House of Assembly: Vol112 - TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 1984
Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
- (1) That the hours of sitting on Monday, 2 April, Tuesday, 3 April, and Thursday, 5 April, shall be as follows: 14h15 to 18h30;
- (2) that this House at its rising on Thursday, 5 April, adjourn until Monday, 9 April.
Bill read a First Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
The main estimate of expenditure for the 1983-84 financial year amounted to R21 175,7 million, comprising the following:
R17 986,6 million
R 3 189,1 million
R21 175,7 million
The Additional Appropriation Bill which is now before the House provides for the augmentation of the amount, voted by R1 145,1 million. However, I must point out at once that there are considerable savings that can be offset against the gross increase of R1 145 million. Savings on all Votes are estimated at R205 million, which brings the net increase to R940 million, representing an increase, under particularly difficult circumstances, of 5,2%. I want to state, therefore, that in spite of recent suggestions to the contrary by uninformed persons and bodies, we are still adhering to our policy of financial discipline.
I now wish to turn to the most important components of the additional amount which the Government is now asking this House to appropriate.
Other drought assistance
Emergency water supplies
Drought assistance/Job creation TBVC countries and self-governing national states
Total agricultural and drought assistance
Total aid to agriculture and the consumer amounts to approximately R760 million, therefore, of which approximately R463 million is included in the Additional Appropriation. Consequently there is every justification for saying that the Government has rendered the greatest possible assistance to both the producer and consumers of agricultural products in these difficult times. Almost half the additional amount that is being requested can therefore be directly and indirectly linked to, firstly, the worst natural disaster to strike our country in living memory, and, secondly, amelioration of increases in the prices of staple foods, which has been of benefit to the under-privileged in particular. Only the most prejudiced critics could wish to present this aid as so-called “proof” of inadequate control over the relevant programmes of expenditure.
Security services—that is Vote 13 (Police), Vote 16 (Defence) and Vote 20 (Prisons)—require an additional R242 million. In a nutshell, Police and Prisons have, for the first time in years, been able to recruit large numbers of young men to fill vacancies. Career differentiation and the general recessionary conditions have combined to produce this propitious state of affairs. Difficult economic conditions have, of course, simultaneously had a detrimental effect on, especially, Prisons, where the prison population has risen very considerably. I make so bold as to say that only a very brave critic will quibble about the additional R46 million I am asking the House to approve for Police and Prisons.
In regard to Defence the additional R196 million is, in the main, a reflection of unavoidable cost escalation on contracts, intensified operational activity and increased personnel expenditure. Hon members will observe that the printed estimate—page 16-1—shows decreases and increases of a very much higher order in arriving at the net amount of R196,4 million to be voted for Defence. This situation has arisen as a result of difficulties encountered with the computerised apportionment of Internal Charges from programme 7 (Provisioning) to functional programmes 1 to 6. My colleague, the hon the Minister of Defence, will, if necessary, explain the problem more fully. As far as the Fisc is concerned, however, I ask the House to direct its attention only to the net R196,4 million requested—an additional inescapable premium on security in these hazardous times.
*Improved employment benefits
The third major item of expenditure that I wish to deal with is the cost of improved service benefits for public servants. For this we need an additional R190 million on Vote 25 (Improvement of Conditions of Service). Over the years, the Public Service has lagged far behind the private sector—and this is a proven fact—with regard to salaries in particular, but also with regard to service benefits in general. For this reason, the Public Service has not been able to recruit and retain enough staff. This is proved by irrefutable statistics and repeated reports by the Commission for Administration. The existing staff have worked under very difficult circumstances. That the machinery of State has not collapsed is greatly to the credit of these loyal workers. Nevertheless, there have been many problems, of which successive reports by the Auditor-General and lengthy discussions on the Select Committee on Public Accounts provide ample proof. Hon members will agree that the Government simply could not sit back and resign itself to the deterioration of the Public Service. Over the past few years, the position has therefore been rectified, for example, by the introduction of occupationally differentiated dispensations based on market-related remuneration packages for the great majority of the occupational groups in the Public Service.
Naturally, this process has cost a great deal, but to concentrate on mere percentage increases in the remuneration of historically underpaid groups in this process, and to infer from these that the officials are being overpaid, is to lose sight of the facts. The fact is—and the private sector will simply have to accept this—that the remuneration packages of the officials have merely been brought closer to those of their counterparts in the private sector. It goes without saying, however, that occupational dispensations that have already been introduced must be maintained. This is being done in the interim by general salary adjustments—hence the 12% general adjustment as from 1 January 1984— but it will probably be done only by means of a review of individual occupational dispensations within the foreseeable future.
However that may be, the Government is determined to keep the total remuneration package in the Public Service at a more market-orientated level, which will make it possible to recruit and retain staff of the required quality and, in so doing, to administer the country effectively. It is realized that excessive competition for limited staff may have an adverse effect during an economic upswing, but unless the public wishes the Public Service to attract only inferior recruits, we must come to a modus vivendi with regard to remuneration which will serve the greater interests of South Africa. Therefore the amount of R190 million is certainly not a sign of less stringent fiscal control, but the result of justified concern about the provision of essential services.
The total direct cost of the improvement of the service benefits of the Public Service this year was R500 million, of which R250 million was provided in the main estimate, approximately R60 million is being funded from savings and R190 million now has to be additionally appropriated. When we add to this R190 million the increased operating cost of the medical and housing schemes for public servants (R52 million) and the increased employer’s contribution to pension funds as a result of successful recruitment (R25 million), another R77 million is accounted for.
Another major item of expenditure included in the Additional Appropriation is the deferred payment to the provinces. This amounts to R72,5 million, and because of the functioning of the subsidy formula, it is normally payable to the provinces annually at the end of the financial year, ie in the Additional Appropriation. The provinces are under great pressure not only to maintain, but to improve and expand, the services for which they are responsible, especially school and hospital facilities and the road network. Therefore the deferred payment is not only essential, but entirely justified.
The four major items on the Additional Appropriation which I have just dealt with add up to R1 044 million out of a gross total of R1 145 million. This leaves only R101 million for all other services. I submit that such a result certainly does not testify to unrestrained Government spending; on the contrary, it is positive proof of effective control under particularly difficult circumstances. No one could have foreseen the severity and the duration of the drought; no one could have foreseen that the South African Defence Force would undertake a large-scale operation in Angola or that the Public Service would be able to effect such a great improvement in its deteriorating staff position by means of successful recruitment.
Finally, I want to give hon members two assurances: Firstly, it is in the national interest that the additional funds that are being requested be made available, and, secondly, that it will in fact be possible to finance them in a sound manner.
Mr Speaker, since the Additional Appropriation is basically a measure which is discussed in Committee, the details can be discussed at that stage.
Mr Speaker, firstly let me express the appreciation of the official Opposition for the fact that we have received the explanatory memorandums punctually this year. Secondly, I should like to make a few general remarks on the amount of additional expenditure that is to be authorized.
While it has been argued that the increase is only 6% of the original amount voted, it is firstly a very large sum indeed, larger than 76% of the individual Votes we spend so much time discussing and secondly it falls into a pattern of escalating costs. These are the statistics over the last three years: In 1982 there was R380 million additional expenditure or 2,7% of the main appropriation approved. In 1983 the additional expenditure amounted to R722 million or 4,6% of the main appropriation approved. In 1984 the additional expenditure has increased to R1 145 million or 6% of the main appropriation approved.
We must also not forget that the figures for each Vote carried to the summary are the result of a series of compensating errors. Increases are reduced by decreases, and these decreases are not necessarily the result of savings; they can be the result of changes of plan or postponements, for example, the Department of Finance is seeking authorization of only a nominal additional amount but there were increases of the order of R350 million. The final figure in each Vote can and often does camouflage serious budgetary errors.
We have a sick economy. Real growth in the 1980s is down to 2,25%; personal savings are at an all-time low at 3,5%; the cost of servicing personal debt is at an all time high. Where will effective demand come from to fuel the next upward phase in the economy? If it is to be export-led we have to be competitive and obviously a rand valued at approximately 80 cents is of assistance to us in this regard, but what are the implications of financing the re-equipment and expansion of our industry with so cheap a rand?
We are unlikely to reach Vote 25 in this particular debate so let me use it to illustrate the type of irresponsible political decision that has got us into what I really believe is a very serious situation and which makes the hon the Minister’s task so difficult. Just a year ago he made it clear that there would be no increase in Public Service pay unless there was a significant improvement in the economy. That was before the decision to hold a referendum, of course. Rumour has it that the hon the Minister declared that the 12% Public Service pay rise would take place “over his dead body”.
Who said that?
I said that was a rumour. It was published in the Financial Mail. Should we not perhaps now be seeking a live body?
The item “Improvement in conditions of service” in Vote 25 shows an increase from R250 million to R440 million or 76%, and this is the tip of the iceberg. The total compensation package includes a series of benefits such as cheap housing loans, and we find evidence of them elsewhere in the Additional Estimates. It is lovely to hand out largesse on this scale, but who co-ordinates these policies? Who decides what the country can and cannot afford? It helps nobody to pump a borehole out to such an extent that it impairs its ability to give water. The hon the Minister is either unable or unwilling to convince his colleagues that they cannot take a strong economy for granted. He appears to have taken refuge in an area where his authority was least questioned by his colleagues, and attempted to exercise discipline indirectly through monetary and fiscal measures. The Financial Mail commented that “despite the efforts to reduce money supply growth, the results have been disappointing”. Recently, however, there have been signs that the money supply is getting more controlled, but I am sure something will happen to scuttle this effort before it really has time to run its course. It has been the hon the Minister’s practice since I came to this House to quote at length from complimentary clippings. Today, however, it is easier to find cutting which read for instance “Owen Horwood’s credibility has plunged to an all-time low”.
Struggling in the toils largely of its own making, the Government looks desperately to gold to rescue and revitalize the economy. I once met a visiting American economist who told me that this was really an extraordinary country. People he met, he said, usually asked him three questions: Firstly, what do you think of the price of gold?; secondly, how long do you think South Africa can last? and, thirdly, what do you think the price of gold will be then? Sir, this story has too much relevance to the attitude of the Government’s chief economic pilot for comfort.
Mr Speaker, we have before us an Additional Appropriation which entails a fairly large sum of money. Of course it is not easy for any government to budget. However, when dealing with an Additional Appropriation such as this, we have to ask ourselves a few questions. We have to ask ourselves whether this additional expenditure improved the circumstances of life of the various population groups in South Africa—yes or no.
In the second place we have to ask ourselves whether it created more employment opportunities in the country.
Did it result in increased productivity?
Hon members are intoning “yes” like a choir. Of course, Koos Roelofse taught them to say “yes” to everything. That is how they have been indoctrinated. That is why they are all yes-men.
If there was increased productivity, why did we have a negative growth rate of 3%? Another question is whether this additional expenditure contributed towards breaking the back of inflation. At one stage it was 10%, but it has since risen to 12% again in January, and I am afraid that it is going to rise further. The question therefore remains whether this additional expenditure is going to stimulate the economy—yes or no. We shall have to stimulate our exports if we want to make the grade in this country. In future we cannot rely only on gold. We are fortunate that the price of gold is rising again, and we are grateful for that.
In this Additional Appropriation there are a few amounts which are very large. Take agriculture as an example. There were disasters in agriculture and of course we are all grateful that these could be budgeted for. But on the other hand the Government should really not waste money either. Let us consider the tremendous amount which is being requested for defence. [Interjections.] Sir, I see hon members are starting to feel uncomfortable. Of course everyone in South Africa puts our security first. But when the hon the Minister of Defence goes on a “spending spree” with 43 National Party MPs and a large number of National Party MPCs, which lasts three days, they should remember that the taxpayers of South Africa are paying for this. I want to ask the hon the Minister since when it has become the practice for only National Party MPs and MPCs to be taken on tours at Government expense and for the expenses to be concealed somewhere in the defence budget. If the hon member for Bezuidenhout had not put a question about this, no one would have been any the wiser. However, the National Party is wasting money and covering things up. Was it fair and right for the hon the Minister to have done this? The reply the hon the Minister gave to that question was that it was his prerogative to invite people. If it is his prerogative to spend money in this way, I suppose it is also his prerogative to spend money in all other kinds of ways as well, for example on his friends, without anyone knowing about this.
South Africa should take cognisance of this state of affairs. The hon the Minister of Finance, together with his department and the Reserve Bank, are doing their best to put the country’s finances in order, but if we get this kind of thing where money is spent behind the scenes on entertaining friends, I ask myself how much money is covertly being paid into NP funds behind the scenes. I am not saying that this is the case, I am merely asking whether it is [Interjections.] If the hon Minister benefits his National Party MPs in this way, it is an open question what else one can expect. There should be nothing in South Africa which in any way compromises our defence effort.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Is the hon member entitled to insinuate that we are covertly using State funds for the NP?
Order! In his speech up to now the hon member has mentioned a few cases at which he levelled criticism. By way of an hypothesis, however, he is now accusing the Minister directly of benefitting a certain political party. I think the hon member should withdraw that accusation.
Mr Speaker, I am not accusing anyone. I am merely putting a question.
The hon member must withdraw it.
I withdraw it, Mr Speaker, I do not want to make any accusations. [Interjections.] Why did the hon the Minister take only the National Party MPs on tour? Why could there not also have been members of the official Opposition, the NRP and the CP? Or was Prof Koos Roelofse also present then to indoctrinate people, as he also did in 1982? Was that the motive, and was that what happened? [Interjections.] Now they want to know what Carel says. I just happened to notice that those six members who were rushing back and forth all went on that tour. The NP is so afraid that people will become unfaithful that they have to resort to these methods.
I am asking that this kind of thing should not happen again in future. Let us not cast suspicion on our Defence Force. Let us not prejudice a matter of which the unanimity and co-operation of all the people in the country is needed. We shall put further questions when the various Votes come up for discussion.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Walmer made one or two remarkable statements. He said that the cost of servicing the public debt was extremely high.
Then I misunderstood him. As regards public debt, it is less than 6% of the value of exports, and thus is one of the lowest in the world.
The hon member criticized the Government for granting a 12% general salary increase to the Public Service. That was after one year and nine months. In between there have been certain professional pay differentiations, but we know that that has been on a limited basis and only affects the professional categories. After 21 months the Government felt that under these circumstances something was due by way of a general increase to the Public Service. That obviously cost extra money. Did the hon member for Walmer accept the increase of 12% which he received from 1 January as a member of this House?
Yes, and I expect everybody to accept an increase which is the responsibility of an employer.
My information is that his party agreed with that. Therefore, as far as he and his colleagues are concerned, they accepted the 12% but now they want to deny the 12% increase to the Public Service. [Interjections.] That is the position, and there is no question about it. It is as clear as daylight.
The hon member also referred to an extremely malicious article about me in the last Sunday’s Business Times of the Sunday Times. It is interesting that the person who wrote that is a Mr Hogg. He recently sent me a long list of questions by telex, saying that the matter was urgent. There was no way that I could just before the Budget reply to those questions as I would have disclosed half the Budget. So I sent him a polite message to say that his request was quite impossible as I did not have the time in the first place. It would have taken hours and hours. I could not do it at that juncture and I had to turn it down for everybody. As I happen to know, he got angry about that and he wrote this extremely malicious article, quoting a lot of anonymous people who do not amount to a row of beans. I happened to give a so-called keynote address to an international conference yesterday where there were, among others, 150 prominent Americans who had come out here for that purpose, plus about the same number of South Africans. Among them were some very prominent investment analysts and economists. They were distinguished people, investment experts mostly. I wish hon members could have heard the comments made there. The comment I heard from one was rather apt. He said the article sounded to him like complete “hoggwash”. I will leave it at that.
*The hon member for Sunnyside withdrew his question. I do not think he should ever have asked it. So I shall leave the matter at that, and I believe we should be very careful about what we say in this House.
