, those steps will not be lost in the maelstrom of bureaucracy gone wrong. Perhaps the hon the Minister can give us an idea of what he is doing about the problems at the Master’s office in Pretoria, and also of what his ideas are to rectify some of the many complaints received from all sides of the profession at this time.


Mr Speaker, I take great pleasure in supporting this legislation. I must also thank the official Opposition for their support of this Bill.

I should like to endorse the remarks made by the hon member for Sandton in commending the hon the Minister for his detailed exposition of the provisions in this measure. I believe that if ever it has been impossible for anyone, after listening to the explanation contained in an hon Minister’s Second Reading speech, to raise any objection to the provisions of the legislation concerned, it is the case at the moment, especially as far as hon members of the Opposition parties are concerned.

Like the hon member for Sandton, I believe that there is no need for me to refer to the specific provisions of the legislation, or to deal with them all separately, since the Minister has already done so.

However, I just want to refer to a few provisions in this measure. In the first place, I should like to draw attention to the provisions in clause 4 to the effect that it will no longer be necessary to submit vouchers together with an executor’s account. As a legal practitioner who has been faced with these very problems, I realize what an enormous burden is suddenly being removed from the shoulders of executors by the removal of that specific requirement. We also know how greatly matters will be facilitated for the Master’s office due to the fact that those vouchers no longer have to be submitted with every executor’s account. One can imagine that there are many estates where it is simply an irritation to have to submit vouchers for every asset, for every debit and every credit shown in the executor’s account. I am thinking, for example, of estates which consist mainly of movable and immovable property and where the only cash may be the proceeds of policies. Insurance companies already have to notify the Master of payments of policies, and then the executor also has to submit vouchers with regard to the proceeds of those policies when submitting an executor’s account. In my opinion, this is unnecessary, and this requirement is now being removed by this legislation.

Provision is also being made for something which I believe is already common practice. When I refer to the procedure in practice, my experience was of course gained in the Master’s office in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Division. The position there was that if a receipt had been lost, one was able to submit one’s cheque as a voucher. However, it even happens—and I have personally experienced this—that the cheque which one sends to the Master, and which has been sent to him according to one’s records, never reaches him. Somehow it has gone astray. Then one has no further voucher. It is now being made possible in terms of clause 4(f)(ii) to submit an affidavit. Once again, this is the practice in the Eastern Cape Master’s Office, but now legal effect is being given to that procedure by providing for it as a method which may be used.

I feel quite satisfied that this legislation will only facilitate the administration of estates. I do not think it holds any dangers to creditors or heirs, because the Master must ultimately examine the account and he is not being deprived of any of the powers which he has at the moment. This will simply mean that the Master will have a wider discretion to decide when he wants vouchers to be submitted, for example. If any irregularities in connection with the administration of an estate come to light, the guilty party will still be restrained and caught. This legislation will also facilitate the administration of estates, and I am sure that it will also expedite the finalization of estates.

I want to say once again that I take great pleasure in supporting this legislation.


Mr Speaker, we on this side of the House also give our wholehearted support to the proposed amendments contained in this amending Bill. Just as we agreed to the amendment of the Administration of Estates Act last year as well as the year before, we accept that these are steps which are intended to remove the obligation to submit certain documents to Masters and to simplify certain duties of Masters, and, generally speaking, to streamline the administration of Estates Act, as already indicated by hon members. Everything is aimed at facilitating and expediting the administration of estates.

The hon member for Sandton briefly referred to something which I have also mentioned on a previous occasion, ie that some concern is felt about the fact that there have been delays in the finalization of estates for years. This is not the time or place to elaborate on the various factors which have given rise to those delays. The fact remains, however, that there are still delays; for that reason, too, we welcome these amendments which will also contribute to removing those delays. We quite understand, however, and those who have practised for years can testify to this, that these delays are really causing our country to suffer damage amounting to thousands of millions of rands. Many heirs and legatees are seriously prejudiced in the sense that money is tied up in estates, properties cannot be transferred, bonds cannot be cancelled and new bonds cannot be registered. That is why the provisions we have before us this afternoon are essential and why amendments to the Administration of Estates Act are continually being considered. That is why one welcomes the final statement made by the hon the Minister, ie that attention is now being given to the matter by the Master’s office and that the possibility of further adjustments and amendments is being considered. One hopes that the other bodies will also be consulted in that process.

There are many banks, boards of executors, attorneys, auditors and specialized institutions which undertake the administration of estates, and I think it is desirable that those people should also be consulted. This is being done, but one would like to emphasize it again. These are people who could also come up with some practical suggestions.

I do not intend to deal with the clauses one by one. For my part, I want to say that they have been studied. We are satisfied with every amendment which is being proposed here and we are able to support them wholeheartedly.

I want to say, in conclusion, that we are satisfied that in everything that is being done, the Masters in our country still retain adequate and proper control in order to ensure that heirs, minors or anyone who has an interest in the administration of estates will not be prejudiced. Those rights are being adequately protected. With these words I want to say that we gladly support the amendments.


Mr Speaker, the NRP agrees whole-heartedly with the points made by the hon member Mr Theunissen.

†I think the points which he made at the conclusion of his speech are extremely valid. This amendment is the third in a series of amendments which have taken place in 1981. 1983 and again now in 1984 to streamline and facilitate further the passage of estates and all the involvement which goes with them in an effort to see whether one can shorten the time without detracting from the security of the situation. Of course other hon members mentioned with eloquence the question of the delays which the Masters cause. This is only one of the two legs upon which the handling of estates rests.

Just as a point in passing let me say that I omitted earlier to welcome back the hon member for Sandton as the chairman of the justice study group of the PFP. For a moment in the recess there was a little doubt as to where he belonged in that party.


I do not belong to you and that is for sure.


A nice fat estate together with a handily placed Deeds Office is one thing which gladdens a legal man’s heart. It brings in the beans and keeps him happy. I am quite sure that this legislation will go a long way towards facilitating his passage of estates. We support the measure.


Mr Speaker, I thank all the hon members for their contributions and for their support of the Bill.

To begin with, I want to point out to the hon member for Sandton that the sections as amended in 1981 and in 1983 are in fact being successfully implemented and we hope that this will be the case with these amendments too. I want to give a few examples. As a result of the changes in procedure which we introduced in 1983, certain things have come to light. In the 1982-83 year under review, 14 931 appraisers’ accounts were approved by the Master in terms of section 6. As a result of the amendment to section 6 in terms of which an appraiser’s account is only submitted to the Master in the case of a dispute, the scrutiny of the account has been virtually eliminated. Section 27, deals with inventories. In the 1982-83 year under review, at least 23 000 inventories had to be submitted in terms of this section. As a result of the amendment an executor is no longer obliged to submit an inventory and the effect of the amendment has been that inventories are today submitted in fewer than half of all new cases. This means that more staff are available to give attention to more important tasks. The administrative duties connected with obtaining these inventories brought about a considerable amount of work but this can now be eliminated. As far as section 28 is concerned, the requirement that the Master has to give his consent to the executor for a savings account to be opened in the name of the estate has been removed. This means that the work connected with several thousands of applications for the opening of such accounts has fallen away.

There are several examples of this kind that I could mention. All this will undoubtedly contribute to a better utilization of staff. The hon member for Sandton and the hon member Mr Theunissen are right in saying that there are still centres where delays are experienced in the finalization of estates and the performance of the daily functions. Having said this, however, I must also tell this House that there is no delay at the moment at three of the Masters’ offices. The work at these three offices is fully up to date. At one office the backlog is only five to ten days. At four of the six Masters’ offices, therefore, the situation is very good. As far as the other two offices are concerned—I am not going to mention them by name—the backlog with regard to the finalization of estates is 30 to 56 working days. Compared with a few years ago this is a great improvement. The work study group will ensure that the provisions which have been amended over the past three years are implemented to good effect. Ways will also be sought of improving the administration in other respects. I want to emphasize that this is being done with the full co-operation of the various Masters.

