House of Assembly: Vol114 - WEDNESDAY 2 MAY 1984
as Chairman, presented the Report of the Select Committee on the Constitution (on the subject of the Orderly Movement and Settlement of Black Persons Bill [B 2—84]), as follows:
- (1) The Orderly Movement and Settlement of Black Persons Bill (B 113— 82) was referred to the Select Committee on the Constitution for the first time on 9 June 1982 as the third of three measures on Black affairs.
- (2) The inquiry was continued during the 1982 recess in conjunction with a commission of inquiry consisting of the members of the Committee (see Second and Third Reports of Select Committee on the Constitution, 1982 [SC 10A—82]), and on 23 September 1982 the commission resolved that the Bill would be finally dealt with after the Black local authorities had been established in terms of the Black Local Authorities Act, 1982.
- (3) In consequence of the 1982 Committee’s Third Report, dated 18 January 1983, the Bill was again referred to the Select Committee early in the 1983 session, and on 8 June 1983 the resolution that the Bill be dealt with after Black local authorities had been established, was repeated (see SC 8B—83, Part I, page 4).
- (4) The Bill dropped on the prorogation of Parliament on 26 January 1984, and the Department of Co-operation and Development was instructed to draw up a new draft Bill, account being taken inter alia of comment which had been received.
- (5) Your Committe understands that such draft legislation, entitled the Urbanization Bill, has been drawn up, but that since the legislation affects not only the Black city councils, but also the citizens of independent and self-governing states, the Government is of the opinion that the draft should also be discussed with the leaders of these states.
- (6) With a view to the fact that the Committee has been informed that the Government has decided not to submit the new draft Urbanization Bill to your Committee before all interested parties have been consulted, and since the present Parliamentary session has already reached an advanced stage, your Committee is of the opinion that the Orderly Movement and Settlement of Black Persons Bill (B 2—84) should not be proceeded with at this stage, and it recommends accordingly.
J C Heunis,
House of Assembly
2 May 1984.
Report and proceedings to be printed.
I put notice of Motion No 1.
Mr Speaker, due to your gracious and wise mediation, this matter has been settled, and I wish to place on record my appreciation of your having done so. In the circumstances I shall not move the motion.
Vote No 5—“Transport” (contd):
Mr Chairman, during the discussion of this vote yesterday hon members concentrated for the most part on tarred roads, toll roads and road safety. The subject of tarred roads has been dealt with at such length by now that I decided to turn to the waterways. Today I want to present to hon members another success story of South African entrepreneurship.
Until a few years ago South Africa was dependent on foreign fleets and shipping lines for the conveyance of goods to and from our harbours. In 1946 a small organization was founded which slowly but surely grew until today it may be regarded as South Africa’s national line—I refer to Safmarine. This organization concentrates chiefly on the deep sea conveyance of cargo, chiefly line cargo and bulk cargo. Today Safmarine is able to convey 30% of all line cargo to and from South African harbours, 7% of all bulk cargo, including ore and coal, and 23% of all refrigerated cargo, which is of special importance for our fruit farmers. The tonnage dealt with annually is between 6,5 million and 7 million tons.
However, Safmarine has not confined itself to mass transport; on the contrary, its deep sea tug service is wellknown throughout the world. Some of the most powerful tugs in the world are in the employ of Safmarine. Moreover, in conjunction with the Department of Transport, Safmarine has undertaken the control of pollution of our coasts and our sea. This is done on a contract basis with the department. This organization has indeed grown into a young giant in the economy of South Africa and has to date diversified to such an extent that it has a direct interest in 16 companies and an indirect interest in eight others. Today it has interests in the fields of aviation, passenger services, tourism and even insurance. Of great importance is that in a very competitive market, Safmarine has always kept its head above water. Whereas other organizations so often look to the Government for special measures and subsidies, Safmarine is one of the exceptions which enjoys no special protection and receives no subsidies from the State.
In considering how economically Safmarine is operated, it should be noted that it has a total capital investment in vehicles and equipment of approximately R575 million. Nevertheless its annual earnings in foreign exchange are in the order of R450 million. The balance between the earnings per annum and investments show, therefore, that this company is being operated on an extremely sound basis. At present Safmarine has 30 ships in its possession; apart from that, eight additional vessels are being hired and in spite of the present recession they are building two additional special ships.
What is also of great importance, however, is that Safmarine is not merely a transport organization, but also a major employer, and I do not believe that many people are aware that Safmarine and its subsidiaries provide 9 800 people with employment every day. When one bears in mind that each of these employees also has family ties, one gains some idea of the size of Safmarine as an employer in the South African economy.
We have a very small navy, and as a result our seamen get insufficient experience of navigation. In view of this, Safmarine has adapted its own organization to enable some of our naval officers, in particular, to undergo further training.
However, there is another aspect of Safmarine’s services to which I wish to refer. Since the days of Diaz, Vasco da Gama and Jan van Riebeeck, people have travelled to Southern Africa by sea; first in sailing ships and then in steamships. Over the centuries, until air transport became sufficiently economical and safe, that was the way in which people came to Southern Africa. I believe that many of us think back with nostalgia to the old Union Castle line and to names like the Windsor, Winchester, Pendennis, Cape Town Castle and Transvaal Castle, which were household names in South Africa; they were something that our children and our younger people will probably be deprived of for a long time. I personally will never forget the Cape Town Castle and the Pendennis Castle because I worked on both of those boats. That is indeed an experience one could not buy with money.
Safmarine has now decided to revive this old and worthy tradition. [Interjections.] Due to the purchase of the luxury passenger liner the Astor, a regular service has now been re-introduced between South Africa, England, South America the islands of the Indian Ocean and among the harbours of South Africa. I can imagine that many boards of directors will once again find a good reason why a meeting, congress or conference must be held at sea.
Since the history of our Parliament is now reaching the end of an era, I wondered whether it would be appropriate if the last week of the present sitting could take place on a boat between Durban and Cape Town. [Interjections.] Mr Chairman, can you imagine what a stimulating effect this would have on the ideas of hon members and what a calming effect it would have on the minds of certain hon members? Perhaps then fewer motions would be introduced, as members would be able to settle their differences among themselves on the open sea. [Interjections.] Just imagine, Sir, the hon the Minister wearing a captain’s peaked cap and the hon member for Durban Point in the uniform of a first officer. In my opinion that could only be to the good, and could do no harm at all.
I want to conclude with the thought that Safmarine is also providing fresh evidence of the interdependence of states, particularly in Southern Africa. Safmarine has a political significance too, to the extent that the service it renders is not rendered to the RSA only but also to the countries in Southern Africa that do not possess their own merchant fleets and that are dependent on international lines. Here I am referring in particular to our landlocked neighbouring countries, Swaziland, Lesotho and others. For my part I should like to wish this young giant in the South Africa economy everything of the best for the future.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Roodeplaat has taken some of us back in our memories to the fifties and sixties when it was still possible to travel by sea to Europe. I am quite sure that those of us who enjoyed the pleasure of that form of transportation would like to see those days return. Unfortunately the cost of sea travel is so high today that it is beyond the pockets of the average person. He suggested that we should hold the last week of the session on board one of these ocean liners …
Have you seen the new fares?
I am sure that our taxpayers would not take too kindly to that idea. However, it would be a most pleasurable experience.
Having said that, I want to say that I am pleased that the hon member raised the matter of Safmarine. We know of the tremendous work they have done in salvage operations around our coasts with their deep sea ocean-going tugs and also in respect of the control of pollution. I think we are indebted to them.
The matter I wish to raise with the hon the Minister concerning the marine industry is the problem of lifesaving on our coastlines. I am aware that the National Sea Rescue Institute does receive a grant from the Department of Transport to help finance their operations, and I know that they are doing a very good job. For instance, we know that the yachts which ran into trouble last week were assisted by vessels of the National Sea Rescue Institute. I believe that the population of South Africa, and especially the sea-going people around our coasts, are indebted to this institute. However, another development has taken place in recent years, namely that liaison is taking place between the NSRI and the SA Surf Lifesavers’ Association in a joint effort to ensure that people in difficulty can be rescued. If the hon member for Langlaagte would not mind I wish to talk directly with the hon the Minister, I want to appeal to him to consider giving a grant to the SA Surf Life-savers’ Association in the light of this liaison. I believe that these people do a tremendous amount of voluntary work. I am sure the hon the Minister will agree that if any of our children or our loved ones should ever be in difficulty in the surf around our coasts, we would be only too glad to be assisted by members of this association. I do know that the Department of National Education gives a small grant of about R1 800 a year to the SA Surf Life-savers’ Association, but I sincerely hope that because of their liaison with the NSRI, which falls under the Department of Transport as do our coastal shores, the hon the Minister will consider my appeal. Having said that, I would like to revert to the matter of the closing down of the Mid-Illovo line. I want to thank the hon the Minister for his reply and the approach he took to my appeal in this regard. This railway line actually falls under the constituency of the hon member for Mooi River, and if the hon the Minister is going to hold a meeting I appeal to him to extend an invitation to the hon member for Mooi River who I know will be most interested to be there. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs for the way in which he reacts to our appeals. My colleagues and I are most impressed by the efficiency with which our letters to him are answered or at least acknowledged and also by the way in which there is a follow-up afterwards with another letter saying that the matter concerned is still being looked into. Then, in due course, we get a reply. It is very helpful for us, as members of Parliament who deal with representation from our constituents to know that the Minister has not forgotten about us and gives our appeals his prompt attention. I am complimenting the Minister, but I am quite sure that it is his private secretary and staff who are actually looking after us. I know, however, that he will pass on our thanks and good wishes to his staff.
I should like to ask the hon the Minister to note the questions I put to him in regard to the effects the closure of railway lines will have on road transportation. I sincerely hope that in future he will let the local people know well in advance what his intentions are. I am going to send the hon the Minister a copy of a news report I have here, because in it there are certain statements made which give me cause for concern. I should like to know whether those statements are in fact correct. If they are correct, I think that the suggestions I have made are more valid. If they are not correct, I will at least know how, in my position, to reply to the representations which have been made to me personally.
The other matter I should like to raise is the financing of roads and the National Road Fund—I have very little time at my disposal this afternoon so I will have to be brief. We have talked a lot about the development of new national roads, but what I am concerned about is the deterioration of our existing roads. I should like to quote from Leadership South Africa, a journal which has often been referred to in the last few days or weeks. The article from which I want to quote was written by a Mr Hodgson, who is a large road making contractor. On page 100 of the journal he had the following to say:
I should also just like to refer the hon the Minister to a Press release issued by Assocom on 18 April this year concerning Assocom’s policy on road financing. I am sure that the hon the Minister has received this and I will not quote from it at all, but merely say that I hope he will study this or have his department study it, because what this document is really saying very clearly is that Assocom, which represents all the Chambers of Commerce around the country, appreciates and understands from an economic point of view, from the point of view of the country’s total economy, the need for good roads. Assocom and its members believe that the amount of money we spend on roads is money well spent because it helps to oil the wheels of transport which is moving our goods around the country. I make that appeal to the hon the Minister.
Mr Chairman, at the beginning of his speech the hon member for Amanzimtoti referred to the safeguarding of the lives of people from the sea and I want to devote my short speech to the safeguarding of vehicles in our streets and backyards. I am referring to car thefts. Between 1 January and 31 December 1983 45 073 vehicles valued at R177 915 795 were reported stolen to the Police. Of these 45 073 stolen vehicles only 13 487 were recovered in an undamaged condition, 9 773 in a damaged condition while 2 604 had been cannibalised. It is an alarming fact that of the large number of reported cases of car theft only 25 828 are recovered damaged or undamaged—viz approximately 57%. This means that in a single year 19 250 vehicles with an average estimated value of R75 979 750 are never recovered.
To the estimated losses with regard to the vehicles which are not recovered, should be added the losses with regard to the damaged and cannibalised vehicles—a total of 12 341, with an average estimated value of R48 679 786. The total value of the vehicles which could not be recovered, plus those of the damaged and cannibalised vehicles, is therefore R124 677 536. This is an enormous amount. Someone has to pay for these losses. It is either the individual or the insurance companies, who in their turn have to recover this indirectly by means of increased premiums paid by the individual.
Other interesting information is that during 1983 there were a total of 7 278 prosecutions for motor-car theft, and 4 994 convictions. It is significant how large the difference is between the number of stolen vehicles recovered—undamaged, damaged and cannibalised—and the number of prosecutions, as well as the number of convictions. Let me state quite emphatically that this large number of unsolved car theft cases is not as a result of the poor, lax or disinterested behaviour of our Police Force. There are several factors that play a role when a car theft case has to be investigated and solved. One of the major problems facing the police is the identifying of stolen vehicles.
It is easy to substitute number plates. It is easy either to change or make chassis and engine numbers illegible. It is also easy to change the colour of a vehicle. In view of the tremendous losses being suffered, as I have already indicated, it is absolutely essential for us urgently to seek ways and means of making the theft of vehicles difficult and ensuring the conviction of car thieves.
In my opinion the solution to the problem lies in making vehicles more indentifiable. I want to mention a few methods. In the first place the hon member for Roodeplaat did in fact advocate something of the sort last year. He suggested that the registration number of a vehicle be engraved on the windows and headlights. A number engraved on glass is virtually impossible to erase or change. The windows have to be replaced which is not all that easy. However, in order to ensure uniformity I want to suggest that standardized chassis and engine numbers be engraved on the windows and headlights of vehicles in the factory. I want to suggest that we negotiate with our car manufacturers to undertake this task, and that the system being used sporadically at present should actually be discouraged.
The second method which could be adopted is that the manufacturers supply a certificate of manufacture on a standardized form, with certain minimum precautions against forgery and duplication, with each vehicle. This certificate of manufacture will ensure that the correct information on a vehicle will be available. The procedure followed at present does not ensure that the information on new vehicles given to registering authorities is the correct information. It has already happened that the firing order of the engine cylinders has been given as the engine number. In this connection I should like to mention that in any case most manufacturers computerize the information on the vehicles they manufacture and the certificate of manufacture could merely be a computer printout.
A third method of facilitating the identification of a vehicle is to make the carrying of a registration certificate compulsory. In this connection we could perhaps take a leaf out of Taiwan’s book. When a vehicle is registered there the registered owner is handed a registration certificate and a registration card. The owner may lock the certificate away but the registration card has to be in the vehicle at all times when it is being driven on a public road. If the card is removed when the vehicle is parked a thief would definitely find it very difficult to explain his possession of that vehicle without a card.
In the fourth place—and in this regard I am associating myself with the hon member for Welkom—the central vehicle register and road traffic bureau can and must pay an ever greater role in identifying fraudulent or incorrect vehicle registrations. The central vehicle and ownership register will be able to build up a data bank of all engine, chassis and window mark numbers of vehicles. It will be possible to compare all subsequent registrations of vehicles with the original number. Fictitious engine and/or chassis numbers offered to vehicles fraudulently, or engine and chassis numbers of vehicles brought into the country illegally in order to avoid paying customs and excise duty, can be identified immediately.
These four measures, if applied, would make it virtually impossible to sell a stolen vehicle, and would also make it very difficult to use such a vehicle unnoticed. This would of neccessity result in car theft being discouraged to a great extent.
Mr Chairman, I want at the outset to rectify a matter which was referred to by the hon member for Berea yesterday evening. It concerns the concessionary or the person who was awarded the tender to operate the duty-free liquor shop at Jan Smuts Airport. I telephoned this gentleman this morning and he is unhappy because it was said here that duty-free shops are a farce. He informed me that at Jan Smuts Airport in the duty-free liquor shops the price of standard brands of whisky per litre is R8,50 and he considers this to be very reasonable. This gentleman is paying rental of 33⅓% of his gross daily income for his concession there. I do not want to spoil his business, but if he should keep on selling whisky at R8,50 per litre, I think one could consider it very competitive.
What brand? White Horse?
It could be White Horse or Black and White, but I do not know. I shall find out which brand he sells. I mentioned this only because this chap ’phoned me.
Another mistake I made yesterday concerned the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central. He requested that the aviation fuel tax should be abolished. It was abolished last year, and the saving for the industry amounts to R4 million. I gave him the wrong information. He asked for the abolition, but it has already been abolished.
The hon member for Bezuidenhout gave very interesting figures. He also sent me a note to indicate what the tax on fuel for the road fund amounted to. He is perfectly right. In 1974 it was 10%, but it now stands at 4,29%. That strengthens my case considerably with the hon the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs and also in the Cabinet to get another few cents. If we want to rectify the whole matter, it should be 8 cents per litre and then it will be the same as it was in 1974. The Government, however, is not prepared to increase the price of fuel. The only way in which we can get it, is by having a lower fuel price and then by means of the Equalization Fund, instead of giving it back to the consumer, the amounts could be paid into the road fund. I have a feeling that in about September or towards the end of the year there will be a possibility of getting another few cents for road building out of the fund. I think the hon the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs is very sympathetic towards our cause.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister a question? He is surely aware that during the Budget Speech the hon the Minister of Finance announced that the 4 cents required for the building of Sasol II and III would be reduced to 2 cents. The hon the Minister of Finance is taking that 2 cents a litre for himself. Why can the 2 cents not go to the road fund? When a further 2 cents should become available in next year’s Budget, the road fund should be getting the 4 cents. Four cents plus 3,2 cents will yield, 7,2 cents.
That is a reasonable request and I fully agree with the hon member. I can make an appointment for him to see the hon the Minister of Finance, and when he puts his case, I shall stand behind the door to listen to the reply.
Then you should give him your job.
I admit that his request is the right one. We must bear in mind that there are two types of individuals in the Cabinet. The one is the hon the Minister of Finance and he has to pay a lot of accounts.
It can be done under the special levy.
There are various ways of doing it. But I can supply the reasons later on.
The hon member said without roads infrastructure will disappear. That is my point of view, too. I thank the hon member for his contribution.
*The hon member for Rosettenville, generally known as Oom Sporie, reminded me yesterday of the saying in Afrikaans: “Maak spore en dan kan jy vinniger laat wiel.” He wants a railway line in order to allow the traffic to flow more quickly and in this regard he advocated a monorail system. This is a matter that is already being investigated. We have also appointed a committee consisting of representatives of various bodies to go into this matter with a view to mass transport in Johannesburg because this is going to become a problem in the future. We have the co-operation of the various interested parties in this investigation.
The hon member also referred to the showgrounds which are now being moved. I can inform the hon member that there is a transport plan that makes provision for the handling of traffic to the new showgrounds at Crown Mines. The new national road system in the vicinity is also being overhauled in order that it can play its part. Work is in progress to improve certain roads in that vicinity and to build others. Of course, all this depends on available funds. Representations have also been made for a railway line, because livestock must be conveyed to the new grounds. All these are matters that are being thoroughly investigated.
The freeways in Johannesburg form an integrated transport system for that city. We envisage tackling the M4 and at the same time encouraging the use of other appropriate means of transport, such as public transport. The improvement of the existing street systems is also envisaged.
The hon member always makes a good contribution and I wish to thank him for that.
The hon member for Kimberley South discussed road safety and expressed his gratitude for the Perseus project. He pointed out that it cost us R150 000 per fatality and that there have been 9 200 fatalities on the road. The hon member went on to refer to a very serious matter, viz the 1,3 million forged driving licences in South Africa. We are designing an entirely new system to eliminate this kind of illegality, and everyone who wants to oppose that should ask himself how he would feel if one of his own people were knocked over and killed by a person holding a forged licence and whose driving skill had consequently never been tested. Then, of course, there are those who have been tested in terms of the law but who are colour-blind. Their eyes have never been tested. They do not know when a robot is red, green or amber.
†The hon member for Umhlanga again spoke about the airport at La Mercy. There is a priority committee in connection with this project. [Interjections.] We have already spent over R30 million on this project; so we cannot scrap the whole thing. An airport at La Mercy can be a reality at the end of the century …
Which century? Rather tell us about Louis Botha Airport.
Right. We do not want discos and all that jazz at Louis Botha Airport. That report was I think out of context. We are going to spend R12,5 million on this airport and we hope the work will be completed by the end of 1986. No, my officials tell me it will be finished by the end of 1987.
First is was 1985; then 1986 and now 1987!
In any event I can give the hon member the assurance that Louis Botha Airport is high on the priority list. After all we get revenue from this airport. Durban is a very popular place to go to and to hold conferences there. That is why we want to pay special attention to the airport there.
The hon member suggested that we should incorporate the words “don’t be selfish” in our road safety mottos. On my way to the office from Rondebosch I have to get into the main road through a certain intersection. But my experience is that nobody stops. My driver usually says we shall have to wait for a Coloured driver to come along.
*Sir, I am not a racist, but in my experience no White driver will stop. Only Coloured drivers will.
I agree with the hon member as far as road safety is concerned. I say that one can travel a little faster and let rip. My problem is with the fellow who is selfish and drives in the wrong lane. But we shall give attention to this matter and get our traffic officers to make the people who drive slowly, stay in the left lane.
They must be educated.
Yes, education is the main thing.
*The hon member for Welkom asked for the registration of vehicles to be made uniform. That is the ideal, and we are working towards it. I have already writtten letters to all the provinces asking them to make contributions in this regard at the next meeting of the National Road Safety Council. In my opinion that is the solution.
As long as we do not all have to have such big number plates as they have in the Transvaal.
Yes, but the hon member asked for a higher speed limit. Then one also has to have a bigger number plate.
The hon member also made certain proposals relating to roadworthiness tests. I want to thank the hon member for that. I am sorry that the growth of Welkom has not been such as to enable the SA Airways to institute a service there. However, that day will come. The hon member is always asking me when the SAA is going to introduce such a service.
The hon member for Greytown asked that a speed limit of 120 km per hour be introduced. However this matter falls under the hon the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs. Personally I am in favour of it, particularly from a practical point of view. After all, our freeways are built for that.
The hon member also referred to the toll road system. I want to link this to the request for a toll road at Marianhill. The hon members do not understand this toll road system. We do not want to introduce toll roads, but we have no money. A company tells us that they will lend us R30 million for a road at Marianhill at a reasonable interest rate, if a toll is introduced there as a guarantee that the loan be paid back. One cannot lend money without security. We then have to agree to the imposition of a toll which can serve as security.
The Government is the security.
Yes, the Government is security, but one cannot link everything to the Government. If we can obtain the necessary money we shall build a road at Marianhill without imposing a toll.
However, what have we done to help Natal? The chairman of the National Transport Commission—who is also the Director-General of this department—has already called for tenders for the construction of that road since representations for the construction of such a road have been made for many years now.
You have no plan.
Accordingly tenders are being called for for the construction of the road. [Interjections.] The hon member is simply “beneuk” (perverse).
Order! The hon the Minister must withdraw that.
I withdraw it, Sir.
The first contracts for this project have already been granted and the hon the Minister has already deposited the money for that in those “little bags” of his, as he explained to us earlier. Is the money that is supposed to be paid off by way of toll, only the money on the outstanding part of the contract? Will the toll be done away with as soon as the outstanding money is repaid, or is he going to finance the whole project by way of toll?
When the road is paid off, the toll is stopped. That depends on the size of the loan we negotiate and the period over which the road is built. It is not the idea to have an ad infinitum toll but merely to use the toll to build a road. That is the only way we were able to help Natal and could start building the road. However, if we had had the money we should not have had to impose a toll.
The Transvalers can pay for it as holiday-makers.
The hon member refers to Transvaal, but does the hon member know how I feel about a toll road? My standpoint—not that of the government—is that a toll gate should be built between Rustenberg and Sun City. Then, when one has to go and gamble one has to pay a toll fee of, say, R50. That would also give us a few dollars with which to build roads.
Hon members of the official Opposition are shouting “Hear, hear!”
I now turn to the remarks of the hon member for Maraisburg. Some of the officials in the department told me this morning that he was the only member who was really concerned about Government motor transport. This is a major subdivision of this department and accordingly I wish to thank the hon member for his remarks. He realizes that our budget has been curtailed for economic reasons. However, we shall try to obtain additional funds once again. At the moment we have two mechanics for every apprentice. It is contended that if there were more apprentices they would not be given the necessary attention. However we shall consider the hon member’s proposals and I want to thank him for his contribution.
The hon member for Koedoespoort referred to the carnage on our roads. I agree whole-heartedly with him. He also asked that areas be provided along our roads for motorists to use when tired. We have already agreed to this. The National Transport Commission is identifying certain rest areas. Service areas where it will be possible to fill one’s tank and be served at a café, will be left to private initiative. However, rest areas which afford no facilities except a place to wash one’s face will be administered by the National Transport Commission. Nor can we introduce these service areas in competition with existing towns. We must reach agreement with towns because they have already existing cafés and facilities. However, the National Transport Commission is considering this matter very sympathetically. The hon member is quite right that we have very long distances on our roads. For example, it would be very convenient to be able to stop on the road through the Karoo, other side Laingsburg, and be able to wash one’s face. This would help to reduce accidents.
The hon member also asked that the Third Party premium of road offenders be increased fivefold. This is a proposal which has already been considered by the National Transport Commission in an effort to reduce the incidence of accidents on our roads.
The transport museum in the Forum building in Pretoria is a fine museum to visit. I should be obliged if the hon member would pay a visit there. He has asked for the establishment of a transport museum before. I think that that is a fine museum. Indeed, a photograph of me is hanging there!
The hon member for Worcester referred to toll roads, and I have already replied to that.
†The hon member for Port Elizabeth Central referred to the interim report of the Margo Commission. This interim report, Book 5, is being printed at the moment, and as soon as it is completed it will be released. The hon member also asked yesterday whether the interim report will be tabled.
Mr Chairman, is the hon the Minister aware that the commission I was referring to was not the Margo Commission but the study group which is to bring out a national transport policy?
That report will also be made available to hon members. The same applies to the fifth volume of the Margo Commission report.
*The hon member for Roodeplaat referred to Safmarine. Safmarine is near to the heart of many industrialists and exporters of deciduous fruit and citrus in this country. In the event of South Africa being boycotted, South Africa has its own shipping line, Safmarine. I am very grateful that the hon member referred to the importance of Safmarine here. Safmarine is already handling a total tonnage of between 6,5 million and 7 million tons per annum. If I had the money today I should have invited everyone to a tour on the Astor. It is a wonderful experience.