It is very clear, at least from Second Reading speeches, that there is not much fault to be found with this Budget, because only two hon members of the Opposition participated in the debate and both spoke very briefly. Therefore I think we can now proceed to the next stage of this Bill.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr Chairman, under this Vote we note that an amount of R2 174 500 for the South West African Authority Services is principally for air transport services and aircraft services for the Administrator-General of South West Africa. That seems an awfully large amount of money. Can a clearer explanation be given of what this amount was for?
Mr Chairman, in the past it was customary for the Administrator-general to be transported by the Defence Force, wherever he had to go in South West Africa. Funds for that purpose were therefore provided within the context of the Defence Force. It was then decided, in July 1983, that since the Administrator-General was in fact the representative of the South African Government there and fell directly under the control of the Prime Minister, it would be better if the Department of the Prime Minister accepted responsibility for that service. Consequently it was decided to refund the amount of R1 183 174 to the Defence Force.
Mr Chairman, I am very grateful for the explanatory memorandum, which facilitates the work of hon members a great deal. With regard to the increased amount for the President’s Council I read in this memorandum:
Could the hon the Prime Minister give us more information on the nature of those professional services and why more use was made of those services?
Mr Chairman, this was largely due in the first place, to transcription services. Secondly, because the President’s Council and its committees sat more often and the committees were quite active and brought out a number of reports, it was also necessary to make use of related professional services and other technical services.
Mr Chairman, I should like to ask the hon the Prime Minister whether the amount we charged South West Africa forms part of an ultimate loan account. Do we build an obligation with this amount for which South West Africa’s Administration is responsible in the long term?
Mr Chairman, the expense with which we are dealing here is in connection with more or less 700 seconded public servants working in certain areas in South West Africa. They are, as I have said, seconded public servants and we are responsible for their transport and that of their children. So, this is not an amount that can be dealt with in the way the hon member is suggesting.
Vote agreed to.
Mr Chairman, I want to refer to the decrease of almost R1,5 million in respect of training. In the light of the training meeds in South Africa and in the light of the fact that a similar amount was underspent last year, I should like to know from the hon the Minister why it was necessary to underspend on training in the year under review.
Mr Chairman, the hon member is referring to programme 4, “Training”. In this connection the amount voted was R17 278 000 and the revised amount was only R15 806 000. Consequently there was an underspending of R1 472 000. This net decrease in the spending was primarily attributable to factors which I shall indicate. Previously the expenditure for the Central Organization for Trade Tests, COTT, at Olifantsfontein, was provided under the National Education Vote. With effect from the 1983-84 financial year, provision was made for it under the Manpower Vote. It now appears that in respect of personnel expenditure an amount of R781 300 was underestimated when the provision for that purpose was included in the Manpower Vote. It appears, furthermore, that the expected administrative expenditure was overestimated by an amount of R33 000. It also appears that the amount which was provided for temporary examiners present at these tests was R19 500 in excess of what was required. Another reason is that the research programme of the National Training Board did not make the progress we initially expected. Consequently a saving of R20 000 is in prospect. This programme is concerned with manual and technician training, and the expenditure was not realized inter alia because the research did not progress as rapidly as we expected owing to a shortage of technicians. Consequently this whole matter has been delayed to some extent.
I could also mention a further factor. According to an agreement the department compensates the SATS monthly for the secretarial and inspection services rendered by its personnel to Committee for Transport Services apprentices. The department is liable for half of the salaries of the personnel, plus the full amount of their pension and medical contributions, as well as service bonuses. As a result of the improved salaries paid out to the officials concerned, the expected expenditure in this case was underestimated by an amount of R53 000.
I should like to point out one of the most important reasons for this situation. The indications are that the amount of R3 million provided for the 1983-84 financial year in terms of the Manpower Training Amendment Act of 1982 for the payment of cash allowances to industrialists in decentralized areas in order to promote training is inadequate. An additional amount of R2 million is being voted here.
Furthermore, an amount of R7 715 000 is being voted for the programme “Training of persons under special schemes”. As a result of certain problems this did not entail the expenditure which was originally expected. It is expected that the programme will only attain greater momentum during the 1984-85 financial year. For the 1983-84 financial year a considerable decrease of R3,953 million is expected. These are in the main the reasons for the decrease under the “Training” programme.
Mr Chairman, in view of the increased expenditure in respect of the administration of the Department of Manpower I should like to ascertain from the hon the Minister whether the Department performed additional tasks and obligations during the period under review, and if so, which of these tasks have already been performed.
Mr Chairman, as a result of the rationalization of the Public Service, several new tasks were naturally entrusted to the department. One thinks in this connection of the National Manpower Commission and the National Training Board which fall under this department. Futhermore, owing to the economic recession which occurred, the workload of the department has expanded considerably as a result of an increasing number of unemployed. Then, too, the activities of the industrial court have also increased considerably, by almost 400%.
I should like to illustrate briefly to the hon member how the activities of this department have increased during the course of 1983 and how many additional functions the department received. For example three new chief director posts, three director posts, eight deputy director posts and 106 other lower grade posts were created. In aggregate, therefore, 120 additional posts were created. I can just mention here that the number of posts filled fortunately rose from 2 237 to 2 354; in other words, a net increase of 117 personnel members. That is briefly the reply to the hon member’s question.
Mr Chairman, the replies which the hon the Minister gave to the questions of the hon member for Pinelands made the picture look a little worse as far as programme No 4 was concerned. It would appear that the underspending on training was originally R1,4 million, but now it seems to be far worse, particularly if one considers that in the large negative number there are also a few positive numbers.
In respect of paragraph (iii) on page 3 the hon the Minister mentioned that an additional R53 000 was required, and R2 million in respect of industrialists in decentralized areas. It would now seem as though the underspending on actual training was approximately R3,9 million, and if that is so, I think that the hon the Minister has in that case done great harm to the country.
In these times of low economic growth there are many people who would badly like to undergo training, but who do not have the funds to do so. I am thinking in this connection, for example, of Bifsa which received many applications from people who were eager to undergo training, but because the firms in question could not afford to send people for training, courses were simply cancelled.
I also know that SA Federation of Civil Engineering contractors who had to cancel course after course because there were not enough people to attend those courses.
I should therefore like to ascertain from the hon the Minister whether he, when he realized that the amount for special schemes could not be spent, notified Bifsa or Safcek, for example, that there was money available for training. In my opinion the hon the Minister failed in his duty by allowing training opportunities to remain unutilized in these times of unemployment.
Mr Chairman, as I understand the rules of this House, a Minister, a Government, is called to account in this debate for overspending and not so much for underspending. [Interjections.] We are dealing here with Additional Estimates, and this is not so much an underspending which is now being dealt with here. If the hon member for Greytown had listened more carefully, however, he would have heard that I gave various reasons as to why training had not progressed as it should have done. One of the reasons was, inter alia, the shortage of technical personnel which we are experiencing at present. I should also like to mention that one of the underspendings in this connection was in respect of the training and control of trade trainees. In this respect for example, there was a decrease of R447 000 in the training of Black trainees, and this project was delayed because suitable accommodation could not be made ready in time. I can give the hon member the assurance, however, that as far as my department and I are concerned, it is one of our objectives to promote this training, and we shall, within our means, do as much as possible in respect of the training of manpower.
Mr Chairman, I accept the hon the Minister’s assurance that it is his object to promote training. However, I should like to ascertain from him whether, if there was a manpower shortage in his own department, he actively approached the private sector to establish whether they could not make use of the available moneys, and I am referring once again to Bifsa and the SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors. These are two organizations with which I am well acquainted and which could at present use additional money to good effect in order to promote training.
Mr Chiarman, surely it is very well known that those undertakings need only come to the department and ask. It is not our task to go around asking whether there are people who need training. Surely it is very well known that these facilities do exist. It is publicized repeatedly over the radio, by way of pamphlets, as well as by means of the Manpower 2000 project. It is being publicized everywhere, and wherever officials of the department operate, they place emphasis on training and on the facilities this department offers. In the nature of things, one can only go so far as to publicize these matters. One cannot force people to undergo this training.
Mr Chairman, I refer the hon the Minister to page 4 of the explanatory memorandum, to Programme No 6(ii)—“The issue of a special addition of My Career”.
The periodical My Career is a good publication. When did that special addition appear, however, and why? Why was it necessary to publish a special addition of that periodical?
Mr Chairman, during August 1983 the department deemed it advisable to publish a special edition of My Career, the departmental quarterly on occupational guidance, which deals inter alia with manual training and careers in technical fields. That edition cost the department R70 000; R27 000 more than the previous edition, primarily owing to increased printing costs.
This unforeseen additional expenditure was the result of abnormal increases in material and labour costs since the beginning of 1983, which of course place a heavy additional burden on the department’s estimates for printing-work. In the present economic climate it is essential that the department should specifically emphasize certain occupations in order to encourage the training of manpower from all population groups for the labour market. An additional provision for R60 000 was accepted in this respect. This follows from the determination of the department to do everything in its power to indicate where deficiencies exist, where there is a heavy demand for certain kinds of technicians, and My Career is the instrument which we use to bring information of that nature to the attention of students and scholars.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 5—“Co-operation and Development”:
Mr Chairman, I have about three basic questions to put to the hon the Minister in respect of this Vote. The first question relates to Programme No 5. From the explanatory memorandum it would seem that the amount of R17,5 million relates entirety to land to be acquired for kwaNdebele. First of all, what I should like to know, is whether this land is in its entirety wanted by the Trust to be placed at the disposal of kwaNdebele; if so, is it land which has already been identified, and can the hon the Minister tell us whether it is White-owned land, or who are the present owners of the land which is about to be acquired?
The second question relates to Programme No 6, and deals almost entirely with drought and flood relief. Does this represent the amounts which were asked for the purposes of relief of this kind, or is it simply the amount which the Government has been able to provide for these purposes? What is, in other words, the extent of the relief sought, and how has the Government been able to meet that?
I come now to my third question. I am concerned at the decreases, and I wonder why it was not possible to spend money which had been allocated, for example, for physically disabled people, for pensions, etc, as set out in the explanatory memorandum, together with the development of Black areas? Why was it not possible to spend the money which had already been allocated, and which would indeed have effected a saving of some R17 million as a result of the decreases reflected in the explanatory memorandum?
Mr Chairman, with regard to Programme 5 the reply to the hon member’s first question is that owing to circumstances the amount initially approved for consolidation during 1983-84 was cut by R40 million. The original amount approved was R199 837 000 and the actual amount voted was R159 837 000, resulting in a deficit of R40 million.
All for kwaNdebele?
I am coming to that. As a result of negotiations which had already taken place with kwaNdebele regarding possible independence, offers for certain land had to be made as speedily as possible, particularly with a view to the development of the principal seat, for example certain land at Enkeldoorn. I might just mention that the principal seat will probably be at Sustershoek. All this land we are referring to now is White land—Enkeldoorn 217 JR, Klipfontein 205 JR, Enkeldoornoog 219 JR, Prins Anna 234 JR and Sustershoek 249 JR. Consequently we needed this money urgently on this budget in order to make the necessary purchases as soon as possible. However his is not all that the money is for. Land also has to be purchased for the settlement of people who have to be moved out of the Renosterkop Dam basin, namely the farm Kameelpoort, 202 JR. This represents more or less the entire amount of R17,5 million appearing on the Additional Appropriation for this purpose.
As far as the hon member’s second question is concerned—on Programme 6—I am not going to read out to him what he already has in front of him in the memorandum. I am referring here to the various amounts for drought aid, employment creation, repair of flood damage and so forth. The hon member has those figures in front of him. What is in fact of importance as regards the hon member’s question is the fact that the amount of R20 million for drought aid is as close as we could get to the amount the states asked for. We really went out of our way in this regard. The amounts being requested in this regard attest to the extent to which we really went out of our way to vote the maximum amount requested and determined according to requirements for drought aid to these national states. This amounted to R20 million.
It may possibly interest hon members if I discuss this amount in more detail. Gazankulu received the following amounts: R1,25 million for water provision, R1,5 million for employment creation, R0,25 million for cattle fodder and R0,5 million for financial assistance to scheme farmers, giving a total amount of R3,50 million for Gazankulu. I could give particulars in this connection for each of the national states, but I do not think it is necessary for me to take up the Committee’s time with this. However, for interest’s sake I want to mention the particulars for kwaZulu to the hon member for Berea. These are: Water provision, R1,70 million, employment creation, R2,50 million and financial assistance to scheme farmers, R0,70 million, giving a total amount of R4,90 million.
What is very important, and what may be interesting, about programme 6 is that when we consider the matter of employment creation we are dealing with two components. In the first place by means of the R20 million for drought aid we created no fewer than 22 559 employment opportunities. The particulars in this regard are as follows: kwaZulu, 8 910, Gazankulu, 5 700, Qwaqwa, 825, kwaNdebele, 1 864, Lebowa, 3 853 and Kangwane, 1 407, giving a total of 22 559 employment opportunities. In consequence of requests by the hon the Prime Minister himself, the Cabinet subsequently launched an employment creation programme which supplemented the drought aid programme. Then, in August 1983, the Cabinet accepted a programme for the creation of employment opportunities. In terms of this, in addition to the 2 559 posts created as a result of the drought aid, 27 542 project aid posts were created, giving a total of 50 101 posts which were created in the national states. If I had the time, I could have given full details on this, but on this occasion I shall only give a few examples. For example, the following posts were created for the national states making bricks for public and community buildings in Gazankulu, 384 posts; renovating towns, inter alia making bricks, repairing streets and repairing and renovating public buildings, 320 posts; water reticulation from boreholes, 60 posts. The tremendous variety of posts or employment opportunities created in this way is really interesting. I hope I have now replied fully to the second question of the hon member.
If I am not mistaken the hon member’s third question concerns pensions.
The hon member therefore wants an explanation for the R2,253 million. The decrease was due largely to an overestimate of the increase in the number of beneficiaries, particularly as regards disability pensions. When the draft budget was drawn up the total number of beneficiaries was estimated at 105 500, but according to the second revised estimate, indications are that by the end of the financial there will in actual fact be 100 200 beneficiaries. This explains the decrease in this case. I think I have now replied to all three of the hon member’s questions.
Mr Chairman, I want to put two questions to the hon the Minister. In the first place I want to ask him to furnish an explanation for the decrease under programme 6 in connection with youth actions in Kangwane and kwaZulu. I should also like an explanation for the tremendous initial under-estimate in the original Budget as far as staff is concerned. There was an underestimate of 25%.
Are you referring to programme 1?
Yes, I am referring to programme 1. Could any business undertaking really be run effectively if there was an underestimate of as much as approximately 25% in its annual budget?
Mr Chairman, the hon member’s first question concerns the decrease in respect of the youth actions in Kangwane and KwaZulu. The sum involved in respect of Kangwane was R500 000 and as far as kwaZulu was concerned, the sum was also R500 000. We simply had to find this money. During the past two years we have voted R8 million for youth actions in the national states. Because it was possible—I hope this is only temporary—for us to effect a saving in these two states, and because it was so essential for us to do so, it was done. However, the hon member will notice that there was an increase of R1 million for youth action by administration boards. In fact, therefore the two balance one another out.
The hon member’s second question concerns the amount of R4,9 million. The increase may be ascribed chiefly to a refinement of the basis on which salaries are divided between programme 1 and programme 5 and the filling of vacant posts resulting from the implementation of occupational differentiation. The increase cannot therefore be understood unless it is seen in relation to the decrease of R3,422 million under programme 5. Initially we felt that that amount could be voted under programme 5, but owing to our budgeting procedure we had to transfer it to programme 1. Other elements which pushed the net increase in staff expenditure up to R1,478 million, may be ascribed to a refinement of the basis on which salaries, particularly those of management, were divided between the programmes, namely per pay point instead of in general. The increase of R1,478 million may be chiefly ascribed—and it is good to take cognizance of this—to a considerable gain in staff in the department. Between December 1982 and December 1983, when the revised budget was drafted, there was a gain in staff of 517. Initially, therefore, we were unable to budget for this increase.