Parliament is contributing its share with regard to this whole matter. We are concerned here with a stage of one’s life which is different from the stage before one’s marriage or during a marriage, for example. It is not really a matter which one gets enthusiastic about, but one wishes to show respect for an important stage in one’s life, namely its end. To the hon members for King William’s Town and Port Elizabeth North, who pointed this out, I want to convey my thanks for their contributions. Parliament has done its duty, but what about professional groups? What about institutions which act as executors? It is time we as Parliament requested them to contribute their share. We provide a streamlined mechanism and we expect them to implement it in the interests of the public.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.

Committee Stage

Clause 4:


Mr Chairman, I would like to draw the attention of the hon the Minister to clause 4(f). This paragraph relates to what may be accepted by the Master as an acquittance from an executor and there is an additional document which the Master may now accept in certain circumstances. This makes the granting of an acquittance by an executor somewhat easier and this is to be welcomed. The only point which I would now like to make, is that you now have a situation where it states:

Provided that—
  1. (i) a cheque …;
  2. (ii) an affidavit…

This can attract a misunderstanding in that it could seem that the Master would need to have both the cheque and the affidavit. I believe that if the word “or” is inserted in line 30 the situation will be clarified and the correct meaning will be given to the intention which the hon the Minister has.


Continue your argument for a moment, I want to look at the paragraph.


I want to refer the hon the Minister to page 7, line 30, of the English text. He will find that a new provision is being inserted allowing the Master to accept an affidavit in lieu of a receipt or an acquittance. Subparagraph (i), which has not been altered, relates to the Master accepting a cheque in certain circumstances which shows that payment has been made. The way this is framed at the moment, the Master is obliged to accept both, but what the hon the Minister wants, is that the Master will accept either the cheque or the affidavit. My suggestion is that the word “or” be inserted and this will give clarity to the intention of the hon the Minister.

I therefore want to move the following amendment:

  1. 1. On page 7, in line 30, after “drawn;” to insert “or”.

Mr Chairman, I am quite prepared to accept the amendment of the hon member for Sandton. In doing so, I would like to say to him that he has proved beyond doubt that he is the best spokesman on justice matters that party could ever wish to have. He has proved to us that his reinstatement has been completely justified. [Interjections.]

Amendment 1 agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

House Resumed:

Bill, as amended, reported.

Bill read a Third Time.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The history of the Republic is interwoven with descriptions of interesting and colourful personalities. Some of them are very well-known, others less well-known, but each of them has enriched the history of our country in his own way.

John Dunn was such a man. Not only was he the confidant and adviser of the Zulu King Cetshwayo during his lifetime, but he was also the White Chief of a Zulu tribe. He also acted as judge in Zululand. In addition, the then colonial Government of Natal used him as a link to maintain sound relations between that Government and the Zulus.

I assume that other hon members will also speak about this person. It is also interesting to note that he received 48 wives as a gift from the Zulu King. You would agree with me, Sir, that at the present inflation rate it is not easy for us to imagine something like that.

John Dunn died in 1895, but on the basis of the services he rendered to the Zulus and the Natal Government, the Natal Government decided in 1900 to award an area of 10 000 acres to his descendants. The Zululand Lands Delimitation Commission recommended that the land in the area north of the Tugela River be delimited, and the Zululand Native Trust Deed of Grant of 6 April 1909 provided that 10 000 acres be proclaimed for that purpose. This was done, and the land was handed over to the Zululand Native Trust. The intention was that the members of the Dunn family should occupy this land communally with the Zulus.

Because the Dunns increasingly adopted a European way of life and moved away from an integrated community life, the Government of the day decided in 1913 that each person who could prove that he was a child of John Dunn, was to be awarded a piece of land not exceeding 100 acres in the proclaimed area. In this way approximately 42 plots were allocated to the Dunn descendants, but because there were still Zulus on the land who also laid claim to it, there was friction between the two groups, which ultimately gave rise to the John Dunn (Distribution of Land) Act of 1935.

†Mr Speaker, the John Dunn (Distribution of Land) Act, 1935, was adopted for the specific purpose of assisting the descendants of John Dunn with regard to the awarding of land and the issuing of deeds of grant. However, there are certain restrictions in the Act which make it impossible to finalize all the claims for land on the one hand, and which, on the other hand, prevent the owners to whom deeds of grant had been issued from alienating their properties or hypothecating them without the consent of the State President. This has a constraining effect on farming as sugar quotas cannot be readily obtained, whilst the Coloured Farmers Assistance Law, 1973, requires the registration of a mortgage bond against immovable property before assistance can be granted.

Furthermore, although the Act requires the prior consent of the State President before land can be alienated, etc, it does not lay down conditions or guidelines for the granting of consent. Apparently as a result of this, consent has in the past been sought or granted in a way that limited transfers to heirs or the husbands of heirs. Consequently small allotments are now registered in the names of as many as, in one case, 48 people. This is an unhealthy state of affairs. Whatever protection the 1935 legislation considered that the Dunns needed against themselves is no longer necessary.

Although nearly 50 years have passed since the adoption of the 1935 legislation, some 36 descendants claiming land are still unable to obtain deeds of grant due to the provisions of the Deeds Registries Act, 1937, requiring documentary proof which the claimants are unable to submit.

*In view of what has just been said, the Bill before this House contains proposed amendments which will mean that the Registrar of Deeds, Pietermaritzburg, can issue deeds of grant to those who are not at present able to submit documentary proof to support their claims to be awarded land. Not only will this facilitate the disposal of outstanding claims, but it should also contribute to finally disposing of this matter, as was envisaged with the adoption of the measure in 1935.

In the Bill before this House it is also proposed that the measure in the Schedule to the Act which prohibits the alienation, etc of the land without the approval of the State President, be repealed with retrospective effect. This will mean that all owners to whom deeds of grant have already been issued will obtain full freehold on their land and can therefore decide to do with it what they wish.

Some of the descendants of the late John Dunn have been living in a state of uncertainty as far as the disposal of their claims for land is concerned for a number of decades. Apart from that, certain restrictive provisions in the Act of 1935 also has a detrimental effect on their farming activities. It is therefore essential that these measures, which impede the natural development of the John Dunn community, be removed from the State Book. The proposed amendments have been discussed with representatives of the Dunn community and have their approval.


Mr Speaker, in the course of his speech the hon the Deputy Minister mentioned quite a number of interesting aspects about the history of John Dunn. When I read a copy of his speech before he delivered it here I noticed that no mention was made of the 48 Zulu wives of John Dunn. I was relieved to hear that the hon the Deputy Minister deemed it fit to mention it in this House after all. It would have been inappropriate for him not to do so in view of his new position as chairman of a Commission of Inquiry into Mixed Marriages. [Interjections.]

The most striking aspect, when one looks at this exceptional, unique and interesting history of John Dunn, is how bad things can turn out for people who get caught in the trap of a bureaucracy. Here we have a group of people, a family, to whom the authorities deemed it fit at that time to make land available on account of the special services John Dunn rendered to the authorities as a kind of diplomat. Despite that and despite many commissions and Government decisions it took many years before these people could really derive the full benefit from this allocation made to them. It is particularly interesting to note that an Act which was passed in 1935 is being amended for the first time today, almost 50 years later, and this despite the fact that we live in a country where we are far too inclined to resort to legislation and statutory amendments as solutions to our problems.