In the days when I was Minister of Agriculture that hon member made money out of the cheese industry and became very rich. I think it would be a fine gesture if he were to stand up and invite all of us to take a tour on that ship.
†The hon member for Amanzimtoti referred to life-savers. We intend writing to the hon the Minister of National Education to ask him for an increase in the grant for these people. I think it is a praiseworthy cause to assist them, because they might save our own lives or the lives of our children. We are very sympathetic towards them.
The hon member made a remark about the way in which I usually reply to requests of hon members of Parliament. I have an agreement with my two departments that whenever a member of Parliament, of whatever party, addresses a letter to me, they should give priority to that. It is not I who is doing it, but the staff in the ministries, the people working with me. I want to thank them for that. I want to thank the hon. member on behalf of the staff of the two departments for the words he expressed in thanking the Minister for the quick replies to hon members’ requests.
I have already reacted to the question about the financing of the National Road Fund. The hon. member referred to the fact that Assocom said that money spent on roads is well spent. I have had discussions with them and they are in favour of increasing the fuel price in order to have good roads. Everybody agrees with that.
*The hon member for Kimberley North discussed the theft of motor-cars. Adolf Hitler said in 1937 that anyone who stole a motor-car in Germany would be shot dead. Subsequently two cars were stolen in Berlin and the thieves were shot dead in a square there. From that time on one could leave one’s key in one’s vehicle in Germany. Here, however, we cannot do so. [Interjections.] It is a real problem. Advocate Botha of the CSIR addressed the transport group of the NP and explained to them the methods that are being researched. The idea of engraving the car’s registration number on the front windscreen is one of the positive ideas to which the hon member referred. Motor-car theft has been developed into a fine art. However, we are discussing final proposals by the Road Safety Council, the Transport Commission and the various provinces with the Minister of Justice and his department, and I hope that by next year I shall be able to say something positive in this regard.
I thank all the hon members for their contributions, particularly members of the various transport groups. They are undoubtedly a “smart” group of men. There is not a single “bitterbek” among them and I am very grateful to them on that score. My sincere thanks go alsa to Mr Eksteen and his staff; indeed my cordial thanks go to everyone who does this job with me. May we have fewer casualties, fewer motor-car thefts and fewer road accidents next year, as well as a happier group of people. This department covers such a wide field that everything cannot be covered in the debate. Nevertheless it is a “smart” affair. Thank you very much for the pleasant debate.
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 13—“Police”:
Mr Chairman, I ask for the privilege of the half hour.
I have a number of matters to raise with the hon the Minister. It is customary in the discussion of a Vote to kick off with some comments on the departmental report. This report is getting more slender as the years go by. It seems to me that we used to get more information from the departmental reports than we are getting these days, although the latest report is very attractively presented. I am sorry that the department has for instance ceased giving us a breakdown of infringements of the law as well as of actual offences. They also no longer break down certain specific offences and crimes where I think the racial connotation is of interest to everybody, for instance the number of people arrested for the possession of dependence-producing drugs. I also notice that while 31 cases of sabotage are reported only 19,51% of them were solved, which is very low in comparison with the percentage cases that are being solved as regards other serious offences. Having said that about the report, I want to get on with some other matters in the time at my disposal.
I must of course once again raise the hardy annual of detentions without trial and I must tell the hon the Minister that as long as I am here, I shall have to raise this until due process and normal habeas corpus are restored in South Africa, although I must say that I do not see any possibility of this happening as long as 70% of the citizens of this country are deprived of any say in the making of the laws that govern their lives. I say this particularly because apartheid and denial of equal opportunity are the basic reasons for the mounting incidents of sabotage and urban violence in South Africa. In such circumstances the normal rule of law does not suffice to maintain law and order. That is the reason why South Africa has been subjected to tougher and tougher abrogations of the rule of law, culminating in the Internal Security Act of 1982.
According to the latest figures I have, there are about 21 persons who are presently being detained under section 29(1) of the Internal Security Act. This is the section which gives the power to detain persons in solitary confinement for an indefinite period for purposes of interrogation. This is the law under which over 4 000 people have been detained since the inception of a law allowing detention without trial in 1967, the original Terrorism Act, as a result of which, I might remind the Committee, 46 people have died, plus another 10 who were detained in terms of its predecessor, the 90-day detention law. According to figures given to me by the Minister in February this year, 149 people were detained under section 29(1) last year, of whom 42 were charged, 16 were found guilty of charges ranging from treason to illegal possession of fire-arms, while 15 of those charged were acquitted. The unofficial figure for 1983 of people detained under all detention laws, that is section 28, section 29, section 31 which provides for the detention of witnesses, and section 50 of the Internal Security Act under which people can be held for two weeks, is 238 people.
Whose figures are those?
Those are figures gleaned …
Adding up the different figures …
What is your authority?
Some of them were obtained in answers to questions. Others are from reports in newspapers and from memoranda prepared, for example by the Institute for Race Relations, which monitors these figures very carefully. The hon the Minister can tell me whether I am wrong, but I do not think I am wrong. I am referring to four laws allowing detention without trial, the fourth of which allows detention without trial for 14 days only, namely section 50 of the Internal Security Act.
Apart from these detainees, more than 200 people were held last year in the independent homelands—whose rulers I might say have learnt very well from their masters in Pretoria—under various laws promulgated for the purpose. At the end of February 1984 there were seven people in detention in Ciskei; 10 in Transkei and two in Venda. There was a bus boycott in Ciskei last year, a great deal of State violence ensued, and many people were killed and hundreds were in fact jailed in the anarchy that resulted. I want to say that when the history of these times is written, a major indictment against the NP Government will be their subjection of millions of Blacks in Ciskei to the tender mercies of a vicious tyrant like Sebe and hundreds of thousands of people in Venda to the authority of an imposter—that is what he is, because he did not win the election—and petty demagogue, like Mphephu.
While we are talking about detention, I do not think we should forget the special detention proclamation 103 of kwaZulu passed in 1973 in an attempt to curb faction fighting in the Msinga and Klip River areas. In all, according to an answer given to me by the hon the Minister, 1 379 people have been detained in terms of that proclamation since 1973, while eight are presently in detention in terms of this proclamation. All, I might add, to no avail, since it has not helped to curb the faction fighting. Only last month about 32 people died in clashes in the district. Detentions can bring no peace to a hopelessly overcrowded, poverty-stricken area into which more and more people are being pushed as a result of Black spot removals and the abolition of the labour tenant system on White farms in Natal.
What has that have to do with the Msinga district killings?
That is the major reason why there is so much trouble in Msinga.
It has been going on for 30 years.
Yes, but more and more people are being pushed into this poverty-stricken area. There is no land available and no place for livestock. You must stop pushing people into that area. Then you might get a bit of peace and quiet.
Where do you get your information from?
I know exactly what is happening in Msinga. More and more people are going into that area. Let me just get on with my speech. The hon the Minister can reply to it.
Just stop talking nonsense.
The hon the Minister must tell me where I am talking nonsense. He has all the time in the world to reply, and I guarantee that he will be talking more nonsense than I.
In December 1982, maybe as a result of the death in detention of Dr Neil Aggett, a code regulating the interrogation of detainees was issued. One person has died in detention under section 29 last year, namely Mr Simon Mndawe, the code of interrogation notwithstanding. As we know, in Venda, although the code does not necessarily apply there, one person died in detention as well.
Namibia has four laws allowing detention without trial, the most important of which are AG 9 and AG 26. I have not yet had an answer to the question I put on 11 April asking the Minister how many people are being held under these laws in Namibia. I also want to know now whether any code operates regulating the treatment of these detainees. The hon member for Cape TownGardens asked a question today about whether there had been any board of inquiry into alleged atrocities committed in Namibia, mainly atrocities alleged to have been committed by Koevoet.
No? The hon the Minister says no such board has been …
No, we have no authority there.
Oh, come off it! The hon the Minister and his colleagues have authority wherever they want it. They are still running that territory. That is why the hon the Minister of Justice issued a notice only the other day stopping a court case from continuing in Namibia. How can the hon the Minister of Law and Order say they have no authority?
The hon the Minister knows there have been a number of court cases in which abuse was proven, particularly abuse by members of Koevoet, which was originally the security branch of the Army and has now become a fighting unit in an operational area, with all the complications that ensue from that. I believe that it is very important that the Minister should ensure that there are no abuses. I understand the problems. The hon member for Sea Point, who accompanied a tour which I was unfortunately unable to go on, has explained the difficulties to me, but he also agrees that these abuses should be stopped. The hon the Minister must do what he can, because such cases give the Police a bad name and, I may say, alienate the local population.
A new element has emerged over the last year or two of Security Police methods. I refer to the use of section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Act. That section is now being applied in respect of security suspects. That section is meant for routine criminal investigation. There is not supposed to be interrogation, but it obviously takes place. No code applies because that section is not meant for interrogation. I want to remind the hon the Minister of the case of Malatsi who was shot dead by a security policeman who was interrogating him. The policeman stated thay this man was arrested under section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Act. I think that, if the Security Police are going to use that Act, in terms of which people are supposed to be produced in court within 48 hours—in 48 hours an awful lot can happen, as indeed happened to Mr Malatsi—the hon the Minister must see to it that instructions go out to make sure that people are interrogated in accordance with proper methods and that no firearms are used when any discussions take place between the accused man and the policeman who has arrested him. In fact, the hon the Minister should see to it that section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Act is not used by the Security Police at all. It is not meant for those purposes. No official statistics are kept of how many people are arrested by the Security Police under that section. Therefore, I urge him to take steps to prevent any more Malatsi cases. I cannot emphasize strongly enough in the House—and I do it at every opportunity—that lack of due process is one of the major reasons why the West has turned its back on South Africa and why boycotts and punitive measures against South Africa are being contemplated in the West. I think the hon the Minister should remove the banning orders on the 12 people who are presently still restricted. He should also release the half dozen people who are still being held in terms of section 28(1) of the Internal Security Act. I believe that the accusations that South Africa is a Police state will then fall away. One man has been detained for well over two years in terms of section 28 of the Internal Security Act, the preventive detention section. I should like to know how much longer Mr Abel Dube is going to be held in preventive detention. I believe the whole method of locking people up in order to resolve school disputes, such as has happened in the case of the Cradock school incident, is extremely heavy-handed and by no means bring peace and quiet to the area in question, as we have seen from the incidents at Cradock, where schools were made to close.
Mr Chairman, in the short time still at my disposal, I should like to raise two or three other matters first of all, I should like to know whether the hon the Minister has reconsidered the whole idea of amending section 32 of the Police Act, which deals with the period of prescription, after which no charges can be brought against the Police for assault or ill-treatment. It is exactly as it is in Russia. If in Russia one is imprisoned for a period exceeding four months, one is charged with parasitism upon one’s release because one has not been working. In this country we also have a mirror image of that same system. If one is locked up by the Police, and if they happen to beat you up or ill-treat you in any way, if you do not bring a charge against them within six months of the alleged assault actually taking place, you are then not allowed to bring such a charge at all. I should like to hear from the hon the Minister where the justice is in that policy.
Why do you not do your homework properly?
I do my homework properly. Or has the hon the Minister perhaps amended that section?
Who does your homework for you, Helen?
I do my own homework. Unlike that hon Deputy Minister, Mr Chairman, who has a whole department to do his homework for him I do not have anybody to do it for me. I do my own homework. [Interjections.]
I actually sit and do my homework in this House. That hon Deputy Minister would have known it if he had only looked carefully enough. [Interjections.] Never mind, Mr Chairman, I do not care what that hon Deputy Minister thinks or says about me. It is quite unimportant to me. [Interjections.]
Will the hon the Minister then tell me whether this particular section has been amended? He will remember that it was recommended by the Rabie Commission that section 32 of the Police act be amended in that way.
Furthermore, I should like to know what has been done in order to curb the Mafialike activities that have been going on at Crossroads. I brought this matter to the attention of the hon the Minister earlier this session. He told me that matter was being investigated. The situation there is really bad. There are two factions. One lot has been driven out altogether. There seems to be total intimidation going on. What is more, the man who has taken over the operation, charges people for putting their names on the list for getting houses, for getting pensions and various other services like that. What has been done to put an end to that? What has been done in relation to the investigation into the burning down of houses by this faction at Crossroads?
Can the hon the Minister inform this house in connection with the instruction that was issued in the 1970’s to the effect that the Police should give Black people a reasonable opportunity of producing their reference books when they do not happen to carry them on their person? I want to know whether this instruction is still in operation, and what steps are taken to make sure when people are arrested for the non-production of reference books, the Police give those people the opportunity of producing their reference books within a resonable period. I want to point out to the hon the Minister that last year 161 443 Black people were arrested for pass law and influx control offences. A number of these Black people were arrested for the non-production of reference documents. That is why I hope that the instruction to which I have referred, is still being carried out. This concerns of course another recommendation, this time by Mr Justice Hoexter, who had some very scathing comments to make about the overcrowding of gaols as a result of the arrest of pass law offenders. I want to know, too, …
We are not responsible for it.
No, you simply carry it out with a smile on your face. [Interjections.] Well, does the hon the Minister not think he ought to liaise with his colleagues in the Cabinet to see what can be done about, first of all, taking this burden off the shoulders of the Police because it is a major cause of racial friction in this country between the Police and the Black population? It is a totally discriminatory law because it does not apply to any other race group in this country. Does he not think he ought to liaise with his colleagues to see what can be done to reduce the number of people who are arrested simply for statutory offences under the pass laws, and curfew regulations for which more than 10 000 people were arrested last year, as well as the non-production of reference books? The law has to be changed. That is the obvious thing.
While I was in the Senate chamber as a member of the standing Committee on the Co-operation and Development Vote I heard the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development announce that we were going to have a further investigation to see what draft legislation can be produced to complete the famous trilogy of the three Koornhof Bills. However, I am sure that there is one thing that it will not do, and which it should do, and that is to abolish influx control.
Finally, Sir, I should like to know whether the hon the Minister of Law and Order considers us to be in a permanent state of emergency. I notice that in March this year Government Notice No 579 was issued by the Minister extending for a further year the total prohibition imposed upon outdoor meetings, with the exception of sports meetings, unless special permission is obtained. I do not know for how many years it has been now that we have had a total prohibition upon outdoor meetings in South Africa that is the sort of situation that should only obtain during a declared state of national emergency because freedom of association and gathering is one of the normal and elementary human rights, and this is something of which this country has been deprived for the past few years. In any event, I think the hon the Minister ought to exclude meetings held in school yards from the prohibition imposed upon outdoor meetings. I also want to say that the police should keep out of school yards. The moment any meeting of students is held in Black schools it becomes an illegal gathering, the police go in and there are ugly incidents such as happened in Pretoria. My advice to the hon the Minister is to tell his police to keep right away from school grounds unless actual damage is being done to the school buildings and assistance is required in that respect.
The last point I wish to make is to ask the hon the Minister what steps are being taken to ensure that young policemen are not sent to large protest meetings such as happened at Driefontein where a young policeman— trigger-happy, so it seems to me—fired a shot from outside the school grounds.
What did the judge say?
Oh, he said he was not guilty. Nevertheless, he fired a shot.
So now the hon member does not agree with that?
No, Sir, I do not. There are a number of things with which I do not agree.
So the hon member will not accept it either?
No, I will not, and I certainly do not accept the remarks he made about Saul Mkize. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, when the hon member for Houghton began her speech, I made some notes and I shall stick to those notes.
The first note I made was that I would not raise my voice in replying to her and that I would not be rude to her. However, I should like to ask leave of my Whips to be able to write the speech of the hon member next year and lay it upon the Table because her whole speech was a hardy annual.
The second note that I made in the first few minutes of her speech was that I was looking for anything at all positive. I call hon members present here to witness the fact that the hon member for Houghton did not strike one positive note throughout the course of her speech. [Interjections.] The hon member for Durban Central can stand up a little later on and make his own speech if he wishes to come to the defence of the hon member for Houghton. In fact, I want to ask the hon member for Sea Point myself to come to the rescue of the PFP because I am sure that they are spoiling his day and letting him down.
*Mr Chairman, I think it is appropriate for us to convey a few general words of thanks to the hon the Minister, the general staff and to everyone who supported salary adjustments for the SA Police. I am certain that the police officers themselves, as well as all hon members of this Committee, are very grateful.
It is very clear that two positive notes have already been sounded as a result of these adjustments. In the first place there is envidence that the various police colleges have had a full intake and that many former members of the Force are keen to return.
Earlier this year, during the discussion of a private member’s motion on crime prevention, the general feeling was expressed that if only there were police officers patrolling the streets, the so-called “bobby on the beat”, it would be possible to solve all these problems in a meaningful and successful way. [Interjections.] I think the matter is far more complex than that, and the hon member for Johannesburg North would do well to learn from the hon member for Yeoville that it is not as simplistic as he tried to imply by way of interjections.
There are other matters as well that have to be considered. On the one hand it is a fact that young people join the SA Police because they yearn for the adventure and romaticism which such a career can offer them. Many other exiciting tasks are also performed by the SA Police. There are two aspects in particular that I wish to emphasize and which would be conducive to more successful combating of crime. Assistance can be rendered by the public through greater vigilance, helpfulness and involvement in the prevention of crime. Then, too, there is the general utilization of modern aids, for example, the computer.
If it is taken into consideration that there are approximately 44 000 policemen who have to serve a population of approximately 30 million and work three shifts a day, one must deduct from the 44 000 policemen the 14 000 policemen who are needed for that shift work. If provision has to be made, on a percentage basis, for days off, illness, leave and court attendance as witnesses, it gives one a further approximately 10 500 policemen per shift that have to be deducted from the 44 000. Then there are plus-minus 1 000 police stations that have to be manned 24 hours a day by at least one police officer per shift. This leaves approximately 7 500 police officers per shift. Then there are a further 1 500 policemen on border duty. If all these things are taken into consideration, it leaves one with approximately 6 000 police officers. Of this number one still has to deduct court orderlies, administrative staff, the running of more than 30 branches which include inter alia the following sections: finger prints, gold and diamond branches, the Narcotics Bureau, the quartermasters, training centres and radio operators and repairers and motor vehicle mechanics. This leaves one with only a handful of men available to do so-called patrol duty or street duty.
If these things are taken into consideration I think the SA Police deserve credit and praise for the exceptionally high success rate in the solution of crime. In January 1984 the success rate was more than 50%. No case is ever closed, and we have evidence of cases that were solved as many as 28 years after they had first been reported. I think that if one also takes this fact into consideration, one must admit that a crime solving rate of 50% is an exceptional achievement.
In South Africa we have a modern Police Force, a Police Force that is geared to the technological century in which it has to operate. It is a force that is alive to the need to use new technological aids in the fight against criminals and terrorism. Consequently the SA Police is at present manufacturing its own vehicles, in co-operation with engineers and the CSIR. The Kasper is being used with great success in the operational area and can, to a very large extent, stand up to landmine explosions.
The computer system is definitely not yet being fully utilized as an aid. The net is being cast wider and wider around the criminal and the terrorist. Certain modus operandi of criminals can be stored in the computer. In addition, trends in criminal patterns can be researched by the computer. Certain scars can be recorded and subsequently utilized in the solution of a crime. What is important is that crime is no longer confined to a certain place and a certain time. A person can be caught in Cape Town 20 years after having committed a crime in Messina.
The combating of crime and the preservation of internal security, of law and order, are the primary tasks of the South African Police. Apart from these tasks the police are also performing a useful service, with great success, with its counter-insurgency unit and its Koevoet unit in the operational area. With the exception of the hon the Minister, six other parliamentary colleagues and a small group of MP’s who visited this operational area in 1982, I do not think other hon members will know what I am talking about when I tell them about a policeman who sang: “Ek is dapper Jasper; kyk hoe sit ek op my Kasper”. This was a man who was prepared to make a stand against terrorism and who referred contemptuously to people who ran away when they came under fire from Swapo with their RPG7’s and other heavy weapons.
This is not the time to discuss the peace and diplomatic initiatives in Southern Africa. Political goals will be dealt with in another debate. But on behalf of the policemen in the Koevoet unit, I want to make a stand against the persecutive attitude of some people. This includes the hon member for Houghton. In particular I also want to refer to Mr Gerald Shaw of The Cape Times. These people wish to present Koevoet as an undisciplined force that is guilty of crimes and of abusing its power and that has no respect for the local population. Swapo is presented as little angels, while their atrocities are conventiently ignored. Since January of this year there have been six attacks on Owambo villages, eight murders, seven reported kidnappings, 31 sabotage incidents and a number of landmine incidents, the precise number of which is unknown to me.
Swapo operates in four areas in particular. In the first place landmines are laid. Secondly there is hard and soft intimidation. Soft intimidation is when Swapo, in civilian clothes, politicises and intimidates the local population, and hard intimidation is coldblooded murder. Thirdly there are ambushes and, fourthly, attacks on security bases.
It must be borne in mind that Koevoet is operating in a war situation in which people grow up under violent conditions. The police have by now had almost 20 years’ experience of this situation. A member of Koevoet is contemptuous of death in the performance of his task.
Order! I am sorry, but the hon member’s time has expired.
Mr Chairman, I am merely rising to give the hon member for Krugersdorp an opportunity to complete his speech.
Mr Chairman, I thank the hon member for Rissik for the opportunity he has given me to complete my speech.
In numerous contacts and skirmishes, members of Koevoet have come face to face with death, and every man is a hero in his own right. What one finds striking when one talks to members of Koevoet is that in the small hours of the morning—they are prepared to repeat this in the sober light of day—they tell you that when peace comes to that region they do not want to be anything but policemen and that they again want to perform their task as policemen.
One dare not ignore the fact that terrorism is a statutory crime, a criminal act, and that the police have a duty and a responsibility in respect of such a crime. A police officer’s basic instinct to do detective and investigative work, stands him in good stead under these circumstances and makes the police a factor to be reckoned with.
There are brilliant examples of arrangements that are being made to enhance the good name and image of the police by means of Koevoet. For example, daily talks are held between the South African Police and other security forces in the territory. They form a liaison committee with the local authority where complaints of abuse of power can be lodged and investigated. Every complaint is investigated by an independent body and the legal processes take their normal course. One finds it impressive to see how the officers and men of Koevoet themselves safeguard their own image and ensure correct conduct. Recently a court case gave rise to unsavoury publicity, but it is important to bear in mind that those deserters from their ranks were brought to justice by Koevoet members themselves. Koevoet has a nucleus consisting of hand-picked policemen from the RSA, but the bulk of the unit consists of local inhabitants who stay and live among the local population. They do not live in isolation and remote from the people in the area. Koevoet would never have been so successful if it had not, through its members, formed part of the local population. Koevoet must in fact fulfil the requirements of the community, namely to afford the local population protection from the foolhardy conduct of the terrorists.
In January of this year political correspondents representative of all the newspaper groups visited the operational area. On behalf of the Koevoet men, I should like to express appreciation for the positive way in which they subsequently reported on their visit.
†I am sorry the hon member for Pinelands is not present at the moment, but I want to join issue with him in his absence. I know that he apologized for his absence.
We have a dispute to settle with one another. On 2 April he was challenged by my hon colleague Mr Aronson to publicly reject the UDF. On 4 April I was at loggerheads with the PFP and the CP stating that these two parties were soft on people who advocate civil disobedience. We know that the hon member for Pinelands is a very competent and able debater, and therefore when he shies away from a particular issue one has every reason to suspect that something is rotten in the State of Denmark. In reply to the hon member Mr Aronson he said that he would rather reject the hon member Mr Aronson, and he shied away from making his stance clear on the UDF.
In response to my accusation he saw fit to accuse me of having the audacity to attack the CP for not considering Blacks to be fellow human beings. He not only twisted my argument, but he shied away from making his stance clear when I accused Mrs Mana Slabbert and Mrs Sheila Duncan of advocating nothing less but civil disobedience. If this country is to move forward in a peaceful and evolutionary manner, it is of prime importance that everybody, including that hon member, should help to create a climate in which law and order can prevail. I now challenge the hon member to make his stance clear on these two outstanding issues or, as on 4 March, to ask his collaborators in the CP to come to his rescue in the same manner as he had come to their rescue on more than one occasion in this House.
Mr Chairman, it is really a privilege to participate annually in the discussion of this very important Vote. It is also essential that we make proper and correct use of this privilege. There is so much one could say about the sound and effective way in which our Police Force is being trained and equipped to maintain law and order in this country and the way in which they are fulfilling their immense and very important task. It is therefore really a pity that we do not always see or appreciate the positive side of the Police Force. One often hears hon speakers in this House placing more emphasis on the negative side. We are aware that it is the task and privilege of any Opposition party to call the hon the Minister to account during the discussion of his Vote, but I think one should as least also find room to single out the positive aspects, from whichever angle one judges the matter.
This year’s annual report of the Commissioner of Police once again reflects the tremendous extent of the activities of the police. In the annual report we are given a concise, yet thorough, picture of the whole. I have read this report; I made numerous marginal notes, but due to limited time, I am unable to refer to them in detail. Having read the report, however, one realizes so much the better what important work this section of our security forces is doing in our country. This year almost R794 million is being appropriated for this Vote, ie R232 million more than in the previous year, and the increase must serve as an indication of the increase in the responsibility and extent of the activities of the police.
It is important to us all that there should be closer contact between us and the Police Force—and when I speak of “us”, I refer to all the Members of Parliament, and not only to those who are members of the study group. Greater involvement will mean that we will have greater understanding for, and sympathy with, the Police Force as a whole. I therefore want to thank the hon the Minister and Gen Coetzee for their efforts in seeing to it that such involvement exists, interalia, the hon the Minister’s invitation to us to visit the border, and on behalf of the hon member for Barberton, I thank the hon the Minister for that invitation. He told me that he found it an educational, inspiring and illuminating meeting with our men on the border.