Vote agreed to.
Mr Chairman, I noticed that the subsidy on the operating losses of SA Transport Services has come down by R46 556 294. I would imagine this was due to more efficient operating by SATS, and our congratulations is therefore due to them for having saved us this amount. On the other hand, Mr Chairman, I am somewhat horrified to find that this saving has all been spent by the hon the Minister, plus another R1 000. The bulk of that of course has been spent on bus transportation. In 1982 the hon the Minister said in a speech in this House (Hansard, Col 1931):
Mr Chairman, I think the hon the Minister has given the South African public a good dose of caster oil as far as bus transport is concerned in that he is asking for an additional amount of R44 689 000 in this respect. This is a tremendous sum of money, particularly in view of the fact that last year we had to increase the amount of R80 million by R28 million to a R108 million. On that occasion (Hansard, 1982, col 1931) the hon the Minister admitted that it was indeed a lot of money but added that he thought it could be avoided the following year. And yet for this financial year there is an increase of 45,6%—from R98 million to R142 689 000. According to the explanatory memorandum it is due to passenger growth. Well, I would have thought that if there were passenger growth, it should have made the service more economic. One also has to bear in mind that during the year the fuel price dropped by a considerable margin, thereby making it possible for the bus companies to save a considerable amount in respect of fuel. In the light of this I should think that the amount that he asks for now is fairly considerable, and I should like to have the hon the Minister’s explanation for it.
Another item in these estimates to which I should like to draw attention is the increase in respect of departmental sea transport. I should like to know what this means. Does the ship Johan Hugo still form part of departmental sea transport? I understand that this ship has not been operating during the last six months, and therefore one could have assumed that there would be a saving rather than an increase under this heading. Another question is whether this includes oil pollution vessels. Did this perhaps have something to do with the tremendous oil spill off the coast of South West Africa?
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central asked me to explain why there was this saving of R46 million. It is actually not a saving. We received R300 million from the Minister of Finance. It was agreed that R100 million would be channelled through the SA Transport Services for transport services. Subsequently we decided not to go about it in that way, but to try to get a loan in the open market. The subsidy was then transferred to SATS. This amount of R46 million was therefore not a saving, but should be seen as a transfer. I wish it was a saving.
The hon member also asked me why we did not make more profit with the increased number of passengers carried. If you lose on the cost of a bus ticket, it means that the more passengers you carry the more money you lose. If you lose 20% or 30% on a passenger and you are transporting 1 000 passengers and then all of a sudden you have to transport 1 200 people, your total loss increases. It is just like farming. The bigger your farm, the more you lose when there is a drought.
*If one suffers a loss on the conveyance of one passenger, it is only logical that the more passengers one conveys, the bigger one’s loss.
Provided all the trains are full.
Yes. As far as Black, Coloured and Indian transport services are concerned, the appropriation for the year amounts to R98 million. An additional appropriation is required to compensate bus operators by means of subsidies for losses suffered as a result of cost escalations and passenger growth which cannot be recovered by means of increased tariffs.
†The hon member referred to the lower fuel price, but he forgets that during the same time the price of tyres went up. Maintenance costs also increased. There is no control over the price of tyres.
You should have budgeted for that.
We could not budget for an increase of 20% in the number of passengers carried.
*The appropriated funds of R98 million were utilized to subsidize the difference between the economic tariff and the tariff paid by the Black, Coloured and Indian commuter. Passenger growth is estimated at 20% and that does not include the increase in the subsidy which necessarily occurs when passenger tariffs are increased because the full increase in tariffs cannot be passed on to the passenger without problems and opposition.
†Does the hon member suggest that if the daily transport subsidy of a Black passenger amounts to 40% of the total transport costs that we should take away the subsidy and that he should pay the full transportation costs? Or should we subsidize his transportation costs?
I think you should examine the difference between direct and variable costs.
This is a direct subsidy. Does the hon member propose that we should take away the subsidy?
No. I suggest that you budget correctly.
You cannot budget correctly if you do not know how many passengers you are going to carry. Is the hon member prepared to predict how many passengers we are going to carry next year?
Do you not want more passengers?
I am not against that, but the fact of the matter is that the more passengers we carry, the bigger our losses are. The hon member does not want us to take away the subsidies, but there is always the question of subsidies when you are transporting commuters.
*The hon member inquired about the ship, the SA Agulhas. During April 1983 an extra voyage had to be undertaken to Gough Island to replace two burnt out alternators. On arrival at the island it came to light that an expedition member had contracted acute appendicitis and he had to be taken back to Cape Town urgently. That voyage took 14 days. During July 1983 an emergency voyage was undertaken to Marion Island to evacuate a seriously injured expedition member and bring him back to Cape Town. That voyage took eight days. Both voyages, which took altogether 22 shipping days, were unforeseen and additional provision is requested for them. One cannot foresee that a person is going to contract appendicitis. It just happens, and we have to look after our staff. That is the reason for the additional cost.
Mr Chairman, I also want to refer to this subsidy for overland bus transport. It is very clear to me that the official Opposition does not know what this is all about. The hon Minister is absolutely correct when he says that the more passengers there are, the heavier the burden on the funds for subsidies. It is obvious that the PFP do not understand this at all.
This is the danger of subsidies, because the way this system works is that the bus operators receive a subsidy for every bus passenger carried. If they carry more passengers, they should be making more profits, but they are in fact getting a bigger subsidy from the State. That is the danger of subsidies as far as I am concerned.
I want to ask the hon the Minister firstly if the fares have been increased in the past year on the bus services and, secondly, if this increase in the subsidy, which the State is paying, had to be paid after the tremendous increase in the levies which were levied on employers last year in certain industrial areas. Those funds were to go into the total fund to subsidize bus transport. The way I see it is that because of an increase in the levy last year, a considerable amount of money must have come from employers and must have gone into this fund. If there was an increase in passengers, has the increased subsidy been paid equally by both the employers’ contributions to the Fund as well as the State’s? This increase in State spending is of the order of 46% which is considerable, and this is a matter of great concern to us, especially when it comes to the amount these subsidies will eventually reach.
The other point to which I want to refer is in regard to savings. Once again the hon member for Port Elizabeth North does not understand the matter of the grant or the subsidy of R100 million towards this service. This is not a saving. It is just that the hon the Minister of Finance decided to withdraw R46 556 294. There is an “a” next to this amount, which indicates that further savings are expected. In the explanatory memorandum the Minister says that payment of the total original appropriation of R100 million was suspended. Does that mean that the saving to which the hon the Minister referred will be of the order of R46 million? Is he going to withdraw the entire R100 million?
Mr Chairman, the R100 million was in the past paid through the Department of Transport. We decided, at the request of the hon the Minister of Finance, to rather pay it directly to SATS. It was not a reduction in subsidy, but a book entry.
The hon member asked me about the subsidy which is paid by the employer at the moment, the levy. It amounts to approximately R33 million. The total subsidy on bus transport alone was R120 million. The hon member for Amanzimtoti has an “open head”, ’n oop kop in boeretaal, because he understands these things. [Interjections.] He should give a lecture to the PFP as they cannot understand the reason why the increase…
It would be a waste of time.
Yes, maybe. They are not that stupid, however.
That hon member is perfectly correct. If we take the total number of commuters that we transport annually, the loss on one commuter is made good by increasing the price of the ticket. However, the total cost was so high that we could not take the whole amount from the commuter. We had to increase the subsidy. The bus companies do not receive the subsidy. It is a subsidy on the passenger. People think we subsidize bus companies, but actually we subsidize the commuters.
Whom do you give the money to?
We give it to the bus companies, but we take into consideration whether they increased the price of tickets, we look at the accounts of the company and investigate the whole matter. We usually find that they show a loss. One can at the moment buy City Tramways for a song. They will be only too glad to sell. Nobody is prepared to transport passengers at the moment. The city council of Cape Town is not prepared to take over City Tramways because there is no money in the game.
That is because you have apartheid on buses. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister says that there is no money in the game. I should be pleased if he could give us an explanation—in respect of programme 3.2—of the amount of more than R500 000 paid to Associated Bus Holdings for the loss they incurred as a result of the introduction of the train service between Mitchell’s Plain and Nyanga. Is the company concerned a subsidiary of another company? If so, who is the parent company? Secondly, how was this amount calculated? I assume that this amount has no bearing on taking over any of the capital assets of the company, ie the buses, but was in fact calculated on the profits the bus company would have made when the railway line was not yet in existence. My third question in this regard is whether it is customary for such an ex gratia payment to be made when a private enterprise is eliminated in this way. Fourthly, how was this ex gratia payment calculated?
Mr Chairman, the questions the hon member put to me were very reasonable. During June 1980 a train service was put into operation between the Mitchell’s Plain residential area and Nyanga station. Up until that stage the conveyance of passengers along that route was dealt with by Mitchell’s Plain Bus Service, a subsidiary of Associated Bus Holdings. As a result of the introduction of the train service the bus service incurred losses estimated at R2,6 million. The National Transport Commission appointed the firm of accountants Theron Van der Poel to investigate the affairs of the bus service, and that firm calculated the loss to be R1,1 million. Since there was no statutory power in terms of which the department could compensate the bus service for such losses, the Transport Commission decided to recommend to the Treasury that the amount as determined by the accountants be paid on an ex gratia basis by the Government. The Treasury agreed that 50% of the amount, viz R557 000 be included in the Additional Appropriation.
The introduction of the train service on 30 June 1980 meant that the bus company had to withdraw 31 buses from service that day. We have had similar cases in the past. Because we had introduced a train service, that company incurred great losses and it had to withdraw 31 buses from service, buses it could do nothing with. We compensated them not to the amount they asked for, but with the amount the firm of auditors determined. Of that amount we paid the firm an ex gratia compensation of 50%.
Mr Chairman, with regard to programme 7, “Supporting and associated services”, according to the memorandum additional provision is being made to meet the obligations to our departmental ship. Yesterday I noticed that the SA Agulhas was in the harbour. It would be interesting to hear from the hon the Minister what obligations the department still has to the ship builders. Could the hon the Minister perhaps give us a little more information about this?
Mr Chairman, the increase is due to the weakening in the exchange rate of the rand against the yen since this draft budget was drawn up. Twelve of the initial 14 instalments on the cost of building the ship have already been paid, and the total provision is estimated at R220 000 for the final two, which fall due on 31 July 1984 and 31 January 1985. This is requisitioned in the 1984-85 Budget. I am pleased that the hon member asked that question.
Mr Chairman, I am not quite satisfied with the details given by the hon the Minister in reply to the question put by the hon member Prof Olivier. I should like to know exactly who Associated Bus Holdings are. The hon the Minister said that an affiliated company is now being paid a certain amount of money. Who are Associated Bus Holdings? What company is it? Who are the directors? Is it a public company, is it City Tramways, is it a private company or to whom exactly do we pay out money? Which individual has received the money?
The second point is the question of losses suffered. Does the estimate or value of losses suffered only refer to losses suffered after the Nyanga line was opened and in no way relate to losses suffered before?
There is also a third point. Surely, those of us who have been involved with Mitchell’s Plain’s development have known all along that there was a planned railway line. In fact, years ahead—at the time when Mr Lourens Muller was the responsible Minister—planning was taking place for the opening of the railway line. It is not an unexpected situation. One sees that there was a bus company which, when the railway line was not operating was making some money out of a feeder service, knowing that there was going to be a railway line, knowing that there were already estimates and dates given for the opening of the railway line and knowing that and seeing that it was a business risk. If one takes into account the profit which they made before the line was opened, I just cannot see how the State can pay over R5 million to a bus company who, with its eyes open, provided a feeder service, made good money when the railway line was not there, knew that the railway line was going to be opened but when it opened claimed that there was a loss and that money should be paid to them. Can the hon the Minister tell us exactly what the principle is which led to the payment of this money by the State?
Mr Chairman, I do not know who the directors of Associated Bus Holdings are. I will find out who they are and supply the hon member with all the details. This is something which I inherited.
But you made the law last year.
These negotiations have been in progress for some time now. I have just received more information about the ownership of Associated Bus Holdings from my officials. City Tramways owns 50% of the company and 50% belongs to shareholders. However, I shall give the hon member more details later.
It is 50% owned by City Tramways?
Yes, City Tramways own 50%. I did not realize that. City Tramways is a public company.
*Here we are dealing with a railway line. We are constantly being told that we must plan ahead. In the planning of the railway line between Belle Ombre and Mabopane we anticipated that the train would be used daily by 60 000 Black people. The service has now been in operation for six or seven months and only 32 000 passengers are being conveyed daily. In the meantime, however, Putco still has to provide a bus service until such time as the Black commuter has learnt to travel by train or until all the problems have been eliminated.
I am referring to Coloured commuters in Mitchell’s Plain.
Very well. The train service between Mitchell’s Plain and Cape Town is so popular that it conveys approximately 200 000 passengers daily. This company found that its passengers were suddenly making use of the train service. It was unable to use its buses elsewhere. Where should it have gone? One has not created more passengers, but more transport facilities. If the hon member for Sea Point had been a shareholder in such a company, and a proper businessman, would he not also have reasoned that if he had withdrawn 31 buses for which he wanted R2 million and the Department of Transport investigated the matter and offers him R1,1 million and made a final offer of R500 000, he should accept it? The Department of Transport made this offer for humanitarian reasons. Is the hon member satisfied that we helped those people?
Those people all live in Sea Point. I shall give the hon member all the information on who the shareholders or owners of the company are later. However, this action of ours is not creating a precedent. This has already happened in the past. In cases where we opened new railway lines in the past for the conveyance of passengers we acted in a humanitarian way towards the companies who suddenly found themselves with buses—such as the 31 buses in this case—with which they could do nothing.
Mr Chairman, I should also like to speak on this particular matter of the ex gratia payment to Associated Bus Holdings. I sincerely hope the hon the Minister will look into this matter. If I remember correctly—I see the hon Chief Whip of the NP is present—when we served together on the Road Transportation Commission one thing that we insisted be written into the Act was that when it came to these sort of situations where there was private bus transportation provided in an interim period while a railway fink was being built, that a committee would be set up to ensure a correct phasing out of the road transport so that these very losses would not occur. I should like to ask the hon the Minister to check the relevant Act and to see whether this was correctly applied in this particular case, and whether there was a correct phasing out of the bus company.
You agreed with the Bill last year.
Sir, that hon member does not know what he is talking about. I am talking about the Road Transportation Act of 1976, and that was before that hon member came to this House. [Interjections.]
Order! I have called the hon member for Greytown to order but he carries on with his interjections all the same. The hon member must apologize.
Mr Chairman, I apologize.
The hon member for Amanzimtoti may proceed.
Mr Chairman, I ask the hon the Minister to check whether this Act was correctly applied. I was under the impression that a committee was to be set up to liaise between SATS providing the rail transport and the phasing out of the bus company, so that this type of loss would not occur.
Mr Chairman, I am very glad that the hon member for Tygervallei drew my attention to the fact that there was a committee of inquiry on which the PFP also served. Mr Rupert Lorimer was the committee member who recommended that when a train service for passengers was introduced and a bus company suffered a loss, the National Transport Commission should have the right to investigate the matter and compensate the company in question. This is therefore a decision which was taken earlier with the concurrence of the Opposition parties. The hon member for Amanzimtoti asked whether arrangements were made and whether planning was undertaken between the SATS and the relevant bus companies. I shall furnish him with all the particulars on this matter during the discussion of my Vote.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister whether this R357 000 in the Additional Appropriation is the only sum that is being paid to the company in this regard, or whether it is the intention to pay the rest of the recommended amount out of say next year’s budget or something of that nature?
Mr Chairman, as far as I know that is the only amount to be paid out.
Mr Chairman, according to the memorandum there is a decrease of R20 000 in programme 5, “Government motor transport”. It states that this decrease was effected deliberately in favour of another service. I should like to know what the other service is to which reference is made, and which demands such high priority.
