House of Assembly: Vol114 - FRIDAY 4 MAY 1984
Mr Speaker, I move:
20h00 to 22h30.
Mr Speaker, I should like to thank the Opposition parties for their co-operation in this regard.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a First Time.
reported that the Standing Committee on Vote No 4—“Co-operation and Development”, had agreed to the vote.
Vote No 10—“Internal Affairs” (contd.):
Mr Chairman, when we adjourned last night, I had not had the opportunity of replying to all speakers. I should now like to try, in the few minutes available to me, to react to the other speakers.
The hon member for Meyerton told me that he would have to leave at nine o’clock, so I should like to deal with him first. The hon member put a number of questions to me and I shall try to answer them. One question he put to me was a very interesting one. He said that he noticed that we were spending certain amounts of money on the promotion of culture. For his information I just want to say that the money spent under this Vote is spent on the promotion of cultural affairs for Coloureds and Indians. I do not know whether those hon members would be interested in obtaining any financial assistance for the Afrikanervolkswag under this Vote [Interjections.] However, the principle of financial support for cultural associations in respect of deserving projects is one which has already been accepted. The hon member asked whether, if it were proved that this new organization which is to be established was not politically inspired or funded and that it did not have any political connections, we would then appropriate money for it on behalf of the Government. The hon member seems to have made a study of this organization which is to be formed and he is in a position to give us certain information about it. I should like to ask him whether an Afrikaner who enthusiastically supports the new dispensation, an Afrikaner who absolutely rejects the CP and the HNP, an Afrikaner who regards the AWB and the Kappiekommando as dangerous to the Afrikaner people, an Afrikaner who rejects the Oranje movement as the pursuit of an impossible dream, would be welcome in the Afrikanervolkswag.
It depends on the person.
Would such an Afrikaner be welcome in the Afrikanervolkswag? Or is the position that Mr Jaap Marais’ cultural contribution over the years has made him one of the most important founder members of this organization, so much so that he will be the main speaker, after the hon member for Waterberg, on the occasion of its formation? There is no question in anyone’s mind that what is going to happen this weekend is a political action, an attempt to establish a cultural front for the politics of stagnation of those hon members.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister whether he as a politician is not a member of any cultural organization?
I am a member of several cultural organizations, and I find myself at home in those cultural organizations in the company of members of other parties, because those organizations are basically concerned with culture only, while the NP engages in politics on behalf of the Nationalists who are also members of those organizations. [Interjections.]
The hon member should ask himself why the need has arisen for this additional cultural organization.
We shall look after it.
Oh no, I want to ask him, if Afrikaners of all political parties are welcome there—surely there are fellow Afrikaners in this House who are acceptable to the hon members as fellow members of the same cultural organization—which hon members on this side have received an invitation to the proceedings this weekend. [Interjections.]
The hon member asked me whether a Coloured or an Indian could also become Minister of this department. We have to consider this department as it is at the moment. We control Coloured education, but Coloured education can only be entrusted to a Coloured Minister belonging to the Ministers’ Council of the Coloured Chamber. We control Indian education. This can only be entrusted to an Indian Minister who serves on the Ministers’ Council of the Indian Chamber. After all, we stand for self-determination with regard to own affairs.
As regards the common elements in this department, which will form part of a future department dealing with matters of common concern, surely we have never been ambiguous in our attitude to these, as the hon member said here yesterday, but we have made it absolutely clear that no participant in the new parliamentary process would be excluded from Cabinet posts and that merit would be the deciding factor. The hon member should not pretend to have made a discovery here; we said so openly, after all, in Waterberg and in Meyerton. The hon member should have attended the meeting held in Meyerton by my hon colleague who is my benchmate, that enthusiastic meeting, and then he would have heard that we are not hiding anything from anyone. The hon member will have to examine his conscience, because he is an honourable man—I mean it when I say that. Who does he think is going to be Minister of this department under the new dispensation?
The hon member made a second statement and said that we blew hot and cold. Then he told an interesting story from the Boer War. That story about the men who lay down with their noses in the water reminded me of the CP, because that is exactly what they do when faced with the challenges of the times. Instead of accepting the challenges, as the young farmers did long ago when they took their guns and went on commando, they have gone into hiding. I am sure they told their mother that they had good reason and that they worked out fine theories to prove why they did not have to do anything about the problems of their times. That is what is going on in that party.
Finally, the hon member announced that there was an electoral pact which would be the beginning of the end of the NP. He also quoted a prognosticator whose prediction he finds encouraging. I want to tell him that in the NP we build our expectations of the future on our conviction and our belief and our firm knowledge that we are tackling the problems of this country and trying to solve them with all the integrity and sincerity that we are capable of. We are not doing it on the basis of a Madame Rose approach, nor are we building it on such an uncertain and crumbling foundation as Mr Jaap Marais and the HNP. The hon member tried to play politics last night, but I find it really interesting that he showed no interest whatsoever in what was going on in the department.
While I am dealing with the CP, I should like to reply to the speech made by the hon member for Rissik. Quoting from Shakespeare, he warned me against the Ides of March, and then offered me a safe harbour. In the first place, I want to tell him that I did not know that he read foreign authors such as Shakespeare. He should watch out. Eugene Terre’Blanche does not like that. In any event, I am not tempted by the kind invitation which he has addressed to me. An MP colleague of mine says that Shakespeare wrote elsewhere—I do not guarantee the correctness of the quotation, because he tells me that he only just managed to pass English in Matric—“Act like a flower, but be the serpent under it.” Since the hon member for Rissik is a reader of Shakespeare, I think it would be wisest not to respond to his sudden friendly overtures, because I suspect that there is a serpent under the flower. I am also mindful of the warning: “Beware the Greeks bearing gifts.”
The hon member for Rissik wanted to know why the Coloured people were going to have a separate chamber. What a sick argument he advanced, as a person who is so negative in his attitude towards the Coloureds. The official publication of his party refers to the Coloureds in the most jeering and humiliating way. He lectures me about the NP’s attitude towards Coloureds, while his party wants to force them into a homeland against their will. It is the height of political cynicism. It has always been the standpoint of the NP that the Coloured people are an identifiable group. Of course there are many factors, the most important of which are church and language, which form a bond between them and the Afrikaner. Besides the material differences which exist, there are similarities as well. These very differences between us and the Coloureds, as well as the similarities, make the CP’s policy impracticable and impossible and also make it necessary to accommodate the Coloureds in a special way in the political dispensation.
Furthermore, the hon member asked whether we were also going to allow immigration in a 4:2:1 ratio. Once again, this is a cynical question, but I shall answer it. However, his leader still owes us a reply. If the Indians are living in an independent sovereign Indian State, will they be able to allow Indians to enter this country freely without any restriction on their numbers? His hon leader answered the question by saying: “Oh no, we shall keep an eye on that.”
Are you going to keep an eye on them, too?
Immigration is a general affair and I shall be involved in decisions regarding immigration. After all, the hon member was chairman of this specific study group for a long time and he knows our immigration legislation. He knows that one of the basic tests that are laid down is that immigrants should be capable of assimilating with the White community. The hon member should look it up in the Act.
For a moment, the hon member looked surprised. Furthermore, he knows that the policy which we implement also provides for exceptions to be made on humanitarian grounds and that Coloureds, but especially Indians—because that is where tha problem lies—are allowed to enter South Africa on an orderly basis. So it is a cynical question which the hon member asked. Those hon members should stop implying, in their attacks on the NP, that the NP is not sincere in its intentions towards the Coloureds and the Indians.
The hon member also tried to equate the situation in Zimbabwe with that in South Africa. His argument is that Zimbabwe under Mugabe is equal to South Africa under P W Botha. This is either mere naïveté or a blatant misrepresentation to confuse people who have not given much thought to the matter. Politically, acadamically, morally and ethically, it is a dishonest argument. He is actually saying that Zimbabwe under Mugabe, a former terrorist, and the RSA under P W Botha, an Afrikaner, are the same. He is saying that Zimbabwe, with its undermining of White security and Black domination, and South Africa, with its guarantees of White security and White self-determination, are the same. I am ashamed of that standard of debating, especially coming from the hon member for Rissik, who always sets great store by political honesty.
†The hon member for Constantia referred to the showing of films and cinemas being closed on Sundays. Cinema hours are not regulated by this department, but by the Department of Justice. In general, I want to state that the Government is opposed to any further relaxation of restrictions on the doing of business on Sundays. What one does privately on Sunday, is one’s own affair, but doing business, conducting commercial activities on a Sunday is a different matter. A large section of the community object to an extension of business activity on Sundays.
*The hon member also referred to the hiring out of videos on Sundays. Two wrongs do not make a right. The question is whether it is a healthy state of affairs that hundreds of video shops should do business on Sundays. My personal opinion is that it is an unhealthy development, and I can assure hon members that it gives offence and that we receive many representations in this connection, so much so that we have to take cognisance of them and shall have to look into the matter.
In what way is it unhealthy?
I know that there are widely divergent standpoints on this matter in South African society on how the Sabbath should be regarded and what should and should not be allowed on a Sunday. There are many people who want us to adopt a more lenient attitude, and I do not blame them. However, there are also many people who believe that we should adopt a more restrictive attitude. This is a matter which we should approach with circumspection. We should respect one another’s standpoints. On six days of the week, one can go to the cinema as much as one likes. If it would give offence to a large part of the population if this were allowed on the seventh day as well, can those who want to go the the cinema not do so on six days of the week and occupy themselves in a different way on the seventh day?
Forty per cent of the hon member’s voters basically adopt a theologically conservative attitude towards the Sabbath. He must decide whether he wants to disregard the standpoint of that 40% of his voters—in my case it is 70%—on this subject, a standpoint which is based on ethical, moral and theological premises.
Let the 40% do what they like on a Sunday and let the other 60% do what they like.
Sir, it is traditional in this country to preserve a specific atmosphere on a Sunday, and there must be good reasons before such a tradition is discarded. Even many foreigners—of course, there are also many who say that Sundays are too quiet in this country—and immigrants who come to South Africa say that this view of the Sabbath and this way of spending Sundays in South Africa is part of the reason why they find South Africa such a wonderful country.
Then the train services, the telephone services and the airways should also … [Interjections.]
The hon member should distinguish between essential services and services which are not essential.
If it is essential, it is acceptable, and if it is not essential, it is not acceptable.
It may be essential to some hon members to go to the cinema … [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister whether he is aware of the fact that many Indian cinemas are open on Sundays? Is that not discrimination in reverse?
I am also aware of Sunday sport in the Black communities. Specific communities have their own views on the subject. With regard to the question of whether commercial theatres should be open—it does not fall under me—I want to say that as far as I know, this is not permissible. The hon member rightly pointed out that many clubs had been formed to circumvent the Sunday legislation. All I am pleading for—I have no wish to force anything down anybody’s throat—is that we should bear in mind that we are dealing with something which is a sensitive matter even within the White community itself. Therefore I just want to ask hon members to approach it in a sensitive way. We approach it in a sensitive way.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Is the hon member for Bryanston allowed to accuse the hon the Minister of hypocrisy?
What did the hon member for Bryanston say?
Sir, I said that the National Party consisted of hypocrites.
Sir, the hon member did not say what he is now alleging that he said.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: I think it is a rule of the House that we accept the word of hon members. [Interjections.]
Order! I must accept the word of the hon member. The hon the Minister may proceed.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister whether he personally is opposed to video shops being open on a Sunday?
I am concerned about the tendency and about the way in which video shops are at the moment doing trade on Sundays. We are receiving a lot of objections and we are looking into the whole question of how video businesses are doing business on Sundays. If any decision flows from that, that will be made known.
*I come now to the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central. He had a long story about the Chinese. I want to tell him at once that every word of appreciation which he expressed towards the Chinese community has already been expressed by this side of the House. Therefore we have no quarrel with him concerning his recognition of the positive and constructive role played by this small community in South Africa. The Government is giving attention at the moment to each one of the points which the hon member mentioned. As far as their constitutional position is concerned, certain investigations and discussions are taking place. As regards the question of the Chinese group area in Port Elizabeth, which is the only one in the country, my hon colleague is dealing with that, as far as I know, and the hon member may question him about it when his Vote comes up for discussion. As regards the marriage position under the present legislation, we know that a select committee is at present investigating the matter. I want to say that as far as the Chinese community is concerned, special circumstances prevail because of the pattern of distribution of that community and because of the fact that it is a very small community. In many of our towns, cities and constituencies there are only four, five or six Chinese families. We still have to work out how we are going to do it, but I want to give the absolute assurance today that the Chinese community may rest assured that there will be an equitable system for them within the foreseeable future in which their human dignity will be respected and in which they will not be prejudiced in any way and their position will in no way be inferior to that of the other population groups participating in the new dispensation. They will be fully involved in the political decision-making process, therefore. Justice will be done to them. We shall do this in consultation with them. We shall have to do it in a special way because of their special circumstances. These circumstances are somewhat different from those prevailing in the larger communities with ¾ million, 2,5 million and 4,5 million members.
The hon member Mr Schutte made a very interesting contribution on immigration. I share his concern and disappointment at the fact that the flow of immigrants from Belgium and Holland is so small. There are good reasons for this, but unfortunately I do not have time now to elaborate on these. However, the Government and I are open to any proposals for improving the situation if we may be sure that those proposals have a good chance of success and will not perhaps cause more problems than they solve. The hon member is welcome, therefore, to come and discuss any proposals in this connection with me.
He made a plea for an increased rate of immigration in respect of certain scarce professional groups. Generally speaking, I agree with him. On the part of the State we are doing a considerable amount. I want to point out to him—this is very closely related to the point which he raised—that we are in fact in the process of revising some of our procedures in the light of the criticism which is sometimes expressed that the long period of time which elapses before decisions are taken, as well as some other aspects of our administrative handling of immigration, are negative factors in our attempt to attract high-level manpower to South Africa. We are addressing that problem, and I hope that an improvement may be brought about in this connection. However, I believe that the private sector also has a special role to play if we want to achieve what the hon member has advocated. Large organizations which are in fact active in this sphere are playing a very constructive role and achieving very good results in this connection. However, I think that the participation could be broadened and that far more companies could become actively involved in recruiting high-level manpower rather than simply offering a higher salary and buying a man from an opponent. I really believe that the private sector has an important role to play here, just like the State.
†In conclusion, the hon member for Umbilo raised a number of issues. Firstly, he referred to the question of local authorities and pleaded for their development through training. I want to say that this aspect falls under the hon Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: The hon the Minister has obviously totally misunderstood what I said. I was not asking for the training of local authorities, but for the new Ministers and new Parliamentarians when they come in.
That would be more appropriate to raise …
That was not a point of order.
The Minister got the message, you clot!
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Is it parliamentary to call an hon member a “clot”?
Am I not allowed to speak the truth anymore?
I am not aware that “clot” has been ruled unparliamentary before. I will have to consider the matter. The hon the Minister may proceed.
Sir, let me firstly say that it would be more appropriate to raise the matter under the Vote of the hon Minister for Constitutional Development and Planning. [Interjections.] On local government level we do intend to do some training because that would definitely be necessary. I must however emphasize that we do not train politicians, although I must admit that there are a number of hon members, especially on that side of the House, who certainly need some training. However, we leave it to the electorate to deal with incompetent politicians. It is not the task of the Government to train politicians. It is the task of a political party to ensure—and that is what the NP does—that it sends candidates of calibre to Parliament. [Interjections.]
The hon member raised the question of allowing teachers to stand as candidates in the forthcoming Coloured and Indian elections and suggested that such teachers should retain their job security. I believe that is more or less what he asked for. We have received similar representations, perhaps even on a wider scale, and we have seriously considered the proposition as there is some merit in the argument. However, after serious and careful consideration we have come to the conclusion that the principle involved is so important that we cannot see our way clear to accommodate those representations. The principle of allowing teachers and public servants to participate actively as candidates while they enjoy the security that they will get their jobs back should the risk they take not come off, will destroy the fabric of impartiality of the Civil Service and of the teaching profession, and because of that we have decided against it.
Without teachers and clergymen, the whole thing is going to be a flop.
Teachers and clergymen usually have the courage to stand as candidates because they are people with idealism and conviction. Therefore I believe that there will be quite a number of Coloured teachers who will stand for election. The nation of which the hon member has become a sleeping member …
Could he become a member of the Rapportryers? [Interjections.]
The Afri-kanervolkswag is prepared to accept me as a member. Why not the Broederbond?
… owes its progress to the contribution made by the teachers and clergymen to whom the hon member refers so scornfully. [Interjections.] I would not be at all surprised if this hon member were accepted by the Afrikanervolkswag, by way of exception. He so frequently helps them in debates in this House and they so frequently agree that I would not find it strange at all [Interjections.]
†The hon member for Umbilo lastly raised the question of what he called private schools. Firstly I want to say that one must distinguish between private and State-aided schools. In regard to private schools—which is not what the hon member referred to—a departmental committee has brought out a report which at present is being studied. However, there are problems to which we shall have to address ourselves and I have reason to believe that the Government will be taking decisions in this regard in the not too distant future. With regard to State-aided schools I wish to inform the hon member that certainly developments have recently taken place. Firstly, in the case of schools with 200 or more pupils, the subsidy per pupil has already been increased from R9 to R12. It is effective from 1 April 1984. In respect of schools with less than 200 pupils, the subsidy is still R9 per pupil but a susidy equal to 50% of the actual wages paid to the caretaker—wages to be defined in a certain manner—is also being paid with effect from 1 April. The hon member should, however, remember that that is not the only aid that those schools receive. Maintenance of buildings and furniture is also done at State expense and, most important of all, teachers’ salaries are paid by the State. The total package of State assistance to these schools are therefore really quite extensive and generous and not as scanty as the hon member wants to believe.
I will now give hon members a further opportunity to continue the discussion.
Mr Chairman, I was involved in the Standing Committee debate in the Senate Chamber yesterday with the result that I did not hear much of what was said here. One thing, however, that has struck me in the reply the hon the Minister has just given is his attitude to various activities carried out on Sundays. It does seem to me that there is an enormous degree of inconsistency in the approach which he is adopting. He would, for example, appear to be quite happy with newspapers and other magazines being sold on Sundays. He does, however, have problems with video shops being opened on Sundays, and at the same time television films being shown on Sundays do not seem to cause him any problems at all. I simply cannot follow that type of logic. I believe people should be left to make their own decisions, and the type of attitude that comes across that one can do anything on a Sunday as long as other people cannot see that one is enjoying oneself, does not seem to me to be a very enlightened attitude at all.
I wish to address myself to two welfare matters that fall under the control of this hon Minister. The first is the question of vagrancy. Vagrancy is a problem which causes widespread concern in many parts of Cape Town, including many parts of my constituency. Nicro defines a vagrant as “A homeless person, who has no visible means of support”. The nature of the problem as defined by Nicro is as follows:
In a city council report relating to these matters the point is made that “a clear distinction should be drawn between vagrancy and crime. Vagrants are generally misfits who often indulge in public anti-social behaviour, which in turn appears to create a feeling of apprehension amongst residents.” I believe that this is the nub of the matter. It is often not possible to distinguish between a vagrant and a potential mugger or criminal. Whether it be in parks, in subways or in quiet streets, people are apprenhensive because they do not know the real intent of those vagrants. This of course especially applies to older people, who are less able either to defend themselves or to run away, and also to the parents of young children. These parents are concerned about the possible dangers of allowing their children to play in parks or elsewhere where, they believe, there might be undesirable or potential criminal elements around. The result of this is that people are often afraid to allow their children to use their neighbourhood parks. The quality and the variety of the lives of some of those people, as well as of some of our senior citizens, are substantially reduced as a result.
The causes of vagrancy are varied, and I accept that these problems cannot be solved overnight. I do believe, however, that some short-term action is necessary. What has the position been in recent times? Some time ago, for example, I placed a question on the Question Paper in connection with arrests made in Cape Town for vagrancy during 1979. From the reply I received it appeared that 1 558 people had been arrested in 1979 for vagrancy, while 6 163 people had been arrested for drunkenness during the same year. It is obvious of course that all drunks are not vagrants. I simply mentioned it because it is a related problem. In 1980 the vagrancy figure was 994, while in respect of drunks the figure was 6 223. These figures relate to the central police station in Cape Town. Although only one police station is involved here, it is nevertheless a major police station in Cape Town.
In 1980 approximately 20 people a day were arrested in Cape Town by the police on charges of either vagrancy or drunkenness.
What happens to vagrants who are arrested? If they are taken to court—and often the police do not consider it worthwhile taking them to court because it wastes so much time—they may be convicted. They may then be taken to a prison but very often they are released before they are admitted to prison because there is no accommodation for them and they are usually sentenced to very brief terms of imprisonment. Therefore, in no time at all they are back on the streets and there has been no real contribution towards solving the problem while the police, of course, have had to spend quite some time on the whole procedure.
Removing the basic causes of vagrancy is a priority—causes such as poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing and inadequate education, but the solution can only be long term, and I accept that fact. In the short term, however, I believe that the Government must provide for more rehabilitation centres.
I also accept the fact that not all vagrants can be rehabilitated because some will have reached “a point of no return.” Nevertheless, there are considerable numbers of them who could be rehabilitated. At present there are only 377 places available at two centres in the Western Cape, and these two institutions are the only two for Coloured persons in the whole of South Africa. No additional facilities have been provided in this regard since 1975. In 1981, in reply to a question I had put to the Minister at the time, I was told that 100 new places at De Novo, a centre at Kraaifontein, had been planned for 1983, and that 60 places in a private institution in Athlone were planned for 1984. It would appear that neither of these projects has in fact materialized and, in a most recent reply, the present hon Minister told me that the 100 extra places envisaged at De Novo were now expected to be available in 1987. I suggest, Sir, that that is just not good enough. I feel that this matter should enjoy a far higher priority.