Having just spoken about greater involvement. I want to address a request to Gen Coetzee. Each year parades are held where members of the Police Force are proudly recognized and given awards, and I wish to suggest that Gen Coetzee should involve us Members of Parliament more often. After all, the political parties enjoy a great deal of support among all the members of the Police Force, and I am sure that they would like to see their representatives in Parliament at those functions.
I should like to refer to a letter from a former commissioner, Gen Gouws, which appeared in Die Burger of 27 April, and which dealt with pensions. In fact, a question was put in that regard this afternoon, and I think it arose from the letter of Gen Gouws. I understand Gen Gouws’s standpoint, but I have also read the reply to the letter by the Director-General of Health and Welfare. It makes sense to me, but I must point out to the hon the Minister that the men who retired before 1973 left the service at a time when the salaries of policemen were indeed very poor. I regret having to put it that way, but I believe that that is the crux of the matter, and I therefore want to ask the hon the Minister to take another look at that aspect.
Another matter I wish to raise this afternoon concerns the very important task of our Police Force, viz internal security. One of the most important tasks of our police is to see to internal security. Now one asks oneself what this entails. It is a comprehensive and almost indefinable task to describe it, but in my opinion, amongst other things, it includes the task of continually being on the look-out for people who wish to sow and propagate revolutionary and activistic terroristic ANC-orientated ideas. This also includes attempts to incite the youth and tune them in mentally in such a way that their thoughts will continually be filled with a sympathetic attitude towards such enemies of our country’s internal security. That is precisely what is happening when one looks at this little diary I have in my hand. It is a diary issued on the campuses of the University of Natal, on both the Pietermaritzburg campus, as well as the Durban campus. If one pages through this booklet, the first thing that strikes one is the large photograph of a Sharpeville scene with Black bodies lying around. Practically for every week there is a day to indicate when some person or another died in detention or “hanged” himself, etc. In my opinion this booklet is part of the incitement of the youth to make them aware of, and prepare them for, those kinds of attitudes. I do not know whether the hon the Minister has had a look at this booklet, but I found it a shocking experience when it came into my possession.
I wish to conclude by saying that the increase in hooliganism, here in Cape Town as well, is taking on shocking proportions. My own wife and a friend of hers were robbed by such thugs outside a very large shopping centre less than two weeks ago. The robbers were wearing helmets and rode large, black motorcycles. I want to ask the hon the Minister whether, like in Pretoria, where national servicemen are used to keep a watchful eye at important centres, one could not also use these men in other cities. This is a sound practice in Pretoria, and I think we are all concerned about this increase in hooliganism, and that national servicemen would be able to lend valuable assistance in combating this kind of thuggery.
Mr Chairman, I want to thank the hon member Mr Theunissen for his positive contribution to this debate. I take pleasure in being able to compliment him in this respect. I should like to associate myself with what he had to say with regard to the older members in the Police Force, and particularly those who are not always able to pass examinations and obtain qualifications which other members of the Force are able to obtain from time to time. I would respectfully suggest that these members have made a loyal and constructive contribution over many years. I should be pleased if the hon the Minister and the department would look at the position of these members.
I wish to associate myself with what the hon member for Krugersdorp had to say when he expressed his gratitude to the hon the Minister and the Commissioner for the tremendous trouble they went to for the Members of Parliament who recently had the privilege of visiting the border. It really was a wonderful privilege, and we want to thank the hon the Minister and the Commissioner most sincerely for it.
Today I want to deal with a matter which does not strictly fall under the police or the Department of Law and Order, but which will in future apply increasingly to the department. We have just had Labour Day on 1 May. Although in the spirit of its declared policy the SA Police does not become involved in, or intere fere with, the normal relationship between employer and employee, there have been increasing signs over the past few years that the ANC and the South African Congress of Trade Unions, as well as various other organizations, are engaged in activities in the labour sphere to which increasing attention will have to be given. Linked to this, the role of the SA Council of Churches, as spelt out in pages 224 to 236 of the Eloff Report, which we discussed recently, points to an alarming trend. In this regard I should like to refer specifically to page 233 of the report, which states the following:
During May 1982 the SA Council of Churches was also encouraged by the PAC in Lusaka—and I quote from page 234 of the Eloff Report:
They also encourage the co-ordination of actions of trade unions and other organizations “to enhance our national liberation struggle”. In addition, the ANC has said by way of its Political Secretary, Mr Mbeki—and I quote from page 235 of the report:
We must take cognizance of the attitude of these people. Clearly we must admit that despite the Government’s good intentions not to interfere in the procedure of negotiations between employer and employee and the trade unions, the Government will have to take increasing cognizance of the fact that, despite model legislation, existing structures are increasingly being presented as being oppressive, and subtle and sometimes overt incitement is taking place in order to use a united work force as a key to a rejecting the existing order.
There is a close link between the organizations to which I have already referred, and the UDF, as the hon member for Krugersdorp has indicated. That link is a great deal more than merely coincidental. The UDF was established in 1983 and it is definitely linked to the ANC’s theme for the year 1983, which was “united action”. We must take note that the Board of Trustees consists of people like Albertina Sesulu, Archie Gomede, Oscar Mpheta and various others. There are also gentlemen like Nelson Mandela, Allan Jospeh, Boesak, Beyers Naude and others who are not well-disposed towards the order in South Africa, who support the UDF. The attitude of the UDF, which accepts that its “main thrust” should be aimed at the working class in all respects, is linked to the ANC’s goals in this regard.
The successes the Republic of South Africa and the Government have achieved recently on the broad defence and diplomatic fronts, should not make the Government and the population of the RSA over-complacent. The elements that are at work against the existing order in the RSA are still active and as a result of the present successes, they will undoubtedly step up their activities and alter their strategy. As we achieve success on a particular front, the strategy of our enemies will alter, too, and we can expect that it will increase in intensity and complexity. As a result of the success we achieved against the ANC and the fact that the ANC is relatively isolated due to the agreements we were able to conclude with our neighbours, our enemies will concentrate increasingly on actions that shift from the direct, physical onslaught to the political and propaganda campaign, as well as to an onslaught in the labour sphere. An in-depth discussion of this is not possible in the time at my disposal. We are dealing with certain constant facts. For example, we are dealing with a sociopolitical situation over which there is very little control. In addition, we are dealing with a very serious recessionary condition, high inflation, a weak gold price and a population composition which, to a large extent, ties our hands as far as the economic measures that can be taken are concerned.
Moreover, there is an increasing number of unemployed, and the labour force will have grown from approximately 10,5 million in 1980 to 17,6 million in the year 2000. This is cause for concern. We will have to create employment opportunities at a rate of 250 000 per annum, and it has already been estimated that a growth rate of 5,5% per annum will be necessary to maintain that level of employment. Of course, we also have a tremendous shortage of skilled workers, something which is also causing a tremendous number of problems. Then there is the influx of a tremendous number of people to our urban areas, from our neighbouring states as well. We will have to bear in mind that the labour front will be the political front of the future. I would predict that there are going to be an increasing number of strikes.
On the positive side, however, we will have to adhere to dynamic legislation in order to keep up. We shall also have to retain a link with the outside world in the labour sphere at all costs. I want to make an appeal that in these times of specialization we shall concentrate on co-ordination in our security family as far as information and security are concerned. I believe that a task that will increasingly await the police is that of specialist training, to a much greater extent than is taking place in the labour sphere at present. We need highly skilled people in that field, people who have to become involved as far as this growing threat is concerned. The SA Police Force has a very important task to perform in this respect in the future as well. A special unit will have to be established which will have to give attention to strikes and labour unrest. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, it is a privilege to speak after the hon member for Roodepoort. He raised an important matter, and I agree with his remarks in this regard.
I do not intend reacting to the remarks of the hon member for Houghton. The hon member and I are quite good friends, and I am afraid that if I react to her speech now, we will perhaps not be such good friends afterwards.
Do not bank on that. [Interjections.]
I do just want to point out that there are so many positive things to say about the police, that we should rather let the spotlight fall on those things without it being necessary for us to react only negatively towards them. As an example, I want to point to the role the SA Police has played, and is still playing, in the important peace initiatives in Southern Africa. Surely this is commendable and really deserves special mention.
As a matter of fact, all the details concerning this role of the SA Police Force are not known. However, we and South Africa have taken cognizance of the fact that the hon the Minister had a hand in the negotiations which led to the signing of the Nkomati Accord. In addition, the Commissioner of the SA Police, General Coetzee, was at the head—and he still is—of the Joint Security Commission between South Africa and Mozambique. This attests to the trust placed in the hon the Minister and in General Coetzee, and we want to assure them that we share that trust. We say to them: Well done. Keep it up.
Furthermore, I want to make a few remarks about two specific groups of policemen. These are the men of the Special Guard Unit and those who are responsible for the security of the parliamentary set-up as a whole. This includes the Parliamentary Building, the President’s Council, Tuynhuys, the H F Verwoerd Building, the Marks Building, etc. As hon members are aware, the men of the Special Guard Unit are responsible for the safety of all the inhabitants of Acacia Park, as well as for the safety of ministerial residences. They do excellent work under the command of Colonel During. Although the existing security measures sometimes prove inconvenient, we nevertheless realize that they are in the interests of our own safety. Besides, these men are always extremely friendly and polite.
This brings me to the second group of men I mentioned, and that is the policemen who are here at Parliament and whom we see every day. These are the men we rub shoulders with on a daily basis. Under the command of Col Mouton and Maj Smit they perform excellent work here where we see them daily. They are a small group of people who guard our safety and see to it that law and order is maintained at Parliament, this Parliament of ours which is a target to the enemies of all of us, enemies who want to disturb the peace here. However, this small group of policemen see to it that we are able to meet and consult here in peace.
Some of these men have been working here longer than some of us have been here. Col Mouton, for example, has been on the staff for 16 years. There is also a Warrant Officer Kobus Baard, who has been doing duty here at Parliament for almost 29 years. What is striking about this group of men is their fine, neat appearance, as well as the particularly friendly and helpful way in which they receive us and act towards us as members, as well as towards members of the public. As we are aware, thousands of members of the public visit Parliament annually. They are received by police officials and are searched in a way which does not give offence. These policemen always have a friendly smile for us and for the public. All of us who are sitting here can attest to that. We want to tell this group of men that we are truly proud of them and we should like to thank them for the very important work they are doing for us and for our country.
Mr Chairman, I cannot but agree with what the hon member for Verwoerdburg has said with particular reference to the members of the Police Force here in Parliament. It is a great pleasure and privilege for each and every one of us to count each and every one of them among our friends. They are indeed quite the finest group of people that one could meet and they do a wonderful job of work.
I want to speak very sincerely to the hon the Minister this afternoon. I want to have a straight talk with him, so much so that I must tell you, Sir, that I have not really prepared what I want to say. What I want to say I have inside of me and is something about which I feel very deeply and sincerely.
For many years our Police Force has not enjoyed the best of fortunes. For many years the SA Police Force has had a torrid time, a hard time. This is to a large extent a group of dedicated men who have done a job of work under difficult circumstances and certainly under difficult circumstances in respect of remuneration. A few years ago it was my privilege to move a private member’s motion in this House in connection with the question of Police pay and, to a lesser extent, conditions in the Police Force. However, that stage has now passed and I want to say that I believe it is in no small measure due to the efforts of this hon Minister. I believe that the present incumbent of this portfolio is a man who has spared little effort in order to improve the pay and service conditions of the SA Police Force. This is something that was very long overdue. Now, however, the Force can hold its head up high because I think that the policeman has at last achieved his correct place in our society. I think he has found the niche where he belongs. It was pleasing to hear it mentioned by the hon member for Krugersdorp a little earlier that once again our police colleges are full and that the problems there appear to have been solved. I sincerely hope that that will be so for a long time to come.
What I am going to say now, I want the hon the Minister to understand, is not being said with any malice. However, I believe that the time has come for the hon the Minister to demand his pound of flesh. I think the time has come for the hon the Minister to demand something in return, something that is owed to the public of South Africa. I feel that what the hon the Minister must now demand is an old-style heavy-handed discipline in the SA Police Force, fair, firm, but just discipline. I do not want to drag out of the cupboard all the sins and ills of people; I merely want to refer to this year’s occurrences. I want to refer to the detective sergeant who held a gun at the head of a detainee. I want to refer—I shall not name them—to the warrant officers who admitted to using electricity in order to shock a person who was subsequently convicted, I think, of stock theft.
The time has now come for the hon the Minister to clear the decks. The time has now come for him to take rotten apples out of the basket because I believe sincerely that, from the top, the Police Force would welcome the removal of every one of those rotten apples. I believe the time has come for an absolutely ruthless application of discipline in the SA Police Force. I think it is long overdue that we see perhaps a few old-fashioned dishonourable discharges and we see evidence of what is happening as a result of the application of discipline in the Force. I regret to have to speak in the manner in which I am speaking, but I do so with sincerity and the conviction that what I am saying is correct. There is the old, old expression that it takes only one apple to spoil the whole basket. Now that the hon the Minister and the heads of the Police Force have the manpower coming forward, they can afford to get rid of all those rotten apples, and they will be no loss to society and they certainly will be no loss to the Police Force.
Having said that, I want to spend the minutes left to me talking about the bobby on the beat, and talking about the bobby on the beat—1984 model. This is something which has cropped up in debates on the SA Police time and time again, but I believe possibly we have been looking at this from the wrong angle. We have become too involved with the physical policeman on the beat and we forget that as time passes by and modem systems have developed, we have to adapt accordingly. I think what has happened—I am sure the hon the Minister will agree with me—is that we have over the past 10, 20 or maybe even 30 years indulged in the construction of large police complexes.
Let me deal with the sort of thing which exists in my constituency. There is a large police complex in Durban North which is immediately adjacent to the constituency of Umhlanga. Some years ago we had the unfortunate murder of an elderly lady in the borough of Umhlanga. I appealed to the then Minister, Mr Jimmy Kruger, to establish a mobile police station in Umhlanga which he did. That police station remains to this day as a small and effective unit.
As the coast has developed—I believe this is also happening in other parts of South Africa—we found that in areas immediately adjacent to old established police stations—I want to refer to two of them, the one at Umhlali and the one at Nyoni, which is just north of the Tugela River and is a police post that was on the old main road to Zululand and has stayed in that particular place— communities have developed. In the case of Umhlali, we have this growing township of Ballito which is right next door, about 5 km away. In the case of Nyoni we have the town which was created by the establishment of Sappi, viz Mandini, and we now have Isithebe next door to it. We therefore have an enormous population explosion in those areas, but by virtue of history we have police stations which are some distance away from them. These areas have been serviced by those police using vehicles, as was the case in the old days in Durban North when vehicles were used to service areas like Umhlanga and Umhloti. My appeal to the hon the Minister is to seriously consider the following: He will find that most of the local authorities are prepared to let him have either ground or premises. I am not suggesting that he should consider sharing their premises, because it will never be satisfactory to share premises with either the Ballito Town Board or the Mandini Town Board. That will not be satisfactory. He should get the bobby back on the beat in the sense of establishing a subdivision of the unit such as those at Nyoni and Umhlali by using the mobile office concept. He should use what the Natal Provincial Council uses for additional classrooms at schools. These buildings are prefabricated and can be taken to where there is a need for them. The hon the Minister should seriously consider doing this.
A number of construction companies are using these mobile homes for office complexes—they are extensively advertised these days—and moving them from place to place until such time as the permanent structure is built. Permanent structures will inevitably need to be built at Ballitoville and Mandini and possible also at Isithebe. In the interim the hon the Minister can effect a saving and stop this nonsense of vehicles running backwards and forwards over great distances in order to police these residential areas. He could maintain a police presence cheaply and effectively in the interim period until such time as there are sufficient funds for the establishment of permanent police stations. This is something which can work not only in my constituency, but in many other constituencies as well. I am sure there are members on that side of the House thinking of the self same situation which exists in their constituencies.
In reply to a question the hon the Minister told the House that R4 million is to be spent on a police complex in Pretoria. Good luck to Pretoria, but it is not for me to comment on this. However, it seems to me to be a gigantic sum of money. Is this going to be one of those enormous complexes again? Is it not better, while we talk about the devolution of power to devolve police strength … [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I want to thank the hon members who have, up to this point, made contributions to this debate. At a later stage of the debate I shall reply more fully to the various contributions that were made. At this stage I merely wish to comment on several subjects and later this evening I shall reply more fully to the various subjects that were raised.
†When I heard that the hon member for Houghton was back as the chairman of the law and order study group of the PFP …
Did you cheer?
Well, I was quite pleased. This afternoon, however, after having listened to her speech, I was very sorry that she has come back. She received another honorary doctorate in the last 14 days.
Are you jealous?
Yes, in a way I am as I have not received one yet.
It seems to me that she has promised those friends of hers that she will ask the same questions and quote the same statistics which she has been doing every year to the detriment of the image of South Africa. It was done for no other purpose. There was in any case no sense in the hon member quoting the same figures, again this year.
They are not the same old figures. They are last year’s figures. [Interjections.]
Why does the hon member repeat the same figure in respect of detentions and deaths that occur every year?
The figures are not the same; they have changed.
Why did the hon member emphasize unofficial figures? What is the hon member’s authority for the figures which she quoted. I know that the hon member goes to great pains to prepare her notes and any figures which she is going to quote. But she did not on this occasion go to any great length to establish the authority for the figues she quoted.
Was I wrong?
I will show the hon member that she was wrong. Why did she not do her homework?
I did my homework. Your figures were the main basis.
Order! I would appreciate it if the hon member for Houghton would give the hon the Minister an opportunity to reply to the questions put to him.
Sir, will you then tell him to stop asking me questions?
The hon the Minister may proceed.
The hon member referred to the Msinga and Klip River problems and blamed the Government for what is happening there. Faction fighting has been going on there for decades, and now suddenly the Government is the cause of it. What is the hon member’s authority for this allegation? She knows very well that Government policy has absolutely nothing to do with the Msinga problem. She knows perfectly well what the reasons are for the faction fighting between those two groups. She knows of the problems that Chief Gatsha Buthelezi has with his people in that area. She must have spoken to him about this. If not, may I give her this good advice: Next time when she speaks to Mr Buthelezi she should discuss this particular issue with him to get the correct facts in respect of the Msinga and Klip River areas. I will give some information to the Committee later in the debate. I am only asking the hon member to make sure of her facts before she makes these allegations. [Interjections.]
I should also like to know from the hon member when, if ever, she is going to accept a judicial decision which goes against her. When, if ever, as long as she is in Parliament is she going to accept a judicial decision that may go against her or that has gone against her? She has never ever accepted any judicial decision of any court in South Africa which she did not like personally. [Interjections.] Yet, she and her party are always the first to ask for the appointment of a judicial commission, but when the decision goes against them it is never acceptable to them. [Interjections.]
The hon member referred to a question that was put on the Question Paper at the beginning of the year. Surely she must know that the Minister of Law and Order of the Republic of South Africa has no authority in South West Africa. As Minister of Law and Order of South Africa he does not apply any law in South West Africa. She knows that. Why then put this to me? She also knows that this question to which she refers was withdrawn from the Question Paper and put to the hon the Prime Minister. Why does she then ask me when I am going to reply to that question that was put earlier this year? I must ask the hon member to go and read Hansard. That question was never put to me. It was withdrawn from the Question Paper and then put to the hon the Prime Minister. Unfortunately I do not have the answer available here now. [Interjections.] The hon member can go and read Hansard herself. All I am saying is that she has given us another example of her failure to do her homework. She is always so careful.
The hon member, as has become customary for some people in South Africa because it suits them, has just made a general allegation on the basis of certain recent cases of abuse by members of Koevoet.
I referred to court cases.
Which court cases in which members of Koevoet, under instructions from their officers—in other words, while they were on duty—were involved, does she refer to? To which court case in which members of Koevoet have been officially involved and charged is she referring? I gave hon members the statistics some four or five weeks ago and I will refer to them again in a few minutes. If I remember correctly, there were four of five members involved in three of four cases over a period of more than five years. The hon member knows that; why, therefore, this general allegation? I challenge any hon member on the other side who is going to take part in the debate to give examples of members of the police unit in the oprational area tho have been involved in abuse of their powers, except those that I have given to the House. Three of four cases over a period of five years is a pretty good record. [Interjections.]
I will reply to the hon member’s question regarding section 32.
Do not be ashamed.
Can the hon member not ask her legal advisers to give her some advice on these issues on which she is challenging me across the floor, Sir? Years ago, when I first came to this House, the hon member was one of the best prepared members in the House in regard to any fact that she used in this House. It would have been very simple for her to ask any attorney member on her side of the House what the latest Supreme Court decision on this particular question was. He could then have given her the Appellate Division’s decision which was given during 1983.
But the law has not been changed, has it?
Why does the hon member not ask her attorney for some advice? I am prepared to pay his account. [Interjections.]
*Mr Chairman, I shall return later to the hon member in general, although the matters I am now going to deal with also have a bearing on a number of the questions that have already been asked by the hon member. I shall also return to the hon member Mr Theunissen, the hon member for Umhlanga and the hon member for Krugersdorp.
I think this is an opportune time for the Government, if necessary afresh or by way of repetition, to adopt a standpoint on the degree of unrest in schools that is prevailing in our country at present. I want to make certain that after this debate there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind about what the Government’s standpoint in connection with this matter is.
During the past few months situations of unrest have occurred in certain Black schools at various places in the Republic, and at a number of schools they are still continuing. Certain organizations and individuals have, in a calculated way, exploited the situation by politicizing legitimate and ostensible grievances in order to further their own aims and in the process manipulating outside the education structure by means of intimidation and violence.
It is my standpoint, and that of the SA Police, that the solution ot problems and dilemmas surrounding the Black education system rests primarily with the Department of Education and Training. The involvement of the Police is one of support and not one of interference. In cases where unlawful gatherings were held in connection with the schools’ boycott, the police leaned over backwards to accommodate the pupils, and acted throughout with the greatest measure of circumspection in handling the situation.
†On this particular issue, I have from time to time informed the hon member for Houghton and other members of this House in regard to our attitude and as to what was happening in practice.
*What has our experience shown, however, Mr Chairman? In the first place there was no co-operation from the scholars concerned, or from the organizations and individuals, in order to resolve these problems. There were serious cases of violence during which innocent people were injured and buildings and property damaged at places such as Atteridgeville, Graaff-Reinet, Cra-dock and Humansdorp. I am grateful that it did not also occur in other places. Teachers, male and female, White and Black, were assaulted and intimidated. There have also been cases of petrol bombs being used against persons and the property of teachers, school inspectors and policemen, which make the situation even more serious.
Consequent upon a discussion between the Minister of Education and Training and myself, I am satisfied that all possible steps are being taken to investigate and resolve all fair complaints and grievances of Black scholars. I now wish to state unequivocally to all those involved that no further concession or exception in respect of any transgression of the law will be made, regardless of where it occurs. There must be no mistake about this. With regard to the use of petrol bombs, I want to confirm what I have already said in this House and outside, namely that no mercy whatsoever will be shown to a person who throws a petrol bomb at a policeman.
In this connection I want to draw attention once again to legislation passed by Parliament last year, and particularly to the penal provisions, namely that such an act will be punishable by imprisonment without the option of a fine for a period of not less than three years and not more than 15 years, and the explosives and any apparatus or conveyance used on connection with or involved in the act or omission may be declared to be forfeited.
Furthermore I wish to emphasize that there will be no hesitation in taking action against the agitators in terms of the provisions of the Internal Security Act. Those already involved in the unrest situation, must know that if they continue their disruptive activities when the schools which are at present closed—and there are quite a number of such schools—reopen, relentless action is going to be taken against them. The Government will not allow this situation of unrest to develop further to the ultimate detriment of everyone involved. I hope it is clear to the hon member that this is the kind of action that will be adopted by the South African Police in regard to this matter.
I should like to make a few remarks on the application of the Internal Security Act. Since the last session of Parliament the chairmanship of the Board of Review has become uncertain because the previous chairman, a judge, was transferred to another division. Mr Justice Human of the Transvaal Division was then appointed chairman of the Board of Review. As hon members will know, Mr Justice Human is a very experienced and respected judge on our Bench. During the period 1 April 1983 to 31 March 1984 134 persons were detained in terms of section 29(1) of the Internal Security Act. These 134 persons can be classified as follows, with reference to the action taken against them after detention: 35 of them were charged with a variety of offences; 21 were charged in five cases of high treason, four with being in possession of banned ANC propaganda material, one with terrorism, one with unlawful possession of firearms and explosives and eight with unlawful possession of fire-arms. In addition, eight were released after the Attorney-General had refused to prosecute; 15 were detained on the instructions of the Attorney-General as witnesses; 51 were released after they had made satisfactory depositions to the police; one was deported and at present 24 are still being held for questioning, a process which at this stage has not yet been completed.
In this connection I want to refer to a report which appeared in a newspaper. I am astonished that the hon member for Houghton did not make use of it. Apparently she did not have it in her possession, otherwise she would have used it, because the number reported here is more than she quoted. It is a typical example of the kind of figure which is periodically bruited abroad, those “unofficial figures” which the hon member for Houghton quoted. The Rand Daily Mail state on 11 April: “453 detained, only 17 convicted—DPSC.” The organization responsbile for the compilation and publication of reports of this kind does so in a calculated and wilful way, and I am saying this by way of repetition. The sympathies of this organization do not lie only with these people. The sympathies of most of them also lie strongly with the ANC and similar organizations.
Does that not include the independent homelands?
Usually in this kind of report no distinction is drawn between how many people are being detained in South Africa and how many are being detained in the various national states or independent states. It is always presented as follows:
†I can assure you, Sir, that I would very much like to see the authority on which they base their figures. That also applies to the hon member.
*This is the kind of report that is bruited abroad. This is the image of South Africa which is bruited abroad, instead of the hon member and other hon members asking for official figures—the hon member does so perhaps once a year—and basing the reports which are published on such figures. Then they would be correct reports. But this is the kind of conduct we find in connection with the detention of people, and these messages are bruited abroad every three to four months.
Five people are being detained under section 28. Four of these people are from Cra-dock and were detained recently. They were the precursors and the ringleaders involved in the unrest which is at present still prevailing in Cradock. Then there is a fifth person to whom the hon member referred, and who is at present still in detention.