†There are two aspects of the amending legislation before us that require some comment. First of all, the hon the Deputy Minister mentioned the removal of the condition written into the schedule of the orginal Act that required the State President’s, formerly the Governor-General’s, permission for the sale or mortaging or any similar dealing, of land. Not only is such a condition fundamentally in conflict with the concept of freehold title but it surely must have been a very severe restriction on the efforts of these people to obtain finance for the development of their farming operations in the sense that they could never really offer acceptable security for the purpose of loans. I think, therefore, that the removal of this condition is not only to be commended but it is also very long overdue.

A second aspect which in my opinion requires comment is the fact that henceforth the Registrar of Deeds will be required to accept information contained in an affidavit instead of such information being contained in the documentation normally required by the Registrar of Deeds, for example, in the form of birth or death certificates, certificates of marraige etc; in other words, in documentation that is often not easily obtainable particularly in the case of a family or tribe that have been around for a considerable time and where the allocation of land to them and the proper registration of land in their name is so long overdue.

In this regard I should like to mention one aspect that has caused me some concern. It is stated in the clause that such an affidavit containing the required information shall be considered to be conclusive proof of the content thereof. In other words, according to my interpretation of this provision, it means that any discretion that the Registrar of Deeds may have to establish the truth of the content of such affidavit, is in fact removed. The only limitation that is placed upon that stipulation is that it can still be challenged in a court of law: in other words, that a court of law can overrule the decision of the Registrar of Deeds and that such a court of law may then presumably be able to find that the content of such affidavit is not necessarily valid or true. In my view it would possibly have been somewhat wiser to have left the Registrar of Deeds some discretion to inquire into the truth of the content of the affidavit should he feel the need to do so. What I am trying to say is that if in such an affidavit some statement or claim is made that appears on the face of it to be completely outrageous and patently untrue, then in my view it would have somewhat wiser if the Registrar of Deeds had the right to inquire into those facts and to come to his own conclusion, and then obviously a court of law could still afterwards rule upon such an issue. However, as the proposed amendment reads, that capacity is no longer in the hands of the Registrar of Deeds.

After discussing the matter with my colleagues I have decided that it is possibly not worth opposing the Bill as it stands or moving any amendment in view of the fact that in the very limited field in which this amendment will be applied it is hardly likely to cause any particular problem. However, I should like to place on record that should the Registrar of Deeds in this particular instance find that any claims that are made are difficult to believe but that he does not have the capacity to inquire into or reject some of these claims, he should bring it to the attention of the hon the Deputy Minister, the Minister or the Director General of the department so that something can be done about it. We are, however, happy to support the Bill before us.


Mr Speaker, the Dunns and many of their descendants, who reside in and outside the Mangete and the Emoyeni areas, are held in very high esteem among both the Whites and the other population groups there. The Dunn community, relative to communities in other rural Coloured areas, is a very progressive and enterprising one. Over the years the Dunns have shown notwithstanding the frustrating and uncertain circumstances as regards their future, by dint of hard work and an enterprising spirit, that they are striving to form a community that is increasingly independent of the State; a gratifying and admirable characteristic.

The hon the Deputy Minister rightly remarked that the late John Dunn was an interesting and colourful man. John Dunn was born in Port Elizabeth in 1833. His father was a Scottish medical practitioner who came to South Africa in 1920 with the British settlers. In 1853 John Dunn decided to become a big-game hunter in Zululand, and in 1856 he became involved in the fight between Mbulazi and Cetshwayo concerning which one of them was to become the successor to the then Zulu king, Panda. He was actively involved in the fights between the two groups and contributed towards Cetshwayo becoming the successor to king Panda.

Due to his exceptional bravery and fearlessness Cetshwayo made John Dunn his confident and adviser, and in addition rewarded him with 48 Zulu women and 10 000 acres of land. [Interjections.] The land he obtained was situated between the Tugela and Amatikulu Rivers in the area which is today known as Mangete and Emoyeni. John Dunn was also appointed the first White supreme chief of a Zulu tribe and, as the hon the Deputy Minister indicated, he also acted as judge in Zululand, and as a link between the then Natal Government and the Zulu people, by virtue, of course, of his influence with king Cetshwayo.

John Dunn kept his 48 Zulu wives in separate kraals, inter alia at Mangete, Emoyeni and Ngoye. It is widely accepted that he had more than 100 children by these 48 wives. [Interjections.]

Although he was married to those women in accordance with traditional Zulu customs, many of his children were baptized and brought up in a Christian way. They also received schooling.

At an earlier stage John Dunn was also married to a Coloured wife whose father was a White, and five of their children were also married to Whites.

Section 21 of the original Act defines “Minister” as the Minister of Plural Relations and Development. Now, of course, the correct designation is the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development. However, that hon Minister’s department adopts the standpoint that its responsibility with regard to the Dunns was finalized after the land grants were finalized. For years they have fallen under the jurisdiction of neither the Department of Co-operation and Development nor the Department of Internal Affairs. As a result they have been shunted around as far as their needs are concerned. In 1981 the present hon Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning addressed the Dunn Descendants Association. At the time he directed that that community should fall under jurisdiction of the Department of Internal Affairs.

The hon the Deputy Minister is probably also aware that the 10 000 ha of land mentioned here earlier, which was promised to the Dunns at the time, was not acquired by them. Accordingly the Dunns would like to enlarge their territory to 4 047 ha as recommended in the Preamble to Act No 15 of 1935. If a coastal region could be included in this area, and even a beach resort developed, it would be of great benefit to the Coloureds of the surrounding areas such as Stanger, Empangeni, Richard’s Bay and even areas as far south as Durban. Evidence has already been submitted to the effect that members of the Dunn family who do not reside in this area at present would in that case return to this area as businessmen, professional people and as hoteliers in such an envisaged beach area. A step of this nature would lead to the development of the area as a self-supporting and progressive area with its own business enterprises and vacation resorts. Such expansions would afford many Coloureds a place to live and work, particularly members of the various Dunn families who are distributed throughout Zululand and for whom there is no space in the limited area.

This Bill will relieve considerably the administrative burden on the Government and promote the natural development of the descendants of the late John Dunn. For that reason I take pleasure in supporting this Bill.


Mr Speaker, we have now heard a great deal about the colourful John Dunn of the previous century and it would probably be very interesting to study certain aspects of his legacy. It has now become important for us to make it possible for his descendants to make a decent living, and in that regard the CP supports this legislation.


Does that not constitute power-sharing? [Interjections.]


Yes, they are now sharing power with you. [Interjections.]


Order! The hon member must not allow himself to be led astray.


Well, Sir, today is an interesting day and tomorrow will also be an interesting day. [Interjections.] It seems to me that hon members opposite like me to speak. I must say, too, that I sometimes like to speak too. [Interjections.]

There is just one interesting remark I want to make about the then Select Committee, since we are discussing the history of this matter. At the time the Opposition objected when the select committee submitted its report and the then Minister wanted the matter to be discussed immediately. One of the members of the Opposition said that the report had only appeared on his table at two o’clock and that the Minister wanted it to be discussed immediately. Therefore it seems to me as if many of the problems the Opposition has today are problems that the Opposition has encountered over the years. However, I shall leave the matter at that. We have no difficulties as regards the fact that this legislation seeks to make life easier for the descendants of John Dunn and we accordingly support the Bill.