When one considers admissions, in reply to a question I asked on 25 April, the hon the Minister told me that in 1982 there had been 659 admissions, and in 1983, 727. I should like the hon the Minister to explain a discrepancy to me which may have something to do with definition. On page 16 of the annual report it is indicated that for 1982-83 there were 346 admissions to De Novo. This would not account for the higher figure because the institution at Worcester can only accommodate 57 people. The report only accounts for approximately half of the figure given in reply to the question, and I should be grateful if the hon the Minister could explain how that discrepancy has arisen.
I call on the hon the Minister to remedy this unsatisfactory situation. More money must be provided by the Government for night shelters, day centres and rehabilitation centres for vagrants and, in particular, for places for vagrant children. Within my constituency there is a place for vagrant children called The Homestead which has been very successful indeed in keeping vagrant children off the street and, in fact, managing to get quite a number of them back into school and getting some of them to return to their families and so cease living the lives of vagrants.
The second point I want to mention very briefly is in regard to Coloured pensions. They are very low, in fact, well below the minimum subsistence level. The amount is R93 at present rising to R103 in October compared with the figures for Whites of R152 and R166. When we consider whether this gap has been closed over the past five years we see that in 1979, Coloured pensions were 55% of those of Whites and that in 1984 they will be 62% of White pensions. However, at that rate the gap will only close in the year 2010. I think the hon the Minister will agree with me that that is quite unacceptable. The cash gap has in fact grown from R43 to R63 or by R20 or 40% over five years. This too is just not good enough. I accept the fact that ratios may be narrowing slowly, but one cannot buy food with a ratio or percentage. The situation must be improved. If cash increases had been equal between the two groups, Coloured pensions would now be R123 or 74% of White pensions, and at that rate the gap would be moving towards being closed by the year 1990.
I ask the hon the Minister to give us an undertaking that the gap will be closed within five years because I do not think we can tolerate a situation where it is only going to be closed by the year 2010.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Cape Town Gardens will forgive me if I do not respond directly to what he said, but I shall be referring, in the course of my speech, to most of the aspects he touched upon.
I should like to react to the standpoint of the official Opposition with regard to the desecration of the Sabbath. The hon members would do well to read the speech I made last year in the discussion of this Vote and the reaction I elicited from the hon the Minister on the matter of the desecration of the Sabbath, doing business on the Sabbath. If they did so they would find the answers they are looking for, as well as the undertaking by the hon the Ministers to give attention to the entire matter of the desecration of the Sabbath.
Because this is the last opportunity we shall have to debate the own affairs of the Coloureds in this House, I should like to give an overview of certain events which have taken place since the establishment of the Department of Coloured Affairs in 1960. In the first place I want to refer to social work services. In 1968, at two service points, the former Department of Coloured Affairs took over social services for the Coloured population from the former Department of Social Welfare and Pensions. Of the 26 posts for social work in existence at the end of 1968, only nine were occupied by Coloureds, viz 33%. Since then service points have been increaced to 17 throughout the country, with 268 approved posts for social work at the end of June 1983. This is an increase of 931% over a period of 14 years, an average annual growth rate of 60%. Of the present 268 posts, 56 are vacant and 54% are already filled by Coloured social workers, giving an annual increase of 84% over the past 14 years. This is an extremely positive trend and is indicative of the progress made with regard to the positive contribution by the Coloureds to their own upliftment and development.
In the 1972-73 financial year the total number of cases treated was 25 118, whereas ten years later in the 1982-83 financial year 37 266 new cases received attention. This means, in actual fact, that there has been unprecedented social follow-up work done with regard to personal and other social problems. I think this could also serve as a reply to the speech of the hon member for Cape Town Gardens.
I now want to refer to regional welfare boards. Six such boards, which serve the entire country, have been established for Coloureds in terms of the National Welfare Act, 1978. There are 90 Coloured welfare leaders involved with these boards, and this means that at present this population group is served at the highest planning and executive level, having a say in the formulation of policy relating to welfare activities. This is indeed a service for that population group by that population group.
The hon member for Cape Town Gardens also referred to social pensions and allowances. In 1963-64 R11,2 million was spent on 73 400 beneficiaries, as against the expenditure of R226 million on 208 300 beneficiaries in 1982-83. This amount does not include expenditure of R12,3 million on 15 200 children placed in foster-care.
I now want to refer to homes for the aged. Since 1963 the number of homes for the aged has risen from five, with a capacity of 402 people, to 29 institutions with a capacity of 2 336 people. Expenditure on this service was initially R18 000, as against R2,2 million in 1982-83.
Next—I want to refer to workshops for the handicapped and crèches. In 1963 there were 32 such institutions with room for 2 182 children and subsidised to the tune of R40 000, compared with the present 110 institutions with room for 8 393 children and an annual subsidy of R227 000. Then there are also rehabilitation centres for alcoholics and subsidized social work services.
We can also take a look at rationalization. With the rationalization, on 1 November 1980, of the former Department of the Interior, the Department of Coloured Affairs and the Department of Indian Affairs, which became the Department of Internal Affairs, the welfare services of both the Coloured and the Indian communities became the responsibility of the new department and co-ordinated action is now being taken in this regard. Unfortunately time does not permit me to refer to the regional offices of the department or to a service such as that of the alcohol safety school. There are also social work services offered at schools. As far as the present manpower position of the department is concerned, it is important to note that new salary scales for social workers came into effect on 1 July 1983. As a result starting salaries increased from R6 534 per annum to R9 648 per annum.
I could continue in this vein, indicating what has been done by the department for its staff, but I only want to refer to one further aspect. Of the total of 275 approved posts for social workers, at present 255 are filled, giving an occupancy rate of 92%. I want to express my appreciation to these people who are prepared to render this service. I am not the least bit concerned, in my own mind, about the Coloureds not having sufficient properly trained people to be able to deal fully with their own affairs in a new dispensation. I am eagerly looking forward to taking those people by the hand, when they arrive, and working with them on matters of common concern. I want to appeal to Opposition parties to remove the dark glasses through which they see a somber future for South Africa and to join hands with people whose endeavour it is to be positive and to build a wonderful South Africa. In that way they can assure a future for their children in this wonderful country we live in. The attitude we should adopt towards these people is important as far as I am concerned. There is something we should never forget, and in this connection I want to quote from the Scriptures. I also want to quote this for the benefit of the CP which has come up with the idea of a White homeland. Proverbs 27:10 reads: “For better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off”. This morning I heard over the radio that a joint service is to be held in the Feathermarket Hall in Port Elizabeth this afternoon. Let us bow our heads in thanks this afternoon, but let us do so in the right frame of mind. Let us pray for peace in this country we live in. Some success has already been achieved in this regard. The new dispensation will only succeed if we have the right attitude towards each other and the right attitude towards those people who will be coming to the new Parliament at the end of the year.
Mr Chairman, the hon Minister mentioned the Afrikanervolkswag, and I want to ask him whether he has any objections to the basic principles of this movement. They are as follows: Belief in the Triune God, whose Word is the highest norm and is accepted as such by us; family life as the basis of nationhood; the independent continued existence and devotion to their calling of the Afrikaner people; and the responsibility of each generation to ensure the survival of the next. I now invite the hon the Minister to become a member. Would the hon the Minister allow the hon the Leader of the Opposition, the hon member for Bryanston, the hon member for Green Point and other hon members of the PFP to become members of organizations of which he is member?
The hon the Minister deduced quite a number of inferences from my standpoint on the Whites who are coming to this country from Zimbabwe. However, the hon member should read my speech again.
They were logical inferences.
No. Do not apply that kind of logic now; it is Keerom Street logic. The hon the Minister should stick to the logic Prof Stoker taught him. I said that Rhodesia — Zimbabwe — and other countries in Africa had accepted power-sharing, and one of the results had been that Whites were streaming out of those countries and coming to South Africa. That was all I wanted to bring home to the hon the Minister. He must not make inferences, but a good exegesis.
The hon the Minister and the hon the Deputy Minister have not yet furnished me with a reply as to why the Coloured people should be accommodated in a separate Chamber. I wish to reformulate my question: In what way do the Coloureds differ from the Afrikaners to necessitate their being accommodated in a separate Chamber?
Answer the question yourself.
I can reply to the hon member, but at the moment it is the Vote of the hon the Minister that is under discussion. The hon member should come to my meetings, and I shall reply to that question of his there.
The hon the Minister also referred to the immigration of Indians and said that one norm which was laid down was the norm of assimilability. I am not saying, however, that the Government is allowing immigration in such way that the Indians are being assimilated with the White Chamber. The Indians are becoming part of the new nation that is being created on a 4:2:1 basis. They will be full citizens and will share this common fatherland with everyone from south to north, from east to west. My question now is this: Will there be a 4:2:1 immigration policy? The condition remains the same, namely assimilability of those Indians with the Indian segment of the new nation.
A great deal has been said about ethical norms, and so on. The whole of South Africa is now being given to the Indians as their fatherland. They are becoming part of Parliament and of the Cabinet. On what grounds is the hon the Minister not making the Indians part of the Free State as well?
Are you advocating that?
No, of course I am not advocating that. However, there are office bearers of the National Party in the Free State who say that the Free State should be thrown open to Indians.
The hon member for Kroonstad is one of them.
That is a blatant untruth.
If that is not the case, the hon member should say so, because some of his voters maintain that he says it is. [Interjections.]
What difference in principle do you see between Indians having their own residential areas in other provinces and the fact that there is no Indian group area in the Free State?
Surely new group areas can be created. If these people form part of one and the same nation and they have a need to live in a country which they wish to share with the other inhabitants, surely group areas can be created for them. All that is necessary, though, is that one should act in a consistent and honest way in regard to this matter.
Are Indians and Coloureds able to buy farms in this common fatherland which they will share with us wherever they like? Surely they are now part of one nation. The National Party must be consistent with its principles of one nation in a common fatherland. My standpoint is that there should be a White fatherland for the Whites. That is my point of departure, and I am not ashamed of it.
If I hear National Party members telling me that they do not know where the White father-land is, then they become irrelevant in South African politics. Then I would rather talk to the PFP. At least they have specific principles. I differ with them, but at least they apply them consistently. However, the hon the Minister must never bum his boats behind him. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister knows what a long way we came together.
Daan, you have no boats to bum; you have no means of transport at all.
No, Sir, I have not changed my standpoint towards the hon the Minister. I feel sorry for him. Yesterday I quoted a passage from Shakespeare to try to indicate why I felt sorry for him. I still feel sorry for him. He is going to fall victim to the same people who made victims of former Transvaal leaders.
There are many. Dr Connie Mulder is one of them. [Interjections.] Adv John Vorster is another.
Who made victims of them?
The leftist Cape Keerom Street clique to which that hon member belongs. [Interjections.] I think the hon the Prime Minister too has frequently been their victim; he was not always the way he is now.
I want to ask the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs what the role of the NP as a political party is going to be in the new dispensation. Surely their congress is no longer going to be the highest authority.
Of course it is.
It cannot be the highest authority because regardless of what resolutions the members of the congress adopt, when they come here they must arrive at a consensus with people and political parties which I think differ in principle with the governing party. Consequently I want to say that as a party the NP has also lost its effectiveness.
I want to deal with another matter in regard to which I want to put a question to the hon the Minister. It deals with the whole issue surrounding a statement made by the Free State leader of the NP, Dr Nak van der Merwe. In respect of the referendum outcome and the counting of the votes in Meyerton, he said:
When the hon the Minister replied to a question we had asked, he quoted only that specific section. The question was concerned with how the hon the Minister of Health and Welfare had known that the Meyerton votes would be counted separately, and was then, as is typical of him, trying to make propaganda by saying that Meyerton’s votes had been counted separately, that the hon member for Meyerton had admitted as much, and that as far as Meyerton was concerned, the no votes lost by 2 000. [Interjections.] I now wish to inform the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs that surely that was not all the hon the Minister of Health and Welfare said.
But is it true, Daan?
Well, the hon the Minister of Health and Welfare is not here, but I want to say that in the second half of the year Dr Treurnicht and I are going to hold a meeting in Bethlehem; I should like to invite the hon member to attend the meeting and to put his questions there. [Interjections.] What did the Minister of Health and Welfare say? He said:
The hon member then said that it was untrue. Then the hon the Minister replied:
This is very a serious matter. The hon the Minister of Internal Affairs knows the Electoral Laws Act as well as I do, and quite probably a lot better. In this case a Minister of the State rose to his feet here and not only did he cast suspicion on one of the members of this House, as having acted illegally because the votes there were counted separately, but he also cast suspicion on all the officials.
But surely I furnished replies.
But the reply given by the hon the Minister was not a fair and sound reply. That is why I am discussing the matter this afternoon.
I said that an investigation had been instituted …
Then I want to ask the hon the Minister why his colleague came forward with that standpoint. Why did he rise to his feet here and say that it had been against the law, and attributed it to us?
You must ask him that question.
The hon member need not help the hon the Minister. He is quite capable of looking after his own affairs. The hon member for Mossel Bay should rather tell me whether the Coloured people are going to be admitted to the Rapportryers. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I have too little time this morning to respond to the speech of the hon member for Rissik. I think the hon the Minister has already roughed him up enough in his reply. I shall therefore leave him to the hon the Minister.
Because this is quite possibly the last time we shall be debating matters in this way in this House, I should just for a moment like to touch on the history of the Coloured population under National Party government. I was the chairman of the study group here for ten years, and deputy chairman in the Senate for eight years. I therefore had a great deal to do with this. The first commissioner to be appointed, in 1951, was Dr I D du Plessis. Then the Coloureds fell under the Department of the Interior, with Dr Dönges as the Minister. The years up to 1956 were characterized by the struggle for universal, franchise, and consequently not much happened. Everyone’s attention was diverted by that struggle. In 1956 I introduced a motion in the Cape Provincial Council in which I asked for the central government to take over Coloured education. That motion was adopted, with the United Party dissenting. Up to that stage absolutely nothing had been done for Coloured education. They were bought by a qualified franchise. In the evenings they had to be taught, by UP organizers, how to sign their names. Education was not given to the Coloureds because too many of them would then have had to be included on the voters’ roll, and they could then have formed a bloc which would be able to hold people to ransom, including the UP. The UP saw to it that they did not get on the voters’ roll. When they were removed from the voters’ roll, there were only a total of 52 000 Coloured voters on that roll. [Interjections.]
Quite a number of Ministers have been responsible for Coloured Affairs, and I should like to mention their names. In 1958 the present hon Prime Minister became Deputy Minister of the Interior, with Coloured Affairs falling under him. In 1963 he became the first Minister of Coloured Affairs. He worked wonders for the Coloureds. The next Minister was Mr Marais Viljoen, the present State President. Then followed Mr J J Loots, Dr S W van der Merwe, Mr Marais Steyn and Mr Hennie Smit. After Mr Marais Steyn’s period of office the Department of Coloured Affairs was again incorporated in the Department of the Interior and the Ministers were Messrs J C Heunis and F W de Klerk. Later Mr P J Badenhorst became Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs. These men have done a tremendous amount for the upliftment of the Coloureds, particularly since 1963 under the leadership of the present hon Prime Minister. Prior to 1963 little or nothing was done for the Coloureds. Everything revolved around the struggle for universal franchise. Education would lead to too many Coloureds being placed on the voters’ roll and consequently being in a position of power. When it became a full-fledged department with a Minister in 1963, and also with a Representative Council, primary and secondary education were transferred to that department. I just want to quote a few figures. In 1965 there were 404 000 pupils, and in 1983 there were 877 750, viz an increase of 92% within the space of a few years. In 1964-65 the education budget was R23 million, of which R4 million was for buildings. In 1982-83 it was R390 million, with R76 000 for buildings. There was consequently an increase of more than 1500%. The number of teachers also reflects this. In 1965 there were approximately 12 000 teachers and they were very poorly qualified. In 1983 there were 29 000, a large number of whom were properly qualified. Technical training was also made possible for these people, artisans were trained and provision was also made for adults and the training of apprentices. In this period seven technical colleges were established. In 1963 there were four teachers’ training colleges; today there are 12.
It is no use bandying reproaches about, but unfortunately a great deal of time has been wasted on the struggle for universal franchise. Let me reiterate: It is no use blaming people, but I am sorry that the Coloured leaders did not make better use of the CRC and the department for Coloured administration, which were both in their hands. The department for Coloured administration was totally in their hands and they administered rural areas. However, they let the opportunity to gain a knowledge of politics and administration pass them by. If they had continued with the work, today they would have been more knowledgeable, which would have stood them in good stead in the new dispensation.
There was a great deal of bitterness among the Coloureds regarding the abolition of the common voters’ roll, whereas there was great dissatisfaction among the Whites about its existence. Those common voters’ rolls had only one consequence, and that was bitterness among the Coloureds and among the Whites. If those common voters’ rolls had not been abolished, we would not have been standing on the threshold of this new dispensation now. Because those voters’ rolls were abolished, however, we have made so much progress that we are now on the eve of a new dispensation. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I should like to thank the hon the Minister for the additional information he gave me in respect to subsidizing certain types of Indian schools. Whilst I may have made a mistake in referring to them as private schools, I really meant subsidized schools in one form or another.
I am however rather sorry that the hon the Minister adopted a somewhat flippant attitude to the training of politicians when they come to the House for the first time. Whilst it is very simple for the hon the Minister to say that the NP train their politicians, that they select them and that they get the cream of the crop, etc, the situation in respect of the Coloured and Indian people is going to be entirely different. This is what I am actually talking about. Those people are going to come here without any previous parliamentary experience, and some of them are going to have to make decisions as Ministers without any experience or background of Public Rep Experience whatsoever. They are also going to have to act as members of Parliament without having any background of Parliamentary work.
They are far more clever than you think.
That may well be so. You will possibly be only too delighted to see them in an inferior position to your own. That has always been Prog attitude. [Interjections.] You will look after the underdog as long as he remains the underdog. [Interjections,]
Why do you not keep your mouth shut and make your own speeches? I shall make my own speeches too. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, the hon Chief Whip of the PFP simply never makes a speech except on very rare occasions dealing with procedure. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I want to make this point very clear because these Ministers are going to be Ministers of State. They are going to take decisions, and I believe that they must be given a reasonable opportunity of assimilating the background of what they are going to have to do. This is very important, and the decisions they make will be spread all over the world. Again, if they are not given adequate training they are going to be totally in the hands of the officials who will be there to look after their particular portfolio interests. Whilst I accept the bona fides and the quality of those officials—I do not query that at all—I want to state that it defeats the whole object, the whole concept of having elected members and appointed officials if, through the lack of expertise on their part, those elected members are totally under the domination of their appointed officials. Therefore I would say that it is quite important …
Now, what do you say …
No, I am not in the least interested in what you want to say. Shut up! [Interjections.] I might tell the hon Chief Whip of the official Opposition that that is perfectly Parliamentary language because it was used from his own party’s benches yesterday [Interjections.]
I should like to address myself now to another important matter as far as we in Natal are concerned. This may, I believe, well be considered a somewhat unpleasant point. First of all I should like to apologize to the hon the Minister and to the officials of the Commission for Administration for bringing this matter forward so early in the debate. Unfortunately I shall have to leave for Durban a little later this morning, and therefore I have to raise the matter now. This matter is in relation to the appointment of officials to the Natal Provincial Administration. In this respect we are in some difficulty. We do know it is a provincial matter but the commission for Administration nevertheless comes under the control of this Ministry. We are somewhat worried at how Natal is being treated.
I am not, and I have never been, one of these jingoistic types who are trying to fight Afrikanerdom …
Order! I must point out to the hon member for Umbilo that the Commission for Administration vote has not been put yet. I have appreciation for the hon member’s predicament in his having to leave for Durban shortly. That vote, however, has not yet been put and is therefore not under discussion at this stage.
Mr Chairman, I am sorry but I have been given to understand that the two votes are being done together.
I was not here when the vote was originally put. However, I have been advised that it is only the vote of Internal Affairs that has been put.
Well, Sir, I have been given to understand that both votes are being discussed simultaneously.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: The Vote of Commission for Administration has not yet been put. I should, however, ask you to allow some latitude in this regard, particularly in the light of the fact that the discussion of the vote of State Administration will take up only a small part of this debate. There will not be much time for that discussion. I will therefore reply strictly in terms of your ruling once that vote has been put.
Order! I have been advised that the Whips have agreed that these votes can be discussed jointly. The hon member for Umbilo may therefore continue.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: It is not true that the Whips have agreed to do so jointly. However, I am perfectly happy to accept the suggestion of the hon the Minister. I just want to keep the record straight. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, as I was saying, I have never been jingoistic in these matters and I have never pushed the issue of English versus Afrikaans or vice versa. However, this is something that is beginning to worry people in Natal. There are two major appointments that are being considered at the present moment, namely Deputy Director of Education and Director of Building Services.
As far as the current Director of Education is concerned, the Natal Executive Committee was subjected to considerable abuse because it accepted that gentleman, a man by the name of Van Rooyen, a very competent man indeed. Exco’s attitude was that although the Press had said that in an English-speaking province with 75% of the schoolgoing children being English-speaking there should be an English-speaking person as director of Education and that certainly he should not be a Broederbonder, the argument of the province was that the man appointed was the best man for the job. It did not give a hoot whether he was an Afrikaner or anything else and it was going to uphold his appointment. This it did simply because no other suitable person was on offer.