In regard to the restriction of persons I should like to report that during the past year further restrictions were imposed in ten cases. This was after 2 July 1983. In nine of these cases there were area restrictions under section 19 of the Act and also a prohibition on attendance at gatherings in terms of section 20 of the Act. In one case there was merely a restriction in terms of section 20. This is one of the ten cases. As hon members know, Beyers Naudé has consistently been restricted since last year. There is one new case of restriction, namely M N Tatsa, who was previously a detainee under section 28, and he is now being restrained under section 19 of section 20.
Helen, you know him.
Yes, the hon member knows all those people. Furthermore I should like to report that all these cases came before the Board of Review and were ratified by the board
I also want to report to this House that good progress has been made with the compilation of the consolidated list. All the cases appearing on the old list are considered by me personally in order to establish whether they should go onto the new list. There are a few hundred cases that have to be considered in this connection. This is an enormous task that we are engaged on. However, good progress is being made. The list is published annually in the Gazette on a specific date and I have every reason to give hon members the assurance that this task will have been completed within five years, as required by the Internal Security Act.
Furthermore, I should like to report, with reference to any assurance which I gave when the Internal Security Act was passed by this House, that we would apply a continuous monitoring action in regard to this Act. This will be done by the existing organizations, the Security Police, as well as the Director of Security Legislation. As part of this monitoring action attention is continuously being given to any reports and comment on security legislation which may be published here in South Africa and abroad.
In this way a proper study was recently made of a report of a commission under the chairmanship of Earl Jellicoe. This is a commission which was appointed in Great Brittain in 1982 to review the provision which was appointed in Great Britain in 1982 to review the provisions of the British Prevention of Terrorism Temporary Provisions Act, 1976. In this Earl Jellicoe report, which was published in 1983, matters are dealt with that were also dealt with in the report of the Rabie Commission and on which the Rabie Commission made findings and recommendations. For the information of the hon member for Houghton, I should just like to refer to the principal findings of the Jellicoe Commission. The Jellicoe Commission said the following:
This is the same principle which applies here in our country in regard to the Internal Security Act. In the second place, the Jellicoe Commission states, in regard to the detention provisions in Great Britain, that it is satisfied that if they were to be abolished, the police would be seriously prejudiced in their actions against terrorism. The hon member for Houghton, however, wants our legislation in that connection to be abolished.
Thirdly, in regard to the detention order that has to be issued by a Minister of State, the commission rejects proposals that courts should be given a say in such a decision. That is what hon members of the official Opposition are asking us to allow in South Africa. However, a very highly respected judge from Great Britain has now arrived at the same finding. He indicated further that the courts were not equipped to take such decisions, which were based on security considerations. That is precisely the standpoint we have consistently been adopting in this country all these years.
Moreover, the Jellicoe Commission confirms the necessity for making it an offence to render assistance to terrorists. Finally, it also confirms the necessity for legislation by means of which organizations may be declared to be unlawful. I am certain, Mr Chairman, that as I know the hon member for Houghton, not one of those findings of the Jellicoe Commission are acceptable to her. Not one of them. However, these are not South African judges who have submitted these findings. Nor is this the South African Parliament that is adopting this standpoint. I am only quoting this so that the hon member may ascertain the authoritative standpoint that is being adopted at the moment in Great Britain, a standpoint which conforms in so many important aspects with our own standpoint consequent upon the report of the Rabie Commission, and which of course also conforms with our legislation.
Mr Chairman, can the hon the Minister tell us how many days people can be held without trial in Great Britain?
Mr Chairman, If I remember correctly, it is seven days. It can, however, be extended. The important point is that it can be extended. The principle has, however, been accepted in Great Britain. The principle of the extension of that particular period has also been accepted in Great Britain.
*Mr Chairman, I should also like to make a few remarks about the present security situation. I want to refer very briefly to certain aspects of it only. I do not think it is necessary to give a full survey of the security situation at this stage, because it has been so fully reported on in the Press in recent months, and also because it covers such a wide field. It extends from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Defence, and even to the Ministry of Constitutional Development and Planning, as well as other ministries, including of course, my own. In this connection I just want to concentrate on a few of its facets. Furthermore, I should also like to refer to our position, as well as those of Swaziland and other countries.
The fact is that the Nkomati Accord, and the initiatives of the Government, have upset the planning of the ANC as well as the involvement of the ANC. the ANC has been very adversely affected by this. There is no doubt about that. As a result of on-going discussions between South Africa and Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana, large numbers of ANC terrorists have been removed from those countries or requested to leave those countries during the past four months. I shall come back to this in more detail at a later stage.
These initiatives have had a very detrimental effect on the established terror strategy of the ANC, because the official front bases of the ANC could not go on functioning in an official capacity. However, we foresee that all these neighbouring states will continue to accommodate ANC expatriates who are on their way to other countries, since these states are bound by the UN’s conference on political refugees. It may also be expected that some ANC representatives will remain in these neighbouring states to see to the affairs of these people, although at a low level. This is not a matter of great concern to us.
Because of the Nkomati Accord, the passage of ANC terrorists from Mozambique to Swaziland has considerably increased, and for many reasons. One of those reasons is that the ANC wants to try to restore its somewhat tarnished image and therefore wishes to make a desperate attempt during the next two or three months to create an image of aggression for the consumption of their friends in South Africa. For this reason, we also expect that far greater numbers of ANC terrorists from Mozanbique will attempt to enter South Africa.
The action taken by the Swaziland Government, the Swaziland Defence Force and the Swaziland Police in this connection is known to us, and one is grateful for it. In order to point out to hon members once again the gravity of the matter, I want to refer to a report which appeared in The Natal Mercury of 1 May, in which the following is said, inter alia, by one of Swaziland’s Ministers:
This is according to the Minister concerned—
These are the people who receive so much sympathy in certain circles in South Africa.
However, it is unfortunately a fact that some of these highly trained ANC terrorists have succeeded in entering the Republic during the last few weeks, not in the numbers that are mentioned, but a small group of them has in fact entered our country. We have also ascertained, from information we have obtained, that they were planning attacks in South Africa by means of car bombs similar to those used in Pretoria and recently in Durban. The first explosion planned by them was scheduled to take place on the East Rand on 14 April, and the second explosion, which was planned at the same time, was a similar bomb attack on a very well-known Defence Force address in the Pretoria city centre. I have pictures with me of the quantities of explosives which were found in this particular cache and which I can identify to hon members.
During the past week or two, we have arrested four terrorists of the Solomon Mlanga sabotage group. They are members of the Special Operations Unit of the ANC and they are being detained for questioning at present. On the basis of information which we had obtained from them and others, we found these explosives and the other equipment which I have mentioned in the vicinity of Springs. Just to give an indication of the sophistication and diversity of these arms. I want to point out that the one group appearing on the picture includes six Russian demolition charges with a combined mass of 36 kg. This is similar to the amount of explosives used in the Pretoria bomb explosion. Once again this was meant for a well-known address in Pretoria. Secondly, the other group consists of five Russian demolition charges with a combined mass of 16,5 kg, which were intended for a particular event which was to have taken place on the East Rand on 14 April. At the same arms cache we found all the other sophisticated equipment which was necessary to activate these particular bombs. There was a radio transmitter of British origin. In saying this, I am not suggesting that it came directly from Britain; I am simply identifying it. There were also two radio receivers, two electronic timing switches with 15, 30, 45 and 60 minute settings. There was an electronic time switch adjustable from one minute to 12 hours, electronic detonators, 12 mechanical detonators, a circuit tester and a battery charger. The radio-controlled equipment which was to have been used for detonating the car bombs was very ingeniously designed, according to our opinion and knowledge. Particularly impressive were the safety switches which had been built in to ensure that the charge would not be activated by a “stray” radio signal.
We must be vigilant at all times, therefore, and we must not accept that because the Nkomati Accord has been entered into and because we have launched successful peace initiatives, these activities are on the decline. In Swaziland, the police of that country have taken strong action against the ANC. On 19 April, while searching the house of a well-known ANC member in Manzini, they came upon a garage which was almost filled with explosives and other weapons, including 12 TG50 demolition mines, 34 limpet mines—all these things were intended for use in South Africa—12 land-mines, 29 and 34 blocks of TNT, 34 hand grenades, pistols, pistol holsters, rounds of ammunition, AK guns and 21 ordinary mines. All this was recently found in one arms cache in Swaziland.
On 20 April, Swazi police surrounded another house. People were shot dead. Swazis were shot dead there. In another fight, some of the Swazi policemen were shot dead in their action against the ANC. On 22 April they once again came upon an arms cache not very far from the South African border, where large quantities of arms and ammunition, including 44 hand grenades and explosives, were found.
I am furnishing this information to indicate that the onslaught on us from that quarter is not diminishing at all, but is probably increasing. For the next two months at least we may expect this to be the case.
In recent weeks, a debate has been conducted in South Africa—I do not wish to elaborate on it—about the extent to which we are entitled to ask Great Britain, in all courtesy, whether this is what may be expected in the case of countries which have maintained good relations with each other for decades. Must we expect this of that Government? We give information at Government level to the British Government concerning people in Britain who are involved with the South African Communist Party, with the ANC and with other organizations, and who do the planning from there to enable acts of aggression such as these to be committed in South Africa. From there, they do their planning through the ANC and the South African Communist Party’s regional offices in Lusaka and Maputo. Maputo was actually the operational regional office of the ANC, but it is hoped that this will now disappear. However, nothing is done about the planning which is carried out from London and which results in these acts, “as long as they do not contravene any British law within the United Kingdom”. Surely this is an answer which simply does not satisfy. I shall leave the matter at that, because a colleague of mine may come back to it later during the discussion of his Vote.
With regard to our affairs, I just want to place on record, if the British Government does not know it, although we have told them repeatedly, that the address of the South African Communist Party and of the ANC in London is: 28 Penton Street, London N 19 PR. I shall also be able to supply their telephone number if they require it. There have been cases in recent years where people from London have not only planned attacks in South Africa, but have actually come to this country to carry them out.
Did you know that when they phoned you to inform you about the yes-vote in the referendum? [Interjections.]
I do not know what the hon member is referring to. However, I will come to the referendum later.
*In 1981, a terrorist attack took place at Voortrekkerhoogte. That attack was planned from Britain as well as here in South Africa by British citizens. On 12 August 1981, ANC terrorists launched a 122 mm rocket attack on Voortrekkerhoogte. In the attack, a Black woman was seriously injured and residential houses and certain military buildings were damaged, as was reported in the Press at the time. We can only thank Providence that more people were not killed or injured.
The investigation into this matter revealed that a carefully planned strategy had been followed and that it had been launched with the active co-operation of three Britons and one Belgian citizen. The fact that this planning was done from the ANC headquarters in London is well-known to us. We have also obtained the names of the persons involved. They are Nicholas Francis Henry Heath, with his address in London; Bonnie Lou Muller, alias Heath, with her address in Britain; David William Hedges, with his address in Britain as well as his passport number. All this information was made available to the British Government. All the particulars concerning the Belgian citizen, namely Guido Luciaan Magaret van Hecken, were conveyed to the Belgian Government. We also have all the particulars about how and when they entered the country and what their movements in the country were. Some of them left the country and later returned. All this information was officially conveyed to the two Governments. We received a letter from the British Government in which the following was said, inter alia:
I am placing this information on record so that there need not be any doubt about the involvement of people from London in activities against South Africa and the acts of aggression which are planned and carried out against South Africa from the British headquarters of this organization.
I also want to refer to another aspect in this connection, namely the question of Angola and the ANC. I do so against the background of the present discussion between the Angolan Government and ourselves and also against the background of the measure of agreement which already exists between the two Governments and to which effect is being given. The matter which I want to place on record today is one which is still under discussion, but in spite of that, I should like to bring certain facts to the attention of hon members.
†The path trodden by a typical terrorist member of the ANC or SACP Alliance usually begins either inside the RSA or in one of the neighbouring or national states where he is recruited. Thereafter he is transported to Dar-es-Salaam where he is taught ANC and SACP history for several months while also subjected to various security procedures. From Dar-es-Salaam he is flown to Luanda where he undergoes a stringent security process by the ANC security department and where his biography is recorded. At that stage he receives a nom de guerre known as a MK name, derived from Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC. From this stage onwards only the ANC security department is supposed to know the recruit’s true identity. His military and terrorist training now start in earnest in various training camps in Angola which have been identified. All this information has been given to the Angolan Government. These training camps in Angola are at Qui-baxe, Pango, Malanje, Vienna and Caxito. Training includes the following: March and drill, fire-arms training, rocket training, politics—this is given by political commissars— engineering, all aspects of sabotage and explosive training, topography, particularly map reading, military combat work, which covers all aspects of field operation, including the use of dead letter boxes, of which we have had experience in South Africa. It also includes communications, instruction in radio procedures as well as secret writing techniques.
It is not unusual for a recruit to spend up to two years on the above training programme, and thereafter the most promising terrorists are selected for specialized military training in Russia. There a platoon commander’s course in tactics, an artillery course and a commanders—in other words, officers—advanced infantry training course are all offered at a military camp in the Ukraine. Other such courses have been held in Odessa and at the so-called Centre 26 near Moscow. Artillery training for these people includes training on the 122 mm missile launcher, the 82 mm and 60 mm mortar and the Zeke-U-anti-aircraft gun. Other promising terrorists are sent to East Germany, the German Democratic Republic, and there they are housed at Teterow, near Rostock. There they receive specialized further training in sabotage, communications, map-reading and conspiracy work. During training in Angola regular use is made of German, Cuban and Soviet experts. Training in the USSR and the German Democratic Republic is usually carried out by Soviet and East German officers. In Russia the terrorists openly admit that they are ANC or SACP cadres, whereas in East Germany they pretend to be students following a course in agriculture.
We estimate that the trained terrorist manpower available to the ANC can be between 1 500 and 2 000 persons under Umkhonto we Sizwe discipline. Approximately 300 of these are deployed in the so-called forward areas in some of our neighbouring states. From the latest information we received I would not be surprised that in one particular country there were a few more than 300 at a particular stage in the last few months. However, we have never had more than 10 to 30 deployed on service in the Republic as such at any particular time. Therefore the message that is being sent into the world that large numbers of ANC terrorists are presently in South Africa is just not correct.
It should also be borne in mind that the ANC has been training terrorists since the early 1960’s, which means that it also has many other individuals who have been militarily trained but who are no longer involved in active military roles. It has over the past year become increasingly obvious to the South African Police that the ANC is having more and more difficulty in recruiting persons willing to return to South Africa on missions for Umkhonto we Sizwe. The obvious reason for this is the success achieved by the South African Police, the security branch in particular, in uncovering ANC members and their missions. At present approximately 350 ANC “dissidents” are being detained in the Quarto prison camp in Angola, while numerous others have according to our information been executed. The ANC has also lost quite a number of its ranks by defection to the South African Police. So we are not dealing with such a large and enthusiastic group of people as is implied. As a result of the reluctance of dissidents to return to South Africa, coupled with the lack of voluntary recruits and having realized that the capture or defection of long standing cadres represents an intelligence bonanza for the South African Police, the ANC has had to turn to the hiring of petty criminals to commit its foul deeds, of which we had experience with the Pretoria car bomb incident. These hirelings are given crash courses in sabotage, combat and conspiracy work, and they then carry out specific tasks for their masters, and once again I refer to the Pretoria bomb blast.
It must also be clearly understood that at this stage the ANC’s internal manoeuvre is very limited in scope. For this reason their external manoeuvre is far more important to them, including as it does, military and propaganda elements. I must however again emphasize that the ANC has no permanent internal infrastructure in the Republic. They know as well as we do that without this type of infrastructure any insurgent style organization is limited in its military actions to crossborder hit-and-run or reconnaissance style missions.
The SA Police together with the other elements of our security forces have a fine record over the past 23 years of rooting out ANC and other illegal violent or subversive activities in the RSA. The fact that the ANC today remains so militarily ineffective when judged in relation to other Soviet-backed terrorist organizations, speaks for itself. Our counter to terrorist strategy in this country works, and the backbone of that strategy is the Security Branch of the SA Police, its staff and their agents who are on the ground, who live among the people, who know them well, who speak the languages and who are in every sense of the people. It is with the assistance and co-operation of all the people in South Africa that the effectiveness of the ANC is blunted.
*In this connection I should just like to express one final idea on this subject. The peace initiatives made by our Government during the past 18 months have caught all our enemies on the wrong foot, and it is clear that these organizations and their Russian masters have been thrown into confusion, and it is going to take them a considerable time to recover, if they ever do.
In this regard I should like to convey my sincere thanks to the hon the Minister of Foreign and his department today for the strong guidance they have provided in this connection, and also for the assistance they have given to the SA Police in the combating of the onslaught on the RSA in the sphere which I was only partially able to identify here this afternoon. There are many others who are also members of the team, for example the Defence Force, the National Intelligence Service and so many other departments and/or Ministries, and to them I want to say that we shall do the follow-up work in practice, on the foundation of the fine work that has already been done around the conference table.
There are some of our neighbouring countries, however, that are still to a certain extent dragging their feet over our friendly request in connection with the ANC and other people who are planning and also executing hostile attacks on our country. Once again, therefore, I want to emphasize the Government’s standpoint, namely that we are not prepared to accept that any country should serve as a springboard for terrorist attacks on the Republic. We have already demonstrated in the past that we are in earnest about this standpoint, and no country should expect us to deviate from it in any way.
Mr Chairman, could I just express a few thoughts about our Koevoet unit in the operational area, to which the hon member for Houghton and other hon members have also referred? I should like to avail myself of this opportunity to place full particulars about this particular police unit on record so that there need be no further misunderstanding about Koevoet and its involvement. If any misunderstanding in this connection does exist, hon members should please avail themselves of the opportunity of putting questions on the matter to me so that I can try to reply them to the best of my ability. After all, it is not in anyone’s interest that the campaign, to a large extent a hostile campaign, against this police unit should be continued.
It is a vendetta.
Yes, it is a vendetta, and it is being waged because Koevoet is such a successful unit. The tragedy of the matter is, however, that the hon member for Houghton talks about this subject although she knows nothing about it, except for what some of her friends have told her, namely that this unit is supposedly malicious.
I got the information from a very important lawyer.
If that was the one in South West Africa, the hon member sought information from the wrong attorney.
The struggle against terrorists in South West Africa commenced on 26 August 1966, and owing to the fact that Swapo terrorists consist primarily of Wambos, most terrorist activities have always occurred in Owambo-land. Thousands of Wambos left this South West African territory illegally to join Swapo and the security forces have an uphill struggle combating terrorism in Owambo. Swapo succeeded, by means of intimidation, propaganda and the family ties existing between them and the local population, in maintaining a permanent presence in Owambo. The population was intimidated and influenced to such an extent that the rendering of assistance to Swapo occurred on a large scale. Acts of sabotage, murder, abduction, land-mine attacks and ambushes formed part of the daily intimidation. Various terrorists were also active in the south of South West Africa, particularly in the traditional White areas and towns, where they committed acts of sabotage and other crimes. Swapo spies travelled back and forth and the prevailing conditions made tracking them down extremely difficult.
As a result of the fact that the ordinary conventional methods of warfare appeared to be ineffective in combating terrorism in Owambo and the rest of South West Africa, it was decided after consultation between the SA Defence Force, which at that stage was engaging in the struggle on its own; and the SA Police to form a special unit to gather information and make it possible for the security forces to track down and wipe out the terrorist gangs. We did not simply send a unit of the SA Police to the operational area arbitrarily. It was a calculated operation at the request of the SA Defence Force as a result of the problems which I have sketched.
During January 1979, a special unit of the Security Branch, under the command of Colonel J G Dreyer, now Brigadier Dreyer, was established in Owambo with instructions to gather all possible information concerning the modus operandi of the terrorists. At its inception this unit consisted of ten White members and Black members of the Security Branch, supported by 64 Wambo special constables. For various reasons, but particularly because one object of this unit was to infitrate Swapo, the establishment of the unit was initially kept secret. That is true. With the passage of time it became apparent that the initial basis on which the unit had come into existence and according to which it would transmit all information it obtained about terrorist movements to the combat units of the security forces while the latter would carry out the pursuit operations, gave rise to problems in practice. One can understand this. In many cases the unit had to follow the tracks of terrorists across a vast expanse of territory, and when the unit ultimately succeeded in tracking down the terrorists, the long distances, impassable routes and dense undergrowth made it impossible for the combat units of the Security Forces to mount their attacks in time, with the result that the terrorists got away. To overcome these problems, the unit itself in due course developed a combat capacity and began to operate as a combat unit, together with the rest of the security forces. Anyone who has had experience of the conditions in that territory will appreciate this development which occurred.
Exiles from South West Africa continued to swell the ranks of Swapo, and during 1980 Swapo began to concentrate on a large scale on Kaokoland in an attempt to activate that territory in the same way as it had done to Owambo. Several murders and other atrocities occurred in Kaokoland. Once again urgent talks were held between the SA defence Force and the SA Police and it was decided that this unit, under the command of Brigadier Dreyer, would also be deployed in Kaokoland. This met with the approval of all of us. In this way unit also began to operate in Kaokoland. However, terrorism also escalated to Okavango and once again the assistance of this unit was called in and it was requested to operate in that territory as well, and it subsequently became involved there.
Naturally the unit also increased in size. Today this unit is operating on a full-time basis in Owambo, Kavango and Kaokoland. In addition, the existence of the unit is no longer being kept a secret. It is a well-known unit, forming part of the security forces in the operational area. It is an outstanding unit with an excellent combat record as part of our security forces in the operational area. They have developed unique fighting methods. According to everyone’s experience they probably have the best trackers ever, They have succeeded in building up a network of informants that enable them to track down and, in co-operation with the other security forces, to eliminate Swapo spies. It has been clear to all of us for a long time that this unit is a thorn in the flesh of Swapo and all Swapo sympathizers. That is why this unit must now be destroyed by means of this vendetta—at least that is what they think. However, they have another guess coming.
In recent times criticism has been levelled at this unit from various quarters. Some hostile newspapers have availed themselves of the opportunity to go so far as to denounce the unit as a murder squad and to couch reports on the unit in such terms that the impression of inhuman cruelties and lawlessness with the connivance of the authorities is being created. There is sufficient authority for what I am now saying. With reference to these circumstances, reagrd must also be had to certain facts. Most of the criticism stems from court cases in which members of the unit appeared as accused persons. A case to which particular publicity was given, was the recent case in which Johannes Paulus and Paulus Matheus were found guilty in the Supreme Court in Windhoek during September 1983 of murder, attempted murder, rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances. This was one of the cases that was used. These two accused were attached to this unit as special constables.
First of all I just want to tell the Committee that most of the members of this unit are special constables and members of the local population recruited and trained there to serve in the unit. The officers’ and warrant officers’ corps consists primarily of members of the SA Police. Those members are members of the SA Security Police and fall under the authority of the Minister of Law and Order of South Africa. The other members of Koevoet, the special constables, are members of the Police Force of South West Africa and are remunerated from the South West Africa Police account. They are, as far as discipline goes, held accountable in a departmental context.
Mr Chairman, could the hon the Minister just tell the Committee very briefly what training these special constables undergo?
The special constables receive training of approximately three months or sometimes four months at Ondangwa, where there is a special training base. From there they are posted to Koevoet, to other units of the SA Police or to headmen to render surveillance services or do special guard duty. In this way they are spread throughout Owambo. They are even stationed for duty with the Owambo Government and other Government bodies in Owambo. However, if they are allocated to Koevoet, they undergo further training to equip them to function in a unit context in Koevoet. I am not certain, though, how long that training lasts.
What I want to emphasize is that these accused to whom I have referred, committed these offences while they were deserters from Koevoet. They were not in the service of or under the command of Koevoet: They were deserters. As far as they are concerned, it should not be argued that it is Koevoet that committed the murders and rapes. What is more, the accused were tracked down and caught by members of Koevoet and were then ultimately brought before the court. Strict action is taken against members of the unit who commit crimes.
The hon member for Houghton said that the hon member for Sea Point would discuss the question of discipline. I shall be very pleased to listen to him. In the meantime, however, I just want to emphasize that strict action is taken against members of the unit who in any respect commit crimes. Just as in any other branch of the SA Police Force, they are subjected to the same discipline, and the same laws are applied to them, with the same degree of seriousness as in the case of any other member of the SA Police Force. In many cases members of Koevoet are also accused of crimes which were in fact committed by Swapo terrorist and other miscreants. Such crimes are nevertheless attributed to Koevoet.
This unit, during the time it has been in existence, has already seized arms to the value of more than R4 000 000. Why is this unit not also referred to with appreciation? Why are the actions of this unit, that has already been involved in 721 skirmishes, not also referred to with appreciation? The hon member for Houghton is not even listening to me now. Her conversation with the hon members behind her is simply too important to her now. [Interjections.] Mr Chairman, I wonder whether the hon member for Houghton would not be so kind as to listen to me while I am trying to inform her about this matter. [Interjections.] I am asking why this unit is not occasionally referred to with appreciation as well, it is a unit that has already been involved in 721 skirmishes with terrorists. Moreover, this unit has also been responsible for the elimination of 1 624 terrorists. They seized arms to the value of more than R4 000 000. I have the full specifications of those arms with me here. This happened inside Kavango, inside Owambo and inside Kaokoland. In addition to this, 12 White members of this unit have been killed, while 29 White members of the unit have been seriously injured. Six Black members of the unit have been killed, and 332 injured in the performance of their duties. Apart from these skirmishes in which they were involved, members of the unit were also involved in 93 landmine incidents. Hon members who have paid a visit to the border know what great damage can be caused by landmines. This is not a unit that is conducting a reign of terror. It is an extremely effective combat unit, comprising part of the overall security services in the operational area, under the supreme command of the senior general of the Defence Force, who is in charge there. It forms part of the combat forces in action there. The unit also operates within the disciplined military context. It is therefore not a unit that sows devastation, regardless of the “hearts and minds of the people”. The members of that unit are drawn from the population itself. They are operating in areas in which their own relatives live; the areas in which their parents, their brothers and sisters live. That is where they are operating. Is it therefore likely that people working under such circumstances, people who have themselves been drawn from those areas, will in fact be people who in a calculated way will commit murder and wage a campaign of terror; and do so among their own people? Let us be practical and realistic. Let us at least see matters in their correct perspective.