Mr Chairman, I am grateful that the hon member asked such a reasonable question. The decrease to which he referred was effected deliberately to make funds available to purchase X-ray equipment for security purposes in the Forum Building in Pretoria, where the department is situated. This is a service which demands very high priority, and the decrease of R20 000 in respect of the appropriation for Government motor transport has not caused any disruption. After all, it is only the price of one luxury motor car!
Hon members must stop asking questions now, however. They must bear in mind that I am in charge of this business, and apart from that, I am also a colonel. Therefore I cannot go on working the whole afternoon.
Mr Chairman, I wish to refer to programme 2—Civil Aviation, in respect of which there is an increased expenditure of R528 000 over the R49 million originally budgeted for. However that amount is negated by a similar amount which had been drawn from Vote 25. Although it is stated in the memorandum that in regard to Civil Aviation there is no change, there is in fact an increase of R528 000, but because this amount is compensated for in Vote 25 an explanation is actually given.
I imagine that if I am correct it comes from the additional amount in respect of the Commission for Administration, to which the hon member for Walmer also referred. The reason why I am mentioning this too is because I should like to know whether this amount also includes money that can be used in an emergency situation, for instance where an aircraft becomes incapacitated and the passengers aboard have to be accommodated at some hotel. The reason why I raise this is because Thursday last week the aircraft on flight 204 from New York to Johannesburg developed technical problems with the result that it had to touch down at the densely populated place known as Ilha do Sal for a period of 21 hours, during which period the passengers had to be booked into an hotel where meals also had to be served to them. Among the passengers was a certain cantor, steeped in his own religion and bound by the dietary laws of his own orthodoxy. As a result of this he could not eat the food that was served. What happened then was that the flight stewart—and I think I should mention his name; someone by the name of Danny Fouché—assisted by another member of the flight staff, a Mr W E Hoppe, actually went out to catch fish with scales in order to feed the cantor. They supplied him with enough fish for two meals, as well as some fresh eggs and salads. I do believe that in this particular case these two people should be commended. That is why I wonder whether enough funds are available to cover unforeseen circumstances such as those I have just referred to.
Mr Chairman, there is a gross increase of R528 000 which resulted from the introduction of occupational differentiation with regard to various occupational groups. However, the entire amount will be recovered from Vote No 25. No further appropriation is therefore being requisitioned.
Regarding the matter to which the hon member for Hillbrow has just referred, I just want to point out to him that it does not belong under Transport, but under Airways. In turn, Airways falls under the SA Transport Services. That is not the Vote we are discussing here now.
However, I want to thank the hon member for Hillbrow for referring to this. This was a case in which a rabbi was a passenger on a flight; a conservative man, who only eats kosher food. The flight was delayed for 21 hours. That rabbi’s religious conviction prevented him from taking ordinary food. Members of staff of the Airways went and caught some fish and saw to it that there was food for that man. This is the kind of co-operation we can pride ourselves on. The hon member for Hillbrow thanked us for this. In this way, the matter will also be recorded in Hansard. I therefore thank the hon member for Hillbrow most sincerely. It was a fine gesture on his part.
Mr Chairman, there are only two short questions I should like to put to the hon the Minister. After the unintelligent questions I have asked thus far, I am now going to ask two intelligent questions. [Interjections.]
Regarding the increased expenditure in respect of State Attorneys, I wonder whether the hon the Minister could tell us what this increased expenditure is due to. Secondly, I refer to the increased expenditure in respect of stores and bigger work teams for Marion Island. Could the hon Minister please inform us as to why this was necessary?
Mr Chairman, expenditure in respect of services rendered by the State Attorneys is now estimated at R116 000, as against the amount of R15 000 which has already been voted. In drawing up the draft budget for 1984 it was not clear what the extent would be of the legal work the State Attorney undertakes on behalf of the department. There was more of this legal work due to various cases that were referred to the National Transport Commission.
During the relief voyage to Marion Island in April 1983, a new laboratory and warehouse were erected, whilst a new base was also erected on Gough Island. The Department of Community Development was therefore compelled to send bigger work teams than was originally planned to complete the work, with the result that there was a considerable increase in the cost of food and clothing supplies for Marion Island. The additional amount needed for this purpose is R53 000. I thank the hon member for Roodeplaat for asking these questions.
Mr Chairman, I hope the hon member will not ask me any more questions, since I have no more paper left; I have no more answers for him.
Mr Chairman, I should just like to know from the hon the Minister—seeing that he wants to extend the team going to Marion Island—whether he would consider sending those people the hon the Minister of Defence is not sending to that hot place up there, to cold Marion Island? [Interjections.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote 9—“Constitutional Development and Planning”:
Mr Chairman, I should like to ask the hon the Minister for a little more information with regard to the increase of R72 552 000 in provincial subsidies. Under 2.1 in the explanatory memorandum it is stated that the increase is due to certain ad hoc grants to the provinces, as well as to a deferred payment which can be attributed to normal growth.
I have only two questions in this regard. Firstly, what is the difference in contribution in respect of the above-mentioned amount between the ad hoc grants on the one hand, and normal growth on the other? As far as my second question is concerned, I find it a little unusual to draw up additional estimates in respect of normal growth which is calculated according to a subsidy formula. One would have thought that because there is a formula one anticipates more or less normal growth in an initial estimate and that it would not be necessary for an additional estimate. I am simply asking for more information in this regard.
Mr Chairman, I just want to remind the hon the Leader of the Opposition that up to and including this year the provision for provincial subsidies appeared under the Vote of the Minister of Finance. For the purposes of the budget the vehicle through which provision is being made in this particular regard is my own department, although until now Finance has still been doing the negotiating with the provinces in respect of these particular items.
As far as the original approved amount for the provinces is concerned, firstly, in respect of a deferred payment that has to be made which was also calculated as a result of cost increases, for there is a built-in element for this, that amount was approximately R130 million. As a result of financial problems, however, that amount was cut back by the Treasury to an amount of R72 million, of which R64 million represented the new basic amount. The other amounts were, inter alia, an additional amount of R3,8 million in respect of the flood disaster at Laingsburg, provision for an estimated amount of R4,057 million in respect of the damage incurred in the provinces concerned as a result of the cyclone Domoina, and an amount of R0,695 million in respect of the North Western Transvaal border areas.
Mr Chairman, I just want to ask the hon the Minister whether there was an increase in the number of staff in his department and, if so, what item it appears under?
Mr Chairman, that question has a bearing on administration, in respect of which I have already given an explanation.
Mr Chairman, in item 2.3 of the explanatory memorandum reference is made to an increase of R145 000 in respect of other expenditure. In this regard reference is made, amongst other things, to the preparation of the 1985 population census, research expenditure, et cetera. I should like to know from the hon the Minister what research expenditure is being referred to here and what the amount is under “et cetera”.
Mr Chairman, the hon member will notice that it is explained in the explanatory memorandum that of the total additional estimate of R73 million, which represents 1,94% of the total budget, only R145 000 has a bearing on the department itself, whilst the remainder applies to the provinces. This amount of R145 000 consists of a long list of items which would probably take an hour to read. I think the hon member would prefer it if I gave him the information he requires in writing.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 10—“Foreign Affairs and Information”:
Mr Chairman, most of the increases relate to increased expenditure in connection with development or relief or assistance in the TBVC countries. The key item is the figure of R57 million odd which is the initial amount for the Development Bank for Southern Africa. I am not going to ask further questions on that—it is in its infancy—save to say that we think that the concept of giving development aid via a bank rather than just via Governments is a very sound one, and we are looking forward to getting reports annually on the work of that bank and for discussion under the Vote of the hon the Minister. We shall therefore not ask further questions on that.
The R9,5 million for the stimulation of industries; the R1,7 million for the action programme: job creation; and the R23,458 million for relief of distress in foreign countries are items to which I want to refer. The one point I want to make to the hon the Minister is that when one reads those three items together with the item dealing with secondment of officials, it leads one to be concerned as to whether there are appropriate officials in the recipient countries to see that these funds are properly administered. The hon the Minister says in his explanatory memorandum that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit suitable candidates. There is a reduction in expenditure on seconded personnel. We should like to have an assurance from the hon the Minister that in asking us to vote these extra sums of money, he is satisfied that there is adequate trained and qualified personnel in the countries receiving this money to see that our money is properly administered and properly controlled. This is the first point I want to make.
I now come to the second. The hon the Minister must either give us more detail or satisfy us that this money is being directed to the right quarters, that this money is for approved projects, because the South African Government must have some hand in the approvement of the projects. The hon the Minister cannot ask us to hand over large amounts of the taxpayers’ money and then say that we are going to stand back, we are accepting no more responsibility. We want to know whether the hon the Minister can give us the assurance that this additional money is going to be used for specific purposes and that the South African Government is aware of those purposes and approves of those purposes otherwise he is asking for a blank cheque.
In the third instance the hon the Minister must assure us that the kind of contracts that are entered into with our South African money are the kind of contracts that he would approve of. We cannot hand it over, even for a worthy project, if there is a scruffy contract, if somebody has his fingers in the till, if somebody is himself gaining at the expense of the South African taxpayer. Can the hon the Minister give us the assurance that in respect of these sums of money they are for the right projects, that there are contracts which he would approve and that there is adequate personnel so that the money provided by the South African Government is going to be in good hands? That is the first general question.
I now come to the second one Could the hon the Minister give us more information on the R9,5 million for the stimulation of industries? How much of the R9,5 million is being given to each state of the TVBC countries? Can the hon the Minister either now or afterwards give us a schedule of the industries that are going to mop up the R9,5 million? Can he give us the names of the schedule of the industries? Can he satisfy us that before any money is used to stimulate an industry somebody over whom he has some control would decide on the need, on the desirability, on the efficiency and on the viability of the project? Will he be in a position to see that the conditions which he can impose are fulfilled? We want more information: What countries got this money, what industries got this money and is he satisfied that in each case a need, a desirability and a viability study was done before these industries received the money?
The next point concerns special employment action programmes for which R1,7 million is required. We feel that these have been linked with the eviction or expulsion of Blacks from the Western Cape. During the last year there were protests from Ciskei and Transkei that in fact this was the quid pro quo, that they had to accept these people expelled from the Western Cape and in turn the South African Government was going to stimulate some employment within those areas. Can we know from the hon the Minister whether the special project is in any way linked with the expulsion of Blacks from the Western Cape, or is it in fact to create additional jobs in the Ciskei and Transkei for people who are already living there? If it is merely to aid the Government with the expulsion of Blacks from the Western Cape, it is unacceptable, but if it is to create extra employment opportunities for people living in those territories it is entirely acceptable.
Finally, in respect of distress relief aid amounting to R23 million, can the hon the Minister tell us which foreign countries received what aid and for what specific purpose?
Mr Chairman, the hon member asked a whole lot of questions, and I shall begin with the first matter he raised.
He wants an assurance concerning the staff and the control which the staff exercises over the budgets and the expenditure of money in the homelands and the independent states. In this regard the position is as stated in the memorandum, namely that we are experiencing problems in finding sufficient staff. However, I want to make it clear that the situation is not such that in the opinion of the South African Government there is any danger of inadequate control being exercised over the money voted by the South Africa Parliament for these areas. As regards projects approved for implementation in the homelands or independent states, there is a specific committee which thoroughly investigates the desirability, including the financial desirability, of such projects. Eventually such a project is approved by the Minister of Foreign Affairs or a person seconded by him.
I therefore want to answer positively by saying, in the first place, that as far as staff is concerned we are convinced that, although there are problems, there is sufficient staff to ensure that the work is done properly. I also want to answer positively by saying that as far as the projects are concerned, desirability studies are carried out, and we are satisfied that in all cases the projects are desirable, both economically and otherwise. I also want to answer positively by saying that the expenditure of money on projects in the homelands and independent states is controlled by project teams of the Department of Foreign Affairs, frequently in co-operation with other departments.
The hon member was concerned about other people succeeding in getting “their fingers in the till”. It is true of course that there is certain expenditure in the homelands and independent states over which the South African Government cannot exercise direct control. However, through the officials of the department seconded to those areas, there is the closest co-operation in this regard and the greatest possible care is taken to ensure that what the hon member was afraid of does not materialize. I feel that the fear which the hon member expressed, is a fear which a Government should also have at all times. I want to give the hon member the assurance that as far as the Department of Foreign Affairs is concerned, specific attention has again been given in recent months to the expenditure of large sums of money in the homelands to ensure that this money was being used for the purpose for which it was voted. I can also give the hon member the assurance that special arrangements have been made to ensure that what he was afraid of will not materialize in practice.
The hon member also asked a question in connection with the stimulation of industries, for which there was an increase of R9,5 million. In this connection I should like to tell him that the purpose of the appropriation was to pay subsidies to industries prepared to establish themselves in the TBVC countries. In a general context this is in accordance with the decentralization policy of the Government. Owing to problems which cropped up in the relevant countries, demands in this connection began piling up, and large sums of money now have to be paid out, which means that the appropriation is now inadequate and additional funds have to be provided in this regard.
I want to explain to the hon member that the procedure adopted in this regard is that an application is made by a prospective industrialist to the development corporation of the country concerned. The desirability and feasibility of the project is then thoroughly investigated by various project teams. If the project is approved by them as well as by the Decentralization Board, it qualifies for certain financial assistance. What happens then is that the development corporations offer assistance and that the Government of the Republic is then debited by way of a subsidy with 50% of that amount.
The hon member also asked a fair question, namely what projects and what type of projects received support and financial assistance from the Government in this connection. I am not in a position to give him all those particulars at this stage, but if he is interested in that information he is welcome to contact me in this connection and I shall then obtain the necessary information for him.
The hon member also asked a question about the drought assistance that was rendered. In this connection there was an increase of R23 458 000 in the assistance rendered. This increase may be ascribed to the oppressive drought. He also asked in which countries this assistance was being utilized. It is being utilized in the TBVC countries.
Mr Chairman, may I just draw attention to the fact that we only received the explanatory memorandum during the course of the afternoon. In the original estimates this amount was only referred to as relief of distress in foreign countries. However, it now appears that it was for the TBVC countries. The hon member for Sea Point asked the hon the Deputy Minister how much had been allocated to the respective countries. In conjunction with this I want to ask whether that assistance for relief of distress was in the form of donations or loans. If they were loans, I should like to know how they are to be repaid and what the interest rate on those loans is.
Mr Chairman, in the first place I want to tell the hon member that I apologize for the late distribution of the explanatory memorandum, but this was not the fault of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The problem arose here in Parliament itself.
The hon member asked for details regarding the drought assistance rendered. I cannot give him the precise particulars for every country at this stage. However, I shall furnish him with a written reply in this connection.
Mr Chairman, the hon the Deputy Minister still owes me and this House a further reply. I am referring here to the special employment programme. This is outside the scope of the new bank and also outside the scope of relief of distress and the stimulation of industries. This is a special amount for which no original appropriation was made. Can the hon the Deputy Minister give us an explanation in this connection over and above the brief explanation on page 6 of his memorandum?
Mr Chairman, in the first place I have to tell the hon member that the special employment creation programme for those Black people who came from the Western Cape was not included in this and never actually got off the ground. A moment ago the hon member referred to employment which was being created for people who were being “driven out”. When one creates employment and opportunities for people, I do not think it is necessary to refer to the “driving out” of people in order to provide them with employment. I think the hon member put that in a rather ugly way.
Owing to the increase in unemployment the Directorate of Economic Planning of the Department of Constitutional Development and Planning investigated the matter and published a progress report in order to inform the Cabinet about measures to relieve the problem in the short term and gain approval for the implementation of certain measures in this connection. The envisaged programme made provision for the creation of approximately 42 000 employment opportunities by the end of the 1983-84 financial year at a cost of approximately R9 million. As a result of an agreement the Department of Foreign Affairs is required to make available a sum of R1,7 million of that amount during the 1983-84 financial year. That is where this amount comes from.