However, when it comes to the appointment of the new deputy the situation is somewhat different because there is a suitable English-speaking person available as a deputy.
Is the hon member saying now that merit should not count?
Merit does count, very much so. That is just the point. This individual is not only a meritorious person but he is also English-speaking. Bear in mind that this is in an English-speaking province. It is all very well for people to say that one should forget all about the question of being either Afrikaans-speaking or English-speaking. However, would the Afrikaans community generally accept having English-speaking directors imposed upon them in their most sensitive area namely education? As far as we are concerned, we do not concern ourselves too much with that aspect as long as the individual concerned is the right man. However, for some years now we have had a shortage of English-speaking teachers—even the English language is being taught in schools by Afrikaans-speaking teachers—simply because there are not sufficient English-speaking people entering the teaching profession. The reasons for this are firstly, because the pay is inadequate and secondly, that there are insufficient promotion opportunities and they feel that there is discrimination against them in regard to getting to the top. I am not an educationist so I do not know all the ins and outs of the matter. However, it does seem to me that if under these circumstances there is a reasonable possibility of keeping a large segment of the community happy then it is worth giving the matter serious consideration.
Again, when it comes to the Director of Building Services we have a similar kind of problem in that we have as Deputy Director at the moment probably the highest qualified architect in South Africa. He holds all sorts of degrees in architecture. Traditionally, Natal has always had an architect as its Director of Building Services, and they would like to have this most highly qualified man appointed. However, it has been suggested that somebody from outside the province be appointed. Here again it has been suggested that it is because the man is not an Afrikaner that he is not being appointed as Director. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I listened appreciatively to what the hon member for Umbilo had to say. As far as the question of training is concerned, I am sure the Minister will react to the hon member’s remarks.
I should like to confine myself to what I consider to be one of the most important milestones in the existance of the Department of Internal Affairs. Here I am referring to the establishment and development of relations committees over a period of 10 years, with the object of endeavouring, by means of regular discussions and negotiations, to eliminate, at local level, points of friction disrupting good relations between the White and Coloured communities. When the Government announced, in 1962, that active attention was to be given to the better utilization of Coloured labour in the Western Cape, various committees were appointed to pursue this matter. In 64 magisterial districts in the area local labour committees were established on which employer organizations, local authorities, chambers of commerce and others were represented. The object of the committees was to consider measures by which to involve the Coloured labour corps in the labour market as effectively as effectively as possible. Only Whites, however, served on these committees. As the Government’s policy in this regard took shape, some committees ceased to function, particularly those in districts where the available Coloured labour force was fully employed. Other committees investigated new fields, particularly with regard to labour motivation and labour relations, in order to ensure a more stable labour force. A few towns in the Boland proceeded to establish Coloured liaison committees with which the White committees could negotiate on a regular basis. Because this was a new field, the discussions were sometimes characterized by tension. Gradually the ties became closer, however, and extremely fruitful discussions were held, discussions which had a positive effect on labour relations in particular. In 1974 this positive development was brought to the attention of the then Deputy Minister of Coloured, Rehoboth and Nama Relations, Mr H H Smit. He immediately realized the possibilities this had for the promotion of good community relations, and on 21 October 1974 he announced here in this House that committees would be appointed comprising leading figures from the local White and Coloured communities. Initially these committees were known as “public relations committees”. At present they are known as “relations committees”. As has already been indicated, these committees concentrate on those fields where there is friction between the two groups and endeavour to eliminate that friction. In this way the committees serve as an instrument through which, simultaneously, relations mutual can be promoted and community development can take place. Whereas initially an attempt was made to establish only 50 to 70 such committees, the relations idea received so much support from the local communities that at present there are 180 such committees, with a membership of approximately 3 000. The 180th committee was established on 11 April of this year by the hon Deputy Minister Badenhorst in Walvis Bay.
These relations committees are assisted by 11 senior officials of the department. They are located at strategic points. I want to take this opportunity of expressing my appreciation to these officers of the relations committees for their dedicated work under what are, at times, difficult conditions. I also want to express my appreciation to the members of the relations committees who have over the years, done pioneer work at relations level. Never before has there been such acute realization and appreciation of the fact that sound mutual relations between people and communities in South Africa are a prerequisite for the peaceful and successful regulation of our society, and also a prerequisite for reform in the social, economic and political spheres. If one specific challenge facing the leaders of the country has to be singled out, it is the search for those attuned towards relations that would ensure peace and prosperity. The relations committees have committed themselves to this and are, in fact, making a major contribution.
In the latest departmental report, on which the hon the Minister and the hon the Deputy Minister should definitely be congratulated, these committees are very modestly referred to, but this modesty should be seen against the background of the words of the chairman of the Planning Committee of the Presidents’s Council, the hon H Smit, who, as I have already indicated, can be considered the father of these committees. Let me quote him:
He goes on to refer to the referendum result in 1983, and I quote again:
On the relations committees he had the following to say:
The edition de luxe of Alpha, the monthly magazine published on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs, commemorating the 21 years this magazine has been in existence also shares this view.
If it is borne in mind that during the year under discussion 595 meetings of relations committees and eight conferences were held, one can gain an impression of the important work done by these committees. I was also privileged to serve as chairman of the Pretoria relations committee, from its establishment in 1974 up to last year, and I could see for myself the wonderful contributions that could be made, how knowledge of one another could break down prejudices and could bring about acceptance, how appreciation for one another could improve positive attitudes, how discussions and mutual sincerity could achieve consensus, how acceptance of one another could create confidence and how all these things could result in the mutual enrichment of the relevant groups. I also learned, however, that co-operation and positive attitudes between groups could not be achieved in any other way than by means of the slow, but challenging process of personal contact, of forbearance, acceptance and recognition. After all, the crop does not come from the orchard as such, but from individual trees.
I believe that in the new dispensation relations committees, as a means of communication and discussion, can play an even more important role than in the past, and I am advocating that they be developed. It is also with appreciation that cognizance has been taken of the recommendations in the Report of the Committee for Community Relations of the President’s Council on methods for liaison between the President’s Council and relations committees, with a view to promoting healthier relations in the Republic, and one can assume that these recommendations will receive the attention of the relevant institutions, particularly in the new dispensation. It is also believed that in due course attention will be given to the possibility of also involving other population groups—Indians and Blacks—in the activities of relations committees, and that specific attention will also be given to similar meaningful communication and liaison, particularly between young people of different population groups, those who are to be the citizens and leaders of tomorrow.
In conclusion I, want to quote a finding of the President’s Council with which I associate myself:
Mr Chairman, I would like to react just very briefly to what the hon member Dr Pieterse said with regard to good race relations in this country. We on these benches regard it as being one of the most important factors for the future of South Africa. I am glad he made particular mention of that amongst young people, and certainly we in this party believe that contact, face to face contact and discussion amongst young people, is the way to attain better race relations in this counltry.
I would also like to react very briefly to what the hon member for Umbilo has said regarding the posts in the Natal Provincial Administration. I do so merely to indicate that I wish to say a few words regarding this matter, but that I will do so under the Vote when it comes up for discussion later. I would also like to react to his remarks regarding Coloured and Indian teachers. I happen to agree with the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs that Coloured and Indian teachers will be represented in fairly considerable numbers in the two new Houses that are being created, and this will certainly give me much pleasure. However, I do believe and agree with the hon member for Umbilo that the entire matter of teachers having their resignations accepted at the time of nomination needs to be reconsidered, and reconsidered for all races, rather than just for the two that are going to be involved in the forthcoming elections. I will refer to private schools and their subsidization a little later.
This is the last occasion on which the Minister’s Vote on Coloured and Indian education will be discussed in this House. It will certainly be for me personally a great pleasure to have my colleagues in the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates, members of this Parliament, discussing and handling these various departments themselves. I believe that persons who have served in those departments will have a considerable amount to say about the past history of the running of those departments. Naturally, and I do not want to expand on it now, we in this party regret very sincerely that there is not a single Ministry to exercise overall control in education. However, we face up to the reality of separate Ministries and will certainly do all in our power to make them viable.
I would now like to move onto detailed problems regarding the two departments, namely the Department of Indian Education and the Department of Coloured Education, that are vested in the Department of Internal Affairs.
The major outstanding issue in Indian education this year is the stand-off clash which has occurred between the Executive Committee of the SA Indian Council and the SA Teachers’ Association. I do not wish to consider the personalities. I hold no brief for any of the Indian political parties, I hold no brief for the Teachers’ Association and I hold no brief for the department. All I am concerned about in this matter, is the issue involved, because I think it is an important issue which spreads beyond this department. I believe the hon the Minister has a grave responsibility. He cannot allow what has occurred in that department to be a precedent in South African educational control. Let me outline the problem very briefly.
The Executive Committee of the SA Indian Council decided to exercise directly their legal powers to appoint teachers and other persons to vacant promotion posts. This was the starting-point of it all. In so doing they were apparently carrying out a legal right conferred on them by this Parliament and by regulation in the Government Gazette. However, in previous cases in that department and in the case of all other Education Departments this power of appointment has been exercised by the political authority acting on the advice of the executive head of the Department of Education, namely the Director. The Executive Committee of the SA Indian Council choose to ignore this recognized procedure and directly appointed various rectors, vice rectors and other promotion personnel. I sincerely believe that the status, the authority and the professional competence of the Director was thereby undermined and questioned.
I now come to the second matter. In July 1983 the Executive Committee of the SA Indian Council, having endured a year’s strong opposition from the SA Teachers’ Association directed that all communication from the Teachers’ Association to their own department must be referred to the Executive Committee. Any interference by a political authority in the process of contact between a recognized staff association and their employing authority, violates any tenet of good public service management. It is equivalent to the member of the Executive Committee in charge of education in Natal directing that all correspondence between the Natalse On-derwysersunie and the Director should go through him. This would not be tolerated in other departments and it should certainly be seriously questioned in the Department of Indian Education. I find this totally unacceptable. I urge the hon the Minister to take steps to ensure that this situation does not arise again in South African education and it should be ensured by liaising with other hon Ministers.
I now want to refer to the question of the blacklist. This is a list of some 62 students who were completing their studies at the Springfield College of Education. Indications on that list show that these selected teachers were to be posted to schools far from their homes. In one case a note on this list says: “Rural school in the Transvaal for five years”. It so happens that this was the former chairman of the Interim Students’ Action Committee at Springfield College. He was initially posted to Lenasia, but this was amended by someone to a posting to Schweizer-Reneke. Why this five-year banishment? I accept that teachers may be needed in Schweizer-Reneke and it may not be a popular place to be posted to. This appears to be a clear case of victimization, however, because of a young man’s student activities.
What happened next? The staffing section of the Department of Indian Education in the Department of Internal Affairs wrote to the man and posted him to Lenasia. The SAIC Executive Committee, or someone acting on their behalf, issued instructions to the Director to change that posting. The second letter from the Director to this young man reads:
A petition of 60 000 signatures protesting against SAIC interference in the day-to-day running of education has been prepared for delivery to the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs. A group of community leaders and educationists wishes to present it and I believe they have been in contact with the hon the Minister. So far he has given no indication that he will receive this delegation or if so when. We must get to the bottom of this matter.
An investigation has been carried out. I want to quote from a newspaper report that appeared late in March:
Mr Poovalingam of Solidarity said the following about the matter:
Mr Rajbansi said the following about the matter:
I sympathize very much with what the Deputy Director of Indian Education said regarding Mr Rajbansi’s remarks when he described his allegations as astounding. I believe they are.
The Executive Committee of the SAIC is of higher status than the Director-General. An independent inquiry is urgently necessary to bring an end to the bitter strife that has split Indian education.
Mr Chairman, the lament by the hon member for Pinetown regarding so-called political interference in Indian education by a political authority is perhaps understandable because he is still fresh from the teaching profession. However, it loses sight of one major consideration, namely that education, whether we like it or not, stands centrally in the political life of any community. I do not want to deal with the specific issues he mentioned, because we all know that, before this year is out, the Indian community itself will deal with its own educational issues; and I think that that is only right. I think it will be a wonderful opportunity for the Indian people to run their own education, and this is being offered to them. I may add that I doubt whether there is any community in South Africa which over the years has played a more significant part and has shown a greater interest in the education of its members and children than the Indian community has. It may well be that the prospect of being able to control its own education will be a major consideration for the Indian community of South Africa to participate actively in the forthcoming elections.
*It was not possible for me to be present in the House yesterday. So it might be that in discussing a certain aspect of the coming elections for Coloured and Indian voters, I might be repeating something that was raised yesterday. However, since this matter does affect the Coloured and Indian communities, and likewise the White community, and since the hon the Minister indicated in this House as far back as 16 March that the population registration might in future play its legitimate role in the next general elections which would affect all three population groups, I do want to raise some aspects in connection with this matter. I believe that since we are fast approaching the stage when the overwhelming majority of Whites, Coloureds and Indians will have identity documents, a situation which is partly thanks to last year’s referendum, we shall now have to start reflecting, as a matter of urgency, on methods of keeping the register up to date as far as addresses are concerned. Only when it has become second nature to all South Africans that the first thing one does after one has moved, is to have the addresses of oneself and the adult members of one’s family changed in the population register, will the register really be a reliable basis for future elections. Having said this, I do not want to depreciate for a single moment the steps which the department has taken and is taking to resolve this matter. We all know of the highly effective publicity campaign which was conducted prior to 2 November last year in the Press and on television. Those of us who had the privilege of serving on the Select Committee on the Electoral Act, are also aware of other steps which have been taken or are being contemplated, for example to enlist the help of local authorities to synchronize the changes of address in the register with electricity, water and sewerage connections. I was particularly grateful to receive in my letter box during the past week a pamphlet from the department, entitled “Identify Yourself ”, a pamphlet specifically emphasizing the fact that particulars or the necessary forms are obtainable not only from the regional offices of the department, but also from the offices of municipalities and other local authorities, that pupils may obtain them from their schools, etc. A list of the regional offices is also supplied.
If it is going to remain our approach, however, that the department has to do all the work and take the initiative in all respects, while the public continues to play a passive role in this matter, we shall only be partially successful. For that reason I believe that we should now give consideration to methods which would actively encourage every citizen to notify his change of address. One can achieve this by the reverse process of making it as inconvenient as possible for John Citizen if he does not do so. I want to give a few examples. Every one of us lives somewhere, and for that purpose we have to own or rent accommodation. I believe we can give consideration to imposing on every conveyancer and every landlord the responsibility of ensuring that the domicilium of his client corresponds to his client’s address in the population register. Secondly, nowadays most of us owns some means of conveyance, if only a bicycle, which has to be licensed. Licensing authorities ought to require the production of identity documents in order to ensure that the address on the licence corresponds to that on the register, and if it does not, that the notice of a change of address be completed there and then.
One of the first things for which a new occupier applies these days is a telephone. I believe we should refuse to instal an instrument at any residential address which does not correspond with the subscriber’s identity document. Every one of us deposits our money somewhere for safekeeping. In this regard the department can obtain the co-operation of banks, building societies and other deposit-receiving institutions in order to ensure that the address on the identity documents corresponds to the residential address. In my opinion the most effective way of achieving our objective would be a provision in terms of which the validity of hire purchase contracts are linked to the address contained in the identity document. No businessman who is legally obliged to fill in his client’s address contained in his identity document on his hire purchase contract and who knows that no re-possession is possible if that address is not correct, will fail to insist on his client’s address being correct as it appears in the identity document. I have mentioned four or five possible methods. I do not, however, want to insist on any one in particular, but what is important is that these are methods which will actively motivate the public to play a real role in keeping the population register up to date.
We cannot, of course, underestimate other means, for example, television advertisements which I have already mentioned. It is not so much a case of my advocating these particular methods, but we must at all costs prevent the value of a complete population register steadily depreciating by virtue of its being updated less and less.
Mr Chairman, I should very much like to react to certain matters which hon members raised here. However, I want to begin with the speech which the hon member for Koedoespoort made in this House on Thursday, 5 April 1984. I am referring in particular to Hansard, columns 4565-7. It dealt with the solemnization of marriages, allegedly in contravention of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. He had put a question, to which we had given him a reply. In his speech he reacted to that by saying inter alia (Hansard, 5 April 1984, column 4567):
I should like to make this matter clearer to the hon member. In 1983 nine marriages were solemnized across the colour bar. Seven of these marriages were not deliberately solemnized in contravention of the Act because the parties concerned furnished the marriage officers with false information. This can happen very easily when form BI 31 is being completed because the information is not verified by means of the department’s computer system. Two of the above-mentioned marriages might have been solemnized in deliberate contravention of the Prohibition of the Mixed Marriages Act.
In his speech the hon member referred to English-language religious denominations. I can point out that the one marriage was solemnized by a minister or marriage officer of the Methodist Church, and the other by a minister or marriage officer of the Presbyterian Church. We are waiting for explanations. The hon member will know from his own experience that when a marriage officer makes a mistake in the solemnizing of a marriage and the completion of the necessary forms, the department sends him a letter in which he is asked for an explanation. We are now awaiting the explanations of these two marriage officers.
Therefore it cannot be alleged that the marriages were solemnized in deliberate contravention of this Act. So far this year only one mixed marriage has been solemnized, and in this case this was done because the woman, who was a Coloured person, furnished an incorrect identity number. In all ten cases that I have just mentioned, letters were sent to the marriage officers requesting an explanation as to why the marriage had been solemnized in contravention of the Act. In some cases the marriage officers, who in most cases were magistrates, said that they had really not been aware of the true identity of the parties concerned, and that false statements had been made. There are only two marriages that may have been deliberately solemnized across the colour bar. In addition I should just like to mention that a mixed marriage is not recorded in the population register and therefore, as far as the department is concerned, such a marriage is null and void. However, the validity of such a marriage is entirely a matter for the Supreme Court; the department may not give a decision on the validity of such a marriage. I may just point out that a false statement to a marriage officer is an offence punishable with the penalties for perjury. I hope the hon member is satisfied with these answers. I want to assure him that we do not connive at this kind of thing. There are only a limited number of cases involved and it cannot therefore be said that this is being done deliberately.
The hon member also objected because I had ostensibly said the following:
The hon member said that those were my precise words, and that I did not talk about “improved” but about “amended”. The terms of reference of the select committee are to ascertain whether it is possible and desirable that section 16 of the Immorality Act and the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act should be amended. Although there is a great deal of conjecture about this, I just want to point out that the select committee has worked very hard and that we have already had 25 bodies give oral evidence before us. We have also had the largest and most important religious denominations give evidence before the committee. The taking of evidence has now been completed. The committee will now proceed to the evaluation of this evidence, and as chairman of the select committee I am therefore asking for patience. There is a great deal of conjecture about this matter, inter alia in the newspapers. In fact, I have never seen my name appear so prominently in print as it did recently in the Sunday Times Extra. In huge banner headlines it declared that I had supposedly said: “The Immorality Act must stay”. However, I made no such statement. A Select Committe on this matter will make its own decision in its own time and will then submit its report to this House, by whom it was appointed.
The hon member for Umlazi spoke about elections. The hon the Minister will react to that. However, I want to associate myself with the hon member for Green Point and express the hope and trust that the elections among the Indian and Coloured population will be very successful. I wish the respective political parties that are going to participate in these elections everything of the best. I hope that we will now be able to solve the old problems of the past and will be able to move forward.
However, I cannot completely agree with the hon member for Green Point when he says that if people wish to stay away from the polls, no fuss should be made about this. Of course, a person has every right to refrain from voting, but what we must all declare ourselves strongly opposed to is people deliberately being encouraged to stay away from the polls. I do not think that this should be allowed to happen in a community, and I am making an appeal to the Coloureds and the Indians to make sure that they cast their votes.
I come now to the speech which the hon member for Meyerton made in this House yesterday. He said inter alia that if the Coloured and Indian component were to disappear from this department, only civilian matters, Internal Affairs, would remain.
He then asked whether a Coloured could now become Minister of Internal Affairs, to which we replied that it was possible. The hon member for Meyerton thereupon said that he would go and tell it to the people of Potgietersrus. Unfortunately the hon member for Meyerton is not present at the moment. However, I nevertheless wish to express the hope that we shall not intimidate one another; that we shall not use one population group to intimidate another population group. I do not think we should play cat and mouse in South African politics. After all, we really do need one another. For the sake of the people of Potgietersrus I now want to make it very clear that there are very competent and capable Coloureds, people who will probably be able to administer this portfolio and this department just as well—and the hon the Minister will agree with me—as he is able to do it himself and as well as I can hope to do it.
Are they better than the hon the Minister or yourself?
Yes, I concede that there are many Coloureds who will definitely be able to do it better than I can.
May I ask you a question?
No, I have no time for questions now. [Interjections.] Of course I understand very well that one would now be able to use these things to frighten the people of Potgietersrus.
But why frighten the people of Potgietersrus?
Oh please, Mr Chairman, that is what the hon member for Meyerton said here yesterday. The hon member for Rissik does not know what this is all about. The hon member for Meyerton said that before the by-election in Potgietersrus he would tell the voters there that a Coloured person could in fact become Minister of Internal Affairs, once the Coloured and the Indian component of this portfolio had disappeared. I say that I can accept that.
I do not want to prejudice my good friend, the former member for Potgietersrus, now. I am now referring to Mr Fanie Herman, who is now a member of the President’s Council. We have always been good friends, and I believe we still are. Of course we do not see one another so frequently now. On one occasion, however, he and I were driving around in Cape Town. I was talking about the Coloured population, and he asked me in all sincerity whether one could in fact find a Christian Coloured and an honest Coloured.
You just make sure you have your facts straight.