Mr Speaker, I, too, rise to make a contribution to this debate, because my forefather was the missionary Volker who, 126 years ago, served as a Lutheran missionary in Zululand north of the Tugela River. At one stage he had to flee to Sinkwazi, just south of the Tugela River, during a Zulu war. In 1877 Mr John Dunn told King Cetshwayo that my great-grandfather had left his house permanently and that he intended applying for the house. According to verbal evidence submitted by a person by the name of De Lange, King Cetshwayo objected. When John Dunn told him that it was true that he had indeed left his house, he apparently obtained permission to occupy the house, and simply took possession of it. As the hon the Minister of Community Development said earlier, in Holland John Dunn would probably have been known as a “kraker”.

According to a book written by the head of the Hermannsburg mission, John Dunn then also wrote a letter to my great-grandfather stating that since the house and the whole mission station had been donated to him by King Cetshwayo, he requested him to vacate it and remove the goods that were still in the house. He said that he had also found three pigs on the property and unless my great-grandfather wanted too much money for them, he was prepared to buy them from him. The end of the matter was that after negotiation between the mission station and the British colonial government, and a dialogue conducted with King Cetshwayo, the mission station was returned to my great-grandfather.

My reason for rising at this stage is in fact to tell the descendants of John Dunn that all is forgiven. They can now take the land that has been allocated to them. The land allocated to them is situated virtually on the sea, just north of the Tugela. I think the time has come to dispose of this matter finally, once and for all, because I remember that when I was a young member of this House, one of the great champions of the finalization of this matter in this House was the then hon member for South Coast, Mr Douglas Mitchell. For many years he fought for this matter to be finalized. I wish to express the confidence that by virtue of this legislation it will now be possible to resolve this matter satisfactorily, once and for all.


Mr Speaker, I agree that the hon member for Klip River is correct when he says that Mr Douglas Mitchell often raised the subject of John Dunn and his descendants in this House. I think if Mr Mitchell hears tonight that this Bill has gone through this House, he will sleep better and I am certain of the fact that many of the Dunn family will also sleep a lot easier.

This is a tremendously interesting piece of legislation. This is a tremendously interesting subject we have before the House this afternoon because John Dunn was a fascinating character. I do not agree entirely with what the hon member for Umfolozi had to say because my sources put a few points a little differently to the way he expressed them. Firstly I think the hon member for Umfolozi has shortchanged Mr Dunn. Mr Dunn did not have 48 wives; he had 49. He said that Mr Dunn got his wives as a gift; but he did not get them as a gift. Mr Dunn accepted the Zulu lobola system and actually purchased his 49 wives. He did not only have more than 100 children; he had 117 children. He did not marry the Coloured woman referred to. Her name was Catherine Pierce. He took her to Zululand as though she were his wife. She lived with him. She was the one person apparently whom he did not marry. They had five children. John Dunn was born not in Port Elizabeth but in Port Alfred—I am sorry that the hon member for Umfolozi is having a bad time this afternoon—John Dunn was born in 1833 and died in 1895.

Let me tell you, Sir, that John Dunn—I wonder how many people in Durban know this—was a member of the Durban Club, that holy of holies. Apparently the Durban Club ignored his rather unusual matrimonial arrangements. It shows that even the Durban Club can sometimes rule by exemption, something which this Government is accustomed to doing. He was also recognized by the Crown, he ruled over more than double the land he held from Cetshwayo and his title actually came from Queen Victoria. He was officially declared the White Chief of Zululand. On his death the area in which he lived was also occupied by many thousands of Zulus who acknowledged and respected John Dunn in his lifetime as their chief. This is where problems started to arise because originally the grant of land was to the extent of something like 10 000 acres.

It is interesting to note that Leonard Dunn, the sole surviving son of John Dunn, actually only received a grant of land in 1979. He was the only one who lived to really be able to say that he had title to the land which was originally cut up into something like 73 portions for the 73 direct descendants or heirs of John Dunn in 100-acre lots. When Mr Dan Dunn was at the opening of the Mangete Farmers’ Centre in 1979 he made a speech, after Mr Anson Lloyd who was then Chairman of the SA Sugar Association had spoken, and I would like to paraphrase a few excerpts from that speech which I think are very important.

He reminded the meeting that in 1900 the Natal Government decided to set aside 10 000 to 12 000 acres of land for the descendants of John Dunn. In 1909 the Zululand Delimitation Commission recommended how the land should be awarded to the Dunn family which was already dispersed all over the country with very few of them resident, at that time, in what subsequently became known as Dunn Reserve. That commission found that there was no real desire by a great number of the descendants to give up their jobs and to actually settle there. In 1921, 34 certificates of occupation were awarded to descendants then residing on part of the land, and these certificates of occupation were a far cry from the original award made to John Dunn and a far cry from ownership of the land. He went on to say that the continued effort made by people to gain more security and rights to their land led to the gazetting 14 years later, in other words in 1935, of the John Dunn (Distribution of Land) Act of 1935. However, it was not until 1952 that the land was allotted to each of John Dunn’s descendants in accordance with the 1935 Act. At this point the certificates of occupation were withdrawn and the descendants were promised title deeds in accordance with their allotments. From 1952 to 10 October 1979 these descendants waged a continuous battle with respective authorities for the promise to be met. They took countless representations to innumerable departments to reach finality. The hon member who spoke about the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning was quite correct when he said that that gentleman took a hand in the affair when the matter was still under the aegis of the Department of the Interior. The struggle at that stage, 1979, had lasted for 27 years, not counting the years prior to 1952. Dan Dunn concluded his speech by saying:

I am happy to say that we have made more progress during the last five years than all the previous years put together. To sum up, we now find ourselves in the extraordinary situation where the commission made its recommendations in 1909, which in turn were gazetted in 1935 and finally implemented in 1979. This compares to a road system being planned in 1909 to cope with horses and carts only being built now and having to carry heavy modern-day traffic.

As the member of Parliament in whose constituency the John Dunn Reserve lies—it lies right in the heart of my constituency—I am pleased to say a few words about it. Over the years I have had many dealings with the Dunn family and long before I had anything to do with politics I did business with members of the Dunn family. It is wonderful to know that at long last we have come to the stage where these people have hopefully, come to the end of their troubles.

However, I want to talk a little politics and I want to tell a Van der Merwe story. We talk about change and movement. Has the National Party moved and has it changed? Has the Conservative Party ever changed? I thought the Conservative Party was stuck in the rut of the ox wagon, but I find that they are enlightened and they have changed completely.

I want to refer to the debate of the Third Reading of the John Dunn Distribution of Land Bill, 1935, which took place in this House on 25 February 1935. Give and take a couple of days, just one year short of 50 years ago, a gentleman rose and spoke, but I will not repeat his entire speech. However, I want hon members to listen to these words:

When this Bill was dealt with on the last occasion, I objected to the Third Reading being taken at once and I therefore trust that the House will give me a patient hearing in regard to the reason for my objection.

He elaborated:

This House must decide what is to be done in regard to the descendants of a person like John Dunn who has done the greatest dishonour to the white race, and done an injury to white civilization. We are asked to give our approval to mistakes which have been made by previous Governments in regard to a person who has rendered a great disservice to white civilization. We should use all our forces for the maintenance of white civilization, against the overwhelming majority, the danger of a black race swallowing us up here at the southern end of Africa. That man has rendered the greatest disservice to white civilization and also to an ideal that I hold that South Africa must remain white.

What do you hope to achieve by saying that?


I am coming to that. Why not be a little patient? He went on to say:

Those previous Governments to which I have referred made the greatest mistake in putting the coloured people on an equal footing with the white civilization. The mistakes of the past have led to our getting to that length step by step, especially in this province, but now we find …

This man was absolutely obsessed with this. I think the most interesting part is where he says:

I consider it a blot on the civilization of South Africa, and this Bill commits a second mistake which cannot blot out the greatest stain on the name of South Africa which was brought about by a man who became a native, who became a native chief to give rein to his passions and lived as a native and who is now getting approval of that crime that he committed.