Mr Chairman, can the hon the Deputy Minister tell us whether the amount of R57,1 million in connection with the Development Bank is capital invested in that bank, or is it a loan or a donation? If it is a loan, what is the relevant interest rate? In the second place, I want to ask him to which countries the Economic Promotion Loan Fund applies.
As far as the amount payable to the Development Bank for Southern Africa is concerned, I can tell the hon member that this cannot be capital. The hon member is aware that the capital of the bank is already fixed. It is therefore not capital. It comprises funds made available to the Development Bank by the Government by way of a loan in order to enable the Development Bank to carry out the functions and projects which it took over from the Department of Foreign Affairs. In this connection we should just mention that the Department of Foreign Affairs transferred various projects which had already been approved and for which the Department of Foreign Affairs had already budgeted, to the Development Bank. Of course the necessary financial obligations relating to these projects had to be transferred as well. The hon member for Sunnyside asked me about the precise terms of this loan agreement. Unfortunately I do not have the precise terms immediately available, but if he is really interested in this, I shall see to it that he gets them.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 11—“Internal Affairs”:
Mr Chairman, in paragraph 4.1 of the explanatory memorandum mention is made of the expenditure incurred in respect of the referendum. I should like to know from the hon the Minister what portion of the additional amount was specifically spent on the referendum.
Could the hon member just tell me under what programme that falls?
The referendum expenditure covers several important items. As far as staff expenditure is concerned, there was an amount of R120 000 spent on overtime. Then there was administrative expenditure to the tune of R80 000 in regard to motor transport, rail transport, air transport, telegrams, telephones and telexes. Then there was expenditure amounting to R572 000 on printed matter, stationery, rubber stamps and voting compartments, with printed matter being the largest item. Then there was also the leasing of buildings on which R50 000 was spent. The very biggest item involved the allowances to officials, particularly on polling day, an amount which totalled R1 979 000. There was also a smaller item of R2 000 for possible claims for damaged referendum material. This gives an identifiable total, for the referendum, of R2 803 000.
Mr Chairman, I should like to put a question to the hon the Minister in regard to programme 6, Coloured education, and programme 10, Indian education. In regard to Coloured education there was an increase of R8,7 million, which is ascribed to personnel expenditure being higher than expected. In regard to Indian education there was a decrease of R5,5 million, which is ascribed to personnel expenditure being less than expected. Could the hon the Minister give us further details about this?
Mr Chairman, the item under Coloured education relating to salaries can basically be ascribed to an underestimate. Approximately 35 000 teaching and nonteaching staff members are involved, and it was difficult to calculate the actual implications involved in salary adjustments and other improved conditions of service for these employees. It only became clear, in the course of the financial year, that the amount for salaries had been underestimated. The full additional amount needed here is, in effect, R12 709 400. This includes R1 273 500 relating to an increase in the State’s contributions to the Prosana medical aid scheme for Coloured teachers and officials, an increase of which we had no knowledge when the 1983-84 estimates were drawn up. Under this item relating to the increase in regard to Coloured education there were also transport costs which were increased. This includes State vehicle tariffs, air transport tariffs and other public transport tariffs. This gave rise to an additional R1 096 900. Pupil transportation schemes contributed to an increase of R2 961 000. There were also a number of additional smaller items.
Over and against this there was, in regard to Coloured education, a saving of R9 397 900, of which R5 419 800 can be ascribed to the fact that programmed new schools, additions to existing schools and hostels were not completed during the financial year, with a resultant saving on expenditure on furniture, equipment and supplies. Subsidies and loans to private organizations totalling R2 088 000 which were, for various reasons, not paid out, also contributed to this saving, as well as R657 000 in board and lodging allowances to pupils because fewer applications than expected were received. There was also a saving of R213 000 on lower current expenditure at teachers’ training colleges, and there was a saving of R335 000 on the leasing of additional accommodation for technical colleges, because such rented accommodation could not be obtained and the extension of courses necessarily had to be curtailed. That is the overall picture as far as Coloured education is concerned. It was therefore primarily a question of underestimating the salary aspect.
As far as Indian education is concerned, there was unfortunately a mistake that crept in, resulting in an overestimate in regard to salaries. Here the position is that there was an overestimate of R9 749 000. Over and against that amount there was a miscalculated shortfall of R4 199 000, and if information about that is required, I shall supply it. The fact is that there was overspending, because in the central computer controlling the financial management system, too high salary notches were linked to certain grades, and this had a cumulative effect that gave rise to the overestimates. This matter has been corrected, however, and consequently the books now balance as far as this is concerned.
Mr Chairman, arising out of the reply the hon the Minister gave in connection with Coloured education, I am a bit concerned about the underexpenditure of R9 million—according to the hon the Minister—on building programmes and the purchase of equipment for new schools. Could the hon the Minister give us some indication of what gave rise to this? Was it owing to contractors who were in default, or for what other reason was this amount not spent? I am specifically putting this question against the background of the need that exists for accommodation and so on.
Mr Chairman, I share the hon member’s disappointment. We ourselves do not regard this amount as a positive saving. We are sorry that schools could not be completed in time because we are aware of the need that exists in this connection. The building of schools does not, however, fall within the Department of Internal Affairs’ Estimates, and I am therefore not in a position to furnish specific information about what happened at any particular school. Because it also upset me, however, I did make enquiries, and the general information furnished in this connection was that it was frequently the result of local conditions, for example conditions relating to a specific building contract or building site. There are actually many reasons that could apply in any given instance. I therefore suggest that the hon member request further particulars about this under the hon the Minister of Community Development’s Vote. We do, however, share the hon member’s concern. The savings under my Vote are consequential savings in the sense that there were beds, tables and cupboards in hostels and desks for the children that were not needed.
Mr Chairman, I should like to refer the hon the Minister to programme 3, “Immigration”, on page 2 of the explanatory memorandum. Mention is made there of a saving of R1 751 000, and I should like to know whether the hon the Minister has any further information about that, and specifically whether there are any figures available in regard to the reduced immigration figures.
Mr Chairman, the fact is that with the levelling off in the economy the demand for skilled immigrant workers has, of necessity, decreased, and the expenditure originally estimated for that purpose was—also in the light of the lower volume of work—consequently less. In addition there were vacant posts in foreign missions that were not filled. In regard to direct expenditure on staff, and everything that entails, there was thus a saving of R450 000. In addition there was also a saving of R1 037 500 on financial assistance to recruited immigrants. When the Estimates were drawn up in 1983-84, we budgeted for an expected 43 000 immigrants. It now appears, however, that there will only be approximately 28 500 immigrants during this period. There was also a technical saving of R250 000 in that expenditure previously itemized under this programme has been transferred to another programme to improve and facilitate financial management. That is consequently a saving reflected in the books, but not an actual saving.
Mr Chairman, I refer once again to programme 2, and my question relates to the referendum. Firstly, were any funds whatsoever allocated in the original Estimates for the purposes of the referendum? Secondly, mention is made of the fact that one of the reasons for the additional expenditure was the issuing of identity documents to Coloureds and Indians. I would be inclined to assume that the issuing of such documents to Whites during the financial year concerned would certainly have given rise to greater over-expenditure than in the case of Coloureds and Indians. Could the hon the Minister give us an indication of the position in this connection? Secondly, can he also tell us whether an excessive or extraordinary large number of identity documents were issued to Coloureds and Indians during the relevant financial year? Was the demand for identity documents therefore much greater than in other years?
Mr Chairman, in regard to the first question about referendum expenditure, let me just say that as far as I know—I do not have the specific particulars here—at the time the main Appropriation was drawn up last year no decision had yet been taken in regard to the referendum. I therefore do not believe that anything specific had yet been budgeted for it at that stage. In regard to the hon member’s question about the identity documents, I do not have figures available in regard to the number of identity documents issued to Whites and the cost involved. Apart from the referendum, we have for some time been engaged in an intensive programme to speed up the issuing of identity documents. Although we took more trouble than usual, the expenditure in this connection did not increase markedly. Some of the expenditure is quite possibly the result of overtime. I do not have all the particulars here with me.
In regard to the Coloureds and Indians, however, we have already undertaken a special programme, particularly because there was a tremendous increase in the number of applications as a result of the publicity given to identity documents during the referendum. And we have also budgeted for the fact that the costs involved in this could even amount to R600 000 during this financial year. Here we are talking about approximately 500 after-hour workers we are utilizing in this programme. I can add, however, that we have had some definite success in increasing the rate at which identity documents are being issued. At the present stage, however, there is still a tremendous backlog. I shall be furnishing further particulars in this connection when, in due course, I introduce the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill here in the House. Then this aspect will be discussed much more specifically here.
Mr Chairman, under programme 8, “Welfare Promotion (Coloureds)”, an additional amount of R2,4 million is being requested. In the explanatory memorandum the hon the Minister explains that the shortage should be ascribed to an increase in the number of beneficiaries in respect of old age pensions, maintenance grants and foster-parent allowances; secondly, to increased social pensions and allowances payable with effect from 1 October of last year and, thirdly, to increased subsidies to private welfare organizations.
I want to ask the hon the Minister please to give us a bit more information about these points.
Mr Chairman, that is indeed the reason for the shortage. In effect the shortage was much greater. In regard to the Coloured welfare programme there was a shortage of R5,245 million. Savings of R2,819 million could, however, be written off against that. This consequently puts the shortage at R2,426 million.
The three main items responsible for this increase are “Care of the Aged”, “Child care” and “Welfare Services”, and I should like to furnish a few additional particulars, as the hon member has requested.
With regard to “Care of the Aged” an additional R957 000 had to be found. This could chiefly be ascribed to three items, ie firstly increased subsidies in regard to the salaries of nursing staff at old-age homes. As hon members know, the salaries of nursing staff were adjusted considerably. This, of course, resulted in an increase in the State subsidies on those salaries. Secondly, arrear subsidies paid to old-age homes which only submitted their audited statements, which are used as a basis for the calculation of per capita subsidies after the commencement of the 1983-84 financial year; and thirdly subsidies on special items at old-age homes which were not brought into the calculations when the 1983-84 estimates were initially drawn up. These items—hospital equipment and apparatus and intercom systems—were expensive items for which provision is not made in the subsidy formula.
With regard to old-age pensions provision had to be made for an additional amount of R1 million. There are, in particular, two reasons for this increase, the first being an average increase of 161 per month in the number of pensioners and the increase of R10 per month, from R83 to R93, for old-age pensioners, with effect from 1 October. It might be interesting for hon members of the Committee to know that in January 1984 there were more than 96 000 Coloureds receiving old-age pensions. The total shortfall in respect of the care of the aged therefore amounted to R1 957 000, but because an expected increase in the number of applications for war veterans’ pension did not materialize, a saving of R453 000 could be deducted from the total shortage, giving a net shortfall of R1 504 000.
Under the item “Child Care” an additional amount of R2 500 000 is being budgeted for to make provision for an increase in the number of maintenance grants received and for an increase in the grant to parents from R83 to R93 per month, as of 1 October, and for this increase an amount of R1 703 000 is needed. There was also an increase in foster-parent grants from R70,80 per month to R77,50 per month per child, with effect from 1 October. For this, too, an additional amount of R1 million was needed. The total deficit in regard to child care therefore amounted to R2 703 000. Since a saving of R203 000 in subsidies to children’s homes could be deducted from this shortfall, there is a net shortfall of R2 500 000.
In regard to the third item, “Welfare Services”, here we have expenditure and subsidies in regard to welfare workers attached to private welfare organizations. The subsidies are calculated on the salaries of welfare workers in the Public Service and when, with effect from 1 July 1983, that group in the Public Service was granted considerable salary increases as a result of profession-orientated investigations, expenditure on subsidies to welfare organizations also had to be increased, and for that an additional amount of R1 million is needed.
There were also savings. The biggest single saving was an amount of R2 507 000 on staff expenditure. In this connection there was also a slight overestimate in regard to salaries, vacant posts which were not filled and the salaries of staff at regional offices who are also involved in educational administration and who were therefore included under that account. There was also a further saving of R374 000 in regard to disability allowances after the current cases and the increase had been recalculated.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 12—“Commission for Administration”:
Mr Chairman, with reference to programme 1, there is an increase of R139 000 and the reason given is that a gratuity was paid as a result of the retirement of a member of the commission. I should like to know how large this gratuity was and why it was paid.
My second question deals with an essential overseas journey that was undertaken under the guidance of the chairman. I know that overseas journeys by the chairman of the commission are necessary but this seems to have been a particular journey and I should like the hon the Minister to tell us why this particular journey has been singled out from other journeys.
I should like to refer also to programme No 2—Functional Aid to the Commission for Administration—where there is an increase of R700 000 in the contribution to the Public Service Medical Association. That amount may not be large, but in 1982-83 it was R10,280 million. Last year it was increased to R16,6 million and now over and above the 60% increase which there was last time, an additional amount is asked for. I should like to draw the attention of the hon the Minister to the fact that it is not unusual for medical aid funds to be subsidized by employers in private enterprise, and that it is on a R1 for R1 basis. I see, however, that in the case of the State it is R2 for R1 which is quite a reasonable perk. I should like to know whether this perk will be subject to being taxed by the hon the Minister of Finance once his perk tax legislation is adopted by the House. If that is to be the case, this benefit will be entirely lost.
I am sorry to see that a saving of R139 000 is shown because suitable applicants for Public Service bursaries could not be found. It is a great pity indeed because it is in times of depression that one should try to fill up one’s universities with as many people as one can because in three or four years’ time when one is confronted with a boom, one will need those people who have gone to the universities during times of depression. I am sorry that the hon the Minister has not been able to do something about it. It would be far better in a case like this had he asked for an increase instead of showing as saving.
Mr Chairman, the hon member has asked several questions. In the first place, he asked a question about the amount of R108 600. This is the gratuity that has been paid to a member of the commission who is due to retire on 29 February. This may be a suitable occasion to refer in this House to Mr Rousseau’s many years of service to the State. Before becoming a member of the commission, he served as Director-General of the Department of Education and Training. Throughout his entire career, he has served the interests of South Africa and all its people with great distinction and dedication.
The gratuity is payable to him in terms of the normal scheme. It is the gratuity to which the hon gentleman is entitled in terms of the date of his commencement of service, his age at retirement and his salary at retirement. It is determined according to a sliding scale and it is related to an official’s salary, age and period of service.
†The hon member also referred to an overseas trip which was undertaken by the chairman of the Commission for Administration. The cost involved also covered the expenditure incurred in connection with two other persons. This trip was undertaken under the heading “Regulation of Public Administration” and not under the normal heading for overseas trips. This is why special mention is made of this particular trip. I may add that this trip was related to the new constitutional dispensation in as much as the Commission for Administration is charged with investigations and the performance of preliminary work for the Public Service in view of the application of the new dispensation.
*This investigation was in connection with a study of the way in which the Office of the State President should be organized, the administrative substructure which would be required in the Office of the State President as a result of the new constitutional dispensation. In this connection, a study was undertaken of what was being done abroad in other president’s offices where we do not have directly comparable systems, but where we have presidential government at an executive level of authority.
The hon member’s next question was in connection with medical costs. In this connection I am able to give him a considerable amount of information. Firstly, it is important to note that the membership of this fund has increased dramatically, the membership on 31 March 1982 was 43 686, while by 31 March 1983, it had increased to 46 795, an increase of 7,12%. As the hon member pointed out, R2 is contributed for every R1 in membership fees. The deficit of R700 000 on the appropriation is due to the fact that the membership of the association is greater than was originally budgeted for, as well as to a 5% increase in membership fees for the PSMAA, which was approved with effect from 1 April 1983 and was not foreseen when the draft estimates for 1983-84 were being prepared.
As far as the question of bursaries is concerned, I agree with the hon member that one would have preferred to see an increase in expenditure rather than a decrease in this connection.