I stated clearly that I did not wish to prejudice this friend of mine.
Order! The hon member for Rissik must stop referring to the hon the Deputy Minister as “you”.
Very well, Sir. But the hon the Deputy Minister is saying things that are not true.
Order! The hon member must withdraw his remark that the hon the Deputy Minister is telling an untruth in this House.
Mr Chairman, I maintain that what the hon the Deputy Minister said in connection with Mr Fanie Herman was not true.
You were not even present.
It does not matter whether I was present or not; I say it is untrue.
Order! The hon the Deputy Minister may proceed.
Mr Chairman, of course I pay no heed at all to what the hon member for Rissik says or thinks.
Just stick to the truth! [interjections.]
The hon member for Rissik is really trying to make us believe that he knows everything there is to know. However, I want to say to him in all earnest that I hope his soul looks better than the expression on his face. [Interjections.] I pray that that may be so. [Interjections.]
Of course the hon member for Rissik also spoke about the policy of the NP in this debate. He now wants to know what the policy of the NP is, and he put certain questions to us in that connection. But surely he sat on this side of the House as an NP member for 16 years. Did he never acquaint himself with NP policy? [Interjections.] Now he wants to know what the case is in regard to the purchase of farms. Surely the NP has a policy in regard to the purchase of farms by Coloureds and Indians. It is a policy which still holds good today; a policy which is also being implemented.
Mr Chairman, may I now put a question to the hon the Deputy Minister?
No, Mr Chairman, I do not want to reply to a question from the hon member now. [Interjections.]
Can Coloureds and Indians buy farms in Potgietersrus?
Mr Chairman, surely there are rural areas.
Tell me whether they can buy farms in Potgietersrus. Yes or no?
I am coming to the hon member’s question, Mr Chairman. He must please give me a chance. He sat on this side of the House for 16 years without obtaining that information. Now he wants all that information in the space of one minute. He must please at least exercise a little patience too. [Interjections.] The hon member wasted 16 years of his life. [Interjections.]
I want to put it to the hon member that the NP’s policy in regard to the purchase of farms by Coloureds has always been clear. In the first place they have their own rural areas, areas which we developed, and where we have now proceeded to measure out economic agricultural units and allocate these to farmers, and where very successful farming activities are already in progress. A while ago the hon the Prime Minister told me that he opened an agricultural show at Mier, and that Coloureds there were exhibiting some of the finest animals at that show.
Recently, a year or two ago, we made land available to Coloured farmers below the P K Le Roux Dam at Taaibos and Kraaibos. However, there were no applications for it, and we had to return that land to the Department of Agriculture so that it could be placed at the disposal of White farmers. Sitting over there is the hon the Minister of Environment Affairs and Fisheries. He knows that we are at present laying out land in the lower Orange area as irrigation land.
The hon member for Rissik now wants to know whether a Coloured person may purchase a farm in Potgietersrus. The policy of the NP over all these years has been that such a person may purchase a farm there on condition that all the neighbouring farmers give their consent and the local authority agrees to such a step. It is also submitted to the member of the House of Assembly and the member of the provincial council. In my own constituency I had such a case in which the neighbouring farmers, the divisional council and I agreed to such a step, and the farm was sold to that person. That is the policy of the NP. That hon member sat here, however, and never took the trouble to acquaint himself with the policy. [Interjections.] That just shows what goes on in that hon member’s mind. However, I shall leave the hon member at that.
I want to thank the hon member Dr Pieterse very cordially for his speech on relations committees. Already there are 180 of them in the Republic, with approximately 3 000 members. In this connection I want to pay tribute to our relations officers who are doing excellent work, and I also want to thank the members of the relations committees very cordially for the contribution they are making towards forging very sound and strong relations between Whites and Coloureds in this country. This morning I want to say that those relations are improving steadily. I say thank you very much to the hon member Dr Pieterse for his contribution in respect of the relations committee at Eersterust. As he said, I appointed the 180th relations committee in Walvis Bay a couple of weeks ago.
†The hon member for Cape Town Gardens referred to a discrepancy in the figures appearing in the annual report as compared with figures given in reply to a question. I want to tell the hon member that the figures given on page 16 of the annual report are in respect of admissions to the State institution of De Novo at Kraaifontein. The figures given in reply to the hon member’s question were in respect of De Novo and a private rehabilitation centre at Worcester.
We have also taken note of the request of the hon member to expedite the erection of a new rehabilitation centre at Kraaifontein. This request of his will be taken up with the relevant department responsible for building this project with a view to expediting its completion.
As far as the disparity between Coloured and White pensions is concerned, the Government has already decided that the present gap should be narrowed. It must, however, be borne in mind that because of the number of beneficiaries an enormous amount of money is involved. As the hon member will appreciate, funds are not unlimited. However, although we will give attention to the request of the hon member I cannot promise that the gap will be closed over a period of five years as he requested. However, we will do our best.
May I please ask a question? On the question of these pensions, the hon the Deputy Minister has just said that he does not know whether the gap can be closed over a period of five years. At the current rate this will only be done by the year 2010. What in the view of the hon the Deputy Minister would a reasonable target date be by which this gap can be closed?
Mr Chairman, it is impossible to give a date at this stage. However, as I have said, we are doing our best. We must take into consideration the financial position of the country. In view of all the factors involved I am unable to give the hon member a specific date at the moment.
*I also want to thank the hon member Mr Van Staden very cordially. He gave us a wonderful resumé of the work that had been done in the old Department of Coloured Affairs or Coloured Relations, which now forms a very important component of the Department of Internal Affairs. He paid tribute to the Ministers. I wish to pay tribute to the officials as well. I want to pay tribute to the Commissioners of Coloured Affairs who served in that position over the years. I also want to pay tribute to the Secretaries for Coloured Relations. Very constructive work has been done, under very difficult circumstances.
It is a great pleasure for me to indicate here this morning the tremendous goodwill which exists in the Coloured community of South Africa. The percentage of those who wish to give up what is their own in the Coloured community is extremely small, and they are overshadowed by those who wish to further their own community life. There is a small percentage in the Coloured community that wants to relinquish everything and disappear completely, as is now being said, in a greater community. However, I can state unequivocally that the Coloureds, together with the Whites, wish to look after the interests of South Africa. That is what they aspire to do, that is their goal, and that is what they are asking for. They are asking for the opportunity to further the interests of their fatherland, which is also our fatherland—our joint fatherland—together with the Whites. No other policy whatsoever will provide satisfaction and no other policy in respect of these people will succeed in South Africa.
When you talk about Coloureds, do you include the Indians?
I also wish to include the Indians when I say these things. I do not have the same amount of contact with the Indian community as I have with the Coloured community. In the nature of things I am talking about my experience with the Coloured community.
The hon member for Rissik is asking a great many questions, and I want to tell him that no other policy will provide satisfaction in the Coloured community, not a Coloured homeland, no matter how well-intentioned it may be, no matter how sincere he is in his intentions, regardless of the extent to which he emphasizes sovereignty and wishes to link it to a territory. I want to give him, and while I am about it the entire Committee, the assurance that we as Whites have nothing to fear from our fellow South Africans who are Brown. They want to stand shoulder to shoulder with us to help develop this country. They want to stand shoulder to shoulder with us to help defend this country. They do not wish to lay claim to anything and they do not wish to take what the Whites have. They are only asking for their fair share in this country. They are only asking to be human beings in this country. I think if we adopt that approach, we can make a great deal of progress in South Africa and with South Africa.
Looking back over the years, the story is one of success. The development of the Coloured community is a story of hard, dedicated work. There were frequent misunderstandings. Certainly mistakes were made in the process. The Government certainly make mistakes in the process and over the years, but there was understanding for the difficult circumstances. I want to pay tribute to the men and the women who did the constructive work.
Since this is an historic debate and this is the last time we shall discuss the Coloured community here, and since I have been very intimately involved, as a member of this House, at first as secretary and later as chairman of our Coloured study group on this side of the House and still later as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, and I have had a great deal to do with these communities, I want to express my sincere thanks for the goodwill that was shown to me. I want to express my thanks for the opportunity I had to be able to serve. Bitter debates were conducted here and across the floor of this House we virtually reviled one another over a different community, but now we are beginning a new chapter which I think will bring only improved benefits to South Africa and all its people.
What about the South African Indians?
That hon member knows very little about the things we are now discussing. When it comes to goodwill and a good spirit and attitude, he is right at the back of the queue. If the hon member really wanted to display the right attitude, that hon member would not have gone to sit where he is sitting now, but would have resigned when he walked out on the people who brought him to this House. I know Coloureds with a better attitude than his.
I want to conclude by saying that I thank the Lord that I have Coloured friends who are upright and cultured people, and I want to wish that community everything of the best on the road ahead and with the new dispensation.
Mr Chairman, yesterday during the debate two matters were raised by the hon the Minister and by the hon the Deputy Minister on which I should like to comment briefly.
Firstly, the hon the Deputy Minister said that I was from Natal and consequently would not understand why the Coloureds had to be handled as a separate group. His logic was that they themselves had identified themselves as being a group and that the Government was merely giving effect that national feeling, for example by means of the Group Areas Act, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, the Prohibition of Political Interference Act, etc., as well as by means of the new dispensation. In terms of that logic I find it very strange that one has to legislate for something which allegedly was voluntary. Moreover, I want to tell the hon the Deputy Minister that although I am from Natal at the moment, I grew up in Riversdal. As a child I used to play “kleilat” in the river there and at that time we never selected our teams according to race, only according to merit. Furthermore, it was a great shock to me personally when I arrived at Still Bay one year and had to learn that my neighbour’s young son, with whom I had grown up, suddenly had to be removed because he was a Coloured, as were other people in the neighbourhood with whom we used to play when we were young. This process is continuing. The Government is still separating Whites and Coloureds. In terms of the same logic with regard to group separation of Afrikaners who form separate groups, one wonders what fate awaits the Afrikaners of Soutpansberg because they, too, regard themselves as being a separate group of Afrikaners. They are even going to establish a separate cultural organization. One wonders now whether there are going to be group areas for these new Afrikaners. Will there also be a prohibition of mixed marriages and a prohibition of political interference? Perhaps the ordinary Afrikaners up there in the north will have to live in the group areas, since they seem to be in the minority. There is simply no consistency in the logic of group separation.
Yesterday the hon the Minister himself once again indulged in making personal attacks, something which was condemned by the majority of hon members at the beginning of this week. He pronounced a value-judgment on the integrity of PFP members when he said that we wanted to open our ranks to other race groups merely in order to soothe our consciences. He said this unashamedly. Although we have members in the PFP who, for pragmatic reasons, viz in order to avoid confrontation in this life, subscribe to the principle that we have to integrate in this country, there are, however, also those members who believe that the present set-up is unjustifiable morally for the very reason that the policy of partition does not work. Nothing has come of self-determination. That ideal has been reduced to a situation in which domination, injustice and discrimination triumph. It is for that reason that a large number of PFP members subscribe to the principles of this party, and not to pass a value-judgment on the Minister’s principles.
Who of you are idealists and who are pragmatists?
If the hon the Minister is interested I can let him have a list. [Interjections.]
PFP members subscribe to these principles not only to avoid confrontation in this life but also because they have to give an account in the life hereafter. The ranks of the PFP have always been, and still are, open to members of other population groups.
†As regards the Prohibition of Political Interference Act and the question of changes thereto, the hon the Minister made certain announcements yesterday. He should let the matter stand over until it can be presented to the new Parliament as a general affair. By rushing through certain superficial changes to this Act during this session, the hon the Minister is again demonstrating the fact that he has no real conception of what government by consensus will be about in the new system. It is not for the hon the Minister to state—as if it is a universal truth—that it is illogical to have integrated political parties in the new system. The hon the Minister stands quite alone in that view. Neither the PFP nor any of the Indian or Coloured political parties believe in that. In fact, I want to quote from what one of his prospective colleagues in the Cabinet said about it. Rev Hendrickse said in an interview last week:
The hon the Minister is therefore heading for immediate conflict with his soon to be colleagues.
In this lies perhaps a dilemma for the hon the Minister and this is why he still prefers domination to consensus. The Government knows that it is heading into the new dispensation with its only ideological partners being the CP and perhaps the NRP. There has been no consensus on the principles of the new deal with the majority of people who will take part in it, let alone with those who prefer to stay on the outside. I therefore appeal to the Government to use the first couple of sessions in the new dispensation to achieve the consensus which should have been achieved before the new deal was approved. Let us use it as a national convention.
I also appeal to the Government not to rush into setting up the bureaucratic maze which will be necessary to give effect to the so-called own affairs departments which nobody wants in principle. The people of South Africa want good government and not ethnic government.
In conclusion I want to refer to a few aspects of detail regarding Indian affairs. The first concerns the payment of pensions. I ask that the same facilities be provided as are provided for Whites whereby pensions can be paid directly into banking or building society accounts even if the majority should prefer to collect it in person.
Another cause for constant grief in the Indian community is the application of the Group Areas Act. Although it does not fall under this hon Minister, I urge him to appeal to his colleague who administers this Act to tread lightly for the next few months. I receive continuous calls from Indian people all over the country in towns and cities asking why they are still being threatened with removals, from residential but especially from business areas, when there is now talk of open business areas.
That has nothing to do with the Department of Internal Affairs.
The hon the Minister must please persuade the hon the Minister concerned to impose a moratorium on any further removals.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Greytown will understand if I do not react to his speech. He grew up in the Riversdal area and I just want to tell him that it is clear to me that he had a very good upbringing there, because that part of the world votes en bloc for the hon member for Mossel Bay. It was only later in his life that the hon member for Greytown came down in the world.
I should like to confine myself to the Coloured rural areas. It is true that various speakers have referred to the fact that this year is a unique year in the sense that this will be the last occasion on which an exclusively White Parliament will discuss those matters affecting the Coloureds, matters which very clearly are their own responsibility and which they themselves will discuss in future. If, for the last time, we wish to say something about the development of the rural areas, then I want to say that they probably fit in with the political concept of a Coloured homeland because in the rest of the country, and particularly in the Northern Transvaal, many references are being made to these areas which are to form the nucleus of the future Coloured homeland. It is to be hoped that this year will also see the end of that story. Precisely because so much glib talk about the development of these areas is being heard, glib talk which is easily swallowed by ignorant and uninformed people, those who believe in escapist dreams, I think we should take one last look at these areas, what they consist of, what development one finds there and what possibilities these areas have. Then, too, we must bear in mind what the hon the Prime Minister said about the total development costs of these areas.
In the latest budget an amount of R6 056 000 is being allocated in this connection for current expenditure, livestock, equipment, land, buildings, etc. This is in respect of agricultural development. The total expenditure in these areas for the financial year ending June 1983 amounted to R13 433 000. An amount of R716 000 was budgeted for local authority development and R355 000 for agricultural training. Those are not impressive amounts in any language. However, if we take the economic conditions into consideration and take a careful look at what these areas comprise and the number of inhabitants there, I think there will be greater understanding for the situation. At the same time we accept that the Government would like to spend far more on these areas. In order to approach this Budget in a truly realistic way, it is necessary for us to take a detailed look at these areas. We should go into what will be required to turn these areas into a real homeland and what it would cost to develop agriculture there. After that hon members must determine for themselves whether it is possible at all to cram such a homeland down the throats of those who do not want it.
There are 23 rural areas. Two of them are situated in the Free State. The total surface area—and this sounds impressive—covers 1 722 000 ha. Let us see what this comprises. Incidentally, the most beautiful names have been given to these areas, for example Genadendal, Komaggas, Mier, Pella, Pniel, Saron and so on. On 30 June 1932 there was a total of 224 557 small stock and 9 350 head of cattle in these rural areas, these 1 711 000 ha. The total income of the entire area was R2 587 000. One must also take into consideration that in the year 1983 all these figures declined.
It is clear, therefore, that something is wrong. Where does the fault lie? I think we all know where it lies. Of those 1 722 ha an estimated 1 628 000 ha consists of desert, semi-desert and at best very extensive stock grazing regions. That leaves 94 000 ha. Of that 64 comprise seven towns. Of these 64 000 ha Pella alone consists of 48 000 ha. Pella is situated in the Pofadder area. If you look at that area, not when the flowers are in bloom but at other times of the year, you will know what we are talking about. In reality, therefore, only 30 000 ha of the total area remain. When we talk in a political, context that is the number of hectares that we must compare with countries such as Venda, Lebowa and others. However, it is true …
As far as that land and those people were concerned, why did your great-grandfather …
Cannot that hon member keep his mouth shut and his ears open? [Interjections.] It is a fact, however, that these rural areas in Namaqualand and Gordonia are rich in precious stones and minerals. The mining rights in respect of precious stones were originally allocated to the Coloured Development Corporation, but subsequently, when that body was dissolved, they were allocated to the Small Business Development Corporation. The SBDC regulates prospecting and mining on a contract basis and pays over 20% of its profits to the Department for the development of the rural areas. To date approximately R1,5 million has bean received, which meant that another dream was shattered. It is true that there may be an improvement in regard to the mining of minerals and precious stones, but we know that there is no great demand at present for many of these minerals and precious stones.
The fact remains, however, that the situation of these areas is such that for the most part their development potential is extremely poor and will, at the very least, be very expensive. It is easy for one to talk about laying on water, but water from the Orange River is subsidized. At Steinkopf and other places, where boreholes are used, additional boreholes are being sunk because it is too expensive to use water from the Orange River. The subsidy on water alone amounts to R1,33 million.
Together with this negative picture of the area, we must also bear in mind that large parts of that area were overutilized and overgrazed by small stock. As a result of the devastating drought which is being experienced in that area as well, a system of total livestock withdrawal is being applied in many regions. Communal land ownership is another problem that helps to aggravate the overall problem. To complete this sombre picture, we must also bear in mind that the housing need there is very great. It is true that houses are in fact being built and that far more ought to be built, but it is no use building houses if there are no employment opportunities in the area.
The population of the whole area was 70 000 in 1982. This has grown to 73 500 in 1983. This represents a 4,3% increase. It seems to me that these 73 500 people will have to move to the Cape—that is to say if they want to—and that with the consent of the hon the Deputy Minister of Finance, we should include that area in Orania. Let them then struggle with that area. [Interjections.] Those who know this area outside the flower season in Namaqualand will know that those people are trifling with a foolish dream, and are trying to bluff people, particularly those in the Northern Transvaal.
Has the hon member ever been to Namaqualand? [Interjections.] Where in Namaqualand did he go to? The hon member for Rissik is inclined to talk about things he knows nothing about.
Mr Chairman, it was interesting to listen to the hon member for Wellington. In an attempt to discredit the idea of a Coloured homeland— I believe he made some progress in that regard—he has also given an indication of the shortcomings of the Coloured rural areas, for example that those areas have no real agricultural potential for that group. That, unfortunately, is the conclusion one has to draw from what he had to say. We trust that the hon the Minister and hon members on that side of this House will give attention to that aspect as well.
I am somewhat disturbed by the hon the Deputy Minister’s reaction to a matter I raised yesterday, viz Government interference in the election process of the Coloureds and the Indians, with which we shall now have to deal. Yesterday I made a very definite appeal to the Government not only to allow political parties the greatest possible freedom to canvass support for their own standpoints or candidates in an election, but also to allow the same freedom, as a matter of democratic principle, to those who ask people to stay away from the polls. I was under the impression that in this regard I was echoing the sentiments of the hon the Minister when he made the following statement (Hansard, 3 May 1984):
I agree with him that we should not allow people to be prevented in a violent or improper way from exercising their democratic right. [Interjections.] We should, however, ascertain what the distinction is, because I believe the hon the Deputy Minister fell into a trap as far as this matter was concerned when he said that people should not be allowed to propagate that voters stay away from the polls; in other words, that a political organization should not try to persuade people in a democratic way to stay away from the polls. Consequently I believe that hon members on the opposite side of this House, and especially the Ministers and Government departments that might be involved in this matter—and I am referring not only to the Department of Internal Affairs but also to the Department of Law and Order—should obtain clarity with regard to this matter. The simple fact is that any party, any agency or any person who encourages people to vote for or against any candidate or to stay away from the polls, is not contravening any law in South Africa. It is an absolutely clear, democratic right to do so and consequently I say that the same freedom allowed political parties which want to participate in elections within the system, which want to put up candidates and which want to canvass support, be granted also to a political organization which encourages people, within the law, not to cast their votes.
Mr Chairman, can the hon member tell me whether he approves or disapproves of parties telling people not to cast votes?
Mr Chairman, in general I tend not to abstain from voting but to adopt some standpoint. However, I want to concede at once that in the present set-up it is very difficult to place oneself in the position of either a Coloured or an Indian, especially if one regards the constitutional rights being awarded to them as being absolutely inferior, as these rights are, in fact, regarded by many of these people theselves. In fact, during the referendum campaign we made it clear that we, too, agreed with that standpoint, viz that inferior constitutional rights are being granted to the Coloureds and the Indians, and it is an acceptable political strategy to say that we prefer not to participate so as to discredit the system in that way. Whether this is the correct standpoint is, of course, another matter, but it is a legally permissible political strategy, and for that reason I am asking the Government to do its best to prevent people from interfering in that kind of political action. If there were to be interference in that manner, it would, in my opinion, do the election campaign more harm than good. It could only discredit those political parties which are, in fact, in favour of participating in the system. It could benefit neither the Government nor democracy in any respect, nor the political parties in the Coloured and Indian communities which support participation.