Do hon members know what this gentleman’s name was? His name was Mr R A T van der Merwe. [Interjections.] For the record, he sat in the benches of the Opposition of that day with gentlemen like Dr D F Malan, Dr Karl Bremer, J H H de Waal, C W L du Toit, F C Erasmus and others. I want to say: Thank Heavens that we have moved away from this, I give even greater thanks that even the gentlemen in the Conservative Party have moved away from this. We will be supporting this Bill.


Mr Speaker, I should like to extend my sincere thanks to the hon members who took part for their contributions. I also wish to express my thanks for the support of the various parties. We have now gone into the history of this matter in some depth and we have heard many interesting things this afternoon. What is also of interest, is that I heard this morning on the Afrikaans transmission that it is exactly 23 years today since we changed to the decimal system. I listened against to that well-known tune “Decimal Dan”, and I thought of my friend from Rissik.

A great deal has been said about John Dunn and about his many wives and children. It is said that he had 49 wives and 117 children. It seems to me that I have reason to boast, because I have two wives and 10 children. It seems to me as if I am well on the way.


If you had had forty wives, you would have beaten him.


Yes, in fact I would beat him by far if I wanted to make that kind of calculation. [Interjections.] The hon member for Umhlanga quoted what an hon member on the opposition side said in 1935. It reminded me of something the late Blaar Coetzee said as a Minister in 1972 on the occasion of a by-election at Oudtshoorn. At one of the meetings he was told: “When you were a United Party supporter, you said this or that.” His reply was: “It shows what stupid things a United Party supporter can say.” Well, if one looks back everything that was said in the past, one often encounters such things. I do not believe that it has any real relevance to the Bill at present before this House.

I am grateful to the hon member for Green Point for his contribution. He said that it had been a long road from 1935 up to the present time, in which we are at last amending the Act. Major problems cropped up in the interim, of course. In 1981, as the hon member for Umfolozi said, we met the descendants of the Dunns and discussed these matters in depth. In the meantime there have been more discussions with the family. This afternoon I want to thank and pay tribute to one of our officials, Mr Attie Tredoux, who has done very important work in this connection and who recently attended a large meeting of these descendants at which they gave their unanimous support to this Bill.

I tend to agree with the hon member that the fact that the Registrar now no longer has the right to query a piece of documentary evidence, an affidavit, could cause problems. I want to give the hon member the assurance that if these problems crop up often—and I do not believe that this will happen—we shall certainly have to amend the Act. It is true that there is a right of appeal to the courts at the moment. I wish to convey my sincere thanks to the hon member for Umfolozi for his contribution, but also for the share he has had over the years in getting this Act amended. He also gave a very interesting survey of the history of John Dunn.

Another important aspect to which he referred, was the fact that the Dunn descendants in fact want their area enlarged. This is something one finds in virtually all the rural areas; more land is demanded and it is said that certain land in fact belongs to the area in question. An examination of the history of these matters also reveals very interesting things. As I said, this is not relevant to this matter, but in many instances land was frittered away even for tobacco or brandy. I want to say to the hon member that when this statutory amendment has been disposed of and the persons in question have all received their deeds of transfer, a municipal authority may be formed which could apply for the enlargement of its territory. I take it that this will have to be dealt with through the Department of Community Development. Therefore the channels are open to these people if they want to make that application.

The hon member also referred to the creation of a beach area, and this is something that we all welcome, of course. That will be essential.

My thanks, too, to the hon member for Rissik for his support of the legislation, and to the hon member for Klip River, who discussed the history of the matter and, on behalf of the Volkers, gave permission this afternoon for the Dunns to acquire all the land and retain all their wives. There will be no problems in that regard. I was worried that the hon member would demand more than just land, but fortunately that did not happen!

The hon member for Umhlanga and the hon member for Klip River both mentioned the name of a former hon member, Mr Douglas Mitchell. In the absence of that gentleman we should like to express our sincere gratitude this afternoon for the zeal he displayed in having the matter settled. Since we find ourselves this afternoon in the heart of a fine constituency, Umhlanga, I believe and trust that this statutory amendment will mean a great deal for the Dunn descendants in the future, that the stumbling blocks will be eliminated, that they will prosper in their agricultural area and that this will be the cause of great satisfaction and happiness for all.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.

Bill not committed.

Third Reading


Mr Speaker, I move, subject to Standing Order No 56:

That the Bill be now read a Third Time.

Mr Speaker, I am merely rising to say a few words, not because the hon the Deputy Minister was so kind as to refer to me as well. I want to tell him that I have no problems with him. I merely want to address a few words to the hon member here on my left, the hon member for Umhlanga.

The speech made at that time, to which the hon member referred, was made by a Van der Merwe.


It was the member for Bethlehem.


Yes. Strangely enough, we again have a Van der Merwe representing Bethlehem. I agree with the sentiments expressed by the hon member for Bethlehem at that time. I understand that a White civilization and culture must continue to exist here in Southern Africa and that certain basic legislation is necessary for this to happen. I have no objection to it in principle. I am not ashamed to associate myself with the then hon member for Bethlehem. I want to point out to the hon member for Umhlanga, however, that if I remember correctly, the then Minister, Mr Stuttaford, also replied to the Third Reading. At that time he was acting Minister of Native Affairs. I want to quote briefly what the Minister said then. I quote:

I assure the hon member who has just spoken that this little Bill is not at all likely to undermine White civilization in this country and I really do not think that I am called upon to defend John Dunn or to criticize him. This Bill, as the hon member has said, generally speaking is a matter of small importance but it is of great importance to the people in this area to prevent friction between the descendants of John Dunn and the natives in the same area. It is a simple Bill and it is not going to undermine White civilization as the hon member thinks, and we have nothing to do with John Dunn’s life or history.

I think that was a sensible reply from the then Minister. Since we in South Africa are all trying to maintain sound human relations and sound relations between people, we shall all have to choose our words in this situation in such á way that we do not increase the tensions that may exist, but that we should rather alleviate them.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a Third Time.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Before it is possible to use measuring instruments commercially, such instruments must be inspected and passed. Instruments used commercially after having been inspected and passed must periodically be checked and certified or recertified. Sections 18(8) and 22 of the Trade Metrology Act, 1973 (Act 77 of 1973), make provision for fees being levied in regard to the examination and endorsement of measuring instrument models prior to permission being granted for such measuring instruments to be used commercially and also make provision for the verification, testing, adjustment, certification or recertification of measuring instruments already being used commercially. In both cases, when measuring instruments are submitted, trade metrologists are sometimes delayed in the execution of their duties because those who submit the instruments do not ensure that they comply in all respects with the legal requirements.

To prevent time being wasted fruitlessly, it is necessary for a tariff of fees to be promulgated by the Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, to compensate the State for the time lost to trade metrology in the process of waiting for adjustments to be made to the measuring instruments, and also for the travelling costs and the transportation and use of inspection standards. Consequently, since as far back as 1923, so-called “delay fees” have, amongst other things, been levied when trade metrologists were requested to give scale firm and oil company mechanics an opportunity to make adjustments to measuring instruments. Since this practice has been on the increase, delay fees have recently been increased to bring them in line with the fees those firms charge for labour. Although the Trade Metrology Act, 1973, makes provision for the levying of fees in connection with the said investigations, and so on, relating to measuring instruments, there are no specific powers in the provisions of the Act, however, covering the levying of delay fees. The Bill before the House aims at correcting this state of affairs.