All I ask is that we should not, from this House, echo the views of people who try to pin the crimes committed by deserters, absconders and criminals on Koevoet. A few weeks ago the hon member for Green Point—if I remember correctly—asked me whether any members of that unit had been found guilty of crimes since the inception of the unit. My reply to that was in the affirmative. I said that four members of the unit had already been found guilty of crimes. One of them was found guilty of pointing a fire-arm, and three of common assault. That is the record of that unit, and I am placing it on record here. Neither the hon member for Houghton, nor any other hon member on the opposite side must ever make such unsubstantiated allegations again.
My letter to Mr Gerald Shaw of The Cape Times was published in that newspaper. Consequently I shall not deal with it here in this House. Unfortunately I do not have the time to do so. The reply of Mr Gerald Shaw was also published together with my letter. Can you believe it, Mr Chairman, that a senior newspaper editor such as Mr Gerald Shaw tells his readers and the readers of South Africa that Koevoet adopts the same policy that Lord Kitchener and the British troops adopted in the Anglo Boer War, namely a scorched-earth policy? Surely we know what the two Boer Republics looked like after Lord Kitchener had finished with them. Everything had been razed to the ground. People were shot dead and women and children carted off to concentration camps. More than 26 000 women and children died in those camps. However, that was the policy of the British Government. They were simply carrying out British government policy. Why does this senior newspaper editor compare a successful combat unit in the operational area, a unit deriving from that area and manned by people from that area, with the disgraceful conduct and attitude of the British Government and the British fighting forces during the Anglo-Boer War? Surely the hon member knew what reply I gave to the hon member for Green Point in this House. I reiterate that this kind of report which appeared in The Cape Times appeared as a calculated attempt to do harm, and for no other reason.
With these few matters which I have explained, I hope I have brought greater clarity to hon members in regard to this subject.
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister dealt with a number of topics but, because of a lack of time, it will obviously not be possible to react to them all.
For example, the hon the Minister dealt in some detail with facts and figures in regard to the situation of the ANC inside and outside the country. One cannot blame the public if they are sometimes not quite sure where they stand and where the ANC stands. Occasionally we have the overblown threat of a total onslaught and then again that very same situation is minimized. Therefore, the only way to deal with the ANC situation effectively both internally and externally is on the basis of facts and figures, as was done by the hon the Minister, rather than merely to make hollow claims. One welcomes that fact.
The hon the Minister also referred to the Jellicoe report. The hon the Minister knows that Lord Jellicoe will cringe if he knows that the hon the Minister suggests that the Jellicoe Commission report and its recommendations correspond to the provisions contained in our security legislation. I am sure he did not really mean that. He was just trying to score a silly point.
Has the hon member read that report?
I have not read the report itself but I have read the recommendations and the debates on the report and I know what the report contains.
The hon the Minister also knows through the person of the hon member for Sea Point what our attitude is in regard to the British stance vis-à-vis ANC offices and planning in London. That position has been made clear.
I want to deal very briefly with one aspect that was raised during question time today in regard to the very lively party that was held in Cape Town. Hon members including myself all laughed about it. If that was an isolated incident then one could just ignore it. However, just two days ago, I noticed a report in The Natal Mercury of 30 April under the heading: “Police use teargas to break up party”. This was a similar incident, a lively party. As far as the party in Cape Town was concerned, the strongest threat to the police was that the people became obstreperous. Since when does one use teargas to disperse a group of people attending a private party in a residential area? Do the methods used by the police carry the approval of the hon the Minister? There was no suggestion that any of the policemen’s lives were in danger, that they were being threatened with violence or that they were in fact injured. The hon the Minister has told us that that did not happen. In fact, nobody was arrested. I simply want to ask the hon the Minister what his attitude is in regard to the use of teargas in situations such as this. To my mind there would appear to be excessive use by the police in this respect of the equipment and weapons they have available to them, and I feel that other methods should be used. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Umhlanga made an appeal to the hon the Minister to ensure that a greater degree of discipline is exercised in the Police Force and that this should be made public. I want to refer to this point very briefly as well. This relates to the Lamontville/Chesterville issue last year in May and June. The hon the Minister knows that many allegations were made in this connection. However, it is a fact that affidavits were handed to the hon the Minister and to the Divisional Commissioner of Police in Durban, and that undertakings were given by the Divisional Commissioner of Police in Durban that the allegations would be investigated. One knows that incidents concerning individuals who violated the law were investigated and that those individuals were charged. I want to ask the hon the Minister whether the charges against policemen were investigated and, if so, what the results of those investigations were. I say this because unless the investigations are made public the public will not accept the fact that those investigations have actually taken place.
Related to the same unrest problems in 1983 in Lamontville/Chesterville, I want to deal with one aspect that relates to the procedure which is to be followed when individuals lay charges against the police. I refer specifically to unrest situations and not to the day to day individual charge that one may want to lay against the police. One had the problem there that people who claimed that they had been subjected to violence from the police were asked to lay a charge at the police station from which they thought the police were operating. Does the hon the Minister seriously think that those individuals from those townships would have the confidence to lay charges there and to make claims against the police who were operating from that police station? In theory one could say that they should have done this, but in practice it did not happen despite the fact that there were numerous affidavits setting out the details. There are reports and affidavits of people who actually went to the police station and who were chased away.
This is the point I am trying to make: Would it not be better when there are unrest situations for the police to identify a specific senior officer, through the Press for example, as being a person to whom complaints can be made about police action, a person not attached to a police station in the area where the unrest is occurring? If that had happened in the Lamontville/Chesterville situation, if an officer had been identified by name and rank, then I believe it would have led to greater satisfaction and greater clarity. I merely put that to the hon the Minister to see whether there is any possibility of providing such a procedure.
Brief reference was also made by the hon member for Umhlanga to the case in Volksrust where policemen were found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. It was found at their own admission that they used the electrical shock treatment. [Interjections.] What did the hon the Minister of Agriculture say? Did he have a question to ask?
I have said you are anti-police.
The hon the Minister is one of those individuals who believe that a Minister’s Vote is brought before the Committee for us to scratch his back, but in actual fact a Minister’s Vote is here for us to take his task and the task of his department under scrutiny ; we are not here to scratch his back.
I want to ask the hon the Minister of Law and Order whether there are standing orders or regulations in the Police Force which deal with the use of electrical equipment for shock treatment. One knows, if one has practised law …
You know perfectly well that there cannot be any standing orders for that, except to prohibit it. There cannot be any standing orders for the use of it.
One knows that these claims are made repeatedly, and in this case it came out and it was proved because one of the two persons remained alive to give evidence. What steps are being taken by the police to prevent the use of this sort of equipment?
I shall reply to that.
What steps have been taken to make sure that it is not used again?
If one looks at the question of discipline in the Police Force on the basis that the hon member for Umhlanga put it forward when he said that the rotten apple needs to be removed, one gets the impression—I have not been here long enough to make a judgment on this—that perhaps from the point of view of the Commissioner of Police, there is a determination to open up more than in the past these types of irregularities. I may be wrong but that is the impression I have. If I am correct, that is to be welcomed because that is the only way in which there can be trust between the public and the Police Force, the only way in which there will be assistance between both parties.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Durban Central basically concentrated on a few specific incidents and he put specific questions to the hon the Minister about them. Unfortunately, I cannot react directly to most of those points, but one point he made to which I do want to refer, is that if investigations into misconduct are not made known to the public, the public cannot assume that those investigations were in fact carried out. I wish to object to that, in the sense that at least we still have so much confidence in our police, the Commissioner of Police and the hon the Minister that when they issue a statement that an investigation has been held, we accept their word. I think it is an outrageous reflection on the integrity of the Police Force when it is stated that we cannot accept their word when they say that an investigation has in fact been carried out. I really do object to that.
I also want to refer to another point raised by the hon member for Houghton. I did not know beforehand when I would be participating in the debate, and I could therefore not warn her in advance. The matter is not that important, however. A matter which is repeatedly referred to is the alleged irregularities in respect of the implementation of security legislation in the independent Black states. The Government is blamed for this. She said that they “have learnt well from their masters” how to abuse this security legislation. If one understands the concept “independence” at all—although it is not truly recognized by overseas countries—one realizes that we are doing our best on our part to give those people full independence and to leave it to them how to act. When security legislation is abused in Zimbabwe, surely the hon member and other hon members of the PFP would not blame it on Britain, because Britain is the country which gave Zimbabwe its independence. In fact, Zimbabwe is still part of the British Commonwealth, and the malpractices which take place there surely cannot be blamed on the British Government. Nor can one charge the South African Government with alleged malpractices in the independent States. If we do so, we are misleading ourselves completely in respect of what we are earnestly trying to do when we give those people their independence.
I also want to refer to a point to which the hon member for Roodepoort and the hon the Minister referred, viz the security situation we can expect after the Nkomati Accord and the latest development. I want to approach this situation slightly differently. In future we will find a renewed onslaught at the level of political undermining. Our security forces, as well as the public, must be prepared for this. This is the one field in which the implementation of security legislation is problematical, but essential.
Any revolutionary onslaught has two legs. The first leg is that of political mobilization action and the second is that of violence. These two legs are related to one another in the sense that violence cannot be effective if there is no political sympathy amongst a particular section of the population. There is an old saying of Mao Tse Tung which states: “The population is the sea in which the fish have to swim”. On the other hand, it is also clear that one of the most important aims of sabotage, political assassination and other violent acts is to assist political mobilization and to obtain publicity. The second leg therefore goes hand in hand with the first, and the one really cannot come to fruition without the other. This does not necessarily mean that these two methods of action are given the same degree of emphasis. A few years ago a great deal of emphasis was placed on political action. As circumstances changed, however, greater emphasis was placed on acts of sabotage. After Nkomati one can imagine that it will become more difficult for the ANC to commit acts of sabotage. Perhaps this will not be obvious at the outset, but it is to be hoped that this will be the case in the long-term. However, they could revise their strategy and, consequently, place more emphasis on political undermining. The circumstances in South Africa lend themselves to this in the sense that the Government is at present in the process of effecting reform initiatives which, on the one hand, make these people panicky because the success of reform erodes the ground from under them, and brings about a loosening of ties in society which affords these people an opportunity to get their foot in the door politically, on the other. Therefore, from that point of view one can reach the conclusion that every possibility exists for emphasizing political undermining, in contrast with physical sabotage and undermining.
The ANC is a banned organization in South Africa and consequently it cannot operate here directly and openly. It therefore sets about its task in one of two ways. Firstly, it acts in a clandestine way where people linked to the ANC recruit members and gain sympathy underground and in secret. However, there is another very important method of operating, viz the infiltration of other organizations that have a measure of sympathy with their aims. They need not necessarily be organizations with precisely the same aims, but organizations which they would be able to use if they could gain control over them or even just gain influence in them. Of course, Black trade unions head the list, in the sense that they represent a mobilization of the force of those specific sections of the Black population, and once that force is mobilized, the ANC through its trade union arm, viz Sactu, wants to use it for political purposes. They also have their problems in the process, but we must be prepared that this process is going to take place to an increasing extent in the future.
There are other organizations as well. In the ’seventies the ANC infiltrated the Black power organizations to a considerable extent. The Black power organizations have been rendered relatively powerless through Government action, but new organizations have come to the fore recently. One will have to be mindful of covert ANC action through these organizations. Although these organizations may have innocent political aims on the surface, they could ultimately be aimed at precisely the same goal, viz eventually to bring about a violent revolution in South Africa. This is the declared aim— there can be no doubt about that—of organizations such as the ANC and its trade union arm, Sactu.
Mr Chairman, I hope the hon member for Helderkruin will forgive me if I do not pursue the particular matter he discussed. I have a few points to make to the hon the Minister in the limited time that is available to me.
Firstly, I want to thank the hon the Minister for the opportunity which he gave me and certain other members of spending four days with him, the Commissioner of Police and other senior officers, on a visit to the operational area. I found it informative and instructive. Apart from the operational area, if one looks at the Police Force as a whole one realizes that it is a Force which is becoming much more sophisticated in terms of technology, such as the use of computers, micro chips, etc. The Police Force as a whole is becoming a very sophisticated organization.
The second point that emerges is that the police on the whole are becoming better qualified. The starting educational basis is becoming higher at the intake level, and quite clearly the post-training courses or the pose-intake courses are raising the general standard of qualification of the police.
We have also heard from everybody that the police are better paid and, while we were on the tour, the hon the Minister was getting accolades from all the police, until at the last meeting I had to remind the police present that if it had not been for the Opposition hammering the hon the Minister about the miserable salaries he paid the police, they would never have got an increase. [Interjections.] However, this is how democracy works, even in the limited circumstances of South Africa.
The hon the Minister and the hon member for Houghton raised questions in regard to an organization known as Koevoet, and I do not want to claim that I am an expert on it. I listened to the hon the Minister’s explanation and we also had discussions on this organization and saw different aspects of it. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to evaluate Koevoet in its entirety without seeing it in the context of the situation in which it operates in northern South West Africa. This is not just an ordinary situation; as the hon the Minister knows it is a highly politicized situation. Here these men are required to operate, doing what I call normal police work in a situation which has become so politicized that, in fact, there is now incipient revolution cum terrorism and all the rest operating in that area.
In evaluating Koevoet there are actually two sets of circumstances operating simultaneously. On the one hand, in the terrorism/counter-terrorism war that is taking place, the law is kill or be killed. That is the reality of terrorism/counter-terrorism. There we have the one set of circumstances, namely the kill-or-be-killed set of circumstances and on the other hand we still have a country which is operating under the rule of law through the Administrator-General. We therefore have two sets of norms by which we have to try to evaluate the activities and the effectiveness of Koevoet.
I do not want to expand the debate but if I may, I should like to end by giving some words of advice. The fact is that there is a background of political problems of which the hon the Minister has to take note. Firstly, the police are required to do a non-political security job in a highly politicized situation. Secondly, while many of the local residents obviously do not approve of the methods which Swapo or others are using, the evidence is that a significant number of the population—some of the hon the Minister’s own officers will say the majority of the population—support the political objectives of the so-called terrorist organizations. The problem is that the Police are operating in this political environment. Thirdly, Koevoet and others are not representatives of the authority of a sovereign government of a sovereign territory but of a territory in the process of transition representing a force which is a matter of international and local dispute. These are all the factors which, I believe, mean that the hon the Minister has to be extraordinarily careful in the development and control of Koevoet.
Having said that, let me say that by my observations, Koevoet struck me as being well trained as a strike force against terrorists. It is certainly extremely well equipped and appeared to me to be highly motivated. That was the image that one had of those particular people. If one therefore has to look at them as a fighting unit as opposed to a police force, they appear to be fairly effective and in pretty good shape. However, there are practical problems which the hon the Minister must take into account, for instance the question of the use of the local population who are not part of the SA Police. They belong to another force and are grafted onto the SA Police, not to do police work per se but to become part of a fighting unit to be involved in active fighting against terrorist organizations. The mere fact that these people are being introduced into the SA Police Force, or that they seem to be part of the police force, results in the SA Police also becoming part of the political situation in that territory. This is a practical problem. The more those people are brought in, the more the SA Police become part of a political situation and a political dispute. Furthermore, these people may be effectively trained to be hunters, trackers and killers but are they people who have an all-round sensitivity which is the hallmark of a good policeman? There is a difference between a soldier and a policeman. A soldier’s function is not the same as that of a policeman. A soldier normally operates outside the framework of the rule of law, whereas a policeman’s function is, in the main, to see that law and order is maintained within the framework of the rule of law. Do these people who are now being linked with the SA Police have the training and personal characteristics to be good policemen? If they are not good policemen, the stigma of anything they appear to do wrong will attach to the SA Police.
These people are also trained to operate outside the rule of law, to kill or be killed. Is this a good training ground for future citizens of an independent country? The hon the Minister has indicated a practical problem, namely that some of the people who have been charged in courts and have been found guilty, have been deserters or people who have gone Awol. They were nevertheless people who were trained in Koevoet, and the public identifies them with Koevoet.
I raise these points because I believe that the name of the SA Police is a very good one. I believe that in a counter-insurgency situation one has to take tough action. All I am asking is that in making use of people who are not members of the SA Police, who are not South African citizens but who are linked in an integrated way with the SA Police, the hon the Minister must go out of his way to see to it that in their behaviour on duty or off duty they do nothing which in any way tarnishes the name of the SA Police. I believe that these people should be used by the Police as trackers, as investigators and in counter-intelligence, but it is my personal opinion that when it comes to fighting as soldiers, they should be part of the SA Army and not part of the SA Police. In my view there is a difference between the function and the character of a police force and the function and the character of an army. I believe that it would have been better had they also been grafted onto the Army or the Defence Force and had fallen under the MDC and had all the other routine training which is part of the military.
I also want to raise a matter concerning the White members, the NCOs and the officers. I think they are highly motivated people and, within the context of what they are required to do, very competent people. I think that in respect of these people, there should be a constant rotation of personnel. It is bad for policemen from South Africa to live for a long time in that environment. Apart from the personal strain, they live in these unique terrorist/insurgent circumstances. I served in an army myself and I know what the intensive pressure of military service does to a person. He develops almost a vested interest in the military service. I believe that it would be a very good idea if on a regular basis, from the senior officer down to the lowest NCO, those people are rotated and taken out of that environment and brought back to the other reality, namely the reality of ordinary police work. Otherwise, when they are brought back after a rather long period of time, they will have great difficulty in adjusting from the atmosphere of counter-insurgency work on the northern borders of Namibia to being effective police officers and policemen in the ordinary context of South Africa. I would urge a very rapid turnover.
The other matter does not effect Koevoet per se but also has to do with the SA Police. A large number of young policemen come up there to do periods of service. Those who belong to the Police Reserve are told that after three months they will go back, but for many of the other policemen it is not clear for how long they were going to be there.
They all go for three months.
Well, they are never given the date on which the three month period will start.
They all go back at the same time.
I came across many of them who were waiting for the date on which the three months would start. All I want to say, is that it is bad for morale. It is better for morale to say that they will be there for a specified period and that they should do their bit. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Sea Point expressed certain doubts about the training of units employed in a combat capacity, together with the SA Police, in the north of South West Africa. He asked how they would fare once they had to return to normal police duties. I do not, however, have any doubts about this. My point of departure is that one must now fight to win and that once peace is declared, it will be time to bring the people back and to train them to cope with local conditions again. I do, in any event, think the hon the Minister will reply to the hon member on that score.
South African society has an inherent need for the maintenance of law and order and discipline in order to be able to experience, amongst other things, an ambience of safety and security, and the SA Police came into being and developed to give society such a feeling of safety and security. It was developed into a Force that can today be compared with the best in the world, in any event a Force we do not have to be ashamed of at all.
If one looks at the SA Police’s primary tasks, for example internal security, the maintenance of law and order and the combating of prevention of crime, and one also looks at the community services that are furnished and the work that is done for other departments, one sees that all this covers such a wide field that as far as this is concerned one could draw a line covering virtually every activity throughout the country. The SA Police can also cater for the tastes and preferences of every prospective applicant. Today there is virtually no conceivable field not covered by the SA Police. To name but a few examples: There is the Murder and Robbery Division, the Detective Branch, the Security Branch, the Narcotics Bureau, the Police Dog Section and the Mounted Police Section, which are all subdivided into various subsections. In the present-day South African Police there is consequently room for people ranging from animal-lovers to those who are graduates. One also finds evidence of this in the annual report. I do, in passing, just want to congratulate the Committioner on his first annual report. It is a very good annual report that made its appearance in very good time on our desks. If one looks at the annual report, one sees how applications for employment are streaming in to the SA Police. Mention was made this afternoon of peoply applying for readmission after having previously left the service. All this can simply be ascribed to the present-day sophistication of SA Police activities. Thus the police have been in a position to lay down, as minimum entrance qualification, a matriculation or equivalent certificate. I want to associate myself with the hon member for Sea Point who said that the Police Force was becoming increasingly sophisticated and that the manpower was improving steadily. This will result in our increasingly being able to eliminate problems in the future.
Members of the Police Force are given a thorough training at well-equipped colleges. Sympathetic chaplains look after their spiritual and social welfare, even on the border. I also want to thank the hon the Minister sincerely for the opportunity I had of visiting the border. What struck me was the fact that up to the furthest reaches of the Zambezi one encountered chaplains serving members of the Police Force. As I have said, one sees people streaming in to join the SA Police. We are grateful for the fact that at present the SA Police can boast excellent conditions of service, including good salaries, a pension scheme, a medical aid fund and a uniform or working clothes allowance. I venture to say that none of us begrudge the SA Police those benefits.
Let us look for a moment at all the things the policeman has to do. In foul weather, in the heat and the cold, he must combat any dangers that may threaten. Where members of the public stand back, that is where the policeman is called in. The policemen also have wives who worry when their husbands are called out of an evening. I tip my hat in a very broad salute to the wives of the South African poicemen who assist them so faithfully and with such loyalty. If one talks to the young ladies on the Zambezi, at Ondangwa or at Oshakati, one discerns the spirit or frame of mind in which they support and assist their husbands. The wives of our policemen also deserve our thanks and appreciation because, although they have their fears, they are the ones who must keep home and hearth intact during those long months when their husbands are away from home serving in the operational area.
Business suspended at 18h30 and resumed at 20h00.
Mr Chairman, before business was suspended, I was referring to the role played by women in the Police Force. I do not want to elaborate on that any further.
I should now like to refer to another matter, ie the mention that is made of rape in the Commissioner’s annual report. During the two years covered by the annual report in question, there have been more than 15 000 rapes reported annually in South Africa. If one also takes into account that only one out of every 20 cases of rape are reported, it would seem that the annual number of rapes is tremendously high. Whether the figure I have just mentioned, in connection with the number of rapes that are reported, is correct or not, does not really matter. The question that arises is: If so few cases of rape are reported, what are the reasons for this? I wish to contend that many cases are not reported because of the victim’s fear of appearing in court and having to answer the personal questions put to her there. The Press publicity given to a victim often lets her feel as if she is really the one who stands accused. This frightens many rape victims off, causing them to prefer not to report it.
In view of this I should like to know from the hon the Minister whether a special unit could not be established solely to deal with rape cases. I know that these days we have very efficient women in the Police Force, people who could deal with matters of this nature. I do also think that rape victims would speak a great deal more freely to women. A further problem is, of course, the hearing of such cases in open court. Section 153 of the relevant Act makes provision for a hearing to take place in camera in some cases. One wonders, however, whether it should not be made compulsory for rape cases to be heard in camera so that the complainants can at least have more privacy. When there is a conviction, the identity of the criminal could be made public in the Press. The victim, however, should be protected in all cases.
Many members of the public are also accountable for the outrages or crimes committed against them or their property. It appears that in up to 87% of reported cases of housebreaking and theft—in some cases people are even murdered, raped or maimed—no force or violence was used to gain access to the relevant property or building. It was the complete negligence of the tenant, owner or whoever the person may be, which made it possible for the criminal or criminals to gain access. One therefore often wonders whether the public is doing enough to facilitate the task of the police. Alas, I do not think that is the case. By virtue of attentiveness, real involvement and responsible action we could better protect ourselves and our property, thereby also facilitating the task of the police quite considerably.
Lastly I just also want to express my appreciation to the members of the SA Police Force who, both in and around this building and at Acacia Park, constantly bear the responsibility for our security. They do their excellent job not only with faithful devotion also but with friendliness and thoughtfulness.
Mr Chairman, we on this side of the House would just like to express our thanks to the hon member for Beaufort West for his positive contribution to this debate.
This evening, however, I should just like to turn back the pages in the annals of the SA Police Force. It was exactly 71 years ago, on 1 April of this year, that the SA Police Force came into being. I should like to congratulate the Police Force and also express the hope that in the years to come it will continue to give the Republic of South Africa such excellent service.
Prior to 1910 there were separate police forces in the respective provinces. With the advent of Union in 1910, however, it was decided to unite the separate police forces in one central force. It was decided to hold a conference to which the Commissioners of Police of all the four provinces were invited. That conference took place, under the chairmanship of Mr E F Lonsdale, in August 1910.
After that conference a Police Bill was drawn up which was considered by the Union Parliament in 1911. As far back as 1910 the Government had decided to appoint Colonel G G Truter as Commissioner in Chief of all four provinces. The Bill on the South African Police was read for a Second Time in Parliament in 1911 but had to be kept back so that the Defence Bill could first be introduced. In 1912 the Defence Act, No 13, and the Police Act, No 14, were passed by Parliament. In terms of Proclamation No 18 of 1913, 1 April 1913 was fixed as the date on which the South African Police came into being. This proclamation was signed by the Governor General, Lord Gladstone, and the Minister of Justice, Mr Sauer. The Police Act of 1912 made provision for the establishment of the South African Police.
What was interesting was the task laid down in this Act, ie the combating of crime and the maintenance of law and order, and also ensuring internal security. Since 1 April 1913 the South African Police have been outstandingly successful in carrying out their task, and we can only say thank you to them.
Let us look at what is happening in the world, including the RSA. Each and every day we read about acts of terrorism, murders and other crimes. Just think how unbearable the situation would be were it not for an efficient Police Force. In difficult circumstances they acquit themselves magnificently of their task. At times one is simply astounded at having to listen to the criticism aimed at discrediting the image of the South African Police. In the year 1982-83 we had no fewer than 8 573 murders and 15 342 rape cases, and 38 229 cases of theft were reported. There was also an increase of 10 000 in the number of car thefts. From this we can deduce what a really gigantic task the South African Police has to perform, and I think it is also our task to assist these men and women wherever and whenever we can.
The various branches have become specialized branches over the years and are at all times equipped to meet any eventuality. It is interesting to know that when the Police Force came into being in 1913, there were 105 officers and 4 107 members in the other ranks. In 1983 this Force had approximately 41 000 members, of whom 21 000 were Whites, 17 000 were Blacks, 2 600 were Coloureds and 1 400 were Asians.