Mr Chairman, since we have now reached the end of the discussion of this Vote, I should like to convey my sincere thanks to all hon members who have taken part. I believe that in general we conducted the debate in a very good spirit. When one analyses the criticism levelled by the Opposition, it is clear to me that there is really very little criticism of the actual day-to-day activities of this department, a department which so intimately affects the lives of millions of people. Accordingly I should like to accept with sincere thanks, on the part of the officials, the tribute paid to them. Moreover, I also wish to associate myself with what has been said in this regard and point out that the good administration and effective service provided by the officials have enabled us to conduct a wide-ranging debate on the fundamental facets of our policy in this House. This was possible because we did not need to deal in any way with poor administration or similar problems in the department. Accordingly I wish to convey my good wishes to the officials of this department.
In the first place I wish to deal with a few of the more general matters before, at a later stage, turning to more political matters. In the first place I wish to address the hon member for Umbilo.
†The hon member for Umbilo returned to the question of the training of members of Parliament and Ministers of State. Moreover, Mr Chairman, the hon member accused me of reacting flippantly to his initial plea in that regard. I want to make it quite clear that if members of any House expressed a need for the training of new members of Parliament, that should obviously be considered. For us in this House, however, to decide at this stage to send the Coloured and Indian members on a training course because we believe that they need it, would, to my mind, be paternalistic.
*The hon the Prime Minister announced that a research service for members of the House of Assembly was being considered. I think that is a good idea. I also think it is as well to consider training, if we can reach consensus on that, and if a real need can be proved in this regard. Attention could possibly be given to training within the framework of this research pattern. If a need should arise in this House for training in specific facets, then I believe that the Government would have no hesitation in investigating how that need could be satisfied in conjunction with the institutions of Parliament. I am informed that it is not unusual in other countries, after a general election, for newcomers to be afforded a special opportunity lasting a few weeks, to become au fait with the methods and problems of democratic parliamentary process. The Government is certainly not opposed to that idea. However, to single out a specific population group and say that we believe that they should be trained is not, as I see it, the right way to promote goodwill with regard to training. I believe that we should begin by really identifying the need, and subsequently persuade the people affected to co-operate themselves as far as the identification of that need is concerned.
†The hon member for Pinetown dealt fairly extensively with what he termed the clash between the Teachers Association and the SA Indian Council. He preferred the basic approach that political authorities should not interfere with professional administration of education …
On a day-to-day basis.
… on a day-to-day basis. That is how I sum it up. The hon member evidently agrees with my synopsis of what he said. I want to state that I fully agree with that philosophy. I adhere to that philosophy, and I believe that it would be wise for every politician to subscribe to that same philosophy. What happens, however, should politicians depart from this approach? Then the political process must call them to account. One cannot administratively call a politician to account because of political errors of judgment which he makes. A politician is elected by way of a democratic process. If he wins an election he is entrusted with the political administration of matters such as education, and when people vote they know that the winner of the election will be entrusted with those matters.
Since 1975 education has been delegated to the Executive Committee of the Indian Council. When the first general election for the South African Indian Council took place the Indian community was well aware that that body for which they had the opportunity to vote would be entrusted with important administrative powers. If, therefore, they neglected to make their mark in respect of who was to represent them there, the hon member should not be addressing himself to me today. This is why it is so important that there should be participation on the part of the maximum number of voters because the exercising of a vote results in the placing of power in the hands of a political group. That is the essence of democracy. Two wrongs do not make a right, and the time when accusations of undue political interference in the management of education should be made is during the forthcoming election campaign for the Indian community. That is the way I think the Indian community should deal with the matter, and that is the platform on which those who have been accused will have every opportunity to defend themselves. I cannot investigate administratively the wisdom of political decisions on the part of people who have the right to exercise that political power.
The hon member also referred to the so-called black-list. Inasmuch as I am still vested with powers in regard to the administration of education, an interdepartmental investigation has been carried out at a very high level and the report has already been finalized. As soon as the discussion of my Vote has been concluded and I have had the opportunity to study the report, I shall be able to act in terms of the recommendations, should I agree with them or, if necessary, ask for a further investigation. I have not yet made a study of the report, so I cannot at this stage commit myself in any way. I can, however, say that the Director of Indian Education has already given the categorical assurance that nobody has been detrimentally affected by the existence of such a black list. In that respect I have the advice, after a thorough investigation, of the top official dealing with Indian education that fortunately, nothing negative flowed from the existence of such a list.
As far as meeting the Teachers’ Association is concerned, I have an appointment in the not too distant future with the chairman of the South African Indian Council to whom powers have been delegated—I think it is only fair that I should also discuss this with him—and, once I am acquainted with all the facts, I shall meet the Teachers’ Association if they still wish me to do so. However, I must first acquire all the facts. What we must be careful about in this respect is that we must not allow a situation to develop at this stage in which we shall be interfering with the Indian political process which is getting up steam now in preparation for 28 August when they will have their election.
May I please ask a question? Does the hon the Minister not consider that it would be extremely wise to publicly remove the slight on the Indian Education Department that has been alluded to by certain political parties, before they enter the dogfight of the election.
Inasmuch as it may be necessary to defend the conduct of educationists, administrators and others in Indian education, I shall definitely look after their interests in this respect. If it is necessary to make any facts known in order to safeguard the honour of people involved in the service of the Government, I shall see to it that that is done.
*I now turn to the hon member for Greytown. He said once again that the PFP would like to have members of all population groups as members of the party and that it certainly would not bother him if that was the case. He made a very interesting remark, viz that he has classified his own party’s members in two categories, those who really believe in their policy in an idealistic sense, and those who are members of that party for pragmatic reasons. It would be very interesting to have an analysis of the MP’s who are with the PFP purely because they are pragmatists and those who really believe, as that hon member believes, that full integration is the final and only solution for South Africa. I doubt whether he is correct that the PFP has always been open to membership of all population group.
What do you mean by that?
I do not know whether it is so or not. I am not acquainted with the constitution of the PFP, and I should like to have a copy of it to see whether it is so. [Interjections.]
The real problem surrounding the issue of participation in the process within the new dispensation is to be found in the following: We in this House have accepted a constitution in terms of which there will be separate Houses, those Houses will be elected on separate voters’ rolls for White, Brown and Indian, and only members of each population group may be elected to the various Houses intended for the population groups. Surely the logical consequence of that is that the political process in regard to whom the members elect to a specific House is limited to the members of that population group. Hon members are fully entitled to say that they do not like the system, and that they tried to show their resistance to the system, both in debates here and subsequently during the referendum. In the referendum the final decision was taken that it would be the new system, and this, then, is the new system. As long as it is the law of the land, as long as our constitution is what it is, it is illogical to advocate that we should not bring the infrastructure set in operation by that constitution, into line with what the constitution provides. What the hon members are in reality advocating, if they are not prepared to accept the minimum requirements I set yesterday, is the creation of a chaotic situation. This is another form of resistence to the new constitution. [Interjections.] It is another refusal to accept the consequences, the logical consequences of any constitution and to fall in with them.
If the minimum requirements I set yesterday were to be embodied in legislation there would surely be no question in anyone’s mind that there might, after all, be an implied or direct prohibition of political dialogue across dividing lines, of co-operation and of participation in consensus politics. The mere fact that the minimum requirement is set that there should be own parties, arises out of each party’s involvement in the election process for “own Houses” and consequently, own election activities and election agents from its own population group only. There must be an “own” election campaign in which the politicians of the population group in question address members who are able to vote for them, in order to promote their standpoints. That is the minimum.
If that is all that is provided, then surely there can be no further question in the minds of anyone who wants to listen reasonably and fairly, that there is supposedly a risk that mere participation in consensus politics within the framework of a new constitution constitutes a contravention of the Act.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question with regard to those aspects of government labelled as matters of common concern. Surely a political party has a role apart from the holding of elections. A political party deals with aspects of policy on a consistent basis. It also exerts pressure to express its standpoint. Is there any problem as regards people of various races doing this on an organized basis? Does the legislation prohibit people doing so on a properly organized basis if they so choose?
I do not foresee that the co-ordination of a specific standpoint on a matter within the framework of what I have set as minimum requirements will cause any problems in practice. The hon member must bear in mind that in terms of the constitution, the new process will be that each of the three population groups will formulate its majority opinion as a group, and this goes for matters of common concern as well. Therefore each individual House will vote separately in group context as regards general legislation as well. In this way the majority opinion of the House of Assembly with regard to a specific general matter will come to the fore, the majority opinion of the House of Delegates and the majority opinion of the House of Representatives. It is not even in the back of our minds to prohibit cross-pollination and discussion of standpoints on general affairs, because that would be illogical and would run counter to the essence of the new dispensation and how it has to operate and is able to succeed.
The hon member for Green Point again discussed the issue of political interference. I think that people who wish to participate should be allowed to participate. This does not mean that the boycotters should simply be prohibited from committing violence. It means that people who want to participate positively ought not to be hindered in any way. I think that the hon member will agree with that.
No illegal hindrances, yes.
Nor must they be threatened. Nor must photographs be taken of them. It is not illegal to take a photograph of a person, but nevertheless that is the kind of technique they are threatened with. They are told that their opponents will stand at the polling booths and take a photograph of each of them so that they may know who they are, and that they will be placed on a blacklist. Hon members opposite are opposed to a blacklist. These people are being told that they will appear on a blacklist and that they will be undermined in innumerable ways in future and that their lives will be made bitter because they are prepared to participate in the new dispensation. This is the kind of thing one must prevent. Those who wish to take part must be free to do so and must know that no one will be permitted to harass them—I cannot think of a good Afrikaans word for it. Harassment must be prevented. If the hon member tells me that he agrees with that, then we have reached consensus and there is no significant difference between us in this regard.
Not harassment, but intimidation.
Is it, then, the standpoint of the PFP that people who want to participate may be harassed, just as long as they are not intimidated?
You were looking for a word, and I say it is “intimidation”.
Harassment and intimidation mean two different things, and I say that not only intimidation is wrong. Harassment is wrong as well. I think we owe it to people who want to participate to make it possible for them to freely participate and we will do everything in our power, within the law, to ensure that they are not harassed and that nothing is done to prevent them from doing their patriotic duty by going to the polls. My sympathy clearly lies with those who want to participate and I do not believe in boycotting in respect of any political process by any political group. In this respect we do not have a clear attitude from the PFP. As a matter of fact, from time to time they prefer to follow boycott techniques themselves.
*The hon member for Rissik came back once again to a few matters. He once again asked what Brown people did differently to, say the Whites. Why a different House for them? The reality of South Africa is that, rightly or wrongly, a “own” group situation for the Whites has developed over the years. This is based on the fact that a basic group feeling has developed between the Afrikaner people and the English-speaking South Africans, who are people of Anglo-Saxon and other descent. This is so because a Union was declared in 1910 and because the Whites were joined together in a political process, and in the course of that process they grew together. This has meant that in the political as well as in the social spheres, an “own” group feeling has developed among Whites as well. The majority of Whites want to preserve that group identity and the opportunity to promote those group interests. That is why the resistance offered by the PFP to the new constitutional during the referendum achieved nothing, since the majority of Whites did not want that.
The Coloureds are not a people, as hon members of the Conservative Party, with their theory, contend. We do not regard the Coloureds as a people in the cultural sense. They constitute a population group which has developed historically and due to circumstances and they are dealt with as an identifiable population group. That is what this has resulted in, rightly or wrongly. I say it is right; others, on the other hand, say it is wrong. The result has been that they have their own educational system; they live in their own residential areas, they met in a CRC and they have their own institutions for a large number of matters. They already form a group and we are not creating a group now by way of the new constitution. They are an identifiable group, and they exist as such. They are also a group consisting of various cultural and other components. The Malays as well as the Griquas are important sub-groups within this group. Then, too, there are the Afrikaans-speaking and English-speaking Coloureds who form important sub-groups. There are radical diffenrences between the typical Cape Coloureds and the Coloureds in Tranvaal and Natal. Historically, however, and because it has been necessary in practice, a grouping has developed, and this is how it has been dealt with in practice for many decades. It has been since this has happened—as has been clearly stated in speeches from this side of the House—that the interests of this population group have been attended to and their interests have been effectively promoted. There has been positive development for them and opportunities have been created which never existed before they had been regarded as a group in terms of a properly structured approach and acquired special institutions to look after their interests.
Accordingly, we do not apologize for the fact that there will be three Houses in the new Parliament. We think that this is right and good and that it will work in practice. It is also justifiable in terms of principle. It is not being done purely on the basis of pigmentation. The pigmentation people sit in the Conservative Party benches. [Interjections.]
I am now really tired of the impression being created that the hon member for Rissik and members of his party “still, despite everything, feel friendly” towards me.
Do you not want us to be friendly?
The actions and the words of the hon members do not correspond. The campaigns they are conducting against me in the Transvaal would not withstand the test of the light of day.
Secondly, I am not in this party because I occupy a position in it, but because I associate myself wholeheartedly with the policy and principles of the party. [Interjections.] In principle I cannot associate myself with the direction of the Conservative Party. There is a gaping rift between us, a rift I shall never be able to bridge. If I were ever to lose positions within this party, due to whatever circumstances, then I should quitely resign from politics and never violate my conscience merely for the sake of a position. However, I wish to say to the hon the member that things are going well with me in the National Party. I am extremely happy here and I enjoy the loyal support of every NP member in this House. I experience warmth and support, and therefore the hon member need not lie awake on my account, unless he sees me as a stumbling-block in the path of the CP’s destructive and negative actions. I want to say to him that I intend becoming as even greater stumbling-block in their path than I already am.
The hon member also went on to discuss the Indians and immigration. Every country is fully entitled to establish a pattern in its immigration policy which will prevent the occurence of population problems; and in our case, cause additional population problems. That is why our policy is as it is embodied in our legislation. We are fully entitled to maintain that policy and this side of the House says that we stand by this policy. We have placed it on the Statute Book and we think that this is an important facet. We believe that to effect significant changes, changes of the basic concept, would lead to additional population problems; and we are not prepared to allow additional population problems in our already complex situation.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister a question?
No. I must begin to finish off now. The hon member also put a question to me about the position of Indians in the Free State. Let us state what the principle is in this connection. The principle is that throughout South Africa, specific areas have been reserved for specific population groups. This is so, and because this has been the historical position in the Free State, it is still the case. In principle there is really no difference between a person not being able to reside in a specific residential area in the Transvaal or in the Cape, and not being able to reside in the Free State. Therefore, if hon members opposite attack that, they must attack the whole system which makes residential separation and the designation of specific areas for specific population groups a reality.
There are MP’s in the Free State who differ with you on that score.
They may differ with me, but the hon the Prime Minister said that this was a question which he would primarily leave to the Free State. He said that he would be guided by what the Free State leaders come up with in this connection. There has been no problem in the past as regards changing specific standpoints. However, there is one thing of which the hon member may be certain: If the people of the Free State ever come forward and say that they would like change in this regard, and as long as the NP is in power, this would also be subject to the firm principle of “own” residential areas, and “own” community life and “own” schools; it would be subject to the total picture which forms the foundation on which good relations can be built in South Africa.
In conclusion, the hon member referred to the statement on Meyerton made in a political debate by my colleague the hon the Minister of Health and Welfare. I have dealt with this matter at length and I have nothing to add to what I have already said. I told the hon members that if they wanted to continue to argue with him, they should tackle him in a political debate. There will be many opportunities for that during the rest of this session. He is big enough to speak for himself. However, the hon members are creating a distorted picture by the way they are handling this matter. I have already rectified that picture from my point of view. If the hon members want to tackle the hon the Minister in a political debate, then he will rectify the position, but then they must face him squarely, and they can talk it out between themselves. He is ready to do so and he is waiting for them.
I wish to conclude by thanking hon members on this side for this final part of the debate. Yesterday I dealt in full with certain aspects which the hon member for Umlazi spoke about today. I am pleased that he stressed once again the vital need for the voter, too, to take part in the constant updating of the population register, and that one should not merely impose that obligation on the State. I listened carefully to his recommendations concerning the network. I can assure him that the majority of institutions he mentioned have either been involved already or are in the process of being involved. I want to thank him for his practical contribution.
I should also like to thank the hon member for Witbank, the hon member for Wellington, the hon member Dr Pieterse and the hon member Mr Van Staden as a group, because they effectively elucidated four aspects relating to the Coloureds in a calm and peaceful manner. The hon member for Wit-bank contributed a fine survey of the welfare situation and welfare activities. The hon member Mr Van Staden did the same with regard to Coloured administration and Coloured education. The hon member Dr Pieterse discussed relations committees and the hon member for Wellington, the rural areas. If one were to remove all the politics from the debate and put together the speeches by these four hon members, then we should have, on the one hand, a review of the report submitted by this Government at the end of a phase in regard to what it has been prepared to do and has done for the Coloured population, and on the other, a real insight into the major problems that already exist and the tremendous challenges that lie ahead.
We have indeed reached the end of a phase. As is appropriate, Coloured and Indian leaders must in future account for decisions they have taken in regard to their own people in respect of Coloured and Indian education, Coloured and Indian welfare, administration by politicians and all those facets we have discussed over the past few days. Therefore it is not with a tear in my eye but with joy and gratitude that I say that this is the last time that this debate about the intimate affairs of these people is being conducted by a White person. I think they are intitled to this and I wish them everything of the best in their assumption of full responsibility over their own people. Far be it from me to give advice, but I do want to say, on the basis of the few years during which I have been in charge of this department, that the extent of the problems faced by these two population groups in the field of education and welfare are enormous. Therefore I am convinced that Coloured and Indian leaders and Ministers will be faced with a tremendous task in future. Speaking for the Government, I can assure them that they will be given all possible assistance; that they will be received in a friendly way and that they will always be able to rely on our understanding in handling the considerable problems and making up the leeway as regards the Coloured population group in particular. I believe that the new dispensation is inherently capable of succeeding because it is based on sensible foundations. If we can ensure that we can also tackle the implementation of this new dispensation, as it is, with a favourable attitude and by way of a positive and constructive approach, then a fine future awaits this country.
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 11—“Commission for Administration” and Vote No 12—“Improvement of Conditions of Service”:
Mr Chairman, we are living at a time when efficient and imaginative administration has come to be of critical importance. The vigorous course of general development, and specifically the new political dispensation, requires new structures and processes. Within the wide field of governmental organization urgent steps are at present being taken to recreate the machine of government in the light of the needs and the demands made on us by the new constitution. Because the coming into effect of the new constitution will usher in a totally new era in the administration of the country, hon members will realize that the reorganization being considered at present is an exceptionally drastic one. The Commission for Administration and its office are naturally playing an important part in the design of these new structures. This, Sir, is an extensive task, a task in which a large number of other agencies are and will be involved. At this stage several guidelines relating to my field of operations have already been accepted and I should like to mention them.
In the first place there will certainly not be a large-scale expansion of departments. [Interjections.] It goes without saying that where the existing departments relinquish certain functions in the new dispensation, they will no longer justify the structure that exists at present. This may give rise to a moderate reduction, by rationalization, of the number of joint departments.
Secondly, as far as “own” affairs are concerned, there will be three administrations. At the head of each will be an administrative head who will be the equivalent of a department head. The functions entrusted to the Houses will be given effect to in each of their administrations and this will be done by clearly identifying components in each administration and establishing the necessary staff structures. I do not foresee largescale disruption or transferring of a large number of officials. Basically, there will be three main institutions divided into specific components, although each will form a unit in itself, and not 10, 12 or 15 new departments, each complete with its own ivory tower.
Thirdly, the components and disciplines that an administration will consist of will be manned by experts in that field. There must be no doubt as to the recognition of occupations, the basis of occupations and other statutory regulation of occupations.
Fourthly, three independent public services are not to be established. The Public Service will continue to exist in its present form. However, let me add at once that this does not mean that everyone who is in the employ of the Government need necessarily be a public servant. In the present governmental structure there are several governmental institutions that employ people. Here I have in mind, for example, the Public Service, the provincial administrations, the SATS, Post and Telecommunications, local authorities, and several statutory organizations.
Accordingly, I foresee that the present pattern will largely be maintained and that the central Public Service will continue to carry out a guiding and co-ordinating function within the governmental system.
In the fifth place, I should like to take this opportunity to discuss the Government’s employment policy in detail. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to finalize certain negotiations with the Public Servants’ Association, but I hope to do so shortly and when that has been done a discussion may, as required, take place during debates with regard to legislation I am still going to introduce during this session. At this stage, however, I already wish to confirm certain principles and I want to repeat what I have already said about this because these principles are not negotiable.
In the first place, the principle of merit will be applied at all costs. By this is meant that excellence in rendering service will be encouraged and rewarded. Subjective preferential treatment and discrimination is excluded from staff management to the greatest possible extent. Secondly, the principle of efficiency will at all times be given priority. By this is meant that activities must be geared to the achievement of the most beneficial result per unit of cost expenditure. In the third place, specific opportunities will be created for progress and promotion of people in their own administrations.
In addition, I want to give the assurance that there is not a single official who need fear the loss of security of employment due to the new dispensation. Officials who render service of quality can enter the future with self-confidence and absolute certainty.
I should now like to deal with a different subject which has elicited a certain degree of criticism from certain quarters, viz occupational differentiation. This programme was initiated in 1980 because at that stage the Government sector had already fallen behind the private sector to the extent of approximately 25%. If this programme had not been launched, relatively large-scale adjustments would have had to be granted. At that stage there was already an increasing annual net loss of staff which in 1981 amounted to 3 097. These losses had to be checked, because a sound Public Service is essential for the development and extension of a dynamic private sector in the economy. The benefits of occupational differentiation amounted to the following. In the first place, it was costeffective because it was geared towards identified priorities and will achieve more rapid results. In the second place, the market value of certain occupational classes increases more or less rapidly than the general movement in salary rates. For that reason, a justified rate of remuneration could not be achieved merely by way of general adjustments. Due to its selective effect, occupational differentiation has, in the third place, had a more moderate effect on the salary spiral.