†May I point out to the hon member that the disciplines in which we were not able to find a sufficient number of successful applicants are those disciplines where there are also shortages in the private sector.
*For the most part, the disciplines in which study bursaries have not been awarded are those of the pure natural sciences. As the hon member knows, the private sector is not getting enough of this type of student either, and we have a general shortage in this connection. Then there are certain specialized agricultural fields and certain engineering fields in which there is also a great shortage in all sectors. In addition, there are certain geological fields which are also highly specialized and in respect of which no candidates could be found. Generally speaking, however, in terms of the entire bursary programme, the decrease of R139 000 is still an achievement and we have come fairly close to budgeting accurately and attracting a sufficient number of applicants for further study.
Mr Chairman, it was very interesting to hear from the hon the Minister of the tour to investigate ways and means how the office of the State President in terms of the new dispensation can be structured. I think the hon the Minister should take this House more into his confidence about this particular office. I would like to know which countries were visited and what levels of the office of the State President they investigated. One would like to know how the new dispensation is going to operate in future and how the hon the Minister envisages it will operate.
The hon the Minister raised the shortage of suitable students for bursaries. While I appreciate that there is a shortage, I think it is one of the duties of the State to ensure that at provincial and other levels greater attention is paid to persuading pupils at school to study in the sciences to a much larger degree. Unless we make provision for that in the future, South Africa as a whole is going to suffer, whether it is going to be the private or the public sector. I think one of the problems we are going to have, is a shortage of these people unless we start doing something about it at school level. I think it is very necessary that provincial authorities do something about this.
Mr Chairman, in my opinion, the hon member’s question is to a large extent irrelevant to the actual expenditure which we are discussing here, and he should much rather have raised the matter during the discussion of my Vote. I really do not think this is the time to elaborate on the way in which the State President’s office will be organized administratively under the new dispensation. In fact, no decisions have been taken in this connection. Further studies are still being done. This overseas trip was a facet of those studies. The information is being processed and we are still investigating the organizational requirements, not only of the office of the State President, but also of the Public Service, under the new dispensation. I believe that by the time my Vote comes up for discussion, greater clarity will have been achieved in this connection, and that we shall then be able to conduct a constructive debate on the matter in so far as a constructive debate can be conducted in this House.
You are cynical and sensitive, are you not!
I do not think my attitudes have anything to do with the increases or decreases in the estimate of expenditure. I am not cynical about the role of the House of Assembly as an institution, but about certain parties that are represented in this House.
A further question was which countries had been visited by the officials. I do not have their exact itinerary with me. In this connection I want to say that access to countries for investigations of this nature, countries where our officials are well received, is greatly appreciated, and it would not be quite appropriate, perhaps, to give details of the entire itinerary in this House.
The hon member again referred to the question of study bursaries. I agree with him, but the shortage of people who wish to study in the natural sciences after leaving school is due to quite a number of educational factors. The number of students who really excel at mathematics is just too small. Educationists say that the problem arises even at school. The scarce professions—this is an important facet of the occupation-orientated dispensation within the Public Service—are at present being singled out for special attention in the Public Service, and in this connection the salary dispensation and remuneration packages have been improved to such an extent that the Public Service is able to offer a better dispensation in the fields in which there are shortages. We hope that this will have a positive effect in the medium term on the choices of subjects and occupations of school-leavers. If we have achieved this, we hope that it will not be necessary for us to report again that we have had too few applicants for bursaries.
Hon members must bear in mind the condition attached to a Public Service bursary, ie that upon completion of his studies, the student must work for the State for a number of years. Before we had improved the salaries of these persons, people simply were not interested in working for the State as an engineer or geologist, because larger salaries were being offered by the private sector. However, I believe that with the new salary package, the picture will improve.
Vote agreed to.
Mr Chairman, I want to refer the hon the Minister to program 2 where an amount of R16 800 000 is asked for over and above the amount originally voted.
The explanatory memorandum gives very little information, but I understand that this expenditure relates mainly to the filling of more posts than were foreseen at the time the main appropriation was approved of. In other words, far more vacancies were filled than were expected to be filled. Can the hon the Minister tell us if that is in fact the case? Does the major portion of this additional amount relate to that? I ask this question because in last year’s Additional Appropriation Bill an amount of R7,6 million was asked for a similar reason. The reason then was that about 1 100 additional people and recruits had joined the Force and that an additional amount was necessary for their training. But at that time this fell under program 3, “Training”. Last year’s additional expenses for increased manpower in the police was dealt with under program 3 whereas—so it seems to me—this year it is dealt with under program 2. Can the hon the Minister give us some information on this?
Mr Chairman, the hon member is quite correct. The increase in this case is due to the very facts which the hon member mentioned.
†As I explained last year, there was then a smaller number of new applicants, resulting in the final figure of R7,6 million. I do not have the correct figure with me, but that is the figure quoted by the hon member. The increase of R13 250 000 is directly the result of an increase in the personnel supplement of the Force. That is quite correct.
Mr Chairman, I just want to get clarity on the second aspect of my question. Whereas this year it appears that the hon the Minister is asking for the additional amount under programme 2, he did so for the same purpose last year under programme 3. This year it is under “Law and order” and last year it was under “Training”, where, it appears, it should have been this year as well.
Mr Chairman, I regret that I do not have the particulars available which would enable me to reply to the hon member on that technical aspect. All I have before me are the details of the increase. There will certainly be a good reason for that, but unfortunately I am unable to give it to the hon member. However, I shall let the hon member have a written reply concerning the technical reason why it has now been included under programme 2 and not under programme 3.
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister is obviously in the same difficult position we are in. The explanatory memorandum we have here must have taken the hon the Minister’s department exactly five minutes to prepare. It absolutely reproduces what we find in the Estimate of the Additional Expenditure. The comments added are to the effect that the increases are due to an escalation in costs. That is said three times. The other two reasons advanced are filling of vacancies and increased medical costs. It must have taken some clerk, with complete contempt of the House, exactly five minutes to prepare that document. It is utterly worthless and obviously the hon the Minister himself is not aware of what the true position is.
Mr Chairman, since the draft estimates for the 1983-84 financial year were prepared in October 1982, many staff vacancies have been filled, so the increase in staff expenditure can be attributed mainly to this factor. Furthermore, the provision made for leave gratuities also proved to have been inadequate, because more senior and other members than had been expected retired from the Force on pension. That is the first point. Secondly, the increase of approximately 18% in subsistence, camp session and related allowances, as well as the increase of approximately 27% in postal and telecommunication tariffs, resulted in an inadequate provision for administrative expenses as well in the estimates. Thirdly, the additional amount in respect of “miscellaneous expenses” is required under the subprogramme “Police Services”, in respect of which the estimate was too low. Claims against the State are financed against this standard item and depend entirely on the number of claims against the State that are finalized and paid out in a particular financial year. According to figures of expenditure available to the SA Police, an additional amount of R250 000 will be required to finance these services during the financial year. I hope I have now furnished the hon member with some more particulars.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 14—“Health and Welfare”:
Mr Chairman, I have a couple of questions to ask. I do not know whether it concerns the hon the Minister or the hon the Deputy Minister, but it relates to programme 8 and the contributions to pension funds. Let me say that in this respect there is a considerable increase of approximately R24,9 million. One is aware that the problem of the funding of pension funds is a world-wide problem and a problem which both the public and the private sectors are confronted with, particularly in a period of rampant inflation.
Let me come to the specific questions I should like to ask. Was the amount that was paid in to meet a shortfall in the pension fund, in other words, was it a contribution which had to be made so that the legal requirements of the fund could be met? Secondly, if this is in fact so, what is the actuarial position of this fund? Is it solvent? Thirdly, relating to that, are we likely to see such subsequent increases in the future? Obviously if the fund is growing and we take inflation into account and we base the pension that we are going to pay on final salary, then we are going to have to contribute an awful lot of money in years to come. I think it is better if we are prepared for that now instead of waiting for a later stage.
Mr Chairman, the fact of the matter is that the statutory contributions of all the departments to the pension fund are budgeted on the Department of Health and Welfare.
†It is not possible to budget for the correct account because there is a continuous fluctuation in the personnel strength. In the course of the year some may resign and new members may be appointed. Each month there can therefore be a discrepancy in what is actually budgeted for.
*In the course of the year, these people have also been singled out in the process of occupational differentiation. The result was that from one month to another, statutory amounts have had to be contributed by the Treasury to the Government Service Pension Fund as well as the Stabilization Account.
The hon member also wanted to know whether the fund was really solvent. I have requested the Department of Finance to undertake a valuation of the fund. The State Actuary is at present evaluating the fund, and for that reason I cannot give an accurate reply at this stage. I should prefer not to say anything about it, although I do not doubt for a moment that the fund is solvent. However, I shall only be able to give a full reply when we have received the report of the actuary.
As far as the third point is concerned, the position is the same. We shall be able to consider the matter when we have received the full report of the actuary.
Mr Chairman, I should also like to refer to Programme 8, the increase of R24,9 million in civil pensions and contributions. In particular I want to refer to subparagraphs (ii) and (iii) of the explanatory memorandum. Subparagraph (ii) refers to “Pensions to members of Parliament, Administrators and other beneficiaries” and “Increase due to unforeseen retirements”. Is that merely a standard heading? Perhaps the hon the Minister can tell us whether there have been unforeseen retirements—I am not aware of any—of members of Parliament or Administrators. Or does this relate to other beneficiaries?
The second point I want to raise is in connection with subparagraph (iii) which is headed: “Awards in respect of discharge or death as a result of injury on duty”. Two items are cited. The one is an air disaster and the other is the sinking of the President Kruger. With regard to awards in respect of discharge let me say the following: If I am correct, the first item refers to the air collision between two aeroplanes over Swartkops in the Pretoria area involving Defence Force personnel while the sinking of the President Kruger certainly involved naval personnel. Why are the awards in respect of discharge or death payable by this fund and not by the Defence Force Fund as it was Defence Force personnel who were discharged or died as a result of injury on duty?
In so far as the specific items are concerned, can the hon the Minister tell the House whether the amount is in respect of claims actually made or is it in anticipation of claims to be made particularly in regard to the sinking of the President Kruger? On what basis is compensation payable in regard to naval personnel who lost their lives due to the sinking of the President Kruger? Is a claim made by the deceased’s beneficiaries or is a specific amount paid on the death of a crew member in those circumstances, and have such claims been made?
Mr Chairman, in regard to programme 8(a)(ii) there are a number of Parliamentarians who retired during the course of the year and who had to be paid. I think the hon member will realize that there were quite a few Parliamentarians who retired during the past year. I do not maintain that it is a large number but Administrators and members of the President’s Council are included in this number.
In regard to programme 8(a)(iii), the hon member is correct. That amount has to be paid in connection with the air disaster in which a few senior members of the Public Service were killed, and it also includes compensation in respect of lives lost in the sinking of the President Kruger. It is not decided by either my department or the Minister what amounts are to be paid to the beneficiaries of those people killed on duty. The amount to be paid to these people is decided by a board and, as far as my department is concerned, only handed to the department as a sum to be paid, and I have to budget for it.
Mr Chairman, is this amount in anticipation of claims to be made?
Mr Chairman, under programme 4(iii) on page 2 there is an amount of R28 834 in respect of ex gratia remission of debt due to breach of contract, and in programme 7(ii) there is an amount of R11 985 in respect of ex gratia remission of debt due to breach of contract. I would welcome an explanation of these amounts.
Mr Chairman, the first remission is in connection with a namesake of the hon member, Dr P J Snyman. Dr Snyman, a medical practitioner, underwent 731 days’ compulsory military training from 6 July 1977 to 30 June 1979, and resigned with effect from 1 July 1981 before he had fulfilled his contractual obligation in respect of military service. He requested that the service rendered by him after completion of his military training should be taken into consideration in ascertaining the amount owed by him as a result of breach of contract. The amount owed by him was R30 214,17. In terms of the formula of the Treasury for the amount of service rendered by him, an amount of R28 833,63 can be written off.
Since the amount to be written off in terms of the Treasury formula exceeds R10 000, it must be specifically budgeted for.
As far as the hon member’s other question is concerned, I may just say that it is in connection with Mr P W Barnard, who has to have an amount written off under similar circumstances. I do not think the hon member expects me to give him the full particulars of the matter on this occasion. However, the circumstances of this case are exactly the same as in the previous case.
Vote agreed to.
Mr Chairman, would the hon the Minister give this House some information about the problem we seem to be having with the implementation of the internal charges system?
Mr Chairman, in order to answer this question I must refer to the explanatory memorandum which has been tabled in respect of the Vote before us. Paragraph 4 reads, inter alia:
Further along, on the same page, there is a brief explanation of how the Defence Force intends to go about it. In order to clarify the matter I think I should refer to the system of accounting applicable to the Vote before us and try to illustrate it very briefly in this manner.
This internal charges concept involves expenditure on stores and fuel, vehicles, ammunition, rations, spares and so forth which are scattered over all the programmes—programme 1 to programme 6. The sum total of the six programmes is shown under programme 7, “Provisioning”. What we really understand by the internal charges concept, therefore, is that the consolidated purchase of these provisions appear under the programme “Provisioning” whilst the expected consumption or the expected expenditure for each objective is indicated under the specific objective of programme 1 to programme 6. So this means that double entries are being made here. In the first place it means that the amounts reflected in column 1 to column 6 appear in the “Voted” column. Currently that figure amounts to R2 066 million. This amount is then duplicated under the heading “Provisioning”, where the same amount appears once again.
In order to put this right the internal charges are subtracted in order to eliminate the double entry. What the Defence Force proposes in this regard is that the provision for the amounts under subsections 1 to 6 should be eliminated. They should, therefore, appear only under the heading “Provisioning”, under which the internal charges will also be indicated as a “nil” amount.
†In order to clarify the position further I must point out that the concept of internal charges was introduced to solve the problem of not being able to allocate material costs upon issue of the specific objectives under which financial provision has been made. In this respect we can think of items such as fuel, vehicles, ammunition, rations and spares purchased in bulk and then issued to a vast variety of units. The concept of internal charges provided for the financial provision for stores and equipment included in objectives 1 to 6, to be consolidated and duplicated under a seventh programme, namely “Provisioning”, thus providing a facility to consolidate provisioning and purchasing. However, since the provisioning programme duplicates the financial provision, materials included under programmes 1 to 6, the cost of material issues to be made to the various programmes, is deducted from the total under the heading “Internal Charges”. In order to arrive at the amount to be voted when stores and equipment are issued, the objective, be it landward defence or maritime defence, is debited and the internal charges credited. At the time the 1983-84 Budget was being planned along these lines the practical implications of introducing the concept of internal charges had not been properly considered and consequently the time required for implementing such a system had been underestimated. Thus, when it came to implementation, the system ran into trouble because it was not possible to accurately allocate material usage against approved objectives.
The most important consideration which makes it impossible to accurately allocate the cost of material issues is the fact that a single organization serves more than one objective. Let me give the following examples: Workshops providing support to more than one objective, for instance, area defence, landward defence and command and control; or bases providing support to more than one objective, for example, the Air Force base at Waterkloof supporting landward defence by means of Buccaneers, air defence with Mirages and overhead support with air transport. Until such time as the automated unit accounting and costing system being worked on is implemented, this problem cannot be overcome. A contributory problem is the fact that all stores depots are not yet on the computer system with the result that all issues cannot be allocated automatically. It would take several years before these systems can be implemented throughout the SA Defence Force. Certain adjustments to the system of internal charges have therefore been introduced as an interim measure namely: Firstly, programmes 1 to 6 have been reduced to the value of internal charges; and secondly, compensating negatives under the heading “Internal Charges” have been deleted. These changes will be submitted to the Select Committee on Public Accounts by Treasury during the first week of March.
To sum up, the SA Defence Force needs a longer time span to implement the system of internal charges; secondly, unit accounting and costing systems must first be implemented and lastely, all stores depots must be facilitated on the computer system.