When it comes to counter-insurgency and riot control, the South African Police do not take second place, not even by a fraction, to any other police force in the world. Up to 1983 no fewer than 600 policemen have lost their lives in the execution of their duties. Today I want to pay tribute to those men who have had to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country and its people. How often do we have to listen to sympathy expressed for people who die in detention or are detained without trial, yet how seldom do we spare a thought for a policeman who has had to sacrifice his life!
On 1 January 1972 the South African Police, for the first time, employed women as full-fledged members of the Force, with 102 women being enrolled for training. We all know the support these women give to the Police Force and a great deal of the administrative work has been taken over by them. At present the South African Police are responsible for serving an area of 2 million km2, with a population of more than 27 million people. The Force is concerned about the security and welfare of each and every citizen and is always geared to the prevention of crime.
How often is South Africa not referred to as a police state? The contrary is true, however. Investigations have brought to light that in reality South Africa has too few police. When one draws a comparison, one finds that South Africa has a mere 1,4 policemen per thousand inhabitants, as against America’s 2,2 per thousand. What is even more interesting is the comparison with a country that sets such high store by human rights and where everyone is supposedly equal. I am thinking of Russia which has 10 policemen to each 1 000 inhabitants. It just leaves one wondering which country can really be classified as a police state.
I should like to ask the hon the Minister if thought should not be given to improving the security at police stations. We know that police stations have become terrorist targets, and I think that security fencing at police stations would be welcomed.
In the constituency I represent there are two reasonably large police stations. At each of these police stations there is a shortage of policemen. Both in Carletonville, with all its mining activities, and in Westonaria there is a shortage of men. At least another 10 White policemen are needed in Carletonville. A second vehicle for the charge office has also become a necessity, because if the present vehicle is out investigating a case, and a second case crops up, they have to wait until that vehicle returns before the second case can receive any attention. There are also three daily court sessions that policemen sometimes have to attend, and every other week there is also a regional court sitting. From time to time unrest occurs, particularly amongst the workers in the mining industry, and I am of the opinion that a riot unit could be stationed in Carletonville. In Westonaria there is a need for a senior staff member in the charge office and for a sergeant who can go out to investigate complaints, because this is the mirror image of the SA Police that is held up for scrutiny. Since as many as 1 200 prisoners are dealt with each week, there is also a great need for a heavy vehicle to transport these people. I should also like to ask whether the radio communication equipment in vehicles in Westonaria could not be improved.
In conclusion I want to convey my congratulations to the sportsmen and sportswomen in the SA Police. Not only are they the pride of the Police Force, but also of each and every inhabitant of the Republic of South Africa. I also want to make an appeal to every hon member: Let us, from this House this evening, pledge our wholehearted support to those men and women who make it possible for us to live happily and securely in this country of ours.
Mr Chairman, I very briefly want to broach here certain disturbing allegations that have been made to me about corruption in horse-racing, and then ask the Government to institute an immediate investigation into horseracing and related matters in South Africa.
Horse-racing in South Africa has become a gigantic industry with a staggering turnover of more than a billion rand per year—money that comes chiefly from the pockets of members of the public. Public interest is therefore involved. Horse-racing in South Africa is controlled by the Jockey Club. I base my request for an investigation on the following factors, amongst others: Firstly, the disturbing acknowledgement by an official of the Jockey Club earlier this year, on the television programme Midweek, that there was corruption in South Africa’s horse-racing industry and that, in point of fact, millions of rand per month were involved. Secondly, it seems to me as if the Jockey Club controls horse-racing in a very strange manner. I have been told that the Jockey Club is very dictatorial in the action its takes, makes its own rules, controls a monopoly of millions of rand and is inviolable.
If these allegations that were made to me are true, it is an alarming state of affairs and completely at odds with what is in the public interest. Thirdly, it has been alleged that horse-racing is not always properly controlled and that unlicensed jockeys sometimes take part, irregularities are sometimes permitted, certain complaints are sometimes ignored, betting cards are sometimes destroyed before investigations have been completed and horses’ urine samples are sometimes left lying around for months before being sent away for analysis. In cases where urine samples indicate irregularities, I am told, legal proceedings are sometimes not instituted. It has also been alleged—to me personally—that at times irregularities occur at Jockey Club hearings. As example I have been told that members of the Jockey Club tribunal intimidate witnesses and tell them what to say and that Jockey Club witnesses are even allowed to amend their evidence, with convictions being obtained by way of the amended evidence, and with certain evidence sometimes prohibited.
I have also received complaints about the poor control of the so-called bookmakers. I am conveying the information at my disposal to the hon the Minister. I have merely sketched the picture in broad outline, but it nevertheless presents an alarming picture, and clean administration in the public interest demands that an investigation be instituted. An investigation would clear the air and put an end to the rumours of corruption.
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to be able to speak after the hon member for Jeppe has spoken. His knowledge of gambling is better than mine, and I shall therefore preferably not respond to the matter he raised here. Let me tell him however, in a friendly spirit, that I understand that his nickname was “Koos Koedoe”, but after this speech they will probably be calling him “Koos Horse”.
The hon member for Winburg says he should be called “Koos Jockey”. That does, perhaps, sound a bit better.
I want to devote my speech this evening to the police reservists. These people provide a tremendously supportive service to the South African Police, and it is only fit and proper to give these people due recognition in this highest Council Chamber. The idea of establishing a force of police reservists originated after the widespread unrest of 1960. A survey indicated that there was large-scale interest, amongst members of the public, in being trained and assisting the police. In 1961 the then hon Minister of Police announced, in a policy motion in the Senate, that the Government had decided to establish a reserve police force to assist with the carrying out of ordinary police duties when the police were called out to perform duties at other essential spots. The Police Act was subsequently amended to make provision for a reserve police force. Not all those who reported for duty in this capacity were available for service on a full-time basis, and the police reserve force was therefore structured in such varied ways as to accommodate these people in so-called A, B, C and D reserve groups. The Wachthuis Radio Reserve and the Diving Unit were added later.
On 31 March 1984 the numerical strength of the police reserve was as follows: White males, 10 593 active members and 5 291 non-active members, with 721 White women. In the course of time the desire also grew amongst people of colour to carry out service in this field, and as far back as 31 March 1984 there were 1 157 Black reservists, 858 Coloureds and 632 Asians. From this it is clearly evident that these people also have a sense of responsibility when it comes to offering their services on a voluntary basis to ensure the security of South Africa. When the new dispensation is implemented, Coloureds and Asians will probably join the reserve force in even greater numbers.
During the period 1 January 1983 to 31 December 1983 12 050 reservists served on a regular basis, doing a total of 1,4 million hours’ duty. That is approximate 130 hours per man per year, or about three times the number of hours expected from an active reservist annually. These are figures that ought definitely to make an impact on anyone who comes across them. In the annual report of the Commissioner of Police it is reported that this year reservists served on the border for the first time. This evening I want to thank those people who, for the first time, did reserve duty on the border. I also sincerely want to thank all other police reservists, who often do back-room work, for their selfless service to South Africa.
In my own constituency there is a large group of people who are members of the reserve force. I want to thank them, in particular, for the help they give the permanent members of the force at the local level. I also want to express the hope that people who have hitherto not been active will follow the example of those who have already joined the reserve force. When someone joins the reserve force he is first properly trained. He receives both theoretical and practical training and also undergoes a course in the safe handling of fire-arms. Depending on his group classification, a reservist must be prepared to carry out any police tasks in charge offices, police vehicles or in the cleaning-up units. In the process of training and service the police reservist receives a food and transport allowance, but no remuneration. Today I want to furnish a plea for consideration to be given, apart from the food and transport allowance, to a daily allowance paid to them to cover the time they are on duty. I would be glad if the hon the Minister would consider this request.
The training of reservists in counter-insurgency techniques in rural areas is still taking place and there is a very great deal of interest in this kind of training. Seen in the light of the great interest in the aforementioned training, I want to ask whether it is not possible to have this training, particularly target practice, take place on a more regular basis? After having successfully completed all the aforementioned training courses, reservists are equipped with the necessary uniform, an R1-rifle and a 9 mm pistol. I also want to ask whether arrangements cannot be made for police reservists in the rural areas to be given more permanent ownership of the firearms issued to them. It is customary for the fire-arms issued to police reservists to be kept in the safes at police stations. Many of the reservists, however, live in remote areas, and for their own protection it is necessary for them to have their fire-arms with them when they are journeying to and fro. I understand that commanding officers may use their discretion in this connection, but I do want to furnish a plea to have the concession made more generally applicable in rural areas.
There is also another section of the reserve force that should be mentioned here, ie the junior reservists. On 10 September 1981 the hon the Minister, during a discussion of the Police Vote, announced that approval had been granted for the establishment of a junior police reserve force consisting of White schoolboys of 16 years and older who would merely serve as reservists during school holidays. A total of 1 267 schoolboys are at present serving as junior reservists, and on the strength of reports received, they are acquitting themselves very well of their task. Quite a few inquiries have also been received from schoolboys of the other population groups to join up as junior reservists too. On 3 March 1984 the hon the Minister gave approval for people of colour to be part of the junior reserve force, and consequently, from all population groups, schoolboys of 16 years and older who were in std 8 or any higher standard, could join up as junior reservists. Enrolment is completely voluntary and can only take place with the written permission of the applicant’s parents.
From the little research I have done, I also ascertained that there is no reserve service in our national and independent states. It will perhaps be necessary, in future, to grant assitance to these states in establishing their own independent and fully-fledged police reserve force. I think the hon the Minister and the Commissioner could definitely play a leading role here.
Since I am now referring to the independent and national states, I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether he could explain to us exactly what the Government’s policy is in regard to police follow-up operations across our borders in cases of theft emanating from the independent or national states.
I want to conclude by thanking the hon the Minister. It is not out of habit that I am doing this, but I do want to mention that the hon the Minister was kind enough to visit my constituency during the recess last year. On that specific day we visited several police stations. I should like to thank him for that and also convey to him the thanks of the police and the reservists in my constituency for the way in which he looks after their interests, and also for the personal interest he takes in matters at the local level.
Mr Chairman, I am sure the hon member for Schweizer Reneke will forgive me if I do not follow his line of thought in the debate.
Firstly, may I place on record the South Coast community’s appreciation for the new police headquarters that was recently opened by the Commissioner of Police, Gen Coetzee. When one considers the difficult conditions, the awkward accommodation that was available before the new headquaters was occupied, I think the police staff at Port Shepstone are even more grateful.
The South Coast has a long history of cooperation and goodwill towards the SA Police, and I look forward in the future to this attitude and understanding being strengthened by the close co-operation that there has always been between the public, the local authorities and the SA Police. I am sure that it is one of the few areas where we can sit around a table, discuss our mutual problems and come to an equitable position that satisfies everybody. This has always been the position in my constituency and I hope that it will continue.
Secondly, I wish to thank the hon the Minister and the Commissioner for being afforded the privilege of accompanying them on a recent tour to the SA Police camps in the border area. I say it was a privilege because it is a rare occasion when one has the opportunity of meeting the men in the front line as well as their families who support them in their dedication to duty and their country.
To most people in the Republic, the border war is very remote. From time to time one sees events reported either on TV or in the newspapers. However, few people realize that this war has been going on for some 18 years. A large percentage of the younger generation have never lived under peaceful conditions, neither do they realize the intensity and the purpose of naked terrorism and the havoc it creates within a community. Terrorism can be described in many ways, for example barbaric, cruel and vicious, but I do not think that there is anything that can describe its effect on a people who are unsophisticated and utterly defenceless against ruthless killers.
I want now to come to my impressions of the SA Police unit, Koevoet which is operating on the border. I believe it is a highly motivated and efficient force fighting a very unconventional war. Their morale leaves nothing to be desired and the leadership corps are in many instances hand chosen, many of whom have had to pay the supreme price in defence of their country. Regretfully, because of their efficiency in combating infiltration, they are obviously a target for denigration by our enemies inside as well as outside the country.
I am not for an instant suggesting that there is no room for criticism. Certainly in any force, be it police, army, navy or air force, there is always room for criticism. However, let this criticism be constructive; let it be based on facts and not on fantasies and half-truths. [Interjections.] A force is as good as the men it is made up of and, where one has the human element, one must certainly expect and accept human failings.
This brings me to the recent criticism of the Koevoet operation by certain newspaper reporters. What are the facts? Ninety per cent of the Koevoet force is made up of the indigenous population—highly trained, motivated, disciplined and responsible men; men who enjoy status in their community. Not only do they enjoy status in their community but they actually go home and live in their communities when they are off duty. A large percentage of these men have ever since childhood known no other situation except to be in a continual state of war.
Out of a force of some 2 000 men, only 0,5% have deserted or left the force and become renegades and created problems. They have, however, been brought to justice through the due process of the law and have been charged in a court of law. What has happened as a result of these court cases? The entire force is being condemned on the behaviour of a few men, and I believe that this is irresponsible and sensational reporting. I am sorry to have to say this. However, I wonder if those who are so quick to condemn have ever thought that this unit is in fact securing their very positions back home thus enabling them to enjoy good jobs and have the privilege of being able to sit back, criticize and live in reasonable security. [Interjections.] Let us criticize by all means but let us be factual and, if we wish to comment, let us be fair in our comments.
This brings me to one of the facets of Koevoet which I think is most commendable and shows a feeling for one’s fellow human beings even if one is the victor. I am, of course, referring to the rehabilitation centre which caters for prisoners of war and those who have surrendered of their own accord. At this centre prisoners are taught basic hygiene, trades such as bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry, and also agriculture and conservation. They receive free medical treatment and in many cases they are fitted with limbs. What is more, while they are there they are actually paid wages. Wages are also paid for working in the agricultural field and they are even taught to put up their own buildings. This is an area which I believe deserves much commendation. This in actual fact gives the men the necessary confidence and enables them to live normal lives and become accepted and integrated as useful citizens in their communities. This is a constructive and laudable approach by Koevoet, a service which can only enhance interracial relations and establish what I believe is a firm understanding of the problems faced by these people.
I think I would be negligent if I did not use this opportunity on behalf of the NRP to record our appreciation and to congratulate Koevoet not only on their achievements in the field of counter-insurgency but also their endeavours in regard to the rehabilitation of their prisoners, which is certainly not spoken of in any degree or advertised in any way. To the men who make up Koevoet, I believe we owe a debt of gratitude. Here we have men who live in unpleasant conditions and whose daily tasks make them targets for terrorists. A high sense of duty and dedication to their country is of paramount importance to them.
I now wish to support and to reinforce some of the remarks made by my colleague, the hon member for Umhlanga. We need a police force which lives up to its motto, a force to which one looks for protection and one which must project the image of a friend and an adviser. Regretfully this is not always the case, again because we are dealing with the human element. We may have had excuses in the past because of the salaries paid to policeman and the shortage of suitable material, but times have changed and, more so, conditions of service and salaries. It is therefore imperative that members of the force who discredit the police should not be tolerated. We are in an era when good race relations are absolutely essential and when the dignity of all men must be observed. Those who cannot abide by these concepts are not worthy of calling themselves policemen belonging to a force that has a proud record. I therefore believe it is incumbent upon the top officials to act and to weed out those members of the Force who give offence and create a bad image. Far stricter measures should be applied to ensure what we maintain should always be a good image so that we can always be justifiably proud of this force.
In closing, I would like to say that the hon the Minister has worked extremely hard to improve the conditions of service of policemen and has been very successful as far as salaries are concerned. However, I want to make an urgent appeal to him. We congratulate him on what he has done, but we would now like him to devote his attention to the police pensioner. He should seriously consider the position in which the police pensioner is in today, because he is having a hard time. The only way his position can be alleviated is by doing something about it. I resectfully ask the hon the Minister to give this matter his serious attention.
Mr Chairman, it is a privilege to speak after the hon member for South Coast, particularly since he made such a positive contribution with regard to Koevoet and our visit to the border. During the Easter recess I was privileged, along with the hon the Minister and a few other colleagues, including the hon member for South Coast, to pay a visit to the border. I want to tell the hon member for South Coast that if we had such a positive contribution from the Opposition side in regard to all Government departments as we have had in this particular case in regard to the police, I believe that we would contribute to placing the departments in a position of being able to function better. I want to express my appreciation to the hon member for his attitude towards hon members during such tours.
The hon member for South Coast and the hon member for Umhlanga requested that the rotten apples be removed from the basket now. I can give them examples of this. I have at my disposal the force numbers of people living in my constituency who were in the police force and who were not a credit to the police force as such. I went to the trouble of trying to have those people reinstated in the police force, but this was refused because it was said that this would impair the image of the police. This proves to me that steps are already being taken in this regard.
I would not do justice to the hon member for Houghton either if I were simply to pass her by. Earlier this afternoon she remarked that she did the research work for the speeches she makes is this House and in respect of the figures and statistics that she has at her disposal herself. I think that she is being very unfair to the Lawyers for Human Rights by not giving them the recognition they deserve. It is ironic that a large part of her speech can also be found in Bulletin No 3 of January 1984. That organization is under the chairmanship of Advocate Browde, who is also the husband of the predecessor of the present MPC for Houghton. That MPC was the MPC for Houghton for the period from 1974 to 1977. In this Bulletin Advocate L R Sullivan clearly goes into the “Limitations of actions against the Police: a case for reform”. When one has read that article, one has already seen most of the speech made by the hon member for Houghton this afternoon.
Sir, I want to concentrate on road safety conditions in South Africa and in particular on the contribution of the SA Police in this regard. Traffic conditions in South Africa are frequently compared with conditions elsewhere in the Western world. However, what is not always borne in mind is that the RSA is probably the only country in the world with so many different races and ethnic population groups, a large percentage of the members of whom are illiterate. What is making traffic conditons worse, is the free and uncontrolled movement of motor vehicle traffic from neighbouring independent and dependent states. As long as this free and uncontrolled movement is allowed without equal standards being maintained in those countries in regard to traffic legislation and the testing of learner drivers and drivers, this state of affairs can be expected to have a considerable effect on traffic control in the Republic.
Allow me at this stage to make a timeous appeal to hon members of the CP, if and when they proceed to establish their White homeland, to bring about co-ordination with those of us on this side of the House with regard to equal standards in respect of road safety and traffic legislation. If they ask us for assistance in good time, we shall be able to make a major contribution towards introducing a particularly high standard of road safety and traffic legislation in their White homeland.
You may travel through it, but you may not spend the night there.
I want to give the hon member Mr Theunissen the assurance that I am going to remain in this part of the Republic because I do not see my way clear to farming on my own.
Since his appointment as Commissioner-General of the SA Police, General Coetzee has initiated closer liaison between the SA Police and the National Road Safety Council as well as the traffic departments and bodies involved with traffic matters. This has progressed so far that Lt-Col Chris Coetzee has become the liaison officer of the SA Police with the National Road Safety Council. He is therefore the liaison officer responsible for road safety matters in the SA Police. Hon members will endorse my congratulations and thanks to Lt-Col Chris Coetzee for the sacrifices and good work we have already had from him and his men and for what they are still going to do in future to promote road safety in our country. This team of policemen can rest assured that their good work does not go unnoticed. One can only thank General Coetzee for always being so helpful and willing to listen to MPs’ problems. What is particularly striking about him is that he treats all policeman alike, irrespective of their rank. Of course, it is also obvious that there is an exceptionally good working relationship between the hon the Minister and General Coetzee. Nor have I any hesitation in saying that the SA Police Force has never had a better Minister than this hon Minister.
Mr Chairman, this testimonial does not come only from me. However, I challenge every hon member in this House to talk to any policeman and ask him what he thinks of his Minister. Without exception the police show great respect and appreciation for their Minister. The simple reason for this is not only the good salaries policemen are receiving these days, but the humanity and understanding of the hon the Minister. After all, as Minister he has continued to live with his people and has not moved away from them.
Because this is Road Safety Year, I felt that I also wanted to emphasize the part played by the SA Police in this great project. During the Easter recess, for example, the SA Police patrolled our busy roads with the various traffic departments. All our coastal cities and towns, and all the way inland as far as the Northern Transvaal, were in fact patrolled. This work was undertaken mainly by reservists assisted by permanent members of the Police Force. The result is known to all of us, viz that this year only 127 people were killed in road accidents over the Easter weekend compared with 242 people last year. In a study undertaken by the CSIR by a certain H B Ribbens a report was compiled in which it was stated that one of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of road users is police involvement. The result of the involvement of the SA Police in road safety has been significant. Calm prevailed on our roads. The testimonial of a young lady travelling from Durban to Pretoria was that she constantly felt safe on the road. The most important factors which led to this feeling of calmness and safety, were definitely the fact that police and/or traffic department cars were spaced at intervals of, about 35 minute’s driving time. The result was therefore that the motorists were almost always able to see a blue light.
The shortage of traffice law enforcement officers in South Africa does not make this possible, but in the United Kingdom, for example, a traffic law enforcement vehicle is encountered every 32 km along the road, in spite of the present international financial situation. These vehicles are manned by two traffic law enforcement officers.
In order to indicate what a great shortage of traffic law enforcement officers there is in South Africa, it should be noted that in all there are only slightly more than 5 000 traffic police officers in South Africa, whereas almost 5 million legal drivers’ licences have been issued. In effect there are far more vehicles in South Africa. However, if one merely counts the number of traffic policemen compared with the number of drivers’ licences issued, it amounts to at least 1 000 drivers’ licences for each traffic officer. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I should like to associate myself with the hon member for Losberg with regard to the praise he meted out to the SA Police for the work they do, in connection with road traffic as well. I do not think the preposterous remark he made in this regard on the policy of our party is really appropriate to this debate, and I am therefore not even prepared to give him a reply to it.
Furthermore, I should like to associate myself with the hon member with regard to the praise he bestowed upon the Commissioner of the SA Police. We in this party concur wholeheartedly in this.
Before I address myself to the hon the Minister, I just want to point out that since references were made late this afternoon and earlier this evening to the police unit Koevoet, I want the standpoint of the CP in regard to that unit to be placed on record. We have nothing but the greatest appreciation for the inspired work that is being done by that excellently trained and well-equipped unit in South West Africa as part of the Security Forces of the Republic of South Africa. We in the CP understand the tremendously responsible task resting on the shoulders of the hon the Minister and we appreciate the way in which he is performing his task.
I should like the hon the Minister to take the words which I am going to address to him now in the spirit in which I am saying them. We also appreciate him as a person, but in a few respects the hon the Minister did certain things we feel unhappy about. He is showing signs of a certain degree of autocracy bordering on arrogance. I want to mention three examples in this connection.
The first example I want to mention is his reply to a question put to him by my colleague, the hon member for De Aar. This was concerned with an assault that took place here in the Peninsula. We asked the hon member who was the complainant and who was the accused. This is Question No 12 which was asked on 28 March. The accused paid an admission of guilt fine of R50 and we asked the hon the Minister who the accused was. He said that it was not in the public interest to disclose that information. The accused is an MPC of the NP. It is not in the public interest to suppress that information. Last year his hon friend the Minister of Justice did not hesitate to point out that the Minister of Manpower had paid an admission of guilt fine. I do not think this is to be expected of an hon Minister who is the political head of this very important department.
In the second place, I want to refer to a newspaper report which appeared in a Sunday newspaper on 25 March 1984. I handed this newspaper report to the hon the Minister. [Interjections.] I did so through the Parliamenty secretariat. I pointed out to the hon the Minister that the hon the Minister of Education and Training was alleged to have held a meeting of the youth organization of the NP in the Transvaal at which the hon Minister, Mr Pat Poovalingam and Mr Chris April were the main speakers. This is prima facie a contravention of the Prohibition of Political Interference Act. I want to quote the relevant section to the hon the Minister. Section 2(c) provides that no person who is a member of one population group, may:
As a member of the House of Assembly, I brought these facts to the attention of the hon the Minister and he wrote me a letter in which he said that the information I had given him as scanty and that he would not do anything about the matter unless I laid a charge. I have his letter here.
Read it to us.
No, I do not have time for that. However, the hon the Minister knows what is written in that letter.
I shall give the hon member two minutes. He had better read the whole letter. [Interjections.]
The hon the Minister has a great deal of time at his disposal. He has my permission to read the letter.
I shall give the hon member two minutes of my time. He must read the entire letter.
Very well. The letter reads as follows:
That is 5 April:
I do not know why the hon the Minister said that [Interjections.]:
What is high-handed about that?
Mr Chairman, an hon member of the House of Assembly brings a report which is prima facie a contravention of the Prohibition of Political Interference Act to the attention of the hon the Minister and he says he will only investigate it if a charge has been laid. [Interjections.] I maintain that is is not in the best traditions of the House of Assembly to behave like this towards an hon member. [Interjections.]
I come now to the final point I want to make in this connection, namely that the Internal Security Act, Act No 74 of 1972, provides that when an organization is declared unlawful, no person shall advocate, advise, defend or encourage the achievement of any of the objects of the unlawful organization or objects similar to the objects of such organization, or perform any other act of whatever nature which is calculated to further the achievement of any such object.
What is also stated in the Act? “Without the consent of the Minister”.
That is stated elsewhere in the Act, but section 13 …
You are an attorney …
The hon the Minister will have an opportunity to deal with section 13.
You yourself are an attorney and you know that is stated in the Act.
The hon the Minister had better read section 13 for himself.
The ANC is a prohibited organization. They adopted a certain resolution in October 1983 in which they told the Whites of South Africa to vote “no” in the referendum. What was the ANC’s intention? It was to promote their own interests because they want to cause polarization between Whites and Blacks in South Africa. It was part of the interests of the ANC, which they wanted to promote in this way. If the hon the Minister had not made this message of the ANC public, not a single voter in South Africa would have known about that resolution. [Interjections.]
I want to ask the hon the Minister, if the ANC had resolved in Lusaka to tell the people of South Africa they should vote “yes” in the referendum, would the hon the Prime Minister, the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning and the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs still have made this story public? The party to which the hon the Minister belongs is the party which has told us that we are making common cause with the ANC and the PFP, but here—no one in South Africa would have known about this—they told this story as the self-appointed agent of the ANC.