The end result of this programme has been the following: The net loss of 3 097 in 1981 is being converted into a net gain of 2 655 in 1982. A sustained net gain of 5 238 was shown in 1983. I believe that this improvement is not due solely to occupational differentiation but also to the weakening of the economy. On the other hand, occupational differentiation has indeed played a key role in this improvement.
For the private sector and the ordinary man it has been possible to ensure a more effective service, a higher quality service. After all, the taxpayer is fully entitled to that.
The programme of occupational differentiation is a success story. Success has been achieved in that high calibre staff have been obtained and retained. It has been possible to set standards of quality and other requirements. A high degree of job satisfaction, and incentives for better performance on the part of the staff, have been created. There has, of course, been criticism as well. Indeed, it was quite amazing to see from what quarters that criticism sometimes emanated. The Government is not aloof to this criticism and I can assure hon members that a proper investigation into certain allegations has been instituted. However, I wish to give the assurance that the great part of that criticism was unfounded and was based on faulty information or misunderstandings. All the dispensations have been worked out on the basis of related market dispensations, taking due account of service benefits, security of employment, etc. We must recognize that as an employer the State is surely also entitled to its rightful share of the labour forces. I want to stress the concept “rightful share”. It has never been the policy or the aim to benefit the State at the expense of the rightful share of the private sector.
In the final instance I should like to refer to the top management of the Public Service. Over the years there has always been a dedicated corps of department heads to carry out the policy of the government of the day. There have always been challenges. However, I do not believe that there have ever been greater challenges in the history of the Public Service than those facing us now. The new constitutional dispensation will demand originality, skill and managerial expertise. This cannot be obtained from books or other sources. The new dispensation is unique to the Republic of South Africa and we shall have to find our own solutions to our own problems. It will impose extraordinary demands on the middle level and particularly the top structure. For that reason the Government has agreed to the principle of a purposeful development programme for the management of the Public Service. The Commission has already made a start in this regard and in spite of the experience and skill already to be found in the management, it is possible to detect an eagerness in the officials in question to develop these aspects further. With a view to the future, it is equally important to identify managerial potential, the young manager, as quickly as possible. The future department and section heads in departments must undergo the necessary training and schooling from an early age so that they may be prepared for their task when they eventually take over.
As a supplement to the development programme, and as a final phase of the programme of occupational differentiation, a market-related dispensation has been designed for the top tructure as well. In the midst of speculation in this regard I wish to give the assurance that this has not been done on a lavish scale. Scientific analysis by the private sector itself still reveals that even after the adjustments these posts are still some way behind comparable posts in the private sector. The Public Service of South Africa forms part of our strength and is co-guarantor of our stability and of administration. On an occasion such as the present one, one wishes to thank every man and woman in the service of the State who contributes his or her full share. There is still room for reform, and hard work is being done in this regard, but in addition to that there is reason to pay high tribute to what is being done, and on this occasion I take pleasure in doing so on behalf of the government.
Next I should like to make an announcement on transfers with regard to members of the Commission. On 9 April 1984 the chairman of the commission for Administration, Mr J W A van der Merwe, requested the State President to discharge him from his post at the earliest possible date and thus to be allowed to retire on pension at his own request. After due consideration, the State President is prepared to comply with this request. On behalf of the Government I wish to thank Mr Van der Merwe for the dedication and zeal with which he has served the Public Service, the Government and the country. He was attached to the office of the commission for many years, and on 1 July 1975 was appointed Provincial Secretary of Natal. After almost five years in Natal he was requested by the Government to perform certain tasks in South West Africa. While engaged in this he was appointed Director-General of Internal Affairs on 1 April 1980. It must be mentioned, with great appreciation, that at one stage he was simultaneously involved with the Natal Administration, until a successor had been designated, the performed his task in South West Africa and, in addition, undertook the rationalization of the departments of Internal Affairs, Immigration, Coloured Affairs and Indian Affairs.
On 1 December 1981 he was appointed a member of the Commission for Administration, and on 1 May 1982 he was appointed chairman. Mr Van der Merwe has always concentrated on achieving and promoting co-operation among departments and other Government bodies in order to promote a spirit of mutuality in the Public Service. It is also notable that he placed considerable emphasis on human dignity and, in particular, on the importance of the official as a person. Moreover, he did so with great success. During his term considerable progress was made with dispensations on an occupationally differentiated basis. Far greater managerial autonomy was granted to departments, and a new approach with regard to top management was developed. His dedication is reflected in the words he himself often uttered, viz: “The task is always bigger than the person.”
An exceptional facet of Mr Van der Merwe’s managerial philosophy was always that there were varying limits to the time in which persons in specific offices could maintain managerial vitality. Indeed, early in my ministerial involvement in the Public Service he intimated to me that he could only see himself as a member of the Commission for a term. True to this managerial philosophy, he has now asked to be discharged. In this regard I quote from a letter he wrote to me recently:
Arising out of this, I have just given notice of a Bill relating to the Commission for Administration which will make it possible to comply with Mr Van der Merwe’s request, apart from other provisions it contains. Therefore, if the House accepts the legislation and it comes into operation, the State President will be able to comply with Mr Van der Merwe’s request.
It is really not my intention to anticipate decisions of this House, but I request that it be understood that there is a need to convey an appropriate message on this occasion and also to prevent speculation in the light of the fact that Mr Van der Merwe took his decision on 9 April and conveyed it to me. We do not begrudge him the consistent actualization of his managerial philosophy. We know and trust that his services will continue to be at the disposal of the State in other spheres. Our best wishes go to him and to Mrs Van der Merwe.
With a view to filling the vacancy that will arise when the said Bill is accepted, the Government has decided to appoint the following people: Firstly, Dr J de Beer, at present member of the Commission, will be designated as chairman after Mr Van der Merwe vacates his post and, secondly, Dr J E du Plessis, at present Director-General of Constitutional Development and Planning, will take Dr De Beer’s place as member of the Commission. I shall in due course speak of these gentlemen at greater length, but I request that in the debate that is now to take place we address the major challenges we are faced with in a constructive fashion and see whether, with regard to this important Public Service matter and the way it is handled, we can progress in a spirit of consensus and constructive criticism on the road of good service to South Africa.
Mr Chairman, I listened to the statement of the hon the Minister. On behalf of this side of the House I should like to join with him in stating our appreciation to Mr Van der Merwe for the magnificent job which he has done as chairman of the Commission for Administration. It can be truthfully said of Mr Van der Merwe that he was the ideal public servant. He was not only the servant of the State, but he was also the servant of every employee in the Public Service of South Africa. In addition to that, at any moment that a member of this House wished to approach him for his help, advice or information, Mr Van der Merwe was always ready and his door was opened at all times if one wanted to see him. I regret that he is leaving, but I can understand his point of view. We on this side of the House want to state our intense appreciation for what he has done for this country and particularly for the Public Service. In doing so, we would also like to welcome his successor, Dr De Beer, and Dr J J du Plessis. As we have seen in the Government Gazette, the commission will in future consist of only two persons. We wish them both well. They have a very difficult task ahead of them in following in the footsteps of Mr Van der Merwe.
As far as the statement made by the hon the Minister is concerned, I want to let it stand over until the Bill is introduced so that we can discuss the matter in a much more detailed manner than can be done at this stage.
I would like to deal with an article which appeared in the April 1984 issue of Public Servant under the heading “Why pick on me?”. I would like to quote a few sentences from the article, for example:
We on this side of the House state categorically that we have never begrudged any public servant an equitable salary competitive with the private sector. We believe in a small, highly efficient but highly paid Public Service in which there should be a mechanism to ensure that productivity, responsibility and answerability are commensurate with the salary received. We concur in the policy on remuneration and conditions of service as set out in the memorandum on Vote 12— “Improvement of Conditions of Service”, namely that competitiveness between the private and the public sectors in an open labour market should be continued, with occupational differentiation, and annual review of salaries and an on-going review of the remuneration index. Decisions in respect of the above affect some 800 000 employees in Government, semi-Government and State-aided institutions. However, the point to be examined at this juncture is what the State is obligated to provide in respect of each of its public servants.
Annexure 2 to the Estimates of Expenditure show examples of salary scales applicable in the Public Service, but these only tell a part of the story because they do not disclose the fringe benefits a public servant receives. This is encompassed under the heading “Competitiveness”, on page 25 of the report of the Commission for Administration, where it is stated:
This includes general salary adjustments, adjustments to the dispensation of specific occupational groups and adjustments to general service or fringe benefits. Based on the above, I have selected four case studies of male public servants with monthly salaries of R800, R1 500, R2 250 and R5 000, respectively, as set out in Annexure 2 to the Estimates of Expenditure. In this regard I have drawn up a table to clarify more clearly what I am talking about and I have sent the hon the Minister a copy.
It reads as follows:
TOTAL ANNUAL PAYMENTS BY THE STATE
Senior training officer
Stated monthly salary in estimates or expenditure
add 12% increase as at 1 January 1984
Service Bonus (13th cheque)
Maximum housing subsidy (R50 000)
Maximum housing subsidy (R40 000) for 25 years
Maximum voluntary repayment (62% subsidy over R50 000)
Car allowance (R582p.m.)
State Pension Contribution: R2, 75 per R1 salary x 8%=
State Medical Aid (3 dependants) R2 750 x 200%
Total cost obligation of state
Increase over basic salary
This table shows the total annual payments by the State. Let us take the example of a social worker who earns R800 per month. According to the table, his basic salary is R9 648. He received a 12% increase, which he was entitled to, on 1 January 1984. He also receives a service bonus or his 13th cheque. He is further entitled to the maximum housing subsidy if he wishes to avail himself of it. He is also entitled to a maximum voluntary repayment subsidy, and certain people are also entitled to car allowances. The State has to make a contribution in addition to the individual, to the pension fund on the basis of R2,75 per R1 per month. He also receives medical aid and belongs to the PSMAA. If one looks at a person earning R800 per month, the state is in effect obligated to provide R22 146. In the case of senior training officer earning R1 500 per month, a basic salary of R18 288 per annum, the State is obligated to provide R36 395. An assistant director earns R2 250 per month with a basic annual salary of R27 150, and the obligation of the State is R51 807. A director general earns R5 000 per month, receives a basic annual salary of R59 130 and the State’s obligation is R102 735.
I believe that I have already told the House, that this is the best advertisement that the public sector is the best employer in the country. If I have not, I say it now for the first time. Add to this its competitiveness, security of tenure, the less demanding period and atmosphere of work, the predictable pattern of advancement, the outstanding fringe benefits and the best retirement pensions, and it should be difficult for individuals not to want to flock to the Public Service.
At the same time it nevertheless imposes a very heavy burden on the Exchequer since it is estimated that about one quarter to about one third of all general revenue goes into providing the total remuneration of public servants, and this a very heavy burden for the taxpayer to bear.
I want to add for the benefit of the editor of the Public Servant that the “Wailing Wall” is not for general use as he has done but that it is sacrosanct to some South Africans. He concludes his article by saying: “Why pick on me, while I am serving you?”.
Although a great many public servants are industrious, loyal and highly efficient, the image of the South Africa public servant is not good. It behoves the Public Servants’ Association in its turn, now that salaries and fringe benefits have improved and now that it has gained these wonderful financial benefits, to change this image by creating a mechanism which will measure an individual’s productivity, responsibility and answerability commensurate with his total salary. Persons who do not serve fully must be eliminated quickly. By raising their image through true service, the general public will believe that public servants are serving them well and will feel that they are getting their money’s worth.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Bezuidenhout made many generalizations, and I agree with them. I shall refer at a later stage to a few specific points he raised.
We on this side wish to express our sincere gratitude to Mr Jimmy van der Merwe, the retiring chairman of the Commission for Administration. Over many years we on this side of the House have come to know him and his wife, Hannatjie, as dedicated people and the kind of people who have been a credit to the image of the public servant. We wish them everything of the best on the road ahead.
On this occasion I also wish to express my sincere congratulations to Dr De Beer, who will become chairman of the Commission after certain legislation has been passed by Parliament. I also wish to convey my best wishes to Mr Du Plessis, who is going to join this team. He is a man who comes from the ranks of the Commission and he therefore has sound and thorough experience.
I also wish to thank the Commission for the good, positive work they have done during the past year. Even though my colleagues may not believe this, I have read this annual report from the first word to the last. I want to congratulate the Commission on a very thorough and sound report which covers a very wide field.
I believe you.
The hon member for Standerton says he believes me, and if he believes me, no one else need do so.
Earlier this year we introduced the motion which appeared on the Order Paper, but which unfortunately could not be discussed. On this occasion I should just like to place it on record (Order Paper, p 27)—
I should like to refer to an information programme the Commission is engaged in. I refer in this regard to a report which appeared in Die Transvaler of 20 March. I should like to congratulate the Commission on speaking to the public so open-heartedly about problems in the Public Service and that the Commission so openly takes cognisance of many of the problems in the Public Service. The hon member for Bezuidenhout referred to a few aspects in this regard. Personally, I honestly believe that if the Commission for Administration is so open with the public and admits so frankly that certain problems the public identifies, are also identified by the Commission and that they are working on them, this is positive work. I recall that I wrote an article about the Public Service a few years ago which appeared in The Star. I still remember the reply of the chairman of the Commission for Administration, and how he attacked me left, right and centre, as the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs would say. I think it would be as well if we left that era behind us. I think it is much better if we speak to one another openly and frankly about these problems.
There are a few points I wish to raise. Firstly, the hon the Minister wrote a letter to me as a result of a request I addressed to him last year during the discussion of this Vote with regard to the appointment of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on staff matters in the Public Service. I want to thank the hon the Minister and the Commission for the attention they have given this matter. I should just like to make the remark that according to the law, the Commission for Administration is accountable to Parliament. In the ordinary running of the country, the line functions with regard to the handling of matters by the Commission for Administration is dealt with by the hon the Minister and the executive authority, viz the Cabinet. I really do believe that we in South Africa are entering a phase of democracy and open-heartedness and that we have to reflect on how the dialogue between the Commission and Parliament should proceed on the road ahead. What the hon member for Bezuidenhout said is true: If one looks at the Budget, one sees that an enormous sum of money is being allocated for the direct remuneration of officials, as well as all the other remuneration linked to it. I wish to say that we are satisfied that fine people should be paid well by the State for the good work we should all like from them. However, I think it is essential that there should be closer contact between Parliament and the Commission. I should like to suggest that in view of the provisions of the legislation concerned the Commission for Administration should in future have discussions with the various parties in Parliament on a more continuous basis, not because we wish to interfere in the daily running of the country, but because, in my opinion, it is essential that Parliament, which is ultimately responsible for spending money should be abreast of things and that we should be informed.
I also wish to express a word of gratitude and appreciation to the Public Servants Association for the very positive work they are doing and for their positive representations with regard to the position of officials. It is true that a public servant asked: “Why pick on me?” As a person who worked in the State machine for a number of years, I think that it is perhaps necessary to remark that it is ultimately in the interests of all the officials in the State machine that all money be spent as wisely as possible. The people who are ultimately prejudiced by others being paid for unproductive work, the people who ultimately pay for office accommodation being incorrectly utilized, the people who are ultimately prejudiced when all the capital goods in the State economy are ineffectively utilized, are the public servants themselves. If our premise was that we do not want a good man, and that, because we do not have a good man, we should simply get two who are not so good, who then obtain all the rights and privileges, the only people who are ultimately prejudiced by this are the public servants themselves. I should like to plead in the interests of the officials that we do everything in our power to spend every cent that is spent on salaries, benefits, housing accommodation, the expansion of the structure of the establishment of the Public Service and all other benefits in such a way that every official who does his share will know that he can obtain the maximum benefit for his dedication to the State. That is true. To these complaints the public has made, we could also add that there are many officials in the Public Service who feel that they are really prejudiced by the good work they do, as opposed to other places where people perhaps do not do their share. I associate myself wholeheartedly with that aspect.
I should like to bring a final point to the attention of the hon the Minister. We on this side of the House, as well as the public at large, have on various occasions spoken about government interference in the economy. Perhaps the term “government interference” is the wrong term. Perhaps one should rather speak of “government involvement”. Because I had to contend with a specific case, which I shall present to the hon the Minister in a moment, I want to ask that the Commission for Administration and the Government should take a serious look at this matter so that in future the State can perform tasks which cannot be undertaken by the private sector. I briefly want to explain the rationale behind this. A company has individuals in its employ, and whether they want to or not, they have to work quickly. A company has to make a profit. Secondly, if it makes a profit, it pays tax. In other words, this simply means that the State possesses a printing press, for example, which is used by a few people, but that there is perhaps not enough work to utilize the machine for a full day. A private printer could perhaps have a machine which stands idle for an hour or so and he could rather do that work which the State undertakes. He could also make a bigger profit and the State could utilize the tax.
The Commission for Administration published a brochure in which careers were advertised. Unfortunately, time is going to catch up with me, but it was interesting to note how many of the professional careers that are mentioned—engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, etc—also occur in large numbers in the Public Service. In my humble opinion, a number of these groups should not be a function of the State at all.
As a matter of interest, I notice that this brochure, entitled “Careers in Government Departments”, was printed by the Government Printer. One asks oneself why a publication of this nature could not be printed by private printers, say, in Pretoria, who could then aquire additional business at the same time. If this sounds like criticism, I wish to assure the hon the Minister that I mean this in an absolutely positive sense. If we do not spend all the money properly and utilize every official to the maximum, it is ultimately the official himself who is prejudiced because a large portion of the Treasury is being used to employ increasingly more people, and in certain instances, to perform tasks that do not really belong solely under the State. The official is being prejudiced in the process. I really do believe that it is in the interests of sound interaction between the State and the private sector that this matter should be given urgent attention. I wish to make a plea that in the next annual report of the Commission for Administration a great deal more reference will be made to the subject of Government involvement in the economy, and not only a few minor references.
Mr Chairman, by way of commencement, I should like to thank Mr Van der Merwe, who is retiring, most sincerely for the very successful years of service devoted to the State. I should have liked to have told him that I wish him and his wife a long and blessed retirement and I wanted to bid him “farewell” in a fitting way, but in view of what the hon the Minister said, it seems to me that I should rather just say goodbye to him, since it seems that he will probably have to fulfil other functions at a later stage. However, I want to tell him that his years of service are appreciated and that is why, when one comes to the end of a long and successful period of service, when one has derived satisfaction from it and achieved success, one can go and rest with peace in one’s heart. This, then, is what I wish him.
I also wish to avail myself of the opportunity to congratulate Dr De Beer on his appointment as chairman, as well as Mr Du Plessis, who has been appointed to the Commission in the place of Dr De Beer.
Like the hon member for Innesdal, I want to speak about the Public Service, but I cannot react to everything he said in the time at my disposal. I disagree vehemently with the hon member’s suggestion that part of the functions of the Public Service should be taken over by the private sector, and that certain tasks for which the State is responsible should now be performed by the private sector. Since I do not have the time to engage in a debate with him on that score, I am disagreeing with him now in a nice way.
I should like to refer to two financial matters, and the first matter concerns public servants. I am one of those who fervently believes that the State can demand that a certain percentage of its citizens should be in its service. It is also the State’s right to have the best qualified people in its service, since, as I have said before, if the Public Service cannot function effectively, the private sector and the public at large are going to be adversely affected. Only an effective Public Service can guarantee success for the private sector as well. I therefore have the greatest appreciation for every official in the service of the State, from the highest to the lowest, since, as far as I am concerned, each one of them fulfils an important task in the service of the State and of the country as a whole.
I become very irritated by unnecessary criticism levelled at the Public Service and public servants. Many of us who perhaps have to deal with an official who is not satisfactory in every respect and who does not treat us very well, are inclined to place all public servants in that category, and I think we should refrain from making generalizations of that nature and that we should rather give the Public Service the credit it deserves.
I therefore want to ask that when the country is experiencing an economic law conjunction and saving measures have to be implemented, we should not think of saving in respect of the remuneration of the public servant in the first instance.
Those people are experiencing the same economic burden as everyone else, and I plead in particular for the junior officials who are not yet earning a great deal. They, too, are struggling under the burden of the cost of living, and I therefore ask that when we have to save, we should first think of other sectors and not always of saving on the salary adjustments of officials.
I wish to express my gratitude for the increase in respect of bursaries. University fees have soared—there is no doubt about that—and today it costs a great deal to study at a university. Consequently, a small bursary which is really inadequate, is useless to a student, since he still has to be assisted in other ways. I therefore welcome the increase with regard to bursaries and I express my sincere gratitude for this. I trust that in that way we will be able to draw more competent people to the service, since it appears from statistics I have processed that bursaries awarded in the past 19 years produced an average of 370 officials for the Public Service per annum. I therefore believe that this is money well spent.
Furthermore, I want to refer the hon the Minister to page 15 of a very fine annual report which I have read carefully. At the bottom of the second column on page 15, the following remark appears under the heading “Administrative realization of constitutional reform”. It states:
I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether he would be prepared to give us a better indication of the particular functions the Public Service has today, and in view of what is stated here, which could possibly be transferred to the private sector. I emphasize the word “possibly”, since it is the word used in the report. I should particularly like to know, once such functions have been identified, why the Public Service is of the opinion that such functions should in fact be transferred to the private sector and why they can no longer be dealt with by the Public Service itself.