†Another proposed amendment to the Trade Metrology Act, 1973, concerns section 42(3) of the Act. In terms of this section the Minister is authorized to delegate to the Director: Trade Inspections certain discretionary powers in respect of prepacked goods. It is now proposed that this authority be suitably extended to also cover measuring instruments. In this connection it has been established that, although section 42 does, in fact, authorize the Minister to delegate these powers in respect of measuring instruments, it is necessary to define this delegation of powers more clearly. The delegation of powers to the director is considered necessary in order to accommodate the rapid technological developments in trade and industry, as well as to facilitate the administration of this Act.


Mr Speaker, the PFP regards these proposals as reasonable and practical management measures, and we will therefore support the Bill.


Mr Speaker, this was definitely the most constructive speech I have thus far heard from the hon member for Constantia in this House, and I should therefore like to thank him for the support for this Bill from that side of the House.

As has rightly been indicated, this Bill is not adding any fundamentally new principles to the existing Trade Metrology Act of 1973, merely effecting legal certainty in regard to certain aspects that have already taken root in practice. It makes provision for the recovery of reasonable costs for services furnished and confirms the Minister’s power of delegation which, in turn, will bring about a streamlining of procedures.

In its implementation the principal Act fulfils a special function in its administration in practice by the Branch: Trade Inspections of the Department of Industries, Commerce and Tourism.

In a nutshell, the major task of this service is to ensure, by way of testing and supervision, that measuring instruments employed commercially in regard to consumer goods function correctly and furnish accurate readings, thereby ensuring that commercial goods are what they profess to be as far as the content and mass are concerned. This service is of great value to both the producers and the dealers on the one hand and, of course, the consumers on the other point. Recognizable and monitored standards are made available to producers and dealers, who can accordingly determine their production and marketing.

In the case of a dispute there is an objective and authoritative body that can quickly give a decision and defend itself against unfounded attacks and criticism. The consumer, on the other hand, enjoys protection against exploitation because commercial ventures are regularly monitored to ensure compliance with these standards, thereby also ensuring that the consumer gets what he pays for. In the case of exploitation in this sphere, he also have free access to an authoritative body which can immediately be of assistance to him.

I consequently also want to request that this service furnished by the department should be made known to the public on a wider scale so that the public can, with a greater knowledge of it, more readily make use of it. To furnish this service properly is relatively expensive, as I believe the hon member for Stellenbosch will probably be indicating in his speech. It is therefore only fair that reasonable costs relating to the verification, testing, adjustments and certification of measuring instruments should be recovered from the people concerned. In terms of clause 1 and clause 2 this practice, and the already long-established practice of recovering so-called delay fees, are now being placed beyond all doubt. Clause 3 merely confirms the Minister’s powers of delegation, also with regard to the measuring of goods other than prepacked goods. In view of the rapid technological development, and the rapid development of methods of measurement, a restrictive influence would be exercized on commerce and industry if, of necessity, one had to have legislation for each development necessitating a different measurement procedure. By way of delegation one would be introducing a more streamlined procedure, making it possible to keep pace with this development and to ensure the efficient implementation of the Act in practice.

We on this side of the House would therefore like to support the Bill under discussion.


Mr Speaker, this is a very short and concise piece of legislation. We believe it to be an improvement on the existing legislation. What I am particularly happy about is the improvement in regard to fruitless costs incurred by the State owing to delays that occur in the case of certain submissions and the recovery of such costs. This is really something I am very grateful for.

I do not want to expand any further on the legislation in question. I think previous speakers have already spoken about this in detail. We in the CP therefore support the measure.


Mr Speaker, there is nothing further that I can add to the debate on this measure other than to say that we in the NRP will be supporting this measure.


Mr Speaker, I should like to thank the hon member for Constantia as well as the hon member for Amanzimtoti for their positive approach to and their support of this measure.

*Furthermore, Mr Speaker, I should also like to thank the hon member for East London City for the fine contribution he made to this debate. The hon member went to a great deal of trouble to submit worthwhile details in this regard, as well as with regard to the need for greater public awareness of these activities. I therefore want to assure the hon member that I should like to give this matter further consideration.

I should also like to thank the hon member for Sunnyside for his support of this measure. I thank hon members once again for their contributions.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.

Bill not committed.

Bill read a Third Time.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

This short Bill merely aims at supplementing one single aspect of the Share Blocks Control Act, 1980.

Section 15(5) of the Share Blocks Control Act, 1980, provides that a share block company shall keep accounting records and financial statements in which an account is given of all loan obligations of members to the share block company and of the monetary receipts of members in this connection.

The auditor of the share block company must audit these accounting records and financial statements once a year and, in terms of section 15(6) of the relevant Act, within six months from the end of the relevant financial year of the share block company, submit a report in regard to his findings to the Registrar of Companies and to the share block company.

Mr Speaker, it has become apparent, on several occasions, that auditors find it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to submit these auditors reports within the prescribed period of six months. There can be many reasons for this, but it can be ascribed to the extensive workload to which the auditors’ profession is subject and to the fact that share block companies sometimes find it difficult to prepare the relevant records and financial statements in good time.

†Section 177 of the Companies Act, 1973 provides that, when anything in terms of the Act has to be done within a stipulated period of time, the Registrar of Companies may extend that period. The purpose of the measure is to facilitate good administration. A similar provision is, however, not contained in the Share Blocks Control Act and the need for such a provision has now arisen. With a view to uniformity the provision in the Companies Act has been followed and with this amendment to the Share Blocks Control Act it is proposed that the Registrar of Companies be authorized to extend the relevant period in deserving cases and on payment of a fee.


Mr Speaker, we have no problems in regard to this proposed amendment to the Share Blocks Control Act. As was mentioned by the hon the Deputy Minister, section 177 of the Companies Act does allow this sort of extension to take place as far as companies are concerned and he is now extending this provision to include share block companies as well provided that the application is made prior to the expiration of the first initial period of six months. The extension to which I have referred deals with section 15 of the Share Blocks Control Act which deals with trust accounts and the investment of trust moneys by a share block company. The specific provision affected is contained in section 15(5)(b) which provides, inter alia, that a share block company shall:

Balance its books and records relating to any payment or any account referred to in paragraph (a) at intervals of not more than six months …

Obviously, Sir, share-block companies are run very much along the same lines as sectional title schemes as far as bodies corporate, trustees and representatives of shareholders and owners are concerned. It is obviously in the interests of all shareholders in any particular share-block company to ensure that the finances are properly administered and audited because they are very much in the hands of people who are appointed to carry out the committee work. The only check and balance upon them in regard to their work of handling the money is in the person of the auditor who provides a certificate which has to be provided every six months.

The Bill is bringing the position of share blocks into line with that under the Companies Act in that it gives the Registrar of Companies the discretion which he already has as far as companies are concerned. In this regard I wish to sound a note of caution namely that we trust that the Registrar will exercise due discretion in granting such extensions. I say this because if extensions become too prolonged the effect of the audit will be lost as well as the effect of the check and balance in respect of the trust moneys as far as share-block companies are concerned.

In view of the fact that certain problems have been experienced in the past in regard to share-block companies and we are trying to rectify the position in regard to the obtaining of bonds and loans in respect of share-block companies, a very tight rein has to be kept on the money that is paid in.

In the circumstances, as I have said, we shall support this legislation while uttering a word of caution to the effect that the Registrar should not be too liberal in granting extensions to auditors to furnish the certificates that are so necessary.


Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon member for Hillbrow for the support granted to this short, technical measure on behalf of his party. We all know what the workload of auditors in this country is. The Share Blocks Control Act, specifically section 16(5) of that Act, does not tie in with section 177 of the Companies Act when it comes to the powers of the Registrar of Companies to grant an extension of time to the auditors, at his own discretion, for the submission of certain accounting records and financial statements. To bring about uniformity this technical amendment is therefore necessary. It is merely a technical consideration that has given rise to the Act being thus amended, and since the Registrar of Companies administers both the Share Blocks Control Act and the Companies Act, it is logical that the arrangements in regard to the submission of reports by auditors should be uniform ones. Auditors carry the final responsibility, and in nine our of ten cases there will probably not be any unfair or unreasonable request. A reasonable extension of time is therefore determined at the discretion of the Registrar. Experience confirms that requests for an extension of time in terms of the Companies Act should not, in practice, be excessive, and this will probably also be the case when it comes to the Share Blocks Control Act.

The measure is therefore less prescriptive and will prove beneficial in practice. I am certain that the problems experienced by auditors have been eliminated and that they will be extremely grateful for this concession. I think the auditing profession knows, too, that requests will only be considered in deserving cases. We on this side of the House therefore feel ourselves quite free to support the hon the Minister in regard to this measure.


Mr Speaker, we on this side also support the Bill. I think one should point out that when the Act came into operation and we, as a select committee, investigated the problems relating to the Act, we pointed out, even at that stage, that share block schemes were actually unique and that problems could arise. We pointed out, at the time, that one should probably not draw a distinction between the extension of time that can be granted in the case of the Companies Act and that in the case of the Share Blocks Control Act. We also pointed out that auditors would have certain problems in dealing with such a share block scheme in the appointed time. It is for that reason that we do not put forward any objections today. It has been indicated in practice that this is something that will occur. It is not due to any negligence on the part of auditors. Nor would I say that it is a case of auditors having too much work. It is rather a case of the frequent difficulties one has in getting in touch with the shareholders of a share block scheme. Auditors keep their commitments and so on up to date, because they know they will incur losses if they do not do so. Here we are not dealing with the ordinary shareholder in a company. In the case of share blocks an extension of time is, in my view, more necessary than in the case of the Companies Act. Various hon members have jointly discussed all the various aspects, and so let me say that I gladly support the Bill.


Mr Speaker, I thank the hon member for Langlaagte for the support for the Bill on the part of the CP. The 1980 Act, which is being amended by the Bill, forms part of a long sequence of legislation dealing with the transfer of the proprietary rights. I find it very interesting—when one takes a quick look at all the acts dealing with proprietary rights—to note that there is ordinary transfer by way of the Deeds Registries Act, the Sale of Land on Instalments Act, the Alienation of Land Act and a large number of acts passed by Parliament in the past 10 years, for example the Sectional Titles Act and the Property Timesharing Control Act passed by Parliament last year. Then we also have, of course, the Share Blocks Control Act of 1980. The difference between the Share Blocks Control Act, which is now to be amended here, and the other Acts is that the other Acts actually relate to activities that fall under the supervision of the Registrar of Deeds, whilst the Share Blocks Control Act involves the transfer of proprietary rights under the supervision of the Registrar of Companies. Before the 1980 Act regulated this matter, the share block position was not a very well regulated one, with quite a few problems cropping up in practice, particularly in the case of unscrupulous developers, and particularly in Natal where it seems to me there are a tremendous number of examples of share block transfers. Personally I prefer the transfer of a flat on a sectional title basis and not by way of the share block scheme. There are, however, many instances in which one does not actually have any option and cannot do so because the building has been erected on rented premises. On the Durban beachfront there are quite a few examples of this. It was therefore necessary for the share block system to be properly regulated. That is precisely what the then commission under the chairmanship of the hon the Deputy Minister of Industries, Commerce and Tourism recommended at the time. It was more particularly the Companies Act regulations which were made applicable to this kind of transaction at the time. Although there is a difference between the basis of property transfer in terms of the share block scheme and that in terms of all the other methods entrenched in legislation, there is one thing applicable to all these cases, and that is that it is absolutely essential to have good and proper management. This applies to sectional title, time-sharing, share blocks, etc. The success of any of these schemes lies specifically in the standard of the management. I should like to associate myself with what the hon member for Turffontein has said, ie that one of the aspects of management specifically involves the financial arrangements in such a share block scheme. There are certain prescribed obligations. In contrast with the Companies Act, which controls the whole matter, an auditor had no authorization, in terms of the 1980 Act, to be late with his audit certificates. This Bill corrects that aspect. It is therefore a privilege to support this measure.


Mr Speaker, this is a very simple measure indeed. It contains just a single clause, which will amend the Act in order to enable the Minister to extend the period within which the auditors have to audit the accounts of a share-block scheme. I think it is of a practical nature and we in the NRP will not oppose it. As the hon member for Paarl has said, there are many ways in which people can own property. These have developed over the years as our society have become more complex and our housing systems have become more complex with high rise blocks of flats, etc. It has been necessary for this House to ensure that people’s assets and interests are well protected. The ownership of property is probably one of the most powerful motivating forces influencing mankind. Generally speaking considerable sums of money are involved in such transactions as far as the average man is concerned. Often his entire life-savings are tied up in his home or property. As the hon member for Paarl said, when someone enters into a share-block scheme or into any of these schemes where a single building on a single plot is involved, such as sectional title schemes or the time-share schemes, it is absolutely essential that there should be competent management of the scheme. The finances of the scheme should also be managed correctly. For this reason we have in the past written into all these Acts that the accounts of such companies or schemes should be audited. This is absolutely essential in order to protect the interests of the individuals who have bought into such schemes. However, knowing the profession and the people as we do, it is not always possible to ensure that accounts are finalized on a particular date. It is for this reason that the hon the Deputy Minister has brought this Bill before the House, in order to accommodate a practical problem which has arisen amongst those who have to administer the terms of the Act, especially when it comes to auditing the accounts of such schemes.

For this reason the measure has, as I said at the start of my speech, to be supported.


Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon member for Hillbrow for his support. I find no fault with his comments concerning the Bill. I have taken note of his view that one should be rather hesitant to give too long extensions. I will, however, enlighten the hon member further on this in my reply later.

*I should like to thank the hon member for Turffontein for his contribution and also for the trouble he took. Like the hon member for Hillbrow, the hon member also spoke of a reasonable extension of time. As far as the Companies Act is concerned, the policy is that the extension of time should not exceed three months. As hon members have remarked, it is not desirable to lay down a maximum period in the Act, as there may indeed be instances of longer extensions of time being necessary, and then the Registrar would not be empowered to grant the concession. So what I am indicating here is the prevailing trend of thought that in all probability, except in exceptional cases, an extension of time in excess of three months will not be granted.

I should also like to thank the hon member for Langlaagte for his contribution and support. Like the hon member for Hillbrow, that hon member was also a member of the Commission of Enquiry into Development Schemes from which this legislation evolved. So in speaking about this he does so with a good background knowledge, and I therefore thank him for his contribution.

The hon member for Paarl made a good and interesting contribution, placing the legislation involving proprietary rights in South Africa in perspective. He referred, amongst other things, to the importance of the good and proper management of such schemes, and I should like to support him in that.

The hon member for Amanzimtoti also referred to that.

†I would like to thank this hon member too for his contribution. It is true that security of title is very important for the individual.

I would like to conclude by saying that the evidence is there that the Share Blocks Control Act, which is a relatively new Act, is faring well in practice.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.

Bill not committed.

Bill read a Third Time.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill now be read a Second Time.

Prior to the Removal of Restrictions Act being placed on the Statute Book in 1967 the removal of restrictions governing conditions of title, servitudes or town planning schemes, the subdivision of land, the purpose for which land might be used and the requirements that had to be complied with in the erection of buildings, was a long and expensive process. In the 16 years in which the Act has now been in force, hundreds of cases have been dealt with successfully and the provincial administrations have gained valuable experience in the consideration of such applications.