And you have been crying about this for six months now.
I am still not happy about it. I told the hon the Minister that I would like to see that document.
And you never turned up.
That is true, but I did say that I was available. [Interjections.] I then wrote another letter to the hon the Minister because the hon the Minister overreacted to my enquiry. Is that not so? Then the hon the Minister said he wanted nothing further to do with me …
Yes, quite right.
… before we had a chance to look at it and I have that letter as well. If the hon the Minister gives me permission to do so, I shall read my letter in this regard to him. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I really regret that I am unable to pursue the attack on the hon the Minister. Unfortunately I lack the necessary ammunition.
My constituency boasts a very fine new police station and the safety of our community is in the able hands of dedicated and hardworking policemen. For this the inhabitants of the Bryanston constituency are sincerely grateful.
There are one or two matters I should like to raise with the hon the Minister. The first concerns a problem which arises with regard to emergency calls to the charge office of the Randburg police station and the reasons why the police are sometimes unable to react immediately to these calls. It happens fairly regularly in our area that a resident telephones the police station if, for example, his house or that of his neighbour is being broken into, or if someone in the vicinity is acting suspiciously, or if someone is being assaulted or threatened with assault, or if fighting is taking place or threatening to take place. This kind of incident, which occurs from time to time, is then reported to the police station by way of a telephone call with the request that policemen be sent out immediately to investigate. Urgent situations requiring immediate police action occur from time to time and there are cases when the police find it impossible to act. Usually the person making the call is told that the police are unble to act either because policemen are not available to react or because vehicles are not available.
The hon the Minister will understand if a threatened person or house owner is sometimes dissatisfied if he has to wait for hours before the police turn up. What happens sometimes is that the police either turn up too late, because a crime may already have been committed—such cases may be fatal— or else the suspects have made off. In these circumstances the complainant is very dissatisfied and sometimes furious. That is understandable. In this mood of dissatisfaction and rage they telephone their MP. Their dissatisfaction and rage at the police is then conveyed to him. While they are about it they also refer ro the high rates and say they expect a far better service in return for the rates they pay.
They probably phone you at twelve o’clock at night.
It occurs throughout the night sometimes at three to four o’clock in the morning.
There are two causes of this unacceptable state of affairs. The first is that the staff of the Randburg police station—if one takes into account the extent of the area they have to serve and the population density—is too small for the needs of the area as far as the combating of crime is concerned. There are not nearly enough vehicles available for the Randburg area. Theoretically, four vehicles are available for Randburg. Because it takes so long for the vehicles to be repaired at the Government’s vehicle repair centre, it sometimes happens that only one vehicle is available. I am told that it can take up to five months for vehicles sent in for minor repair work to be returned to the police. The hon the Minister will agree with me that that is totally unacceptable. Therefore this means that at any specific time not enough vehicles are available. It has happened that only one vehicle has been available for the use of the police. If three or even more calls are received simultaneously, an adequate service cannot be provided because too few vehicles are available.
In my opinion the solution to this problem is obvious. More police must be appointed for the Randburg area. Moreover, there ought to be a change in policy so that policemen who retire at the age of 55 years are encouraged and permitted to remain on a temporary basis. These imaginative men, who are usually still capable and as strong as horses, could concentrate on the administrative work. For example, one notes in the charge offices that vigorous young men stand behind the counter and have to perform administrative work. One even sees many policemen sitting at typewriters typing reports for hours. I do not believe that we are utilizing our manpower to best effect in that way. I think that the people who retire at the age of 55 years should be encouraged—if necessary, steps must be taken to remunerate them—to stay on to perform this kind of work so that the younger policemen will be available for the active combating of crime. As far as the vehicles are concerned, there is absolutely no excuse for the time it takes to repair these vehicles. The repair of minor damage or unimportant repair work sometimes takes weeks or months before the vehicle is roadworthy again. I think that the hon the Minister must take urgent steps to rectify this matter. I think that a day or two for unimportant repair work, and at most two weeks for the repair of more extensive damage, is adequate.
I should also like to make an urgent appeal to the hon the Minister with regard to a phenomenon the incidence of which is increasing rapidly, viz the number of people being bitten by dogs, and the apparent inability of the authorities to take effective action to combat the problem.
Surely that is a municipal matter.
It is not only a municipal matter. It is also a police matter. It is also a matter for the Minister of Justice insofar as it is a matter of ineffective legislation. In my constituency there have been several cases over the past few years of children being bitten by dogs and sustaining severe injuries. Hon members may have read the recent newspaper report of the incident of a young boy being so severely bitten by a dog that he lost his leg. In 1980 there were 450 cases in South Africa of postmen from the post office being injured by dogs. I can recall that in 1968, in one suburb of Johannesburg which fell within my municipal ward, there were 29 cases of people sustaining serious bite wounds.
Due to a poor council member.
Yes, the NP council in Randburg is a very poor council.
I am speaking about a council member. [Interjections.]
Biting of people by dogs also has a detrimental effect on race relations, because it is so often Black people that are bitten by dogs belonging to Whites. Sir, if you think that the NP and the CP are racists, you must take a look at the dogs of Randburg if you really want to see racists! [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, for the most part the hon member for Bryanston referred to constituency matters. It is probably not my task to reply to that, except to say that I have a great deal of sympathy with him because it seems as if he has a very difficult constituency, with particularly savage dogs and people. However, I believe that the hon the Minister will listen to what he had to say and provide assistance where possible.
In the course of the debate today a great deal of reference has been made to the peace initiatives launched by the Government and to the onslaughts from outside that may still be made. What is clear to all of us today is that to the extent that our peace initiatives succeed beyond our borders and our borders are secured to some extent, internal terrorism and problems will increase. Not one of us in this House wants to see it, but when one looks at one’s enemy one knows that he is going to concentrate on the interior of South Africa and that urban terrorism and urban terror will be on the increase. For that reason, internal security is a demanding task resting on the shoulders of the police. I believe that in past years the SA Police have shown that they can perform this great and demanding task.
If one takes a brief look at the historical background, one can begin in the early ’fifties with boycotts, strikes, the founding of the ANC and the PAC, Poqo murders and so on. Therefore it is clear to us that internal security is no easy matter and the question may indeed be asked whether the SA Police are able to handle internal security alone. I have full confidence in the SA Police, but with the greatest responsibility at my disposal I say this evening that the SA Police cannot perform that task alone. Every responsible citizen of South Africa will have to play his part in future and in that way facilitate the task of the police and help secure his own position and that of his family and his nearest. The SA Police has already taken steps in respect of our internal security and I can attest to the fact that it is the task of every policeman to see to internal security, in whatever branch of the Police Force he may be. Border posts have to be manned 24 hours per day, and a border of almost 3 200 km has to be patrolled. Fortunutely the local populace are on the side of the police. Therefore they enjoy greater support than our enemies would like to see, and we in this House and the public at large must see to it that this remains the position at all times.
The South African Police are characterized by a strong team spirit. There is a tremendous feeling of pride among these people. Their commitment to the Force serves to satisfy the mutual need for security of members and accordingly to neutralize excessive anxiety among them. We are all but people, and without the public we cannot try to neutralize this anxiety, exaggerated or not, on behalf of these people.
The police are engaged in a difficult struggle and the security situation is not rosy. I am not a prophet of doom, but I believe that every responsible member of this House will agree with me that the security situation, not only in South Africa but throughout the world, is not rosy. However, I believe that the security forces can avert any direct onslaught at any time, but they cannot defend the country alone. The enemies of South Africa will eventually be united and this will be achieved by one thing and one thing only, viz by an unpleasant hate of South Africa. Hate can reconcile the most diverse standpoints and unite the most irreconcilable groups. It removes the dividing lines between pacifism and Christianity, between decency and atrociousness, intellect and stupidity. South Africa is faced with a double-barrelled threat. Our crime rate is rising, despite successful and modern methods of combating it. We are faced with a subtle and dangerous onslaught from outside to which reference has already been made this evening. I believe that exceptionally responsible speeches have been made today about the ANC and the South African Communist Party. In view of the growing onslaught on South Africa, we must join in helping the SA Police to become bigger, stronger and more effective. In the climate of almost world-wide hostility to South Africa it is understandable that anything will be exploited in an effort to cast the Republic in the worst possible light. The contrary is also true. If anything happens which could cast South Africa in a better light, such as the recent peace negotiations, our enemies will not like that at all, as is the case at present. By means of propaganda and indoctrination, the enemy is today instilling an aloof attitude in people. Is it not time for the community to discipline itself in order to make its own contribution as regards counter-insurgency activities? Is there not too much standing on the sidelines and criticizing those who do perform service, whether they be the central Government, the Defence Force or the Police? I believe that the present hon Minister of Law and Order, the Commissioner, the officers and every policeman are responsible people. I believe that they all need our support. We can all contribute towards helping to make South Africa safe.
Mr Chairman, in the course of his speech the hon member for Overvaal referred to the importance of the relationship between the public and the police, and I specifically wish to discuss a subject in respect of which I think that that is of special importance.
I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to the right of police officers to shoot or kill members of the public in the execution of their duties. This is a matter which has become increasingly contentious in recent years. This is understandable, particularly in view of the extent to which it has occurred and has also, sometimes, been abused. In the May edition of Reader’s Digest, which has just appeared, there is an article that deals extensively with this subject. I think hon members will recall that the late Mr Harry Pitman called for a special debate in this House last year when an innocent man was shot dead by the police in his car in Northcliff in March last year. Figures in this regard reveal a disturbing state of affairs. In the course of 1983, 579 people were shot by the police: 211 of them were killed. The figure for January and February this year already shows that 117 people have been shot and that 32 of them have been killed. The article in the Reader’s Digest draws comparisons with the position in other countries which, although not necessarily relevant, are nevertheless interesting, and reaches the conclusion that the number of people shot and killed as a percentage of the total population is far higher in South Africa than in other comparable or relatively civilized countries.
What comparable countries?
Hon members should read that article. I recommend it to them. The figure is three times as high as in the USA, a country where the possession and carrying of a firearm is virtually an inalienable right and a country which is generally regarded as one which armed violence is the order of the day. What is the statutory provision that makes this situation possible in our country? We find it in section 49(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977. I quote briefly:
If one takes a careful look at this statutory provision, there are a few aspects which stand out. In the first instance, this is not a right that applies to police officers only. Any member of the public may shoot a person in terms of section 49(2) if that member of the public is assisting in the arrest of that person who is suspected of committing a crime referred to in Schedule 1. Moreover, subsection (2) does not refer to self-defence. It does not refer to a situation of self-defence. It has nothing to do with that. It merely concerns the arrest of a person. It simply grants the right to shoot and kill a suspect purely in order to ensure that he does not escape, and it need not only be by way of a firearm; it can be done in any other way.
I want to say here and now that in my opinion no right-thinking person will suggest that no one, particularly not a police officer, should have the right to defend himself effectively in situations in which he is threatened by death or even with only relatively light injuries. No one, certainly not we on this side of the House, expects of a policeman that he should expose himself unnecessarily to mortal danger or to danger of injury. However, section 49(2) goes much further. To tell the truth, section 49(1) deals with the situation I have now sketched. Section 49(2) has nothing to do with self-defence. It merely concerns the arrest of a person. I think that section 49(2) is a cynical piece of legislation, cynical in that it does indeed suggest that people who are suspected of offences in a specific category set out in Schedule 1 cannot really claim a proper hearing but can simply be shot at, whereas this does not apply to other types of crime. In this respect it is cynical.
†In fact, Sir, section 49(2) is a charter for street executions. The way the section reads, it treats human life in a manner that cannot be reconciled with any system of morality. If one looks at figures, it is ironic to note that …
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Is it permissible for the hon member to use such language with reference to an Act, the principle of which was accepted by this House? The Act was passed by this House and the hon member is attacking the relevant section in those harsh terms. I am asking for your ruling in this regard. [Interjections.]
It is permissible for the hon member to attack the Act—that is perfectly in order—but I think he should moderate his language somewhat when it comes to the actual principle of the Act.
Mr Chairman, I am prepared to accept your ruling. I am not saying the section was incorporated with that intention. I say it is a charter for street executions because it can lead to that. Without suggesting such an intention on the part of any policeman or any mmeber of the public who acts in accordance with that section, I am suggesting that it in fact leads to that situation. If one looks at the figures it appears ironic that during the year 1973 altogether 90 people in South Africa were executed by hanging, while during the same period 211 people were shot dead by members of the SA Police Force. I do accept that the majority of that substantial number of 211 people may have been shot by the police in self defence. With that I have no quarrel. I have indeed said so very clearly on earlier occasions. It does appear, however, that a very substantial number of people have lost their lives merely on suspicion of being guilty of offences in terms of section 49(2).
You have no justification for making that allegation.
The hon the hon the Minister should not react like that. He knows that I have tried in this House to elicit answers from him to questions placed on the Question Paper. I have done so because I want him to give us some idea of what happened in each of those cases in which people were shot. He has had the opportunity of replying to those questions. He has told us that it is not practical and it does not make sense to give us that information. The hon the Minister should therefore not complain now. He is indeed still free to give us that information this evening. If he can prove me wrong he is welcome to do so. I believe that this is an intolerable situation, a situation which we cannot allow to continue.
Let us consider what can lead to the killing of a person. Schedule 1 lists the crimes on suspicion of which a person can be shot should he try to escape. Some of these crimes are very serious ones indeed, and imply a degree of violence. There are others, however, in respect of which the reference in section 49(2) is tenuous indeed. Fraud is mentioned, and so is theft, the receipt of stolen property, forgery, and indeed every offence in respect of which imprisonment in excess of six months without the option of a fine could be applicable. How does one actually connect these two situations, however? That is my question. Therefore I seriously want to ask the hon the Minister to consider either the repeal or a very substantial amendment of that particular section, a section which does the criminal procedure in this country no credit, and which also does the police no credit. It is a section which has already led to a very unfortunate state of affairs in this country, and I believe it requires our earnest attention. I appeal to the hon the Minister to give this matter his very urgent attention.
Mr Chairman, I think the hon member for Green Point used exceptionally strong language in the speech he has just made. Firstly, he claims that the use of force of arms by the police in South Africa is the order of the day. Surely the hon member knows that this is not true. He also made a fuss about the 211 people who were shot. However, he did not say how many policemen were shot dead in the same period.
He does not want to say how many. [Interjections.]
The hon the Minister has the figures. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Green Point only sees things from the criminal’s point of view. [Interjections.] Yes, the hon member for Hillbrow can sit there and laugh if he wishes. What I am saying is true, however. We also heard this in the speech of the hon member for Houghton earlier today. [Interjections.] Those hon members expect a policeman to carry out his duty under all circumstances. Even if his life is in danger, he is not permitted to shoot. I listened …
You are stupid.
What the hon member really wants …
Order! Hon members must not start calling one another all kinds of insulting names across the floor of the House again.
What the hon member wants is an absolutely lawless country; a laissez faire country. He wants people in this country to be able to do as they please. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: is the hon the Minister of Law and Order permitted to call the hon member for Green Point a gorilla?
Order! Did the hon the Minister do so?
I did, Mr Chairman. Yesterday the hon the Chief Whip of the official Opposition repeatedly called other hon members the same thing in this House. Mr Speaker permitted it, and in view of that, I made the same remark in respect of the hon member for Green Point. I did so in view of a remark he made to another hon member.
Order! Did the hon the Minister mean that the hon member is a “gorilla”, or a “guerrilla”? Did the hon the Minister mean a freedom fighter?
Mr Chairman, in view of Mr Speaker’s attitude yesterday, I meant both words in respect of that hon member. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: When the hon member spoke yesterday he referred to “verbal guerrillas”. In any event, a verbal “guerrilla” is not the same as a “gorilla”. [Interjections.]
Order! If the hon the Minister means “gorilla” he must withdraw it.
Mr Chairman, I am quite prepared to settle for “verbal guerrilla” and to withdraw the word “gorilla”.
The hon member for Algoa may proceed.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. I want to reiterate that any member of the Police force will only shoot if his life is in danger. All of us regret the loss of life, whether it is the life of a criminal or the life of a policeman. However, if there is any doubt about a shooting incident the matter is investigated. We have witnessed this recently. After all, these cases are not covered up, but are investigated. If such a policeman should shoot deliberately, the law is there to deal with him. I think that it is once again the aim of the hon member for Green Point to criticize the Police Force. I have every confidence in the Police Force of South Africa that they will not act in an irresponsible manner. I want to tell the hon member for Green Point that if he wants to begin comparing figures, he must name a country with which we can in fact draw comparisons. We cannot compare another country with South Africa as regards its population groups, and therefore the figures will sometimes be high. However, I wish to confirm that our Police Force in South Africa acts in a responsible manner at all times.
In the few minutes I still have at my disposal, I wish to confine my attention this evening to a group of men and women of the Police Force who are stationed in my city, Port Elizabeth. As is the case in all large centres, there has also been an increase in the the incidence of crime in Port Elizabeth, which could largely be ascribed to socioeconomic circumstances. As background, I could mention that Port Elizabeth’s municipal area is served by three police stations, whilst the White residential area of Walmer and the western suburbs are served by two police stations. Port Elizabeth North is divided up into five police districts, two for the Whites and three for the Coloured and Black areas, with a fourth being built in the Coloured area.
During 1983 the police of Port Elizabeth dealt with 14 791 cases of a more serious nature. The cases which were closed due to insufficient grounds, are not included here. The cases that were dealt with inter alia, include rape and attempted rape, serious assault, murder and attempted murder, burglary, robbery, car theft and fraud.
In addition, we have experienced tremendous problems with gangs who have been active in the Coloured areas in Port Elizabeth and who have been responsible for a number of murders and rapes. During 1982 these gangs were responsible for 15 murders, whilst four gang murders were reported during 1983. Apart from two, all these cases were solved. Due to active police action, rape and murder in this area have been combated to such an extent that so far this year no gang murders or rapes have been reported. This success has been achieved as a result of action in the form of regular patrols by the crime prevention and reaction units. This action is of a continuous nature in order to combat and prevent violent and other crimes.
We also have a shortage of staff in Port Elizabeth, but fortunately we have 225 dedicated police reservists—176 Whites and 49 non-Whites—who assist the police in carrying out their duties. From April 1983 to March 1984 these reservists rendered a total of 30 636 hours’ service. They do not only man the stations, but they are also used for general police duties, road blocks and mopping-up operations.
As far as security is concerned, the situation in Port Elizabeth is calm. We had seven strikes in 1983, but everything was solved peacefully. The last strike was in October 1983. The labour situation in Port Elizabeth is therefore peaceful and normal.
The situation at schools in the Coloured areas was very calm during 1983, and only isolated cases of class boycotts occurred. In the Black areas the situation was relatively quiet during 1983, and no serious incidents occurred. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Algoa will forgive me if I do not react to what he had to say because he was speaking about Port Elizabeth and during the course of my contribution in this Committee I want to speak about some other matters.
I was pleased that the hon the Minister raised the question of the honorary doctorate awarded to my friend and colleague the hon member for Houghton last week in New York, and I am sure hon members will join me in congratulating her on having received her eighth honorary doctorate. I think it is entirely appropriate to mention that in the discussions on this Vote, because it was surely while dealing with matters related to civil liberties in the many years that she was here …
I thought about it myself.
… that she achieved the international prominence that she has throughout the years. Indeed, I feel that it would be appropriate if the Government would consider awarding the Decoration for Meritorious Service …
Oh no, thank you!
Just listen to me, though.
I have no doubt that her presence among those who have been awarded this honour will add a great deal of lustre and prestige to that order.
Do you owe her anything?
Secondly I want to say a word about the role the police played in reducing deaths on the road over the recent Easter weekend. I travelled back to Cape Town along the Garden Route on Easter Monday and I was greatly impressed by the presence which the police displayed at strategic points along the road. I have no doubt that the reduction in deaths was due to the combined efforts of a large number of people including provincial and local traffic police, but I think it is important to place on record the role played by the SA Police. This is the type of work we like to see them doing efficiently and more often.
Thirdly I want to raise with the hon the Minister the television programme called “Police File”. I believe it is an effective additional method of apprehending criminals, and I would like to suggest that he take up with the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs and/or the hon the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications the possibility of providing one telephone number for viewers to use in the event of them having information to pass on to the police. With each item that is broadcast a long list of telephone numbers and dialling codes is mentioned and displayed on the screen, and it is quite impossible for anybody to remember whether a particular number has been provided for after hours or during office hours contact. As the same number applies when one wishes to book a trunk call—one needs to dial 0020 anywhere in the country to book a trunk call. I have no doubt the hon the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications could provide a single number that is easily remembered and which can be used on the programme.
I now want to turn my attention to a constituency matter, and this is in regard to the provision of a police station in Rosebank. The hon the Minister is aware that I have been concerned with this matter since I came to Parliament and I wish to ask him to give his earnest consideration to this problem. A site exists in Rosebank where the old police station was previously located opposite the Rosebank Hotel. It is a great pity the old building was demolished as there is an urgent need for this facility in the area. The hon the Minister is aware that Rosebank consists of a large number of flats occupied in the main by single elderly ladies who would be greatly comforted by the presence of a police station in their midst. The same conditions apply regarding Illovo where there are numerous flats also occupied in the main by single elderly people. The desire is not for a large establishment with trucks zooming out of the backyard of the police station transporting prisoners backwards and forwards, but rather a small facility consisting mainly of a charge office simply to deter would-be criminals. The hon the Minister’s urgent attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated by a large number of people in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
The final matter to which I want to give my attention is the question of foot patrols. The hon the Minister is also aware that I have raised this matter on a number of occasions. I am sorry the hon member for Krugersdorp is not here because he asked me to consult my colleague, the hon member for Yeoville, in this connection. The hon member for Yeoville would have raised this matter today but unfortunately he is suffering from a sore throat and he has given me a mandate to speak on this subject on his behalf. We are ad idem in this regard.
We believe that the provision of foot patrols in the suburbs, towns and cities of this country is of the utmost importance. The deterring effect of a policeman doing the rounds will be of enormous benefit to all the communities in this country, and I want to stress all the communities. I wish to reiterate and I believe it is of the utmost importance that the size of the Police Force should be increased considerably so as to provide for these foot patrols. A large number of private police forces exist throughout the country. These consist of people who are not properly trained or disciplined in the way that the official police force is. Their presence indicates a great need for additional policemen who would be able to conduct the functions currently undertaken by security concerns. People are not concerned whether policemen are Black or White, but the basic and urgent need is for policemen to be available. I therefore implore the hon the Minister to do as much as he possibly can to increase the size of the Force so as to be able to provide this service.
I am aware of his view that foot patrols are not as effective as vehicle surveillance. However, I would like to remind him of the world famous “Bobby on the beat” and the two-way radio contact which these bobbies have with their headquarters. The London bobby on the beat is recognized throughout the world as a most effective way of preventing crime. I must also emphasize that I am not asking for increased pass raids or the implementation of influx control regulations. I merely want the provisions of better protection against criminals.
I have a letter from a constituent of mine complaining of the rising crime rate in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and the two recent murders in Craighall Park. Ratepayer associations and individuals in my constituency have urged me to plead with the hon the Minister for the reinstatement of policemen on the beat as they believe this will go a long way in preventing further incidents of this nature.
In addition, I would like to quote from the Christian Science Monitor of 21 April 1983 where it is reported that the Boston police in the USA have returned to foot patrols. The article states, inter alia:
I am told that research has confirmed what communities seem to sense, namely that car patrols do not necessarily deter crime, reduce citizen fear or increase arrests.
Mr Chairman, is the hon member aware that the Sowetan contradicts what he is saying now?
I do read the Sowetan but I have not noticed that point of view.
Part of the reason why it has not reduced fear, is that increases or decreases in the level of preventive patrol have simply not been recognized by citizens. Citizens do not feel a police presence when vehicle patrols are used. I must just remind the hom member for Krugersdorp that there is a great desire in Soweto for protection from criminal elements, and I have no doubt that those people will be happy with police patrols to protect them from criminal activities. Foot patrols on the other hand are immediately recognized by citizens and serve to reduce fear. The potential of foot patrols for reducing fear has two explanations. Unlike their colleageues in cars, police on foot patrol regularly interact with residents, shopkeepers, and pedestrians. Secondly, foot patrol officers regulate the behaviour of people on the streets who instil fear in others, namely drunks, gangs, pickpockets, muggers and disorderly and obstreperous people in general. Citizens get to know foot patrol officers by their names and police are seen by citizens as acting on their behalf to serve and protect them. I urge the hon the Minister to work towards increasing the size of the Police Force as soon as possible so as to provide this badly needed service of foot patrols.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Johannesburg North praised the hon member for Houghton for having received eight honorary doctorates abroad, adding that we should also give her an award in South Africa. I think her reply to that was: “No, thank you”. Am I correct? Did she say that?
Is that what the hon member said? [Interjections.] She said: “No, thank you”. I want us to take cognizance of that because her behaviour is such that she has never had a good word to say about her own country, neither here in this House, in South Africa as a whole or abroad. [Interjections.] I have never heard her say a good word about our Police Force.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, Sir, I have too little time. Would the hon member for Houghton agree with me that we in South Africa have the best Police Force in the world?
Don’t talk nonsense.
Just listen to what the hon member is saying. Would the hon member for Johannesburg North agree with me that we in South Africa have the best Police Force in the world?
With which force are you comparing it?
I am talking about the entire world. I maintain that the South African Police are among the best in the world. [Interjections.] I am comparing the South African Police with other police forces throughout the world.
Unlike you, I do not want to make an idiot of myself.
The hon member did just that when he spoke a while ago.
Would the hon member for Houghton admit that our Police Force does valuable work in South Africa in combating terrorism?
That is what she has against them.
Yes, the hon member for Johannesburg North has asked for foot patrols. What I find strange about the pink liberals is that they have no appreciation for the work the police do and are constantly attacking them, but on the other hand they want to be protected day and night. Even if we do not want to help the police in South Africa, we should not obstruct them. I maintain that there are hon members on that side of the House, inter alia the hon member for Houghton, who obstruct the police in the performance of their duties in South Africa. They have a very important role to play in South Africa.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member accuse the hon member for Houghton of obstructing the police in the execution of their duties?