Another matter to which I should like to refer has a bearing on the statement the hon the Minister made during the discussion of a Bill he introduced earlier this session. On that occasion he made a statement which in particular concerned the upper echelons of the Public Service. On that occasion he pointed out that the work of every person occupying a post in the management echelon is evaluated, and that only those officials who fulfil particular norms and requirements would be taken up in the dispensation. I sincerely welcome occupational differentiation. In particular, I wish to argue that we should not forget about the administrative staff in this respect. We ought to train our staff as best we can and make them true professionals. This is something I agree with wholeheartedly.
However, the hon the Minister made a remark at that stage which caused me to ask certain questions. He said that it had been decided in principle that heads of department in the Public Service would be appointed for certain periods in future and that they would not summarily remain in service until they reached retirement age.
In this regard I want to ask whether it is possible for the hon the Minister to give us an indication of how long such a period would be during which such a head of department wil occupy his post. The second question I wish to put in this regard is the following. In his statement with regard to training, the hon the Minister said that only the best people would reach the top. I agree with that, too. When the best people have reached the top, is it necessary to appoint those best people only for the duration of a certain period, for a certain number of years, instead of utilizing them to the full until they have to retire? I want to ask whether the hon the Minister is convinced that a time-limit of this nature is really going to be productive for the Public Service. What happens to someone who is appointed for a term, apparently at a relatively early age, and is then perhaps not reappointed? Is he going to be demoted or will he be compelled to leave the service? What is going to happen to such a top official? Is this not going to lead to a waste of manpower when one perhaps has to lose top people too soon due to a situation of this nature?
Furthermore, I want to ask the hon the Minister in all earnestness whether this arrangement is not being made in advance in order to get rid of a top official of colour if he should perhaps have to be promoted to a top position in the new dispensation, and he ultimately does not appear to fulfil the requirements that are laid down. What is the precise intention of these appointments for certain periods? [Interjections.] This creates certain problematical questions for me. If the hon the Minister would therefore give me a satisfactory reply, I would be very grateful.
There is another matter I should briefly like to raise, Mr Chairman. Last year the hon the Minister saw fit to refer in his final reply to the debate on his Vote to the party-politics of officials and their loyalty to the Government. I must honestly say that I found it very strange that the hon the Minister made a statement of that nature. I therefore once again went to the trouble of ascertaining when last in the history of the NP Government it was necessary to make an appeal of that nature to officials in the Public Service. Perhaps the hon the Minister could help me on that score. However, I was unable to find an example. What I did in fact find … [Interjections.]
Business suspended at 12h45 and resumed at 14h15.
Mr Chairman, it is always a pleasure to rise to speak after such a break, since it is usually calm and peaceful in the Committee. Particularly when we have a “short” sitting in the morning, things are better in the afternoon.
I should briefly like to come back to the hon member for Koedoespoort. The hon member mentioned the appreciation he had for public servants, and I wholeheartedly share the sentiments he expressed. I also want to tell him that we as a Government realize how important public servants are. In addition, I want to tell him that over the years we have looked after the interests of the public servants very well in our modest way. The base of the remuneration of public servants has been broadened under the NP Government. Their salaries and conditions of service packages have been adjusted to keep abreast of the position in the private sector and to keep up with the handling of modern human resources. Under our government matters such as housing subsidies, leave bonuses and regular annual increases have been introduced, and I think it is important to mention that things have been much better for public servants since 1948.
Today I briefly want to compare the Government set-up with the human body. There are certain organs in the body that perform a very important task and of which we are not really aware. I am referring to our heart, our kidneys and our lungs. Then there are other parts of the body that are visible. I think that the Government departments are the same. Some of them are visible, since they stand out very prominently. However, there are also Government departments that really move in the background, and I would call these departments the “backroom boys”. These are the departments that proceed with their work quietly and calmly, without a fuss.
Many of our Government departments render vital services. For example, there is the Department of Agriculture with all its research and everything it has achieved, its medicines in respect of livestock diseases, and so on. I am also thinking of the MRC, which does research with regard to humans, and there are many others I could mention. However, it is not very often that we sit down and think about who creates that human infrastructure to enable those Government departments to render their services.
One of these is the Commission for Administration, one of the “backroom boys” I mentioned. Today they probably perform one of the most important tasks. They are a small team of people, but I am sure that they perform the most important work in the entire Government set-up, viz to provide human resources and to keep them happy and satisfied. We so easily assume that someone must be available at a particular place or at a particular time to provide us with services or to assist us with our problems. For example, we think of the Antarctic team and the degree to which we depend on weather forecasts. We must obtain people to go and man those posts in the far south. It is part of the task of the Public Service to recruit the right staff and to place the right technical people where they can best be utilized.
A great deal of criticism, which is quite uncalled for, is levelled at the Commission. The proverb tells us that a prophet is without honour is his own country, and in many respects this applies to the Commission. This afternoon I wish to state, without fear of contradiction, that the Commission functions according to a highly specialized style of management. I must truly say this afternoon that the Commission’s style can be compared with the very best management styles and techniques we find in the private sector. One is extremely pleased to know that the Public Service has progressed to such a high level of expertise in management, and we can truly be proud of what they are accomplishing. If one looks at everything they are doing and at the facets they deal with in respect of human resources, one could really dwell on this for a moment, and one is proud to see what progress they have made. There are many members of the private sector who could take a lesson from the Commission, since if they were to use the methods the Commission uses, it is just possible that we would perhaps have less labour unrest in the private sector.
However, there is one specific facet of the Commission for Administration I should like to take a closer look at today. I am told that the hon the Minister spoke about this this morning. I am referring to occupational differentiation. Of all the facets of the Commission, this is probably one of the activities which is most misunderstood. Many confuse occupational differentiation with general salary adjustments. People confuse occupational differentiation with qualifications, as well as with increases, whilst although it includes those facets, occupational differentiation is much wider than that.
Occupational differentiation looks at the broader facet, the total service package of specific groups of occupational classes. Other people think that occupational differentiation involves the entire Public Service, all the Government departments, which is not true, of course. Occupational differentiation mainly involves those occupations where there is a shortage and which we want to draw to the Public Service. Of course, the advantage of occupational differentiation is that one can design a conditions of service package which specifically adapts to a specific occupational group, and that is the major advantage of occupational differentiation.
Yes, like MP’s [Interjections.]
It is important that we emphasize very specifically that occupational differentiation does not necessarily mean salary increases. Occupational differentiation means that a person’s conditions of service package can be adjusted without there necessarily being a salary increase attached to it. However, in the past, and I think in most cases, a salary adjustment has been involved.
Another important facet is to know that occupational differentiation is not a general wage increase. As recently as 18 months ago, when we had general increases, many people asked why they did not receive occupational differentiation increases. It is important to know, as the commission so clearly put it, that occupational differentiation and general salary increases are quite different and are dealt with separately.
The following is also very important: Occupational differentiation is a circle. One makes a start and one works one’s way through the occupational groups systematically and when one gets to the end, one begins again and works one’s way through. There is also the possibility that a certain occupational group can find within the space of a few years that its conditions of service package is adjusted more than once, depending on what happens outside and if a special group has to be considered in an exceptional case.
It becomes clear how far this occupational differentiation has progressed in the Public Service from the fact that approximately 330 occupational classes, which represent approximately 440 different occupations, have already been investigated, and that a total of 522 000 people have already received a new service dispensation. This is not meant as criticism, but one wonders how many of those 522 000 people are really grateful to the Government for what has been done for them with regard to occupational differentiation. [Interjections.] The hon member for Bezuidenhout is not part of the Public Service, and I am not speaking to him.
Of course, one of the Commission’s duties is the co-ordination of service packages throughout the entire Government sector. Apart from the Government departments, of course, there are also the provincial councils, the CSIR, the HSRC and various other councils that are dealt with.
At this stage, we want to ask the officials who have already reaped the first fruits of differentiation to be a little patient until we get to them again. They are still receiving their adjustments and general increases, and the Commission’s first phase has practically been disposed of. The Commission will then resume its investigations because, as I have said, it is a circle. We wish the Commission for Administration everything of the best for the important task they have to fulfil in the Government set-up.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Stilfontein will forgive me if I do not react directly to what he has been speaking about, except to state that I will also refer to occupational differentiation when I talk about teachers.
I would like to echo the compliments paid by my colleague the hon member for Bezuidenhout in praising the services of the head of the Commission for Administration, Mr Van der Merwe. I as a Natalian obviously know Mr Van der Merwe having previously served under him in the Natal provincial Administration when he was Provincial Secretary. Certainly it is as a Natalian that we grew to know him and to appreciate his services very much indeed.
This Vote includes Vote No 12—“Improvement of Conditions of Service”. Under that heading provision is made for two possible additional remunerations firstly, to fully qualified educators and secondly, also to the lower qualified educators, and I would like to refer to both categories. Before I commence, I would however like to praise all the administrators of the various education departments in the country and more particularly those at the so-called chalk face, the teachers in the various education departments who have over the past few years been suffering as a result of their financial position. They have suffered, some of them not in silence but certainly with a degree of concern for the welfare of children, and I think this is extremely praiseworthy. The silence of the hon the Minister of National Education over the past two or three years has become so deafening that he is known, certainly in educational circles, as the silent Minister. I therefore think it behoves me to make some little noise concerning the conditions of service of teachers.
On 1 April 1981 teachers were given an increase in salary in accordance with the provisions of the SATC 104 Report, a Report on the Quality of the Working Life of White Educators. By the way, perhaps the hon the Minister of National Education may like to indicate what has happened to the second part of that report concerning the so-called hygienic factors, the non-salary issues. Perhaps he would care to deal with that on Monday or Tuesday. In the report it is clearly stated that teachers’ salaries must be handled in such a manner that the so-called salary actions need not be resorted to, something which affects the needs of the profession. The report states clearly that teachers’ salaries should be comparable with salaries attached to comparable posts in the rest of the Public Service. There are also suggestions regarding the possibility of the concept of “uitlig”, raising the teaching profession out of the Public Service. This concept of “uitlig” was previously agreed to by the Minister of National Education.
What has happened since April 1981? An appreciable increase has been given to teachers in South Africa. Occupational differentiation has been applied across the board. Nurses, policemen, administrative staff and so on have been considered. The process is by now virtually complete, if it is not complete already. Salary increases given in various sections in the Public Service have, as has been pointed out by the last speaker, varied very considerably. There have been cases of increases of more than 100%, and certainly of 80% that I know of personally, but there have also been much lower percentage increases. However, since then there has been no maintenance of the position of teachers as a comparable group.
In April 1982 the entire Public Service and all teachers received a general increase in salary. In January 1984 they all received a further 12% increase. What has happened to the position of teachers? Someone has obviously talked somewhere and said to a newspaper on 30 March “Teachers likely to get 25% pay hike”. I am going to talk a little more about what is speculated about in this newspaper, but this can certainly be added to by what has appeared in the most recent issue of Mondstuk, the mouthpiece of the Tranvaalse Onderwysersvereniging in which they say that teachers are 30% behind. Whatever the figure, teachers as a group are 25% to 30% behind comparable members in the Public Service. It is a disgrace that this has been allowed to happen. Over a period of time Ministers clearly committed themselves to the annual review of salaries. Those of us who were in the profession felt very strongly that we should no longer see the kind of articles as published in The Argus last week.
What has happened to the promised annual reviews and the agreed submissions of the Committee of Educational Structures of 1982 and 1983? What has happened to the extensions to the post of head of departments? Where is the creation of S1, P1 super schools, in other words schools with more than 600 or 700 pupils? What has happened to the creation of more deputy posts? Where is the increase in the starting salary? This is the key to the retention and recruitment of staff in the profession. What has happened to the shortening of the length of scales? These are other matters require an immediate answer. I certainly hope that the teachers of South Africa will be informed within the next few days. My hope goes further than that. I hope they will not be informed that they will have to wait until 1 October before they receive any increases. There will certainly be an outcry if that occurs.
The whole process of salary negotiations has placed the Federal Council and other teacher organizations in an unenviable position. The hon the Minister is silent. They, the members of the Federal Council and others, are sworn to secrecy in their negotiations. The teachers themselves are very restive.
They are criticizing their own organizations for what has not resulted. The so-called Teachers’ Union was established. This is a splinter group with small numbers but is very indicative of the feelings of teachers.
The teachers want a separate negotiating mechanism. I am aware that the Commission for Administration is considering this as reflected in the White Paper of November last year. However, together with the separate negotiating mechanism must go the concept of independent arbitration. The teachers want to be assured that any clash between teachers’ legitimate demands and the position of the State can be arbitrated independent of the Commission for Administration. Without that arbitration any mechanism will be a toothless tiger.
Finally, I want to warn the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs and the hon the Minister of National Education of certain things which should not fail to be announced. We should first of all see the abolition of the hated merit award system in education. We in these benches are aware that it was a Cabinet decision that this should be uniformly enforced throughout South Africa. It is generally hated by the teachers of South Africa as reflected through the teachers’ organizations. Secondly, I believe it is important that teachers of different subjects should not be paid differential salaries. If this occurs, there will be a tremendous outcry.
I want now to refer briefly to two other matters. Firstly, to the matter of the post of the Deputy Director of Education in Natal. The hon member for Umbilo also referred to this matter earlier today. I would like to echo his sentiments regarding the selection of a Deputy Director for Natal, a post which has been vacant for three months. I think it behoves those responsible for filling that post to take into consideration the cultural composition of the education population in Natal and particularly of the directorate. I know that this is not legally possible, but I would adivse both parties to look wider, if necessary, than the composition of the present small group which they are considering in order to obtain what they are looking for—a highly qualified and good man who can be of benefit to education in Natal.
Finally, I want to refer to the group who are not fully qualified teachers. Fully qualified, in terms of the conditions of service, means those who hold matric plus a three year post-matric qualification, the so-called M plus 3. However, 80% of Black teachers, 68% of Coloured teachers, 17% of Indians and 5% of Whites are not fully qualified. The categories aa, Za, ZA, A and B must receive adequate remuneration. [Time expired].
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Pinetown made a great fuss about the salaries of teachers and expressed himself very forcefully because no relevant announcement had yet been made by the hon the Minister. As a professional man he ought to know that negotiations are at present under way and that, in accordance with professional etiquette involving announcements concerning teachers, after such negotiations with the Minister such announcements are not blazoned abroad. They are, however, arranged at a professional level and are dealt with accordingly. I also want to give him the assurance that this side of the House has just as much sympathy with our teachers as he displayed here today, if not more. We have the interests of teachers at heart. We are fully acquainted with the progress that has been made in the negotiations and we believe we can expect a relevant announcement in the near future.
Let him have a bit more of the old one-two, Karel.
Unfortunately I do not have the time to do so now. I shall gladly do so during the discussion of the National Education Vote.
The Public Service and its officials remain the important link between the executive authority and the general public. In the majority of cases the public does not recognize or, to put it more mildly, does not appreciate the importance of an effective Public Service. Unfortunately the public takes it for granted to a great extent, as the national economy and the officials are also taken for granted. Unfortunately in the performance of their tasks officials are merely seen as small cogs in a massive machine, cogs which may not break down and which have to be oiled regularly and have to function continually. The increasing pressure placed on the public servant in the performance of his duties, is not yet really recognized by the man in the street for what it is. The number of economically active people in South Africa is increasing by leaps and bounds each month. The active involvement of an increasing number of economically active people from all population groups is increasing by the day. It goes without saying that this increase makes almost superhuman demands on the State machinery.
I am of the opinion that the growth in the economic activities of the inhabitants of South Africa is not keeping pace with the growth in the Public Service. I think it is time we took cognizance of this fact. The success and effectiveness of a well-oiled State administration lies in two self-evident factors. The first of these is that there must be sufficient staff. An official is only able to do what the time at his disposal allows him to do. If the magnitude of his work is greater than his available time, obviously the work he does is going to show a downward trend and he is obviously going to get less done, not because he is unable to do the work, but because the pressure of too much work, leads of necessity to haphazard and almost perfunctory performance. If we look back to the position of the Public, Service a few years ago, when there were not even enough typists to deal with the necessary correspondence within a reasonable period of time, when there were not enough trained officials in the staff section to have salaries ready to be paid out on time, one is grateful that there has been such an improvement and that it is now far easier to keep the State machine running smoothly.
I feel that the improvement in the position must be ascribed, in the first place, to the view that rationalization had to take place. To a great extent the fruits of this are already being picked. The important influencing factor in the improvement of this almost untenable state of affairs in the past was certainly the principle of occupational differentiation, to which both the hon the Minister and the hon member for Stilfontein have referred. This gem, which is built into the salary package of the public servant, played a role, the true value of which has not yet been gauged. The old nightmare of officials being lured to the private sector has, to a great extent, been banished because, with occupational differentiation, a large degree of parity has introduced with regard to salaries. Now for the first time, as far as salaries are concerned, the public sector can compete on an equal footing with the private sector.
I should like to bring it to the attention of the hon the Minister that it is unfortunately still the case in some departments that after an adjusted scale has been announced in terms of the occupational differentiation setup, as approved by the Commission for Administration, immediate steps are not taken in programming and paying out these adjusted salaries. It has been brought to my attention that in at least two departments there have been delays of up to six months before payments are made. Unfortunately these delays result in employees finding themselves in a difficult financial position. It goes without saying that when the adjustments are announced the relevant officials incur more financial obligations, and if those payments are delayed for a long time, this must cause the relevant officials some embarrassment. This means that other arrangements have to be made. It also means that the officials lose additional revenue they could have earned, for example in the form of interest on that money. The officials also have the problem of not being able to indicate their incomes on the IRP5 form for a specific period in the previous year because payments have not yet been made. This means that when they receive their overdue salary adjustments, these are indicated on the income tax return of the following year, which will obviously have an adverse effect on their income tax payments.
I am grateful that The Public Servant, the official publication of the Public Servants’ Association, pointed this out and indicated that it is possible to have the IRP5 form retrospectively filled in by the relevant department. This is a possibility one can make use of, although it is a very cumbersome method. Not all officials are aware of this either. For that reason I want to advocate that when such payments have to be made, this be done as quickly as possible and in good time. We should therefore guard against this wonderful gem of occupational differentiation losing its lustre as a result of actions that could have been prevented.
Mr Chairman, I welcome the improvement in conditions of service. For the rest, it is with a degree of hesitancy that I take part in this debate today, and there are various reasons for this. In the first place I am aware of the fact that conditions of service are an extremely intricate matter, because provision has to be made for a very large number of categories of people and a large variety of circumstances. In the second place I know that the conditions of service apply to about 800 000 people, that they are organized in staff associations and that those associations are constantly engaged, in a responsible manner, in endeavours to improve the conditions of service of their members. In the third place I realize that it is a good thing that there is such a thing as a Commission for Administration which, as an instrument of the Government, has to work out a favourable dispensation for public servants, within the capacity of the State, the object being to have an effective Public Service. In the fourth place I want to point out that public statements on conditions of service could frequently be misinterpreted and could create expectations which could lead to subsequent unhappiness.
I myself have worked for a State corporation and a government department, and I am therefore fairly well acquainted with the prevailing conditions of service. I have also prepared myself adequately for the matter I want to discuss.
Following upon these careful introductory remarks, I should like to draw the attention of the hon members to certain provisions in the leave regulations applying in the Public Service, inter alia the provivisions in connection with the payment of accumulated vocation leave, and I want to quote certain provisions from documents that the office of the Commission for Administration was kind enough to make available to me. Public Service regulation C2.1, which concerns leave conditions, reads as follows:
Regulation 2.2 reads as follows:
I also want to refer briefly to four provisions from a document by the Public Servant’s Association, namely:
We all know, and we all agree that the Public Service is an organization which renders a service. The provision that a public servant may only take leave if the head of his department approves it is quite in order. The provision that an official can, on occasion, e compelled to take his annual leave is also quite acceptable if one bears in mind that the Public Service is a service organization. No one can object to provisions of this kind. What I do not agree with, however, is the Commission’s interpretation of the view that leave is a privilege and not a right. My view is that accumulated leave is part of an official’s or employee’s conditions-of-service package, and that accumulated leave should be considered an inalienable asset. If an employee or official allows leave to accumulate, within the ambit of his conditions of service, and he is allowed to do so, this is an asset that I feel he should not be deprived of. This asset has a certain monetary value when the relevant person retires on pension. When a person therefore retires on pension and has three months’ accumulated leave to his credit, the monetary value of that leave is paid out to him. I am also informed that in the case of his death, the monetary value of his accumulated leave would be paid into his estate. I think this should also be the case when a person voluntarily resigns from the service.
In the Government corporation in which I was employed, the rule also applied that one could only take leave when the relevant head approved it. In addition, employees could also be told to take their annual leave when it was beneficial to the corporation. There were, however, two further provisions. In the first place, employees were obliged to take a certain amount of leave every year. In that case 25 working days’ leave per year applied. People were compelled to take at least 15 days’ leave per year, of which 10 days had to be taken consecutively. I believe it is a sound principle for everyone to take some leave in any cycle of 12 months.
When we voluntarily left the service, however, our accumulated leave was paid out to us. In addition, once a year we could exchange accumulated leave for its monetary value, which was paid out in cash.
I do not think that leave conditions should be used to discourage staff to move. A certain degree of staff mobility in the country is not counter-productive. A young engineer, for example, who starts working with an organization, may perhaps start his career in an undertaking where he gains good overall experience. This could be in a design office, for example. After three years he might feel—not because he was dissatisfied with the organization, but because he wanted to gain experience in other facets—that he wanted to work for a construction undertaking, after which he might join an undertaking where he could gain experience in contracts, etc. After 10 years in the field in which he wants to establish his career, that young engineer may have gained fairly wide overall experience. I believe that this same principle also applies, in point of fact, in the Public Service. For that reason I want to ask whether the hon the Minister could not give attention to this facet of the leave regulations of the Public Service. He could possibly do so with a view to considering possible improvements.