The procedure defined in the 1967 Act requires, amongst other things, the publication of a proclamation in the Official Gazette and, in the event of objections being received, that the Minister of Community Development’s approval be obtained for the removal of the relevant restrictions. At the present time, with efforts being made to reduce administrative red tape, a strong need has arisen to facilitate the procedure prescribed by the Act. There is, in essence, no particular reason why the removal of restrictions must specifically be done by way of proclamation. The publication of a notice n the Official Gazette to give notice of the removal is an equally sound method, and it is therefore proposed that the Act should accordingly be amended.

The restrictions being removed are merely of local interest, with the relevant local authority and the provincial administration being in the best position to pass judgment. Referring cases to the Minister, when objections to such removal are received, serves no purpose in practice, because the Minister would not like to act contrary to the wishes of the Administrator and the town council.

†It is therefore proposed that the Act be amended to leave the matter entirely in the discretion of the Administrator. The Commission of Inquiry into Township Establishment and Related Matters has also looked into the matter and has indicated its support for the proposal.

The removal or suspension of restrictive conditions is usually to the advantage of the applicant. The Act therefore provides that an applicant must deposit with the provincial secretary an amount sufficient to cover the expenses which will be incurred by the provincial administration in connection with the consideration of the application. A local authority which also incurs expenses in the investigation and consideration of an application may however not recover such costs from the applicant. The United Municipal Executive has made representations to the Government on behalf of local authorities and it has been decided to amend the Act to provide for local authorities also to recover their reasonable costs.

The other amendments contained in the Bill are of a consequential nature and need no further explanation.


Mr Speaker, I have pleasure in congratulating the hon the Deputy Minister on the introduction of his first Bill in this House. I want to express the hope that all the legislation submitted by him to this House in future will be equally uncontentious and that it will be passed here as such. I do not know, however, whether that hope will be realized. That is, nevertheless, the hope I want to express on behalf of the official Opposition.

†Sir, we support this measure. As the hon the Minister indicated in his introductory address it aims to streamline some of the processes which relate to townships and township establishment. He also indicated that one aspect of it was already receiving the attention of the Commission of Inquiry into Township Establishment. Quite clearly the issuing of a proclamation is a simplification of the procedure if the person who is actually handling it, the Administrator, handles it by way of notice rather than by way of a formal proclamation in the Government Gazette.

The second point is that the Minister divests himself of some of the authority in favour of the discretionary power of the Administrator, bearing in mind that the Administrator acts in consort with the Townships Board. We believe that is adequate provision. The Administrator, together with the Townships Board, is a more suitable person if one wants to cut down the bureaucracy in South Africa, than having it referred back to the central Government.

Finally, when one streamlines the procedure and one removes some of the conditions, it becomes necessary to see that when other authorities, particularly local authorities, may be saddled with expenses, not on their own account but on account of somebody else’s initiative in order to get some of the matters changed, money is paid in so that the authorities have no difficulty in reclaiming the expenses which they have incurred. In the circumstances we believe that this piece of legislation is going to streamline some of the procedures. It will certainly reduce some of the costs and I think it will also reduce some of the frustration which attends upon the present procedures which we have been following for many years in South Africa. Accordingly we support the Second Reading of the Bill.


Mr Speaker, it is a privilege for me to be able to support this Bill today. This is also the first Bill being dealt with by the hon the Deputy Minister of Development and of Land Affairs. Only a short time ago the hon the Deputy Minister was still chairman of our study group on agriculture, and it is now also evident from the Bill that he really can, like a true farmer, devise a plan to solve a problem. To what extent he himself was encumbered with the formulation of this amending Bill I would not know, but at the very least he had to give it his approval. I think it is a good amendment.

Our thanks, too, to the official Opposition for its support of the measure. The point the hon member for Sea Point made, ie that in terms of this legislation it should be made possible for local authorities to recover costs they had incurred, is a good motivation for the introduction of this Bill.

I think it is a good thing for us to look back at how the Removal of Restrictions Act of 1967 came about. It was an Act that came into being after deliberations in a parliamentary select committee. At the time that select committee consisted of members of the NP and an Opposition that was slightly different to what it is now. We must note the fact that all the present opposition parties have members who were members of the opposition party which, at the time, formed part of this select committee. The Act also embodies an agreement between erstwhile Government departments, provincial administrations and the United Municipal Executive. The Bill therefore has the support of all these bodies. It also presents a clearly defined procedure that must be adopted for the removal of the restrictive conditions relating to urban renewal, new housing schemes, slum clearance and the establishment of townships. The nature of these restrictions relates to certain conditions of title, servitudes and prescriptions in regard to the purpose for which land may be used, etc. The relevant restrictions were introduced many years ago and no longer tie in with more recent developments and present-day problems. The Bill is therefore merely aimed at streamlining the present Removal of Restrictions Act and we therefore have pleasure in supporting it.


Mr Speaker, on behalf of this side of the House I want to congratulate the hon the Deputy Minister on his promotion. I hope it will not be long before he becomes Minister, because the work he has done at each and every level has been such that there can only be a wonderful future ahead for him.

The introduction of this Bill gives us, as fas as the establishment of townships is concerned, a very special look into the future. One of the biggest problems in the establishment of townships centres around the fact that there are restrictive conditions imposed by municipalities, individuals, provincial councils and also the State. There was a time when an individual could cause a not inconsiderable amount of frustration by withholding permission for the purchase of many, many morgen of land because he possessed the subterranean rights on that land. Such an individual pays R20 for the subterranean mineral rights. He does not, however, buy all the mineral rights, but merely the coal rights, when coal is perhaps not even to be found on that land. Something like that can cause frustration over a period of 20 or 30 years until one eventually buys him out, even though one can never really fully utilize the surface rights.

Seen in this light, the Removal of Restrictions Act of 1967 was a step forward. This Bill is also undoubtedly a great improvement on the existing legislation, because an Administrator is more closely involved in matters of this nature than is the central Government. The fact that an advertisement can now be placed in a newspaper without the permission of the State President will undoubtedly facilitate matters. We often tire people out with directives they have to sign, and sometimes they do not even know what it is they are signing. The Administrator, however, has a very real interest in matters of this nature in his province.

The only question I do not agree with is that a local authority will also incur costs. In my opinion this is not necessary. When a restrictive condition is being investigated, it is unnecessary for both the Administrator and the local authority to incur expenses. I believe that expenses of this nature should be lumped together. If the Administrator is of the opinion that his investigation is not comprehensive enough, he must also include the portion, which he lays down as a condition, in the further investigation conducted by the local authority. In other words, this should all be one action. Local authorities more often than not experience great problems in merely managing the affairs of their own towns, and sometimes their administration costs amount to 80% of their revenue. In such cases they then make use of legislation of this nature which gives them an opportunity to shock an applicant rigid with the costs of such an investigation. If the applicant were to refuse to pay the amount levied by the local authority, the investigation would not be concluded, which does, of course, lead to great frustration.

Who, however, actually pays the costs of the investigation? The applicant only pays the initial costs. Eventually it is the purchaser who bears the brunt, because the costs are normally added to the end product. It must therefore not be alleged that the applicant or township developer is going to pay the costs, because that is not the case. It is the purchaser of the house in such a township development project who pays those costs, and that is why they should be kept as low as possible. If we want to give our people in South Africa anything like proper accommodation in two decades’ time, we shall have to abolish the costs with which services have been burdened over the past 10 or 20 years, and also other restrictive conditions relating to the establishment of townships at the present time.

In accordance with Standing Order No 22, the House adjourned at 18h30.