It is the truth.
Order! It is not a question of whether it is the truth or not, but whether it is unparliamentary. What did the hon member for Vryheid mean by that allegation?
Mr Chairman, I merely said that the police have a very important task to perform, and I have never heard the hon member for Houghton in anyway trying to assist them in the performance of that task. I am merely saying that since she does not want to help them, she should at least not obstruct them.
Order! It is an offence to obstruct the police in the execution of their duties. If the hon member accused the hon member for Houghton of doing that, I cannot allow it.
No, Mr Chairman, I did not accuse the hon member of doing that.
Order! The hon member had better withdraw the allegation.
Mr Chairman, I withdraw it.
Mr Chairman, on a further point of order: …
You are wasting the House’s time.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Kimberley South has just said that I am wasting the House’s time. Earlier on he said that it was true that the hon member for Houghton obstructed the police in the execution of their duties. I therefore request that he withdraw it.
Mr Chairman, I withdraw it.
Sir, I also said so, but I withdraw it.
Order! The hon member for Vryheid may proceed.
Mr Chairman, I want to dwell for a moment on terrorism in South Africa. Terrorism is something that occurs throughout the world. During the past few years approximately 21 000 people have died throughout the world as a result of acts of terrorism, and it is estimated that this scourge has caused millions of rands worth of damage to property. This is therefore not a problem facing South Africa alone. The ANC is, however, concentrating on overthrowing the Government in South Africa, and I therefore appeal to hon members who, in this connection do not want to help the police in the execution of their duties, at least not to obstruct them. As far as the combating of terrorism in South Africa is concerned, the police have an excellent record. The ANC was established in South Africa in 1912, its sole objective being to overthrow the Government of the country. However, thus far they have not made any headway; as a matter of fact, today they have tremendous problems. They have not succeeded in achieving their objective at all, and they will not succeed either, thanks to the actions of the SA Police.
It is a well-known fact that 172 terrorists have been rendered harmless or shot dead by the police. I want to refer specifically to the actions of the police because I have great admiration for them. In Natal, in 1982 in particular, there were quite a number of terrorist attacks and sabotage attempts in my constituency, Vryheid, and in the Paulpie-tersburg areas. The entire community of Vryheid—and I myself—take our hats off to the actions of the police and their efforts to ensure that law and order is restored in that area. The police clamped down on the terrorists in that area to such an extent that they fled to Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
Since they tried to damage the Supreme Court building in Pietermaritzburg at the beginning of 1983, approximately 20 cases of terrorism have occurred in that area, because they realized that they could not achieve any success in the rural areas. However, the police also clamped down on them in the Durban area, and again a number of the cases were solved. In this connection I want to convey my condolences to the police, because in their actions against terrorism in Natal, and to safeguard the public there, three of their men lost their lives.
Unfortunately I do not have the time to quote the statistics, but from the statistics it would appear that the incidence of terrorism is decreasing. A few years ago there were 400 cases of terrorism in one year in South Africa. The present figure is only 55. In Natal there were also far fewer acts of terrorism, and greater calm again prevails in the entire area. In this connection the area around Pietersburg received particular attention from terrorists in October 1983. I am sorry that the hon the leader of the CP is not here at the moment. As far as this situation is concerned, he passed remarks which were absolutely scandalous. When the terrorist was arrested near the Prime Minister, he said it was nothing but a ploy or gimmick. In the first place, I want to point out to him that the hon the Prime Minister, or some of the other people in the hall or in the immediate vicinity, could have killed or injured. The hon member for Waterberg, however, said it was nothing really. This shows one the amount of contempt he has for the Prime Minister of South Africa. In the second place, his behaviour was not in the interests of South Africa either. He tried to pass off the concentration of terrorists in that area at that stage as being of no importance. The ANC is actually a revolutionary movement supported by Russia. The hon member says, however, that it is simply nothing at all. What I found worst of all, however, was the contempt he showed for the good work done by the SA Police. The CP does not enjoy much support in Natal and I can understand the hon leader not really caring whether people in Natal are killed as a result of terrorist activities, but he alleges that the work done by the police there is not important. In this regard he and the hon member for Houghton are in the same camp. Their attitude towards the work done by the police in combating terrorism makes them siblings. [Time expired.]
Order! Did the hon member for Jeppe say that the hon member for Vryheid was a nasty piece of work (mislike ou)?
Sir, I did not open my mouth.
Mr Chairman, I said he was a “mislike ou Sappie”. I withdraw it.
Mr Chairman, we have now reached the end of a debate the greater part of which was very pleasant. Unfortunately there were a few low points, but I do wish to place on record that, particularly after the debates on the Police Vote that have taken place over the past number of years, it was really a pleasure to listen to the debate this afternoon and this evening, to listen to the positive contributions made by hon members, with the exception of the contribution of one hon member.
I should like to reply as briefly as possible to the contributions made this evening and will then come back to the contributions made this afternoon, inter alia that of the hon member for Houghton.
The hon member for Beaufort West asked whether it would not be possible for us to establish a special unit to deal with rape cases. Such a unit would be geared to deal with the situation of the plaintiff in particular. I have a great deal of understanding for his request, but in practice this is unfortunately impossible. What we do is to make use of female members of the Force, where possible, when the plaintiff’s side of the matter, such as her statement and circumstances, has to be dealt with. As regards assistance to and from the court and in the court itself, we try to ensure that this is done by one of our female members. I want to give the hon member the assurance that the SA Police goes out of its way to deal as sympathetically as possible with plaintiffs in cases of this nature and to make circumstances as convenient as possible for them, as far as we are able to achieve this in different stations.
The hon member for Carletonville made a sound contribution and asked, inter alia, whether we could not consider the expansion of the staff there and make a second vehicle available. I realize that what the hon member referred to may be bottlenecks or could develop into bottlenecks. I should like to give the hon member the assurance that I shall request the Commissioner of Police to request the District Commandant there to investigate the situation in his constituency immediately and report back. The hon member’s request is not an impossible one, and as soon as I receive the report I shall bring him up to date. However, I wish to say to him here and now that we shall see whether we can comply with his request as soon as we can, if possible.
The hon member for Jeppe referred to corruption in connecton with horse races. The position is that horse races fall under the Provincial Council, in his case the Provincial Council of the Transvaal. I take it the hon member is referring to the Jockey Club of Transvaal. Therefore this is a matter which, basically, should first be submitted to the Administration in question. If in their investigations they encounter circumstances which indicate that a police inquiry is necessary then they will of course convey that to the SA Police, and the Police will become involved in such an investigation. To begin with, however, it must be submitted to the provincial authorities. It may then be referred to the SA Police via those channels, if necessary. It is not that one stands aloof as far as this matter is concerned, but that is the procedure which should really be followed in this regard.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister a question? What worries me is that it was admitted in the programme “Midweek” that corruption involving a few million rands does indeed occur. Is that not enough to justify a police investigation?
I am sorry, but the Police cannot initiate investigations merely on the basis of admissions in “Midweek” and other reports. That is not how it works in practice. Equally, the SA Police cannot investigate a criminal charge for the hon member for Brakpan on the basis of a newspaper report which has not even been brought to my attention. That is simply not how it works. Therefore I should appreciate it if the hon member would follow the procedure I sketched. The matter can then be duly investigated through the correct channels. If the SA Police have to make a contribution in this regard they will do so.
The hon member for Schweizer-Reneke made a sympathetic contribution with regard to the Police reservists. He asked whether it would not be possible for the arms that members on the platteland are equipped with, to be more readily left in their possession. There is a ruling which has been implemented for the past number of years in accordance with which members may obtain permission from their station commander to take their small arms, whether they be pistols or rifles, to the farm with them. Then, when they have to perform service, they bring their arms with them. If the hon member is experiencing any problems in this regard in his constituency I wish to ask him to discuss the matter with the District Commandant the next time he pays him a visit. The facilities are there, and if the hon member brings to the attention of the District Commandant circumstances which justify this then I am sure that the hon member and the members in his constituency will be accommodated. The hon member also asked me what the position was with regard to cross-border action as far as the homelands were concerned. Our policy is not simply to storm in there ourselves. We enjoy the finest co-operation with the police forces that have already been established in the homelands and the national states. Therefore we have no problem with cross-border movement by them or by us as far as the national states are concerned. The hon member can rest assured in this regard.
†The hon member for South Coast referred especially to his impressions of the Koevoet police unit in the operational area and I thank him for his very kind and very positive remarks about that particular unit. He accompanied me on a tour of the operational area about two weeks ago and the positive attitude he adopted on the tour was certainly a credit to his party. The hon member also referred to the few policemen who happened to be a discredit to the Force. I will deal fully with this particular issue when I reply to the hon member for Umhlanga. I will then also supply certain statistics in this regard.
*The hon member for Losberg concentrated in particular on traffic safety matters and also mentioned the contribution made by the SA Police during the past Easter weekend. I must say that I am very proud of the contribution made in this regard by the Police Reserve and also the Police reservists. They do so largely by manning police vehicles and police radios and by performing innumerable services, and when the traffic is heavy on our roads they make an exceptional contribution in assisting with the proper ordering and regulation of traffic, and all that that involves.
I shall come back later to the hon member for Brakpan. To begin, however, I wish to turn to the hon member for Bryanston. He complained about the poor service at the charge office in his constituency, and he brought it to my attention that the staff are apparently too few in number, and in addition, that not enough vehicles are available. I shall request the Commissioner to give his attention to this matter. Randburg is an area which is expanding rapidly. It may be that with our allocated staff establishment and the actual personnel strength there that we have fallen behind from time to time and that we do not always supplement the staff in good time. We shall review the situation and report to the member in this regard at a later stage. This also applies to the general request made by the hon member as regards more members of staff at the police station in Randburg.
The hon member for Bryanston went on the ask whether it would not be possible for us to encourage members of the Force who retire at the age of 55 years, to stay on in a temporary capacity. The facilities for this do exist and indeed, many members of the Force prefer not to do this for personal reasons and I do not take that amiss of them. However, while a member of the Force is still healthy and is able to give good service, and prefers, after reaching retirement age, to stay on in a temporary capacity in terms of other provisions of the Police Act, we are always willing to accommodate such members. They can then remain in a temporary capacity as long as they wish, until they reach the age of 60 years. We make very full use of the services of such members of the Force.
I think it is necessary to encourage them actively to do so.
Yes, that is so. However, in the light of the present sound financial and other benefits, for example pension benefits, which members of the Force receive, fewer of them are interested in staying on on a temporary basis. However, that is their personal standpoint and I do not take it amiss of them.
Finally, the hon member for Bryanston put a strange request to me. He wants me to give attention to the savage dogs in Randburg. I must point out to him that that is not entirely my sphere. Nor is it entirely the sphere of the police. It is a municipal matter. [Interjections.] I do, of course, greatly appreciate the fact that the hon member for Bryanston take such an intense interest in the problems of his voters who are so constantly being bitten by dogs. However, the hon member’s wife is Mayor of Randburg. I think he should speak to her about this matter. [Interjections.] Of course, if this matter were to give rise to a domestic argument between them, I should be unhappy about it. Nevertheless, I believe that he had better speak to his spouse on the issue of the savage dogs. I hope she will be able to help him in this regard.
She herself has also been bitten by a dog. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, like the hon member for Helderkruin the hon member for Overvaal identified a matter of cardinal importance. It is that we must expect that to the extent that our peace initiatives succeed, there will be an intensified political onslaught on the domestic population of South Africa by these hostile organizations. This is a very important aspect that the hon member has identified. Accordingly, as I indicated earlier this afternoon, I should like to give the hon member the assurance that this is a matter that we shall be aware of and that we shall all focus our attention on to ensure that abuses do not occur in this sphere. I am also grateful for the hon member’s general appeal to the public for everyone to play their part in assisting the SA Police Force to combat crime and maintain internal order and peace.
This brings me to the hon member for Green Point. I said this evening that the hon member qualified, and I meant it very seriously. It seems to me as if the hon member always qualifies, when he rises, to adopt a standpoint and say something which immediately gives offence. Again this evening the hon member used certain words, and he used those words deliberately. I may not say that the hon member had evil intentions, or so I assume; the hon Whip of the official Opposition had better tell me. [Interjections.] No, I do not say that; I assume that, but the hon Whip does not help me. I say that the hon member for Green Point deliberately spoke about a cynical piece of legislation. Why did the hon member not say that in 1977, when the legislation was placed on the Statute Book?
I was not here then.
At that time the hon member was not here. That is just as well. The hon member used the following words: “It is a charter for street executions.” The hon member said this deliberately in order to derive maximum publicity from it. He thought up that phrase in order to obtain maximum publicity, and the hon member is an advocate at the Bar. [Interjections.] I want to ask the hon member: For whom is this a “charter for street executions”?
For anyone, according to the relevant section of the Act.
No, the hon member must not try to qualify it now. I am telling him here and now that when he said that he meant the SA Police.
The SA Police and anyone else.
Why did the hon member not have the courage of his convictions to stand up and say that? Why put it in these words? I also want to ask the hon member where all this took place. Where did these “street executions” take place? The hon member must tell me where these “street executions took place. This provision has been on the Statute Book for years. Why does the hon member now call it a charter for street executions, without being able to give me a single example? [Interjections.]
The hon member associates himself with this unsavoury article in the Reader’s Digest. This is an absolutely unsavoury article that is poorly motivated and is not based on the correct facts, and it is subtly presented. Time does not allow me to go into detail but I have read the article carefully.
What incorrect facts does it contain? [Interjections.]
May I please ask a question?
No, the hon member did not want to listen to me when I spoke to him a moment ago. [Interjections.] Very well then, ask the question.
I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether he recalls that in the discussion of his Vote last year I raised the question of the shooting in Smit Street, Braamfontein, at peak hour one afternoon of a man who jumped out of a window, and said that members of the public were afraid of being shot because of the bullets flying around.
But who was shot, Sir? Not a single member of the public was hit by a police bullet in that case. [Interjections.] Nobody was either killed or wounded.
They were lucky.
No, Sir, the hon Whip must not try and help the hon member for Green Point with such a poor example. There is not a single example that either he or any other hon member of his party can mention to confirm what the hon member for Green Point said.
This article in the Reader’s Digest to which the hon member for Green Point also referred, also refers to section 49. I do not wish to deal with the entire article now because it is already on record but the author has the following to say, among other things:
That is the example used—“killing a fleeing child suspected of stealing a chocolate bar”. The hon member, an experienced advocate of the Cape Bar, associates himself with that. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon Minister a question?
No, I do not wish to reply to further questions now.
The pen of the editor of The Cape Times really drips with venom when he refers to the SA Police. He simply accepted what was written here and publicized it as follows:
With reference to this kind of report that is published I do not even wish to reply further to the hon member in connection with the article in Reader’s Digest. It is not that I do not wish to do so in respect of him as a person, but I do not even feel like touching on the issue. However, I can, in general, tell the hon member this: The repeal or amendment of that section is a matter that the hon member can take up with the hon the Minister of Justice. He is fully entitled to do so and I have no problem in that regard. If he can motivate it, that may happen. I shall leave it at that.
We in the SA Police, the Commissioner and I, have over the past year or two given the most earnest attention to the handling of firearms by members of the SA Police. We have done everything possible departmentally to ensure that all statutory provisions and all provisions contained in the Standing Orders are complied with. I prepared a comprehensive document, but unfortunately I have insufficient time at my disposal to quote it to the Committee in full. It contains all the statistics of the past number of months and they have been processed in fine detail.
There are two things that I must say to the hon member. I can give him the assurance that there has been a significant drop in the number of shooting incidents involving members of the Force, but when we discuss this we must also at all times ask ourselves how many members of the Force have been shot over the past year, how many have been either wounded or killed in shooting incidents, and those statistics were placed on record during the past week with reference to a question asked by the hon member for Houghton. I request the hon member always to see this matter in perspective and to present both sets of figures, whoever he may speak to about this.
On the other hand, the Commissioner of Police and I are not prepared to allow the Police to be forced into a situation in which they are eventually afraid to use a firearm because they do not know when the Minister or the Commissioner is going to climb down their throats. I am not prepared to allow that, either. Therefore we must preserve the balance, so that our people can do their work with confidence, without being careless or neglectful, and we are striving to instil that confidence. I am satisfied that the members of the Force do their duty with regard to the Standing Orders and the statutory provisions. The Commissioner and I will do our duty in this regard as well, but we must have a Force with the confidence to do their work in the dangerous world in which they have to carry out their task. We shall help them to retain that confidence. I assume that I have the hon member’s co-operation in this regard.
Yes, I said so.
The hon member for Algoa provided interesting information with regard to the situation in his constituency. I thank him for his contribution.
The hon member for Vryheid represents a part of the northern region of Natal which is a sensitive area. I can give the hon member the assurance that the SA Police and the Defence Force, as well as the other security services, are deployed in force in the entire northern Natal at this stage, as they are also deployed in the Eastern Transvaal to take the necessary precautions in respect of things that could take place and infiltration that could occur through Swaziland.
†The hon member for Johannesburg North referred to the role of the police in assisting with traffic matters. We will also give attention to his suggestion about a telephone number for use on the program “Police File”.
I took note of the hon member for Yeoville’s repeated request for foot patrols in his constituency and other suburbs in Johannesburg, the “bobby on the beat” as such.
The hon member for Johannesburg North also referred to the mounting crime rate in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. I can assure him that we are giving our constant attention to this. I am not sure if I have reported to him on this matter during the past few months. If not, the hon member must let me know what information he needs in respect of his constituency and I will let him have a report.
*The hon member for Helderberg, the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, has addressed serious representations to me over along period—due to circumstances he was unable to participate in the debate—concerning the police station at Somerset West. Due to these representations I have obtained the co-operation of the Department of Community Development in giving a far higher priority to this police station. I hope that a serious effort will be made within the next few years to accommodate the hon the Minister.
†The hon member for Houghton referred to section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Act and said that it should not be used by the Security Police. I am sure that the hon member based her representations on a report which appeared in The Star on 27 March.
I am entitled to use any information I can obtain.
Because of lack of time, I cannot refer to all the particulars of it. The Detainees’ Parents Support Committee is, as usual, making three or four false allegations in this particular report. The hon member should have a look at the report. I want to give her the assurance that we are not using section 50 to get away with anything. The Security Police act in terms of the Interal Security Act and are not using another section in another Act for any other purposes.
As far as section 32 of the Police Act is concerned, I already gave the hon member the undertaking that we would look at it. We did it and monitored the situation. There were two decisions in the Supreme Court, of which the hon member is probably aware. The one case is Magobane vs the Minister of Police, 1982, in the Natal Provincial Division.
*In the event it was ruled by the court that prescription could in fact be arrested by detention in certain circumstances.
†The second case was Monsise vs the Minister of Police. The hon member now gives the impression that she knows about this. When I asked her about it earlier this afternoon she did not know anything about it. She probably consulted her legal adviser afterwards, as I asked her to do.
I certainly did that. I found out that I was wrong and you were correct.
Excellent! That only goes to show that the hon member is indeed open to good advice. [Interjections.]
The Appeal Court set aside the verdict in the Mosise case and followed the judgment of the Natal Division. What this amounts to is that detention does not halt prescription. However I want to issue a warning here, viz that people who are detained must not think that they are entitled to wait until they are discharged before putting in a claim because their period of prescription cannot run during their period of detention. If such a person knows what his rights are and is in a position to exercise them, in that an attorney or a person who is able to advise him pays a visit to him, and he does nothing in that regard, he must not subsequently try to rely on this Appeal Court decision, since in that case he will not have the necessary protection he thought he had. Therefore I just wish to state clearly that the people in general must not infer that they can now, in all circumstances, sit back in the prison and only begin to take steps once they come out.
Mr Chairman, would the hon the Minister tell me how a section 29 detainee who has no access to anybody can exercise his rights, as is now being described in the Monsisi case, and secondly, had that case gone the other way, would he have repealed or amended section 32?
I have given the hon member the assurance that we shall look into that. In any event that is a hypothetical question. The Appeal Court has already issued its finding. Why, then, should I amend the Act? I am merely issuing a warning and leaving the matter at that. The hon member had better advise her clients herself. [Interjections.]
†The hon member also referred to the question of the production of reference books. There is a standing instruction in this regard, but I must say that we are offered so many excuses by people whose reference books we ask for that it is often a waste of time even to try to give them a chance to produce them. We still have this instruction and we try to apply it as far as possible.
The hon member also asked that we should try not to send young and inexperienced members to trouble spots. We always try to send experienced members to trouble spots, and that will still be the case in the future. The circumstances surrounding the Dirkiesdorp incident on that particular morning just could not be foreseen.
The hon member for Durban Central referred to the question of tear gas that was used at this very happy party that he attended. I must say that to me that party seems to have been a fairly wild one. The hon member probably saw and probably suffered from the effects of the tear gas used there. [Interjections.] He admits it. It seems to me that party was a nice one! [Interjections.] The tear gas that was used there comes in a canister which is something similar to an aerosol or “Pyagra” canister which is used to kill flies, etc.
*It is like an aerosol can; if one holds it close to someone’s face and presses the nozzle, it goes “pst” and one spurts a cloud of gas into his face. It is not teargas which is used in warfare. It is extremely effective. It is clear to me that it was effectively used on the hon member as well. [Interjections.]
†The hon member also asked whether we could not make a senior officer available to receive complaints from people. I have cuttings from newspapers here where Brigadier Sherman invited the public of Lamontville to come and complain to Colonel Van Wyk, who was specially made available to listen to their complaints, but nobody came forward. Colonel Van Wyk is an experienced officer and the Chief of the CID, but nobody came forward. I did not say it in the House last year, but I suspected that the members of the Joint Rent Action Committee who operated in that particular township or in both townships had strong ANC sympathies. I want to tell the hon member that at present 12 persons from Lamontville are being detained in terms of section 29 of the Internal Security Act because they left the country for Lesotho to receive military training from the ANC.
*I wanted to explain the position clearly to the hon member.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister a question?
No, unfortunately my time is now too limited. I should also like to say to the hon member that the use of any form of electrical equipment to shock people is totally forbidden.
I should like to thank the hon member for Verwoerdburg for his fine contribution with regard to the team of Parliamentary policemen and the guard service. In this regard I should like to say that Lieutenant Colonel Mouton, whom we all know so well and who looks after our security so well, was recently promoted to the rank of full colonel, something he really deserves.
The hon member for Krugersdorp made a very good “stand”. He and the other men will realize what that means, and I should like to thank him for it.
The hon member Mr Theunissen need not request the Commissioner of Police to invite him to functions. The Commissioner of Police invites members of the House of Assembly recommended by me. Therefore, if the hon member wishes to be recommended for such an invitation I shall consider it; he need only notify me.
As regards the pensions of former members of the Police Force, I should like to send the hon member a memorandum containing all the details, worked out in detail by the Minister of Health and Welfare. He will also see in the memorandum that the members about whom he is concerned have in no respect been slighted. He will find this information useful in discussions with his people.
I have asked the Commissioner to refer the diary which the hon member brought to my attention, to the Publications Board because it seems that this may be a contravention of the Act and that it promotes the interests of the ANC.
I should also like to thank the hon member for Roodepoort for his sound contribution.
†For the hon member for Umhlanga’s information, 29 Whites and 223 non-Whites were dishonourably discharged from the SA Police during 1982-83.
*During 1983, 82 Whites and 301 non-Whites were dishonourably discharged from the Force. I am sorry to furnish these figures because I derive no pleasure from them. In the first three months of this year, 20 Whites and 78 non-Whites were discharged. This does not include cases where members discharge themselves in order to evade dishonourable discharge. Hon members may therefore rest assured that we impose strict discipline.
I am really sorry that I have so little time left for the hon member for Brakpan because he really talked himself into a corner. [Interjections.] In the statement I issued about the ANC I referred specifically to the appeal made by the ANC and also to the serious nature of this matter. I said inter alia:
Is that irresponsible, Sir? Is that arrogant? I went on to say:
Is that arrogant? The memorandum goes on:
Mr Chairman, is it an irresponsible Minister who says such a thing to the public? The hon member must tell me whether that is his opinion. He also referred to the question of the MPC. However, it was unnecessary for me to reply to it in that way. As a former Deputy Speaker of this House the hon member ought to know that my question was fully in accordance with the requirements set by the Standing Rules and Orders of this House. However, in a subsequent conversation with an hon member I referred fairly loudly to the MPC in question, and when I had done so, one or two hon members on the other side said almost simultaneously: “Oh, we thought so; surely that is the man.” In other words, this is a real gossip story that the hon member for De Aar, or whoever it was, enquired about, because he did not quite know whether that was the case. They wanted to cause an NP MPC embarrassment with regard to me and when my answer was unsatisfactory, they unfortunately overheard my discussion with an hon member on this side of the House and took it as my answer.
The hon member for Brakpan must not come to me with stories of that nature. He should rather react responsibily when his leader, the hon member for Waterberg, makes such irresponsible remarks as “what about the little bomb in Pietermaritzburg?” and “What about that trick in Pietermaritzburg”? The hon member for Waterberg also discussed the three sixes and said that we were not Christians. [Interjections.] Indeed, the hon member for Brakpan even makes fun of the total onslaught and says that there is no such thing as a total onslaught. Is that responsible conduct? Is it a responsible member who makes such statements? For example, a member of the hon member’s party announced from the pulpit that four communists had written the constitution. Is that responsible? Where does the arrogance lie now? There was no reaction from the CP to the statement by that clergyman. Not one of them said to him that that was not true, and on top of it all, one of the names that appeared in the Rev Scheuer’s pamphlet was that of the hon member for Waterberg, as one of the four Ministers referred to. Nevertheless, the hon member for Brakpan comes and talks to me about arrogance and irresponsibility. Perhaps we should extend the debate somewhat and discuss this matter further, but it seems to me that you will not allow it, Mr Chairman. [Interjections.]
Vote agreed to.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 22.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.
The House adjourned at