Then this concept of internal charges can be implemented but it will take a long time.
Mr Chairman, provisioning is clearly one of the biggest items of expenditure for which additional funds are being requested. I want to ask the hon the Minister how far “Operation Prime”, which had to do with the stock-taking and which was undertaken by the Defence Force, has progressed. What progress has been made in this connection? I also wish to ask whether the stores reflected as Defence Force assets do in fact exist or whether the necessary work has been done to ensure that the stores as reflected do in fact exist.
Mr Chairman, if I remember correctly, “Operation Prime” was launched in approximately 1978 in order to instil a greater equipment awareness among all members of the SA Defence Force. To tell the truth, certain project studies that arose from that were carried out and a series of project teams launched under the name of “Operation Mistral”. They were comprised of Citizen Force officers and noncommissioned officers who went into the matter in depth in order to determine whether this accountability was being given effect to. A further aim of Operation Prime was to determine what the stores consisted of at a certain time, and if there were problems as regards the submission of accounts by certain units, they had to be rectified as soon as possible to ensure that they were operated on a sound basis.
In my opinion, provisioning forms part of administration, and administration is certainly one of the most important facets in a security force. If one has sound administration then one usually has very good soldiers who can fight. They are dutiful and can do what is expected of them.
The question asked by the hon member for Wynberg is in my opinion a very important one. This is the essence of a good Defence Force. This overhauling, this ongoing process is still in progress. At the moment I am unable to say whether it is Operation Prime or the project teams that are doing this, but activities have been decentralized to make better administration possible on a geographic basis. As far as provisions and administration are concerned, this remains one of the corner-stones on which the security forces are built and on which they stand. The administration and the improvement thereof is constantly being done on an ongoing basis. That, too, is why such a vast amount of training is done and why so much time is spent on the training of all members of the Defence Force in order to instil in them a devotion to duty and a grasp of the need to keep track of their equipment and look after it.
I think that one of the problems is that in certain categories one does not have the right supervision, and one may require better supervision. In this regard I wish to thank the Commission for Administration for the differentiated occupational planning because that is one of the categories in regard to which we have encountered a problem. I hope that by way of the alteration of differentiation with regard to tasks we may be able to rectify this deficiency and the scarcity of people.
The hon member’s second question was whether these provisions were correct. I do not believe that stores will ever be completely correct as one would like to have them. It is for that reason that a report is consistently submitted every year to the Select Committee on Public Accounts with regard to the state of stores. I hope that in that way we shall achieve the optimum situation.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 74.
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, when the debate adjourned last night I was pulling the leg of the hon member for Pinelands a little with regard to his standpoint in the debate. In this legislation the reference to Black people is now being deleted in the principal Act. The hon member is objecting to this, whereas the general point of departure of his party has always been that no distinction should be drawn in legislation between White and Black and that people should be treated purely as people. At first glance it seems as if the hon member is objecting to the removal of discrimination. I say that I was pulling his leg. We are probably all sympathetic towards the underlying philosophy he spelt out here, but this did sound strange, coming from his party. Indeed, I have said in this House on a previous occasion that reasonable differentiation and differentiated treatment is not irreconcilable with equal treatment, but one would be unable to help certain individuals if one did not identify them as members of a group and then take steps to help the group per se. Indeed, this is what the hon member is putting forward here as a philosophy and it is on that basis that he objects to the deletion of the reference to Black people in the principal Act. I think the point of departure would have been valid if the issue here had been a better, fairer and more just dispensation in general. However, the question is whether the hon member is using the right example in raising this question and recording his objection to the amendments embodied in clauses 5 and 25. As far as clause 5 is concerned I think that the hon member should bear in mind that there is at present no provision in the Act to the effect that unclaimed moneys of White people can be utilized for a deserving cause or for the general welfare of workmen in general. At present that money simply accrues to the fund. Therefore a way must be found to adopt the same approach with regard to that fund as is being adopted with regard to the unclaimed moneys of Blacks, in terms of which such money may in fact be used for the general welfare of Black workers. The way in which it is done in clause 5 is by deleting the reference to Blacks in section 14(2)(c) of the principal Act. In this way all unclaimed moneys are available for utilization for the general welfare of all workers. Apparently the hon member’s objection is now that there may be more moneys unclaimed by Blacks than the amount unclaimed by Whites. I do not think we should infer from that that the total pool of funds, if all the money were to be pooled, would necessarily be used to the greater benefit of Whites. It is still the point of departure to identify needs, to investigate the merit of the matter and then to take action in the general interest. The hon member will agree with me that it is possible to do this, and it is also possible to do so within a framework in which colour has no role to play. I theory this is quite possible. If the hon member is still troubled about this then his concern has nothing to do with the theory of the legislation, but rather with the possible actions, in practice, of people who may be ill-disposed. I do not think the hon member should be concerned about that. It is indeed important that we should provide that moneys unclaimed by Whites is made available in this way to serve the general interests of all workers. I inferred that the hon member was not really seriously concerned about clause 5 and that he raised this point merely as a question. It seems to me that he will not necessarily oppose clause 5. The hon member also referred to clause 25. I think that is a little confusing. I have the unrevised version of the hon member’s speech before me and I think we should distinguish between unclaimed moneys to which the hon member referred and the lapsing of unlodged claims. These are two separate things, and clause 25 deals with claims which have not been lodged within a certain period.
The hon member also referred to the period of 6 months to which reference is made in section 54(1) of the principal Act. If the hon member looks at section 54(1) he will note that it is qualified by the provisions of section 54(3) which provides that section 50 is applicable mutatis mutandis. What this amounts to in effect is that the six months is a 12 month period. I note that the hon member agrees with that.
I wish to point out that section 50 provides that if the employer had knowledge of the accident in any other way or from any other source, the claim is valid. In that case it does not lapse in any event. It is also provided that the accident fund or the employer will be liable if it cannot be proved that the accident fund or the employer would be seriously prejudiced. It cannot have specific reference to the lodging or existence of a claim, but rather to the surrounding circumstances, such as evidence which could point to the responsibility of the employee himself.
The third proviso in this regard—and I am referring specifically to section 50(l)(b)(ii)—the hon member spoke about the migrant labourer—is that absence from the Republic is in any event another excuse to extend the period to 12 months. In practice, therefore, the term is 12 months, as far as virtually all claims are concerned.
Having said that, I appeal to the hon member to reconsider his standpoint on the basis of certain ideas that I wish to put to him. The first is that nowadays Black workers in general are far better organized and represented than they were a few years ago. Nowadays they are represented by trade unions, works committees and so on. This representation contributes in any event to the lodging and execution of claims. In the second place, it is provided that if the employer gets to hear of this from any other source, the claim is valid.
How does this work in practice? If an accident takes place on a floor, the employer hears about it. It would be very unusual for this not to happen. Moreover we passed the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act recently and section 9 of that Act, Act 6 of 1982, provides for the designation of safety representatives. In terms of that Act there must be a safety representative in every factory with 20 or more workers. This safety representative has the direct duty of reporting accidents and therefore confirming claims. I do not think we have really been able to assess the effect of this in practice. However, in practice this, too, ought to make a very considerable contribution towards at least the lodging or notice of the claim so that its validity may be beyond question. The objection—and reference is made to this in the explanatory memorandum as well—is that as the Act stands at present, even after 20 years of notice a claim can still be lodged, and at that stage there may be no-one who could give evidence in that regard. This could be to the detriment of both the employer and the fund, in that eye witnesses as well as witnesses of the nature and circumstances of the injury and so on would no longer be available. The limitation of 12 months that is now being imposed for everyone is most reasonable in the light of all these circumstances. I should like the hon member to reconsider his standpoint. As far as his point of departure is concerned, he has the sympathy of all sides of the House.
I just want to refer to previous speakers in this debate with regard to one or two aspects. I am also very grateful that the hon the Minister did not wait until the Act was totally reformulated and modernized, but has come to the House with this Bill so that the benefits that have already been pointed out by other speakers should be available immediately. I think he ought to be congratulated on this approach.
The other point to which I just want to refer briefly—I see that the hon member for Barberton seems to wish to speak to me, but now it seems that he does not wish to—is the establishment of the Objection Committee and the Revision Board. Other hon members have also referred to this. The hon member for Brakpan advanced the objection that the mere institution of this procedure means that a worker who has a claim will have to wait longer to have his claim finalized. The point of departure when that argument is advanced, is that he is placed in the wrong on each occasion until he gets to the appeal division. I suggest, with all due respect, that that is an incorrect point of departure. Indeed, the establishment of the Objection Committee and the Revision Board means that far more careful consideration may be given to objections, that they can be weighed and that recommendations can also be made from a more objective point of view than was the case in the past when the Commissioner took the decision. Therefore the opportunity is being created here to have a matter of this nature disposed of more expeditiously.
In general this is positive legislation and I am grateful that all parties in this House support the legislation—I think that the NRP, too, which still has to take part in the debate, will support it. I support it wholeheartedly.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Randburg is quite correct in saying that all parties in the House welcome this amending legislation. In particular, and in order of priority for us, we welcome the 15% increase in certain pensions which will be payable as soon as this amending Bill becomes law. Under today’s stringent conditions the dependents of workmen who have passed away are almost entirely dependent on this pension for their living. If one just looks at the escalation in the price of foodstuffs, rentals and clothing, one can see that the increase of 15% is perhaps a little on the shy side, but it will certainly be welcomed by the people affected.
Secondly, we welcome the fact that the Minister has indicated that very shortly this particular Act will be completely revised, streamlined and improved in order to facilitate the procedures for which the Act makes provision as well as, we hope, the procedures for the administration of the Act when it comes to claims and litigations. In this respect I must say that we believe that the establishment of an objection committee and the consequential revision board are considerable improvements as well. Like the hon member for Pinelands I had a lot of questions when I first noticed that there was going to be an objection committee. Like him, too, I was concerned about paragraph (j) which gives the Commissioner the arbitrary power to change a ruling of this committee. That, of course, is part of the process, it is only a link in the chain and one has to read further to find out that there is a revision board should the objector wish to take his case further. I must say that in this respect I agree with the hon member for Randburg—and I think the hon member for Durban Central will also agree—that in the circumstances today the average worker, which includes the Black worker, is far more aware of his rights. Unionization has focussed attention on the rights of workers and, hopefully, with the broadening of the union base, those unions will see to it that they are able to assist their members as far as their rights to workmen’s compensation are concerned. It has been disturbing to notice over the past few years the amount of unclaimed compensation as published in the Gazette from time to time. The figure runs into a few million rand. Undoubtedly many of the people have lost their legitimate claims due to ignorance and the fact that there was nobody to assist them once they were entitled to compensation. We certainly hope that the unions will do their bit to remedy this.
As for the redistribution of the unclaimed funds for the benefit of all workers, we obviously welcome this. There is no sense in the money just continuing to lie in the Public Debt Commissioners’ account. We must take this money and use it for workmen who are eligible under this legislation. I am sure that in the spirit of the 1984 constitution it will be equally applied to members of all population groups. Speaking of the new constitution, we see its effect already in this Bill. One of the clauses, clause 7, refers to laying copies of the report on the Table of the House of Assembly instead of the Tables of both Houses of Parliament.
It becomes an own matter now.
I was going to ask the question. That hon member is quite intelligent. I was going to ask the hon the Minister whether in fact workmen’s compensation now becomes a general or an own affair. If it is general affair we will of course have to amend that clause later on to include the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates. That is progress. We consider that progress and even though it may include a lot of administrative work we welcome it.
I must also say that the increases regarding costs contained in this Bill give one a good diea of how the cost of living and dying has gone up. The benefit in respect of a funeral today is R650 where it has been only R400 up to now. This represents a 50% increase in the cost of dying. The hon member for Witbank the other day suggested that there should be alternative and cheaper ways of burying people or disposing of their remains without degrading their dignity. I certainly hope that he will assist the workmen’s compensation commissioner with his recommendations on less costly funerals rather than cheaper funerals. The State obviously provides a minimum amount for a funeral, namely R650, which is being tabled here today as an amendment.
Speaking of that, I was in the United States recently and I was very fortunate to have included in my programme what one could call a “huisbesoek”. I had to stay with a typical American family in a small American town. I think very wisely they decided to show me the full spectrum of American society and they arranged for my wife and I to stay with an undertaker in a very small town outside Chicago. That was a very interesting stay indeed. My wife and I had the distinguished privilege of sleeping on a waterbed above the mortuary. That is an experience I never had in my life before.
Don’t develop that story.
Well, I do not suffer from seasickness. [Interjections.] We were then taken very proudly on a tour of what they call a funeral home and I was amazed to discover some extremely good-looking coffins. There were really exceptionally good-looking coffins of good quality and well presented on display there. I was amazed to discover that one can buy one of these coffins for between $300 and $600 today.
No, brand new. We have a lot to learn from American production techniques. One should look into the costs of dying as well as into the cost of living today. The burden normally has to be carried by the poor relatives if the compensation is not sufficient.
Let me also say that obviously due to an increase in wages it has become necessary to extend the range of salaries of people who are to be included under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. It is not unusual today to find that there are many people in the trades for instance who exceed the R18 000 limit for which provision is being made in this amending Bill today. We are changing the amount from R12 000 to R18 000 per annum, which again represents a 50% increase in that particular range. No doubt there will be many people who will possibly voluntarily agree to be covered by workmen’s compensation, despite the fact that they fall outside these limits, because of the hazardous nature of the trade or occupation in which they work.
The creation of uniform conditions for members of all population groups appeals to us. Because of that reason and the other positive aspects of this Bill we will be supporting this amending legislation.
Mr Speaker, we welcome the fact that there has been very little opposition to this amending Bill thus far. The Workmen’s Compensation Act nowadays forms an important part of our Western way of life and is one of the pillars of our labour philosophy and policy. In South Africa, where we have a race structure which differs to a large extent from that in other Western countries, amendments of the Workmen’s Compensation Act can be very important. Accordingly, in recent times we have tried to eliminate gradually the differences relating to race.
The amendments before us can be divided into four subsections. In the first place we are concerned with impartiality and appeal. Secondly, there is increased financial compensation as a result of a higher cost of living and higher wages. A third very important factor, one which is becoming increasingly important in our legislation, is greater uniformity. The fourth aspect of this legislation relates to administrative amendments.
As far as impartiality and appeals are concerned, the amendments are a further consequence of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Labour Legislation—Part III. Clauses 1, 4, 8, 9 and 16 are concerned with impartiality and appeal, and in this regard there are five main points. The first of these is the question of the Objection Committee. If any person feels aggrieved about a decision of a commissioner, he may within a prescribed time lodge his objection with the Objection Committee. This is an important aspect, because previously, problems were often encountered with regard to decisions by the commissioner. This does not necessarily mean that he made a mistake, but an effort must be made to incorporate the possibility of appeal in any system.
An objection committee consists of one member representing the workers, one member representing the employers, and alternative members. If an objector feels aggrieved by the rejection of his objection by the objection committee, his objection may be referred to the revision board. In my opinion this is one of the most important amendments in this Bill. As has already been mentioned, the chairman of the industrial court also serves on the revision board, and this affords some degree of co-ordination among the various bodies concerned with labour policy. If a satisfactory ruling is not given by the revision board, there is a third aspect of impartiality and appeal, viz that an objector may appeal to his local division of the Supreme Court. It is very important to take cognizance of the possibilities created for the worker in this legislation. If one thinks back to the industrial revolution and the problems faced by the English worker at the time, and compares that situation with the privileges enjoyed by the worker in modern times, then we in South Africa can also be proud of our efforts to uplift our workers and afford them an opportunity even to appeal to the Supreme Court if they have problems. Therefore we are creating here an open legal procedure to which both complainant and defendant are subjected and in terms of which Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner does not have a degree of superiority.