I know the payment of accumulated leave, after voluntary resignation, does have certain implications. Restrictions of the kind I have already mentioned, for example that an official may be compelled to take a certain amount of leave every year, can, however, be enforced in order to prevent vacation leave from accumulating too rapidly.
Mr Chairman, I should like to thank all hon members who have participated in the debate for their constructive contributions. It has been an interesting debate. We did not see much fireworks, and it struck me once again, just as it did during the discussion of the Internal Affairs Vote, that very little criticism was actually voiced by hon members with regard to the management, control and co-ordination of staff by the Commission for Administration. On behalf of the Commission for Administration and of the Public Service as a whole, therefore, I wish to convey my sincere thanks to hon members for the kind words which came from all political parties in this House, as well as for the fact that we are able to emerge from this debate with an unblemished testimonial. This proves that staff control is fundamentally sound, and that the Public Service is basically on the right course. For this I convey my sincere thanks. To hon members who made contributions to the debate I want to convey my thanks individually. I shall deal with the matters they raised one by one.
Right at the start I want to thank the hon member for Stilfontein for his contribution. As a management expert, he gave us a positive evaluation of the Commission for Administration and its activities, as well as a clear analysis of the true objectives of occupational differentiation. To the hon member for Gezina, too, who also discussed this aspect, in a very effective way, I convey my sincere thanks for his contribution. I have taken cognizance of the problem outlined by the hon member for Gezina. It is a practical problem to which we really should give attention. I shall let him know in writing whether it is possible to do anything about that problem.
The hon member for Pretoria East gave a fairly interesting exposition of leave conditions in the Public Service. A great deal could also be said, of course, with regard to the sound scientific basis which underlies the existing regulations. One could probably conduct a debate on the subject. Of course, I am not properly prepared to discuss the matter in detail at this stage. I do wish to express just one view in this connection, though. The privilege referred to, which the hon member is opposed to, lies in the fact that the employer may continue to exercise control over the absence of members of staff. If one were not able to do it in such a way that one had absolute control, and if it became an absolute right, situations could in fact arise under certain circumstances, in the sphere of State security, for example, which could even give rise to problems. I just want to add that if it has to be paid out at any prior stage—that is prior to retirement—it would probably have to be made subject to a time limit; in other words, a certain period of service would have to be required, because an arbitrary approach would cause problems in this connection.
I want to give the hon member the assurance that we shall give careful consideration to his argument. He is indeed welcome to elaborate on those arguments, because I suspect that he has not yet said everything he actually wanted to say. If he would send me his other arguments, we would let him have a properly substantiated reply. If we are able to give effect to any of his proposals, we shall certainly give careful consideration to them.
†Mr Chairman, I should like now to reply to points raised by the hon members of the Opposition and, because this refers to matters raised by more than one hon member, I shall also come back to the contribution of the hon member for Innesdal.
The hon member for Umbilo referred to the appointment of two senior officials in Natal namely the Director of Education and the Deputy Director of Building Services. I must say, Sir, that I did not find the method used by the hon member to be the most constructive means that one could use to deal with sensitive issues such as this, namely to raise the issue in public debate. The hon member did not discuss the matter with me privately and neither did he write to me in this regard. I have received no representations whatsoever in this regard from hon members on those benches. Quite suddenly then a sensitive issue like this in which people are almost mentioned by name although not quite is raised in a debate of this nature. I do not think this is the way in which we should deal with the appointment of senior officials. Therefore, I shall refrain from dealing with it in detail because I feel that to do so would not be to the advantage of the promotion of good order in the Public Service. I feel that situations such as this must be handled with discretion and with sensitivity. For that reason I simply want to state that we can never make appointments on the grounds of subjective feelings about members of a particular language group where it is felt that a person of a particular language group must be appointed merely on the grounds of his home language or mother tongue. Should we ever depart from the norms applied in the Public Service such as professional proficiency, qualifications and managerial capability, we shall be playing with fire in this country. We cannot discriminate. Therefore, if we apply only the criterion of having either an English-speaking person or an Afrikaans-speaking person in a particular position, we shall be discriminating against somebody. This will be so unless we apply these norms with logic and on a basis of being consistent throughout. We must also realize that all officials in senior positions are tested from time to time in relation to these basic norms. The only correct way to fill a vacancy is to apply these norms scrupulously.
Another facet that I want to emphasize is that in regard, for example, to education in a province, in terms of present arrangements, only about 10 posts come under the scrutiny of the Commission for Administration. All the other promotions are handled by the provincial authorities themselves. The commission is therefore faced with a selection from a group of people who have been brought through the ranks by the provincial administrations themselves. If then in that selected group there is someone senior enough to be promoted to a particular post at that particular stage, and there is no competitive English-speaking individual available, then it is not the commission or the Government that should be blamed. Then it means that there just has not been enough of a particular group to come through the ranks. This concerns the balance between the language groups in the service of the Government in various fields. There is an imbalance which I personally would dearly like to see rectified. It could also mean that they made a mistake along the way in bringing up the right people whom they wanted through the ranks on the basis of efficiency and so on.
The hon member indicated that as well.
Well, if we understand one another in this regard I want to invite the hon member for Umbilo to write to me and to furnish any particulars he would like to submit. He himself, the Executive Committee of Natal and everybody concerned must, however, argue any case they have within the framework of the scientific norms which should be applied in deciding who is best for a particular post. If we all adhere to that basic definition, then I think we shall be able to handle the sensitive aspects which are involved carefully and to the satisfaction of everybody.
*The hon member for Bezuidenhout gave us an interesting analysis. He obviously devoted a great deal of energy and time to it. However, I have not had time yet to evaluate it and to see whether he did not perhaps make some mistakes in his calculations. I am prepared to accept that he is basically more or less correct in his calculations. The interesting thing about his analysis, however, is that it seeks to persuade one that public servants are actually much better off than one thinks and that they enjoy many hidden benefits. Although he said that his intention was only to demonstrate the favourable position in which public servants found themselves, I want to tell him that without some reaction on my part, these calculations of his would be grist to the mill of the people who say that we are now paying the public servants more than the private sector could. Therefore I should like to furnish some facts where I have facts available concerning the position of the private sector in posts which are more or less comparable with those that he dealt with.
He mentioned the case, inter alia, of a fairly highly paid official whose basic salary was R5 000 a month. He then came to the conclusion that the actual remuneration of such a person, when fringe benefits are taken into consideration, was R102 000 a year. This is more or less the category in which directors-general have found themselves since we adjusted their salaries.
Before the Government decided on the new remuneration package for the top management—the directors-general, the deputy directors-general, chief directors and directors—it called in a private consultant who is very well known and who has access over a very wide spectrum to what is really being paid in the private sector. How did we arrive at these amounts? In the first place, this private consultant conducted an in-depth analysis of 34 posts in the top management of the State, a representative number in the top three grades. Then the private consultant evaluated these posts and compared them, in terms of content, goal, work load and all related aspects, with absolutely comparable posts, not what we regard as comparable, but what he, as a member of the private sector, regards as comparable posts in the private sector. In the posts which the private consultant found to be at the same level as that of director-general, the situation in the private sector is as follows: The basic salary is R105 000 a year, while the total package is R162 000 a year. The basic salary in a post comparable to that of deputy director-general is R73 000 a year, with a total package of R115 000 a year. These two figures alone indicate that even after the dramatic adjustments we have made, our two top management levels of director-general and deputy director-general are still not really competitive. When we compare the posts lower down, the comparison is more favourable. The private sector’s evaluation of the post of chief director carries a salary of R47 000 a year, or a total package of R71 000 a year. In this respect we have come closer to being competitive. I wanted to furnish these figures to hon members. However, the most interesting aspect of the investigation was that in the private sector, fringe benefits for the top management were much better than the fringe benefits offered by the Public Service, quite apart from the salary, which is also much better. I want to ask therefore, that we and the private sector should not indulge in recriminations about salary situations. We must not allow this upgrading of the Public Service, to make it somewhat more competitive, to be the beginning of a new spiral. If this happens, we shall have to go along with it, because we are no longer going to allow our salaries to lag so far behind those in the private sector that we continually have to sacrifice quality in the sense that able people resign because they can earn double the salary in the private sector. I am seeking a truce—not that there has been a war—and a good understanding with the private sector, an understanding in terms of which we can maintain the position that we are more or less competitive. Let us ensure that the private and the public sector will each get its rightful share of the high-level manpower in this country. Without a good Public Service, the private sector suffers, and without an effective private sector, the country suffers. Let us rather co-operate, therefore, and maintain a kind of free competition in the spirit of open market competition, and let us never indulge in recriminations with regard to this situation. Because we fell so strongly about this, we have now strengthened the co-operation between the Commission for Administration and the private sector. In addition to the panel of three, which includes industrial leaders and financial experts from the private sector, we have also designated secundi for them, and there will be liaison between the Commission for Administration and the private sector on a more structured basis than in the past. It will not be done in order to conspire to keep down the salaries of employees, but to devise ways and means of avoiding counterproduction competition. Even more important than the need to talk to them is the fact that we know that they have expertise which we need. They also serve on that panel in order to make that expertise available to us.
†The hon member also spoke about the image of the Public Service. I fully agree with what the hon member has said in this connection. The hon member for Innesdal also referred to this and welcomed the initiatives of the Commission for Administration to improve the image of the Public Service. I want to agree fully with hon members who said that the image is intimately linked to what the standard of service is which is rendered by the Public Service. No amount of image building through public relations consultants can really improve the image unless the Public Service itself projects, through the standard of its service, that image.
That is why I said the onus is on the Public Service Association.
Yes, but to my mind that image is already changing. As a Cabinet Minister and having dealt with the officials of various departments for six years, I want to say that I am tremendously impressed by the standard of service, the dedication and the competence of the officials I came into contact with in the departments I served. One must be careful in this respect, because we also receive bad service from the private sector, for example the person at the counter or the till. It is in other words where work is rendered at a lower level and sometimes in the personal interrelationship between the client and the person behind the till that friction occurs. One must not project that against the whole company.
One should be reasonable in demands on public servants as they are not superhuman beings. They are also subject to the same stresses and strains as everybody else. One must make allowance for their being ordinary human beings. However, in general there is room for an increase in productivity.
*I now wish to refer to the remarks made by the hon member for Koedoespoort. He made a strong plea to the effect that the Public Service should not be emasculated by giving out too much work on contract—I am using my own words now. This actually differs from what the hon member for Innesdal advocated; he pleaded for more privatization and more work to be given out on contract. It seemed as if the hon member for Koedoespoort had concluded that the hon member for Innesdal wanted a large number of people to be dismissed from their jobs. That is not the point. The first way of increasing productivity is by making a man work harder if he is not working hard at the moment. However, one can work till one drops and still be unproductive.
Like the Progs.
Yes, like the Progs in particular. That was a good example which the hon the Prime Minister gave us. They really work hard, but their labours are of no avail. What they must learn, and perhaps they should listen carefully to what I am saying now, is that one should in the first place refrain from doing unnecessary work. The State runs the risk of having unnecessary work done at times. We must ask one another whether we do not sometimes make laws which the country could quite well have done without. Every time an Act is passed, it has to be administered, new opportunities are created and new officials have to be appointed. That is why it is the policy of the Government that existing laws should be critically examined to ascertain which of them are really essential. Laws which are not really being implemented in practice any more should be repealed and amended. We are always on our guard against the enactment of unnecessary laws—even though we do not always succeed in preventing them—and the creation of work which is not really essential in South African society.
A second facet is that our procedures must be improved. There is unnecessary red tape, and the objective with rationalization, which the hon the Prime Minister in particular has strongly emphasized and placed high on the agenda, is to eliminate unnecessary red tape. A structured campaign is being conducted in every State department at the moment to reduce red tape and to see where procedures can be simplified and work methods can be improved in order to ensure greater productivity.
As far as productivity itself is concerned, it is also a fact that we must succeed in measuring productivity to a greater extent than we have been able to do in the Public Service up to now. I can assure hon members that the Commission for Administration is working on this. With each one of these promotions in the top management, the persons were evaluated before being automatically re-appointed to the upgraded posts which now carry a much higher remuneration. So it was not merely a salary adjustment. Greater demands are now being made on these top managers who are earning these increased salaries. Each one has been tested to ascertain whether he will be able to meet those increased demands. This principle has been applied throughout the Public Service with regard to occupational differentiation. It did not follow automatically on occupational differentiation, but the person was evaluated in the process, and more is being required of people where these posts have been financially upgraded.
The non member for Koedoespoort also said that we should not economise on wages or increases. It has never been the approach of the Government to economise on wages or salaries. However, when one is unable to grant an increase, because of general economic circumstances, this should not be regarded as a form of economising, but as a question of what is within one’s means. In drawing up a budget, one begins with a number of things which simply have to be done. One of these is to go on paying the people who are in one’s service at that stage. Except in the case of a total emergency, the existing remuneration of the staff of the State is not affected. They are secure in the knowledge that they will receive their cheque at the end of the month. Together with other things, this receives top priority. These are all things which one has to do when drawing up a budget.
However, an increase of 3% for the Public Service requires an enormous amount of money. In a year of declining revenue for the State, it can only grant increases if it takes certain fiscal and monetary steps which will remove the money from circulation and from the pocket of every taxpayer. For this reason, the State has to maintain a balance between its obligations to its employees on the one hand and its obligation to make sure on the other hand, that it does not prejudice the ability of the country to generate income. The hon member may rest assured that we are continually asking: Is it not necessary, in all fairness, and is it not time we gave our hard-working Public Serivce corps another increase? We came in for a lot of criticism regarding the 12% increase in January.
Not from me.
No, but from many quarters. However, the Government realized, after thorough consideration, that having required the officials to make sacrifices for 21 months, it could no longer delay the matter. That is why the increases were granted, in spite of the ripple effect which they inevitably had. I want to give the assurance that we shall continue to watch jealously over the interests of the Public Service. However, the interests of the Public Service, just like those of the private sector, are indissolubly linked to a strong economy in South Africa. People must understand that it is our primary task to keep the economy of South Africa strong. Then we shall all prosper. However, if the economy goes into a real decline, any Government may grant whatever increase it pleases, but that increase will continually be swallowed up by inflation and other negative economic factors.
The hon member also talked about appointments for specific periods. There are no sinister ulterior motives behind these appointments. We have the general support of the corps of directors-general for these appointments. It is a private sector-orientated management technique. In the top management in the private sector, one is no longer, in the position of an official in the sense that one has security of tenure until one reaches a specific retirement age; one is an employer and no longer an employee in the ordinary sense of the word. The practice which is to be introduced in respect of directors-general is applied in the same way by virtually all big companies in the private sector in respect of their top management. This is the background to this development and this is why we are introducing it. We have also received the necessary co-operation.
When I announced the retirement of Mr Van der Merwe this morning, hon members heard what his management philosophy was. It was a sensible philosophy. In his case, it was a subjective judgment, but the fact remains that experts accept that a person can only be really productive in the same post for a specific period—they argue about this, because some of them say it is five years, while others say it is 10 years—after which he begins to feel that he has achieved his objectives and a change may be necessary in the interests of effective management. I want to give a few assurances in this connection. The period has not been determined yet. We shall discuss it when legislation is introduced in this connection. There could be more than one term, there could be two or three terms, for a man who feels that he still derives satisfaction from his work, while the employer also feels that that man remains effective in a specific direction. The idea with such a term, therefore, is not to get all youngish officials, who reach the top rapidly, out of the Public Service in three, four or five years. We shall try to keep every able man as long as possible. However, we want him to have job satisfaction. We also want to have room for manoeuvre in respect of the top management, and by means of our management technique we are trying to ensure that we shall have dedicated people in the top management at all times. The only consideration, therefore, is good management. There are no sinister ulterior motives, nor is there any question whatsoever of a pigmentation argument in this whole matter.
Mr Chairman, is it not possible that within the four top ranks of the service people from the private sector could be retracted, as is done in the United States, for periods of, say, three or five years to do a particular job on a contractual basis? People older than 30 or 40 years, who have had a lot of experience, can be used. This is done in the United States and can it not be done here in South Africa as well?
I do not know whether we should do everything that America does. We are a small country with a small pool of high level manpower. On the other hand, I also believe that the American technique contains an element of inhumanity—that is what we do not want here—namely that a man is used until he has no strength left, and he is then kicked out and replaced by a young man. That is not our management technique here in South Africa. Legislation which is to come before this House will in fact contain provisions in terms of which a erson who may leave a year or two before is time, as a result of these appointments for specific periods, is not going to be prejudiced as a result of the fact that he took part in the scheme. Attention will also be given to security and fair treatment in the light of the greater risk which we are asking these people to accept, because they do accept a great risk.
The hon member for Innesdal advocated better liaison between Parliament and the Commission. The Commission is in favour of this. I am also strongly in favour of it. I want to give the hon member the assurance that if we can find ways and means of improving the liaison, we shall certainly consider these with an open mind. Regarding the question of whether it should be done by means of a structured committee, as he advocated last year, he has my standpoint on that in the letter. I think we should first see what developments there may be within the framework of new structures which may come into being under the new dispensation, before discussing this matter any further. However, if a more spontaneous interaction and regular contact can be achieved before that happens, or at the same time, I shall adopt a positive attitude towards this, and the Commission will certainly do the same.
The hon member laid particular emphasis on privatization. I want to tell him at once that a programme is being prepared at the moment and that there are certain proposals which will be submitted to the Cabinet. Although it is the policy of the State to give out on contract to the private sector everything that can be dealt with in this way, and not to compete with the private sector, I must also point out that the State must after all retain the ability at least to evaluate all Government work, even though it does not need to do everything itself. For this, too, one often needs professional people. When one gives out a building on contract and when one has a department which eventually gives out 20 buildings on contract, one needs an architect and a quantity surveyor somewhere within that department to process the incoming technical data, to evaluate tenders, etc. That is the first point I want to make. The State cannot divest itself of technical abilities because technical services are available outside. However, it can give some of the technical work out on contract, but it must remain fully capable of evaluating the work.
The second remark I want to make about privatization is that in my opinion, there is a limit. The State cannot give everything out on contract, because it has to ensure, due to the scope and rhythm of the work which sometimes has to be done, there can be a proper work flow, that secrecy can be preserved, etc. This is often relevant. There are various factors which make it impossible to give out on contract all printing work or the utilization of computer services, for example. However, what does the private sector do? If it is an insurance company, does it only undertake assurance work, or does it also reach a stage—when it has grown to a certain size, and when it becomes profitable from a business point of view—where it undertakes a certain service internally rather than give it out on contract? I believe that if the State goes in for privatization and giving things out on contract, it should do so on the same principles as those that are applied in the business world itself. For example, it is going to more profitable to give work out on contract than to do it internally? But then this must be clearly analysed, because if we fail to do this, giving it out on contract may eventually cost us more. A private business test has to be applied, therefore, to determine what would be in the best interests of the State from the point of view of economy and effectiveness—to give something out on contract or to do the work internally under certain circumstances. While I fully support the idea that we should not compete with the private sector, I want to advocate that where we provide services ourselves and where we are able to provide such services more economically than the private sector, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water.
I believe that I have now replied to all the hon members, Sir, and I want to thank them very sincerely for their positive contributions.
What about the teachers?
Of course. The question of the teachers is very important. [Interjections.] There are a few important points that I want to raise, so I am glad that the hon member has reminded me of this. As far as the teachers are concerned, the Minister of National Education will deal with the more technical matters, such as those which are specifically connected with the teaching profession, under his Vote.
†The hon member attacked my colleague for being too silent.
I was saying what was being said …
The hon member said my colleague’s silence was deafening. However, in the hon the Minister of National Education we and indeed this country, is fortunate in having a man of his calibre to fill that post. [Interjections.] I think the hon member is on rather thin ice when making personal attacks upon that Minister. [Interjections.]
The Government is fully aware of the feeling among teachers. The non the Minister of National Education is in constant communication with them and he will deal with the more specific and specialized subjects. Let me, however, state the Government’s approach in general.
*In the first place, we regard the teaching profession as being of crucial importance. We recognize this act and we shall recognize it at all times. [Interjections.] In the second place, top priority is being given to the teaching profession in the very first maintenance investigation into the finalization of occupational differentiation. Thirdly, the first maintenance investigation is taking place a year earlier than originally planned, and I believe that we should make this known to the teachers. The occupational differentiation programme was only to have been finalized towards the end of 1984, and we would only have got round to what we are doing now in 1985. Because the programme has been speeded up, we are nine months ahead of schedule at the moment, so we shall get round to the maintenance investigation for the teachers sooner than was anticipated. [Interjections.]
Short-term solutions for the teaching professions are not the answer. We must introduce structural changes, and I want to point out that not only highly qualified educators, but educators with lower qualifications as well, are receiving attention at the moment. The hon member suggested that the teaching profession itself should be involved. That is precisely what is causing the delay at the moment. They are involved in the investigations. Most important of all, perhaps, is the fact that there has to be co-ordination between conflicting interests within the teaching profession itself.
I conclude, therefore, with the statement that our attitude towards the teaching profession is positive and that we are anxious, just as they are, to come to a decision as soon as possible.
Votes agreed to.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 22.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.
reported that the Standing Committee on Vote No 24—“Mineral and Energy Affairs”, had agreed to the Vote.
The House adjourned at