The fourth important aspect is that the revision board now has to prepare the court documents. Once again this means that we have here an element of impartiality. A further example of impartiality in this measure is to be found in the fact that when an injured party is dissatisfied with his increased claim for compensation and he is moreover able to prove that the employer was negligent, he may appeal to the revision board. Once again this introduces an element of impartiality into this statutory amendment.
When we consider the element of a higher cost of living and wages as it affects this statutory amendment, it is evident that increased financial remuneration is required in this regard. Clauses 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18 are particularly relevant in this regard. In fact it is a pity that due to inflation it has been necessary to make constant adjustments recently. I think it was the hon member for Brakpan who also pointed out that provision must be made in the regulations for constant adjustments. We do hope that the hon the Minister of Finance will succeed in reducing the rate of inflation further and that it will accordingly not be necessary to make constant adjustments in this regard.
Here, too, we have seven main points, the first of which relates to the ceiling of salaries and wages that is specified in this legislation. That ceiling is now being lifted from R12 000 per annum to R18 000 per annum. It is important to bear in mind that in recent times both White and Black workers have had very considerable increases in their wages and salaries. In terms of the present ceilings it would no longer be possible for many of those people to be covered in terms of Workmen’s Compensation Legislation.
An aspect relating to this point is also very interesting is that provision is made in this statutory amendment for ongoing adjustments. I believe that this is very important because it is also in line with the idea expressed in this connection by the hon member for Brakpan. Another essential point relates to the periodic payments to a workman who is injured on duty and is temporarily unable to work. Those payments are now being increased. This aspect has already been fully discussed by other hon members.
The third cardinal point is the increase in the sum paid for permanent disablement. There is also an increase in the amount payable on death. Funeral coverage is also being increased. When an injured worker needs money urgently, his advance is increased from R200 to R500. I believe that this is a very interesting clause. Looking again at what this amending Bill as a whole entails, it appears that it is aimed at looking after the present-day worker. The importance of this, which is not always recognized even overseas, lies in the benefits that are now being created for workmen and which apply not only to Whites, but to all races.
Another aspect is that pensions of workers injured before the date of inception of the legislation are also being adjusted.
This brings us to the next important element of this amending Bill, which is uniformity. As I have already mentioned, we now have uniformity which has been a consistent practice since the Wiehahn report has been consistently implemented. Clauses 5, 24, 25 and 27 are of particular importance in this respect. Moreover, the hon member for Randburg has replied conclusively to the arguments advanced by the hon member for Pinelands in this regard. It seems to me that this is where the hon member for Pinelands encounters problems. However, I wish to elaborate somewhat further on one of the aspects he discussed, viz clause 3. Initially it was only necessary for Whites, Coloureds and Asians to obtain written permission from the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner before a claim for compensation could be lodged against a third party. In terms of these amendments, this now also applies to Blacks.
This is a very interesting change, because it is mentioned that the legal representatives of Black workers have often in the past accepted cases which were not entirely viable. This gave rise to extremely high legal costs. These amendments will contribute towards eliminating certain malpractices which are occurring at present. I think that the two aspects of unclaimed moneys and the period of 20 years have been fully dealt with by my colleague, the hon member for Ranburg. I agree with him. I do not know how one will be able to prove certain aspects in regard to a case after 20 years. In my experience, even after 12 months one struggles to obtain sufficient proof. I need only call to mind how I myself struggle to fill in my income tax form.
I now turn to the question of administrative changes, and several of these are effected by this amending Bill. In this regard I wish to mention clauses 2(a), 7, 10, 11, 16(a), 20, 21, 26 and 30. There are several very interesting amendments in this regard. Take, for example, clause 2, which now repeals the provision that specific employers may themselves be covered if their wages and profits do not exceed R3 000 per annum. This provision gave rise to considerable problems in that the people of the Chamber of Industries interpreted it incorrectly. The idea was that in this way one would, in fact, be harming the interests of the small businessman, and particularly the employee of the small businessman. I personally sympathize with this provision and I myself wondered whether the amount could not perhaps be increased to R5 000 per annum, or even a little higher. However, I know that the Department of Manpower encounters exceptional administrative problems as far as this provision is concerned. It is also interesting to note that only nine out of 125 000 employers requested this benefit. I also carried out an investigation in order to determine how, by way of other legislation, we seek to help the small businessman, who is at the same time an employer and an employee but my sympathy still lay with this provision.
An aspect which has not yet been dealt with by other hon members is the question of the increase in penalties. In this instance the penalty is now being increased from R100 to R500, and the sentence from three months to a year. I think it is as well that his has been done because one of the most important tasks of an employer is to submit his assessments regularly. However, we realize that we also have many small businessmen in South Africa and that they are sometimes swamped by all the forms they have to fill in for the State. If one takes into account that the latest court figure with regard to offences of this type is 8 270—that refers to court orders that have been issued—and that many of these cases have involved the small businessman, we realize that more attention must be given to training these people. We already have the Small Business Development Corporation and the small business training programmes at our universities, which can give more attention to training the small employer to fill in these forms so that he can submit them to the department in good time.
In the light of these amendments and the fact that further amendments are to be effected in this regard, I wish to congratulate the hon the Minister and his department on the road they are taking with this legislation. We are looking forward to the further amendments with regard to this legislation and we take pleasure in supporting this amending Bill.
Mr Speaker, in the first place let me thank hon members for their participation in the debate thus far and also for the support they are giving to the Bill.
Next I come to certain arguments raised by the hon member for Pinelands in connection with clause 5. The hon member put certain questions about the clause to me. He wanted to know what the motivation behind the clause was. He said that he was of the opinion that it was not quite fair and just. He also wanted to know how much money was involved here and what amount had been unclaimed.
I should like to reassure the hon member. I think that what his argument boiled down to was that he was concerned that the funds paid in on behalf of Black people would now be used to benefit White, Coloured and Asian workers and that the Black workers would thus be detrimentally affected. The position in regard to the application of unclaimed monies for the welfare of Black people is as follows: In the first place let me say that the application of unclaimed monies in respect of Black people is, at present, covered by regulation 19(4) which reads as follows:
The hon member for Pinelands’ fear is that in future, if this clause is passed, these funds will not solely be applied for the benefit of Black people. I want to inform the hon member at this stage that if the Bill is passed we shall be issuing new regulations about which I want to take the hon member into my confidence immediately and tell him what we envisage. I think that if the hon member were to take note of the content of the envisaged regulation, this should actually deal satisfactorily with his objection. It is proposed that regulation 19(4)—this is the one I have just quoted—be replaced by the following:
- (a) sodanig deel van die onopgeëisde gelde betaalbaar aan Swartes, behalwe Swartes buite die Republiek, met sodanige tussenpose en op sodanige voorwaardes as wat die Kommissaris ná oorlegpleging met die Direkteur-generaal: Samewerking en Ontwikkeling mag bepaal, aan voornoemde Direkteur-generaal oordra vir aanwending ten behoewe van arbeidsongeskikte Swartes of hulle afhanklikes en vir die daarstelling van kliniese fasiliteite vir beseerde Swartes of vir hulpverlening in verband met die daarstelling van sodanige fasiliteite.
The hon member will therefore note that in effect the situation remains such that these funds must again be spent on Black people, but then the following is added:
- (b) sodanige deel van die onopgeeisde gelde betaalbaar aan Blankes, Kleurlinge en Asiërs met sodanige tussenpose en op sodanige voorwaardes as wat die Kommissaris ná oorlegpleging met welsynsorganisasies wat ingevolge artikel 13(1) van die Nasionale Welsynswet, 1978 (Wet No 100 van 1978) as sulks geregistreer is, aan sodanige welsynsorganisasie oordra vir aanwending ten behoewe van arbeidsongeskikte Blankes, Kleurlinge en Asiërs of hulle afhanklikes en vir die daarstelling van kliniese fasiliteite vir beseerde Blankes, Kleurlinge en Asiërs of vir hulpverlening in verband met die daarstelling van sodanige fasiliteite.
It will therefore now be clear to the hon member that these proposed regulations make it impossible to apply unclaimed moneys in respect of Blacks for the welfare of other population groups, whilst the obverse is, of course, also true. One cannot apply the unclaimed moneys in respect of Whites, Coloureds and Indians for the benefit of Blacks. I therefore hope that this satisfactorily deals with the hon member’s objection.
For the sake of interest I can just mention that the unclaimed moneys for the past seven years showed the following pattern:
I can further mention to the hon member that in this connection that the average ratio of Blacks on the one hand to Whites, Coloureds and Indians on the other is 75:25. The hon member also asked what the total amount of unclaimed moneys in the reserve fund was over a certain period. In 1976-77 the unclaimed moneys amounted to R3,3 million, which increased to R5 121 916 by 1982-83. I hope that this data will have satisfied the hon member’s inquiries.
The hon member for Pinelands also made a very interesting point. The hon member for Randburg has already given a very good reply to this. In asking us to give Black workers special treatment, the hon member was asking for the maintenance of a distinguishing or differentiating measure.
†The effect of the hon member’s request will be, firstly, that no written notice of an accident needs to be given by or on behalf of a Black worker to the employer and, secondly, that claims for compensation in respect of Blacks can be lodged at any time after the date of the accident, for example, 20 years after the accident, whereas a time limit of 12 months is laid down in respect of other workers, namely Whites, Coloureds and Indians. There seems to be no valid reason to continue this differentiation between workers for the following reasons: Firstly, an increasing number of Black workers can now turn to their trade unions for assistance, as other hon members have pointed out today. Secondly, a large number of Blacks are assisted and can be assisted by work councils or committees at plant level. Thirdly, the designation of safety representatives by employers in respect of each place where more than 20 employees are performing work, as provided for in section 9 of the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act, 1983, will further facilitate the reporting of accidents and the lodging of claims by Blacks. Fourthly, at least one safety representative has to be designated for every 15 employees. It is one of the functions of the safety representative to report accidents. The establishment of safety committees also facilitates the reporting of accidents and the lodging of claims.
*If the hon member is therefore concerned about the ignorance existing amongst Black workers, let me tell him that I do not think, in view of the new developments and the additional measures, that his fears are well-founded. I think that under these circumstances a period of 12 months is a long enough period. Certain hon members have argued that it could last for a period of up to 20 years. That does, of course, make the matter as complex as it can possibly be, it is very difficult, after such a long period has elapsed, to obtain all the necessary particulars, and it also increases the administrative burden. One must therefore establish some or other cut-off point so that the matter can be finalized at some or other stage.
I thank the hon member for Alberton for the fine and positive contribution he made here.
The hon member for Brakpan intimated that he also supported the legislation, and for that I want to thank him. He referred to the Nieuwenhuizen Commission’s report and to the time that has elapsed in dealing with this matter. Occupational diseases falling under the Workmen’s Compensation Act are going to be slotted into the new national occupational diseases dispensation of the Department of Health and Welfare. This does not mean, however, that the benefits people are receiving at present in terms of the Workmen’s Compensation Act are in any way going to be influenced. The works committee of the Department of Health and Welfare is at present giving in-depth attention to the rationalization of the Republic’s occupational diseases dispensation. The hon member must understand that quite a few principles are at stake and that many interest groups have to be consulted. The matter cannot therefore be finalized overnight. Since one is dealing with such an important matter, since there are so many vested interests and since one must retain people’s confidence and since compromises must be reached in certain respects, this is not a matter that one can bulldoze through. I think the hon member will concede that one should not try to precipitate this matter, but should rather give it every opportunity to take its own course so that finally a settlement or decision can be reached that can redound to the benefit of the workers—especially the workers.
I want to thank the hon member for Randburg for the well-considered argument he furnished here. I see that he found it very enjoyable to exchange ideas with the hon member for Pinelands on the question of acknowledging ethnic differences.
The hon member for Durban North asked whether this was a general or an own affair. I think that this is a general affair. I also want to thank the hon member and his party for their support in this connection. The hon member for Waterkloof also made a well-considered contribution. He, too, highlighted the question of the impartiality that is now being incorporated with the establishment of objection committees and revision boards. He also said that the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner was now being taken out of the firing line. That is all I want to say about that.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr Chairman, first let me express my appreciation to the hon the Minister for replying in such detail to the questions I raised during the Second Reading debate. I must say I am very glad that I asked the questions because I think the replies to the debate have been extremely helpful as has been the information about the amounts of money unclaimed over the years as outlined by the hon the Minister. The amount of money in the reserve fund is, I think, also worth knowing for the House as a whole and not only for myself or for this particular party. If I understood the hon the Minister correctly, 75% of the unclaimed amounts are unclaimed by Black workers and 25% by Whites, Coloureds and Indians.
That is correct.
Thank you. I think the hon member for Randburg will concede that the total sum of money unclaimed by Black workers is very large and quite disproportionate. I think one could infer from that that many more cases go by default concerning Black workers than Whites, Coloureds and Indians, notwithstanding the fact—this point was made both by the hon the Minister and the hon member for Randburg and I accepted it—that there has been a very real change and very real development in that Black workers are much more aware of their basic rights than they were in the past.
Let me make it quite clear that I will not be moving the amendment I suggested in the Second Reading debate I might want to move, primarily because of the regulation about which the hon the Minister has told us and which he discussed with us in his reply to the Second Reading debate. Again, I am very glad that I raised that because I think that the way in which the regulation is going to operate is fair and justified.
There is, however, a point I want to underline. When we talk about, for example, the safety offices, the works committees, trade unions and the facilities afforded Black workers today which they perhaps did not have before, then we are largely talking about larger companies. When it comes to the small companies one finds that the ideal which we aim for simply is not achieved there, for obvious reasons. When one totals the number of people who are working in those smaller companies, the small entrepreneurs out in the country areas, and when one thinks of the informal sectors which employ a great number of Black workers in particular, then one must understand that very often injuries take place which are never reported or which the employer knows nothing about. I can give an example of that. Only last week I received a letter from a woman living in the Port Elizabeth area—she is an ordinary cleaner working for a small company—who 18 months ago fell while she was cleaning and broke her legs. No indication was given to her that she had any rights under the Workmen’s Compensation Act whatsoever. It is true that they gave her medical treatment and so on, but now she is left with a permanent limp which makes it impossible for her to do her job. The only point I am trying to make here is that there are many workers still in South Africa who do not know what their rights are. If this debate can assist in making us all aware of that and encouraging employers of small companies in particular to help their workers to be aware of their fundamental rights under the law, then I think it will have been worthwhile.
I am glad that we have had the opportunity to discuss this particular issue. I believe the amendment is right bearing in mind the reasons given by the hon the Minister. I accept these reasons and therefore I will not be moving an amendment and will be supporting the clause.
Clause agreed to.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Randburg as well as the hon the Minister and other hon members on that side of the House had a great deal of fun at my expense when I spoke to this.particular clause in the Second Reading. I remind the House that section 83 of the principal Act is amended in this clause by the deletion of subsection (2), which means that Black workers come into the ambit of a statute of limitation, as I think it is called. I think it will illustrate that we in this party are realistic because there are a number of other clauses in the Bill which are not being amended and which draw a distinction between one group of workers and another. I noticed the hon member for Randburg did not mention those. However, what is more to the point is that I actually was incorrect in my reading of this amendment. This morning I again consulted the principal Act and once again looked at sections 50 and 54. I realized that the period is 12 months and not 6 months, which makes it much more reasonable, despite the point that I made earlier under clause 5. Also, to go beyond that, the actual change is to the benefit of Black workers. It does not simply mean that they are subject to the limitation which would normally seem to be to their disadvantage. In actual fact they come under the purview of section 50 from which until now they have been excluded. I was, therefore, quite incorrect in the way I read the amendment in this particular clause.
What makes you so gentle today?
I make mistakes so rarely that I feel I must acknowledge them when I do. That hon member makes mistakes all the time and he cannot tell the difference.
With that word of sincere thanks to the hon member for Randburg—I understand now why they call him a Prog!—and also to the hon the Minister, I will not be moving an amendment, and I support this clause.
Clause agreed to.
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
The House adjourned at